Sunday, July 31, 2005

Ramses II artefacts unearthed in Cairo suburb

"Statues and artefacts dating back to the time of Ramsis II have been unearthed in Cairo. Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) Dr Zahi Hawass told The Gazette yesterday that the items were found in Mataryia, a north eastern suburb of the capital. Dr Hawass added that Mataryia was originally an important political and cultural centre in ancient times and was probably the location of one of the world's first universities. An excavation team in Souk el-Khamis (Thursday Market) found the remains of a big temple and unearthed several statues."
There is more on the page above, but the item gets a bit confusing towards the middle and end.

Bibliographical Introduction to Egyptology
The Bibliographical Introduction to Egyptology by Benoit Claus is is an absolutely super resource that you can access and download free of charge for a limited period from the PalArch website - a massive (121 page) bibliography of Egyptology and Egyptian archaeology, from the Prehistoric period onwards. The introductory text and the Contents page are in French, but are easy understand, and all of the publications are listed in the language in which they are written. Also see the Archaeology of Egypt section for more and upcoming online publications at:

1400 artifacts displayed at Sharm El Sheikh Museum
"Minister of Culture Farouq Hosni said that the first stage of Sharm El-Sheikh museum will be completed in three months' time. The Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) Dr. Zahi Hawas said that the museum is being constructed on a surface of about 30 feddans. Hawas said this stage includes also Roman Theatre and a Cafeteria. The supervisor of the project Abdul Hamid Qutb said that the second stage will start early next month, then the museum will be ready to open next year. Some 1400 Pharaohnic artifacts will be displayed at the museum". This is the complete bulletin from the Egyptian State Information Service.

Response to Sunday Times re Hawass article in May 2005,,2088-1710891_2,00.html
In a widely publicized article entitled "King Tut Tut", which appeared in the May 22nd edition of the UK's Sunday broadsheet, a number of criticisms of Zahi Hawass were made. The above page contains a "Comment" in response to some of those remarks: "We are writing to express our regret about the injudicious and inaccurate May 22, 2005 article about Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary-General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities. As archaeologists and epigraphers working at many sites throughout Egypt (in most cases for many years), we completely reject the assertion that Dr. Hawass has created an atmosphere of intimidation, so far as such foreign-sponsored work is concerned". Signed by 31 individuals, some of them very well known, this short piece goes on to paint a positive picture of Dr Hawass and the SCA. See above URL for more.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Sarcophagus of Tutankhamun to be modeled
Specialist software company AutoDesSys, Inc. has announced the release of a new version of its 3D modeling and rendering tools which it says will be applied to the sarcophagus of Tutankhamun, using modeling and rendering processes, and new features such as smooth parametric modeling and cloning. If software is your thing have a look at the above URL: "form*Z is a cross platform design oriented 3D modeler that combines surface and solid modeling, polygonal and smooth (resolution independent) modeling, NURBS and parametrics. form*Z includes 2D drafting, information management, raytrace and radiosity rendering, animation, an open architecture with an API and script language that offer further means for customization". I had a quick hunt around the Web but I can't find anything else about this.

Success of Mummies Exhibition at Bowers Museum,0,296790.story?coll=mmx-celebrity_heds
This is a actually an article about public reactions to the Tutankhamun exhibition, but a couple of lines at the end of the article compare it with the exhibition also currently showing, at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana: "Mummies: Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt is a collection of 126 objects and 14 mummies being shown for the first time in this country. 'That's what puts our exhibit on par with LACMA's: the mummies,' Bowers spokesman Rick Weinberg said. Even without the publicity of the King Tut show, the exhibit has sold more than 40,000 tickets since opening in April".

Zahi Hawass and Stolen Treasures
A Cairo Magazine article about Zahi Hawass on "stolen"artefacts, and in particular the Rosetta Stone which is on display at the British Musem: "Egypt is once again calling for the return of several celebrated antiquities currently on display in museums across Europe and America, including the Rosetta stone, the famous granite slab that was crucial in deciphering hieroglyphics. The campaign to recuperate priceless artifacts taken by colonial powers is not new. But in recent weeks Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and the public face of archaeology in Egypt, has grown more strident in his demands in a campaign that coincides with a world tour of Egyptology’s favorite son, King Tutankhamun. Hawass has even threatened to shut down British and Belgian archaeological digs in Egypt if the artifacts are not returned". See the rest of the article for more.

Friday, July 29, 2005

BBC films documentary in Aswan
"A BBC team is currently visiting Aswan to film a documentary series on the history of King Tutankhamen and the pharaohs. The series will consist of six episodes and will be broadcasted in the UK and France. Filming is scheduled to continue until August 10". This is the entire State Information Service bulletin. I am guessing that this is the same BBC series that has been beset with problems, as reported in last week's Sunday Times and Telegraph.

Prisse D'Avennes
The Travellers in Egypt website has been updated with a verbal portrait of Prisse D'Avennes, who travelled Egypt in the late 1800s: "Of the hundreds of 19th-century Orientalists – those Western artists, scholars and writers who gravitated to the Islamic world following Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798 – few possessed so prodigious an intellect, such a trove of talents, so insatiable a curiosity or so passionate a commitment to record the historical and artistic patrimony of ancient Egypt and medieval Islam. He succeeded brilliantly, yet he failed to achieve the stature to which his successes entitled him, both during his lifetime and in the 111 years since his death". See the above page for the full story.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Predynastic Egypt Exhibition,1413,208~12588~2982375,00.html
"SAN BERNARDINO - Cal State San Bernardino's Robert V. Fullerton Art Museum will feature a "Predynastic Egyptian' exhibit from Sept. 22 through Feb. 18, on the campus at 5500 University Parkway. The display will include beautiful and elegant handmade ceramics dating from 4000-3000 B.C. An opening reception will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1 at the museum. For more information, call (909) 537-7373". This is the full bulletin from the San Bernadino County Sun.

Ramesses II Bars Removed
"After two years of being hidden behind long iron bars, the Ramses II statue will be once again visible in Bab el-Hadid Square.The Arab Contractors Company will remove the jungle of bars surrounding the statue, acting on, instructions from the Secretary- General of the Supreme Council for Antiquities, Zahi Hawass. These bars were used to protect the statue while a scientific team carried out certain investigations on it. The studies were used to determine the statue's points of weakness and the places in which it was firmly connected to its base rather than just resting on it. In addition, geophysical studies were carried out on the statue's granite structure in order to test its strength. Dr Hawass said that the iron cage was no longer needed as the studies had been completed and it is the right of the people to admire". This is the entire news item.

African Americans profess Egypt as 'African' civilisation
"The resentment with which African Americans received the CT scan image of the King Tutankhamen mummy as displayed by the National Geographic was not surprising. African Americans consider the ancient Egyptian civilisation as a 'black' African one, established at the hands of Africans given that it was created in Africa thousands of years before Egypt was conquered by armies from the north and east. They have gone as far as to consider themselves an extension of such a civilisation which they boast of belonging to in the American society." See the article for full details (the Egyptian Gazette pages are not archived, so you will need to look at this page soon if you want to see the complete article).

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Western Desert of Egypt - New Edition

Good news! The Western Desert of Egypt, written by Cassandra Vivian and published by the AUC Press, is to be updated. The current version was published in 2000 and updated with revisions in 2002. Now, the writer has commenced research for an update of the only thorough guide currently available to the Western Desert and the Oases. If you have any comments, updates, or corrections, please contact Cassandra Vivian, at her request, at the following email address:

The Nile Valley - where ancient meets modern,2106,3358004a2180,00.html
An article looking at the value of the Nile to Egypt, ancient and modern, and contrasting the natural flooding of the Valley in days before large-scale damming projects began, with life since the creation of the Aswan High Dam: "It was the ancient Egyptians and their predecessors who first recognised the importance of the Nile floods and captured their potential to grow crops on land that must now feed the burgeoning population of some 70 million Egyptians, the world's largest Arab nation. The ancient Egyptians also captured the story of the Nile River floods in hieroglyphics where the year was divided into three seasons. At the temple of the gods Sobek and Haroeris at Kom Ombo built around 150 BC, between Luxor and Aswan on the Nile, illustrations and hieroglyphics show the seasons based on the 'life blood of mother Nile'; the flood season, the planting and the harvest season. The floods brought the water and all-important fertile silt and spread it over the fields, providing natural nutrients and irrigation for the annual crops. But now with the Aswan High Dam, everything has changed".

4000 Tourists Arrive at Sharm El-Sheik
"4000 tourists arrived at Sharm El-Sheik International on 52 passenger flights from various parts of the world over the past 24hrs. MENA reported a statement by the Sharm El-Sheik International Airport Director Captain Yusri Gamal El-Din, that the airport had handled 104 incoming and outgoing flights in the aforementioned period, including 3 incoming flights from Italy carrying 250 tourists."

At the same time the Sate Information Service also reports that a number of prominent figures gathered in a protest rally to demonstrate their solidarity against the attacks: "As many as 300 public figures rallied today in Sharm el-Sheikh in protest of the terror attacks that hit the heart of the city Saturday leaving 64 dead and around 124 others injured. . . . Tourists also joined the protestors in a demonstration of solidarity with Egypt. . . . Addressing the demonstrators, South Sinai Governor Mostafa Afifi promised that Sinai would not only remain the city of peace but would also become more robust and beautiful than it used to be".

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Unprecedented success of Tutankhamun Exhibition

The exhibition's success at its Los Angeles venue "has done so well that organisers announced on Monday they are extending daily viewing hours by one hour". Over half a million tickets have already been sold, and the exhibition has yet to travel to three more U.S. towns before moving elsewhere.
This Business Wire article has more information measuring the success of the exhibition: "To date, more than 200,000 ticketing certificates (free reservations ensuring patrons will have the opportunity to purchase tickets once they are available) for the Tutankhamun exhibition's second venue, Museum of Fine Arts Ft. Lauderdale (MoAFL), have been reserved". See the article for more information.

Closure of Theban Mapping Project Survey

The Theban Mapping Project's online survey concerning the future of the Valley of the Kings has now closed. In a posting to the Amun Group, Nigel Hetherington, Conservation Manager on the project says that this has become one of the largest public consultations ever undertaken on the future of a World Heritage Site.

The Third Translation (fiction book review)
A review, posted today, of a novel released in April of this year called The Third Translation, a mystery based around the translation of a stela from Karnak: "The writing style is literary, given to flashbacks and expositions on Egyptology, perhaps along the lines of Dr Crichton, with the concommittant drawbacks in loss of pace, breaks in the story, et al. Grammatical errors and redundancy persist. All the same, it is an interesting, well-written book, with visual descriptiveness". To see the rest of the review, together with a summary of the main themes of the novel, see the above link.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Current World Archaeology Magazine: KV5
A reminder that Current World Archaeology is due out next month. They are running an article on KV5 in their August/September edition: "Although the entrance has long been known, it was thought to be small and insignificant, and it was only in 1995 that Kent Weeks, professor at the American University in Cairo, discovered the extent of the tomb. In a major article, Current World Archaeology looks at how it was discovered, and who built it, and then at some of the problems of site management in the valley". There's a very nice plan of the tomb on the page, which also shows its relationship to KV6, which runs underneath it.

Egypt fears tourism crisis
A BBC news report looking at the impact of the Sharm el-Sheik attacks: "Egyptians living here do not have the option of leaving. They have been hit harder than anyone by the attacks, victims twice over. Most of those who died here were Egyptians, but as well as destroying lives, the bombings have also struck the economy".

But not everyone has returned home:
"Certainly, some vacationers packed up Sunday and dashed for the airport, and the flights arriving were emptier than normal. But most visitors reacted to the attacks with a mix of stoicism, defiance and even nonchalance".

See the articles for more.

EEF News Digest
A reminder that the EEF weekly email newsletter has been published online at the above address. This is a good place to find out about lectures, exhbitions and online publications, amongst other things.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Charlotte collector's Egyptian artifacts on display

An article about the 90 items currently on display at the Mint Museum in North Carolina, mentioned earlier in the weblog when the exhibition first opened. A wide-ranging article based on an interview with Peter Lacovara, the curator of ancient Egyptian, Nubian and Near Eastern Art at Emory University's Michael C. Carlos Museum in Atlanta. Various subjects are discussed, ranging from individual pieces from the collection to subjects like the importance of the Rosetta Stone: "Among these works are mummy boards, scarabs, ceremonial vessels and figurines representing deities and servants. These objects were interred with the mummified remains of socially prominent Egyptians over a period of about 3,000 years ending with the first century A.D. Later they were uncovered and traded on the international market, where they eventually found their way into the hands of a Charlotte lawyer who lent them anonymously to the Mint. . . . Lacovara, who helped organize the exhibition and wrote an essay for the accompanying brochure, said in a recent telephone interview that he has known the collector for several years. He said that the collection was assembled over the past eight years by a discerning eye and consists of beautiful, high-quality examples of Egyptian art". See the article for more.

More on Chinese-Egyptian Co-operation on Tourism

"China and Egypt signed yesterday a memorandum of understanding to strengthen joint cooperation in tourism. The memo also aims at increasing visits by both countries' tourist groups. The head of the China National Tourism Administration signed for his country, while Tourism Minister Ahmed el-Maghrabi signed for Egypt. The signing ceremony was attended by some members of the delegation accompanying Maghrabi and a number of senior Chinese officials. Egypt's Ambassador in China, Ali Hossam Eddien and a number of other Egyptian embassy staffers were also present. Another memorandum of understanding was signed on Thursday to boost tourist cooperation between the area of the Great China Wall and the Pyramids area in Giza. The memorandum was signed by the deputy head of the Great China Wall society and chairman of the Egyptian Tourism Promoting Authority Ahmed el-Khadem". This is the entire Egyptian State Information service news bulletin.

Curse of the pharaohs hits BBC drama,,2087-1706043,00.html
"The curse of Tutankhamun has struck the BBC. A series about the wonders of ancient Egypt has turned into what crew members describe as a 'fiasco in the desert', with an overspend of up to £3m. When the ambitious series was conceived, the BBC hoped its screening in the 2005 autumn schedule would help to clinch its case for a renewed royal charter and increased licence fee. It has instead caused bitter infighting and recriminations. . . . The BBC denies it could have foreseen the problems. It believes that from the moment the crew and cast set foot in Egypt they were hit by bad luck, including infectious diseases, bad weather and security problems". The article goes on to say that the six-hour series, shot at various locations in Egypt, will use the stories of Carter, Belzoni and Champollion to bring Egypt's past to life. See the Sunday Times article for more.
Also covered on the 24th July by the Telegraph:

Details re the smuggling and Australian recovery of artefacts

This article contains more details not only about the artefacts themselves, but about how they were recovered and who smuggled them originally: "The artefacts will be used in the case against 10 Egyptians, including three top archeologists, on trial for allegedly stealing and smuggling 57,000 artefacts from antiquity warehouses. They later smuggled thousands of them abroad. They were arrested in January 2003. Antiquities officials said Australian authorities were cooperative but that they are still seeking 11 other pieces that were put up for sale in Australia."

Queen Nefertiti moves
"One of art history's most beautiful women is moving to a new address this summer, marking the reunification of the Berlin Egyptian Museum's fabulous collection after more than six decades of division.The exquisite limestone bust of Queen Nefertiti forms the focal point of the collection, which re-opens to the public on August 13 in its new-old home at Berlin's Museum Island complex in the heart of the German capital". See more for a history of Nefertiti's travels to date.,1,3771175.story?coll=la-travel-headlines
This article by art critic Christopher Knight looks more at the museum itself than the bust: "An elegant cross between an ancient Greek temple and Rome's Pantheon, the Altes now houses extraordinary collections of Cycladic, Greek and Etruscan art, Scythian gold and some Roman art. (Egyptian art, including Nefertiti, will be temporarily housed on the second floor, starting Aug. 13.) The Greek vases are especially fine. No embarrassment intrudes on showing their full range of orgiastic, homoerotic and other playfully salacious painted scenes, which some museums shy away from. This nicely written piece also discusses the historical context of Berlin's collection.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Egypt Bombings at Sharm El-Sheikh

With all my sympathy for all the victims and their families and friends - my heart goes out to them.

For those looking for further information on what happened, most of the news services are continuing to provide up to date news as it becomes available. In addition, aggregated news from the 23rd and regularly updated news items can both be found at Google News.
See also the Sharm el-Sheikh weblog on the Tour Egypt web site, where details of emergency numbers and other relevant information can be found as it becomes available:

Friday, July 22, 2005

More on return of artefact lost since 1958
A little more information about the circumstances under which a stolen alabaster artefact was returned to Egypt from the U.S. by an indivudual who obtained it from a friend.

Mummies and CT Technology
This item goes back and looks at some of the work that has been carried out on Tutankhamun, but also mentions the Bahariya project: "In addition to their work on Tut, an international group of radiologists, epidemiologists and forensic pathologists is documenting hundreds of mummies found at Egypt's Bahariya Oasis. Because so many of the ancient bodies are richly decorated, the area is known as the Valley of the Golden Mummies. . . . Some of the Bahariya tombs were opened for the first time, giving scientists a rare chance to take air samples and study ancient molds that respond to oxygen possibly with harmful results".

Ancient Egypt Magazine - August/September Issue
A reminder that the Ancient Egypt Magazine is due out next month. A cover-image and some of the Contents of the next issue of Ancient Egypt Magazine are shown on the magazine's website, above, and are as follows:
"– Meryetamun at Akhmim: AE’s Egypt Correspondent, Ayman Wahby Taher, tells readers about a remarkable colossal statue, which has been found in a site infrequently visited by tourists.
– The Oriental Museum in Durham: Karen Exell reviews this interesting ancient Egyptian collection for AE readers.
– Rameses III and his Battles: Nicholas Wernick provides a useful summary for readers of the military campaigns of this great New Kingdom pharaoh.
– Dressing Nefertiti: Have you ever wondered how the elaborate costumes used in historical dramas are created? Janet Johnstone, who has designed ancient Egyptian costumes for both TV and the cinema, tells the inside story for our readers".

See the Ancient Egypt Magazine website for details about past issues, some online articles, and an online UK Events Diary.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Attracting Chinese tourists to Egyptian Antiquity
The Egyptian Tourism Minister Ahmad al- Maghrabi in on a five-day trip to China and hopes to boost tourist co-operation between China and Egypt: "Since Egypt became a Chinese travel destination country in January 2002, more and more Chinese people have become interested in Egyptian history, culture and ancient sites, said Maghrabi, adding that his country expects the number of the Chinese tourists would reach 100,000 by the end of this year. Meanwhile, the minister acknowledged some difficulties in attracting more Chinese tourists, especially the offer of tasty food. 'Eating is really a problem for Chinese tourists in Egypt because of different cooking styles,' Maghrabi said, 'So I welcome more Chinese to come and invest in Chinese restaurants'."
An official statement from Egypt can be found on the State Information Service:

News in Brief and Alexandria Lighthouse

The occasional News in Brief column from the Egyptian Gazette online this week features a number of interesting pieces of information, which I have summarized from the above page:
  • LE 40 million to be invested in upgrading Port Said Museum which will be able to display stored items
  • Luxor Temple Avenue has had its concrete tiles replaced with more appropriate stone ones
  • Remains of a well, a basin and water canals have been recently discovered at Shikhoun Mosque.
  • The cave of Abi Serga church at Misr Al Qadima, visited by the Holy Family during their flight from Roman oppression has been treated for the effects of rising underground water.
  • The Sunken Antiquities Administration in Alexandria is working with Southampton University to draw up a map of archaeological sites on the shores of Mariut Lake
  • The International Papyrus Institute in Italy has offered a £50,000 grant for the first papyri restoration laboratory in the Middle East. The laboratory is part of the Egyptian Museum.
  • France has returned a 31 kg stele dating from the reign of Pasmatic I of the 26th dynasty. which originally came from the Temple of Isis at Giza.
  • The SCA has approved a plan to retrieve the Alexandria Lighthouse gate from seabedof Al Selsela Bey after which it will be used as the main gate at the entrance of the park facing the Bibliotheca. The project will be headed by teams from Marseille University and the French Alexandrian Studies Centre
See the item for the full News in Brief, more about the Alexandria lighthouse (right at the every bottom of the above page) and for more post-Pharaonic news items.

Red Sea archaeological sites

"The Ministry of Culture plans to convert Red Sea archaeological sites into tourist attractions. Accordingly, a comprehensive restoration plan is to be implemented along roads leading to these sites.Khaled Saad, of the Pre-historic Antiquities Administration, said that the Red Sea is also distinguished for its natural features that compliment the archaeological sites. For instance, there are many stone inscriptions by ancient Egyptians who travelled through this area on commercial or military journeys.The Red Sea is also famous for its pre-historic antiquities such as Wadi Al Gimal, Marsa Alam, Sharm Al Louli and Wadi Al Gawasis. Day after day excavations prove that these sites had been dwelled by inhabitants who traded in pre-historic times, said Saad.Among the sites to be restored are the remains of the Roman-Byzantine Abu Shaara fortress. The limestone fortress lies on the coast and was central for trade, storage, administration and military purposes.In the West Desert, 500 kilometres south of Cairo, the remains of a Roman city exist. While only rubble from walls and structures has survived, there are clear traces of roads, a water cistern and a stable. It is most likely that this stable housed the oxen that were used to transfer stones to Qena". See the Egyptian Gazette article for details of many other sites.

Tut's Tissue Box
The first item on this news round-up on the Artnet page above looks at some of the costs for visitors to the Tutankhamun exhibition. As well as the usual comments about standard and VIP ticket prices, it picks up on ticket touts and prices of tickets on Ebay, but more entertainly discusses some of the Tutankhamum gift-shop products available: " Let the art-world moralists worry about the Los Angeles County Museum of Art selling its birthright for a mess of King Tut pottage. All we can think about is the fantastic Tut-styled tissue box cover on sale in the exhibition gift shop! Priced at $24.95, the impeccably styled plastic replica is based on the boy-king’s gold-and-royal-blue sarcophagus, with the tissues emerging from a discreet opening positioned between his nose and his mouth. It can be purchased online at the special website for the show". See the article for more of the products available.

Update on items returned by Australia
A second statement from Egypt's State Information Service"An Egyptian delegation, currently visiting Australia, received seven valuable monuments. Egyptian authorities had contacted their Australian counterparts to stop sales of the 2500-year-old artifacts which were posted for sale on a website. Dr. Zahi Hawwas said the Australian authorities also found 33 antiques some of them were stolen in a famous case known as Al Shaer Case. Hawwas said full cooperation between the Attorney-General office, the Foreign Ministry and the Council led to restoration of other monuments from Switzerland Britain, the United States and Australia".

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Tutankhamum may go to Australia as good-will gesture
It is possible that the Tutankhamun exhbition may be made available to Australia as a good-will "thank you" for the return of smuggled artefacts (which are mentioned earlier in this blog). Commenting on the possibility, the Egyptian ambassador in Canberra, Mohamed Tawfik, pointed out that a show on this scale "needs space, it needs organisation - the number of people who usually come to these exhibits are in the millions, the logistics are enormous - but I will do my best to see it comes here." See the article for more.

Egypt retrieves antique taken by American in 1958
"Egypt received on Tuesday a rare antique made of alabaster with hieroglyphic writings which was taken by an American national from a tomb at the Valley of the Kings in Luxor in 1958, the official MENA news agency reported. Zahi Hawwas, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said Egypt reclaimed the antique after Jack A. Graves, a professor at the US University of California, sent him a letter in which he explained how he had got the antique. In Graves' letter, the US professor said one of his friends had recently given him the piece. Graves has translated the hieroglyphic text written on the antique monument and found it was about the ancient Egyptian god Osiris, said Hawwas. The inscription also referred to King Seti I who ruled Egypt from 1318 to 1304 BC, said Hawwas, adding that the antique arrived in Cairo by courier on Monday". This is the complete news item from the People's Daily Online.

Australia returns artifacts to Egypt
"Australia has handed over to the Egyptian authorities several 2500-year-old antiquities at the centre of a smuggling racket. Police recovered the tomb artefacts as part of an investigation that has led to a prosecution in Egypt, a spokeswoman for the department of environment and heritage in Sydney said on Tuesday. The seven objects include small funerary statuettes (shabtis), a bronze axe head, a ceramic bowl and amulets".
"The Australian ambassador in Cairo, Robert Bowker, welcomed yesterday the fruitful cooperation between Egypt and his country, which helped bring back seven artifacts from Australia. He said that the move reflected his country's keenness on protecting world heritage, hailing the close ties between both countries. He said that Australia was the first country that responded to a verdict handed down by an Egyptian court in this respect". This is the complete item as posted on the Egyptian State Informatin Service

$36 m returns of Tut's tour of four American states
"Dr. Zahi Hawas, Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Antiquities said that Egypt would harvest $ 36 million from the tour of Tutankhamun's exhibition in four American States. He said that the golden pharaoh managed to fascinate the American people again 26 years after the first exhibition. This came in a symposium titled "Tutankhamen invaded America" organized by Mubarak's Public Library in Giza. He said that the number of the exhibition visitors in Los Angles reached 10,000 a day while the price of a ticket jumped to $30 in the weekend".

More on UNESCO involvement in returning artefacts
Nothing much new in this article, which blends the UNESCO intervention and the Hawass threat to the Fitzwilliam and Leuven stories, except for a bit at the very end which states that "Hawass has also called on UNESCO to send invitations to all the countries who have unique artifacts they want back to come to a conference in November. 'Then we can discuss together how to retrieve what we lost,' said Hawass. Dr. Moain Sadeq, director- general of the Department of Antiquities in Gaza and a participant in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in 1994 on archeological issues, told the Post he believed the conference could help return Palestinian archeological artifacts".

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Exhibition for Students in Wisconsin
"Students entering first through sixth grades can experience the wonders of ancient Egypt when the Youth Services Department of the Monroe Public Library hosts Exploring Egyptology". This looks like a very innovative and interesting exhbition, which has gone out of its way to thing up ways of presenting Egyptology and making it accessible to students - have a look at the article. The Monroe Public Library is located in Wisconsin, U.S. and the exhibition will be running from tomorrow, the 20th July.

More updates to
I have updated the site again as follows:
  • Acheulean (updated)
  • Nubian Sangoan (added)
  • Elkabian of Elkab and Eastern Desert (updated)
  • Tarifian (updated)
  • Eastern Desert Early Neolithic: Tree Shelter and Sodmein Cave (added)
  • Gilf Kebir Neolithic (added)
  • Djara and Abu Gerara Neolithic (updated)
  • Bashendi B Unit of Dakhleh Oasis (updated)
  • Sheikh Muftah Unit of Dakhleh Oasis (updated)
  • Bibliography

Details of whereabouts these are located on the site are shown on the site's home page.

There is a lot more on its way, with information about archaeology dating from the Early Palaeolithic to the end of the 2nd Dynasty, and a new section to be added on environmental and climatic change. I know that the maps in the Geology section aren't loading at the moment - leave it with me. It is taking more time than I thought due to some wonderfully timed technical problems both with the web authoring software I use and my modem.

Cheers, Andie

Monday, July 18, 2005

New tactics to secure return of Egyptian artefacts
New tactics are being employed concerning the return of items to Egypt that are alleged to have been removed without permission: "Egypt demanded that institutions in Britain and Belgium return two pharaonic reliefs it says were chipped off tombs and stolen 30 years ago, threatening Sunday to end their archaeological work here if they refuse . . . . Zahi Hawass, the secretary-general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said he would cut off the Catholic University's excavation mission at a site in Deir al-Barsha, near the southern town of Minya, if the relief was not returned, and would suspend the Fitzwilliam Museum's 'scientific relationship' with archaeologists working here if the British institution did not cooperate." Apparently they have already used the tactic successfully on another museum in Belgium. The two reliefs concerned are reported to be 4,400-year-old reliefs, taken from two tombs uncovered in 1965 near the Step Pyramid at Saqqara. See the article for more, including a quote on the subject from Zahi Hawass.

Thomas Logan: Up close with King Tut

This writer has come up with a different subject matter to tie in with the Tutankhamum exhibition. This piece is an interview with Thomas Logan, the former associate curator for the Egyptian Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, who was closely involved with the visit of the 1976 Tutankhamun exhibition: "The 63-year-old Egyptologist's round, bespectacled eyes and broad smile vibrate with energy as he points out ancient bits of pottery, glass and a mask from his digs in the Belgium Congo that are displayed in the Carmel home he shares with his wife, Vikki. At age 13, his parents took him to the the Great Pyramids at Giza, Egypt, and the King Tut exhibit at the Cairo Museum and that fueled his passion for Egyptology. Logan looks back at the laborious and painstaking journey with Tut artifacts and the vexations and luck that befell him". See the article for the interview, which is entertaining with one or two fascinating bits of 1976 Tut trivia.

How to beat the crowds for tickets to King Tut,1,7413459.story?coll=chi-travel-hed
A short piece which offers advice to people who want to visit the exhibition but don't fancy the queues and crowds.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

When museums play a commodities game
An International Herald Tribune article discussing some of the controversies about public musuems and galleries becoming increasingly commercialized: "What's remarkable about the Tut show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, for which the museum has effectively sold its good name and gallery space to a for-profit company, is that people still find this arrangement shocking. Outrageous? Sure. It's an abdication of responsibility, integrity, standards. But it's becoming the norm in the United States. Money rules. It always has, of course. But at cultural institutions today, it seems increasingly to corrupt ethics and undermine bedrock goals like preserving collections and upholding the public interest. Curators are no longer making decisions. Rich collectors, shortsighted directors and outside commercial interests are". This is not exclusively about the Tutankhamun exhibition, but delves into some of the decisions that LACMA and similar institutions are making, and some of the implications of these decisions.

Berlin's Museum Island gets a facelift
A very short article that mentions improvements at the Berlin Museum that houses the Berlin Egyptology collection: "Renovation work continues on the galleries of Berlin's Museum Island, located between the River Spree and Kupfergraben . . . . . A refreshed Neues Museum -- its Egyptian collection includes the famous limestone bust of Queen Nefertiti -- will debut in 2009 with a glass skin preserving its classic façade".

Damage to Nile Delta caused by climate change
This article focuses on the impacts of the changing environment on the future of the Nile Delta. It looks principally at the economic and social consequences of increasing salinity and higher water tables, but it does occur to me that there are potential impacts on the archaeology of the area as well, as neither water nor salinity are good for archaeological sites or monuments. It has been the experience of archaeologists working at prehistoric sites like Buto that early levels are already beneath the current water table. An interesting article in its own right, too.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Standard vs VIP Ticket Sales at Tutankhamun Exhibition,1,2203981.story?coll=la-headlines-california
"The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, home to the nation's costliest art exhibition tickets, has raised the bar by offering a $75-a-person VIP ticket to "Tutankhamen and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs," more than double the already controversial top price of $30.What does an extra $45 get you? Not relief from the crowds ogling the ancient treasures from Egyptian tombs, and no extras, not even a catalog. Instead, you gain access to a shorter line to get inside, and at any time on the chosen day. Buying a lower-priced ticket requires a specific time and puts you in a longer line — sometimes for an hour or more". See the article for more.

Pharaonic Curses
A short article about Pharaonic curses: "Myths about the 'Curse of Pharaoh' took shape around the 7th Century when the Arabs landed in Egypt. They were incapable of deciphering the ancient Hieroglyphics so many things appeared bizarre and obscure. They associated almost everything with Black Magic and the supernatural". See the item for a short description.

More on protecting the Wadi Rayan
An item from this week's edition of Al Ahram Weekly, which looks at the latest initiative to protect the Wadi Al-Rayan in the Faiyum Depression: "In the framework of the Egyptian-Italian environmental cooperation programme, a twinning agreement has been signed between the Wadi Al-Rayan protectorate in Fayoum and the Italian National Park of the Gran Sasso and the Laga Mountains". See the article for more.

Luxor, an Egyptian-themed arcade puzzler
Some of the usual Saturday morning trivia for you. This is a computer game with an Egyptian theme, reviewed on the Inside Mac Games website. The reviewer didn't think much of it: "It was honestly more entertaining to read the evocative market-speak on the box than play the game ('use the mystical winged scarab to shoot magical spheres...or all of Egypt is doomed!)", and from reading the review I couldn't see that, other than a few temple-type graphics it had anything to do with Egypt.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Unearthing the Museum's Basement

Zahi Hawass on the subject of one of the world's most sought-after basements: "Recently I have become interested in digging in a new place, a place without sand -- the basement of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. There is a maze of corridors lying under the museum. For decades, no one knew what was hidden down there: boxes of all sorts of treasures discovered by foreign and Egyptian expeditions were brought in and stored over the years, without proper recording of the artefacts. There were objects of stone and wood, mummies, and even objects made of precious metal. But no one knew exactly what was there. It became known among scholars that if anything was sent to the basement it would be lost forever". Quite an admission. See the Al Ahram Dig Days item for more.

Save central Sinai
"The Supreme Council of Antiquities has launched an LE10 million project to upgrade the temple of Serabit Al-Khadem and the nearby turquoise mines in Sinai for what is loosely called "safari tourism". The vagueness of the term is disquieting. "Safari" suggests excursions, either by camel caravan or four-wheel drive; "tourism" brings to mind paved roads and a visitors' centre; while upgrading a temple leads one to suspect an attempt at reconstruction -- a difficult and totally unnecessary exercise. At this early stage, Al-Ahram Weekly appeals to the project planners to give serious consideration to minimum intervention in the Ancient Egyptian temple, limited intrusion on the environment, and to consider taking advantage of this unique opportunity to present the divergent and overlapping cultures of central Sinai." See the Al Ahram Weekly article for much more.

More on returning antiquities with the help of UNESCO
"The summer heat notwithstanding, temperatures are rising in the international antiquities world following a call by Egypt for the return of five Ancient Egyptian pieces on display abroad.
In a speech at a meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin held at UNESCO in Paris, Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), said Egypt had been deprived of five key items of Egypt's cultural heritage". See the article for more.

Problems at Cairo's Terminal 2
For those of you travelling to and from Cairo airport via overseas or on internal flights, the above story on Al Ahram Weekly may be of interest. There have been a number of problems caused by the construction of Terminal 3, including a ban on vehicles approaching Terminal 2: "The confusion looks set to dominate the airport until the new terminal is finished in 2007". There is a full summary of the problems and their causes on the above URL.

Egyptology exhibition in Charlotte, USA
An exhbition entitled Ancient Egyptian Art for the Afterlife opens today: "This exhibition will be drawn from the private collection of a local Charlotte resident. The collection consists of Pre-Dynastic (4000-3000 BC) ceramics and stone, Old Kingdom (3000 – 2100 BC), and Ptolemaic Period (200-300 BC) funerary sculpture, stelae, and coffin boards. The accompanying publication will place the works in context, providing an overview of Ancient Egyptian history and the purpose of funerary art. Approximately 50 items will be featured". This is the complete text from the Mint Museum's web page. The Mint Museum is in Charlotte North Carolina (U.S. east coast). More details about the museum are at:

Thursday, July 14, 2005

More on Khufu's burial chamber
A good summary of the current state of investigation into the Great Pyramid, focusing on the discovery of copper-handled doors in the so-called ventilation shafts. This article was written as a result of Zahi Hawass's recent lecture at the University of Pennsylvania's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Philadelphia, where he discussed the work, past and future, to clarify the situation. He wishes to see if the shafts, which do not reach the outside of the pyramid, actually lead to an undisturbed burial chamber. Cameras will be sent back into the pyramid in October this year, although this time the images will not be transmitted live: "a robot built by the University of Singapore will return to the queen's chamber to see what lies behind the second and third doors. This drilling, Hawass says, will not be broadcast live, but rather the results will be announced afterwards in a press release".

Egypt Seeks Help in Getting Back Artifacts

"Egypt announced Wednesday it was launching a campaign for the return of five of its most precious artifacts from museums abroad, including the Rosetta Stone in London and the graceful bust of Nefertiti in Berlin. Zahi Hawass, the country's chief archaeologist, said UNESCO had agreed to mediate in its claims for artifacts currently at the British Museum, the Louvre in Paris, two German museums and Boston's Museum of Fine Arts . . . . He said Egypt is also seeking the elaborate Zodiac ceiling painting from the Dendera Temple, now housed in the Louvre; the statute of Hemiunu - the nephew and vizier of Pharaoh Khufu, builder of the Great pyramid - in Germany's Roemer-Pelizaeu museum; and the bust of Anchhaf, builder of the Chephren Pyramid, now at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston". See the article for more. Another item covering the same story is at:

Brighton's pyramids take shape
"They stand up to 45ft tall and are a cut above your run-of-the-mill seaside sand castles. The ornate works, recreating ancient Egypt in 10,000 tons of sand imported from Holland, will feature in Britain's first festival of sand sculptures, which opens in Brighton tomorrow. Final touches to the sculptures, which include the pyramids, the tombs of Rameses II and Tutankhamen, temples and sphinxes, were being made yesterday. Made from water and special sand from the River Maas, the sculptures are being created by artists from Russia, America, Germany, Ireland and France. A mixture that includes egg whites is used to protect the sculptures from the weather. The festival runs until Sept 11. It has cost the Dutch company Proserv £1 million to stage". This is the entire feature. I have to admit that I think that it is such fun! I will certainly be driving down to Brighton from London to see it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A 1371 view of the Great Pyramids

Another lovely extract from something written about Egypt in another era, this time by Jehan De Mandeville, or Sir John Mandeville, who compiled a travel book published by 1371, and written in French: "And now also I shall speak of another thing that is beyond Babylon, above the flood of the Nile, toward the desert between Africa and Egypt; that is to say, of the garners of Joseph, that he let make for to keep the grains for the peril of the dear years. And they be made of stone, full well made of masons’ craft; of the which two be marvellously great and high, and the tother ne be not so great. And every garner hath a gate for to enter within, a little high from the earth; for the land is wasted and fallen since the garners were made. And within they be all full of serpents. And above the garners without be many scriptures of diverse languages. And some men say, that they be sepultures of great lords, that were sometime". See the above page for the full extract and details about the rather mysterious author.

Cairo Agricultural Museum
Seif Kamel has written a review of one of the museums that is rarely on the tourist track - the Agriculture Museum in the Dokki area of Cairo. The museum traces the history of Agriculture from the earliest times to today. It is in the middle of being expanded, with two new galleries scheduled to open, after which it may become more of a mainstream attraction. See the Tour Egypt website for the full item with some great photos.

Russian Days of Egyptian Culture
The Head of the Russian Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography, Mikhail Shvydkoi, and the Egyptian Deputy Culture Minister Mohammed Anwar Ibrahim have agreed a 10-day celebration of Egyptian Culture to take place in Moscow and Kazan in November. Films, performances, exhibition and a new book will present Egypt in both past and Present.

A new luxury cruiser for the Nile
To meet the demands of tourists who wish to visit ancient Egyptian monuments located along the Nile betweeen Luxor and Aswan, "Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts (MH&R) have signed a contract to manage the new deluxe Nile cruiser Royal Lotus to enhance its present fleet of Mövenpick Nile Cruisers Radamis I & II, which have built up an enviable reputation sailing between Aswan and Luxor over the last two decades. The move is in continuance of the Swiss domiciled company's aggressive strategy to expand its portfolio throughout the Middle East. Royal Lotus is scheduled to be commissioned later this autumn and will cruise between Aswan and Luxor". Two things occur to me about this - one is that it shows some confidence in the continued success of Egyptian tourism, even with possible terrorist fears, and secondly - how are they going to fit another luxury cruiser on the Nile??

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Ancient Egypt exhibition in Tokyo
A new exhibition entitled "Ancient Egyptian Exhibition: Mysteries through Five Millennia" is to run for a month from July 28th to August 28th at the Daimaru Museum in Tokyo. The exhibition will look at "ancient Egyptian history and thought, introducing the Egyptian collection of the Hildesheim Museum in Germany. On display are over relics of the ancient Egyptian civilization, including a gilded mummy mask and colored wooden coffin". See the above URL for opening times. If you can read Japanese the exhibition's web page can be found at:

Monday, July 11, 2005

Predynastic website updated
For those of you who have been asking me when I am going to get around to updating my Predynastic website, the good news is that I'm doing it. I've updated several pages today with new content, and I will continue to update it during the week with much more. The home page contains all the details of the new pages, including some new content on the Prehistoric pages: Dakhleh Masara (Epipalaeolithic), Bashendi (Neolithic) and Djara (Neolithic). I have also added a lot more content to the Predynastic page and made an initial attempt to get the Early Dynastic page into some sort of order. Even a brief review of the state of the site tells me that there's an awful lot to do, but by the end of this week it should be looking a lot better! While I'm at it, let me know if you have any special requests for content that you would like to see on the prehistoric or predynastic pages. Cheers. Andie.

Egyptian-Italian papyrus lab opens in Egypt
"An Egyptian-Italian conservationists and curators inaugurated a laboratory for restoring and preserving Egyptian-museum-located papyri . . . . The Italian side has donated 50,000 euros' worth of equipment for the project, as well as providing specialists to train local conservationists in the latest restoration and preservation techniques. The equipment and assistance is also being used at a second lab in Alexandria, where papyri owned by the city's Graeco-Roman Museum and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina are being restored". See the SIS article for more about the history of Egyptian papyrus.

In defense of the art museum `blockbuster'
In response to criticism from, amongst others, Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight, Thomas Hoving launches a defense of exhbitions like the Tutankhamun blockbuster currently touring the U.S.. Hoving is the former director of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, who says that he has been called the inventor of the art Block-Buster, but also describes himself as an "art elitist" who hates "the crowds that come with blockbuster exhibitions, the inflated admission prices and those things you stick in your ear for the platitudinous canned tour". But he still sees the value in bringing the rare and the beautiful to home audiences. A spirited and entertaining article - see the above URL for more.

Theban Mapping Project Survey Closing

On Tour Egypt's Luxor News blog, Jane Akshar reports that Nigel Hethrington has announced that the Theban Mapping Project Survey will be closing soon. It is currently online at
If you do decide to complete it, please take note of their highlighted warning not go type beyond the visible text area - my own experience is that if you do type outside beyond the visible area (and there is nothing to prevent you) you will see an error message when you try to submit the form, and the survey will not be posted.

News Highlights
A web page describing some of the more important archaeological discoveries that have taken place in Egypt this year.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

News Items from Ancient Egypt Magazine
Ayman Wahby Taher, who I met with Ancient Egypt Magazine Bob Partridge at the recent AWT Open Day at Highclere Castle, where we were all presenting, has a great regular feature in the Ancient Egypt Magazine. As well as many other items that I have not read elsewhere (you will have to buy the magazine to read them :-) ) there are a couple of items that I noted with particular interest. First is that the SCA is to set up a new administrative department dedicated to the Prehistoric period - an absolutely vital move that will help to ensure that survival of at least some prehistoric data. I had heard that it was planned, but this is the first confirmation I have seen in writing. Ayman also says that the golden jewellery collection from the temple of Dush in the Kharga Oasis is not on dipslay at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo for the very first time. Finally, Ayman provides details about conservation projects at Giza, Suez and Alexandria, and tourist improvements at Kom Ombo and Edfu.
Elsewhere in the magazine, on the letters page, Aidan Dodson, who was also at Highclere says that the three mummies in KV35 (one of whom was the centre of the Nefertiti debate) have now been placed in cases within the tomb, which is excellent news.

Tut exhibit tainted
A very different view of the Tutankhamun exhibition from those that either describe it objectively or praise its contents: "The exhibition had its strengths, especially if you were among the schoolchildren present who'd obviously chosen Tut as a term paper subject, but the show was overrun with onlookers jockeying for a gander at the smaller-than-life artifacts. I'll wait a dozen lifetimes for my next glimpse of the little guy's knickknacks. Tut himself was a no-show. This must sound naive, but I assumed an exhibition titled Tutankhamen and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs actually would feature the kid in question. Not so. Instead of him making a personal appearance, his handlers sent the sarcophagus that once contained the remains of his dear departed auntie. It was like buying a ticket to a Beatles reunion and getting Pete Best. I called a pharaoh foul but was drowned out by the sounds of screeching schoolchildren". See the article for the full commentary.

27 artifacts to be restored
"Attorney General Maher Abdul Wahed agreed that a judicial and technical delegation would be sent to Australia to retrieve 27 rare artifacts which were due to be auctioned. Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Zahi Hawas reported that a number of smuggled Egyptian artifacts in Australia were to be put on display for sale there". This is the full SIS article.

EEF News Digest
The weekly EEF news digest has been updated at the above address, with details of online publications, lectures, exhibitions, conferences and more.

A contextual look at Egypt's boy pharaoh,1249,600146473,00.html
An approach to the Tutankhamun exhibition which looks at the king himself, and is accompanied by some different images accompanying the article. It describes the contents of the exhibition, some details of the Pharaoh's life and provides a bullet-pointed listing of some of the processes involved in mummification. Without wanting to in any way put the article down, this would be a good one for younger readers.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Wadi Al-Hitan to be on World Heritage List
"Some of the world's deepest Norwegian fjords and a fossil-strewn Egyptian desert are set to join the U.N.'s heritage site protection list, a key conservation agency said on Friday. The Swiss-based IUCN said the sites -- Norway's Gerangerfjord and Naeroyfjord plus Egypt's Wadi Al-Hitan, or Whale Valley -- are among eight it has recommended for approval at a meeting of the World Heritage Committee in South Africa next week". There are no more details about the Wadi Al-Hitan itself, but see the article for more about the World Heritage list.

Saturday Morning Peculiarity
There always seems to be something slightly off the wall on a Saturday morning. This little gem comes from the Egyptian Mail, the Saturday edition of the Egyptian Gazette: "A woman and her husband were nabbed in Alexandria for excavating inside their house allegedly in search for a treasure, said a local newspaper.Detectives found out that the couple had recruited the service of labourers for the excavation suggested by a quack, who fooled them into believing that there was a treasure inside their house, added Al Messa.The unidentified quack also told them to recite the "Jinn" chapter of the Holy Qur'an and burn incense purportedly to help the jinns to reveal the treasure. Their act struck terror into neighbours, added the paper". There are no more details about this peculiar story on the web page.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Journal of Egyptian Archeaology Volume 90
The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Volume 90, 2004 and the Reviews Supplement landed with a satisfying clunk on my wooden floor this morning. I wasn't actually expecting it because I was told by the EES that it was somewhat behind schedule, and there were no updates on the website. However, here it is, better late than never. Contents are as follows (I couldn't find a listing on the EES website):

Main Features
  • Fieldwork 2003-2004 (Sais, Memphis, Tell el Amarna, Tell el Amarna Glass Project, Qasr Ibrm) by various authors
  • Egyptian Pottery Distribution in A-Group Cemeteries, Lower Nubia: Towards an understanding of exchange systems between the Naqada culture and the A-Group culture by Izumi H. Takamiya
  • On Pyramid Causeways by Colin Reader
  • Three Recently Excavated Funerary Stelae from the Eighth Dynasty Tomb of Shemai at Kom el-Momanien, Qift by Gregory P. Gilbert
  • The Discourse of the Fowler: Papyrus Butler Verso by R.B. Parkinson
  • Question and Answer in Middle Kingdom Dialogues by Martin Worthington
  • The Three-Dimensional Form of the Amarna House by Kate Spence
  • A Day in the Life of the Ancient Egyptian Goatherd Ityaa: Abnormal Hieratic P.Michaelides 1 and 2 by Koenraad Donker van Heel
  • Qasr Ibrm 1974 - The Coins by W.H.C. Frend
  • Nina M. Davies - A Biographical Sketch by Nigel Strudwick

Brief Communications

  • An Early Dynastic Serekh from the Kharga Oasis by Salima Ikram and Corinna Rossi
  • Hieratic Varia by Ben Haring
  • Some Ptolemaic Spielerei with Scribal Palettes by Marleen De Meyer
  • Gnomon Graffito at Meroe by Geroge M. Hollenback

Reviews and Reviews Supplement
Let me know if you want these listed - there are dozens of them and I will happily type them up if they are really wanted, but won't otherwise take the time.

Exhibition success
"Over the last three years the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) earned LE186,372,860 from 18 exhibits sent abroad. Within the framework of a new policy developed by the SCA for sending archaeological exhibitions abroad, Egypt earned a great deal of publicity value worldwide as well. These exhibitions consist of selected artifacts that are distinguished but not unique, after ensuring the best security and safety measures to protect such objects. The exhibits are designed to educate others about Ancient Egyptian history". See this fairly brief article for more information.

Egyptian-Italian project to develop Egyptian museum
"Culture Minister Farouk Hosni agreed to carry out an Egyptian Italian project for developing the premises and halls of the Egyptian Museum, Tahrir Square, Cairo. Meanwhile, the Supreme Council for Antiquities (SCA) Secretary- General Zahi Hawass said the project includes a comprehensive development to the show halls inside the museum as well as changing the system of lights and ventilation". This is the full item.

Ancient Egyptian Beauty Practice Revived
I've often been intrigued by some of the ways in which Ancient Egypt has influenced modern culture, in architecture, jewellery, computer games and the like, but this is somewhat off the beaten track of Egyptian influence - and not for the squeamish. According to this item, an increasing number of women in Japan are subjecting themselves to a new fad: "mimicking a treatment first developed thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt and sewing threads of pure gold into their cheeks. Golden strings laced into the face are said to have made Cleopatra look at the time of her death at age 39 as though she had the skin of a 15-year-old. And now Japanese women are flocking to get a glimmer in their mugs". The the article for more about this truly bizarre practice!

Award for Oxford's Pitt-Rivers & Natural History Museum,3604,1522009,00.html
Thanks to my mother, former Oxford resident and Guardian reader for sending me this item: "The Pitt Rivers and Natural History Museum in Oxford won the Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award the day before yesterday, in the first national museum competition judged entirely by children. This year, the second year of the competition, the adults gave way to children aged 8-16 who spent hours arguing the merits of the five shortlisted museums. They were seduced finally by the Oxford museums' backpacks, available to young visitors, which contain treasures such as real bones and shark's teeth".

Computer Game Review: Egypt 1156 B.C,533/
This is a detailed review of an "edutainment" computer game called Egypt 1156 B.C.: Tomb of the Pharaoh, posted yesterday on the Adventur Gamers website: "In this game, the head of the Madji (think ancient Egyptian police force) asks you, Ramose, to help him find those responsible for a break-in of one of the Pharaoh's tombs. However, you have another reason besides being a perennial do-gooder to help. In fact, it appears that your father is the prime suspect, and you have just three days, before a major religious festival starts, to prove your father's innocence. What follows is pretty straightforward stuff. You need to find the burglar and bring him to justice". See the full review for details of the pros and cons of the game.

Karnak Open Air Museum feature
The Tour Egypt homepage has been updated today with an item about the Karnak Open Air Museum, by Luxor resident Jane Akshar. The feature is accompanied by some good photographs.

Hieroglyph Fonts

I've updated my Egyptology Portal site with Hieroglyph fonts which are available for download - some free, some commerical, as well as some Hieroglph applications that may be of interest. As usual, I am looking for any links to other information that may be of interest so please let me know if you use or own any other downloadable fonts or applications that may be relevant.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London Bomb Blasts

All my thoughts today are with those who were hurt in the London bombings this morning, and with those who lost friends and family.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Egyptian-Italian lab for restoring and conserving papyrus
"Egyptian and Italian conservationists and curators on Tuesday inaugurated a laboratory for restoring and preserving papyrus located at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. 'The project aims to preserve the papyri for the long-term, not just to restore them to be looked at now,' said Corrado Basile of the International Papyrus Institute in Syracuse, Italy. Basile's institute is partnering with Egypt in the project". See the article for more details about the partnership and the lab.

More about the mummy Pesed

"Pesed is bouncing in the back of a Dodge Ram Van, much to the dismay of the young woman watching over her. The driver is lost, and they're a little late for Pesed's CT scan appointment. The concern about Pesed has nothing to do with her comfort and everything to do with the fact that she is a 2,300-year-old Egyptian mummy". A colourful article about the mummy Pesed, which provides a few more details about what is already known about Pesed. See the web page for more.

Design company behind Tutankhamun exhibition
A feature about the design company responsible for the design of the LACMA Tutankhamun experience: "The exhibition's inventive design, contextual organization and relative didactic information provides a journey through 11 galleries, each with its own unique atmosphere. Through design and a thoughtful display of artifacts, viewers become immersed in the world of King Tut. For the King Tut exhibition, McMillan Group has woven a finely-tuned story and developed its design based on knowledge and concepts of the show's curator David Silverman, and interpreted those concepts into interior architecture, interior design, display case design, graphic and signage design, lighting design and all media concepts". See the article for more.

Tutankhamun Exhibition - Pre-December Rush,0,991592.story?coll=sfla-news-palm
"When the King Tutankhamun exhibit arrives in South Florida on Dec. 15, it is expected to lure more than 400,000 visitors to Fort Lauderdale's Museum of Art . . . . as of the Fourth of July weekend, the museum counted 6,500 members, a 30 percent increase since the Tut exhibit opened at its first U.S. venue, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, on June 16". See the article for more.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Museum of Prehistory to be built at Qena
Of all the articles about Egyptology and the heritage that I found on the Egypt Today website, I somehow managed to miss one very close to my heart - an update about the planned Egyptian Museum of Prehistory to be built at Qena. So, thanks to Jo Adams for pointing it out to me: "Work is underway to build the first Egyptian museum of pre-historic eras. Located on Qena’s Nile Corniche, close to the railway bridge, the museum will cover an important and overlooked era in history; the 10,000 years preceding and leading to the formation of the first and second dynasties. The pieces set apart to go to the museum number over 3,000. Dr. Mahmoud Mabrouk, the sculptor and brains behind the idea, believes the museum will draw a lot of tourism to the city of Qena, because it is imperative for serious fans of Egyptian culture to understand the stages that have pre-empted the formation of Egyptian civilization." This is the full item.

Bahariya News Blog
The Tour Egypt website has launched another blog - this one about the Western Desert oasis Bahariya. It is written by Peter Wirth who owns the International Hot Spring Hotel in Bahariya. News is not merely heritage-related, but is focusing on all news about the oasis and its neighbours.

San Diego's Mummy Exhibits
A short description of the permanent exhibits at San Diego's Museum of Man, to tie in with the arrival of the Tutankhamun exhibition in September. See the item for more.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Agreement for Protection of Cultural Heritage
"The Culture, Media and Tourism Committee of the Shura Council approved yesterday a republican decree regarding the agreement of protecting cultural heritage which was ratified by UNESCO in 17 October 2003. The agreement aimed at protecting and respecting the cultural heritage of individuals and groups on the local, patriotic and international Levels. The agreement clarified the commitments of the countries to protect the cultural heritage. The committee agreed to the republican decree on the second protocol of the Hague Agreement." This is the complete item from the State Information Service.

Luxor Airport Upgraded
President Mubarak opened the expansion and upgrade work at Luxor International Airport with a speech to the Supreme Tourism Council. The upgrade to Luxor airport "includes six arrival and departure halls, one VIP lounge, administrative buildings and passport control facilities.The LE450 million terminal, built on an area of 50,000 square metres, can cater for 4,000 passengers per hour. The building of this terminal is part of government plans to upgrade the nation’s airports, notably in tourist destinations -- Luxor, Aswan, Sharm el-Sheikh, and Hurghada". See the article for more.

Alexandria Library Exhibition
"An exhibition on the Ancient Library of Egypt together with its modern equivalent has opened at the City Art Centre. The exhibition, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, runs until September 11 and looks at the ancient library at Alexandria, which housed an acclaimed collection of several hundred thousand scrolls. It also features details of Egypt's new Bibliotheca Alexandrina library, which is dedicated to recapturing the original building's spirit". This is the full feature from The Scotsman website. The item assumes local knowledge - the City Art Centre is in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Posting Update

See the previous six or seven items, posted in the last few minutes late on Saturday night UK time. However, I am delivering a talk on early Egyptian agriculture on Sunday at an Egyptology open-day, and am going to stay to listen to the other speakers for the full day. I won't be back until late, so I won't be updating the blog on Sunday 3rd July. I've posted some late items from Saturday, but my next posting will now be on Monday. Apologies for any inconvenience

Kind regards


What will happen to revenues from Tutankhamun?
A fascinating article from the Cairo Magazine about how much money is being generated by the Tutankhamun touring exhibtion, and what might happen to the money when the tour is completed. "Egypt, then, stands to gain about $9 million per US city (a total of $36 million), and as soon as the tour finishes in the States it is due to hit Europe, with stops in London and Paris, then continue on to Japan. So what will happen to the cash? This depends on which press statement you read. A number of factions have already made claims on the cash, but what features predominantly in the news is the assertion that the tour will help conserve Egypt’s heritage. No specifics are given, of course, but it seems more like wishful thinking from the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) than an actual promise of support by the government. In fact, in the last few days the Tut money has also been claimed by the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) project, a highly ambitious plan to build the world’s largest museum by the pyramids at Giza. However, a cautionary tale is in order here. In Egypt, as in most countries, the treasury controls the purse strings and government departments are allocated grants on a yearly basis, often according to political decisions rather than need. The SCA is not even a ministry, so it is highly unlikely that it will get its hands on the kind of money Tut is generating". See the article for more details.

Ancient Egypt Magazine - August/September Issue
A cover-image and some of the Contents of the next issue of Ancient Egypt Magazine are shown on the magazine's website, above, and are as follows:
Meryetamun at Akhmim
AE’s Egypt Correspondent, Ayman Wahby Taher, tells readers about a remarkable colossal statue, which has been found in a site infrequently visited by tourists.
The Oriental Museum in Durham
Karen Exell reviews this interesting ancient Egyptian collection for AE readers.
Rameses III and his Battles
Nicholas Wernick provides a useful summary for readers of the military campaigns of this great New Kingdom pharaoh.
Dressing Nefertiti
Have you ever wondered how the elaborate costumes used in historical dramas are created? Janet Johnstone, who has designed ancient Egyptian costumes for both TV and the cinema, tells the inside story for our readers.

New Hawass Tutankhamun book for young readers
This review by the Washington Post of Zahi Hawass's book Tutankhamun: The Mystery of the Boy King gives it the thumbs-up: "For aspiring young archaeologists, this will be, hands down, the picture book of the season. The text is written by no less an authority than the director of excavations at the Giza Pyramids and head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, but it's accessible . . . and imaginatively organized." See the article for more (the review is the first of a number of reviews of books for young readers on a number of subject matters, on this page).

One man’s crusade to save Pharaonic heritage
A contemporary and colleague of John Gardner Wilkinson, Prisse d'Avennes was a remarkable man: "d’Avennes had a mission. He wanted to save the stones of Karnak from being used to build the Pasha’s saltpeter factory. His determination provoked several violent incidents. He was beaten, stabbed and jailed, but still would not give up. One of his young assistants, George Lloyd de Beynestyn, having been assailed by a fellah, used the butt of his gun in self-defense, but accidentally shot himself instead." See this article for more - it is a great story about an early attempt to conserve the archaeology of Egypt.

Egyptology and Heritage Items from Egypt Today

The following are extracts from July's edition of Egypt Today, which were scattered throughout the online publication.
SCA Law 117
"The Supreme Council for Antiquities is preparing a new antiquities law to replace the current one, Law 117 for the year 1983. According to Zahi Hawass, the SCA’s high-profile secretary-general, the old law is no longer suitable because the penalties it imposes for the crimes of antiquity trafficking are not strong enough. The law will be presented to the People’s Assembly when it reconvenes for its next legislative season after the anticipated fall parliamentary and presidential elections".

Sarabit El-Khadem
"Sarabit El-Khadem, the only ancient Egyptian temple in Sinai, is scheduled to appear on tourist itineraries in the coming months. The temple, southeast of Abu Zneima city in South Sinai, was recently restored at a cost of LE 10 million. Built in homage to Hat-Hor (the lady of Turquoise) in the 12th dynasty, the temple juxtaposes a number of turquoise mining caves that were used in ancient times".

Tourism and Antiquities Price Rises
"25 the percentage by which admission fees for tourism and antiquities sites will be raised, according to Elhamy El-Zayat, head of the Egyptian Federation of Tourism Chambers. The extra cash will be used to restore and preserve the sites".

Ramesses II Statue Move
"Egypt Today article about Cairo heritage projects. A summary of the latest news on the Ramesses II statue and the Baron's Palace in Heliopolis."

Egyptian Museum Officials referred for Negligence
"17 the number of officials at the Egyptian Museum referred to the Higher Disciplinary Court for negligence after 38 antiquities disappeared from the museum".

Festivals in a Year
"282 the total number of feasts Ancient Egyptians celebrated each year, according to a report released last month by an independent group of Egyptologists".
"A Polish expedition working in Alexandria has discovered 13 lecture halls that are believed to be part of the old Bibliotheca Alexandrina, built by the Romans 2,300 years ago. The expedition was also able to distinguish special seats for lecturing professors. The Roman amphitheater in Alexandria, which has now been annexed by the new Alex Opera, is thought to be another of the Bibliothecas lecture halls".

Shala (Siwa) recorded by UNESCO
"Shala, the picturesque mud city of Siwa, has been added to the World Heritage Antiquities recorded by the UNESCO".

Heritage protocols between Egypt and Qatar see return of Akhenaton Items
"Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni came under heavy attack last month at the Peoples Assembly when Dr. Zakaria Azmy questioned the usefulness of an antiquities protocol between Egypt and Qatar, since most Gulf countries look on monuments as heathen statues that must be pulled down. The minister replied that Sheikh Saud Bin Mohamed bin Ali Al Thani the director of the National Culture, Heritage and Arts Council of Qatar, had always been interested in Egyptian antiquities, so much so that he has agreed to give back 80 pieces from the Akhnaton era. Dr. Zahi Hawass came by the pieces during his visit to Qatar last December, and it was then that Sheikh Saud promised to give them as a present to Egypt. The goods will be exhibited in the Tel el-Amarna museum, expected to be completed in two years time. The pieces have yet to arrive"

Ahmed Nawwar exhibition revisits Faiyum Portraits
"Last month, Nawwar exhibited works that seem to be the result of thousands of years of artistic experience. In his exhibition, Soul of Civilisation, held at the Zamalek Gallery, Nawwar brings the Fayoum Portraits into the modern art era, yet again". See the article for more about how Dr Ahmed Nawwar has incorporated the Faiyum Portraits into his modern art.

Theban Mapping Project Newsletter

The Theban Mapping Project sent out their latest newsletter yesterday 2nd July (to subscribe to their newsletter go to the above link). I can forward a copy of the message to anyone who wants it. The edited highlights from the newsletter are as follows:
  • Primary goal has been to produce a site management plan for the Valley of the Kings to ensure its projection against increased number of tourists, including temperature, humidity and dust management schemes
  • Plans for new visitor facilities are listed
  • Digital photography has been taking place to provide a record of the condition of the tombs, in tandem wity detailed conservation surveys of all surfaces. This will soon be available on the TMP website
  • Update on KV5 excavations including some of the wall paintings, and the newsletter contains the very latest site plan for KV5
  • Announcement of Kent Week's latest book "The Treasures of Luxor and the Valley of the Kings" is now available in Italian
  • A revised second edition of Week's book "KV5: A Preliminary Report" will soon be available.

Aphrodisiac Lettuce
Giorgio Samorini has suggested that the lettuce depicted so frequently in ancient Egyptian depcitions is the wild lettuce Lactuca serriola. Lettuce in Ancient Egypt was part of the dietary intake and frequently shown among the offerings for the deceased. It was also considered to be an aphrodisiac. "The ancient Egyptians used lettuce as an aphrodisiac, according to an Italian researcher who claims to have solved a century-old archaeological puzzle . . . . The plant has oblong, prickly-edged, leaves with a milky sap that runs when broken off . . . . Samorini tested the phytochemicals present in the latex, or lactucarium, with a series of experiments, and discovered that lettuce has a double, opposite effect, depending on the dose. 'Tests showed that 1 gram of lactucarius induces calming and pain killing effects because of the presence of lactucin and lactucopicrin. At the highest doses [2 to 3 grams], the stimulating effects of tropane alkaloids prevail,' says Samorini. This finally solves an ethnobotanical riddle and explains the association between Min and lettuce." See the article for more.

Grand Egyptian Museum
A very good summary of the planned Grand Egyptian Museum, its design, purpose and key attractions: "The museum master plan, unveiled on 22 June, is impressive. An enormous main courtyard extends toward the Pyramids like five fingers, each facilitating alternate tours through the 24-square-kilometer permanent exhibition space. The winning Henegan Ping design team looked to monuments and archaeological sites throughout Egypt for inspiration. . . . Computer animated simulations (illustrating scenes like Carter’s first glimpse of Tutankhamun’s tomb), a children’s learning center and special-needs access make the museum sound futuristic compared to the century-old Egyptian Museum in Midan Tahrir. But according to officials, preserving Egypt’s heritage for future generations is a top priority. . . . Since the museum is located at a crossroads of desert plateau and habitable fertile land, agricultural themes have been integrated into the overall plan. . . . The museum will link to the Pyramids via a tree-lined esplanade, through which tourists will be able to walk, take a shuttle bus or perhaps even negotiate a camel ride". See the article for more details, although there are no photos or plans.

Description of a Package Tour to Egypt
In this article in the travel section of UK broadsheet The Telegraph, the writer compares and contrasts her most recent visit to Egypt on a package tour with expert guides, to a self-planned and organized holiday taken 14 years earlier. It is a very good insight into the benefits of both approaches. See the article for the full run-down.

SCA restores 3000 artefacts in 3 years
"The activities of the executive committee for setting up the Nubia Museum in Asswan and the Civilization Museum in Fustat (Old Cairo) started yesterday at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Meantime, the Supreme Council for Antiquities (SCA) Secretary- General Zahi Hawas said that Egypt exerts tremendous efforts for restoring the smuggled antiques from abroad, noting that three thousand artifacts were restored during the past three years. Moreover, Egypt demanded restoring Rosetta stone that is on show in the British Museum and Nefertiti bust that is on show in Berlin Museum and the Zodiac in Louvre". This is the complete SIS article.

Pharonic gold mine areas yield new possibilities
The Minister of Oil, Sameh Fahmi has announced that three gold mines have been discovered in al-Ela1qi Valley, South of Eastern desert. "An Australian company discovered the three sites and said that the concentration of gold is very high and would almost certainly have an impact upon international markets . . . . It is also notable that this valley was a permanent gold source some 4000 years ago for the pharaohs of ancient Egypt".