Friday, September 30, 2005

KMT - Fall 2005
The newest edition of KMT is being promoted on the KMT website (Volume 16, Number 3, Fall 2005). Features include (copied from the website above):
  • HATSHEPSUT: FROM QUEEN TO PHARAOH by Dennis Forbes: An Unprecedented Presentation of theFemale King & Her Times is theInaugural Exhibition at San Francisco's New M.H. de Young Museum
  • MAATKARE HATSHEPSUT by Dennis Forbes: History's First Great Woman Profiled
  • THE ART OF MEDICINE IN ANCIENT EGYPT byJames P. Allen: A New Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museumof Objects from the MMA Collection
  • "ANCIENT EGYPTIAN ARTFOR THE AFTERLIFE" by Peter Lacovara: Selections from an American Private CollectionExhibited at the Mint Museum,Charlotte, North Carolina
  • THE PETRIE MUSEUM by Sally Macdonald: A World-Class Collection at Risk
  • VIRTUAL PYRAMIDS - REAL RESEARCH by Peter Der Manuelian: The Giza Archives Project Goes Live Online

See the KMT website (at the above URL) for more information.

How Do You Take Your Tut?
An article taking an uncompromsing look at the recent discussions about whether the Ancient Eygptians were black or white. Written by Jim Jordan, and entitled How Do You Take Your Tut, Black or with Cream and Sugar? this is an articulate piece, but it is not going to please everyone: "King Tut's coming to Fort Lauderdale's Museum of Art in December, and he won't be alone. There is a coterie of 'African scholars' and black activists who will be protesting the appearance of the boy king. You see the ex-Pharaoh's portrait doesn't look enough like Kanye West. King Tut appears in a medium skin tone as scientists chose the most common skin color in Eqypt today. According to the so-called scholars Tut was black".

Final Decisions of 29th Session of World Heritage Committee
"The Decisions adopted at the 29th session of the World Heritage Committee, held in Durban, South Africa from 10 to 17 July 2005, are now available online at the following address" (PDF format):
This is a 224 page document. To see which sites in Egypt are discussed, go to page 215.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Egyptian-Italian project to list Fayoum monuments on world map
"Minister of Culture Farouq Hosni approved an LE 3 million Egyptian-Italian project to renovate and develop archaeological sites in the area of Kom Mady in Fayoum. Dr. Zahi Hawwas, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities said that more excavations would be carried out at the old temple area that used to be designated for ancient Egyptian worshippers of harvest Gods. Sands covering the cemetery adjacent to the temple would be removed and the site would be renovated, he added. He said that the project would be completed within 12 month period, pointing out it aims at providing facilities required to list the area on the local and international tourist maps".
This is the complete bulletin on the Egyptian State Information Service

Greco-Roman museum in Alexandria, Egypt, closed for restoration
"The Greco-Roman museum in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria has been closed and will remain so for two years to allow restoration work to proceed, the Supreme Council of Antiquities said Wednesday. Culture Minister Farouk Hosni said the work will include restoration of the museum building and its library. The museum's showcases will be improved to ensure better display of the artifacts, he said in a statement faxed to news organizations. The Greco-Roman museum houses a large number of Egypt's antiquities from the period roughly falling between 300 BC and the Arab conquest in the 7th century. It was built in 1895 and has been renovated several times. Its building was last restored about 20 years ago".
This is the complete news item on the website.

Nesperennub at Houston Museum
It is nice to see that Nesperennub can still generate a few lines in the media. Mummy: the Inside Story opened at Houston Museum of Natural Science yesterday: "In the 3-D film Gathering Data From Mummies, the viewer flies through Nesperennub's digitally reconstructed spinal column, for example. Visitors will also view Nesperennub's inner sarcophagus, which contains his undisturbed mummy; the outer sarcophagus; and a photographic representation of the wrapped mummy with authentic amulet artifacts placed as they were on the body. Other galleries will feature a variety of Egyptian artifacts, including the 4-foot Head of Amenhotep III that was originally a part of a 26-foot statue outside a temple in Thebes". See the Houston Chronicle article above for the full story.
Location, times, ticket information and relevant lectures are also listed on this page.

Ancient Egypt Magazine - October/November Issue

Thanks again to Bob Partridge for the contents listing of the new edition of Ancient Egypt Magazine, which will be out in the second week of October:
  • “A Victorian View of Egypt”: John Hannavy examines some stunning early photographs taken in Egypt and the attitudes of the Victorian travellers to Egypt.
  • “The Temple of Gerf Hussein”: Martin Davies looks at the remains of this temple recently re-erected near the temple of Kalabsha. He was one of the last visitors to visit and photograph Gerf Hussein in its original site before most of it was lost beneath the waters of Lake Nasser.
  • “A statue of Rameses II at The Ramesseum and the British Museum”. Guy de la Bedoyere uses the marvels of digital images to re-unite the two parts of a famous statue of Rameses II.
  • “Tales of the Crypts”: Cathie Bryan visits two fascinating cemeteries in London to find the Egyptian influence on the funerary monuments.
    “The Identity of the King and the Sun God”. Chris O’Kane looks to the night sky for answers to questions about links between the stars and planets and the kings and gods of ancient Egypt.
  • “A Royal mummy returns… but is he Rameses I?”. Dylan Bickerstaffe analyses the evidence and the possible identity of this well-publicised mummy, recently returned to Egypt.
  • “You can look but don’t touch”: Guidance on what to do and what not to do when visiting the antiquities in Egypt.
    Per Mesut: for younger readers, looks at Ushabtis.

Plus the usual:

  • News from the world of Egyptology, “From our Egypt Correspondent” Ayman Wahby Taher
  • News from the Friends of the Petrie Museum.
  • And more

Book reviews:

  • “Islamic Monuments in Cairo: The Practical Guide”, by Caroline Williams
  • “Egypt, from Alexander to the Copts” edited by Roger Bagnall and Dominic Rathbone
  • “The Mechanical Triumphs of the Ancient Egyptians” by Commander F.M. Barber
  • “Mummies: Death and the Afterlife in ancient Egypt- Treasures from the British” Museum, published by the Bowers Museum.
  • “Excavating Egypt: great discoveries from the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, University College London”.
  • Plus list of other recently published books.

Coming up in future editions

  • A special DVD with views of Egypt.
  • News of a unique calendar for 2006
  • A planned special readers trip to Egypt in 2006 with the magazine Editors
  • A subscriber’s competition in every issue, with the chance to win a book.
  • Articles on:
    Sphinxes in ancient Egypt.
    The temple of Ptah at Karnak
    Ancient Egyptian Medicine
    Mummies at the movies
    Coloured stones and wonderful statues: a look at the range of stones used by the ancient Egyptians
    A profile of King Neferhotep I
    Vivant Denon and a cache of mummies
    Ancient Egyptian Shields

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Senior antiquities inspector suspended
"Aswan Governor General Samir Youssef has ordered the investigation of a senior antiquities inspector responsible for the Pharaonic noblemen's graves on the west bank of the Nile. In the meantime, the inspector has been demoted to a humble administrative post as a punishment for neglecting his duties. The Governor is having the performance of all the archaeologists, inspectors and security guards working in Aswan in this sector reviewed, in preparation for the new tourist season.
In related news, General Youssef has also allotted an area of land near the river in Aswan to be used for camel rides and as a car park for taxis. He has also given instructions for the creation of a new guidebook for Aswan, as well as repairing roads, paths and walkways to benefit visitors and constructing a new jetty for tourist boats to berth".
This is the full Egyptian Gazette news item.

Egypt Centre to have virtual tomb

"A virtual reality pharaoh's tomb is being developed in Swansea so school children can journey to ancient Egypt. Pupils visiting the Egypt Centre at the city's university will test what they learn in a 3D interactive setting. Youngsters aged eight and upwards will be asked to solve a series of tasks as they explore the virtual tomb".
Swansea is in south Wales (UK). See the article for more about the 3D software development and user interface.

Photography at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo

Following on from my earlier posting about the partial ban on photography in the Louvre, my sincere thanks to Bob Partridge, Editor of Ancient Egypt Magazine (, for permission to publish the following on this weblog.
"Ancient Eypt Magazine has reported the recent ban on photography in the Egyptian museum in Cairo (and also in other museums in Egypt). This ban has greatly disappointed many AE readers, your editor included, and during a recent visit to Cairo, I was able to meet the Director of the museum, Dr Wafa El Sadidik, and I asked her directly why the ban had been imposed.

Dr Wafa explained that the Egyptian Museum has become incredibly busy over the last few years, more so than ever before. In addition to the visitors traveling the Nile valley, the Museum now has coaches coming in for the day from the Red Sea resorts as well as from Alexandria, where day trips are arranged for the many cruise ships which dock there.The rules for photography had always been very clear, but with the vastly increased numbers of tourists, who seem determined to photograph themselves in every location they visit, it became a problem. In the Museum, they began taking photos in contravention of the restrictions, and controlling this became impossible.

Many digital cameras are small and mobile phones can also be used to take photos. What made things worse was the desire of many visitors to be photographed next to the major objects in the museum. AE readers will know that some of the corridors in the museum and gaps between the cases are narrow. A group of thirty people, determined to be photographed with the Khafra statue, or especially with Tutankhamun’s gold mask, completely ground the flow of visitors through the museum to a halt and made viewing the objects for others difficult, if not impossible. In addition, many people taking photos could not, or would not, turn off their flashes. Some were even climbing onto or leaning against statues and, to make matters worse, were often less than polite to museum staff when asked to stop.

So the difficult decision to ban all photography was taken. Having seen the problem at first hand myself on a visit last year, I can see how serious the problem was and how there could be a real danger of damage to the objects. I now appreciate why there was really no alternative. With the ban in place, the flow of visitors improved dramatically and the squash of people in confined places around fragile glass display cabinets was reduced dramatically.

I then asked the Director if it was possible for people to take photos by arrangement with the museum. The answer is that for students or for anyone undertaking a programme of study or research, then applications to take photos in the museum will be viewed favourably. This permission, at the moment at least, needs to be obtained in advance and in writing. The definition of “student” does not necessarily mean study at a University, but clearly the museum will need to know the area of interest and the reasons why photos are needed.In the future, things may change. Perhaps with the opening of the new Museum at Giza in a few years’ time, the rules on photography in the old museum will be relaxed, as it will attract only the more serious visitor.

AE readers need to know that decisions such as the ban are not made lightly and the ultimate concern has to be the safety of the objects. "
Similar problems at the Louvre (notably around the "Mona Lisa") have caused, what appears to be a partial ban there, but not in the Egyptian galleries.
Keeping the enthusiasts happy and the "ordinary" tourists with cameras under never easy"

The Magic of Tutankhamun
An introduction to magic in the age of the Pharaohs, followed by a discussion of the specific instances in the tomb of Tutankhamun: "The ancients viewed magic – the invisible force that alters visible reality – as an integral and potentially active function in every sentient being. This function, called Heka, was the first quality emanated by the Sun-god Ra when he ordained that he would create the universe. At that moment, Heka came into being, as both an extension of Ra and as a separate entity. From this event the creation proceeded, and thus everything that followed possessed a degree of Heka. In an Old Kingdom (BCE 2700-2180) royal text, this power was cited as an endowment to the human race",
See the full article for more.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Tutankhamun Sculpture at Stony Brook
An article looking at the head of Tutankhamun which is to be displayed shortly at Stony Brook (U.S.). The article provides a more detailed description of the sculpture than I have seen elsewhere, and details some of its history: "The yellow limestone head was previously owned by a renowned American collector, who purchased it prior to World War II. It remained in his private collection for well over sixty years, until his death. Remarkably, when this sculpture surfaced, it was completely overlooked. The small head, not mounted, lying on its side, went unnoticed. As Tutankhamun was portrayed in the guise of the moon god Khonsu, youngest member of a Theban triad, son of Amun and Mut, the highly esoteric form was one not so well known. This sculpture is an excellent example of the late Amarna style". The sculpture is also one of the few pieces to display the throne name of Tutankhamun. See the article on the South Bay News website for more.

Trading in our history
This piece on Al Ahram weekly's website by Mohammed el-Ezabi, highlighting the problems of antiquities theft, is reproduced in full due to the fact that it will not be archived on the Al Ahram website:
"One dreads that even the giant statue of Ramses II might soon disappear. The highly organised theft of Egyptian antiquities would seem to suggest that the thieves themselves have easy access to these unique artifacts and that it's just as easy for them to smuggle them abroad. By putting tremendous pressure on scientists, archaeologists, antiquities experts and museums abroad, our officials at the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) have managed to retrieve some of these items smuggled out of the country by gangsters who secretly trade in our history. Sometimes in the past we have threatened them with the curse of the Pharaohs and it's actually worked - some of these thieves have returned the artifacts they've stolen after suffering mysterious accidents. However, there seems to be no end to the corruption in the antiquities sector. The thefts are never ending and in fact they're on the increase. In a recent operation, thieves stole three ancient artifacts from the basement of the Egyptian Museum in el-Tahrir Square. The three antiquities came from Giza and were supposed to be exhibited to celebrate World Heritage Day four months ago. Each of the pieces weighs more than 15kg. So how were they stolen so easily? Strangely, some officials have tried to play down the whole issue, describing the missing articles as two limestone statues of no great value and a wooden box without a lid.Another official claims that the three antiquities have not been stolen, but they've merely been mislaid in the labyrinthine rooms of the basement of the museum, like so many other unregistered items that have accumulated there over the years!"

Ancient Egypt in Wakefield exhibition
A short article about an exhibition in Wakefield (UK): "An extremely rare Anubis mask depicting the jackal-headed god of mummification is one of the stars of an incredible new Egyptian exhibition at Wakefield Museum. Many of the 200 objects on display are believed to have originated from ancient tombs and give a fascinating insight into ancient Egypt. The exhibition, on loan from Harrogate Museums and Arts, explores ancient Egyptian rituals, beliefs and daily life".

EEF News Digest
The weekly online edition of the EEF News Digest, featuring world-wide lectures, symposiums, exhibitions, online digital books and papers, and more.

Monday, September 26, 2005

L'archéologie explique l'essor de l'Egypte

Thanks to the EEF newsletter for pointing out this interview (in French) with Beatrix Midant-Reynes, which I missed. Midant-Reynes is a prominent Predynastic specialist, director of the Adaima excavation, and one of the principal organizers of the Origines (predynastic) conference in Toulouse: "Béatrix Midant-Reynes vient de présider un colloque international sur l'Egypte prédynastique. Elle pose pour nous les enjeux scientifiques de sa discipline". See the above page for the full interview.

I sometimes do miss items not written in English, due to the way in which I conduct searches, so if you see any relevant items that I have missed, and that are written in a widely spoken language, please let me know of the URL so that I can post it on the blog.

What A Life
A short but rather nice interview with Lindenhurst resident Joanne Salvador, who helped to coordinate an exhibit on ancient Egypt for the Museum of Long Island Natural Science in Stony Brook, and was mentioned earlier in this blog regarding her purchase of a sculpted head of Tutankhamun. See the Newsday website, above, for the full item.

More on the Getty Museum ownership disputes
A news item on the LA Times website about the ongoing investigations into the acquisition of Italian artworks by the Getty Museum. "Attorneys for the J. Paul Getty Museum have determined that half the masterpieces in its antiquities collection were purchased from dealers now under investigation for allegedly selling artifacts looted from ruins in Italy". Although there is no mention of the Egyptian attempts to recover items from the museum, there are outstanding queries between the SCA and the Getty Museum about some of the Egyptian items in their collection. For the previous posting on this subject, which goes into details about the Egyptian claims, see the following URL:

My love of pyramids and mummies
A piece by Zahi Hawass in the Egyptian Gazette, talking about his archaeological interests. This has been copied in full, because it will be replaced with a new article tomorrow and will not be archived: "The Valley of the Golden Mummies is the most exciting and spectacular discovery since the tomb of Tutankhamun and it has captured the imagination of people all over the world. We have spent five excavation seasons at the Bahariya Oasis and have unearthed more than 253 golden mummies. They date from the Greco-Roman periods (332 B.C. - A.D. 395). In addition, we have discovered several tombs from a powerful and wealthy family of Djedkhonsu-efankh, the governor of Bahariya during the 26th Dynasty (644-525 B.C.).
For decades people have been fascinated with mummies, perhaps because they seem to be connected with a world beyond our own. They have terrified us in movies, and provoked terrible curses. Mummies are indeed filled with magic and mystery because they teach us valuable scientific information about our past and help answer many historical questions. Questions such as: What was their daily life like? What were their religious practices? As a scholar I can say that many of these questions and many others will be answered.
Many people think that all Egyptologists work with mummies and discover tombs every day but this is not the case. I never imagined that I would be known as a "mummy hunter" or that I would work with mummies. Before the discoveries at the Bahariya Oasis, the study of mummies had not been my field of interest. The Pyramids had always been my passion. For more than twenty years I have worked around the Pyramids and have made many significant discoveries. One of the most important has been the tombs of the Pyramid builders. This discovery proved that the Pyramids were built by Egyptians not slaves, aliens, or people from a lost civilisation. I had always thought that the Pyramids were my only love, but now I have found another: the mummies. I travel all over the world giving lectures and interviews, and each time I travel people stop and ask me about the Valley of the Golden Mummies. But how did I find my true love of Archaeology?"

Cultural cooperation between Egypt and Hong Kong
"Minister of Culture Farouq Hosni meets at his office Sunday with Hong Kong Culture Minister who arrived in Cairo Saturday leading a high-level cultural delegation on a week-long visit to Egypt. The meeting will be attended by Sherif el Shoubashi, Undersecretary of the Culture Ministry for foreign relations. They will discuss cultural and artistic cooperation between the two sides and sign a protocol for cultural exchange".
This is the full State Information Service bulletin.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Image of Tut Stirs Debate,0,5185973.story?coll=orl-home-headlines
Another article presenting criticism of the Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibition, for depicting Tutankhamum as caucasian: "Computer-generated portraits of Tutankhamun in an exhibit coming to Fort Lauderdale's Museum of Art in December have sparked criticism and protests by black activists who say they depict the boy king as white. Researchers hired by the National Geographic Society, one of the exhibit's sponsors, say current forensic data and recent CT scans of his mummy were used to create the images. African scholars and black activists dispute the portrayal and predict protests when the show moves here like those that have occurred in Los Angeles".

Passage through antiquity

A four-page description of a cruise down the Nile, with evocative accounts of sights both modern and ancient, giving a sense of what it is like to see the archaeology in geographical order: "Because the riverboats follow the course of the Nile, the visitor must be prepared to bounce back and forth through the centuries, and indeed the millennia, as if transported by an off-kilter time machine. It is not feasible to tour the sites in chronological sequence, and it is therefore virtually impossible for the uninitiated to keep the gods, kings, and periods straight". Note: You can only read the first three pages before being invited to register to the Boston Globe website. I liked the article, and would have liked to have read the last page, but not enough to register to a site I'll probably never need to visit again.
19:07, 25th Setpember: Kat - thanks for sending me the last page! It was great to read the full thing. You're a star.

More on Cleopatra dressed as a man
In an article entitled "Was Cleopatra a Drag Queen" (!) this ABC news item covers the story, which has been raised a couple of times in this blog, about images of Cleopatra depicted in men's clothing. One academic quoted believes that the image was pre-carved for Cleopatra's brother and that the depiction was not changed when it became used for Cleopatra, whereas another believes that it was a deliberate attempt to show Cleopatra associated with attributes associated with Pharaohs (as with Hatshepsut). See the above URL for more.

Temple Mill
Discussions are being called for regarding the fulture of a former flax mill in Leeds (UK), the design of which was based on the Temple of Horus at Edfu, completed in 1840: "Councillors have called for more talks over multi-million pound plans to regenerate one of Leeds' most historic buildings as part of a scheme which could create 3,000 jobs. Developers want to renovate the Egyptian-style Temple Mill in Holbeck and convert it into a 'cultural retail' quarter which would include displays, exhibitions as well as shops".

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Louvre - Partial Photography Ban
There has been a lot of discussion recently about whether or not the Louvre are going to ban photography, so thanks to Thierry Benderitter from for pointing out the above news item (first URL in English, second in French).
The Egyptian galleries appear to be exempt from the ban at the moment, but it is worth keeping an eye on if you are planning a visit: "New rules have been put in place in order to ensure the comfort and tranquility of a visit to the Louvre. Specifically, photography and filming are now restricted in certain areas of the museum. "This regulation, proposed in 1999 with the intention of improving the museum-going experience, is now in effect. Starting on Wednesday, September 14, 2005, it is strictly forbidden to photograph or film in the most crowded areas of the museum, namely the Galerie d'Apollon and all of the first-floor rooms in the Denon wing (Italian, Spanish, and French paintings) . . . . The restriction affects only the most crowded areas of the museum, where blocked views are most frustrating to the visiting public".
There is also a link on the above pages a search engine with access to 3500 Louvre images which can be used for private use only: The page is in French, but it is fairly self-explanatory.
See the full item on the website.

News from the Petrie Museum

The Autumn 2005 edition (issue 31) of the Friends of the Petrie Museum Magazine appeared through my letterbox this morning, with its usual selection of museum and related news. Amongst the features included is a piece by Stephen Quirke about the return to the museum of a loan of 605 weights. The weights, in various fascinating shapes and sizes, were on loan to the National Museum of Science and Industry (UK) and date from the Naqada period through to the Byzantine and Islamic periods. 200 of them are now on display at the Petrie and they will all appear on the online database when they have been photographed.

Also featured is the Petrie's new web project:
The new website reunites dispersed objects from excavations by Petrie or his organization, the Brithish School of Archaeology in Egypt, and offers a number of resources including:

  • Searchable catalogues of Egyptian collections in five museums
  • Virtually reunited objects from major excavations
  • Educational activities
  • A reconstruction of a major archaeological site

Anyone interested in joining the Friends should contact the Petrie - either visit the website at or email

Discussing illicit trade in antiquities

The Antiquities Market column of the Journal of Field Archaeology published by Boston University will once again be a regular feature of the Journal: "For over 20 years (1974-1993) the "Antiquities Market" section of the Journal provided news and commentary on the illicit traffic in antiquities and on issues of cultural heritage relevant to field archaeologists from around the world. Much has happened in more recent years; military conflict, natural disaster, development, political or religious extremism, calculated looting, and the illicit sale of antiquities all combine to jeopardize the very existence of archaeology. What is clear from all the various efforts and questions is that globalization is bringing us all closer together, and that we need a more concentrated international initiative for how we document and preserve the archaeological record. Concrete proposals for such initiative are required. The restoration of the 'Antiquities Market' is intended to reopen dialogue on these pressing issues by discussing specific sites in jeopardy and instances of looting, highlighting current trends, and encouraging all those who value the past to work to protect cultural heritage".

More from Abzu

If you want to keep tabs on the latest news from the Abzu website, Chuck Jones has emailed to let visitors know that the ETANA team has developed an RSS feed for the What's New in Abzu pages. The XML source for the feed is: Those of you who already use RSS feeds can now add Abzu to your aggregator. Those of you who do not already use RSS feeds can find out more about it at: (among other places). The Abzu feed will alert you to new entries as well as to newly edited entries in the database.

Trivia: In search of a cosmic Rosetta Stone

Alright, let's face it, apart from the tenuous connection provided by the Rosetta analogy, this has nothing to do with Egyptology, but it has been a poor week for trivia, so this will have to do. And anyway, I liked it:
"The images are vivid, capturing the essence of exploration. Archaeologists digging up the remains of long lost civilizations. Anthropologists encountering exotic cultures with strange languages. But do archaeologists and anthropologists have anything to teach the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), where encounters are at the distance of light-years, and a round-trip exchange could take millennia? Absolutely! was the resounding response at a conference held last year of the American Anthropological Association. One of the best-attended sessions of that meeting consisted of papers from leading scholars who pondered the daunting challenges of reconstructing alien civilizations . . . . many of the same scientists had gathered at the SETI Institute for a symposium fittingly called In Search of a Cosmic Rosetta Stone, a reference to the slab of basalt that provided the key to decoding Egyptian hieroglyphs."
See the above URL at the website for more.

Blog Search Functionality

Apologies to anyone who has had trouble with the "search this blog" functionality, which stopped searching just this blog and searched all blogs instead. That was out of my control and appears to have been the result of a recent upgrade to the search facility. However, I've tried it today and it appears to be working normally again.


Friday, September 23, 2005

Farming threatens ancient Egyptian sites
"Egyptian reliefs dating back thousands of years could disappear within a decade, archaeologists said on Thursday. As Egypt's population grows, agricultural land moves closer to ancient temples and funeral monuments. Water for irrigation is weakening temple foundations and eroding the carvings". Nigel Hetherington, Conservation Manager for the Theban Mapping Project, is quoted highlighting problems of eroded carvings and undermined foundations due to the use of irrigation to extend farming into the desert regions occupied by some of Egypt's most important Pharaonic monuments. Zahi Hawass is also quoted, saying that he expects to present a new law to parliament in January, which will aim to "protect land around the ancient sites from farmers trying to take it without permission". See the article for the full CBC News story about this important subject.

This story is covered in some more detail at the following URL, where Nigel Hetherington contrasts the response to the slow erosion of monuments today to the reaction to the threat of flooding to Abu Simbel: " When the towering rock face statues of Abu Simbel in southern Egypt were under threat from flooding during the construction of the Aswan dam in 1960, an international rescue effort led by UNESCO relocated the statues block by block.But gradual erosion over a number of years is not dramatic enough to capture international attention, Hetherington said".

The Pleasure of Life in Ancient Egypt
"A leap into the daily life of Nefertiti and Ramses III will be offered by 'The Five Senses. The pleasure of life in Ancient Egypt," the cultural event sponsored by the National Archaeological Museum of Florence-the Egypt Section and the Aboca Musem in occasion of the "European Heritage Days," dedicated this year to the culture of living. Realised with the help of the cultural association 'Arte-mide', the event (free entry) will take place on Sunday September 25, in the Crocetta Palace, home of the Archaeology Museum. It will be a journey back in time to discover the Egyptian people through their everyday life: the attention placed on beauty and hygiene, food, music and dance".
This is the full news item on the AGI website.

Alexandria's Elegant Showcase
An interesting article that looks at the Alexandria museum, the fact that it has received only a fraction of the expected visitors, the role of museums today, and describes its contents and how they are displayed: "The Alexandria National Museum is, in a word, breathtaking. Here are displays on each of three floors of antiquities from different periods within the confines of an exquisite Italian-style building. Each floor in this three-storey structure is devoted to an epoch: Pharaonic on the ground floor; Graeco-Roman on the first; Coptic, Islamic and 20th century treasures on the second, and, a final surprise, down a narrow stairway to the basement is a replica tomb, with genuine funerary furniture: canopic jars, anthropoid sarcophagi containing mummies, ushabti figures and the deceased's private possessions are all part of this mise-en-scène that offers a snapshot of the ancient Egyptian world-view of burial and the afterlife".
This article is well worth reading.

Farouk Hosni - Profile
"Housed in a sedate 19th-century Zamalek villa, few things about the Ministry of Culture suggest the emotive nature of its principal occupant". Amongst his responsibilities are the SCA, the Cairo History Rehabilitation Project, the Nubia Museum in Aswan, the Alexandria National Museum and the construction are the Grand Museum of Egypt and the National Museum of Civilisation in Fustat.
See the article for the full story.

Expedition to trace Nile to its source

"A New Zealander leading a team of Britons through Africa says they want to make the first complete ascent of the Nile River. 'Our goal is to accurately measure the length of the Nile to its longest source,' New Zealander and team co-leader Cam McLeay said. 'There's been a lot of debate over the last several hundred years about the source of the Nile'. The five men and one woman started their journey today at Rosetta near the city of Alexandria on Egypt's Mediterranean coast, and are in Cairo on their way to Rwanda, where they believe the ultimate source of the Nile lies , the Egyptian Gazette newspaper reports. The paper quoted the British Embassy in Cairo as saying that the team has entered the Nile, stretching for 6695km, at its mouth to the sea and the journey up the river to its longest source in Rwanda is expected to complete by late December. The expedition is the first ever ascent of the world's longest river, the embassy said in a press release. The whole expedition will be tracked by satellites on the dedicated website The expedition will follow the Nile, the world's longest river, through Egypt, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and possibly Burundi". See the above URL for more.
The expedition's website is at:

Treasures under the modern houses
Zahi Hawass's Dig Days column, talking about his work at Giza, Saqqara and Bahariya: "I have spent most of my life excavating in the sand, revealing the secrets of the ancient Egyptians". See the article for the full story.

Pharaonic Art exhbition in Azerbaijan
"An exhibition Pharaoh Art in the Egyptian Culture opened on September 21 at the cultural center of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Azerbaijan".

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Kittermaster Mummy
An item in The Telegraph about the analysis of a mummy by Rosalie David's team at Manchester University, after it was rediscovered in an unusud cupboard "A pathologist, Dr Dick Kittermaster, had donated the mummy to Uplands Community College but, with changing staff and the passing of time, it had been forgotten and mislaid. In the summer of 2004, however, a box was found on the top shelf of an unused cupboard containing the disarticulated mummy wrapped in linen: a delicate hand with nails, a foot, two femurs and a pelvis, which, along with the head and tightly wrapped neck, constituted what is now referred to as the Kittermaster Mummy. A previous post-mortem had identified that the mummy was that of a young female from around 700BC, but little more was known. To build up a picture of this shadowy stranger we would need expert help".

More on Cleopatra dressed as a man (with photos)

"A relief image carved approximately 2,050 years ago on an ancient Egyptian stone slab shows Cleopatra dressed as a man, according to a recent analysis of the artifact. The object is only one of three known to exist that represent Cleopatra as a male. The other two artifacts also are stelae that date to around the same time, 51 B.C., at the beginning of Cleopatra's reign. Researchers theorize that the recently discovered 13.4 x 9.8-inch stela probably first was excavated in Tell Moqdam, an Egyptian city that the ancient Greeks called Leonton Polis, meaning 'City of the Lions'.
See the article for more information. Images are shown on the following URLs:

Italian Embassy symposium on tourism in Egypt
"Minister of Environment Maged George and Italy's Ambassador to Egypt Antonio Badini are to open on September 27 a symposium on promotion of tourism into Egypt under the rubrics of Other Egypt ...routes and new sites to develop tourism into Egypt. The symposium, to be held at Egyptian-Italian Center for Restoration and Antiquities, aims at exploring new avenues for cooperation between the embassy on one hand and the Egyptian authorities concerned and tour operators on the other to promote visits to sites not listed so far on the tourist map. A photo exhibition will be held on the sidelines of the symposium and samples of handicrafts will be displayed. The symposium will focus on aspects of Italian-Egyptian cooperation. The Italian embassy is involved in several projects in the governorate of Fayyoum, South Sinai, Siwa and parts of Upper Egypt. Those projects primarily aim at preserving the cultural and artistic heritage as well as at improving living conditions of the local communities".
This is the entire bulletin on the State Information Service website.

Forthcoming Hatshepsut Exhibition

The State Information Service has announced the upcoming Hatshepsut exhibition: "Queen Hatshepsut fair travels to US. A fair item titled Hatshepsut: from Queen to Pharaoh is due to travel to San Francisco by the middle of next month. 'This item is among five archaeological collections to be presented by Egypt in the fair held in the United States for one year,' said Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Antiquities. Several global museums will also take part in the fair displaying archaeological acquisitions dating back to Queen Hatshepsut's era."

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Hungarian Archaeological Expedition in Nubia

"A team of Hungarian archaeologists, headed by Egyptologist Gabor Lassanyi, will conduct excavations in Sudanese Nubia - an area on the river Nile conquered by ancient Egyptians . . . . Work will be conducted close to the Merowe Hamadab dam, a huge hydroelectricity project which will turn a 174-kilometre stretch of the Nile into a reservoir, causing the local population to relocate. The dam will generate electricity with a capacity of 1,250 megawatts, tripling the country's electricity generation capacity. The Nile valley has more than 2,000 archaeological sites and Hungary has in the past participated in expeditions, like the 1964 mission to Egypt to rescue an ancient palace threatened by the Aswan High Dam's construction. Under a bilateral agreement the findings will be shared and the objects will be exhibited in Budapest's Museum of Fine Arts".

CPAK 2005

I am always wary of including anything associated with "alternative" history, but as the following includes Graham Hancock and Robert Schoch, the subjects of the pyramids and the Sphinx are bound to come up, and may generate some publicity at the time, so here's the announcement from th CPAK website: "The Conference on Precession and Ancient Knowledge is an academic conference bringing together some of the greatest thinkers in Archaeo-Astronomy and Esoteric Archaeology to discuss the topic of precession, both from a modern and ancient perspective, hear arguments supporting a cyclical theory of civilization (tied to precession) and its possible causes, and highlight potential archaeological, mythological or astronomical evidence surrounding these theories. The mission of the conference is to develop a true dialog among experts in a wide range of fields to illuminate the ties between ancient cultures, mythology, and our ancestral knowledge of the stars". It takes place on November 11th and 12th in Sedona (Arizona, U.S.).

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tutmania in South Florida

An entertaining look at the region's response to the upcoming Tutankhamun exhibition in South Florida, for which tickets go on sale in late October: "King Tut fever has struck. And soon it will be hard to avoid. At Trina, the restaurant on Fort Lauderdale's beach, a cocktail called a Tutini will be served. Starting in mid-December, the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa will offer several new spa packages: The Sphinx, Queen of the Nile and Pharaoh's Ritual. And at the Day's Inn Bahia Cabana Resort, a King Tut Crab Cake Oscar will make its menu debut. While we're still three months away from the opening of Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs at Fort Lauderdale's Museum of Art, the Egyptian king is proving to be a regional marketing bonanza". See the full article on the website.

More antiquities missing from Egyptian museum

"The disappearance of three items from the Egyptian Museum has prompted investigations that may be taken over by the General Prosecutor, according to press reports on Monday.The three artefacts dating back to 2649-2150 BC were found missing September 7 - five months after being lent to the museum for an exhibition, the state-owned daily al-Ahram reported. The items were never put on display, but kept under guard the museum's basement along with thousands of others. The three missing artefacts are a limestone statuette of a seated figure that is 23,5cm tall, a statue of a couple that is 35cm tall and a wooden box without a cover that contains a statuette of Osiris"

Abzu Updates
As previously reported, Chuck Jones will no longer be sending monthly lists of material added to Abzu but you can see recently added material by following the "View items recently added to ABZU" link at the above URL. Items remain in the "recently added to ABZU" page for a month, so those interested should keep an eye on that page. The Abzu team are working towards way to allow other methods of notification when new material is added. When this is announced by Chuck Jones, I will post details here.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Egyptian winemaking methods still very alive

An article dedicated to the subject of ancient Egyptian wine-making: "There is a wall painting of workers fanning amphoras in a sandbox. Evaporative cooling of the water in the moist sand would cause refrigeration of the wine, and cool fermentation enhances the fruity flavors in the wine. Thus, the Egyptians invented a refrigerator". The article finnishes up with a couple of wines that you might try if you want to know how Egyptian wines might have tasted.

Limestone head of Tutankhamun on display
"Amateur Egyptologist Joanne Salvador of Lindenhurst recently acquired, with three partners, a rare and beautiful yellow limestone sculpture of the pharaoh Tutankhamun, who lived about 3,300 years ago. "We had to follow clues to find this," she says, after learning that a private collector who owned it had died. Salvador majored in psychology and minored in art history at Stony Brook University, but acquired her passion for Egypt, she says, after watching Boris Karloff in the 1932 film "The Mummy" on TV as a child. "It was my dream to find something. I'm very lucky." For one night only, 7-10 p.m. next Friday, the head will be on display at the Museum of Long Island Natural Sciences, Earth & Space Sciences Building, Stony Brook University. The free "Ancient Egyptian Evening," which Salvador coordinated, includes the display of other artifacts, music and refreshments. For information, call 631-632-8230"
This is the entire item on the Newsday website (at the bottom of a page of other items).

More about new finds in Dakhleh

Thanks to David Meadows's "Explorator" newsletter for the following item:

"Un equipo de investigadores descubrió en el oasis egipcio de Dajla una serie de dibujos en las rocas realizados por habitantes del lugar en la época prehistórica, informa hoy el periódico "Al Akhbar". Las escenas muestran a mujeres con largas faldas y hombres con palos en las manos que guían a grupos de jirafas. Además, los científicos encontraron los restos de un tiburón. Se cree que en el oasis ubicado 400 kilómetros al oeste de Luxor había un gran lago. En Dajla se encontraron ya en el pasado dibujos del neolítico que indican que en torno al lago vivían elefantes, búfalos y avestruces".

This is a rough summary of the above (but don't shoot me if it's not exact): Investigtations in Dakhleh Oasis have discovered a set of prehistoric images in the rocks in the Al Akhbar style. The scenes show women in long skirts and men holding staffs/poles which are guiding a group of giraffes. What is more, the scientists found the remains of a shark. It is belived that in the Dakhleh oasis, 400km to the west of Luxor, there was a vast lake. The images found from the Neolithic indicate that elephant, buffalo and ostrichs may have lived around the lake.

EEF News Digest
The weekly online edition of the EEF News Digest, featuring world-wide lectures, symposiums, exhibitions, online digital books and papers, and more.

Who built the pyramids?

As usual with items from the Egyptian Gazette, I have copied the entire piece because it won't be online for more than a couple of days at most. This item is by Zahi Hawass:
"Many people from all over the world believe that the Great Pyramid of Khufu was built by men from the mythical land of Atlantis. Others have different theories, involving aliens from outer space, for example. None of these have any scientific basis. Therefore, when we sent a robot inside one of the airshafts in the Great Pyramid, I wanted everyone to know that we were not hiding anything. I have been excavating at Giza with my friend Mark Lehner for the last 20 years, and we have found no evidence at all to prove any of these theories. On the other hand, we have discovered the tombs of nobles, officials, and priests who served the Egyptian kings of the Old Kingdom. And we have discovered the tombs and houses of the men and women who built the pyramids for these kings. These tombs and houses prove that the pyramids were built by Egyptians, not people from a lost civilisation. In the tombs, we have found the names and titles of many pyramid builders. The names are Egyptian, and they have titles such as "overseer of the side of the pyramid," and "overseer of the workmen who drag the stones". Nearby are workmen's barracks, bakeries, a cafeteria, and a huge administrative building. Up to 55 workmen slept in each barracks, and 11 cows and 33 goats, enough to feed 10,000 workmen, were slaughtered each day. There was a core of permanent craftsmen and supervisors at Giza. But the pyramids were built with the support of households from all over Egypt. Families would send their young people to help with the construction, and in return may have been exempted from paying taxes. We believe that the temporary workmen were changed every three months. The workmen rose with the dawn and slept with the sunset. They worked in ten-day weeks, with one day off, plus holidays. They worked hard, and their bones show the evidence of physical stress. But they were also cared for, with emergency medical attention available. One man even lived for fourteen years after his leg was amputated.The Pyramids were built by Egyptians. These men and women must have been proud to be part of their national project, building eternal monuments to their god-kings".

Sunday, September 18, 2005

No News Today

Or at least, none that I could find. I can't remember the last time that I couldn't find any news to post.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Egyptian Culture Minister to stay

"Egyptian Culture Minister Faruq Hosni, who resigned after a theatre fire killed 46 people, will remain at his post following a meeting with Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, a source close to him said on Saturday". See the above Khaleej Times Online web page for more.

Trivia: Life-size replicas for office buildings

A slow week for trivia, but this little item raised a smile:
"The Gulf emirate of Dubai will build a city of life-size replicas of seven wonders of the world at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion to house offices, shops and flats, a developer said today. The Falcon City of Wonders is the latest of a host of ambitious construction projects in the booming trade hub, which is part of the United Arab Emirates. Three buildings will be modelled on structures that were part of the original list of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World — the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and the Lighthouse of Alexandria. Others will be replicas of more modern wonders — the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Great Wall of China, a statement said".
More on the same:

Friday, September 16, 2005

Attempt to smuggle pharaoh's statue foiled
"Egyptian police have foiled an attempt to smuggle an ancient statue of Pharaoh Ramses II out of Egypt for sale to a foreign museum or private collector. Security sources said Thursday that thieves found the granite statue in the region of Giza near Cairo in the area of the big pyramids and did not report it to the authorities. Police were tipped off about the discovery, however, and policemen posing as art merchants convinced the thieves to sell them the statue for 4 million Egyptian pounds ($695,000). The thieves, who planned to break the statue into several pieces to facilitate smuggling it out of the country, showed the disguised policemen to the place where they had been hiding it. Ramses II, one of Egypt's most famous pharaohs, ruled ancient Egypt for 67 years between 1213 and 1279 B.C., and his statues are found in several parts of the country".
This is the complete bulletin on the Science Daily website

More on Farouk Hosni Resignation

"Hosni said the growing calls for his resignation had catalysed his decision to resign. 'I was facing personal accusations even before the investigations were over,' he told the Weekly. 'I submitted my resignation to President Mubarak so that he could take the proper decision.' Hosni's nearly 20-year stint at the ministry has been marred by recurring controversies over antiquities smuggling and shoddy restoration of monuments".
See the full story on the Al Ahram Weekly website, above.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

On the ramparts of history - Tel Megiddo UPDATED

An article about the important site of Tel Megiddo in Israel, including Egypt's role in its ancient past: "In the middle of the 2nd millennium BCE a dramatic event occurs at Megiddo. A confederation of Canaanite kings decides to revolt against the Egyptian hegemony, and they suffer a crushing defeat at the hands of the Egyptian pharaoh’s (Tutankhamen the 3rd) brothers-in-law. The battle they fight is the first battle ever to be recorded in human history. Its description appears on victory inscriptions found in the Karnack temples in Upper Egypt. According to the inscriptions, Tutankhamen managed to get his horsemen up from Gaza to the Megiddo area within 11 days. Shortly before he charges, Tutankhamen consults his generals over from which point to launch the attack. From the different suggestions offered, he chooses to advance through the main road (what is today Wadi Ara) and so manages to surprise the enemy, which was expecting an attack from the flank".
See the above web page for more about this fascinating archaeological site.
For more about Megiddo, see the following site:
Thanks to my much-appreciated Official Nitpicker, Chris Townsend, who has just pointed out what I am sure everyone has noticed - there was no Tutankhamun the 3rd of course. That would be Thutmose III. As it says on the Megiddo website above: "In the late 4th, 3rd and 2nd millennia B.C.E. Megiddo was probably the most powerful city-state in the north of Canaan. When the Canaanite city-states revolted against Pharaonic attempts at hegemony, it was at Megiddo that they assembled to do battle. The Egyptian army, led by Pharaoh Thutmose III, surprised the rebels by choosing the most dangerous route of attack – through the narrow ‘Aruna Pass. After routing the Canaanite forces and capturing rich booty, Thutmose III laid siege to the city for seven months. His decisive victory enabled him to incorporate Canaan as a province in the empire of the New Kingdom".

Farouk Hosni offers resignation
It seems from this article that Farouk Hosni, the Culture Minister responsible for amongst other things the Supreme Council of Antiquities, has offered his resignation to Egypt's President: "Egypt's culture minister resigned Wednesday over a fire last week that killed 42 people at a state-run theater in a Nile River farming town south of Cairo. Farouk Hosni's resignation came after the detention Sunday of eight local Culture Ministry officials for questioning in the Sept. 5 fire, which began when an actor knocked over a candle on stage, setting alight paper decorations that covered the theater's walls and ceiling. The decorations blocked the theater's main exit, forcing some 150 people inside to try flee through one small door. Hosni presented his resignation to President Hosni Mubarak, the semiofficial Middle East News Agency reported. It was not immediately possible to reach Hosni for comment, and it was unclear if Mubarak accepted the resignation".
See the above Seattle PI website for a little more information.

Also reported at:

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Site Updates

I'm at another conference for the next two days, so although the blog will be updated daily, I will be doing it during the evening (UK time) rather than in the morning. I enjoy working on this blog, but not enough to get up at the crack of dawn to do it :-)

For anyone interested, the conference, at UCL (London, UK) is entitled Pattern and Process in Cultural Evolution. Details of the conference, the programme and lecture and poster abstracts, can be found at the following URLs:

Poster Abstracts:

Seven-mile ceremonial burial route located
"Ian Mathieson, 78, director of Saqqara Geophysical Survey Project, has located part of a seven-mile ceremonial burial route to the Step Pyramid of Djoser, near Cairo. . . . Mr Mathieson, a former civil engineer and surveyor from Edinburgh, said the road was the main ceremonial route lined with ornate sphinxes leading to the underground burial complex of the Serapeum in Saqqara".

New archaeological find in New Valley
"An Egyptian archaeological mission working in the New Valley's al-Dakhla Oasis unearthed pre-historic shark and reptile fossils in the now-desert area of Kliss.
Stone utensils including knives and plain pottery were among the artifacts found. Fossils of lions, tigers were also excavated by the mission in the area".
Unfortunately, this is the complete item on the State Information Service website.

Scanning tech reveals mummy mysteries
Another CT scan has been carried out, this time on the body of a mummified child: " San Jose-based Silicon Graphics Inc. took 60,000 images and created 3-D models that allowed scientists to look at her resin-filled body cavities, her facial features, even her baby teeth.Among their conclusions: The girl was between 4 and 6 years old and must have been breast-fed until shortly before her death.Led by a team at Stanford University, researchers also discovered a painting of a sphinx on the mask covering her mummified face". See the above web page for more.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Crackdown on websites selling stolen items

"In its fight to regain priceless Egyptian artifacts, the Supreme Council for Antiquities has started a crackdown on websites that sell stolen monuments. According to Akhbar Al Adab, the council was able to identify 22 sites that illegally sell monuments for very low prices. The council has reported its findings to the public prosecutor in order to take the needed legal steps to reacquire the items".
This is the entire bulletin from the the Cairo Magazine's website.

More reported figures for the Tutankhamun exhibition
From the Arabic News website: "A half million Americans visited Tutankhamen exhibition being staged at Los Angeles Museum for Arts during the past three months, setting a record for the people entering the exhibition. Zahi Hawwas, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities said that he received a report from Wafaa El Seddiq, Manager of the Egyptian Museum and Head of the Foreign Exhibition Committee in which she affirmed that the Tutankhamen exhibition in Los Angeles witnessed an unprecedented number of visitors. She said that the returns of the exhibition during the past three months hit 1.5 million dollars. The report expected the number of visitors to hit 1.2 million. She said the returns of the exhibition in Los Angles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Miami will reach 100 million dollars, 40 million for Egypt, in addition to 10% of sales of printing materials displayed in the exhibition".

king Tut's olive branch

An article published yesterday on the This Is Local London website about Kew Gardens mentions the role of the Royal Botanical Gardens in identifying wood in the tomb of Tutankhamun: "This discovery of boy king Tutankhamen's tomb hit the headlines in 1923 as the most sensational find of its time. But the discovery of several olive branches buried along with the pharaoh to help him in the after life is a much lesser known fact. At the time a mystery surrounded what type of plant the branches were, so a professor took a sample and sent it to the Botanical Gardens at Kew to be named. Botanists at the herbarium at Kew identified the plant as an olive branch, which still remains neatly pressed in the collection centre to this day, along with more than seven million other plant species from around the world".

Tutankhamun-inspired jewellery collection
"Heavy gold collars, carved jewels, scarabs, inlaid silver and a pectoral brooch weighted with turquoise and lapis fit the fancy of the now-mummified enigma King Tutankhamun. More than 3,000 years later the king remains a fashion icon, inspiring a new jewelry collection by Tamarac designer Ruth Hirtz that is the official jewelry line of the Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibit. The collection will be making its way to the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale this fall before the much-anticipated arrival of Tutankhamun's burial artifacts and other treasures from the Valley of the Kings".
See more about the 300-piece jewellery collection on the above page.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Watch the sun vanish in Egypt...

"Diarise the date of March 29 2006 for this is the day on which there will be a total eclipse of the sun. Though it will be visible in various countries across the globe, in Africa it will be seen in Egypt, Benin, Chad, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Libya, Togo, Nigeria and Niger. Of these countries, Egypt is not only extremely accessible, but is regarded as one of the cradles of civilisation. It also has an ancient past mythologically linked with the sun. There are academics who argue that the Egyptian hieroglyph symbol "Akhet" has been incorrectly interpreted as meaning "horizon". They believe strongly, and back their claims, that Akhet means "solar eclipse". They also believe Karnak may have been a representation on Earth of the sun's heavenly habitation and that the huge pillars of the temples were massive physical man-made representations of the symbol Akhet."
See the article for a list of things you might wish to do whilst making a visit to Egypt to see the eclipse.

EEF News Digest
The weekly online edition of the EEF News Digest, featuring world-wide lectures, symposiums, exhibitions, online digital books and papers, and more.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

A Middle Palaeolithic site with blade technology

"During the 1990 survey by the Belgian Middle Egypt Prehistoric Project of Leuven University, we discovered a Palaeolithic site on top of a hill (figure 1). It was only during the 2003 campaign that we were able to visit the site again. As an important artefact concentration was found, we organised a simple survey with a single small trench. There was no time for a systematic excavation. The site proved to have suffered very extensive destruction by recent quarrying activities, but still some important observations could be made". See the rest of the online paper for more, including some excellent photographs and lithic drawings.

Antiquity Vol 79 No 305 September 2005
A Middle Palaeolithic site with blade technology at Al Tiwayrat, Qena, Upper Egypt
Pierre M. Vermeersch, Philip Van Peer & Veerle Rots

Travellers in Egypt website update
Marco Maroccolo, who runs the Travellers in Egypt website, emailed to let me know that he has been experiencing some server problems which has meant that he has had to change Internet Provider - delays in the transfer of the domain names may cause problems for some users over a 12-24 hour period, but things should be back up and running very quickly. Publication on the site will resume next week.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Analysis of mummy Tchaenhotep.

The analysis of mummy of Tchaenhotep have been released. The mummy, which was removed from the Valley of the Kings in 1903, had been damaged during a 1937 flood in Lousville, when a piano landed on the mummy, and damaged the leg and pelvis and sepearated the my mummy's head from its torso: "Its heart and brain are intact 2,500 to 3,000 years after death, despite the fact that many mummies' vital organs were removed upon burial". It is not known what caused the death of the individual, or even whether it was male or female, but it is believed that he/she died at the age of between 25 and 35. The mummy will be displayed in the Discovery Gallery of the Louisville Science Center in an exhbition entitled "The World Around Us", and opens on September 24th.

The Life and Death of Smallpox (Book Review)
"The Life and Death of Smallpox by Ian & Jenifer Glynn. Not the most alluring of titles, but a fascinating story. Smallpox appears to have an African origin. Judging by his mummified corpse, Ramses V was a sufferer".

Medical Papyrus on show for the first time

As part of the exhbition "The Art of Medicine in Ancient Egypt" that opened last week in New York, a valuable papyrus has gone on display: "The ancient Egyptians left proof of their scientific prowess for people to marvel at for millennia. Their engineering skills can still be seen at Giza, their star charts in Luxor, their care for head wounds on Fifth Avenue. A 4,000-year-old scroll includes descriptions of basic surgery and treatment of brain injuries. Head wounds? Yes, and the ancients treated broken arms, cuts, even facial wrinkles - vanity is not a modern invention - and they used methods as advanced as rudimentary surgery and a sort of proto-antibiotics. As for Fifth Avenue, it, like the Valley of the Kings, is a place of hidden treasures. What researchers call the world's oldest known medical treatise, an Egyptian papyrus offering 4,000-year-old wisdom, has long dwelled in the rare books vault at the New York Academy of Medicine".

The Art of Medicine in Ancient Egypt

From September 15th to January 15th: " he causes of illnesses were little understood in ancient Egypt, and their prevention and cure was a major concern for most Egyptians—one that informs much of ancient Egyptian art but has received relatively little attention. This exhibition highlights objects from the Museum’s collection that address this concern, allowing visitors to appreciate them in new ways. Included is the rarely seen Edwin Smith Papyrus, on loan from the New York Academy of Medicine. One of the world’s oldest scientific documents, this 15-foot papyrus deals with the treatment of wounds both practically and magically".

More information can be found about the exhibition at:
Images from the exhibition are at:
Accompanying the exhibition is a book by James Allen discussing the Edwin Papyrus:

4th to 9th September - Origines Conference

Apologies for the five day absence - I've been at the Origines conference in Toulouse (France), which was excellent, but not exactly convenient for updating blogs. I have gone back through news items, and will be updating the blog throughout the day. I'm not away now until mid October. Anyone who fancies taking over the blog in my holiday absences would/will be very welcome!

Apologies also to anyone reading this who was at the conference - I was the one with the cough. Although the cold has subsided substantially, I passed it to at least one other person, and I know that it travelled to the Netherlands via Paris and Brussels - a well travelled set of bugs. Sorry Rinus!
All the best

Friday, September 09, 2005

Hatshepsut visits three US states

"An exhibition for Egyptian artifacts will be staged in three American states as of mid-October for three months under the title Hatshepsut the Queen and Pharaoh. Minister of Culture Farouq Hosni said Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif agreed to the participation in the exhibition, the third for the Egyptian antiquities in the United States, after the success of the two last exhibitions. Dr. Zahi Hawwas, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said Egypt would harvest 150,000 dollars for its participation in the exhibition with five pieces from Hatshepsut era."

Surprise delivery

Zahi Hawass's occasional Dig Days column in the Al Ahram Weeekly online publication this week deals with the return of an engraving dating to the New Kingdom, by an individual who returned it on behalf of his receently deceased friend: " When his friend was inside one of the tombs in the Valley of Kings he found this piece of inscribed alabaster, and simply picked it up and hid it inside his jacket. His friend spent the rest of his life feeling guilty about taking the fragment, and before he died he gave it to Graves, who duly sent it to me. I am very happy that he took the honourable way out, and I hope it encourages others to return artefacts they may have acquired. The fragment is now being registered in the Egyptian Museum".

Hawass Lecture
"More than 250 stalwarts packed the outdoor event tent at Sierra Nevada College Wednesday to hear archaeologist Dr. Zahi Hawass".
(Subscription required)

Perfume Manufacture, ancient and modern

"According to historians, the need for refreshing and scented essences became so fundamental that the first strike in the history of humanity, in around 1,330 b.C., was by the soldiers of pharaoh Seti I, and they simply stopped supplying him with aromatic ointments. A little later, in 1,300 b.C., pharaoh Ramesses II had to face a rebellion by the workers of Thebes, who were furious with the small food and ointment rations. Talented professors, the Egyptians spread their knowledge of perfumery to the Assyrians, Babylonians, Caldeans, Hebrews, Persians and Greek. Therefore, each culture developed its own variety of fragrances, according to the ingredients locally available".
Actually an article about the establishment of a new perfume and cosemetics company, O Boticario, in Cairo.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

From Egypt to Monterey's Custom House

"The objective of bocce ball is to try and to come as close to a fixed target as possible. It began in 5000 BC when Egyptians played it with polished rocks and is recorded as having come to Greece in 800 BC where the Romans picked it up and spread the word throughout their country. The Romans named the game bocce from the Latin bottia which means boss".

Secrets of the Pharaohs' Physicians Revealed

A fascinating discussion of some of the medicinal practises of ancient Egypt, published to coincide with the new Art of Medicine in Ancient Egypt exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York: "A doctor is called to the house of a young man with a severe wound on his cheek. The flesh is split open, red and inflamed. After assessing the damage, the doctor applies a special enzymatic cleanser to the affected area, then covers it in a bandage soaked in an antibacterial compound, to reduce the risk of infection. Chances are, the man will make a complete recovery. While this course of treatment may sound modern, the doctor in question lived and practiced almost 4,000 years ago, in an ancient Egypt where skilled medicine worked hand-in-hand with magic potions and incantations to the lion-headed goddess Sekhmet".
See the article for more.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Theban Mapping Project (website review)

An articulate and clear review of the latest version of the Theban Mapping Project's website: "When I first viewed and reviewed the original Theban Mapping Project, I was genuinely impressed, and even now, though the first site is technologically basic in today's context, it still doesn't look dated. But in its current incarnation, TMP is nothing short of spectacular. If you have any interest in ancient Egypt, for personal interest or teaching purposes, you really can't do better without being there in person".

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Early Writing in Egypt and Mesopotamia
The Ian Potter Museum of the University of Melbourne will be exhibiting 18 pieces from the Australian Institute of Archaeology, Melbourne. The exhibition "will illustrate different scripts and early uses of writing (the doings of kings, records of produce, official expenditure, names of troops, a land transaction, property titles) in a variety of materials (stone and ceramic tablets, linen, vellum and papyrus fragments)".

Lost Egyptian collection found
"In Beijing, an international joint research group from the Catholic University in Leuven and Beijing University discovered a collection of Egypt art that was believed lost for many years already . . . . The find consists of over 50 stelae and 60 rubbings made with coal on paper. A special find is a stela which depicts Cleopatra as a male pharaoh. This is the second known example of such a depiction. Majority of the retrieved collection are items belonging to the Greek-Roman epoch. The first exposition of the retrieved collection items began at the Beijing Museum August 25".
See the article for more on this remarkable re-discovery.

Astronomy at Karnak

A discussion of potential astronomical role/status of Karnak: "Near the Nile River lies a temple complex called Karnak in what was once ancient Thebes and is now modern Luxor. The great Temple of Amun or Amen-Ra was a principal focus of Egyptian religious activity for millennia but what makes Karnak of particular interest is the controversy over its use.The British astronomer Sir Norman Lockyer visited the site around 1890 and was struck by an immense corridor that ran the length of the complex. Lockyer believed that it was aligned westward across the Nile River to the midsummer sunset around 4000 B.C. It was quickly pointed out, however, that hills across the Nile from the temple blocked out any view of the setting sun, throwing the theory into doubt. Another astronomer did some quick calculations and found that the corridor only matched up with the sunset in 11,700 B.C. Even the Egyptians were not building temples that far back in time". See the article for more.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Geography Rewritten
"Egypt is about to get its first new national atlas since 1925, when the nation puts out the only official atlas we’ve ever had. The new project, which is the brainchild of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and the Egyptian Scientific Center, will update 80 years of geographic changes, seeking out professional services from reputed historians, geographers, geologists, naturalists, economists and marketing specialists".

A Sad Obsession

Egypt Today item about the history of how mummies have been treated since the nineteenth century: "The history of mummies is a long and sad one. Had Egypt’s ancient civilizations been able to fathom the degree of shocking desecration to which their dead would be subject, they might have thought twice about embalming them for eternity. Mummies have been treated with the utmost disrespect: dug out, reburied, dug out again, sold, bought and even ground to make medicines or paint pigments. They have been shipped around the world and put on show — their unwrapping staged as part of some circus-like exhibition".

Sunday, September 04, 2005

College of Wooster art center shows `Ancient Ohio/Ancient Egypt'

"In 1885, a Presbyterian missionary in Egypt, the Rev. John Giffen bought four mummies still in their sarcophagi for the grand sum of $8 each. The mummies had been looted from their tombs near the Egyptian city of Akhmim, on the east bank of the Nile about 290 miles south of Cairo. One mummy went to the Asyut College Museum in Egypt, where it still resides, and the rest returned to the United States with the Rev. John R. Alexander and were distributed among three Presbyterian-founded colleges: Erskine College in Due West, S.C., Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa., and the College of Wooster. Through Oct. 16, the College of Wooster Art Museum Ebert Art Center is presenting Ancient Ohio/Ancient Egypt, an exhibit that highlights artifacts and materials from two cultures that existed contemporaneously on different continents".

Two new tombs found at Giza
“Hawwas said two more tombs were unearthed in the pyramids area, one of them belongs to the priest of King Cheops”. I’m afraid that this is the total item from the State Information Service, which was just tagged on to the previous item – hopefully more details will be forthcoming.

Travelling exhbitions in the US safe from hurricanes.
"Minister of Culture Farauq Hosni had a telephone call with Dr. Zahi Hawwas, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, currently visiting the United States. During the telephone call, Hosni inquired after conditions of the Egyptian monuments currently displayed at Dayton, Ohio and Los Angeles museums. The telephone calls come in wake of hurricane Katrina which swept over a number of US cities. Hawwas said he received two reports from archaeologists Suad Rushdy, who supervises the Golden Pharaoh, Tutankhamen, exhibition in Los Angeles and Hanem Barakat, who supervises Dayton exhibition. Hawwas said the two reports confirmed that the two exhibitions are far away from the areas struck by the hurricane. Hawwas said some 272 artifacts are displayed in the two exhibitions, adding that the Egyptian exhibitions in the United States are insured by 800 million dollars.
This is the entire State Information Service bulletin.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Replica tomb of Thutmose III
A second article about the Quest exhibition at the Dayton Institue of Art, this morning, but this one focuses exclusively on the replica tomb which is the centre piece of the exhbition: "The soft-lit walls and pillars of the 46-foot by 28-foot room are covered with human, divine and animal figures, objects, vehicles and the text of the Amudat". See the article for the full description.

Quest for Immortality Exhibition

A review of the exhibition at the Dayton Institute of Art: "A colossal, 4,000-pound, red granite head of Ramesses II towers over visitors in the Dayton Art Institute's roomy Great Hall. In another room filled only with golden objects, a mask, girdle, statues, plaques and thin sandals beckon with a soft, alluring gleam. At the center of a darkened room, a linen-wrapped mummy lies snug against the sides of its painted wooden coffin, the lid hovering above it. Hanging on the walls are eerily back-lit X-rays and CT-scans of the body inside the six layers of cloth strips. In cases throughout the rooms are collars, necklaces and bracelets exquisitely laced with beads of gold and semi-precious stones such as carnelian, lapis lazuli, turquoise and glass. Death never looked so good. Quest for Immortality: Treasures of Ancient Egypt, the special fall exhibition at the institute through Jan. 3, is a powerful, deft and focused exploration of the Egyptians' approach to death."
See the article for more.

Hawass lecturing in Lake Tahoe

Following his lecture at the Dayton Institute of Art, Zahi Hawass is next speaking at Lake Tahoe: "Incline Village will be visited next week by arguably the most prominent man in Egypt archaeology. Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and director of the Giza Pyramids and Bahriya Oasis Excavations, will give a guest lecture from 6 to 7 p.m. Sept. 7 at Sierra Nevada College". There is also a short description of Hawass's pre-archaeology days, together with a longer description of his more recent work, his role and his public image.

Trivia Round-Up

This weeks round-up of trivia:

Get out in front of that Epitaph
I'm not sure how Ramesses II would have felt about this piece if he had had the chance to meet Donald Trump, but here goes anyway: "Baby boomers, the increasingly ignored demographic, are getting the jump on death by self-memorialization. Not that the concept is new. Ramses II, who reigned over ancient Egypt for longer than the life expectancy of a modern Egyptian, was Donald Trump B.C.. We're the first, however, to memorialize the eternally anonymous". You've got to love it. For more on the subject of self-immortalization (but not, admittedly, about Ancient Egypt) see the above article on the website.

Halle Berry to play Nefertiti
Movie star Halle Berry "is working on a new biopic of ancient Egyptian queen Nefertiti. The Oscar winner will produce and star in the project. She says, 'She was the first female pharaoh, a warrior whose story is not as well told as Cleopatra's, so we can put light on a dark place in history'." This is the entire bulletin on the Contact Music website.

Legion of the Dead (DVD Review)
A review of another Mummy-Comes-Back-To-Life-To-Wreak-Havoc film. The reviewer really wasn't impressed!

Today in History: Cleopatra
30th August: " In 30 B.C. (by some estimates), the seventh and most famous queen of ancient Egypt known as Cleopatra committed suicide".

Friday, September 02, 2005

500,000 Americans visit golden pharaoh exhibition
"Tutankhamen exhibition, currently staged in Los Angeles museum of arts, is witnessing a massive influx by the American people. The number of Americans who visited the exhibition since its opening three months ago reached 500,000. The financial returns of the exhibition hit so far $ 105 million. Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Zahi Hawwas said that the exhibition will wrap up on November 15. He expected the number of visitors to reach 1.2 million. Hawwas said that the exhibition will move to Chicago for five months before heading for Philadelphia late next year. He said that the exhibition will achieve the biggest financial return in the history of exhibitions of Egyptian and other world monuments". This is the full State Information Service bulletin. This figure for visitor numbers is actually 100,000 less than that given in a press release earlier this week on another website for total LACMA ticket sales.

Cool Improvements for the Coolest Exhibition

A press release about the air conditioning system being installed specially for the Tutankhamun visit to Fort Lauderdale.

Hatshepsut's temple
A travel article on the BusinessLine website entitled "The Queen's Temple" which describes the Deir el Bahri temple, with photos, and gives a swift overview of the queen herself.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

New tomb discovered near Edfu
A 5,000-year-old funerary complex in Upper Egypt has been found by a joint Egyptian-US archaeological team: "The tomb was found in the Kom al-Ahmer region near Edfu, some 97 km south of the famous ancient city Luxor on the west bank of the Nile, Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, was quoted as saying. Three mummies were found inside the tomb alongside a small flint statue of a cow's head and a ceramic funeral mask, Hawass added. The tomb is believed to have belonged to one of the first rulers of the Greek city of Apollinopolis Magna, the ancient name of Edfu. Edfu was the capital of the second nome (Horus) of Upper Egypt. The main attraction here is the Temple of Horus, which is widely considered to be the best preserved cult temple in Egypt".

The Curse of King Tut
One man's experience of the Tutankhamun exhibition - amusing rather than informative: " I angle through the obstacle course as quickly as I can and stand trembling in the last room, where a video presentation wonders if Tut had been murdered. Conclusion: It’s an Unsolved Mystery. But now I have my own mystery to solve: I’ve been separated from my family. Perhaps they too have been slain — nothing I can do about that now". See the above page for more.