Thursday, August 31, 2006

Naguib Mahfouz dies (
Not an Egyptology item, but something that I think many people will be sad to read: "Let me pay a tribute to Egypt's Nobel Prize-winning writer Naguib Mahfouz who died today at the age of 94, following a long battle against illness.Mahfouz, born in the Gamaliya quarter of Cairo in 1911, began writing at the age of 17. In his novels he gave the most vivid portrayal of life in the beautiful country, Egypt, and ancient Cairo."
See the above page for the rest of this tribute.

Also see:,8599,1484042,00.html

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ancient Egyptian beauty lessons (
"As well as savouring an array of artistic and architectural delights, visitors to Siena can now learn how to make the cosmetics of the Pharaohs .The Tuscan city's Santa Maria della Scala complex is holding workshops on preparing ancient Egyptian make-up, skin creams and beauty potions .The initiative is accompanying an exhibition at the complex entitled 'Igiene e bellezza nell' antico Egitto' (Hygiene and Beauty in Ancient Egypt) ."
See the above page for the full story.

Global tourism response to crises (
A short but interesting article about the recent annual meeting of the International Association of Scientific Experts in Tourism (AIEST) at Pontresina, Switzerland. It cites the two most notorious attacks in Egypt as indicators, amongst others, that atrocities are having less impact on tourist behaviour than previously: "Swiss professor Thomas Bieger of St Gallen University said travellers were becoming immune to such shocks. There was only a slight drop in bookings for Sharm el-Sheik after the attack on the seaside resort earlier this year, but it took the Egyptian tourist industry 12 months to fully recover from the 1997 massacre of tourists, including more than 30 Swiss, in Luxor. Statistics published by the World Tourism Organization show that people in the industrialised world and increasingly in emerging markets like India are quite simply no longer willing to forego their holidays abroad."

The annual meeting of the AIEST takes place as Turkey recovers from its own tragic experience of terrorist targetting of tourism:

Update re Egyptology news services

A big welcome back to Jane Akshar and her Luxor News blog, after her holiday. Jane, you were much missed! To see her Egyptian husband's main insights into life in the UK after his first visit, see her website above.

Also a welcome back to EEF after some technical difficulties - last week's news Digest was not released (the edition currently on the site is the Digest from the 17th August), but keep an eye on the website above on Sunday for the roundup of this week's news items.

This blog
As mentioned earlier in the week, I am away as from tomorrow afternoon. I'll update the blog tomorrow, but I have no idea whether I will be able to update it between now and the 12th September, when I return.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Review: Egyptology at the Brooklyn Museum of Art (
Included in their "Goings on About Town" section, the New Yorker have included a brief review of some of the Egyptology exhibits at the Brooklyn Museum of Art: "Oldfashioned museological Egyptology meets state-of-the-art, user-friendly installation in the permanent exhibition “Egypt Reborn.” The sunny, spacious galleries present thousands of objects, tracing an evolution from the pre-dynastic period in 3500 B.C. to the era of Roman influence. Wonders include a lavishly painted cartonnage with matching interior coffin lid, a frog-shaped childbirth amulet in brilliant blue faience, and a mummified crocodile from the crocodile cemetery at Kahun. An almost infinite listing of favorites is possible—just don’t miss the bird-headed terra-cotta figure thought to be a fertility goddess, one of the oldest, most renowned, and most beautiful artifacts in the world."
See the above page for more.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Egyptian exhibition opens in Beijing

"Tourist artistic "Charming Egypt" exhibition was opened in the Chinese capital Beijing on Sunday 27/8/2006 as part of Egyptian tourist promotion efforts. The exhibition houses 150 artistic paintings depicting the history of Egypt and the way of life of Egyptians over the various historical eras. The exhibition was held on the occasion marking the 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Cairo and Beijing. Attending the exhibition were Egyptian ambassador in China Mahmoud Allam along with other Egyptian embassy staffers and representatives of Arab and diplomatic missions."
This is the complete item on the State Information Service.

Tourism in Egypt (
"Along with the Suez Canal and oil and gas revenues, tourism is one of Egypt’s main sources of foreign currency and, as the number of tourists increase every year, so does the importance of the money they pump into the national economy. Patterns, however, are shifting, with tourists looking for something more than just the traditional tour of the monuments or cold drinks on a hot beach. With a little bit of development and forethought, Egypt has the potential to meet the new demands of worldwide tourists. The scale of the industry is impressive. Last year, the number of visitors to Egypt increased from 8.1 million to 8.6 million, with Germany provided the largest number of visitors, 979,000, more than any other European country."
See the above page for the full story.

Review: More re Hatshepsut exhibition at Kimbell

More of a review of the life of Hatshepsut than a review of the exhibition: "She's not as famous as Cleopatra, but Hatshepsut's rise to power in ancient Egypt has the makings of a movie. Add the fact that her name was effectively erased from history after a prosperous reign of 20 years, and this compelling saga takes on the aura of mystery. The timing couldn't be better. The actual mummy of the world's first great female ruler was found during preparations for Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh."
The exhibition opened at The Kimbell Art Museum yesterday.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

No news today / blog update

It's always a quiet time of the year on the Egyptology news front, but it's unusual not to find anything at all to post about. Today, apart from some repetitive pieces on the Ramesses II statue move, is one of those unusual days, so I'll fill the gap by announcing that I'm away from 31st August to 12th September, inclusive. I have no idea whether or not I will have Internet access, so I may be unable to update the blog. Apologies in advance should that be the case, and I will of course update it on my return.
All the best

Saturday, August 26, 2006

More re Ramesses II move (
I have no idea quite why the removal of the statue of Ramesses II to a new home has caught the media's imagination to such an extent, but you can't move on the Web without a reference to it. The above URLs are some of the most recent and informative - the last one, from the BBC, has some great photos.

Ushabti found in Enfield UK
"An Egyptian mystery to rival the cursed tomb of King Tut emerged this week at Forty Hall when a researcher from the British Museum contacted the Museum’s Manager about some mysterious Egyptian figures in the museum collection. The museum discovered the four valuable and ancient Egyptian Shabti, or funerary figures, in its collection; but as they had been there as long as the team could remember no-one knew who had donated them or where they had come from."
See the above page for the full story.

Reviews: Hatshepsut - From Queen to Pharaoh
"Nothing looks better in the Kimbell Art Museum than extremely large pieces of stone sculpture. Though the building was designed to hold a collection of European portraits and Asian art, when an ancient Egyptian show is installed, it seems as if the building were designed specifically for that purpose, and the works look like they were made for this particular space. No other period of art strikes such a resonant chord with the Kimbell. Such is the case with Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh, an exhibit organized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco."
"In the early 20th century, archeologists stumbled upon clues indicating that once upon a time, during a period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom, a great woman was pharaoh. They began to piece together her story using shards, broken statues and the ghostly remains of hieroglyphics on walls. It soon became obvious that Hatshepsut had been deliberately deleted. The story of her ascendancy and eventual disappearance, as well as more than 200 artifacts created during and shortly after her reign, are on exhibit in Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharoah, which opens Sunday at the Kimbell Art Museum."

See the above pages for the full reviews

Saturday Trivia

"The rubies and emeralds sparkle as you move a stone to make rows of three like jewels. When three are in sequence, they vanish and the surrounding gems move into the empty space in the same manner that a row is cleared in a hardy game of Tetris. It is, in essence, a take-off of the legendary masterpiece as the goal is to clear the board by strategy and making the maximum bang for your moves. Whereas other games like this used jewels and such articles, this one is set against the backdrop of Ancient Egypt — with History lessons along the way (using historical factoids while new levels load). The intention is to increase the reward for clearing a board — as doing so progresses you further into the various lands depicted, here."
See the above page for the rest of the review.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Ramesses II - on the move at last
The statue of Ramesses II is on the move in Cairo: "It is being moved overnight to a site near the pyramids outside Cairo. Tens of thousands of people have been watching the colossus move through the city at a stately pace on two flatbed trucks. It is being transported in one piece. A steel cage has been built around the statue to hold it steady. The head of Ramses, protruding from the protective steel, has been wrapped in plastic and thick padding, but its face is visible to the crowds lining the streets to watch as it floats by."
See the above page for more.

Also covered at:,,3-2327714,00.html
"The statue is being transferred in one piece during a high-risk operation through the streets of the capital on a 90ft (27m) motorised convoy. . . . The convoy will take the statue 35km (21 miles) to its new home at the Grand Egyptian Museum. A planned ceremony was cancelled because of the violence in Lebanon."

Interactive Hierakonpolis udpated

Details of the 2006 season at Hierakonpolis have been added to Archaeology magazine's website at the above address. Divided into three sections, updates are provided about Old Kingdom and Middle Kingdom decorated tombs, the so-called Fort and the accidental discovery of new subterranean chambers (Renee Friedman fell down a previously unknown hole): "My legs dangling in space, I was saved from being swallowed up only by quickly jutting out my elbows. Luckily, my colleagues were able to pull me out, but had I been alone it would have been a much more serious matter. I was so spooked by the event, I had no interest in exploring that hole, and instead sent the workmen to collapse it with long poles, resulting in a frighteningly large cavity more than two meters deep surrounded by loose windblown sand.
Giving the new hole by the tomb a wide berth, I angled my tape measure down through the cover to assess its depth. It was three meters down to bottom; definitely a fall that would hurt. Clearly, I couldn't simply ignore this hole. We'd have to see what it was all about.
Early the next morning, we pulled back the cover and I had a chance to take a good look inside. On three sides were more or less well-cut rock walls of a square underground chamber about 3 by 3 meters in dimensions. The fourth (east) side, however, was made up of perilous piles of tumbled rock receding into the dark distance. A corridor filled with debris, leading down to another chamber at a lower level, could be seen on one side by an unstable pillar of stone, behind which there were evidently more chambers. Testing with a probe indicated that they extended for at least another three meters, but as they were completely choked with rubble from the roof fall, there was no way this labyrinth could be entered safely."
See the above page for the three sections - all make for very enjoyable reading. Previous season summaries are also available from the above page. All sections and reports are accompanied by excellent photographs.

Antiquities weather the market

Interesting FT article looking at the demand for legally available antiquities, looking at the impact of the recent cases regarding repatriation claims, the risks involved in purchasing antiquities, and pricing issues: "Queen Mutnodjmet’s face is calm, dignified and relaxed. Befitting an Egyptian monarch, her expression is cool and confident with a girlish beauty. Her skin looks velvety soft. Unfortunately for the queen, her nose was hacked off and her eyes gouged out, possibly by an opponent of her husband Pharaoh Horemheb’s reign. Other than that, she has weathered the 3,300 years since she was created remarkably well. And, if you have $3m to spare, she can be yours.
In recent months, much of the attention on the antiquities trade has focused on demands by Greece, Italy and Egypt for US museums to return national treasures that they say were looted. . . . . But this has not sapped demand for legitimate, well provenanced, properly documented antiquities – in fact, it has increased it. The sale of works from recent excavations is illegal and there is a finite supply of the most precious pieces that can be traded legitimately because they were in circulation before countries such as Egypt, Greece and Turkey passed their most recent cultural patrimony laws. Once pieces are bought by a museum, there is no further chance to buy them, so private collectors and curators are in hot pursuit."
See the above page for the full story.

Google Earth tracks journey of Ramses (
"Google Earth mapped the route for a colossal statue of ancient Egypt's powerful warrior king, Ramses II, from congested Cairo to a new home near the pyramids.Google Earth, owned by the world's top Internet search engine, added a 'Statue of Ramses II' section to its map index in tribute to the pink, 91-ton effigy's epic move on Friday from a congested central Cairo square to a museum near the pyramids."
See the rest of the story on the above page.

Review: History Channel - Book of the Dead

"The History Channel special The Egyptian Book Of The Dead focuses on perhaps the most famous known example of the scroll. It was commissioned by a temple scribe named Ani at a period around 1250 B.C.E.While most scrolls tended to be straightforward (often generic) groupings of spells, Ani spent an enormous amount of money commissioning the creation of a magnificent Book Of The Dead. The Egyptian Book of The Dead intertwines Ani’s story with that of the British Museum curator, Ernest Wallis Budge, who, in 1887, risks arrest, prison or worse in a quest to bring what is now called the Scroll of Ani to London."
See the above page for the complete review.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Five headless sphinxes found in Luxor (
"Archaeologists in Luxor, central Egypt, have found five headless sphinxes which belonged to a sphinx-lined avenue connecting a temple built by pharaohs in the city with Karnak, antiquity administrators in Cairo said. Scientists are now trying to discover whether the figures match four broken sphinx heads, found a long time ago, sources said. Apart from the five statues, archaeologists also found the ruins of a flower basin and a connecting gully near a road leading to Luxor's airport, they added. The Karnak temple is the largest temple complex in Egypt. Temples were built there between the Middle Kingdom era and Roman times."

Digital hieroglyphs (
News resource AlphaGalileo reports on an article about digitization of hieroglyphs in the latest edition of New Scientist: "The hieroglyphics that cover the columns and walls of Egyptian temples are in danger of washing away. Groundwater constantly seeps into the stone on which they are engraved, depositing a corrosive layer of salt on the surface as it evaporates. Yet despite the danger that the precious inscriptions could soon be lost, Egyptologists still trace them by hand – a laborious and time consuming process. . . . Now researchers working at Amun-Re are hoping a simple software tool developed by a team led by Élise Meyer of the National Institute of Applied Sciences of Strasbourg, France, will speed up the process. . . . To transcribe the engravings, the system first transforms photographs of the object taken from different angles into a flattened, head-on image of its surface, using a technique commonly used to turn aerial images into maps. The Egyptologist then uses an adapted version of the AutoCAD 3D drawing program to record the hieroglyphic."
See the above page for the full report.

For those of you who have access to the print edition of New Scientist, you'll find the original feature on page 28 of the latest edition.

Ramesses moving tomorrow

The statue of Ramesses II will be moved tomorrow, on an Egyptian public holiday, from its over-polluted home and will be installed in its new Giza location on Friday: "Sayed Hamdan, a roving photographer, says he cannot imagine central Cairo without the statue of Ramses II. Hamdan is one of scores of locals who regret the relocation of the colossal structure later this month from the area where it has stood for more than 50 years. Arrangements are under way to move the statue from Cairo's main rail station to Egypt's Grand Museum near the Giza Pyramids on Friday."
See the above page for the full story.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Poland hosts conference on Nubian monuments (
"The Polish capital Warsaw will host as of August 27 a conference on Nubian monuments, Polish Cultural Counselor in Cairo Gabriela Piotrowska told MENA on Monday. The conference, to last till September 2, will be organized by several Polish institutes. Some 200 researchers will attend the conference, in which at least 156 papers will be presented."
This is the complete item on the State Information Service website.

Exhibition: Mysteries of Ancient Egypt Itinerant Museum

"Over the last ten years, exhibition Mysteries of Ancient Egypt Itinerant Museum has been travelling Brazilian states taking replicas and original items from the past of the Arab country. This time, the show is in the country capital, Brasília, and includes 70 articles, of which 16 are original, belonging to Brazilian researcher Maisur Musa, who is a son of Palestinian immigrants.
'The objective behind the fair is to transmit knowledge about the history of civilization,' stated Musa, who is the organizer of the event. The exhibition was opened on Thursday (17) and follows through to September 20, at the Conjunto Nacional. Mummies, sarcophagi, papyruses, weapons, coins and vases are some of the articles exhibited at the fair. Among the objects, Musa pointed out the mask of pharaoh Tutankhamon, the bust of Nefertiti and an antique statue of Venus."
See the above page for the full story.

Progress update re the Getty (
For those keeping tabs on the various claims by governments seeking the repatriation of artefacts, here is the latest news from the Getty Museum: "The J. Paul Getty Museum has signed over to Greece ownership of two ancient artifacts at the heart of a major cultural heritage dispute, officials said Tuesday. The private museum in Los Angeles agreed in July to return the two sculptures following intense pressure from Greece, which says they were illegally spirited out of the country. The ownership deeds were signed in Los Angeles on Sunday in the presence of Greek officials, the museum and the Greek culture ministry said in a joint statement."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Australian exhibition to host Louvre artefacts

"The National Gallery of Australia will host an exhibition of Egyptian artefacts from the Louvre in Paris, from November 17. Says the gallery: 'Follow the soul on its journey from earthly life to eternity in this exhibition. The collection of more than 200 reveals the mysteries of Egyptian art and culture in all its beauty.' The exhibition is organised by Art Exhibitions Australia in association with the National Gallery of Australia, and will be on show until February 25."

For full details of the Egyptian Antiquities from the Louvre exhibition see the National Gallery of Australia's dedicated web page at:
(Click on Future Exhibitions and page down to Egyptian Antiquities from the Louvre. Unlike other exhibitions on the page the title is not hyperlinked, for some reason, but if you click on the small More Information link underneath the introductory text it will take you to the right page. The unifying theme of the exhibition is the Book of the Dead: "We will see major sculptural works in stone and bronze, illustrated manuscripts, painted chests and mummy cases, low reliefs, jewellery, ceramics, and fine wood carving. The smallest objects in the exhibition are amulets and jewels for adorning and protecting mummies, made from ceramic, carnelian, and other semi-precious stones. An army of over two hundred faience shabti figures stands to attention, ready to act as deputies for the deceased in the afterlife, performing on his or her behalf any duties required. Hieroglyphic inscriptions on illustrated stele invoke the gods to grant favours and safe passage to donors on their travels through the afterlife to the Hall of Judgement. Painted scenes on canopic chests and mummy cases show vignettes from the journey of the dead, as they travel beyond the mortal realm towards eternal life with the gods."
See the above page for full details.

Review: Imhotep Museum at Saqqara

For those interested in the new Imhotep Museum at Saqqara, there's a good feature on the Tour Egypt website at the above address, describing the museum's galleries and the artefacts that they contain, accompanied by a large number of excellent photographs.

Concrete base of Ramses II disconnected

"The concrete base of the giant statue of Pharaoh Ramses II, scheduled to be moved to a new location, has been disconnected safely here, Director of Arab Contractors Company Ibrahim Mehleb has said. The company, in charge of a project to move the statue to another location, confirmed that no damage was done to the Pharaoh in the process. The 125-tonne statue will be moved next week to a more serene home near the Great Pyramids."
See the above page for the rest of this brief bulletin.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Hatshepsut at the Kimbell
The Kimbell Art Museum (Fort Worth, Texas) will be opening its doors this coming Sunday August 27th to Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh, which will be showing until 31st December 2006: "The exhibition features a number of monumental statues of Hatshepsut herself, including images of her as a female ruler, as a masculine king, and as a sphinx. In fact, one of only two statues of Hatshepsut from Deir el-Bahri (the site of her mortuary temple), in which her dress style and adornment depict her as female royalty, will be on view at the Kimbell. Numerous objects that belonged to courtiers and other elites during the rule of Hatshepsut are also presented, including elegant stone vessels, lavish gold jewelry, and furniture. A fully illustrated exhibition catalogue, published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press, is available in the Museum Shop."
See the above page for the full story.

For details of the Kimbell, see the Museum's website:
Details of the exhibtion, together with lectures designed to compliment it, can be found on the Kimbell's website at:

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Neferhotep tomb receives laser treatment (
"The conservation of an Egyptian tomb is a delicate, painstaking process. Dirt must be removed without damaging the fragile surfaces of the walls. In some cases, the grime is attached so firmly to the surface that even conventional hand-cleaning using chemical or mechanical methods is unsuitable. Application of water or solvents can lead to further penetration of the soot particles into the surface, and the deteriorated surface may be too fragile for mechanical cleaning. This is where laser technology comes in. A group of German conservators is using an ytterbium fiber laser to conserve the 3300-year-old tomb of Neferhotep, a senior Egyptian scribe who served in the temple of the god Amun."
See the above page for the full story.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Current Anthropology

Current Anthropology has a couple of Egypt-related articles in the latest issue (Volume 47, Number 4, August 2006). For the full list of contents see the above page.

Biological and Ethnic Identity in New Kingdom Nubia: A Case Study from Tombos

Implications of the Marked Artifacts of the Middle Stone Age of Africa

Book Reviews

Update 20:08 - Thanks to Chris Townsend, my official nitpicker, for pointing out that these reviews actually date to April 2006. I've left them in, on the offchance that anyone missed them back in April, but apologies to those who have seen them before. Andie.

The Pyramids and the Sphinx
"Bursting with full-color photographs and drawings, this beautifully illustrated book serves as a wonderful introduction to these royal monuments. The straightforward text explains the history and significance not only of the famous Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza, but also of the lesser-known tombs that stretch from Saqqara to Meidum and Dashur. The Pyramids and the Sphinx draws on the most recent archaeological findings to lead the reader on a discovery of the most fascinating aspects of Egyptian civilization".

40 Pyramids of Egypt and their Neighbors
"40 Pyramids, Sonbol’s latest self-published tome, is a reasonably daring enterprise in a time when the nation seems to be showing disinterest in books of this format. But Sonbol, an established photographer who is probably best known for being his generation’s top professional specializing in capturing ballets and other High Art performances on film, plunges on.
Here, though, there is a dramatic shift in interest as he primarily focuses on architecture. Not just any old form of architecture, but the masterpieces of Ancient Egypt surrounded with grandeur and mysticism.

See the above page for the remainder of these short reviews.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Hawass hopes to locate the tomb of Cleopatra
In his first trip to South Africa, Zahi Hawass has announced that he hopes to locate the tomb of Cloepatra in two months time: "Hawass told The Star on Wednesday that he suspects Cleopatra is buried with her Roman lover Mark Antony at a temple 30km from Alexandra called Tabusiris Magna. 'I believe it is a very sacred place and this is where they would have hidden Cleopatra and Marc Antony from Octavian,' Hawass explained. Access to the tomb, Hawass believes, is through a shaft. Previously he had descended 35m down the shaft but could get no further because of water."
See the above page for the remainder of the report.

Review of the new mummy gallery in Cairo

Nevine el-Aref reviews the new mummy gallery at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, giving very useful details about the origins of the mummies displayed. "The 53 mummies, the total in the two caches, were kept in the Egyptian museum for decades until 1994, when the first Royal Mummies Hall was opened on the museum's second floor. Last week, Culture Minister Farouk Hosni inaugurated the second gallery after two years of preparation. The opening comes almost 12 years after the opening of the first, which displays 11 royal mummies from the age of empire that began in the late 17th Dynasty and continued through the 19th Dynasty. Pharaohs of this period led the liberation war against the Hyksos.
The second gallery is designed like a royal tomb, with a vaulted ceiling and low, indirect lighting. It displays 11 mummies that are exhibited inside special showcases, each supplied with a small electronic device to observe and control the humidity level around the mummy minute by minute. The mummies belong to royal individuals of the 20th Dynasty such as Pharaoh Ramses III, and to priests of Amun who ruled the southern half of Egypt as priest-kings. . . . This room also displays three mummies of queens, including that of Maatkare."
See the above page for the full story.

Dig Days: Secrets from the embalming storeroom

Another curious piece about the internal politics within the KV63 team, from Zahi Hawass in his Dig Days column on the Al Ahram Weekly website: "Zahi HawassExcavations continue in the Valley of the Kings inside tomb KV63, which has now been identified as a storage place for embalming materials. The little curse of this tomb continues. In a previous article, I told the story of this remarkable discovery and the fight between the two Egyptologists Otto Shaden and Lorilei Cocron, who both wanted to be director of the excavation. Since that article was published many things have happened. Cocron came back to Egypt from Memphis and wanted to take photographs of the excavation. Shaden, as the official director according to the concession, prevented her from doing so. Mansour Boraik, director of Luxor antiquities, told me that Cocron had been seen sobbing in the valley. I do not know what we can do to resolve this problem but I believe we must encourage them both to finish their work, because the wood is deteriorating and they still have two coffins (one for an adult and one for a child) that have not been opened. Shaden wanted to leave the excavation for 10 days while he presented a talk at the American Research Center in New Jersey, and planned to close the excavation because he would not be there. I thought this might be dangerous because the work should have continued and conservation needed to be done."
See the above page for the full feature.

Re-housing of the Petrie Museum

It was good to read in the print edition of Ancient Egypt magazine, this month, that the Petrie Museum in London has been approved a grant of £5 million towards its move to new premises, planned for 2010, adding to a grant of £2.5 million and an interest free loan of £1.2 million from the HEFCE's Strategic Development fund: "The dramatic new building will provide three floors of gallery space for the Petrie Museum, together with a research room and conservation studio." All 80,000 items, including several hundred from the Amelia Edwards collection, and Petrie's large collection, will be on display or in visible storage.

The Petrie Museum website is at:

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Review: Rescuing the Past

Quite a long review (14 paragraphs) of the book Rescuing the Past, written by Jonathan Tokeley whilst serving out a prison sentence for attempting to smuggle in a piece of ancient Egyptian art:
"What he most wants to challenge is the prevailing orthodoxy among archaeologists, politicians, cultural ambassadors and museum curators which he terms the Cultural Heritage Crusade, or alternatively the Libertarian School. For Tokeley this orthodoxy is similar to a religious cult. It has a central dogma, the notion of cultural heritage which he feels obliged to capitalize in order to draw attention to the status given to it by its naive adherents. This is the idea that a nation’s past belongs to that nation and no other. . . . His proposal to free us from this belief system is to argue that objects from ancient Egypt are a commodity or resource like any other. Like such things, they can be bought and sold, and they can also be privatized. Western dealers and auction houses should be free to operate within Egypt. This would force prices up to international levels, and eliminate corruption and secretive dealing."
The review both describes the contents of the book, and comments on Tokeley's key arguments. A well written and fascinating article in its own right.

Jonathan Tokeley RESCUING THE PAST The cultural heritage crusade, 374pp. Imprint Academic. £25.84

Egyptian collection's new gallery (
"Liverpool's prestigious Egyptian collection is to get a new look - thanks to a £300,000 grant. World Museum Liverpool is one of 43 institutions across the country to benefit from grants totalling almost £4m, jointly funded by the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Wolfson Foundation Museums & Galleries Improvement Fund.
The grant will involve completely refurbishing the museum's Egyptian gallery, which is now 30 years old. The collection is the museum's largest single group of antiquities. It is made up of about 15,000 items, almost 5,000 of which came from a donation by Liverpool goldsmith and antiquarian Joseph Mayer in 1867."
The gallery is due for completion in 2008.

The URL for the World Museum Liverpool (UK) is:
Details of the Egyptology collection, with two online photograph galleries showing images and details of items in the collection, can be found on the site at:

Archaeology Magazine - September/October 2006

See the above address for a full list of contents of the latest issue of Archaeology magazine. Below are two items that might be of particular interest.

The magazine is leading with a feature entitled Archaeology: The Next 50 Years, by Brian Fagan, which looks at the future of archaeology irrespective of national boundaries. The abstract of the piece can be found at:
"I believe that the most exciting discoveries will come not necessarily from the material remains of the past, but from the ancient intangibles, from the unwritten forces that have governed human behavior for nearly 200,000 years. In the next half-century, we'll come much closer to the ultimate goal of archaeology--understanding human diversity and ourselves in the context of more than 200 millennia. And that, in and of itself, is reason enough to study archaeology--to understand the world of the past and why human beings are so similar and yet so different."
See the above page for the entire abstract.

A second piece is concerned directly with Egypt:
Egypt's Ageless Goddess by Jennifer Pinkowski (a former editor of the magazine) considers that goddess Mut and describes her primary place of worship, the Temple of Mut in Luxor:
"I'd seen aerial photographs and site plans of the temple precinct, but its scale still surprised me. All around lay colossal arms and knees, chopped-up stone blocks, truncated columns, and sculptures of sphinxes, rams, and goddesses from sloe-eyed Hathor to lion-headed Sekhmet. Straight ahead were the ruins of the Mut Temple itself, with two front courtyards, halls, chapels, and the sanctuary in which the statue of Mut had stood. Beyond the temple was the isheru, a horseshoe-shaped sacred lake. A half-dozen isheru existed in antiquity; this was the only one to survive."
Again, the abstract can be found at the above address.

IVth Central European Conference of Young Egyptologists

Thanks very much to Paula Veiga, who is speaking at the conference about the role of magic in medicine, for providing the address for the English language version of the Budapest conference website that I posted about yesterday: "The aim of the conference series initiated in 1999 is to provide opportunity for the region’s doctoral students and young colleagues to present their work and discuss the current state of Egyptological research in these countries. It is also an excellent occasion for reports and presentations about excavation projects pursued in Egypt. The conference aroused great interest throughout the world, and we have received a high number of applications from Australia to Russia. We have done our best to accept the most applications possible in order to create a colourful event, still, we could not give a positive answer to everyone. Even so, the programme of the conference has turned out to be rather dense".
The site includes a preliminary programme and abstracts, both in PDF format visitor maps for the two conference venues and newsletters (in MS Word format).

NYT entanglement with Bob Hecht?
Thanks to Suzan Mazur for pointing out her new article at the above address, entitled Add NYT To Bob Hecht Antiquities Ring Organigram?: "While various American antiquities dealers, curators and collectors are 'subjects of interest' of Italian and Greek prosecutors who, in the last year, particularly, have opened the floodgates for the return of their countries' cultural patrimony - the question is: Why not the media?
For instance, there is no finer example of promotion and protection afforded the antiquities trade than New York Times reporter Rita Reif's June 1988 plug for art dealer Bob Hecht in the story titled, "Archaic Smiles Have Persisted for 2,000 Years". Hecht is on trial in Rome for trafficking in ancient art --charged with being one of the capos, if not the mastermind of an international conspiracy.
But the media's entanglement starts much higher up than Reif. It begins with the NYT Sulzberger publishing family and includes its stable of art critics who have for decades serviced Hecht and other dealers selling antiquities without provenience (site from which artifact is plundered or excavated) with their unquestioning reviews of exhibitions and objects."
See the above page for the full story.

For those of you who haven't run into Scoop before (the website hosting this piece) you can find out about their approach and editorial policy at the following address. An extract is provided below.
"Scoop is a 'fiercely independent' press release driven Internet news agency accredited to the New Zealand Parliament Press Gallery and also fed by a multitude of Business, Non-Government-Organisation, Regional Government and Public Relations communication professionals. Scoop also publishes a variety of raw, unedited material from national and international commentators while producing its own editorial content on important current issues — often giving voice to perspectives not being addressed through 'traditional media' sources."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Konferenciát rendeznek a fiatal egyiptológusok
An Egyptological conference is apparently taking place in Budapest between August 31st and September 2nd 2006. I'm not going to pretend to have a clue what the introductory text on this page says, but if you look at the programme on the above page, most of it is in English. There are a large number of speakers presenting some very diverse papers.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Theban Mapping Project Masterplan

Thanks to Nigel Hetherington's post to EEF, to point out that the Kings Valley Masterplan is online, on the Theban Mapping Project's webbsite: "In the spring of 2004, the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) requested that the Theban Mapping Project (TMP) prepare a masterplan for the future management of the Valley. This project was generously supported by the World Monuments Fund (WMF), and the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE), and several private donors. What follows is the main text of that management plan".
The full masterplan is available, in pdf format, from the above page - it is broken down into a set of chapters, so each one needs to be opened separately. Although the masterplan is mentioned in the August 2006 Progress Report, it does not provide a link to the above page.

Two new sarchophagi

"Two ancient Egyptian sarcophagi dating back 3 000 years were discovered by highway workers south of Cairo, it was reported in Egypt on Monday.According to the Al-Ahram daily, workers along the southern Tora-Kotsika highway uncovered part of an ancient tomb while investigating a vehicle malfunction.The historic finds, including the two sarcophagi, are still being examined and analysed by specialists from the Supreme Council of Antiquities."

Also reported on the Egypt State Information Service, with a rather blurred photo:

Monday, August 14, 2006

Response from Hawass to "KV64"

It is no great surprise that the response of Zahi Hawass to the public release of news about the tentatively labled "KV64" by Nick Reeves has not bee particularly warm: "In a letter to USA TODAY, he writes, 'If what Mr. Reeves says is true, then why didn't he present this report to the Supreme Council of Antiquities.' He adds: 'Radar can also show anomalies that are not necessarily tomb shafts. It seems to me that Mr. Reeves wants publicity more than conducting his work through a scientific approach. For this reason, I am writing you to state that the information is not true.'
Reeves responds that he alerted Hawass and the Supreme Council to KV 64's location in August of 2005, but received no reply. 'Yes, I am clearly seeking publicity — but not for my own ends,' he says by e-mail. 'My sole ambition in this is to see archaeological work in the Valley of the Kings carried out with the care and attention it deserves and so desperately needs.'
Undoubtedly, the contested site will attract the attention of more researchers, who may resolve the question of its existence within the year. On Egyptology websites there is some support for a go-slow approach, and big doubts about whether Reeves will be allowed by Egypt to be part of any research in the area.
See the above page for the full article.

Luxor via Google Earth

For anyone planning a visit to Luxor, Jane Akshar has passed on a tip from some of her visitors at the above URL on her Luxor News blog. Satellite images from Google Earth delivered detailed images of the area, providing maps of tracks and paths which provided a different way of exploring Luxor. Details of the Google Earth project, and download details are at:

As an aside, Jane is on holiday for two weeks so her site will not be updated until she returns.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Egytpology pioneer Maggie Benson in her own words

The Archaeology magazine website has been updated again, with a super article about Maggie Benson - anyone intersted in the background to the field of Egyptology should read this, and enjoy:
"The Temple of Mut is the earthly home of Mut, the powerful mother goddess and defender of Egypt, and a testament to the might of the female pharaoh Hatshepsut, who built the temple to associate herself with the revered goddess and emphasize both her own position of power and her femininity. Thus, it seems fitting that another pioneering female, Margaret Benson, conducted the first large-scale excavations of the Temple of Mut. As the first woman to lead an excavation in Egypt, Benson worked for three seasons at Mut between 1895 and 1897, unearthing valuable evidence of the temple's history and Hatshepsut's influence there. The letters she wrote to friends and family from Egypt, compiled by her brother Arthur into Life and Letters of Maggie Benson (1917), and the book she co-authored on the excavation, The Temple of Mut at Asher (1899), provide a glimpse into the mind of this extraordinary woman. They reveal Benson's devotion to the project and to the temple, her interest in Egyptology, and her keen intellect and wit."
The article goes on to provide biographical details about Benson, with extracts from her book talking about her work at the Temple of Mut:
"Our first intention was not ambitious. We were desirous of clearing a picturesque site. We were frankly warned that we should make no discoveries; indeed if any had been anticipated it was unlikely that the clearance would have been entrusted to inexperienced direction."

The author of the article is Sarah Pickman, an intern at ARCHAEOLOGY, and an undergraduate student at the University of Chicago, pursuing a major in anthropology and a minor in art history.

Maintaing standards of guiding in Egypt

Thanks to Kat Newkirk, who spotted this interesting piece that I missed on the Egypt Today website. It looks at the problem of falling standards due to unlicensed tour guides, the issues with tourists from countries whose languages are not well represented amongst licensed Egyptian tour guides, and the difficulties of handling political and religious queries:
"Not too long ago, the nation’s belly dancers were in an uproar: Foreigners were entering the field, they complained, taking jobs away from home-grown professionals and changing the image of what used to be an Oriental art. Celebrity belly dancers including Fifi Abdou rallied and, in 2003, the Ministry of Manpower and Immigration banned non-Egyptians from obtaining belly dancing licenses. That ban was reversed a year later, however, and now shows headlining Russian dancers attract locals and tourists alike.
For Egyptian tourist guides, it’s déjà vu all over again. Enraged guides are taking a stand against what they call illegal guiding, which mostly takes the form of unlicensed foreigners accompanying tour groups in the country. Local professionals claim the phenomenon threatens not just the economy, but the nation’s heritage and even national security.
Egyptologist Aladdin Khalifa is an executive member of the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (WFTGA) and its official representative for Africa. The WFTGA is a non-profit, non-political organization, composed of national tourist guide associations, individual guides, educational institutions and convention and visitor’s bureaus. According to Khalifa, a tourist guide for more than 15 years, illegal guiding is at the top of the WFTGA’s agenda, as members believe it brings down the overall standards of the profession."
See the above page for the full article.
A second item on the same page also looks at the role of illegal immigration.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Hawass in South Africa

"World famous archaeologist, author and international television personality Dr Zahi Hawass, arrives in South Africa this month for a one week lecture tour. Hawass, renowned equally as head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities as for his regular appearances on DSTV’s National Geographic Channel, will present a series of illustrated talks on new discoveries in the Pyramids. Scheduled to take place in Johannesburg (Monday 14 August) and Cape Town (Wednesday 16 and Thursday 17 August), Hawass’s lectures will be compelling for all members of the public who are intrigued by the mysteries and marvels of Egypt."
See the above page for the full story.

Also covered at:

Saturday Trivia

DVD Review - Curse of King Tut's Tomb
An enjoyable review of a TV movie: "After a horrible opening narration which flubs its Egyptology to suit the needs of the film, we're introduced to Danny Freemont (Casper Van Diem), an Indiana Jones styled archeologist who has made it his life's work to find the ancient emerald tablet of the late King Tutankhamen which is rumored to give great power to anyone who should be so lucky as to possess it…. power enough to rule the world! . . . . Not even the ultra-coolness of Malcolm McDowell, who has a supporting role here as Mr. Cairnes, can save this turkey".

Nefertiti - new novel out next year
Thanks to Sarah Gonul for pointing out the above web page. An animated splash page introduces a forthcoming novel about Nefertiti and Akhenaten by Michelle Moran. To bypass the animation, go to the second URL for details about the book, due in 2007.

Nuclear industry learns from ancient Egyptians
The UK Atomic Energy Authority are taking a leaf out of the ancient Egyptian's book: "Computer technology is notorious for being superceded rather quickly. Over the millennia that the waste will need to be stored, it is reasonable to assume that the software and hardware used to store any supporting documentation will be out of date.In the light of this, the UKAEA decided to ditch all the high tech solutions and go for something that has a genuinely proven track record: Papyrus. Or, the closest thing we've got that doesn't involve actual reeds: so-called permanent paper. After all, if it worked for the Ancient Egyptians, it should work for us."

Friday, August 11, 2006

Skirting the legal limits at Giza

Article about how touts encourage tourists to break the rules at the pyrmaids. In this piece, a would-be guide entered the author's taxi en route to Giza, a common pracise, and the writer goes onto to describe the experience of taking one of these rule-breaking options:
"If there is one key to a successful illegal ride around the pyramids, it is having a guide who knows how to deal with the tourist police, whose role it is to prevent you from doing exactly what you are doing. For Sam, the tactic is to simply walk around them, yelling at them in Arabic and whipping Moses 2000 onward.
Whatever he tells them, it works. In challenge after challenge, he simply presses forward with impunity, uttering some sort of password or claim of legitimacy. Somehow, it gains him immunity in the park. He encourages his guests to climb on the monuments, do anything they want, right under the eye of the tourist police. Along with urging you to break the cardinal rule of the pyramids — don’t climb on the monuments — Sam invites you to dismount and scramble among some lower tombs of workers who built the pyramids, making various claims about who is buried where."
See the above for the full story.

If it is of any interest, I was going to a conference at the Mena House (hotel just outside the entrance to the pyramids) a couple of years ago, by taxi, and a tout climbed into the front seat along the road leading up to the pyramids. The driver explained that I was actually off to the Mena House, and my would-be guide lost interest and got out at the next halt. A good tactic if you want to see the pyramids without the spiel. It's only a couple of minutes to walk from the Mena House to the official entrance.

Giza Archives Project

The Spring 2006 issue of Egyptian Archaeology contains an article about the Giza Archives Project. Apologies that this is a bit late - I was updating one of my other websites last night and noticed this update on the Giza Archives Project . The article, in PDF format, provides an update about the project and plans for its future.

North Kharga Oasis Survey
The NKOS has been updated with a short description of their activities in the 2006 season.

Other survey/excavation team websites that have been updated this year can be found at:

Egypt Today Online - August 2006
The Egypt Today website was updated today with August 2006 edition. The Egyptology news items have already been reported here and elsewhere, but the Pharaonic mine map feature, provides a more comprehensive version of the story that was reported in brief by other publications.

Pharonic map provides route to modern mine
"El-Raghy, founder of Centamin Mining, had returned home to look at the Rosetta Mineral Sands Deposit, a valuable, if unglamorous, 37-metric-ton deposit of ilmenite and zircon located 60 kilometers east of Alexandria. While he was visiting the offices of the Egyptian Geological Survey and Mining Authority (EGSMA), he noticed an unusual wall hanging: a copy of the oldest geologic map in the world.
The 3,200-year-old papyrus map, discovered in Luxor in 1820, showed the locations of the Pharaonic mines in the Fawakhir district between present-day Edfu and Marsa Alam.
Intrigued, Sami quickly concluded his business in Rosetta and made his way to the Eastern Desert to seek out the long-dormant mines of the Pharaohs. What he found some 600 kilometers southwest of Cairo was an incredibly rich mineral deposit — essentially neglected for two millennia — that could transform not just the Red Sea Governorate but the entire Egyptian economy when it is brought on stream later this year."
See the above page for the full story.

Painting by Howard Carter sold
"Sold, for £13,000 in England, a painting by world-renowned Egyptologist Howard Carter. Carter, famed for his discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922, painted the watercolor of Deir El-Bahari’s Queen Senseneb in 1897. The watercolor was left to owner Barbara Rampton 15 years ago, where it has since been hanging at a holiday cottage, but she did not realize its significance until she took it to a charity valuation."

Application to include Sarabit El-Khadim as World Heritage Site
"Egypt filed an application with UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee to include the Temple of Sarabit El-Khadim in its list of World Heritage Sites.
The Ministry of Culture had teamed up with French experts for the 18-year-long restoration of the temple, also known as the Turquoise Temple. The Ancient Egyptian masterpiece dedicated to the god Hat-Hor graces one of Sinai’s highest mountains, and is located in the middle of the area’s richest copper and turquoise mines.
If the application is successful, the temple will become the sixth Egyptian site to be included in the list of the world’s most important monuments."

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Theban Mapping Project

The Theban Mapping Project have emailed out their August 2006 Progress Report, complete with updates and photographs. A web version appears on the above page. There's a short update re KV5 (the total number of chambers found has now reached 128), but the main topics are the Valley of the Kings site management, the Valley of the Kings Visitor Centre, and Digitial Photography. The digital photography section lists the tombs for which photographic records have now been completed (which will be added to the TMP website soon), and looks at some of the important associated work that goes into making this digital record: "The photographic survey was part of a detailed conservation report on each tomb that notes current conditions and potential problems, and includes historical data that allows one to trace the changing state of KV tomb decoration and structural conditions. We believe that it is absolutely essential to have such a survey before any work (such as new tourist facilities, new lighting, or cleaning) is conducted in the tombs".
See the above page for full details.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Expedition Magazine - Summer Issue

Expedition's summer edition (Volume 48, Number 2, Summer 2006). Highlighted items are available on the website, in PDF format. Others are not available online.

Meet the Curators--Holly Pittman
Museum Mosaic--People, Places, Projects
Research Notes--Finding the Original Home of the Museum's Brahma

The Excitement of First Discovery--South Abydos 1899-1903 (Kei Yamamoto)
David Randall-MacIver--Explorer of Abydos and Curator of the Egyptian Section (Jennifer Houser Wegner)
Beneath the Mountain-of-Anubis--Ancient Egypt's First Hidden Royal Tomb (Josef Wegner)
Borrowed Legacy--Royal Tombs S9 and S10 at South Abydos (Dawn McCormack)
Food Fit for the Soul of a Pharaoh--The Mortuary Temple's Bakeries and Breweries (Vanessa Smith)
Echoes of Power--The Mayor's House of Ancient Wah-Sut (Josef Wegner)
Egypt's Well-To-Do--Elite Mansions in the Town of Wah-Sut (Nicholas S. Picardo)
A Tale of the Bones--Animal Use in the Temple and Town of Wah-Sut (Stine Rossel)

Introducing children to the ancient Egyptians

A rather nice idea by a shopping mall in Dubai, to encourage children to become familiar with ancient Egypt: "Reef Mall is celebrating Knowledge Surprises this Week. Organised by Dubai Land Department during Dubai Summer Surprises, this week the mall presents the wonders of Egyptian civilization. The mall is hosting ‘Pharaoh Era’, which will revive the ancient Egyptian civilization, which has been one of the most influential civilizations in human history. The aim of the ‘Pharaoh Era’ event is to educate children about this great civilization, its lifestyle and what it has offered us. This activity will enhance children’s understanding since information is presented in a simple and fun approach that will entertain kids by combining excitement with knowledge."

Details about the mall can be found at:

CPAK looming

The Conference of Precession and Ancient Knowledge is being increasingly picked up on by the online media, with references to individual speakers and their topics. This piece picks up on the claims by one presenter, John Anthony West, to have found evidence that the Sphinx is older than it is conventionally believed to be: "West will present evidence that shows that ancient cultures, particularly that of Egypt, were likely more advanced than many scholars now believe. According to West, the ancient Egyptians themselves attributed their wisdom to an earlier age going back over 10,000 years. West set out to test the hypothesis that the Sphinx was much older than its conventional date of 2500 BC. His findings provide the first hard evidence that an earlier age of civilization preceded the known development of civilization in the Nile valley."

CPAK will take place between October 13th and 15th 2006. For more about CPAK, including their presenters, location and schedule, see:

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

More re Ramesses II statue

"Transferring Ramses II statue from Mit Rahina, where it was originally found in 1882, to the Ramses square was a mistake, Dr Zahi Hawwas the Secretary-General of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) said at a press conference Monday. Hawwas said Egyptian engineers will transfer the statue to the new Egyptian Museum on August 25 and the event will be aired live by the Egyptian TV. Hawwas also said that the SCA would also transfer the obelisk currently standing in El-Gezira area in Giza to the Grand Museum of Egypt."
Very brief details about the Pharaoh Ramesses II are also on the above page.

More re "KV64"
Not news per se, but this is one of the very few articles to react to Nick Reeves's postings about a possible new chamber in the Valley of the Kings, with a summary of the story to date. Although a couple of news sites have picked up on the story, the coverage has been surprisingly thin on the ground.

Also covered on:

Monday, August 07, 2006

New mummy hall opens in Cairo Museum

"Minister of Culture Farouq Hosni inaugurates today the second hall of mummies that was set by the Supreme Council for Antiquities at the Egyptian museum in al Tahrir. Twelve royal mummies will be exhibited in the hall after twelve years since the inauguration of the first hall which included other eleven mummies. The Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Antiquities, Dr. Zahi Hawwas said that these mummies have been accurately restored in the laboratory of antiquities researches before being exhibited to get rid of humidity so as to prevent bacterial growth. An American researcher has prepared a study about the hall and a catalogue for its contents, which was useful in developing the hall and providing it with show windows and modern lights.
Head of the Egyptian museum, Dr. Wafaa Seddeq said that the hall houses eleven royal mummies in a good condition. They were discovered in the treasure of al Deir Al Bahari at Luxor then stored in the Egyptian museum about 80 years ago. The mummies date back to the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st dynasties. Some are royal mummies , others represent Amoun's priests."
This is the entire post on the State Information Service website.

Also available in video, showing the mummies and Zahi Hawass speaking about the new gallery on the BBC website either from their home page at or at the direct URL

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Learning by doing at Quest for Immortality (
"For parents with little Picassos at home, The Quest for Immortality: Treasures of Ancient Egypt exhibit will fascinate any kid as they peer at coffins and try to pronounce names like Wenudjebauendjed.
Beyond the mummies, however, The Frist Center for the Visual Arts also gives the whole family a crack at flexing their artistic muscles in the Martin ArtQuest interactive gallery.
ArtQuest gives kids — and kids at heart — a free chance to create art that works in conjunction with the current exhibits.
Now, visitors are painting with watercolors, designing their own mini-pyramids and pressing multicolored ink designs onto papyrus paper from Egypt."

EEF News Digest
Last week's EEF News Digest will be online at the above address later today, for all the latest information about exhibitions, conferences, lectures and new online and print publications, grants awards and fellowships, new websites, courses and trips, plus a round up of last week's main news items.

Hollywood takes on the Exodus

I don't usually cover Biblical archaeology, but this one stood out as being somewhat off the beaten track: "The greatest story ever told has acquired a Hollywood twist. James Cameron, the director of Titanic, is the executive producer of a new documentary that claims to have uncovered fresh evidence confirming one of the most dramatic episodes in the Old Testament — the parting of the Red Sea and the Jewish exodus from Egypt. In The Exodus Decoded, a 90-minute documentary that will be shown in America this month, Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici, the Canadian film producer, claim a volcanic eruption on the Greek archipelago of Santorini triggered a chain of natural catastrophes recorded in the Bible as the 10 plagues that God visited upon Egypt as punishment for enslaving the Jews.
Cameron believes the parting of the Red Sea may have been a tsunami that destroyed the pharaoh’s army as it pursued the escaping Jews. The documentary claims the episode occurred not at the Red Sea but at the smaller Sea of Reeds, a marshy area at the northern end of the Gulf of Suez."

Saturday, August 05, 2006

AERA website updated

Thanks to a posting on EEF for the information that the AERA website has been updated with some new articles:

Conserving and reconstructing a pyramid builder's house:
"In the autumn of 2005, AERA initiated a project to not only conserve but to reconstruct one architectural unit of the ancient Egyptian settlement we are excavating."
"Many people think of flint as Stone Age technology. The fact that people used flint and other stone for tools is what defines prehistory as the Stone Age. This has led to an under-appreciation of the role of flint in sophisticated, literate societies, such as that of Old Kingdom Egypt (2575-2134 BC)."

For those unfamiliar with AERA, their mission statement reads: "Ancient Egypt Research Associates explores Egypt’s archaeological record seeking the origins of civilization. Our mission is to contribute insight and understanding to the present awareness of cultural evolution." For more about AERA and their work, visit their website at:

Ancient Egypt Magazine - August/September
The August/September issue of “Ancient Egypt” magazine is now out.

Contents include articles on;
- Tomb KV 63 in the Valley of the Kings: University of Memphis team member Roxanne Wilson gives the fullest-yet account of the work in the clearance of the tomb in this third of a series of articles. There will be a fourth update in the October issue.
- Hedgehogs in ancient Egypt: Magda van Ryneveld explains why the humble hedgehog features as much as it does in ancient Egyptian art.
- Clothing Culture: Dress in Egypt in the First Millennium AD: Frances Pritchard reports on a stunning new exhibition at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester.
- Friends of Nekhen News: The fourth of our reports on the important and revealing work being done at Hierakonpolis. This article looks at the painted decoration in the tombs at the site and what they tell us about life in the ancient city.
- Menkaura’s anthropoid coffin. A wooden coffin found in the pyramid of Menkaura at Giza, bears the king’s name. But was it really his? Paul Boughton investigates.
- Vivant Denon’s “mysterious cache”. Marriane Luban reports on the activities of one of the first collectors of Egyptian antiquities at the end of the 18th century AD.
Harvesting a Pharaoh: An unexpected discovery in the 18th Dynasty tomb of Anen at Thebes brought a lost painting back to life. Lyla Pinch-Brock describes how.

Plus Book Reviews:
- Hatshepsut: from Queen to Pharaoh, edited by Catharine Roehrig.
- Ancient Egypt: lithographs by David Roberts, by Fabio Bourbon.
- Cairo, The family guide, by Lesley Labadidi.
- Egyptian Sites: Lahun. A town in history and its place in the landscape, by Stephen Quirke.
- The Symbolic World of Egyptian Amulets, by Phillipe Germond.
- More usefully Employed: Amelia Edwards, writer, traveller and campaigner for ancient Egypt, by Brenda Moon.
- Matilda Betham-Edwards: Novelist, Travel Writer and Francophile, by Joan Rees.
- The Psalms of RA: CD and book, composer Jim Berenholtz
- Mozart in Egypt. CD

And regular Features, which include:

- News from Egypt, from Egyptian Egyptologist Ayman Wahby Taher, with even more pages allocated to the latest news and images from Egypt.
- Egyptology Society details and full listing of forthcoming lectures and event in the UK from August until October.

In Future editions.

- More news from the Valley of the Kings and from Hierakonpolis.
- The mystery of hieroglyphs.
- Excavating the tomb of Harwa at Thebes.
- Rock art from the Gilf Khebir in the Western desert of Egypt.
- The new Imhotep Museum at Saqqara
- More on the possible new tomb in the valley of the Kings (KV64?)

Saturday Trivia: Lifestyle

Interactive dinner parties (
A new interactive comedy mystery in Arizona: "The scene is set in 1925 Scotland at Castle MacLaird, where Lord MacLaird is hosting a dinner party to show off an ancient sarcophagus and mummy he has brought back from an expedition in Egypt. It was around the same time that two Englishmen, Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter, found King Tutankhamun's tomb. The mummy happens to be King Tut's long lost brother. Things, however, become less celebratory when an altercation occurs between the Lord and a guest, Nigel Carrington, over the ownership of the mummy. Carrington is found dead later, and the guests have to figure out the cause."

Pets forever:
"More and more options are available these days for pet owners who want to build memorials to their beloved animals after they die. Funeral homes that are exclusively for people's pets exist, and some companies specialize in building gravestones for pets when they're buried. One Utah company offers a method that probably hasn't entered the minds of most pet owners: mummification."
With a photograph infinitely more eerie than anything that the ancient Egyptians ever produced.

Interior Decorating: (
"With the popularity of The Quest for Immortality: Treasures of Ancient Egypt at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, can a surge in popularity for Egyptian-themed decor be far behind? While it may be a stretch to envision a large-scale pyramid or sarcophagus in our home design, adding an element of ancient Egypt may be the fix for a room lacking personality."

Friday, August 04, 2006

Update - "KV64"

Thanks to Aayko Eyma for pointing out that the Archaeology magazine website has now been updated with an interview with Nick Reeves, who has recently announced the presence on radar images of a possible new tomb in the Valley of the Kings: "My aim in posting our data was not to claim a prize for discovering the next Tutankhamun. It was to alert people to the immense potential the Valley of the Kings still holds, despite two centuries of serious archaeological abuse. As we've demonstrated, there are indeed new tombs to be found; as important, though, is our discovery of extensive areas of intact stratigraphy which have by a miracle survived beneath the tourist paths. This stratigraphy is immensely significant for the history of the Valley and, properly treated, capable of providing a context for much of what has been dug up so badly in the past."
For the entire interview, with background information, see the above page.

More re dry run for Ramesses statue removal

"It took eight hours for a replica of the 125- tonne red granite statue of Ramses II to make its overnight journey from Tahrir Square to the planned Grand Egyptian Museum overlooking the Giza plateau. The move was a rehearsal run for the move later this month of the real statue, which is still at Cairo's main train station. Nevine El-Aref joined the accompanying motorcade.
In the central plaza of Tahrir Square two gigantic red vehicles decorated with four Egyptian flags and carrying the replica of Ramses II's statue were ready to leave."
See the above page for the full story.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Toutankhamon Magazine - August/September 2006

Toutankhamon magazine, no.28 (August/September 2006) is now available in French. Contents are listed below:

Actualités :
Le Musée Imhotep de Saqqarah
Les dernières fouilles de Karnak, avec l'interview du directeur de la mission franco-égyptienne de Karnak, Emmanuel Laroze

Dossier spécial pharaons:
Narmer, Djoser, Khéops, Pépi II, Montouhotep II, les Sésostris, le roi Hor, Kamosis, Amosis, Thoutmosis I, Hatshepsout, Thoutmosis III, Aménophis III, Akhenaton, Toutankhamon, Horemheb, Séthy I, Ramsès II, Ramsès III, les Psousennés, les Psammétique, les Nectanébo, Ptolémée I, Cléopâtre VII !

Gizeh : les pyramides servies sur un plateau

Contact information can be found at:

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Exhibition: Tutankhamun hours extended

"The Field Museum will extend its hours on Aug. 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 24 and 27 until 9 p.m., with the last entry at 7 p.m. The museum will open earlier in the mornings -- at 7:30 a.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Sept. 3, the museum announced.
Tickets cost $25 for adults, $22 for seniors and students with ID, $16 for children 4 to 11, and include general admission to the museum.
On some evenings, the museum hosts a premium ticket, Tut at Twilight, with reduced crowds at a cost of $50. These exclusive evening screenings are held each Tuesday in August from 5:30 to 10 p.m., with the last admission at 8:30 p.m."

Tut at Twilight opening times can be found at the following URL:

Tourism In Egypt

Korean article looking at the opportunities for investors in the tourism industry in Egypt: "Investing in Tourism will give the investor the privilege of low infrastructure cost, Income and sales Tax exemption (in free zones areas) and only 5% custom duties on imported machinery, the use of 14 commercial seaports efficiently managed and 232000 university graduates annually." See the above page for the full article.

ABZU updated

New from Chuck Jones: To find material newly added to Abzu, you can follow the "View items recently added to ABZU link at:
Entries stay there for a month from the date they are entered.
Alternatively you can make use of the RSS feed from the same page, or you can read the blog constructed from the RSS feed What's New in Abzu blog:
This blog gives a listing of everything added to the database since September 30 2005 (1300 items - about 250 in the past month).
For further information on RSS feeds see: (among other places).

For those unfamiliar with Abzu, operating since October 1994 it is "a guide to the rapidly increasing, and widely distributed data relevant to the study and public presentation of the Ancient Near East via the Internet."

Book Reviews: Impacts of climate on ancient civilizations

Book review of The Winds of Change by Eugene Linden. Long term visitors will know that I am interested in past climate change, and its impacts (or otherwise) on human occupation patterns. The above book looks at how climate has impacted civilizations in the past. It does not appear to refer specifically to Egypt or the Sahara, but as previous posts on this topic have generated quite a few emails asking for additional references etc, I've posted it anyway (my copy is on order).

There's another review of it on the UK Amazon site:
"In this well-written account, the author reviews the evidence for early climate shifts and their impact on early human societies. He follows the scientists and their research results in building a framework for how climate works, and what its past impact has been. Linden reminds his readers that however they consider climate, they must remember that it is the background "playing field" in which our society operates."

To everyone who has asked for an updated version of my Saharan climate bibliography - hang on in there, I'll have it finished in the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

500,000 visitors to Tutankhamun at the Field

The last report I posteed about ticket sales in Chicago announced that they had just past 400,000 visitors at the end of June. This very brief report announces that another 100,000 visitors have been to the exhibition since then: "The Field Museum has sold a half million tickets to its King Tut exhibit. And the high response has prompted the Chicago museum to extend the hours for people to view Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs on several days in August and September. The Field says the Tut exhibit has drawn groups from 41 different states, and some visitors viewing the exhibit hail from as far away as Alaska and Brazil."

EEF News Digest
Last week's EEF News Digest is now online at the above address, for all the latest information about exhibitions, conferences, lectures and new online and print publications, grants awards and fellowships, new websites, courses and trips, plus a round up of last week's main news items.

Decorated houses of Nubia (
It's a very slow news day today, so I've added this article because it may be of interest to those interested in modern as well as ancient Egyptian culture. The article looks at modern Nubian decorated houses, some os which use imagery dating back to the Pharaonic and Medieval periods. "Even more distinctive than the floor plan of a Nubian house is the decoration of its exterior doorway, or bawaba, which mixes vivid color, adobe brick filigree, figurative and geometric images in mud and white lime-plaster relief, and wall-mounted objects like ceramic plates, automobile headlights, mirrors, cow horns and dried crocodiles. While the full range of these decorative materials has shrunk in recent years, the impulse to draw attention to one’s home, and to its doorway as a symbol of the family, remains strong."
This is a fascinating article.