Saturday, March 31, 2007
A crew spent about an hour removing a 6,000-pound granite lion from its crate and, using heavy-duty rigging, painstakingly installed it in the lower-level gallery. The sculpture was one of two commissioned by Pharaoh Amenhotep III, who ruled from 1390 to 1352 B.C., to decorate his temple in Sudan. . . . The exhibition will be organized into four themes: the lives of artists and nobles, the king and the temple, statues and burial objects. Some of the objects are as old as 3,000 years, and include sculpture, jewelry, cosmetic tools and funeral items. The objects are part of the permanent collection at the British Museum, and constitute one of the most significant repositories of historical Egyptian items outside of Cairo."
The N.C. Museum of Art in North Carolina (U.S.) website is at:
"The Merowe dam is a controversial hydroelectric project one of the largest in Africa being erected on the Nile's fourth cataract and due to start flooding the valley over more than 100 miles within months. Archaeologists admit that an incalculable amount of information will be forever lost. But the largest archaeological rescue project since the Nubian campaign began in the 1960s (during the construction of the Aswan dam in southern Egypt) has unearthed a heritage that would likely have remained untapped."
- A message from the Chair - Lucia Gahlin
- Lectures and Tours 2007
- Egyptian Ambassador visits the Petrie Museum
- Rehousing the Petrie Museum Photographic Archive
- Acquisition of the Dahshur Lake tapestry
- News from the British Egyptian Society
- Music ancient and modern
- Moving the museum out of Malet Place
- Care and Repair at the Petrie
Associate provost and director of core curriculum in the American University in Cairo (AUC) John Swanson, mocked the Hollywood portrayal of Ancient Egypt, during a talk he gave Wednesday night at AUC. . . . He explained that Hollywood movies during the 50s and 70s only showed interest in Ancient Egypt, or the Egypt of the Pharaohs. Directors became fixated with only one period of time that existed 2,000 years ago. The movies show that Egypt ceases to exist beyond that period, and also show stereotypical plots that are 'divorced of anything that has to do with Modern Egypt,' said Swanson."
Friday, March 30, 2007
Yet the story of how the Great Pyramid of Giza was actually built has remained a mystery for more than four millennia - until, perhaps, now.
A French architect believes he has finally solved one of the most puzzling construction problems in history by working out how the ancient Egyptians built such a massive structure without the benefit of iron tools, pulleys or wheels.
In Paris tomorrow, Jean-Pierre Houdin will unveil the fruits of eight years' work by describing at a conference how the pyramid of the pharaoh Khufu was built from the inside out. He will propose that the Egyptians carried the building blocks up an internal ramp that formed a spiral tunnel within the structure's outer wall. These tunnels, he believes, must still exist today.
With the help of sophisticated computer software developed by the French company Dassault Systemes, M. Houdin has been able to reconstruct a three-dimensional simulation of how the great limestone and granite blocks of the pyramid were put together stone by stone."
This week after six consecutive concessions, the mission has unearthed instruments used at the funeral inside the tomb that add emphasis to the importance of Djehuty's position.
While cleaning the debris in the tomb's open courtyard archaeologists found a 70cm-deep pit containing 42 clay vases and 42 flower bouquets."
The site has a website dedicated to it at:
The grand theatre became a temple for the day, embellished with a noble façade, columns and statues of ancient Egyptian Pharaohs and deities. The stage had a special backdrop featuring animated ancient Egyptian workmen carving the title of the gathering: 'The First Day of Archaeologists' on a limestone wall.
Strains of classical music filled the theatre hall as foreign and Egyptian archaeologists were welcomed by Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA).
From next year on the day will be held annually on 14 January. This is the date when, in 1953, the Egyptian Antiquities Authority (EAA) became an Egyptian-run organisation headed by Mustafa Amer, the first Egyptian archaeologist to oversee Egypt's antiquities."
When apprised of the situation, Christie's immediately removed the first duck from auction list and turned it over to the United States Department of Homeland Security. It will be returned to Egypt next week."
The existence of the hair came to light last year when some of the strands were offered for sale on the internet for between 2000 and 2500 euros ($3800 and $4760), in addition to tiny pieces of resin and embalmed cloth taken from the mummy."
Also covered at:
Lost Ramessid and Late Period Tombs in the Theban Necropolis
by Lise Manniche, Museum Tusculanum Press (Hardback)
Release date : 1st June 2007
Soldier of the Pharaoh : Middle Kingdom Egypt
by Nic Fields, Osprey Publishing UK (Paperback)
Release date : 18th September 2007
Middle Kingdom Tomb Architecture at Lisht
by Dieter Arnold, Yale University Press London
Release date: March 2007
Thursday, March 29, 2007
To accompany the above article there is an interview with one the author, Andrew Lawler: "The city felt inhabited by so many layers, so many ghosts from so many eras, and yet was also a thoroughly modern Egyptian city. So it was an unusual combination of past, present and future. It's all very rich. I spent a lot of time simply walking the streets, walking around without focusing too much on maps or guidebooks, just wandering because I know in Forster's book he and others have talked about the value of simply wandering the streets of Alexandria. You can really get a feel for the different kinds of architecture and the different eras."
Cleopatra's foreign policy goal, in addition to preserving her personal power, was to maintain Egypt's independence from the rapidly expanding Roman Empire. By trading with Eastern nations—Arabia and possibly as far away as India—she built up Egypt's economy, bolstering her country's status as a world power. "
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
A somewhat tenuous link to ancient Egypt, but it's a slow news day: "It‘s a rare chance to smell the scent of ancient history — typically a mix of natural spices and olive oil — thanks to an exhibit in Rome featuring fragrances from the world‘s oldest known perfume factory. . . . While perfumes and ointments have been found in tombs in Egypt and Mesopotamia, Belgiorno said this was a rare case where an entire factory dedicated to making perfume was found."
See the above page for the full story
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
We are excited about the upcoming 2007 season and are anxious to return to our work in KV-10 and KV-63.
Many thanks for your patience and support. Please check this site frequently for updated donor information.In April, many of the KV-63 staff members will be at the ARCE Annual Meeting in Toledo, we hope to see some of you there."
"Egypt has succeeded in retrieving two food alabaster boxes in the shape of ducks which had been excavated by Dr. Dieter Arnold in 1979 from the pyramid complex of Amenemhat III at Dahshur then smuggled abroad. These were reconstructed, then taken immediately to the magazines at Saqqara and stored there, Culture Minister Farouk Hosni announced Sunday.
Secretary General of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) Zahi Hawass explained that such boxes returned back to Egypt with the help of Arnold who is now a senior curator at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Hawass continued that several years ago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the other from Rupert Wace Ancient Art Limited in London. Arnold was intrigued by these ducks, as he knew they must be royal, but the Metropolitan Museum was not satisfied with their provenances and decided against buying them. However, he and his assistant, Adela Oppenheim, continued to study photographs of these ducks and realised that they were, in fact, the same ducks that Arnold has excavated in 1979. Arnold informed Hawass immediately of this situation."
See the above page for the full story.
Firstly, my thanks to our guide Mahmoud Abd El Mola for his expertise and practical advice. He was one of the best tour guides I've met in all my visits to Egypt.
Getting to Aswan turned out to be fun and games. Direct flights to Aswan from overseas have been suspended, so you have to fly into Luxor and take a coach or train. The coach trip took four hours (we were told three). As the check in time was three hours before the flight, and the flight was over five hours long, this made for a very long day - even longer on the reverse leg of the trip, because the plane was an hour late leaving. It is very tiring. It is something to consider when you are thinking of a trip to Aswan.
Aswan is now big. Visiting again Aswan after nearly 10 years was an amazing eye opener, and not quite what I remembered. It has grown considerably, with new buildings (domestic, industrial, civic, military) still going up at a staggering rate. It seemed unlikely that the cause of all this growth could be tourism alone, so we asked Mahmoud, who gave us a list of the economic activities in the immediate vicinity. This included two sugar refineries, a steel works, a Coca Cola factory and a fertilizer plant serving the entire of Upper Egypt - the second major plant is at Alexandria and serves Lower Egypt. Fertilizer is now a necessity in Egypt, due to the build up of the fertile African silt behind the Aswan dam. There is also granite quarrying and the maintenance of the hydroelectric plants and turbines of the two Aswan dams, plus fishing, with a canning plant near Kalabsha. Tourism is obviously a contributing factor, with numerous hotels and restaurants, an endless stream of cruise boats and the management of archaeological monuments.
The main town itself is an odd mixture. The Nile-side Corniche (the road that borders the Nile) has good views over the river with its islands and constant flow of feluccas and decorative motor boats, and the constant pestering to take boat rides is not as insistent as that of Luxor - but it is still wearing, even with the necessary Egyptian Arabic to be firmly but politely negative. The buildings that front the Corniche are mainly banks and hotels with apartments above, and are neither attractive nor particularly interesting - and most are really quite ugly. Go beyond the corniche, and there are some interesting side roads, but until you reach the bits where tourists don't venture (and are therefore not a target) prepare to be nagged for attention. Aswan does have a more cosmopolitan air about it than some Egyptian towns, and has a very friendly and welcoming atmosphere that is instantly endearing. I'm not sure how it achieves this, but it does!
Looking at the residents of Aswan, one of the big changes in the last ten years, consistent with what I have seen elsewhere in Egypt, is that Egyptian women nearly all wear Islamic headscarves. There was a period in Egypt when women abandoned their headscarves as a significant gesture of independence, but this has clearly been reversed wholescale. Farouk Hosni was put under pressure to resign when he suggested that this was "regressive", but he is clearly losing the battle, if recent visits to Egypt are anything to go by (to see coverage of this issue, see the BBC website at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/6169170.stm. Having that, one of the other surprises is how many young Egyptians, women included, are clothed in western type clothes. Although many of the men are still wearing traditional galabeyas, most of the student age men, and some young women. are wearing branded trainers, jeans, and t-shirts. There are far fewer women dressed in the full hijab that covers both the face and the contours of the body, than I have seen elswhere - for example, in Cairo.
Aswan is at the First Cataract. For those of you who know very little about the area, the First Cataract is a series of granite islands and beds, which form rapids and waterfalls and is now impassable due to the creation of the Aswan High Dam. Before the dam, the annual floods used to cascade over the rocks and at these times the river was navigable by expert pilots. Aswan is the site of the ancient Egyptian city Syene, which was actually based on the defensible island of Elephantine over a 2km square area. Today the ruins of Syene include the famous Nileometer, several temples and a number of hieroglyphic inscriptions on granite outcrops. Views across the Nile and visits to the west bank are spectacular, with small boats everywhere day and night. The sceneary is wonderful.
A number of restaurants outside the hotels were recommended, some of which have their own ferry boats to take you to their island locations. There is the fish restaurant called Khalim, near the railway station at the far northern end of Aswan, and the Nubian Restaurant which has its own ferry opposite the Egypt Air office at the far south of Aswan, under the Coptic Cathedral. There's no MacDonalds just yet, but apparently plans are afoot after the success of the one in Luxor. The Old Cataract's restaurant is good, but needs booking in advance.
If you want to use a bank, the opening times should be investigated. They are open in the morning and evening, but not in the afternoon. The one at the New Cataract Hotel opens at 7pm. It is also worth noting that the bank at the New Cataract (can't for the life of me remember which bank) will only change travellers cheques into Egyptian, not foreign currency. This turned out to be a complete pain because our hotel, the Old Cataract, only accepts payment for bar bills etc in foreign currency. You may want to take sufficient cash with you to pay for any drinks etc you sign for (and the beers are expensive at 25LE a go).
On the subject of banks, I tried to use my debit card in a hotel ATM machine at the Old Cataract Hotel. Not only was it refused, but it didn't work on my return to the U.K. (thanks HSBC) in spite of the fact that I have used it quite happily in the past. That resulted in a long and heated conversation with HSBC at London Bridge station, where I found myself in the pouring rain without enough cash to get myself home, and a flat refusal from the hole in the wall! You may want to chat to your bank before you go if you feel you might wish to use an ATM machine.
If you have other mobile phone or Web access needs, you will find that your mobile phone should receive a good signal, because Vodafone's cellular network has good coverage in Egypt. Call costs are expensive, but you can purchase an Egyptian SIM before you go which might be worth investigating. Ask your travel company. Internet is not readily available at hotels, unlike the big hotels on the Red Sea coast - although an Email terminal was available at the Old Cataract. There are Internet Cafes along the Corniche that you might be able to use. I had planned on a web-free fortnight so I resisted the temptation to go and delve around in one.
On the subject of hotels, the Old Cataract is very comfortable and truly beautiful in a completely over the top sort of way, the housekeeping team were great, the pool area was pristine, the terrace was a joy, and the food was lovely. However, the service was very poor (trying to get served on the terrace became something of a game) and the staff, including waiters, the receptionist and the cashier, speak only very little French and English. I found that the French was more successful than English, but both were a struggle. Normally this wouldn't bother me on holiday, but the Old Cataract positions itself as a hotel which caters to English and French speaking guests, and my Arabic is still composed of parrot-learned phrases. If you are not resident at the hotel you cannot use the famous terrace, which does seem fair to the residents. You will be allowed to use other restaurants and bars, but you will have to spend a minimum of 85LE to do so. You will be charged this even if your drinks etc do not come to that amount.
The Movenpick, which used to be the Oberai, is located on its own island and is the proud possessor of the ghastly concrete tower that is the main landmark of the Aswan sky line. It is in the process of being completely overhauled. A new building is going up at one end of the island, and the existing hotel and gardens are very tatty and run down. It was almost abandoned, apart from workmen and a small group of young Japanese people. It has a nice little shopping zone, where I bought my usual bottle of sandalwood oil, and the people running it are a friendly bunch without being in any way pushy. The best thing about it are the ice cream and the views over Qubbat al-Hawwa (where the Old Kingdom rock-cut tombs are located). I look forward to seeing the place when it has been re-vamped.
We didn't get to the big Isis hotel, a vast, sprawling pink affair also on its own island, but others I spoke to said that it was very comfortable but bland.
We visited a number of must-see sites, which I will mention in brief. Unaccountably we never got to Elephantine Island, which is a hop, skip and a jump from the Old Cataract, and we didn't revisit the unfinished obelisk for a third time. Nor did we get to Silsila.
We went to Philae with our guide, and the whole ticket office and embarkation point were unutterable bedlam - but all very good natured. We were there at 10.30am, so perhaps an earlier or later time would have been calmer. Philae itself was very busy, but very beautiful. It has the same magic that I remember from 10 years ago, which most Graeco-Roman temples lack. It is well worth a bit of a queue to visit it. The little shopping zone in the ticket square is one of the more approachable. You will be asked to come and look inside, but there is none of the over the top pressure that you find at many other places.
For shopping, you can hit the town or the hotels. We didn't make it to the soukh where the inhabitants of Aswan do their shopping - a shame, because this was certainly part of the plan. In other areas where tourists are specifically catered for you will need to be prepared to be pushed, shoved, grabbed and draped with items of clothing. You need to negotiate the price. There are three prices, according to Mahmoud: Stupid tourist, tourist and Egyptian. We found Mahmoud a useful source of information on what you should expect to pay for a given item. He gave us the following rough guidelines: For a Nubian cap 5LE, for a t-short 20-30LE, for a light scarf 15-20LE and for a shawl 40-50LE. The least stressful shopping areas were the area just in front of the Philae temple ticket office, the New Cataract and the Movenpick hotels. I went slightly mad at the New Cataract, where a book shop turned out to be a treasure trove - as well as current publications from the American University in Cairo, there was a good collection of unusual second hand books. I picked up some fabulous titles.
Getting around Aswan can be done by boat, kalesh (horse and carriage) or taxi. We got a price of 30LE for a ride in a motor boat from the Old Cataract at one end of town, to the Movenpick at the other. A taxi from one end of Aswan to the other will cost you, one way, 15-20LE. I didn't gather what you should expect to pay for a kalesh. Be very sure to negotiate and agree prices BEFORE you get into the vehicle. If you are taking a kalesh, do look at the condition of the horse - most seemed to be in very good condition, but one was a dreadful sight. We didn't make it to Elephantine, but there is a local ferry across from the 3rd jetty along (walking north from the Coptic Cathedral) which costs 1-2LE (The Aswan Museum, on the island, costs 25LE per person and is open from 9am-3/4pm).
- At Philae there are no restrictions and you can even use flash.
- At the Nubian Museum you don't need a special ticket, and you can use a camera without flash. However, without flash not even my camera (which has a 1600ASA setting) could achieve anything more than fairly poor results.
- At the sites of New Kalabsha, photography is fine without a special ticket, but without flash
- At the Old Kingdom tombs photography is fine without a special ticket, but without flash
If your taste runs to wildlife, you may have the opportunity to go on a tour which encompasses Kitchener's Island and a bird watching tour by boat. Although you can certainly visit the Island on your own to walk around the lovely botanic gardens, the bird watching tour is well worth the time, because not only do you see some wonderful bird life, but you become familiar with the network of granite islands and reed beds that dot the First Cataract. This trip was a real highlight.
I hope that this little lot is of some interest. I'll deposit a selection of the photographs I took on a web page.
Useful references for anyone planning a visit are:
- Alberto Silotti. Aswan, Egypt Pocket Guide. American University in Cairo Press. 2002. Not much info on things like opening times, but provides some useful short summaries of the the sites, a short description of Aswan and a good overview of the Nubia Museum.
- William J. Murnane. Penguin Guide to Ancient Egypt. Penguin. 1996. I have found this book, now tragically out of print, by far the best guide to ancient Egypt. It seems to be quite readily available from sites like Exedra and Amazon's Marketplace, but it is worth hunting around for a reasonable price. The diagrams and descriptions are excellent.
- Lucia Gahlin. Ancient Egypt. Hermes House. 2002. This has both good descriptions, though not as detailed as Murnane's, and good photographs.
- Fouad Ibrahim and Barbara Ibrahim. Egypt, An Economic Geography. I.B. Tauris. 2003. By far the best introduction I have found so far to modern Egypt. If you want to understand the pros and cons of the Aswan High Dam, look no further.
- Su Bayfield's Egypt Sites website has a page dedicated to the sights and sites at and near Aswan at: http://www.egyptsites.co.uk/upper/aswan/menu.html
- Bonnie Sampsell. Travellers Guide to the Geology of Egypt. AUC. 2003. I was going to say that I never go to Egypt without this book, but I somehow managed to leave it at home. If you want to understand the topography and geomorphology of the surrounding landscape, you can do very little better than this elegant piece of work.
For anyone interested in Egyptian desert rock art (sketched engravings), I photographed up some sundry First Cataract examples which I've put online at:
You'll need a broadband connection.
A friend has just pointed out that I was fairly incendiary on the subject of Gatwick and GB Airways when we came back to the UK. Gatwick was chaos - a half hour wait in an unending single queue to the checkout desks, shifting forward every minute or so in 6-inch increments. There were older people in that queue who really didn't need it. Luxor airport, by ironic comparison, was a well-managed breeze at the checkout.
GB Airways are the charter branch of British Airways. They were, in my opinion, unbelievably disorganized - many of the basic inflight logisitcs were sloppy. If I ever use the charter option again to get low cut flights to Egypt, I'll be hunting frantically for someone else to fly with. I wrote them a four page letter of complaint.
If you do fly with them, they have the British Airways rules on baggage restrictions, as publicized recently in the media. The biggest impact of this, particularly on older people, is that you can only take one piece of luggage, even if two pieces still weigh less, combined, than the total permitted weight. It's a good idea to take your own water and wine if you want it (they had run out on the return journey - a five and a half hour flight), be prepared to eat what your given (no choice offered, even though different dishes were available - and it was pretty vile anyway), accept the fact that you may have a) no movie or b) the wrong movie (both scenarios occurred), that they will run out of blankets a few minutes into the flight, and that if you feel moved to comment on the situation, the small print in their on-board complaints form tries to lure you into signing up for promotional material from them.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Rough translation: The Egyptian Minister of Cutlure, Farouk Hosni, has announced that Egypt will recover two duck-shaped alabaster vesesls dating to the Middle Kingdom, and which were smuggled out of Egypt. According to informtaion from the Minsitry, he two artefacts, which were used as food containers, were discovered in 1979 by Dieter Arnold in the pyramid of the Pharaoh Amenemhat III.
"An extremely rare Tyrannosaurid skull, an ancient Egyptian mummy hand, and the largest iron ore meteorite are among the hundreds of world-class specimens in the most comprehensive natural history auction ever in New York this week. The auction is under the auspices of J.M. Chait, the preeminent Beverly Hills auction house. . . . . Egyptian Mummy Hand - The mummification indicates a possible date between the New Kingdom and the Ptolemaic period.
A slideshow of the items is available below.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
He explained that when he arrived here there were many national projects going on and it was a challenge for the Inspectorate to manage all of then. At that time these were mainly on the East Bank but recently they have had the added challenge of the removal of Gurna Village on the West Bank. There is a budget of 600 million pounds for these projects.
He arranged for Mark Lehner to come to Luxor and to train the Inspectors. Also Ray Johnson of Chicago House has contributed in to professional development of the Inspectorate.
Mansour gave a big thanks to all his colleagues in the inspectorate and foreign missions and it is was worthwhile noting the respect shown to Mansour by the extremely high turnout. I have not seen so many people at a lecture since Otto Schaden gave his talk
The lecture was divided into the 4 areas currently under excavation
- Sphinx Avenue
- Behind Mubarak Library
- El Madrassa
See the above page for the full story.
I don't know whether or not Khufu's Wisdom, Rhadopis Of Nubia, or Thebes At War have ever been translated into English before, but this is the first time the three novels have been published together in an omnibus form. They are logical choices to be produced together of course because all three are set in different periods of the glorious days of Egypt's Pharaohs."
Rough translation: According to information from the Elche City Council more than 25,000 people have visited the exhibition Egypt: the voyage into eternity which has been showing at the Elche Museum of Archaeology and History from January 25th to March 25th.
Four pages of photographs from the exhibition can be found at:
The Museum's web page (in Spanish) can be found at:
Stones, some more then 9 feet tall, were set in a circle to predict the coming solstices. The people had to drag these monstrous stones for more than a mile, thus showing a great dedication to their task. Scientists have discovered that there is an east-west sighting among the megaliths, as well as a north-south lining."
Nubia Museum, Aswan
Due to the quantities of material recovered from tombs, temples and settlements, UNESCO was encouraged in the 1980's to plan a new Nubian museum in Aswan where the objects could be stored and exhibited. It was universally felt at the time that they should be kept as close as possible to their principal places of origin.
Nearly twelve years later, the Museum became a reality and opened its doors in November 1997. It was designed by the late Egyptian architect Mahmoud al-Hakim, and Mexican architect Pedro Vasquez Ramirez designed the museum's interior display. The Museum won the Agha-Khan Award of Architecture 2001. "
Egyptian Word of The Day
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Also covered at:
Pictures of the temple can be found at:
"Mark Millmore's first literary offering is fantastic! It's much more than a book, more a trip through a time that we're all broadly familiar with, but with an eye to detail that makes the reader feel they're right there, and any previous knowledge they may have had of the Land of the Pharaohs was plainly inadequate.
'Imagining Egypt' is actually a bit of a misleading title. The reader doesn't need to imagine that much because the sheer depth of information in Millmore's book is vast. But don't get me wrong, this isn't page after page of boring writing with a few line drawings thrown in for good measure. This book is a full colour journey that really does bring to life the wonders of ancient Egypt."
Reviewed by Clare Fischer
I had been to Egypt twice before, but only to Cairo to see the pyramids and tour the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities. Now I realize that is just not enough. To truly appreciate Egypt you have to look beyond the pyramids."
"Officials said Tuesday that more than 616,000 tickets for "Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs" have been sold or reserved since they went on sale in November. . . . Museum officials said the current exhibition, which featuring treasures found in the tomb of the Egyptian boy-king, is on track to draw 1 million visitors before it closes Sept. 30."
Disappointed by the Tutankhamun exhibition
That was my sucker moment. I stood there, beholding the box that once stored Tut's bile, and began to feel rather poorly myself. Thirty-two bucks per ticket, plus parking and numbingly long lines, for this? Oy, I thought. His liver.
Call me a low-brow, a whiner, a Philistine. No offense taken: The original Philistines thought Pharaoh Ramesses III was tedious, too. So he smote them.
Not feeling appreciative of 3,000-year-old artifacts is a bit awkward. I knew I should appreciate the boy king's possessions."
On a beautiful, warm winter morning, Ahmed Riad, one of Egypt's top ornithologists, decided to start our excursion by paying a visit to the desert birds."
Written in the Stars - A modern take on Aida
Although based on Verdi's famous work, which was first performed in 1871, this is not that Aida. The songs run from reggae to Motown to gospel to pop. The score earned the original Broadway production a Tony Award in 2000 for Best Original Score."
Jet Li cast in Mummy III
But they have released a few details. It is known that the action is set in China, with Li's story beginning in ancient times before moving to a post-World War II setting. It is also known that one sequence involves the famous terra-cotta warriors, the collection of 6,000 men and their horses that were originally constructed to protect the tomb of an emperor."
Friday, March 23, 2007
A former student of O’Connor and Head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Zahi Hawass highlighted to an audience of Egyptology specialists and enthusiasts how his research was influenced by O'Connor, who has worked in Egypt since 1960.
Hawass spoke of the impact O'Connor had on his first years in the field after having met O'Connor in Luxor at age 21."
Fulgurites are branched, thin, hollow tubes usually 1 or 2 inches in diameter and a few feet to tens of feet long. They are rough on the outside (where sand grains and other material stick to the molten material) but glassy smooth on the inside, with many bubble holes produced by vaporized gases.
They usually are considered mere curiosities, but a recent bit of research reported in the Feb-
issue of the journal Geology put fulgurites to a scientific use, to obtain 15,000-year-old climate data.
About 65 lightning flashes occur per second worldwide, but lightning is not randomly distributed ? some areas get more than others.
One area that sees few storms is the Libyan Desert in southwestern Egypt."
The current exhibition, Anubis, Upwawet and other Deities, displays 1,000 year's worth of offerings to the ancient Egyptian jackal deity Anubis, god of mummification, and Upwawet, who opened the passage allowing the soul of the deceased to cross to the afterlife. These two were the principle protective deities of the Upper Egyptian city of Assiut from the 18th to the 21st dynasties.
The 58 themed objects show new aspects of the social life, regular traditions and popular religion in Middle Egypt during the New Kingdom and later. It includes terracotta, sandstone and limestone statues featuring Anubis in various positions and processions. Stelae reveal the titles and professions of people who lived in Assiut, and show how they practised their religion with an enthusiasm and individuality far removed from the solemnity of official temples and chapels. It also illustrates the difference and elaborate relationship between both deities, which were held to be of great importance by the ancient Egyptians."
When the poll was launched in 2001, 77 candidates were nominated, all of them meeting the criteria that they were built before 2000, and were still standing. Telephone and Internet votes have so far whittled this number down to 21. These are, in no particular order, the Taj Mahal; Stonehenge; the Athens Acropolis; the Great Wall of China; the Giza Pyramids; the Statue of Liberty; the Eiffel Tower; Peru's Machu Picchu; Istanbul's Haghia Sophia; the Kremlin and St Basil's Cathedral in Moscow; the Colosseum; Germany's Neuschwanstein Castle; Spain's Alhambra; Japan's Kiyomizu Temple; the Sydney Opera House; Cambodia's Angkor; Timbuktu; Petra; Brazil's Statue of Christ Redeemer; Easter Island; and Chichen Itza, Mexico."
Thanks to Francois Tonic for the information that the new issue of Toutankhamon Magazine is available (in French). Contents of this issue include :
- Egypte of the oases : and if the civilization comes from de west, the 7th oases of Edfou, archeaological sites, oases and egyptian history
- the mysteries of Osiris
- the two Horus
- Kiya : the another queen of Akhenaten
- the death of Bay chancellor
- alabaster boat of Toutankhamon
- tomb of Ramose at Gurnah
- predynastic collection at Musée d'Archéologie Nationale (près de Paris)
- the egyptian temple
- divine birth
- hommage for Agnes Cabrol
and also in the web site :
- podcasts and forum
The Egyptian complex, which has three storeys, is going to house around 15 rooms where over 900 items will be exhibited and a library with 25,000 titles. Eleven rooms will house permanent exhibits, covering the formation of the earth; the first civilizations; classic cultures, like the Greek and Roman; the Byzantine culture and the Islamic world; Pre-Columbian cultures, like the Incas, Aztecs and Mayas; South American baroque art; culture of the Far East; Medieval, Renaissance and primitive Art."
Also covered at:
Last Sunday, speaking at the Supreme Council of Culture, Bosnian-born Osmanagich called on Egyptian archaeologists and geologists to assist in excavating the pyramids and uncovering whether the pyramids are a product of man or nature. . . .
Osmanagich believes that the Egyptians with their long experience in the excavations of monuments, particularly of the Giza Pyramids, would be best-suited for the job. Likewise, the Egyptians are eager to go and assess Osmanagich's discovery first hand.
It is a good opportunity to cooperate with the experts of Bosnia in a new field like archaeology, said Anwar Ibrahim, first Undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture.
Carrying a book by Osmanagich on the Bosnian pyramids in hand, he told The Daily Star Egypt that he would ask for permission to translate it into Arabic."
On Saturday, March 31, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology hosts a gathering of prominent Egyptologists from two continents, offering a variety of perspectives on this revolutionary period. “Amarna: New Research and Discoveries in the Age of Akhenaten and Tutankhamun,” a full day public symposium, is co-sponsored by Archaeology Magazine and the Center for Ancient Studies at the University of Pennsylvania."
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Thanks very much to Bob Partridge, Editor of Ancient Egypt magazine for the following:
A meeting special meeting was held at the Dome in Greenwich on Monday 12th March to the forthcoming “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs” exhibition.
The exhibition will be at the Dome and will open on 15th November 2007 and run until 30th August 2008.
At a packed meeting, senior executives from National Geographic, AEG Exhibitions and Arts and Exhibitions International welcomed everyone present and gave an insight into the extensive exhibition which will bring to London fifty objects from the Tomb of Tutankhamun (a few of which were included in the 1972 exhibition) plus a further seventy or so objects from other Valley of the Kings tombs and sites in Egypt.
Also present at the meeting was the Egyptian Ambassador to the UK, Gehad Refaat Maadi, And Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities.
There has been a little negative reporting in some newspapers about the exhibition, especially concerning the fact that this time the gold mask is not included. Dr Hawass explained that the mask is too fragile to move, but also emphasised that the new exhibition is much better and wider in its scope than the 1972 exhibition, when fifty objects from Tutankhamun’s tomb were exhibited at the British museum. This time, with the inclusion of many more objects connected with members of Tutankhamun’s family, it will put Tutankhamun and his treasures in their historical and artistic context.
The 1972 exhibition was attended by 1.7 million visitors and the organisers hope that at least 2 million people will se it this time. As at 12th March 135,000 advance group tickets have already been sold.
One special extra for the London exhibition will be an additional dedicated gallery to Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon.
The Dome (now known as The O2 ) having been unused since 2001, has undergone a massive transformation on the inside, due to be completed (on budget and ahead of schedule the organisers were keen to point out) in June. The entertainment complex will include a concert arena, cinemas, restaurants and leisure facilities as well as the new exhibition centre. The Tutankhamun exhibition will be the first to be held there.
For more information on the exhibition, please visit www.visitlondon.com/tut or http://www.kingtut.org/.
The story is covered on the BBC News website at:
"Fifty Egyptian treasures from the tomb of Tutankhamun will be shown in the UK.
It is the first time in 35 years that the artefacts, which were excavated from the boy king's tomb in the burial chamber, will be on display in London. More than 130 treasures from the Valley of the Kings, which are all between 3,000 and 3,500 years old, will also make up the exhibition.
The treasures will be displayed on 15 November at the venue now called the O2, formerly the Millennium Dome.
Among the artefacts included in the Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibition will be his gold crown and one of the gold and inlaid canopic coffinettes which contained Tutankhamun's mummified internal organs."
Also covered at:
"Treasures from the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun are to return to the country for the first time in 35 years. His golden royal crown will be among more than 130 exhibits at the O2 centre, the former Millennium Dome, in November.
But the famous golden funerary mask which so impressed the public at the last such exhibition in London in 1972 is now too delicate to travel and will not be part of the display."
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"The O2, formerly the Millennium Dome, will attempt to prove its capability as an exhibition venue with a much-trumpeted show on boy king Tutankhamun later this year. The exhibition is to be designed by Mark Lach, senior vice-president of entertainment and exhibitions group Arts and Exhibitions International.Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, the first exhibition to take place at The O2, aims to draw visitors back in time with 'inventive design and innovative technology', featuring National Geographic images and film footage about the golden age of the pharaohs."
"The big Tutankhamun show which will launch the new exhibition centre at the Dome - or the O2 Centre as it is now known - has been struck by controversy before it has even opened.
The Pharaoh's gold death mask - the centrepiece of the original Tutankhamun exhibition in Britain in 1972 and the artefact which everyone remembers - will not be part of the exhibition, prompting almost inevitable disappointment for the thousands of visitors who are expected to see the show.
The exhibition has already toured the US and sparked anger online with message boards complaining bitterly of feeling 'cheated' and 'deceived'.
Promotional images appear to show the funerary mask - but are in fact close-ups of a miniature coffin used to store the king's liver."