Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year

Wishing everyone a great night tonight, if you are celebrating, and a happy 2005.

All the best

Egyptology 2004 - A Review
"From the Mediterranean bed to Kom Al-Dikka, from Akhmim to Sinai, from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo to Basle and Germany and from auction halls in Europe and America to Egypt, there were several exciting archaeological events to highlight this outstanding year." Al Ahram weekly's review of Egyptology through 2004 - the good and the bad.

Chephren pyramid open for visitors Saturday
"Culture Minister Farouk Hosni will re-open the Pyramid of King Chephren in Giza as of Saturday after the completion of restoration works. In statements, Hosni said the third Pyramid of Mycerinus will be closed for a year to start necessary rejuvenations, adding 2005 will see a giant restoration project to restore King Chephren's funerary temple and the stone blocks in the area south of the temple. These steps fall within a plan by the ministry and the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) which started in 1995 to preserve the Giza pyramids through regular restoration activities, said Hosni".
See the link above for more information

Thursday, December 30, 2004

And More on the Faiyum Granaries!
The only additional news contained in this item is that the granaries contained dried cereals, fruits and flax. Which cereals and fruits I hear you cry! I'll let you know if I find out.

More on Faiyum Granaries, and on Suez Archaeology
This article contains some more information about the Faiyum Neolithic discoveries by UCLA, and also discusses archaeogy in the Suez Govenorate of Northern Egypt. As usual with the State Information Service, this is not the most lucid of descriptions, but it is more detailed than usual.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Eight New Granaries Found in the Faiyum
Thanks to Tony Cagle for directing my attention to this item on his blog at The Faiyum Depression is a triangular depression to the southwest of Cairo, with the immense Lake Qarun at its lowest point, 45m below sea level. In prehistoric times (the Epipalaeolithic and Neolithic in particular) it was a well populated area, and excavations since the 1920s have revealed an immense amount of detail about thse occupations. The Neolithic period marks the first agricultural activitiy in the Faiyum at around 5500bc, which, together with the site of Merimde Beni Salama to the northwest of Cairo, represents the earliest known farming in Egypt. In the 1920s, and reported in their two volume 1934 report "The Desert Fayoum" Gertrude Caton Thompson and Elinor Gardiner reported fining 167 grain silos (pits sunk into the groun) in the northeast Faiyum in a zone between two sites named Kom K and Kom W. Although many other Neolithic sites have been found, until today this site has remained the only one containing granaries. This makes the above report of eight new granaries having been found even more important. I'm trying to find out more information about it, and will post if I have an update. A summary of the prehistoric period in the Faiyum and Cairo areas can be found at my other site:

Monday, December 27, 2004

More on various items missing from Egypt's collections
An overview of the problems with items going missing from the Cairo Museum and other storage facilities in Egypt. According to the article the last full invetory of the museum's basement storage was taken 71 years ago!

Odds and Ends from Egypt Today Magazine
I've copied this in full, because it can be a bit awkward to find on the page:
"The Daftarkhana, or what is today known as Dar El-Kutub and the National Manuscript Center, celebrates its 175th anniversary in October. An international conference will be held in honor of the occasion and should include discussions about manuscript preservation laws and techniques.

While eating in a Zamalek restaurant, Supreme Council for Antiquities head Zahi Hawass discovered the cover of a sarcophagus dating back to the modern dynasty. The antiquity was simply lying there, and no one was able to tell him how arrived. Hawass promptly ordered the cover moved to the antiquities storerooms in Matariyya.

Twelve years after a French expedition discovered the tomb of Bet-Shoo, the SCA has finally signed off on the expeditions request to piece together the Dakhla-area antiquity. Meanwhile, another tomb was recently discovered in the most unlikely of locations: Ard El-Naam (Ostrich Land) in Ain Shams. The beautifully decorated tomb is surrounded by moist ground, leaving the SCA to research ways of opening it without ruining the delicate reliefs and drawings inside.

Water is also proving a challenge at Qenas Esna Temple, where the infiltration of underground water has the SCA planning to commission a Dutch company to tear the temple apart, raise it above the water level, then piece it back together.

Finally, the War Path of Horus has long been the subject of debate. Was it a myth, or historical fact? Only a handful of the 11 forts said to mark the ancient protective boundaries delineating Egypts territories have been discovered. Last month, three new forts believed to have been a part of the path were unearthed north of Ismailiyya, where they are thought to have marked and protected the kingdoms eastern borders. SCA officials are ecstatic, saying they believe the forts could shed new light on the military logic of the ancient Egyptian."

Helwan Mural Returned to Egypt
Reading between the lines of this somewhat confusing article I am guessing that a predynastic mural found at Helwan has been returned to Egypt, having been smuggled out of the country and sold off at auction.

Zahi Hawass on Anis Mansour
Hawass's "Dig Days" column is devoted, this week, to Egyptian writer Anis Mansour, and his involvement in Egyptology.

Chicago Museum Identifies Fake Mummy
Chicago Natural History Museum's digital x-ray analysis of a mummified cat revealed that it was a 500 B.C. fake - although the mummy has the form of a cat, there is no cat on the inside! The article discusses the museum's other uses of digital x-ray and why this technology is so useful.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Christmas Break

I won't be updating again until the 27th December, so please check again then!

Happy Christmas.


Sunday, December 19, 2004

NY Met Refuses Tutankhamun Exhibition,0,1168364.story?coll=ny-region-apnewyork
The New York Metropolitan Museum has refused the Tutankhamun exhibition which will be touring the US next year on the grounds that it has a 17 year tradition of not charging for special exhibitions. The admission fee being charged by Egypt is to be used to finance restoration and other work in Egyptian archaeology, but the Met believe that it is contrary to their own policies.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Generating Cash for the SCA
A new company has been established in Egypt to combat Egypt's inability to pay for conservation, restoration and excavation programmes: "The company is designed to generate revenue for the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) to enable it to better invest in archaeological excavation and restoration, promoting archaeological and cultural awareness among the public, diversifying archaeology-related professional services, and producing high-quality commercial products".
This fascinating article examines the new company, its objectives and its activities.
It also says that professional photography will be completely prohibited in museums and at sites, but educational photography will be free. It makes no mention of ordinary tourist photography, so things are still clouded on that subject.

More on Live Excavation, Bahariya
The excavation of burials of middle ranking officials and professional people were excavated live on Channel 5, by Zahi Hawass. Bahariya, the nearest of the northern oases to the Nile, was the home of wine production during the 26th Dynasty, and this was responsible for the wealth of its occupants. This article offers a blow by blow description of the activities as presented on the programme. For another photo, click here and click on the photo to see the caption:

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Three ancient pieces seized in Menia
"Monuments and tourism police seized in Menia governorate three rare ancient pieces dating back to the pharaoh era including a human head made of alabaster, from a farmer and a grocer before they sold to monuments merchants. "

More on Medieval Arab Scholars re Cleopatra
I posted about this on November 9th, when Radio Netherlands published an article on the subject at Okasha el Daly's work identified that Medieval Arabic scholars came to a number of extremely astute conclusions about ancient Egypt. This Discovery Channel further discusses the fact that the medieval writers concerned described Cleopatra in terms of her intellectual achievements, admiring her for her work in mathematics, science and philosophy. The article adds that Okasha's new book is coming out soon, describing his findings in detail. "Egyptology: The Missing Millennium, Ancient Egypt in Medieval Arabic Writings," will be published in January by the University College London Press.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Egyptian Officials Charged with Smuggling,1280,-4670995,00.html
This disturbing article concerns the theft of 57,000 artifacts from antiquity warehouses. The acused officials are thought to have been part of a gang that the government now accuses of stealing and smuggling thousands of items abroad.

Hierakonpolis Online
Archeology Online's Interactive Dig has been updated with the latest from the important site of Hierakonpolis. It concerns that only upstanding structure at Hierakonpolis, the so-called "fort", built by King Khasekhemwy, the last king of the Second Dynasty (ca. 2686 B.C.). As usual, there is a lot of fascinating information in this article.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Archaeology Magazine Review of Ramesses TV Show
It is necessary to page down to about half way down this page, which shows a number of reviews. The show described is Rameses - Wrath of God or Man - it offers a critique of the programme, starting with the words: "Bones from Egypt's Valley of the Kings are a sure-fire attention getter, but a big budget and lots of computer-generated images are not guarantees of a great program as the Discovery Channel's heavily promoted Rameses: Wrath of God or Man shows. Here, what could be an interesting, if less ambitious, documentary about trying to identify the human remains from KV 5 is hijacked by the biblical tale of the plagues and Exodus." It goes on from there.

'Answer' found to riddle of Sphinx
"After researching the pyramids of the Giza Plateau and their imposing half-human, half-animal guardian for 20 years, Vassil Dobrev of the French Archaeological Institute in Cairo has concluded that the Sphinx was the work of a forgotten pharaoh." The forgotten pharaoh in question is, in fact, Khufu's son Djedefre, who is not exactly forgotten, just not much mentioned. From the information in the Independent article, it all looks highly speculative.

3-D Modeling of Mummy Face
A chatty description of a Pittsburgh archaeological 3-D modelling project, and in partifcular the funerary mask of what may have been a noblewoman from the court of Ramses the Great which is physically on display at the St. Louis Art Museum.

More on the Bahariya Mummies
As well as other mummies dating to the late periods in Egypt, the tomb of a Governor of the oasis Bahariya has been found, dating to around 500BC. His sarcophagus was made from limestone which would have had to be transported from a considerable distance (around 62km). Hundreds of mummies have already been found, and it is estimated that upto 1500 may be the full number occupying the cemetery.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Rescue of Giza Solar Barques
"The Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) will embark within few days on carrying out an emergency project to rescue the ancient sun boats, dubbed "Cheops" in the Giza pyramids area. The boats have been badly affected by the strong sun, especially by the ultra-violet rays which damage the organic components of the wooden hulls."

Lake Mareotis in Ancient Egypt
"In ancient times Lake Mareotis was a pleasure resort and watering spot surrounded by market gardens. " Al Ahram Weekly article about the occupation of Egypt in the Greek, Roman and following periods.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Rescue Plan for Tel Basta
The site of Tel Basta in the Shakira area has been scheduled for rescue activity. This follows the discovery and restoration of Princess Merit Amoun, the daughter and wife of king Ramses II.

Bahariya - 20 More Golden Mummies
An Egyptian team working in Bahariya has found more golden mummies, similar to those found in the widely publicised "Valley of the Golden Mummies" found previously in the same Western Desert oasis.

8000 Yr Old Western Desert Site
This extremely short article suggests that new material has been found to support the idea that the Western Desert was occupied 8000 years ago - at a place called Toshka. I'll see if I can find out more about it.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Hawass on Champollion and Relations with the French
Zahi Hawass uses his occasional column in Al Ahram to talk about visiting the house of Champollion in Grenoble, the value of his translation of the Rosetta Stone, and the good relationship between Egypt and France in spite of the current fracas re two french architects requesting access to the Great Pyramid for investigation of a potential new chamber.

Modern Analysis of the Tale of Sinuhe
Article about Miroslav Barta's newly published study, entitled Sinuhe, the Bible, and the Patriarchs, is based on the famous ancient Egyptian fictional account, the Story of Sinuhe. The tale only survives in fragments, and has been pieced together over the years. Al Ahram discusses the orginal tale, looks at how Barta went about studying it, and describes Barta's book as follows: "The book begins with a full translation of the Story of Sinuhe based on the hieroglyphic translations of two papyri in Berlin, which were acquired in Egypt by Karl Lepsuis in 1842-45. This is followed by a commentary on the story. The next two chapters explain the political history of Egypt and Syria-Palestine so as to elucidate the background to Sinuhe's flight. Further chapters set out the latest developments in archaeological exploration in these regions -- including contemporary epigraphic sources -- and their interpretation by various scholarly disciplines, including Egyptology, cuneiform studies, the archaeology of the Ancient Near East, and the anthropology of nomadic populations."

Radiologists help to restore mummy mask
"Using computed tomography (CT)and 3-D modeling, radiologists are assisting in the restoration and display of a 5,300-year-old Egyptian mummy mask. This is the first time that CT and 3-D modeling were used to study, preserve and display an antiquity with an outer and inner surface, according to research presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). "
An abstract of the article is here:
Images that accompany the article are at

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Last of the Ptolemies
A bronze bust of Ptolemy of Mauretania, grandson of Anthony and Cleopatra and last of the Ptolemies is going on sale at auction. Ptolemy was the son of Cleopatra and Anthony's daughter Cleopatra Selene and the King of Mauretania, Juba II. He was murdered in Rome by the Emperor Caligula. The portrait depicts Ptolemy at approximately 15 years of age and it is thought that it was done while he was in Rome to receive his education.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Tutankhamun Treasure to US in 2005
Over 130 items from the Tutankhamun collection will be touring the US, beginning in May 2005. The exhibition is currently on display at the Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle (Art and Exhibition Hall) in Bonn. The U.S. version of the exhibition will include National Geographic photographs and television footage. Part of the proceeds raised from the world tour will go to heritage projects in Egypt. For a preview of a small number of items from the exhibition see:

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

An update on KV5
An article about Kent Weeks's most recent research at KV5, the largest tomb in the Valley of the Kings, and the skeletal remains of some of those interred there.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Discussion of the story of Cleopatra's death,,2099-1362193,00.html
A lengthy article discussing the myths surrounding Cleopatra VII and in particular her death by the bite of an asp. It is easiest to read in "print" format, but if choose to read it as it is presented on the screen, don't forget to click for the "next page" - this article covers four pages.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Preservation of Heritage in Sinai
Quite a long article about the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency’s work
to preserve historical monuments in Sinai.

Friday, November 26, 2004

King Tut will not be removed for examination
"The mummy of the ancient King Tutankhamun will not be removed from its tomb
in the southern city of Luxor for examination and restoration due to local
opposition, Egypt's chief archaeologist told parliament Monday".

Thursday, November 25, 2004

French Amateurs vs. Zahi Hawass
An Independent article looking at the Great Pyramid row that has beenbatting to and fro between Zahi Hawass and retired estate agent Jean-YvesVerd'hurt and the architect Gilles Dormion. Quite an interesting slant onthe whole thing

New Tombs found at Ihnasia (Heraclopolis)
A Spanish team working at Ihnasia (Heraclopolis) have uncovered a cemetery that includes several tombs belonging to statesmen, the most important of which belonged to the supervisor of farms and carrier of the seals of Lower Egypt, named Khete. The tomb was apparently also used for the burial of his wife, Merit, who was the king's hairdresser.

Monday, November 22, 2004

New Study on the Theban Necropolis
Thanks to Tony Cagle's blog for the link to this PDF which describes how combining modern technology, geology and history has cast new light on the spatial distribution of tombs in the Theban Necropolis. The heart of the project is satellite imaging, which provides information not only about known structures, but about architectural features beneath the surface. At the moment the project is focusing on Sheikh Abd el-Qurna hill, where private tombs of noblemen are found, and has recorded over 500 tombs in its database, which can be accessed at . Analysis of existing tombs is also being used to predict the location of lost tombs. A fascinating project for archaeology as a whole.

Virtual Reconstruction of Kalabsha
A PDF paper discussing what should go into creating a virtual reconstruction of cultural heritage site, as a tool for Cultural Resource Management. They conclude that reconstructions "must be built on the questions the archaeologists want to answer", and discuss what some of these questions are and how they are best addressed.

4200 Year Old Sinai Fortress Excavated
Dating to the last years of the Old Kingdom, publication about this fortress is expected to reveal information about events taking place at this time: "The existence of the fort, and its short-term occupation, supports a theory popular among Egyptologists that ancient Egypt's war in the Sinai as well as with the Nubians in the modern Sudan was an important factor in the collapse of Egyptian civilization by 2200 BC." The findings were reported at ICE9 in August by the project director, Gregory Mumford, and will be published in the Bulletin of the American School of Oriental Research.

More on 13th Dynasty Wooden Sarcophagus
More on the 13th Dynasty sarcophagus found at Luxor's Dra'a Abul-Naga necropolis, next to the remains of King Nub-Kheper-Re Intef's brick pyramid. Page to the bottom of this Newsreel page to find the article, which has a much better description of the sarcophagus than previous articles.

More on King Tutankhamun Autopsy
More details about the much-reported news that the body of Tutankhamun is going to be examined by CT scanning.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

More re Tutankahmun in Bonn
"The exhibition at the Art and Exhibition Hall in Bonn opened on 3 November and is currently the highlight of the city. It will continue until 1 May. Streets, shops, the airport, railway stations, buses, hotels and restaurants are adorned with posters featuring the famous gold and faience head of Tutankhamun. The boyish face of the legendary Pharaoh is on several magazine covers, while objects from the collection appear on the front pages of all the newspapers. Even gift shop showcases have been cleared of their usual autumn displays and restocked with Tutankhamun souvenirs or posters." (Al Ahram Weekly). Click on the link for more.

Egypt to Test Tutankhamun Mummy for Cause of Death
A Reuters article saying that the mummy of Tutankhamun is to be removed from its current location in the tomb to undergo DNA testing, which might answer a number of questions including how the young king died.
And the BBC's take on the subject:

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Discovery Channel raising questions re Ramesses II and Exodus
An article discussing the Discovery Channel's programme about a skull from KV5. Kent Weeks has apparently suggested that it might be belong to the firstborn son of Rameses II's , who may either have been killed during the 10th plague described in Exodus, or could have met a violent death - suggested by the state of the skull. It is all very speculative, ornamented with scientific tests of various types, which is what you would expect from Discovery. Worth a look.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Rare 13th Dynasty wooden sarcophagus found
German archaeologists have discovered a rare wooden Pharaonic sarcophagus in Luxor, dating to the 13th Dynasty. At 2.7m long, 1.5m high and 1m wide is is vast. A hieroglyphic inscription on its face revealed that it belonged to an official called "Amni but appears to have been used by his wife. No details are given as to where in the Luxor area it was found.
A photo is shown at the following Spanish site:
Another site says that the coffin was found at Dra'a Abul- Naga, near the pyramid of King Nob-Khebar Ra-antaf:

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Mummies' tar and ancient trade routes
By analysing tar from different areas in Egypt and the Near East, a Texan team have managed to identify the origins of tar used for sealing mummies in Egypt, helping to suggest trade routes operating around 3000 years plus.

Medieval Arab Scholars on Cleopatra
An article discussing Okasha El Daly's research into the work of medieval Arabic scholars, comparing their findings and views with those of modern Egyptologists. They take differing perspectives about Cleopatra as an example.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Singaporean robot to creep into Cheops Pyramid
"The robot experiment inside Cheops Pyramid in Giza will be repeated next year but this time by a different institution, said Chairman of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawas." The article reviews, in brief, the previous attempt, but does not give any idea about what will be different about the 2005 attempt (scheduled to take place in October).

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Ramsses II to relocate temporarily to Giza Plateau
"The giant statue of Ramses II will finally say farewell to its current noisy, fumy and bustling location in Cairo's most crowded square to rest in the Giza Plateau's Saqqara area, said Zahi Hawas, Chairman of the Supreme Council of Antiquities".
There is more information in the article.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Tutankhamun in Bonn
Treasures from the Tutankhamun collection (and items from the reign of Ahkehaten) are on display at Bonn in Germany, having completed yet another stage in their European journey. The article reports that during its stay in Basle in Switzerland, it attracted so many visitors that there were queues hours long.

Theban Mapping Project and KV5,13026,1342400,00.html
An article in the UK Guardian broadsheet about Kent Weeks and his work in the Valley of the Kings. It discusses the Theban Mapping Project, the discovery and excavation of KV5, and Ramesses II and the identity and role of his sons, particularly after he had declared himself a god.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Nine Egyptian Mummies: Evaluation with High-Resolution CT and Reformation Techniques
"CT is an indispensable imaging tool in the evaluation of Egyptian mummies because it can noninvasively generate large amounts of data. We applied current CT imaging and postprocessing techniques to methodically survey the head and skull base features of nine Egyptian mummies in the hope of providing paleopathologic and radiologic information."
Conclusions: "The systematic evaluation of the head and skull base of mummies with CT can provide insight into the life, disease, death, and postmortem treatment of these ancient Egyptians"
This is a good article with images and analyses.

Herodotus on Egypt - Online Translation
The EEF news update points to a new online translation of Herdodotus on Egypt.

Protection plan for Valley of the Kings,12996,1340710,00.html
An extensive and multi-faceted project is being launched to use new and existing technologies and Culture Heritage Management learning to improve the conservation and user experience at the Valley of the Kings. Everything from replacing the tarmac roads with polymer sprayed surfaces to mimic the valley surfaces to limiting tourism and deflecting flash floods are being considered. This is a good article.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Six Mummies in Kharga Cemetery
"The French archaeological mission operating in the Al-Deir area in the Kharga oasis unearthed a Ptolemaic-era tomb containing six complete mummies and two limestone sarcophagi." More information (but not much more) is available from the SIS website

Monday, October 25, 2004

Letters of Egyptian Business Life,1442,595099068,00.html
"Malczycki, a Ph.D. student in history at the University of Utah, has been translating and analyzing the 777 documents and fragments of the Utah Papyri Collection, believed to be the largest collection of Arabic papyri in North America. And he has found that 1,000 years ago, Egyptian businessmen were sophisticated, polite and literate."

Abu Simbel Sunrise
"Thousands of tourists gathered at Abu Simbel Temple early Friday morning to watch the sun rays while falling perpendicularly on the face of King Ramsis II's statue inside the sanctuary hall to greet him on his birthday. "

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Egyptian and Hebrew Connections
"Egypt is indisputably a part of the Biblical tradition. This much is clear, not only from the role the country plays in providing the setting for certain famous episodes in both Old and New Testaments, but in the contribution made to the Hebrew worldview by its language, culture and thought. " An article about connections between the Egyptian and Hebrew civilizations.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Judaic community on Elephantine
"The liturgical protocol detailed on some of the documents discovered on the island by archaeologists during the first decade of the 20th century dates back to a time before the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem. It is clear from this that the Judaic presence on Yeb (the Biblical name for Elephantine) stretches far back into antiquity." Fascinating item about the occupation of Elephantine, together with insights from some Aramaic papyrii

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Discoveries in Eastern Desert unearthed
"An excavtation mission under Minnesota University in the US which is conducting excacavations in Wadi Qum Heleeg in Sharqeya desert unearthed 132 engravings dating back to pre-historic ages." A typically brief item from the Egyptian State Information service - if I find out more information I'll post it in.

Bahariya "Valley of the Mummy" Excavations to Resume
"Minister of Culture Farouq Hosni gave the green light to the Egyptian mission to resume excavation works in an area known as the valley of mummies in the Bahreya Oases in Giza governorate. "

Monday, October 18, 2004

Swedish Co. Hired to Protect Egypt Temples
A Swedish engineering and environmental technology consultancy company will be working on a U.S.-led project aimed at rescuing the ancient temples of Luxor and Karnak in southern Egypt from rising groundwater.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Stolen relics go home to Egypt
Short BBC News article about the repatriation of 600 ancient Egyptian items, four years after they were stolen, with a mention of Egypt's claims for a return of the Rosetta stone.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Impacts of Attacks on Tourism in Egypt/Sinai
"The terrorist bombings last week at resorts along Egypt's Red Sea coast raised fears of another slump in the country's tourism industry, a key sector of its economy. The industry is still recovering from the negative impact of the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, and earlier terrorist operations in Egypt that targeted tourists. Preliminary indications are that most tourists are not being deterred by the latest bombings." The article goes on to discuss this subject.

Hawass - More Comments about the Great Pyramid "Secret Chamber"
Another Zahi Hawass article about the French claim to have found a secret chamber, this time in the context of a conversation with Omar Sharif.

Plans to relocate Temple at Esna
"The Graeco-Roman Temple of Khnum at Esna currently stands below ground level in the centre of the city, where it is subject to daily seepage from wastewater. The Supreme Council of Antiquities has decided to save what remains of the temple from any further damage by dismantling it and relocating it to a more suitable location. The decision as to where exactly it should be relocated has yet to be made." This article is quite a long one and as well a a short description of the temple, discusses the continuity demonstrated by the site between Pharaonic and Christian periods. It also describes some of the impacts of Roman rule on Egypt.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Alexandria - Short Summary
An article on Alexandria, with a section in the middle on the ancient sections, with comments by archaeologists working there explaining about the pressures, in some instances, of Rescue Archaeology.

New Graeco-Roman Cemetery at Kharga Oasis
"The French team excavating at Kharga Oasis have made an archaeological discovery 8 kilometers from Al-Monira village. The team unearthed a Greco- Roman cemetery embracing tombs carved in a sandstone hill". As well as one mummy with six toes one each foot, a couple of causes of death have been listed. More informative than usual for the SIS website.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

History in geological time
On the centenary of the opening of the Egyptian Geological Museum Al Ahram has an article talking about the history of geological expeditions and some of the great geologists who helped to clarify how Egypt developed as a land. It also talks about the important role of the Geological Museum. Egypt's fossil record is discussed - this lesser known aspect of Egypt is very important and impressive.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Arab scholar 'cracked Rosetta code' 800 years before the West,3858,5030324-102285,00.html
Dr Okasha el Daly, was fealtured prominently in the Oberserver this weekend, discussing his research into early arabic research into Egypt. From the Observer website: "An expert in both ancient Egypt and ancient Arabic scripts, El Daly spent seven years chasing down Arabic manuscripts in private collections around the world in a bid to find evidence that Arab scholars had unlocked the secrets of the hieroglyph. He eventually found it in the work of the ninth-century alchemist, Ibn Wahshiyah. 'I compared his studies with those of modern scholars and realised that he understood completely what hieroglyphs were saying.' "

Zahi Hawass on ICE9
Zahi Hawass has an article in Al Ahram Weekly talking about ICE9 and,
amongst other things, the French presentation of their "discovery" of a new
chamber in the Great Pyramid. In it he has a go at the
International Association of Egyptologists (IAE).

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Original Microbrews
Article about ancient beers, with a good reference to Barry Kemp's discovery of possible beer making facilities at Amarna in Middle Egypt and at the much older predynsatic site in Hierakonpolis in Upper Egypt. It discusses many different areas, inluding Vindolanda and the Andes, and provides a good popular overview.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Seqenenre Taa II, the violent death of a pharaoh
Thanks to Tony Cagle's blog for this link. It concerns the mummified remains, and the signs of the violent death, of the last Pharaoh of the Theban lands at the time when the Hyksos in the north and Nubia in the south was sandwiching the surviving Egyptian homeland in the Second Intermediate. In short, his skull was severely damaged, and I don't imagine his death was very pleasent!

Review of Fletcher's new book on Nefertiti
A really rather damning review of Joann Fletcher’s new book on Nefertiti from Archaeology Magainze. I flipped through it a couple of weeks ago, for about 10 minutes which, while not being a fair review, did confirm that it merely expanded her claims on the Discovery Channel programme rather than defending her position in any way, and this review confirms that my superficial impression was actually right. This article examines, in brief, but with skill, some of the evidence against Fletcher.

Friday, October 01, 2004

International Congress of Egyptologists
A summary of the ups and downs of the ninth Congress, which is held every four years. This is a very good overview, describing everything from the chaotic organization of the conference centre in which it was held, to the individual content of some of the key papers. At 5 pages, this really is the best summary of the Congress I have seen so far.

Other articles about ICE9 include:

Monday, September 27, 2004

Australian Excavations at Saqqara,4057,10765090%5E401,00.html
The Australian excavation at Saqqara has been centred on the tomb of the vizier Mereruka near the pyramid of Teti I. Mereruka's was a magnificent 32-room tomb. The mission has also uncovered mummies in a cemetery, although where this is is not clear from the article: "Included in their discoveries are rare mummies of common people forgotten in the massive ancient cemetary, of which about a fifth has been uncovered".

Friday, September 24, 2004

Battle over Khufu's death bed
"The ninth International Congress of Egyptologists in Grenoble was immersed in the debate over two French architects' claims of having located Khufu's sepulchral room in the Great Pyramid at Giza." A report on the press-heavy lecture by the two French architects at ICE9.

Lenkiewicz collection to be sold
A private collection of various paintings and collectibles. One of the items is an Egyptian sarcophagus, which is dated to between the 6th and 3rd centuries BC, has a list price of £2,000 to £3,000.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Old Kingdom Use of Alabaster
A short article about the use of alabaster in the Old Kingdom.

Monday, September 20, 2004

The world's oldest dam
Musings on a 3rd or 4th Dynasty Dam, Sadd Al-Kafara, some 25 kilometres south of Cairo, to the east of Helwan, which was destroyed by rain soon after completion. This is a piece of popular narrative journalism, but it contains some interesting information.

Ramesses II suffered from arthritis
A new study has shown that Ramesses II suffered from a form of degenerative arthritis which resulted in high levels of bone growth along the vertebrae of the spine. This is in opposition to another study which suggests that the skeletal damage was caused by ankylosing spondylitis (A.S), a condition by which some or all of the joints and bones of the spine fuse together.

Egypt's Cats got Pharaoh Treatment
A short article about the analysis of mummified cat remains to see how closely the mummification process equated to that of humans. A slightly longer version is at:

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Egypt participates in international federation for tourist guides conference
"Egypt is to take part in the conference of the International Federation for Tourist Guides due to be held in Melbourne, Australia on January 15".

Tourism - Egypt`s prime national project
"The tourist boom which Egypt, is currently enjoying requires a review of the national strategy for tourist development for the upcoming ten years , a matter that needs time". The article discusses the development of tourism in Egypt.

Sudan - Past and Present
The British Museum's web pages dedicated to their Sudan exhibition, with lots of information to complement it. Information includes an exhibition description, exhibition map, highlights, programme of events, and details of the Oxfam programme to help the present victims of the political situation.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

More on the French Theory re the Great Pyramid
A bit more about the French request to auger in the Great Pyramid, as well as a brief report about the International Congress of Egyptologists in Grenoble, and plans to reform the International Association of Egyptologists.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Two New Books by Hawass Reviewed
Archaeology Magazine has two new Egyptology-based books by Zahi Hawass in its most recent issue: a book for children, and a coffee-table book.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Fletcher's new book on Nefertiti
This article offers a summary of the main contentions of Joann Fletcher's new book re Nefertiti. The book describes Fletcher's search for the body of Nefertiti and her claim to have found it in the tomb of Amenhotep II. It is a particularly contraversial story, following on from her widely discredited claims made on the Discovery Channel, which also bypassed Supreme Council of Antiquities regulations.

The Kingdom of Kush
Inspired by the British Museum's Sudan exhibition, this is a very good article about the Kingdom of Kush, and its language, Meriotic (as yet not deciphered).

Sunday, September 05, 2004

4th Century Cave in South Sinai
"The mission of the Supreme Council of Antiquities announced the unearthing of archaeological cave dating back to the 4th century in Pharaoh Hamam area in Sinai. " As always with the Egyptian State Information Service, this item is brief and not very clearly stated.

Ancient treasures shed light on Sudan
More on the British Museum's exhibition of Sudanese archaeology: "Among some of the funerary objects are small carved figurines dating back to 4,500 BC which would not look out of place in a modern exhibition of abstract art. Visitors are welcomed by a full-sized statue of the Kushite ruler Anlamani which reflects Sudan's position on the cusp of the Arab world and Africa. Anlamani stands in a classically Egyptian pose but has unmistakably African features." I haven't visited the exhibition yet, but it looks as though it is going to be marvellous.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

International Congress of Egyptologists
"Grenoble, in France, the home of renowned Egyptologist Jean-Fran├žois Champollion, is currently being prepped to host some 1,500 Egyptologists from around the world" The global forum for Egyptologists, featuring lectures and discussions about a whole range of Egyptological topics, will take place from the 5th to the 12th September.

More about the French Pyramid Theory,1280,-4473237,00.html
This article explains the theory and also describes how the two amateur Egyptologists want to test their hypothesis - by drilling holes into the base of the pyramid (augering). Zahi Hawass has refused, saying that it will cause unnecessary damage to the pyramid.

Friday, September 03, 2004

2500 year old tomb found at Giza
This 26th Dynasty site, described as "under the shadows of the pyramids" contained 400 tiny shabti figures. This sounds suspiciously like a former posting that described another 26th Dynasty Tomb with the same number of shabtis, but that was supposed to be in a different area of Cairo. Anyway, the article is here for your perusal!

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Meidum Pyarmid - Architectural Study An architectural study of the Meidum Pyramid has been posted online. You will need Acrobat PDF Reader to access it. It is a 24-page report with some fascinating diagrams and photographs of the interior.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Turin Museum Virtual Unwrap of Mummy
Multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) was used for the first time to produce a detailed 3D model of the face of the 3,000 year old mummy of a - without having to unwrap him. The mummy is that of of an artisan named Harwa. More info is in the article.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Sudan's Ancient Treasures
As the background to an exhibition abotu the Sundan National Museum's centenary, this article provides a brief overview of Sudan's archaeological past from 200,000 years ago until 1500AD.

Uncovering the secrets of the Great Pyramid
Two French amateur archaelogists this week published a book in which they claim to have located the secret burial chamber of the Pharaoh Cheops in the Great Pyramid. On the face of this article the claim appears to be more than the usual hocum, and is based on the use of microgravimetry, which measures the density of materials, and radar technology. The theory has not been tested, due to being blocked (it is claimed by the article) by Egyptian authorities.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Stolen 30th Dynasty relief returned to Egypt
A 30th Dynasty granite relief has been returned to Egypt by Christie's auction house in New York. The relief was one part of a larger scene which had been removed from the temple of Behbeit Al-Hegara in the Delta governorate of Gharbiya. More information at the above link.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Auguste Mariette - A Man with a Mission
An article about the French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette, who established the first Egyptian Museum and carried out many of the early excavations in Egypt. There is, in addition, a wonderful photograp of the main hall at the Bouleq (first Egyptian) museum, before it moved first to Giza and then to its present location at Tahrir Square, at

Thursday, August 26, 2004

7th century BC tomb uncovered in Heliopolis
Another waterlogged 26th Dynasty tomb has been found in the Heliopolis area of Cairo, accomapnied by over 400 "small statue figures". It was discovered during the construction of a house.

Friday, August 20, 2004

The State of Coptic Studies
A fascinating article about the failure of founders and supporters of "Coptic studies" to find an agreed upon definition for Coptic studies as a discipline. It is an interesting insight into the nature of academia itself. This article summarises some of the issues that emerged form the International Association for Coptic Studies (eigth congress).

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Moving Luxor homes from ancient sites
The Ministry of Tourism have announced that they are planning to move 150 houses currently on the path of the avenue of ram-headed sphinxes in Luxor, and will pay residents compensation for this. This is to enable archaeological excavations, after which the avenue will be extended between the Karnak and Luxor Temples The Ministry has also said that it would bear the costs for establishing 1,000 houses at Al-Taref Village, as a primary step for moving 4,000 families living on archaeological tombs on the western bank in Luxor.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Graeco-Roman Mosaics
Three massive and very beautiful Roman mosaics from Tell Timai (Mansoura, Delta) have been restored and put on display in Alexandria in the Graeco-Roman Museum. There is an image of one of them and a description of all three at the above page on the Al Ahram website.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Egypt turns attention to domestic suppliers of stolen treasure
Article about the Egyptian problems with internal security in Egyptology. Zahi Hawass is talking int terms of tightening security, improving record keeping and launching programs aimed at convincing Egyptians that it's their job to protect their past. The article says that "When it comes to stealing Egypt's heritage, the potential payoff is so high and the chances of getting caught so low that even members of Egypt's elite are willing to risk their reputations and their liberty. " Under Egyptian law, antiquities smugglers can only be sentenced for to up to five years in prison. See the article for more information, with many quotes from Hawass.

The largest seated statue of the 19th-Dynasty Pharaoh Ramses II so far
"The remains of a colossal seated statue of Ramses II, thought to be about 13 metres tall and weighing 700 tons, have been discovered in a shanty area of the Upper Egyptian city of Akhmim, adjacent to the open-air museum. The lower part of the limestone statue is seated on a throne, to the right and left of which are figures of two of the pharaoh's daughters and princess- queens, Merit-Amun and Bint-Anath" (Al Ahram Weekly). For more information see the article, which goes into more details.

New Predynastic tomb and other news
A predynastic tomb has been found by the Belgian Mession at Wadi Hosh, Aswan, dating to around 4000BC (6000 years old). The remains of a womean aged between 40 and 50 years old were found. I have been unable to find any other information at present.
Other news items in the article include plans to introduce another robot into the Great Pyramid.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Fraud exposed - after 3,000 years
Very unusually for the BBC, this is not a very well written article. However, the main content is that a researcher has published a paper about the looting of the tomb of King Sobekemsaf, during the New Kingdom era. The article says that the thieves were caught and tried in the Thebes, but that the senior officials who were found to be involved were let off and these details of the case was hushed up, while the robbers themselves were punished. For those of you with any Arabic, you may get more sense from the original article in the newspaper Al-Masri Al-Yaoum. The researcher is named in the BBC article as Ahmad Saleh.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Update - Items missing from Cairo Museum
A three-month search of the Egyptian Museum's basement, has confirmed that 36 gold bracelets and two gold rings dating back to the Roman Empire have, as previous reports suggested, disappeared. Their insurance value is LE150 million. Over the next week, prosecutors will interview former SCA secretary-general Gaballa Ali Gaballa, Zahi Hawass, the current SCA secretary- general, and former directors of the Egyptian Museum.

26th Dynasty Horus Priest Surfaces
WHILE laying the foundation stone of a new mosque in the Al-Basriya area of north-east Cairo's Ain Shams district,found a 26th dynasty tomb containing the skeleton of priest Ankh- Khonsu Deirt Hur, whose name means "the creation of the god Horus" in a large basalt sarcophagus accompanied by four canopic jars. The tomb, which has suffered water damage and is in poor condition, may have to be dismantled, restored and transferred to the open-air museum in Matariya, where a collection of 26th dynasty tombs is exhibited.

Excavation findings at Deir Al-Bersha in Middle Egypt
A mission from the University of Leuven has been excavating at this site, and has found a multi-period occupation. "The mission is primarily concerned with an area that has been largely unexcavated, and which reveals continued use over successive dynasties. Willems made particular mention of the Old Kingdom cemeteries, and of the new evidence on First Intermediate Period rock tombs, Middle Kingdom tombs and mastabas -- about which nothing serious has ever been published -- and structures in the Second Intermediate Period -- in which usurped stone from earlier structures were used." Many more details and a map are at the All Ahram site above.

Fit for a Pharaoh: 'fake' vase is 5,000 years old
An unusual predynastic vase in Harrogate Museum, originally part of a private collection, which has long been thought to be a fake has been scientifically tested and found to be the real thing. The reason it was thought to be fake was because of the uncharacteristic nature of the decoration, but it has now been dated to around 5000 years old (just before the unification of Egypt under one king).

I would dearly love to go and have a look at it, but Harrogate is just a bit too far off the beaten track for one vase, although the rest of the collection does look excellent. A photo is currently being shown at:

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

African Pastoral: Archaeologists Rewrite History of Farming
A good article discussing the latest theories about the origins of agriculture. Agriculture appears to have been adopted in an entirely different way in Africa, and recent and ongoing genetic studies suggest that cattle were domesticated in Africa thousands of years before plants, in a pattern quite unlike that adopted by Europe and Asia. Egypt is the joker in the pack - it had both cattle (probably African varieties) and Near Eastern domesticates, although it adopted agriculture several hundred years after the Near East, in spite of its relatively close proximity. Quoting many scholars and their research, this article describes some of the most recent ideas.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Huge statue of Ramses II found,,2-11-1447_1566462,00.html
Egyptian archaeologists recently discovered parts of what appears to be the biggest yet statue of Ramses II in the city of Akhmim

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Builders Find Ancient Tomb in Cairo Suburb
Builders laying the foundations for a mosque in northeast Cairo found a tomb dating from the Pharaonic period intact but submerged in ground water up to the ceiling of the tomb. The tomb dates to the New Kingdom and contains an unopened basalt sarcophagus, four Canopic jars, and inscriptions showing the tomb belonged to a man called Ankh Khansu Derat Hor.
At Akhmim in southern Egypt, while digging foundations for a religious school, workers found remains of a temple and pieces of a giant statue of the pharaoh Ramses II.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Countries battle over artefacts
A general article about countries trying to re-patriate artefacts and monuments now residing in other nations' museums.  It deals with a number of artefacts and countries, but also mentions Egypt's attempts to re-patriate the Berlin bust of Nefertiti and the British Museum's Rosetta Stone.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

More about the BM's Analysis of Nesperennub
A detailed summary from Al Ahram Weekly about the BM's analysis of the Theban mummy Nesperennub.  This is quite a long article and contains some interesting information both about the mummy and the exhbition itself.  Be warned - the page takes quite a while to load, and the image on the page even longer.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Recent Discoveries at Abydos,12674,1266978,00.html
This Guardian Online article summarises recent discoveries at Early Dynastic Abydos, including the probable human sacrifices and the 14 buried boats.  It includes extensive comments by excavator David O'Connor.  This is very much a popular-archaeology article, and is distinctly fluffy, but it does provide a useful top-level summary of what is being found there at the moment.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Pollution forces Egypt to move statue of god-king
The 80-ton pink granite statue of Ramesses II, originally from Memphis but currently located outside the Cairo Station, is covered in scaffolding in preparation for a move to a new location south of the city next year.  It has suffered from pollution damage and is being examined for internal cracks prior to a logistical exercise that will cost around £1million UKP.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

New twist on out-of-Africa theory
DNA analysis presented at a genetics conference that gives a new twist on the out-of-Africa hypothesis of human origins. U.S. researcher Professor Alan Templeton doesn't support the so-called replacement theory in which African hominids caused the extinction of other Homo species. Instead, he believes that his analysis of the human genome showed that prehistoric gene-swapping created a single evolutionary lineage beginning in Africa and ending where we are today.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Professor Lech Krzyzaniak
On the Poznan Museum Home Page: "It is with great sadness that we report the death
of Prof. Dr. Lech Krzy┼╝aniak, a director of this Museum of long standing and an eminent researcher of the prehistory of North Eastern Africa, on July 10th, 2004." I never met Professor Krzyzaniak, but I have read nearly everything he wrote on the prehistory of Egypt, and I am truly sad to hear of his death. He will leave a great gap in Prehistoric studies. My sympathies to his friends, colleagues and family.

Friday, July 09, 2004

News Item: Ongoing work at Karnak and the Valley of the Kings
An overview of the excavation, conservation and archaeological research project carried out this year by the Centre Franco-Egyptian d'Etude des Temples de Karnak (CFEETK), along with their Egyptian colleagues, in five different areas of Karnak temple.
Also, a description of the SCA's planned activities in the valley of the Kings: The SCA is undertaking a site management project with a Japanese Government grant of $2.6 million offered as a grant by the Japanese provide a proper Visitor Centre, a new security system and stricter guidelines for tourists.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Egyptian Antiquities Overview
Egypt Today magazine article about the management of Egyptian antiquities and some of the recent negative publicity that it has received, together with information about progress with the Alexandria excavations and a musuems update.

More on the British Museum 3-D Mummy Analysis (Discovery Channel)
Another article about the BM's virtual unwrapping of the mummy of Nesperennub

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Battlements Found at Egypt's Ancient East Gateway
"An Egyptian archaeological team has uncovered battlements from Pharaonic times at the ancient eastern gateway to Egypt in the north of the Sinai Peninsula, the Culture Ministry said Wednesday. The find includes three fortifications built in the area of Tharu, an ancient city which stood on a branch of the Nile that has long since dried up, a ministry statement said". (Reuters). See article for more.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

More about the BM's Mummy Analysis
A longer and rather more colourful description of the British Museum's non-invasive examination of an 800BC mummy - this time from the Telegraph.

Mummy's mystery unravels in 3D,6903,1248227,00.html
"In a technological and historical world first, this weekend the British Museum has unveiled or, more accurately, unwrapped the interior of a mummy that had remained sealed since it was made by masters of the ancient Egyptian craft of mummification. The startling operation was carried out without disturbing the intricate wrappings and amulets that were originally placed around his dead body. Using scanning technology developed by neurological researchers in a London hospital." (The Observer)
See full online article for more.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Trouble in the basement of the Cairo Museum
The museum has a massive collection on display, and the additional collection is stored in the basement. "But that too is crammed to the brim. Objects there are stored so haphazardly that many cannot be located, and some may even have gone missing. It has been reported that an important relief has been mislaid and 38 gold bracelets and rings have disappeared. This mayhem in the basement has pushed the Ministry of Culture to launch an ambitious three-year plan to protect the legendary storehouse" (Al Ahram Weekly).

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Mummy of a child and other items stolen from ancient tomb
"A mummy more than 3,000 years old and other items have been stolen from a Pharaonic tomb near this southern Egyptian city....The missing objects were taken from the tomb of a nobleman who lived in the time of Pharaoh Akhenaton, who ruled in 1379-1362 B.C., said Sabri Abdel Aziz of Egypt's antiquity department." (

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Mummy wrappings giving up new texts
After being wrapped, Late Dynastic mummies were encased in "papyrus-mache" - coverings made of recycled papyrus texts. The University of California-Berkeley has a collection of these which is the least mined of these resources to date, and these are now being explored.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation's first phase is nearing completion
"Journalists and photographers gathered at the elegant Ministry of Culture edifice last Tuesday to witness the official nod to the long-awaited National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation, planned to display the span of Egypt's various civilisations. Built at the edge of Lake Ain Al-Sira on the site of the mediaeval city of Fustat, the ambitious museum will put on show Egypt's diverse civilisations from pre-historic to modern times. On display will be 150,000 artefacts carefully selected from museums and storehouses throughout Egypt" (Al Ahram Weekly).

Donkeys originated in Africa?
"Researchers used an increasingly popular method called a genetic clock, in which genetic mutations can be calculated for each generation, and then generations of two separate species can be counted back to a theoretical common ancestor".
"African wild asses were probably tamed not once, but twice, in locations far apart to become the willing donkeys that carry loads the world over, an international team of researchers says." In Egypt the earliest donkey remains date back to the early Neolithic of Lower Egypt.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

More on the Helwan Excavations - with Photos
This article gives information about what archaeologists are learning about a cross section of society and the people who were buried at the site. A good, informative piece.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Security and Tourism in Egypt - an American perspective
N.B. - you have to register with this site, and it will ask you for an email address and password when you revisit. It is an article about an American visiting Egypt, the security precautions in place and the absence of Americans. The article is a mixture of anecdotal accounts of the writer's visit to Egypt and some contemplation about why, in her opinion, Americans have ceased to visit.

Monday, June 14, 2004

More on Helwan
More information about the Australian Mission's discovery of new tombs at Helwan

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Twenty 5000 Year Old Tombs found at Helwan,5744,9837177%255E1702,00.html
Dr Christiana Kohler's Australian Mission has found a necropolis at Helwan containing a relief showing early hieroglyphic text and 20 tombs. The necropolis also has two early Old Kingdom tombs.
Earlier informative articles regarding Kohler's work at Helwan include:

Friday, June 11, 2004

About Seti I - whose Mortuary Temple has been restored and re-Opened
The Mortuary Temple of Seti I has been restored and re-opened. This article describes Seti I and his role in Egypt's history, putting his mortuary temple into context. It touches on Seti's son Ramesses II and discusses the possibility that the Ramesseum was originally built for Seti rather than his son.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

More Underwater finds in Alexandria
More Ptolemaic finds have been located including more blocks of the famous lighthouse, more pieces of the rose granite statue of Isis, and a stela describing a Ptolomaic tax law.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Egypt to Catalogue Artifacts in Neglected Basement§ion=news
"CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is about to begin the painstaking five-year task of cataloguing and restoring some 90,000 pharaonic and other artifacts which have lain almost forgotten for decades since they were dug from ancient ruins"

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Items Missing from the Cairo Museum
A number of items in the Cairo Museum cannot be accounted for, and an audit is going to be carried out to discover the full extent of the loss. It is alledged that 38 gold items from the Tutankhamun collection are missing, and it has been confirmed that another 38 pieces, dating to the Roman occupation of Egypt, are also missing.

Friday, June 04, 2004

2003-2004 Season at Abusir - Excavation Overview
This PDF file provides a 10-page overview of the Czech excavations at Abusir in the 2003-2004 season. The paper includes plans and photographs. The description of the excavations is short but fascinating, and a real insight into the Czech activities at Abusir.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Egyptomania in Dubai
Zahi Hawass discusses the evidence of Egiptomania in the culture of Dubai.

Origins of Africa's Cattle
The first issue of "The African Scientist - Bringing Genomes Alive". It dates to January of this year, but I've only just found it. It has a two page article entitled "Where do Africa's cattle come from?" which is an important topic for prehistoric/predynastic studies and the origins of Egyptian domestication and agriculture.

Ancient Egyptian Sense of Humour
"A recent series of lectures on ancient Egyptian humor given by a leading historian reveals that people thousands of years ago enjoyed bawdy jokes, political satire, parodies and cartoon-like art." (Discovery Channel Website)

The Nobleman - New Exhibit at Boston MFA
Boston's Museum of Fine Art has acquired a remarkable piece of statuary known as "The Nobleman" for its collections, and it is now on display. Showing a man's head, it is thought to date to the reign of Senusret III. It has belonged for many years to the Josephson private collection, and this detailed page describes both the sculpture and the way in which it was acquired and kept by Josephson. I haven't so far found a picture of it online, and the MFA website is out of date on the news front, but I'll update as and when I find one.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Electronic Egyptology Forum Online Library - Updated
There are five articles in the EEF Library, and a new one has been added by William McMurray entitled "Towards an Absolute Chronology for Ancient Egypt". McMurray invites comments via the EEF forum.

Monday, May 31, 2004

New archaelogical findings may re-shape Sudanese history
The recent discovery of seven statues in Karma, northern Sudan, south of the Third Cataract, which represented monarchs during the ancient Nubian Kingdom. They represent the kings Taharqa, Tanoutamon, Senkamanisken, Anlamani and Aspelta.

Friday, May 28, 2004

More on the Alexandrian University
A short update about the results of the Polish team who are excavating the legendary University at Alexandria

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Interactive Hierakonpolis - Updated
The excellent account of the latest excavations from Hierakonpolis has been updated at the Archaeology Magazine website. This issue focuses on the contents of Tomb 9, a Nubian C-Group burial, including an analysis of the tomb's owner herself.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Mataria Obelisk To Be Restored
The obelisk, currently located in a suburb of Cairo called Mataria, was erected by the 12th Dynasty Pharaoh Senusret I. It is 20.4 meters high and weighs 121 tons. It has been decided to subject it to mechanical cleaning.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Nubian Monuments in the Past and Present
When Lake Nasser was created, many Nubian monuments were rescued. Others were lost beneath the waters created by the new Aswan Dam. This Al Ahram Weekly article discusses both the prehistory and history of Nubia, and the work done to preserve its heritage.

Unearthing Egypt's Treasures
A Providence Journal article about the attitidues of Zahi Hawass to visitors to Egypt.
If you need a username and password, use Andie (username) and Gazelle (password).

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Rescuing the Temple of Esna
An Egyptian State Information Service item about the planned restoration of Esna temple. The threat comes from a combination of high underground water and the low level of the Nile water in front of the temple caused by the Esna barrages, and sewage from local housing. This is a major project which involves dismantling the temple and raising it on higher ground.

More about the Saqqara Mummies
The National Geographic have offered a short summary of what is known about the recently discovered Saqqara mummies. The article also discusses Zahi Hawass and his policies re recovering lost/stolen/smuggled artefacts.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

50th Anniversary of Finding of Khufu's Solar Barque Commemorated
The Egyptian State Information Service is to commemorate the finding of the Solar Barque: "Commemorating the 50th anniversary of their discovery, the Supreme Council for Antiquities(SCA) is to hold a series of lectures to highlight the historic and archaeological significance of the boats and their religious implications in the ancient Egyptian doctrine."

Mubarak Opens Luxor Museum Extension
President Mubarak opened the extension to the Luxor Museum, which, kown as the Thebes Glory Hall, examines the military history of Ancient Egypt.
Please note - there is also a considerable amount of commentary quoted about political matters.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Pyramid Workers's Village - Continued
Zahi Hawass's regular article in Al Ahram Weekly continues his description of different aspects of the Pyramid Workers's village at Giza. This week he looks at the number of people employed, how they were managed, and what they ate.

A boat chapel in the temple of Hathor at Dendera
A report about a boat chapel found at Dendera earlier this year, discussed in the context of the Dendera site.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Friday, May 14, 2004

Rescuing the Osirion tomb at Abydos
The Egyptian State Information Service report that the Osirion tomb is under serious threat from groundwater and salt damage, following the findings of a Swiss research team. However, it has not yet been decided how to counteract the problem.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Restoration of Kom Ombo
The Ptolomaic site of Kom Ombo has been the subject of an extensive restoration project, which is described in brief in this Egyptian State Information Service feature.

Hardy tourism industry boosts Egypt economy
An article about Egypt's thriving tourist industry. It puts the tourist industry into its political and economic context.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Facility for Archaeological Research at Helwan (FARAH)
This page describes Australia’s first permanent archaeological research facility established in Egypt, and gives an overview of their activities at Helwan - which is helping to clarify the situation from the First to Fourth dynasties, a period of some 400 years. The research is helping to establish how the Egyptian Civilization evolved from Predynastic times through to the pyramid building ages and beyond.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Insects at Amarna
A study of insect life at Akehnaten's city Amarna (Akhetaten) has revealed that the place was teaming with fleas, flies, bedbugs and parasites, in particular at the tombuilders "Workmens Village". The study by Eva Panagiotakopulu, a paleoentomologist at Sheffield University (UK) believes that the fossilized plague bacteria she identified in the fossilized fleas may indicate that the plague originated in Africa, in fleas that fed on the Nile rat and were only later transferred to Asian rats as carriers, which in turn communicated the plague to the rest of the Mediterranean.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Ancient University of Alexandria Found
A Polish-Egyptian team has found the remains of the University of Alexandria. It has been found in a part of modern Alexandria where a theatre had already been identified, now thought to be part of the library complex. 13 large auditoria have been found. The University was legendary and texts describe it, but this is the first time that any part of the library has been discovered. Amongst many renowned scholars who worked there were Euclid and Archimedes.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Pharaonic gold miners' housing compound discovered near Red Sea
"A Belgian archaeological mission to Egypt discovered a Pharaonic housing compound close to a gold mine in mountains along the Red Sea. . . . Mineshafts and holes, with huts for laborers spread around them, were uncovered, in addition to a huge number of stone instruments used to cut the gold-bearing rocks."

Monday, May 03, 2004

Recent Discoveries at Oxirhynchus Described (Spanish)
Since 1992 the site has been under the investigation of the University of Barcelona. There are three parts to the Oxyrhynchus’s site under investigation: a painted Christian chapel, a Coptic-Saite Necropolis and an
underground structure dedicated to Osiris.

Czech Egyptology - Parts II and III
The last two parts of Czech Radio's look at the role of Czech Egyptologists in Egypt, at sites like Abusir. Part II stresses the role of building up good relationships with local people and the SCA, whilst part III looks at the site of Abusir itself and what has been found there. Both are very short articles. The link for Part 1 is contained earlier in this blog,

More on the New Kingdom forts in Sinai

"The site includes two limestone forts, one dating from the reign of the XVIIIth-Dynasty Pharaoh Thutmosis III (1475-1425) and the second from the XIXth Dynasty . . . the only remaining part of the first fort was found on the east bank of the Al- Salam Canal. It consists of a moat built on a foundation of between nine and 14 layers of fired red bricks, a material that was only rarely used during the New Kingdom. Only 50 per cent of the second fort has been uncovered" (from Al Ahram weekly)

Geological Development of the Nile
Rushdi Said is something of a personal hero of mine - a geologist who has spent a considerable amount of time writing about the Nile's development since its first creation. This knowledge is central to an understanding of prehistoric contexts and how the behaviour of the river at different times influenced daily life in historical Egypt. This Al Ahram weekly article is an interview with Rushdi Said, and offers a summarised description of the Nile's development.

Egypt Tourism Hits Record Figures
The Egyptian State Information Service has announced that Egyptian tourism has reached record figures. If true, this must be a huge boost after the terrorst strikes against Egypt in the 90s, when some writers speculated that Egypt's tourism would be permanently damaged.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Egyptian Antiquity Thief Gets 35 Years
"The ringleader of an Egyptian antiquities smuggling ring that shipped at least 300 pharaonic and other artefacts to Europe has been sentenced to 35 years in prison." From

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

More on the Saqqara Mummies - over 50 of them
Egyptians had used the network of shafts and corridors over several centuries, starting from the 26th dynasty (664-525 B.C.) and continuing into the Ptolemaic period, which ended with the death of Cleopatra in 30 BC (from the MSN website).

Monday, April 26, 2004

Two 18th Dynasty fortresses discovered in northern Sinai
The Egyptian-American mission operating in Tal al-Borg area in north Sinai discovered remains of two fortresses from the Pharaonic l8th dynasty. This is a very short article from the Egyptian State Information Service.

New Online Exhibition re Ancient Egyptian Cereals
Currently only in French, but shortly to be published in English as well, this site is about Egyptian cereals in general. Different sections look at the basics of cereals in ancient Egypt, bread making (ancient and contemporary), and the use of cereals in different contexts. A fascinating site, even with my abysmal French - I can't wait for the English language version to arrive!

There is also a link on the site to the English language website of the Dokki agricultural museum in Giza, Cairo, which is well worth a visit in its own right: (

New Mummies found in Egypt
Egypt said Sunday new mummies in wooden coffins dating back to the 7th Century B.C. have been unearthed at the Giza Pyramids near Cairo.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Dig days: The Pyramid builders II (Zahi Hawass)
An article by Zahi Hawass in Al Ahram Weekly about the Pyramid Builders' Village at Giza. "The discovery of the tombs of the Pyramid builders has provided us with vital information about the workmen who actually constructed the great Pyramids of Giza and has enabled us to reconstruct the age in which they lived."

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Czech Egyptology - Part I
"The Czech Egyptology has got an interesting history. It is not a well-known fact that the first Czech Egyptologist was the first director of the Egyptian collection in Bologna, Italy in the second half of the 19th century. However, the first real Czech Egyptologist was Professor Frantisek Lexa who was appointed Professor of Egyptology at our university in the 1920s"

Restoring the Ramasseum
The Supreme Council for Antiquities (SCA) is working out a plan t restore the Ramesseum temple on the west bank in Luxor

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Ancient inscribed slab brought to light - more on the Bubastis stone (image)
It shows a royal decree, written in ancient Greek, Demotic and Hieroglyphs. The inscription consists of 67 lines of Greek text and 24 lines of Demotic along with traces of Hieroglyphs outlining the calendar reform and praising Ptolemy. It mentions King Ptolemy III Euergetes I along with the date 238 BC. There is an interesting reference to the king having imported grain from Syria, Phoenicia and Cyprus to alleviate famine in ancient Egypt and the mention a reform of the ancient Egyptian calendar which was not in fact actually implemented until some 250 years later under Julius Caesar.

Monday, April 19, 2004

U.S. Exhibition: The Quest for Immortality,0,6455271.story?coll=sns-ap-entertainment-headlines
100 ancient Egyptian objects currently on display at the Milwaukee Public Museum are touring North America - this is the largest selection of Egyptian antiquities ever to travel to North America. The exhibit's climax is a full-scale re-creation of Pharaoh Thutmose III's burial chamber. After Milwaukee, the show travels to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Sept. 12, 2004-Jan. 23, 2005; Dayton Art Institute, Sept. 1, 2005-Jan. 3, 2006; Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, Tenn., June 11, 2006-Oct. 9, 2006; Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Ore., Nov. 5, 2006-March 4, 2007; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Sept. 2, 2007- Dec. 31, 2007.

Bilingual inscription found at Tell Basta
A German-Egyptian research team working at Tell Basta, ancient Bubastis, have found a trilingual stone As the name lets assume, it concerns with the Bilinguae a stone, on which the text is fixed in two languages. As with the Rosetta Stone there are two Egyptian writings - the older Hieroglyphisch and later demotic - as well as Greek. It cotains a copy of the Kanopus decree, from the reign of the Ptolemy III in 238BC. This site is in german. There is an image of the stone, but it is a very poor quality photo. I don't read German but I'll post with more information when I find an English report.

African scientists map origin of continent's cattle
The origins of cattle is important to an understanding of the roll out of agriculture in Africa, including Egypt - Fred Wendorf has found that cattle were a crucial component of one of the earliest agricultural communities in Egypt in the south-west Western Desert. Interestingly, no cattle remains were found in the Faiyum which is the home of Egypt's other early agricultural community. "While the Sinai Peninsula, connecting Egypt with the Middle East, traditionally has been seen as the obvious overland route for the coming and going of people and animals, commodities, seeds and cultural ideas, the British researchers are finding more and more proof of communication across the 50 kilometres of the Red Sea that separate Djibouti and Yemen since the beginning of mankind." From Afrol News.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Ancient Egyptian Love Poems Reveal a Lust for Life
"A group of love poems have been found in an excavated workers' village on the outskirts of the Valley of Kings, where many pharaohs are entombed. The verses allow poetry lovers and Egyptophiles alike to tap into the emotional side of Egyptian daily life". From the National Geographic.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Reopening, restoring Kalabsha Island temples temples of Kalabsha Island in Aswan will be opened next month for visitors following a comprehensive restoration that covered the archaeological site. There are rock inscriptions of animals, boats and hunting scenes dating back to the Old Kingdom, two temples of Beit Al- Wali and Garf Hussein from the New Kingdom, the stele of King Ahmos II of the 26th dynasty, Kalabsha temple and Kartas chapel of the Ptolemaic age.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Inauguration of Tutankhamun Exhibition in Basel
The first Tutankhamun exhibition to be held in Europe for more than two decades opened in the presence of Mrs Suzanne Mubarak. The inauguration of the Tutankhamun exhbition which displays more than 120 objects that once belonged to the legendary Tutankhamun and other royal members of the XVIIIth Dynasty.

Eternally Yours, Online
"A unique website puts the wonders of ancient Egypt in the palm of your hand" A discussion of the CultNat website, which uses all the bells and whistles of web technology to bring Ancient Egypt to life for web visitors.

Quest still on for many treasures of Egypt
"Egyptologist Ashraf Okasha traveled with "The Quest for Immortality: Treasures of Ancient Egypt" from Cairo to the Milwaukee Public Museum and has stayed in town for several weeks as a representative of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of the Egyptian government. Okasha has worked as an inspector of antiquities at many famous archaeological sites from the Valley of the Kings to the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut. He spoke with Journal Sentinel reporter Jackie Loohauis". From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Possible Depiction of Anthony and Cleopatra on Roman Vase (article) (image of the vase)
"The epic romance between Egyptian queen Cleopatra and the Roman general Marc Antony was immortalized on a Roman vase that is now housed at the British Museum, according to an expert in classical art" - a comprehensive article discussing what, if accepted, will be one of only very few representations of the famous couple.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Interactive Hierakonpolis
Hierakonpolis is one of Egypt's most important sites, dating from the Predynastic when it became the major power of Upper Egypt. This site details the excavations and has some marvellous photographs of the excavation and artefacts that have been discovered. It has been updated recently.