Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Tutankhamun Ticket Sales
"More than 600,000 tickets to the Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibit have been sold since it opened on June 16 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)". For details about ticket availability at LACMA, see the above press release on the Business Wire website.

Who was King Tut? - Part III

Following on from Parts I and II, which I posted about last week, this is the third part of the serialized piece from the Marco Island Sun Times, subtitled The Burial Chamber: "What would they find? The first thing they found, lying beside a small hole in the door made by robbers in ancient times were portions of two necklaces, dropped by the thief. Ancient Egyptian officials had resealed the doors" . For links to the first two parts click here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Avoiding the Pharaoh's Curse
"Thousands of Americans booked their tickets for an exhibition of Egyptian treasures in Dayton, Ohio. The number of persons who bought tickets to visit the exhibition The Queen for Immortality stood so far at 25,000. Director of the Modern Art Museum, which hosts the exhibition, expected the number to reach 400,000 by January; adding that the Americans fancy the ancient Egyptian civilization. The local press in Dayton urged US citizens to visit the exhibition to avoid the curse of the pharaohs. Some 141 artifacts representing the modern dynasty are displayed in the exhibition which will be opened for the public on Thursday. The exhibit includes: massive stone carvings, intricately painted sarcophagi and coffins, gold death masks, exquisite jewelry, stunning relieves, and artwork from Egypt's golden age, many items of which have never before been displayed outside of Egypt". This is the full State Information Service bulletin.

Tourist programme in Japan on Aswan, Saqqara

"A team representing Japan's TV Man channel is currently visiting Egypt to shoot a tourist programme on archaeological sites in Aswan and Saqqara in Giza. Youssef Khaled, representative of the Japanese university of Waseda, said the delegation, which is visiting Aswan at the invitation of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) will shoot the programme in cooperation with SCA. The programme is due to be aired by TV Man channel that covers Japan, China and most of the European countries with the aim of promoting tourism into Egypt". This is the full State Information Service bulletin.

Egypt in Hollywood

Yesterday a new exhibition opened at the Hollywood Museum: Egypt in Hollywood: A Retrospective 1898-2005: "Located in the lower level of the historic Max Factor Building, the exhibit presents the largest collection of Egypt-themed props, costumes, jewelry, photographs, and memorabilia ever assembled. Dating from La Fruite en Egypte (France, 1898), the new exhibit is comprised of treasures from hundreds of movies including The Mummy (USA 1911, 1932, 1959 and 1999 versions), Cleopatra (1899, 1912, 1917, 1934, 1963 versions), The Ten Commandments (1923 and 1956 versions), Charlie Chan in Egypt, Caesar and Cleopatra, Aida, Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy, Land of the Pharaohs, The Spy Who Loved Me, Death On the Nile, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Stargate, The Prince of Egypt and The Scorpion King."

More informatin, including examples of actual items on display, and details of when, where, and how much, are detailed on the above page on the Business Wire website.

Official on mission to promote, protect Egypt's history
Another article profiling Zahi Hawass, who is lecturing in Dayton on Wednesday and Thursday to two sell-out audiences: "One would not blame you, upon meeting Zahi Hawass, if you thought of Indiana Jones. There's the outfit — the dusty jeans, the blue work shirt with rolled-up sleeves, the crumpled fedora that is sweat-stained to almost Hollywood perfection. There's the confidence, too — he's a look-you-in-the-eye, take-charge lion of a man. He is impatient with people being uninformed around him and assumes that if you're talking to him, you understand that he's important".

Monday, August 29, 2005

Museum teaches visitors of all ages all about Egypt
A chatty description of the San Jose's Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum and Planetarium, built by the Rosicrucian Order, which was founded in the 1930s: "a mystical, philosophical organization that traces its roots to ancient Egypt, spearheaded archaeological digs in Egypt during the Depression, paying for expeditions when there was no public sector money available for research. The bulk of their finds remain in Egypt, but the budding San Jose museum slowly acquired artifacts, with permission from the Egyptian minister of antiquities".

Getty Museum ownership disputes

The Getty Museum, home to a world class collection of art and antiquities, is facing allegations from the Italian government that it obtained items which were looted and smuggled. The article also contains a comment and update on the situaton with Egypt's claims against the museum. Earlier in the year Zahi Hawass wrote to request the return of a piece: "But the claim was sketchy and confusing, says Suzanne Hall, spokeswoman for the Virginia museum. Hawass' letter described the piece, supposedly looted from a temple at Behbeit el-Hagara, as a depiction of the god Hapi — but it's the museum's belief that the relief, purchased in 1963 from a dealer in New York, shows a different god, Khonsu. Hall says the museum researched the sculpture's provenance, checked the Art Loss Register, a leading database of lost and stolen objects, and found no evidence that there was a problem. Museum attorneys twice wrote to the Egyptian government asking for more information, and received no answer, she says. When he was in Los Angeles in mid-June for the opening of Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Hawass told The Times that the theft apparently had not been reported properly when it occurred and that his staff was gathering information to support the claim against the Virginia museum".
See the article for more about the Getty Museum allegations.

Turin's Turn: Museo Egizio

It definately appears to be museum day today in the online world of Egyptological news. First off, the above feature looks at the city of Turin, which is to be home to the 2006 Winter Olympics in February. As well as all the other attractions that Turin has to offer, the article recommends a visit to the Museo Egizio, which has 30,000-plus artifacts: "Turin officials consider it the equal of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and the British Museum in London, thanks in part to the statues of Ramses II and the sarcophagus of Nefertiti. Although the Museo doesn't have a headliner to match the Rosetta Stone (London) or King Tut's gold (Cairo), it's certainly worth an hour or two".

The Second Door

Article on today's edition of the Egyptian Gazette website by Zahi Hawass about investigations of the "air shafts" in the Great Pyramid - nothing new here, but I have added it in case it is of interest. It is copied in its entirety because it will cease to be displayed very quickly, and there is no archive on the site - or at least, not that I've managed to find: "It was an important day in my life when we looked behind the secret door inside the Great Pyramid. This was inside the southern "airshaft" in the Queen's Chamber. The function of these airshafts was a mystery. Those leading from the King's Chamber to the outside of the pyramid might have been magical tunnels so that the soul of Khufu could travel to join the imperishable stars. But the shafts in the Queen's Chamber did not go to the outside, and now we had found this enigmatic door, or slab, blocking the southern shaft. There was great interest from all over the world. I had been in Hong Kong the month before, and everyone there was fascinated, and could not wait to see the investigation. They set up big screens everywhere so that people could see the National Geographic show at 8 am. We sent the robot into the shaft and it drilled a hole about 1.1 cm in diameter. But we did not put the camera in. We told the world that this great moment would be live, for everyone to see. I never thought that we would find evidence for Atlantis or aliens, but I truly did not know what to expect. My best guess was that there would be nothing there but empty space. This would be important, however, because even empty space inside the Great Pyramid could be very interesting for archaeologists. We made the TV programme live at 3 am Cairo time, which was 8 pm in the States and 8 am in China. We began by talking about the development of the pyramids, from the tombs of the Early Dynastic Period to the first pyramid, the Step Pyramid of King Djoser, to the first true pyramid, built by Khufu's father Sneferu. So we put the Great Pyramid into context, and showed that there were other pyramids before and after Khufu's.We sent the camera into the hole that had been drilled through the first door at 4:50 am Cairo time. Twenty-one centimeters behind this door was another limestone slab, this time without any handles. This was a very important discovery, and a big surprise to me."

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Cairo's Museum doesn't match majesty of treasures
In this article from the Dayton Daily News entitled Cairo's Egyptian Museum doesn't match the majesty of its treasures, the Cairo museum is given the thumbs down: "Rare artifacts sit randomly stacked in corners and hallways, or crowded onto shelves too small for them. Labels are tattered, curling and faded, typewritten decades ago and apparently untouched since then. Welcome to the Egyptian Museum: the world's largest and most important repository of ancient Egyptian art — and at the same time, a ramshackle, deteriorating mess". The item goes on to explain that the current Tutankhamun exhibition will be playing its part in paying for a solution: "The DAI [Dayton Art Institute], like other museums which have picked up the tour, paid the Egyptian government $1 million upfront for the show. As you wander around the Egyptian Museum, you can see plenty of ways in which that much, and much more, might be spent". Two of the objects that the article describes as particularly easy to miss are the Narmer palette and the model human head from Merimde.

Getting To The Bottom Of The Dorak Affair

The name James Mellaart is normally associated with Catal Huyuk and Near Eastern archaeology, but this long article, which may of interest to some, looks at the Dorat treasure, for which Mellaart became well known: "celebrity for Mellaart came only after publication of his tale of the glitzy treasure of Dorak the following year. He wowed readers by claiming the treasure had been illegally dug up during the Turko-Greek war (1919-1922) from two royal tombs of the Yortans, neighbors of the Trojans. The significance of this Yortan find was its establishing that a major seafaring nation existed in northwest Anatolia, adjacent to Troy, around the time of the Egyptians. Mellaart said he was able to deduce this from a gold sheet in the collection, which he claimed was once attached to a wooden throne. It was embossed with Egyptian hieroglyphics bearing the name and titles of Pharaoh Sahure (2487-2473 BC) - thus a royal gift from the Egyptians". But the owner of the treaure, Anna Papastri, vanished taking the treaure with her. The article's conclusion, which it reaches via a long tale of investigative journalism, and descriptions of Mellaart's past work, is that the evidence suggests that there never was a Dorak treasure. A shame - it would be a cracker if it existed.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Ancient Egypt gems on Italian isle
"Pantelleria, August 25 - A priceless set of ancient jewellery, probably from Egypt, is the latest archaeological jackpot experts have struck on this southern Italian island. Excavations at the 16th-century BC settlement of Mursia, on the north-western part of the isle, have uncovered a beautiful oriental style ring, necklace and pair of ear-rings" .

Sinai Mosaic Photographs
Two photographs of the new mosaic discovered on the Sinai Peninsula accompany this State Information Service bulletin.

The boy shill

With Tutankhamun soon to be on the move again, another rash of articles can be expected. I'll only update the blog with those that seem to offer something a bit different. This article, entitled How King Tut evolved from Cold War cultural ambassador to today's corporate pitchman examines the history of Tutankhamun's transformation from miraculous archaeological find to commercial pin-up, is by Christopher Knight, whose writing is always entertaining, and offers a detailed and highly readable overview of the subject. See the link above to go to the artilce on the website.

Mummies Unwrap the Ancient Past
An article on mummification to compliment the new British Museum exhibition at the Hancock Museum in the UK: "They scrambled people's brains, hooked them out through their nose, stuffed bodies with sawdust and then wrapped them in up to 375 square metres of linen.No, this isn't a scene from a horror movie. It is a glimpse into the ancient ritual of mummification, which is one of the areas explored in the Hancock Museum's latest exhibition. Egypt Revealed: Life & Death in Ancient Egypt, a British Museum exhibition, investigates little-known facts about one of the world’s greatest civilisations and includes rarely seen ancient Egyptian artefacts".

Trivia Round-up

Shirley MacLaine's Dog
"Meet Terry, the rat terrier, best friend and traveling companion of Shirley Maclaine, 1984 Oscar Best Actress and 10-time Golden Globe awardee. At 71, Maclaine has been acting for five decades. . . . In the course of our interview with Shirley at the Regent Beverly Wilshire, we learn that Terry, in one of her previous lives, was an Egyptian who knew our colleague, today’s press con moderator, back in those days. Our Egyptian peer, it turned out, was a pharaoh. It is that kind of afternoon". Read the article for more!

Time Travelling Pharaoh "In a move to launch its comic books and animated programming in the United States while maintaining its headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, Jordan Udko will head the U.S. office as vice president business development. . . . A princess of darkness, a time-traveling pharaoh and an ancient Arabian swordsmen were some of the characters first created by AK founder Ayman Kandeel, an Egyptian economics professor at Cairo University".

The Mummy - Collector's Edition "Universal comes through (as usual) with a loaded-with-extras, terrific collector's edition version of the recently updated version of The Mummy". A full review both of the original movie and the collector edition extras is shown on the above page.

The Last Days of Cleopatra - On Stage
"In The Last Days of Cleopatra, three actors are not only required to bring Elizabeth Taylor (Anna Roberts), Richard Burton (Michael Deleget), and Rex Harrison (Christopher LaCroix) to life, they must do so in a musical about the filming of the 1963 epic Cleopatra. It's a tall order, and only Roberts succeeds, specifically when her cadences match those of the screen legend. But one resists Deleget's attempt to re-create Burton's lush Welsh intonations and LaCroix's effort to achieve Harrison's signature suave urbanity, particularly as costume designer Georgette Feldman keeps Harrison in a toga throughout".

Friday, August 26, 2005

Here comes Hatshepsut

"The Kimbell Art Museum has announced that Hatshepsut, the most powerful female ruler of ancient Egypt, will be the subject of a show at the museum next year. Hatshepsut was more than a queen regent warming the throne for her offspring. She claimed the rights and full entitlements of pharaoh in the traditionally patriarchal society. Her reign lasted for almost two decades (c. 1479-1458 B.C.). Egypt -- and its arts -- prospered under her control. Approximately 300 objects including statuary, reliefs, sculptures, ceremonial objects and jewelry will be included in the exhibit. After her death, all images of her were destroyed by her stepson and nephew Tuthmosis III, who struck her name from the list of kings. Before it opens at the Kimbell on Aug. 27, 2006, Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh will make stops at New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art and the deYoung Museum in San Francisco".
This is the complete bulletin on the website

Zahi Hawass: A hat is a hat
"Whatever is said about the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) -- and a great deal is -- one thing is certain, he is never going to be accused of being a wallflower. Since being appointed to the post three years ago Zahi Hawass has courted the media spotlight with a fervour few would have imagined in the rarefied world of archaeology". A profile of Zahi Hawass on the Al Ahram Weekly website

The Destruction of Luxor's Heritage

Jane Akshar, Luxor resident and writer of the Tour Egypt website's Luxor Blog, has written an article highlighting the damage caused by water and tourism to Luxor monuments: "This is not a new story. It has been happening for some time and has been widely reported in the news, but perhaps many see these ancient monuments, having survived for so many thousands of years, as indestructible. They are not, and many could disappear in our lifetime, with increased irrigation and the impact of the Aswan (high) Dam together with Lake Nassar increasing humidity in the region. The water table is rising annually and the porous limestone and sandstone soak it up. This not only dissolves the rock but also leaves salt deposits".
See the full article for more - it is accompanied by photographs which demonstrate the damage being done.

Saving World Monuments

An interview with Bonnie Burnham, President of the World Monuments Fund, who quotes the West Bank as an example of a project under investigation: "One of the sites that we've had on several watch lists is the ancient Egyptian monuments at Luxor. First, the Valley of Kings was listed and now the entire West Bank of the Nile, at the place of Ancient Thebes. It's a very complex situation involving too much tourism, too much development, a rise in the water table as a result of the building of the Aswan Dam, more agriculture encroaching on the monumental sites as a result. And there are archeologists throughout the area who are working against the clock to try to excavate ancient monuments and sculpture that are in the ground that are deteriorating very, very rapidly as a result of all of this. And what the watch listing is calling for is a plan for the whole area that will protect the sites and use these economic generators to support the preservation rather than to undermine the very thing that people go there for". The whole interview is well worth reading in full.

12 mummies to be displayed at Egyptian Museum

"Minister of Culture Farouq Hosni is to open next month the second hall for displaying the royal mummies at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir square after the Ministry completed a project to develop display room 52 and fit it with modern technology. Dr. Zahi Hawwas, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities said 12 mummies will be displayed at the museum for the first time including mummies of Tuhutmos III known as the greatest warrior of Egypt and Amenhotep II, the most famous king of the 16 dynasty".

Thursday, August 25, 2005

2nd century mosaic found in northern Sinai
"A nine-metre-long Roman mosaic dating from the 2nd Century has been unearthed by an Egyptian-Polish archaeological team in northern Sinai, the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) said on Wednesday.The mosaic was found while the archaeologists were restoring a Pelusium Roman theatre in an area 25km east of the Suez Canal. . . . The mosaic, made from a combination of glass, marble, clay and limestone, features a blooming garden with two birds on a tree branch and other birds flying over roses.It is believed to have once been part of the theatre's decorated floor". I am sure that pictures will soon be forthcoming, but I haven't found any so far.
"Hawass said that the 9x15m discovery, constructed of glass, pottery, limestone and marble, is the most beautiful antiquity discovered in the area. It dates back to the second century.He added that multinational team is now working on the mosaic in order to move it to el-Arish National Museum where it will be displayed alongside other antiquities discovered in the area.The site is already famous for the "Blosium" Roman theatre discovered there, noted Hawas, it is the biggest Roman theatre in Egypt with a 110m long stage.Mohammed Abdul-Maksoud, head of the Lower Egypt Antiquity Department and head of the excavation team, said that the mosaic discovery was made during the ongoing restoration work being carried out on the theatre. Unfortunately, it was significantly damaged by the Israeli army which used it as a military camp during the occupation".

Egyptian-Jordanian contacts to restore statue

"The Egyptian Embassy in Amman had contacts with the Jordanian authorities to bring back to Egypt a statue dating back to the Pharaonic era. Jordanian Customs authorities seized the statue when a person tried to smuggle it on the Jordanian-Syrian borders. Egypt's ambassador to Jordan Ahmad Rizq, said that contacts with the Jordanian officials were part of an agreement signed by the two countries last January". This is the complete State Information Service news bulletin.

Gilf Kebir Feature - Part 2
The second part of the Tour Egypt feature on the Gilf Kebir appears on the site's home page and on the above URL. This page has a discussion of rock art in the area, and is again accompanied by some lovely photographs, as well as a very useful map.
Off-topic, but there's a nice tribute to the spirit of Sharm el-Sheikh following on from the appalling July bombings, on the same website:

First Six Hours of the Amduat Online
Thanks to Jacob Rabinowitz for letting me know that since his online publication of the Contedings of Seth and Horus, about which I posted on Tuesday, he has also published the first six hours (glyphs, translation, transcription) of the Amduat. To quote the web page on the above URL: "This is the first half of the book Amduat, describing Ra's journey through the twelve hours of the night. It is the first complete translation to appear in English in 100 years, the only version of the hieroglyphic text available online or currently in print".

Contacts to restore 2,000 pieces of antiquities
"Contacts are being held with a number of countries to bring back to Egypt 2,000 artifacts reportedly displayed in 22 halls abroad. Egypt recently received a number of artifacts from some countries including Britain, Australia and Canada". This is the complete State Information Service bulletin.

Correction: Eternal Egypt at Science Week, Thailand
Many thanks to Chris Townsend, my much-appreciated and newly designated "Official Nitpicker". As Chris points out, although the exhibit noted above, and posted about yesterday, has a lot of items originating in Japan, the Impact Arena in Muang Thong Thani is in Thailand and not Japan as I posted yesterday. Keep up the good work Chris! The above URL is a link to the Impact Arena in Bankok, Thailand. Full details of the location of the Arena, which is showing the Science Week exhibition until Sunday, are at the following URL, with my apologies:

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Eternal Egypt at National Science Week, Japan

The National Science Week 2005 exhibition in Japan, which opened this week at the Impact Arena in Muang Thong Thani, has a joint exhibit by IBM and the Egyptian government: "The Eternal Egypt project has accumulated precious Egyptian antiquities and the most important locations, artifacts, people and stories from Egypt's history into an interactive multimedia experience. There are 360-degree image sequences, panoramas of important locations, virtual environments, 3D scans, real-time photos from web cameras and thousands of high resolution images of ancient artifacts that weave together seven millennia of Egyptian culture and civilisation. Visitors can also visit the web site to enter a virtual reconstruction of Tutankhamen's tomb, view the Lighthouse of Alexandria or examine the face of the Sphinx as it looked 2,000 years ago".

Who was King Tut?

Part 1:
Part 2:
A two-part feature on Tutankhamun, to coincide with the impending arrival of the exhibition in Florida: "The King Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs Exhibit opens from December to April in Fort Lauderdale. Many Islanders are planning to go see it. Who was King Tut? Why is his name spelled differently, at different times? Why was he so important?" A general overview on the young king's life and the discovery of his tomb.

Brief details of items lost in theft

An apparently opportunist theft has resulted in the loss of several archaeological items: "An Egyptian Cippus of Horus, a black stone talisman depicting the god Horus standing on crocodiles, dated from the third century B.C., headlines the four stolen items". Some brief details, including a photograph of the above item, are available on the above URL.

Vol. 33 of Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur

Volume (No. 33) of the "Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur" (SAK) was published on the 18th August 2005, and contains the following articles:

  • Faried Adrom: "Der Gipfel der Frömmigkeit" (Soziale und funktionale Überlegungen zu
    Kultstelen am Beispiel der Stele Turin CG 50058 des Nfr-abw)
  • Hartwig Altenmüller: Eine Stiftungsurkunde für die Opferversorgung des Grabherrn? Zum Bild des Grabherrn an der Staffelei
  • Horst Beinlich: Fragmente eines Opferständers aus dem Tempel von el-Hibe
  • Edith Bernhauer: Eine Hathorkuh, eine Privatperson und ein Schlitten
  • Stefan Bojowald: Eine semitische Analogie zu Gattungszugehörigkeit und Rollenverständnis des /ob(w)/-Vogels im ägyptischen Cheti XIIIa?
  • Martin Bommas: Amun von Theben als Ziel von Gottesnähe: Überlegungen zur
    Königsnekropole von Tanis
  • Gerard P. F. Broekman: The Chronological Position of King Shoshenq Mentioned in Nile Level Record No. 3 on the Quay Wall of the Great Temple of Amun at Karnak
  • Manuela Gander: Die Farbigkeit der Schrift: Zur Verwendung und Bedeutungmonochromer und polychromer Inschriften auf Särgen des Mittleren Reiches
  • Stefan Grunert: Verlorenes erhalten: Zerstörte Inschriften aus dem Grab des Hetepniptah (G 2430)
  • Karl Jansen-Winkeln: Vier Denkmäler einer thebanischen Offiziersfamilie der 22. Dynastie
  • Jac. J. Janssen: Accountancy at Deir el-Medîna: How accurate are the administrative ostraca?
  • Jochem Kahl - Mahmoud El-Khadragy - Ursula Verhoeven with an appendix by Ulrike Fauerbach: The Asyut Project: fieldwork season 2004
  • Mahmoud El-Khadragy: The Offering Niche of Sabu/Ibebi in the Cairo Museum
  • Kristina Lahn: /Qedeschet/. Genese einer Transfergottheit im eägyptisch-vorderasiatischen Raum
  • Benoît Lurson: De Ramses a Horus. Analyse du programme iconographique des murs de la salle E du temple de Derr
  • Sabine Neureiter: Schamanismus im Alten Ägypten
  • Mansour el-Noubi: The Shrine of Min at the Temple of Ramesses II at Abydos (Room XII)
  • Joachim Friedrich Quack: Positionspräzise Nachträge in spätzeitlichen Handschriften
  • Faiza Mahmoud Sakr: New Foundation Deposits of Kom el-Hisn
  • Igor Uranic': /Book of the Dead /Papyrus Zagreb 601
  • Petra Vomberg: Die Weidendarstellung im Grab des /Jpwj /(TT 217) aus nomasiologischer Sicht betrachtet.

The abstracts can be found in PDF format at:

Aswan Travel

"Aswan is Egypt's largest southern settlement, an oasis north of the Sudanese border. The town is alive with the memory of French and British colonialism, and the ghosts of Napoleon, Kitchener, Winston Churchill and various princesses of Wales. Elephantine Island – a resort island dotted with hotels, the Aswan museum and villages – is an archeology-lover's paradise that transports the visitor to ancient Egypt". A portrait of Aswan and what it offers today's visitors - more about the variety of experiences and services available than the archaeology, but it may be of interest to potential visitors.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Developing the Faiyum for Tourism
Prime Minister Dr. Ahmed Nazif "has decided to form a committee of the ministries of higher education, environmental and foreign affairs, Fayoum governorate in addition to a number of Egyptian universities experts to take part in drawing up a comprehensive plan for boosting investment in the natural and archaeological sites in Fayoum governorate". As well as the Wadi Rayan nature reserve focused on in this article, the Faiyum has a rich archaeological past dating from some of the earliest evidence for mixed farming in Egypt (dating back to 5500BC) through an important Middle Kingdom period of occupation and irrigation works, through to an intensive settlement of the region during the Graeco-Roman period, from which many towns and temples survive, some of which are being excavated.

Egypt holds Briton over smuggling
" A Briton is being held in Egypt after trying to smuggle 66 manuscripts out of the country, airport officials said." See this short BBC News article for more information.

The Contendings of Horus and Seth
Jacob Rabinowitz has just published a revised edition of his
Egyptian Anthology through Invisible Books . This now includes the complete text of The Contendings of Horus and Seth, in Hieroglyphics, Transliteration and Translation, with introduction and some grammatical commentary. The author believes that this is the only complete version of this text available online.
The entire text is available without charge in PDF format at the above address

EEF News
This is a bit late - I meant to post it on Sunday evening - but the latest edition of the EEF News digest is available online at the above address, offering useful information as usual about international exhibitions and lectures, online publications as well as other news items.

Replica Rosetta to accompany Nesperennub

When Mummy: the inside story, opens at the The Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Centre (in Mobile, south Alabama), a replica of the Rosetta stone from the British Museum in London will accompany the exhibtion: "The replica, created in 1999, is made of resin and papier-maché and is the size of the original, discovered in 1799. The piece was made from a cast of the original". The exhibition is due to open on September 30th 2005. More about this first leg of the exhibition's tour can also be found at the website on the following page:

Monday, August 22, 2005

Meet the Curators: Josef Wegner

A profile of Josef Wegner, Associate Curator of the Egyptian Section of the University of Pennsylvania's Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology, who works on the Late Middle Kingdom period in South Abydos: "The main components of the project include a state-planned town site and the royal funerary complex (temple and tomb) of Senwosret III". See the full 2-page PDF for more about Wegner's work at Abydos. There are photos, but the quality of them is quite poor. The article is part of the museum's magazine Expedition, details of which can be found at:

Lecture on the Cemetery of the Giza Pyramid Builders
"Distinguished Egyptian archaeologist Mansour Radwin, Chief Inspector for the Supreme Council of Egyptian Antiquities, will speak about his recent archaeological discoveries at the cemetery of the pyramid builders at Giza" - this is scheduled for 7pm at the Michaeol C. Carlos Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, in the U.S.

Calling on Cleopatra

A travel article about visiting Cairo, and visiting different aspects of heritage and culture. "The Egyptian Museum, which houses over 120,000 objects of Pharoanic and Greco-Roman origin, took me back to history lessons at high school. Also in store were tales from the crypt! Mummified rulers now lay well preserved in their air-conditioned `afterlife.' An entire section of the museum is dedicated to treasures archived out of the 'jinxed' tomb of Tutankhamun by the famed British archaeologist, Howard Carter. One wonders whether the spirit of this ill-fated boy-king is disturbed by the presence of nosy tourists. As an anachronism of sorts, Pharaohs and gods such as Horus stare down on 21st-century denizens from carvings on public buildings and statues erected on parks. Brands are still named after Cleopatra and Egyptian gods. The one-hour journey to the historic sites of Saccara and Memphis gave a bird's eye view of pastoral Egypt. Mud houses, lush farms and sunflower fields dotted the landscape. Policemen in white uniforms ushered tourists towards King Zoser's tomb at Saccara. Led Zeppelin's rock classic `Stairway to heaven' came to mind as we approached the Step Pyramid — another reminder of ancient Egypt's obsession with death". See the article for more.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Prof finds insight into Egyptians in dead language

A short piece about Gene Cruz Uribe, a professor at the Northern Arizona University whose speciality is the translation of Demotic graffiti: "The people who left their marks in the first century at tombs dating from 1400 to 1100 B.C. were part tourist, part pilgrim, Cruz Uribe said, but they were nothing like the tourists or pilgrims of today".

Largest Egyptian Exhibition In History

"The largest selection of antiquities ever loaned by Egypt for exhibition in North America travels to The Dayton Art Institute in 2005. Ancient Egyptian beliefs and practices based on the afterlife journey of pharaohs will be dramatically illustrated in THE QUEST FOR IMMORTALITY: Treasures of Ancient Egypt. A life-sized reconstruction of the burial chamber of the New Kingdom pharaoh Thutmose III (1479-1425 B.C.) is included among 115 magnificent objects from Egypt, many of which have never been on public display or seen outside of Egypt". See the Dayton Art Institute website for more. Dayton is in Ohio (U.S.). The exhibition will show from September 1, 2005 to January 3, 2006

Gilf Kebir Feature
The Tour Egypt website has been updated this week with a feature on the Gilf Kebir, by Allan Watson. The Gilf Kebir is in one of the driest areas of the world - rainfall is so meagre that it cannot be measured. However, remains of prehistoric occupations and some wonderful rock art are the clearest indications of the fact that at various points in prehistory this area in the south west corner of Egypt was much more humid. Today, it has its own very special beauty. This article, part one of two, describes the Gilf and how its present form was created, and looks at the history of its discovery. The feature has some stunning photos to accompany it.

Antibiotics in Crocodile Blood

Thanks to Kate from the Akhet website ( for pointing out the above article to me. "Scientists in Australia's tropical north are collecting blood from crocodiles in the hope of developing a powerful antibiotic for humans, after tests showed that the reptile's immune system kills the HIV virus . . . . The scientists hope to collect enough crocodile blood to isolate the powerful antibodies and eventually develop an antibiotic for use by humans". As Kate pointed out, the Ancient Egyptians are known to have used crocodile products in their remedies, and it is an intriguing thought that through trial and error the Egyptians may have developed an understanding of some of the medicinal properties of things which are now only being rediscovered.

Wadi Hittan Nature Reserve on tourist map

"The government is to launch within the next few days the development project of the Wadi Hittan (Whales Valley) nature reserve in Rayan Valley in Fayoum governorate. The project aims at placing this area on the environmental tourist map after it has been registered as the first Egyptian site on UNESCO list of world natural heritage. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dr. Ahmed Nazif received a report from Maged George State Minister for Environmental Affairs on this area, asserting that this are houses several geological components, water springs and rare fossils as well as a great number of whales' skeletons dating back to 40 million years. Nazif has decided to form a committee of the ministries of higher education, environmental and foreign affairs, Fayoum governorate in addition to a number of Egyptian universities experts to take part in drawing up a comprehensive plan for boosting investment in the natural and archaeological sites in Fayoum governorate". This is the entire State Information Service bulletin.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

OsirisNet website updated: Amenhotep III

Thierry Benderitter has updated the a page on Amenhotep III's tomb , KV 22. It is illustrated by 40 rare pictures taken before the beginning of the restoration work, that cover most of the scenes pictured in the tomb. There is a comprehensive description, under a number of headings, and some clear and accessible plans are provided. A slideshow of the photographs is available at:

Archaeological finds unearthed in Egypt

An Egyptian State Information Service bulletin: "A joint Egyptian-German mission have found wooden artefact, coins and old manuscripts in Minya governorate, 250 kilometers south of Cairo, Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni said on Thursday. The finds date back to the Polemic and Roman ages, said Culture Minister Farouk Hosni, noting that the wooden statues are in bad shape. Some of the coins, Hosni added, are in good shape, and they date back to the time of Cleopatra, an Egyptian queen noted for her beauty and charisma".

Ancient Egyptian Items at Auction

An auction to be held on 18th October 2005 at Christies in London, UK, will include some remarkable archaeological items, including impressive examples from Egypt:"The general sale is led by the more than 3,000-year-old Egyptian granodiorite head of Sekhmet which means "the powerful." Although this lioness deity was a symbol of destruction, she was also a protective goddess (GBP200,000-GBP250,000). Formerly in a European private collection when it was acquired in Paris in the mid-1960s, the head probably came from one of the many seated statues of Sekhmet found in the Temple of Mut at Karnak, and dates to the reign of Amenhotep III (1386-1349 B.C.E) . . . . Also featured is the 5,000-year-old "Stansfeld" tablet (GBP60,000-GBP90,000), a rare example of the earliest form of writing: pictographic symbols inscribed in clay. . . . The auction will also offer over 60 antiquities from the collection of the late Wilhelm Horn (1870-1959), a Berlin banker who was fascinated by Egyptology and the ancient Greeks and Romans". For more information about the auction location and contents see this article on the Jerusalem Post website (also available on the Christies website as a PDF). Further details including catalogue availability should be announced nearer the time, at:

Electronic Egyptology

Another piece of Saturday morning trivia (sorry this thing for Egyptology trivia is a real weakness) - here is an Egyptology-based games for those of you with the electronic games bug, and a computer-generated (CG) movie:

Midway Games Day Report
First a new game will enable you to command Egypt. "Stainless Steel Studios' Rise & Fall: Civilizations at War is a project that has captured the attention and interest of quite a few RPG aficionados. It's a real-time strategy title, one in which you'll be able to command four great empires of the ancient world including Greece, Rome, Egypt and Persia . . . . There will be eight champions in all. At this time, we know three-quarters of the list - Julius Caesar, Germanicus Caesar, Cleopatra, Ramses the Great, Achilles and Alexander the Great. "

"Set in New York City in 2095, Immortal tells the tale of Earth being visited by ancient Egyptian gods who are, in reality, immortal aliens responsible for the construction of all planets in the universe. Having cast judgment on Horus, the god responsible for the creation of Earth, the gods have given him seven days to reclaim his immortality by mating with a rare species that occasionally pops up around the universe. This rare female species is a universal anomaly, one whose presence cannot be predicted, and who sports the rare ability of being the only females in the universe who can mate with immortals". Sounds like an absolute hoot! See the review for more details.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Two sites at major Egyptian museum to be opened late December
A short bulletin from the Egyptian State Information Service website: "Minister of Culture Farouq Hosni said his ministry will organise a world celebration late in December to mark the opening of the two facilities at a new large museum. When completed the museum, established on a surface of 117 feddans on Alexandria desert road, would hopefully be the largest museum in the world. The Minister said after a meeting of the higher committee that supervises the project, under Zahi Hawwas, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, that the two facilities are restoration centre and a power generating station that serve the project. He said a large area of the project has been afforested. The project's cost is estimated at LE 550 million".

CT scans of mummy Djehutynakht
An article about the CT scans of the mummy Djehutynakht, a 4,000 year old mummy artifact of an Egyptian governor from Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. "Because the tomb had been looted before archaeologists discovered it in 1915, a fair degree of uncertainty surrounds the Djehutynakht artifact. Though widely regarded to be a male, is not absolutely clear whether the mummified head belonged to the governor or his wife who was entombed with him". The article dates back to the 1st August, but I have only just noticed it - there is a good picture of the mummy's exterior, but no scan photos.

Abzu Catalogue Updated

Chuck Jones, who has recently moved to a new post in Athens, has started to catalogue publications on Abzu one again. For anyone unfamiliar with the excellent Abzu resource, the website describes it as follows: "Abzu is a guide to the rapidly increasing, and widely distributed data relevant to the study and public presentation of the Ancient Near East via the Internet". It also includes a vast number of documents about Ancient Egypt, including significant early documents by people like Petrie, Brunton and Caton-Thompson.
You can see recently added material by clicking on the following link:
Anyone with with things you would like to have listed should use the "Suggest a resource for Abzu" form at

Thursday, August 18, 2005

PM calls for protecting Fayoum ecological sites

An Egyptian State Information Service bulletin: "A comprehensive investment plan for all Fayoum Governorate's natural and heritage sites is urgently needed," Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif said Tuesday. "A plan is needed to utilize Fayoum's ecological sites and push forward its development process," Nazif told a ministerial meeting. Nazif also stated that Wadi'Hetan (Jaws Valley) should be considered as a natural reserve; it is the first Egyptian natural heritage site to be registered on the UNESCO list. "We should, make use of this international site to encourage' ecological tourism whose importance is increasing everyday," added Nazif.
This is the full SIS bulletin.

Egyptian-Polish Expedition
An item from the English-language online edition of Pravda about the Egyptian-Polish expedition which will be excavating the tomb of Amenhotep I: "There is a Russian joke, which is as old as mummies: a tomb-chest with a mummy was discovered during the archeological dig in Egypt. Experts could not determine whose mummy it was and invited Soviet experts for their expertise. The latter rolled up their sleeves and asked everybody else to leave the room. Soon they came out all sweating and declared: 'Amenhotep XXIII.' When asked how they managed to identify him, the experts said: 'The son of a bitch confessed himself.'
But let us get serious. Joint Egyptian-Polish expedition started the dig of fully preserved tomb of Pharaoh Amenhotep I in Kings Valley near Luxor. According to Dr. Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, archeologists are close to the greatest discovery. He considers the discovery in Dra Abu al-Naga region as important as the discovery of Tutankhamun tomb in 1922."

Success of Egyptology Degree Programme in Swansea

An icWales artilce about the increasing success of Swansea University in south Wales (UK), which interestingly suggests that at least one part of its continuing rise in applications is due to the inclusion of an new Egyptology degree programme: "A further major factor has been the introduction of a number of new degree programmes. There have been some remarkable success stories, none more spectacular than the growth in Egyptology. Triggered by the building of the Egypt Centre, which houses the Wellcome museum collection, the Egyptology degree has attracted hundreds of applications and helped to boost and transform a Classics and Ancient History Department which was struggling to compete with prestigious universities for students of Greek and Latin".

Sean Paul Unrepentant
A slightly obscure item for this blog, but it may be of passing interest to someone: "Reggae star Sean Paul was amazed when fellow tourists branded him "disrespectful" when he lit up a cannabis joint on top of one of Egypt's pyramids. The Gimme Da Light vocalist wanted to enhance the mystical experience atop one of the seven wonders of the world, but other visitors thought it was poor taste to smoke marijuana on top of the ancient tomb. Paul countered, 'Some people thought it was disrespectful - I thought it was quite energising.' The singer was lucky he didn't get caught with the herb - people caught using or trafficking drugs in Egypt face severe fines and jail time, with some cases resulting in the death penalty." This is the complete item from the Contact Music website

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Egyptian Antiquities Information System
Thanks to Emily Cocke, Archaeological Coordinator at EAIS, for letting me know that the Egyptian Antiquities Information System (EAIS) website has been updated. I have been looking at this site on a regular basis, and this really is a serious upgrade in terms of both look-and-feel and new content. EAIS is the official Geographic Information System department of the SCA (Supreme Council of Antiquities) and is creating a GIS of all archaeological and historical sites in Egypt - the first official registry of sites listing archaeological data, threat data and site borders on a number of maps. Needless to say, this is vital in creating real site management in Egypt. Samples of their work are shown on the site to provide an insight into the project's goals and achievements.

Mummies from the British Museum shown in California exhibition

"Among the peoples of the ancient world, the Egyptians occupy a unique position with their approach to death and the possibility of resurrection, particularly since so much of the evidence that has survived over thousands of years comes from a funerary context.
The largest and most comprehensive collection of ancient Egyptian funerary material outside of Cairo is housed at the British Museum. As part of a joint venture with the British Museum, the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California has drawn upon this world-famous collection of mummies and funerary objects to present the exhibition Mummies: Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt ... Treasures from the British Museum, which opened on April 17, 2005".
See the full article for more.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

British Egyptology Congress

The British Egyptology Congress is scheduled to take place late next month on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 of September 2005 at Cambridge in the UK. The Congress is sponsored by the Egypt Exploration Society and the University of Cambridge.
Abstracts of papers are listed here:
Registration details can be found here:

Author links bacteria and Egyptian symbols

Thanks to Tia for this one that I missed earlier in August: "Judy Kay King spent the last four years decoding ancient Egyptian symbols and interpreting the results through biosemiotics, a biological science of signs and messages in living systems. King's new book, The Isis Thesis, takes images found in ancient Egyptian artwork and compares them to the microscopic shapes of bacteria and viruses. Not only do many images match, King said, but the mythological stories are metaphors for the molecular biology of the bacteria and viruses . . . . King, who has a master's degree in English, has taught writing and literature, mythology and other classes at several colleges, including North Central Michigan College in Petoskey, Kirtland Community College in Roscommon and Davenport University centers in Traverse City and Gaylord. She took time off from teaching to complete her research at her rural Gaylord home . . . . King said her research often sounds more like science fiction than actual academic theory, but she's confident that it's more than coincidence that her idea is congruent to other scientific theories and both mythological and religious literature".
See the short article at the above URL for more details.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Secrets from the Sand - No More Amateurs

This article, by Zahi Hawass, is reproduced here in its entirety because the Egyptian Gazette does not archive articles, and it will not longer be available to view very shortly:
"Many people who excavate in Egypt believe that the rules announced three years ago for foreign expeditions to Egypt are new rules, formulated for the first time. Actually, almost all of these are old rules that have been on the books for years, but have never been enforced. There are only two new rules: first, that there should be publications in Arabic of all excavation results; and second, that no new excavations can be started in Upper Egypt (although new concessions can be granted in the Delta). All of the other rules were formulated long ago.We are entering a new era in Egypt. It is time to make protecting and caring for the monuments a priority, a job that requires the cooperation of all Egyptologists and scholars, both native and foreign. All of us need to dedicate our time to this effort.
There are, however, people who complain about the rules. Newspapers publish untrue statistics, claiming, for example, that the SCA has stopped over 100 expeditions from working. This is completely untrue. It is true that we no longer let anyone who wants to work in Egypt do so, and have turned down applications from people who are unqualified, or whose projects do not meet our clearly published criteria.
Who complains about these new rules? One example is a group of amateurs from France who want to drill inside the Great Pyramid, doing damage to prove a theory that has no basis and no academic support. Since the rules permit scholars to work only with the support of a reputable institution, they brought in a French Egyptologist to act as a dummy member of the team, simply to give them the authority to apply. This Egyptologist is not an expert on pyramids, and the application was rejected by the Permanent Committee, with the advice of the top experts in the field of pyramid studies.
We need people to understand that we are not against anyone. Our goal is to preserve the monuments of Egypt and protect our cultural heritage. To achieve this goal, we need everyone to follow and respect our rules. No more amateurs, no more non-scientific work. But to those who work with us, and care about Egypt's past, present, and future, we say thank you".

Exhibition of Rare Material from Wilbour Library
"Egypt Through Other Eyes: The Popularization of Ancient Eygpt, presenting more than thirty books, ranging from the commercial to the commemorative, focusing on Western fascination with ancient Egypt will be on view in the ancient Egyptian galleries of the Brooklyn Museum. The long-term installation, including many works that have never before been on public view, is the latest in a series of exhibitions presenting rare material from both the world-renowned Wilbour Library of Egyptology and from the Museum’s holdings of ancient Egyptian art". See the Art Daily article for more.

Tourist cruise ships contribute to river pollution

In an article discussing the pollution of the River Nile, Nile tourism is cited as a contributing factor: "Another problem is created by tourist cruises, floating houses and the river commercial fleet comprised of more than 3000 boats. Around 200 cruisers, 500 boats for passengers, 1600 boats for carrying commodities and 300 motor boats, in addition to 400 floating hotels, all throw their wastes directly into the river. Furthermore, all of these boats disperse a massive amount of oil into the water". See the article for more.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Rams Road replica for Luxor

The Egyptian Gazette reports that "Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni has approved a proposal to construct a 20 metre long mini-replica of the 3km long Rams Road that connects the Luxor and Karnak temples. The replica will be built in Luxor on the Nile's eastern bank. The Rams Road is an avenue of ram-headed sphinxes leading from the Luxor Temple to the Great Temple of Amun-Ra at Karnak. With the ram being the symbol of fertility for the ancient Egyptians, the spirit of Amun-Ra is supposed to dwell in the ram-headed sphinx.Apart from the ram-deities Khnum, Harsaphes and Amon, actual rams were once worshipped in many cities in recognition of their strength, virility and energy.In another development, Minister Hosni announced that a huge project would be carried out to flood el-Bar el-Gharbi (the West Bank of the Nile) with light during nighttimes. While the temples and statues of the West Bank would be illuminated, the mountain area in particular would be lit up. This would enable tourists to enjoy the sight of "an open-air antiquity panorama at night," noted Hosni. 'The light project will open the door for more tourists to visit the site at night, many of whom will find it far too hot to visit during the burning heat of the day, especially during the summer months. This will also be important for the 2000 to 3000 people who come to Luxor daily on a one-day visit,' Hosni said".

Nefertiti focus of German papers
"The reopening of Das Egyptische Museum und Papyrussamlung in Germany where the bust of Queen Nefertiti is exhibited was the focus of most German newspapers," reported the Middle East News Agency yesterday. Das Egyptische Museum will continue to exhibit the precious Egyptian relics until October 2009, said Berliner Zeitung newspaper. The relics will then be moved to another museum, it added. Another German newspaper said that the real birth date of Queen Nefertiti is 7th December 1912 when a German expedition team unearthed the bust of the beautiful queen in the Tal el-Amarna area and made her known to the world. The newspaper added that the bust of Queen Nefertiti was first exhibited in 1924. Since then Nefertiti has come to be known as part and parcel of Germany's Egyptian collection".
This is the entire State Information Service article.

7 Convicted in Antiquities Smuggling Trial
"The former director of a national antiquities department was among three men sentenced to life in prison Saturday, after being convicted in a scam that smuggled thousands of antiquities out of Egypt. Abdel Karim Abu Shanab, who headed the government office that inspects the collections of antiquities traders, was accused of taking bribes and supplying smugglers with certificates that said genuine antiquities were fakes. Under Egyptian law, only fake antiquities can be exported. A total of 10 people were on trial in one of Egypt's biggest antiquity fraud cases. Three were acquitted".
See the article for more. See also:

Tomb of Puimre (TT39 ) to be restored by Mexican Team,1,5856031.story?coll=la-headlines-world
"For the first time, a Mexican archeological team has been selected by Egypt's top antiquities authorities to work in the famous Upper Nile Valley. The group was chosen to refurbish the so-called Tomb of Puimre, or TT39, one of the country's most important unrestored burial chambers.The team, selected by the Egyptian government's Supreme Council of Antiquities and made up mainly of scientists from the University of the Valley of Mexico, in March will begin a five-year renovation project to make the site suitable for the public to visit. (It has been closed since the 1920s.)They will apply techniques that Mexico's archeologists have developed in their effort to preserve and understand their nation's 5,000 pre-Columbian sites, as well as myriad Spanish colonial churches, convents and palaces."
See the article for more.

MFA Website Relaunch - new Giza Archive
Many thanks to Linda Woods from The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, for letting me know that the MFA has re-launched its Website, with enhanced functionality to encourage visitors to interact more deeply with the encyclopedic collection, exhibitions, and calendar of programs.
A notable new feature of the re-launch is an improved and expanded Giza Pyramid Archive which contains thousands of important photos, diary pages, maps, and panoramic views of sites from the MFA/Harvard University excavations from 1902 to 1947. The Archive has been reported to previously on this page, but is now linked to directly from the "Collections" page of the MFA website, making it easier to locate.
Have a look at the website to see all the changes and to find out more about the MFA's collections and forthcoming exhibitions.

Ancient Egypt gossiped about gays
A short addition to the earlier post about The old saying Lisa Schwappach-Shirriff's research into Egyptian gossip: "A noted Egyptologist says that Ancient Egyptians gossiped about celebrities' homosexuality, among other things.Lisa Schwappach-Shirriff is the curator of San Jose, Calif.'s Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, which has North America's largest collection of Egyptian artifacts. In digging through the museum's archives and other evidence, she uncovered a penchant for tabloid-style gossip.Discovery News reports that one 5,000-year-old text described an unidentified king often visiting the home of one of his generals at night. Schwappach-Shirriff says the repeated use of the phrase "in whose home there was no wife" suggests the king was having a gay affair. But she says the gossip doesn't necessarily mean the Egyptians were antigay. She says the implicit disapproval may really be about his failure to produce an heir".

King of the Wild Frontier
"Remains of a Hyksos treasure found early last week in a cachet within the foundation of the fortified city of Tharo in North Sinai will shed more light on Ahmose I's strategy during his famous war of liberation. . . . A team of archaeologists digging at Tel-Habuwa, near the town of Qantara East and three kilometres east of the Suez Canal, has made a significant discovery". See this article on the Al Ahram Weekly site for the full story.

Travel Vandals

This is an article looking at problems of tourist management at heritage sites world wide, and quotes Kent Weeks who has warned about the impacts of tourism in Egypt: "Experts are beginning to give us objective reasons why tourism cannot continue to grow in an uncontrolled, unplanned way. One such warning has come from Kent Weeks, professor of Egyptology at the American University of Cairo, who says that the number of people entering the tombs of Ramses II, Seti I and Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings will have to be restricted, as they are doing too much damage to the wall paintings, with each visitor breathing out about a third of a teacup of moisture in any one tomb".

A Penn treasure plays name that tomb

An article about the task of re-branding the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. "Founded in 1887, the museum has about 175 full- and part-time employees and a $15.9 million annual budget. The university helps pay for it, as do admissions, memberships, grants and donations. Attendance last year totaled just over 180,400. Its Egyptian collection - including three mummies, one dating back 5,500 years, and a 12-ton sphinx - is probably its most popular".

Ramesses II - Not Moving Yet
"The deadline for Ramses II's departure from Bab Al-Hadid to the Grand Museum of Egypt is to be postponed. Nevine El-Aref says that the lofty red granite statue will remain at the centre of Bab Al-Hadid Square for another 18 months despite two years of being smothered by a growing pile of iron scaffolding while he is packed up for departure. His new home at the Grand Museum of Egypt overlooking the Giza Plateau is not yet ready to host such an illustrious resident". See the article for the full details

Dig Days - The Magic of Tut
Zahi Hawass talking about the legacy of the discovery of Tutankhamun in his Dig Days column in Al Ahram Weekly.

Integrated project to turn Luxor into open museum

"Minister of Culture Farouq Hosni agreed to carry out a joint project with the Higher Council of Luxor City with the aim of reviving history and culture of the City, presenting it in form of an integrated panorama and turning it into an open museum with total costs of LE 250 Million. He said the project, which starts late this month, will be carried out in stages. He added that the project included lightning the western bank of the River Nile and reopening the Ramses's Road".

Amenhoteb I tomb to be excavated

Minister of Culture Farouq Hosni agreed to allow an Egyptian-Polish mission to exacavate Amenhoteb l tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor

Nefertiti returns to Island home

"A famous bust of Egyptian queen Nefertiti has returned to Berlin's Museum Island, 66 years after being evacuated at the outbreak of World War II. Ever since its first public exhibition in 1923, the cool precision of the 3,300-year-old sculpture's symmetrical lines and its finely wrought features have drawn thousands of admirers from around the globe. The artwork spent most of the last 40 years in Berlin's Egyptian Museum".
See also:

Egyptian Museum to open new mummy showroom

The Cairo-based Egyptian Museum of Antiquities will open soon a second showroom for displaying more mummies to attract more visitors from the world, the Egyptian Gazette daily reported Tuesday. Preparations for inaugurating a second showroom for mummies with a cost of 1.5 million Egyptian Pounds (259,067 US dollars) by the end of this year, Wafaa el-Seddiq, director general of the museum was quoted as saying. The new showroom No. 52, which will display 12 newly discovered mummies, has been provided with the latest-state-of-the-art techniques to ensure the best display quality for the visitors, she added. At present, 11 mummies from Luxor in southern Egypt were being displayed at showroom No. 56, which was opened in 1994, Seddiq said, adding that the new mummies were among 27 mummies that had been unearthed in Luxor recently. The new showroom, which occupies an area of 170 square meters, has been designed like a tomb in order to make visitors feel like entering a real cemetery that dates back to the modern pharaonic state. The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, which was built more than 100 years ago and has been one of the most attracting sites in Egypt, houses the richest store of remains from the 3,000 years long age of ancient Egyptian civilization.


A complete technical breakdown in the wilds of rural north Wales, and I found myself without an Internet connection for four days - so apologies that the blog has not been updated since last week. I will update it today with news items from the last few days. I am now back in London with my adored broadband connection and I won't be going anywhere for several weeks. Hopefully, when I do go away again, my laptop will once again be on speaking terms with a phone line. Now where did I put that screwdriver?

Apologies again for the news void.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Amhoteb museum opens next month
"Minister of Culture Farouq Hosni will open early next month Amhoteb Museum in Saqqara, Giza. Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) Zahi Hawas said the museum will be the first of its type in Egypt as it tells the life story of the 'Pharaonic Architect'. Construction of the museum took three years at the cost of LE 5 million, he said. The new museum will showcase 1,500 unique antiques and will be placed on the Egyptian tourist map. Director of Museums Sector at the ministry Mahmoud Mabrouq said the renovation of the museum will be in symmetry with the pyramids plateau and Saqqara in the background". This is the full State Information Service bulletin.

Ancient Egypt provides key to storing nuclear heritage,,1545277,00.html
"The pyramids of the pharaohs and the nuclear bunkers of the past century may appear to have very little in common. But that could be about to change as the guardians of Britain's atomic heritage discover the benefits of working like an Egyptian". This article is about safe storage of data in a format that will survive into the future.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Egyptologist Discovers Ancient Gossip
"Ancient Egyptians gossiped about a bald queen, royals who had affairs, missing bodies, homosexuality, harem intrigue and more, according to a noted Egyptologist. Lisa Schwappach-Shirriff, curator of California's Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, which houses North America's largest collection of Egyptian artifacts, recently found evidence for tabloid-like gossip in the museum's eclectic archives and elsewhere". See this two-page article for the full details of the story.

EU grant to restore 10,000 artifacts
"The European Union (EU) approved a grant of 75,000 euro to the Supreme Council of Antiquities SCA for restoring a number of antiques at the Egyptian Museum. The project will last for three years for restoring 10,000 antiques, according to SCA Secretary-General Zahi Hawas". This is the full State Information Service bulletin.

Hawass to speak at Sierra Nevada College

"World-renowned Egyptianarchaeologist Dr. Zahi Hawass will speak at the Siebens-Binz SNC Tahoe Forumon Wednesday, September 7 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. on the Sierra Nevada Collegecampus at Lake Tahoe, Hwy 28 and Country Club Dr. in Incline Village, NV.The Forum is free and open to the public. Immediately following the presentation, Dr. Hawass will show slides ofcurrent discoveries and sign copies of his most recent book: Tutankhamun andthe Golden Age of the Pharaohs, the official companion book to the exhibition,currently touring the United States and sponsored by National Geographic. Dr.Hawass has been interviewed extensively on CNN, NBC's TODAY Show, CBS SundayMorning, and other programs in connection with the recent CT scans of KingTut's face". See the above press release for more.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Mummy the Inside Story - travelling exhibition
"Mummy will close Aug. 14 at the British Museum in London and will go first to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, where it opens Sept. 30 and will remain through Feb. 12, 2006. After Mobile, the exhibit will tour several Asian cities in late 2006-07". See the above article for more.

Book Review: Sudan

In an article entitled Today's battlefield, tomorrow's tourist attraction? the book Sudan by Paul Clammer is one of a number of books reviewed in brief on the SFGate website: "Known primarily for a half-century of civil war and a radical Islamic government, Africa's largest country is also a land of desert caravans, verdant river valleys, more pyramids than Egypt has and a culture that not only encourages but demands kindness toward strangers. The northern Darfur region, which remains a war zone despite a 2002 cease-fire agreement, and South Sudan, where a peace pact was signed this year but land mines and local skirmishes remain, are closed to travel. Remarkably, according to Clammer, the rest of Sudan is an easy-going place to visit, with the cultural richness of 19 major ethnic tribes and 100 languages, wildlife (unfortunately much diminished) rivaling East Africa's and the world's greatest river".

Egypt sorely in need of new site

A review of some of the costs and benefits associated with the planned Grand Museum in Cairo: "The U.S. portion of the traveling King Tut exhibition is expected to raise more than $36 million for the new museum, Hawass said in a recent interview. The tour, organized jointly with commercial entertainment firms, represents the increasing drive to use private capital to market the country's archeological scene.Still, revenue from the tour falls far short of financing the new museum's huge cost. With only $100 million coming from the Egyptian Culture Ministry, Mansour hopes international cultural institutions and foreign governments will step in with the rest of the money the project needs. Negotiations are continuing between the Japanese Bank for International Development and the Egyptian government to get a low-interest loan for $300 million". See the rest of the article for more.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Travel Guide Review: Illustrated Guide to Luxor

The Illustrated Guide to Luxor Tombs, Temples, and Museums by Kent R. Weeks "is much more than just a guide to the sites of the ancient city of Luxor. It includes, in extensive detail, information about the tombs and temples of certain areas that are unavailable in regular guidebooks. Every single page features at least one illustration — ranging from maps, photographs, paintings and drawings — corresponding to the respective site being discussed. The guide is organized by monument, and the sites on the West Bank of the Nile are ordered chronologically by type (temple, royal tomb, private tomb). The information is easy to follow and a glossary of Egyptology terms is included to further help the reader. It is ideal for any traveler wishing to obtain a deeper understanding of the area, but can be equally enjoyed by those who only dream of visiting Luxor".
This is the entire review on the Tour Egypt website.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

I couldn't resist this one. NB4C has announced some of its new shows for the 3rd quarter of 2005, which include Tutenstein: "In addition to the new shows, 'Tutenstein' will be brought back in the 3rd quarter. 'Tutenstein' revolves around an ancient ten-year-old boy king, Tut-Ankh-en-Set-Amun, who was mummified 3000 years ago and resurrected when his tomb was relocated to an American museum. In each episode, Tut believes he is still the Pharaoh and ruler of the world, and he learns about getting along with others and controlling his egocentric impulses . . . . In each story Tut and his sidekicks, Cleo and her cat, Luxor, have an adventure where the ancients are resurrected as allies or enemies in a conflict that takes place in modern times. Most of the socio-emotional lessons revolve around learning to plan, being less selfish, and considering the consequences of impulsive behavior. Cleo is usually the voice of reason for Tut, as she is the one who has to problem-solve their way out of each escapade they encounter".

Reconstructed head of mummy Sherit
Another article about the scan of the mummy Sherit, but with a photo of the reconstruction of Sherit's face that I don't think appears on any of the pages I posted during the week.

Ancient Egypt Magazine - August/September Issue
Bob Partridge has announced that the latest issue of "Ancient Egypt" magazine is now out
(August/September 2005, issue 31). I've posted top-level contents previously, but the full listing is now available and includes:

  • The Oriental Museum in Durham: Karen Exell tells how the collection
    was formed and looks at some of the more important exhibits.
  • Who were Nefertiti’s Parents? Marshall Hindley discusses the possible parentage of one of Egypt’s most famous Queens.
  • Replica Tomb of Thutmose III: Nacho Ares describes the project to create a full-sized replica of the tomb of Thutmose III, soon to be on display in Edinburgh.
  • Reconstructing the Face of Tutankhamun: A report from the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities on the facial reconstruction of Tutankhamun following the recent CT scan.
  • Meryetamun at Akhmim: The story of the discovery and restoration of a remarkable colossal statue of Queen Meryetamun, daughter and Great Royal Wife of Rameses II, told by Ayman Wahby Taher.
  • A river full of water ...but was it safe to drink? Jo Morris investigates where the ancient Egyptians obtained their drinking water.
  • Dressing Nefertiti: Ancient Egyptian Costumes on Television: Egyptology Clothing Consultant Janet Johnstone describes the problems of designing reproductions of ancient costumes for television programmes and films.
  • Archive Image: Old and new images of the obelisk of King Senuseret I at Heliopolis.
  • News of the Friends of the Petrie Museum.
  • Defending Egypt from Chaos - Rameses III and his Battles: Nicholas Wernick looks at the military campaigns of Rameses III, as detailed in his temple at Medinet Habu, to determine if he was truly one of the great warrior pharaohs.

Regular features include:

  • Bits and Pieces: news from the world of Egyptology.
  • From our Egypt Correspondent: the latest discoveries and work in
    Egypt provided by Egyptian Egyptologist, Ayman Wahby Taher.
    * PerMesut for Younger Readers: Written by Hilary Wilson, in this
    edition the subject is "Frogs".
    * Society Contacts: details of all the Egyptology Societies in the
    United Kingdom, plus a number from overseas.
    * Events Pages: A full list of all lectures in the U.K. for the
    next three months, plus news and details of any Egyptian Exhibitions
    in the U.K.
  • Netfishing: A regular review by Victor Blunden of web pages on ancient Egypt. This edition looks at sites on the early Dynastic Period of Egyptian history.

Book Reviews include:

  • The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, by Aidan Dodson and Dyan Hilton.
  • Great Pharaohs, by TGH James.
  • Egypt Flying High, with aerial photos by Marcello Bertinetti.
  • The Obelisk: A monumental Feature in Britain, by Richard Barnes.
  • Warfare in Ancient Egypt, by Bridget McDermott.
  • War in Ancient Egypt, by Anthony J. Spallinger.
  • Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs and Paintings. Vols V and V., by Porter and Moss.

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Lord and the King
"The year 1923 was a turbulent one for Egypt that should (if we had a better grasp of history) sound fairly familiar today. That year, the constitution was promulgated after lengthy debate; rowdy elections had just closed; and the rift between King Fouad and nationalist leader Saad Zaghloul was widening. While foreign journalists are descending on Egypt this month to cover a similar basket of political issues, the reporters washing up on the nation’s shores in 1923 were less interested in current affairs in Cairo than they were in all things ancient. Their destination: Luxor, where they descended in droves for what most of them would later bill in their stories as the archaeological event of the century: The unlocking of the untouched tomb of King Tutankhamun, which had been discovered by archaeologists Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon".

Akhenaten à la Grèque
A review of Mahdi Bunduq's play and the recent staging of Akher Ayyam Akhnaton (The Last Days/Day of Akhenaten) comparing it with Alfred Farag's earlier The Fall of a Pharaoh. Both take on the reign of Akhenaten, dramatising the king's life. Bunduq "recklessly embraced the controversial and much debated details of Akhenaten's personal life and relationships and with a little help from the imagination wove them into a suspenseful family melodrama involving incest, murder and revenge". See the Al Ahram article above for more details and a detailed review of the plays, the storylines and the participants.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Update: Mummy Sherit

Two videos (Windows Media Player or RealPlayer). The first shows video footage of the scan in process, the resulting images, the model of the child's skull, and is accompanied by interviews with those involved. The second video contains sound bites from the interviews, emphasising which pieces of information most interested and excited those who worked on the project. I thought that the first video was particularly good, but bother of them are worth viewing. The accompanying article is also good, providing a good summary of the project.

Virtual unwrapping of mummy
"Before an eager audience of academics, Egyptologists, technologists and other onlookers, a 2,000-year-old girl had her official coming out party Wednesday. The crowd had gathered at SGI's Reality Center at the Silicon Graphics headquarters here for the virtual unwrapping of Sherit, a child mummy from the collection of San Jose's Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. And by the end of the event, those on hand had seen deep into the interior of the mummy". As well as being able to see the embalming preparation technique, and what sort of of jewellry she wore, hieroglyphs on the interior or the mummy revealed her name and the name of her parents (the name Sherit was just a nick-name given the mummy in absence of other information). See the article for more information about both the scanning techniques and equipment, and the results.

Another item on the same subject appears on the SFGate website, with a photograph of the mummy's exterior and painted portrait:

And the Washington Post has yet another, a much shorter article but with a photo of the scanned interior:

And another one: a different scan image, plus a reconstruction of what Sherit might have looked like when she was alive on the website:

And finally, the Wired website has a whole plethora of images of the scanned interior (click each thumbnail to see a bigger image):,1286,68416,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_5

The Third Tutankhamun Touring Exhibition
An article discussing the fact that before the famous predecessor of the current exhibition there was infact a previous one that toured the U.S. in the early 60s: "poetically entitled Tutankhamun Treasures: A Loan Exhibition from the Department of Antiquities of the United Arab Republic. Between 1961 and 1963, it went to 16 American museums – including LACMA – under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution and the American Association of Museums, according to its catalog". There were 34 items, all less than 20 inches tall, and the show was a success for its day. See the above news item for more.

Göttinger Miszellen
Contents Listing for the latest issue, number 206 for 2005 (contents for issues 204 and 205 from 2005 also listed on this page). Papers listed are written in either German or English.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

United Nations - Commemorative Stamps
Tomorrow, the United Nations will be printing a commemorative edition of stamps celebrating Egyptian heriated as part of their World Heritage series: "On 4 August 2005, the United Nations Postal Administration will issue a set of six commemorative stamps and three prestige booklets on the theme 'World Heritage — Egypt'. This is the eleventh United Nations stamp issue to illustrate World Heritage sites. It is the ninth in a series of stamps and prestige booklets focusing on either one specific World Heritage site or a group of World Heritage sites in one geographical location". The sites to be included are: Memphis and its necropolis — the pyramid fields from Giza to Dahshur (37c stamp), Ancient Thebes with its necropolis (80c stamp), Nubian momuments from Abu Simbel to Philae (F.s.1,00 stamp), Islamic Cairo (F.s.1,30 stamp), Abue Mena (€ 0,55 stamp) and Saint Catherine area (€ 0,75 stamp).
For more details and to see what the stamps look like, see the above URL. You will need to scroll towards the end of the page to see images of the stamps.