Monday, September 24, 2018

Apprentice's Margaret Mountford opens Egypt exhibit with Prof Joann Fletcher | The Bolton News

Apprentice's Margaret Mountford opens Egypt exhibit with Prof Joann Fletcher

See both photos

THE Egyptian collection in Bolton is "one of the best in the world" says a renowned expert on the subject.

Two leading experts in Egyptian studies, who will be instantly recognisably to many from their work on TV, officially opened Bolton's Egypt exhibition.

Margaret Mountford, Lord Sugar's aide in The Apprentice, a doctor of Papyrology and chairman of the Egypt Exploration Society, and Joann Fletcher, known for her many Ancient Egypt documentaries and a visiting professor at the University of York, opened the new exhibit on Friday evening.

Before the opening the pair spoke with The Bolton News about the importance of the collection and what a wonderful asset it is to the town.

Professor Fletcher, who has visited the collection of more than 12,000 items for many years, said:"It's of national, if not international importance, it's one of the major collections in terms of a public museum.

"It's full of colour, light and life, like Egypt would have been and you get the daily life before the funerary things and it's done so tastefully. It is a beautiful exhibition space, it's one of the best in the world."

READ MORE: A first look at the new Egyptian collection

She added: "There's plenty relating to any subject of research. I've studied the imagery and the artefacts here and it's such a stunning collection the curators have always been wonderful.

"It's a real gem in Bolton's crown."

Both experts were impressed with the set up of the exhibit which they hoped would interest old and young alike, Dr Mountford hoped it would "inspire" an interest for youngsters and Prof Fletcher said: "It's a beautiful space that can be accessible on any level whether you're three or 93."

Dr Mountford added: "I want people to know how special it is, it's really eye catching, you come in and think 'wow'"

The pair thought visitors should keep an eye out for the mummified cats which they hoped would be interesting and Dr Mountford said the life-size replica of the tomb of Tuthmose III was "stunning".

Prof Fletcher added: "The tomb is an exact replica and it's like being in the Valley of the Kings."

The Egypt Exploration Society has a long history with Bolton thanks to Annie Barlow, who was a local secretary for the society and helped to raise money for excavations in Egypt bringing many items back to the town.

READ MORE: The Victorian mill owner's daughter behind Bolton's vast Egyptology collection

Dr Mountford explained Miss Barlow's importance: "The Egypt Exploration Society was founded in 1882, it raised money to carry out research in Egypt. Annie Barlow was a great local supporter, she was a secretary for 50 years and raised a lot of money and was instrumental in the Egyptian Exploration Fund [as it was then called]."

Miss Barlow helped bring these artefacts to Bolton where they were housed in the Chadwick Museum.

Dr Mountford added: "There's a lot of museums that have items the Egypt Exploration Fund excavated. The great thing is they have a detailed provenance. A lot of regional collections come from things found in attics but anything that was excavated properly has it's provenance and you can learn so much more."

The exhibition opened to the public on Saturday with a family fun day along with two more refurbished galleries.

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Does Western Philosophy Have Egyptian Roots? | Issue 128 | Philosophy Now

Does Western Philosophy Have Egyptian Roots?

Peter Flegel highlights possible connections between early Greek philosophy and the ideas of the New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt.

Just over a year ago an eager team of archaeologists scoured through the mud and groundwater of a slum in Cairo erected on the ruins of the pharaonic city of Heliopolis. There they uncovered a gigantic statue, which they believed represented the pharaoh Ramses the Great. Euphoria soon gave way to slight disappointment when it was discovered that the statue was not of Ramses but a lesser-known seventh century BCE ruler of Egypt, Psamtik I.

While almost forgotten by the modern world, Psamtik was once revered as a decisive ruler who boosted trade and diplomatic relations with Greece. His policies allowed the Hellenes to establish colonies on Egyptian soil for the first time, opening the door to a trading and cultural relationship that would endure for more than three hundred years.

Later Greek and non-Greek Hellenistic historians, such as Herodotus in his Histories, were convinced that this was the spark that ignited an axial shift in Greek culture, which saw philosophy spring forth majestically from Greek soil. To many of them, it was in Heliopolis that the most profound Greek thinkers, such as Pythagoras and Plato, learned the basis of their metaphysics, astronomy, or geometry.

For the next two thousand years, the historiographical pendulum swung between scholars revering Egypt as a fount of Western wisdom, and those dismissing that idea as a mirage. By the mid-nineteenth century, most Western historians had firmly rejected the 'Egyptian thesis'. In the 1820s Jean-François Champollion cracked the code of Egyptian hieroglyphics by studying the multilingual Rosetta Stone. This opened the vast body of surviving Egyptian texts to nineteenth century scholars who rapidly realized that the Ancient Egyptian mode of expression differed considerably from that found in such texts as Aristotle's Metaphysics or Plotinus' Ennead. That discovery rang the death knell of the Heliopolitan theory, or so many thought. They saw philosophy as a 'Greek miracle' born solely from the Greek culture, which had shone a beacon of rationalism through the misty backwaters of Middle-Eastern and African pre-philosophical thought.

Yet a century later the Egyptian thesis made a rather raucous comeback, when a number of African American, Caribbean, and continental African writers caught the attention of the media with claims that Greek philosophy was stolen from Africa, and more specifically, from Egypt. Academics such as Temple University's Dr. Molefi Kete Asante cited a variety of primary and secondary Greek, Roman and Egyptian sources, to claim that African civilizations were at the root of Western thought, science and medicine. Though not a member of the 'Afrocentric camp', Martin Bernal also wrote about what he believed were the Egyptian roots of Greek philosophy in the first volume of his controversial oeuvre Black Athena (1987).

Once other experts of ancient civilization took a close look at the arguments, however, they discovered inconsistent interpretations of texts as well as spurious assertions, such as the claim that Aristotle pillaged Egyptian philosophy from the Library of Alexandria (the Library was built after the philosopher's death!). Egyptologists and Classicists alike seized upon the more farfetched claims to gleefully dismiss the thesis that Egypt had a substantial influence on Greek thought. With the full weight of the academic establishment behind them, scholars such as the Wellesley College professor Mary Lefkowitz boiled the issue down to a simple axiom: the Egyptians peddled in myth, while the Greeks proffered reason and logic. Africa had taught nothing to the Greeks when it came to philosophy, and to claim otherwise was fantasy or politically-motivated wishful thinking (Not Out of Africa: How Afrocentrism Became an Excuse to Teach Myth as History, 1997).

Surprisingly, most of those arguing in the period, both for and against Egyptian influence, overlooked some fascinating scholarship which had unearthed rare conceptual gemstones in the midst of thousands of years' worth of Ancient Egyptian texts. Once dusted off, these texts revealed themes similar to some aspects of classical Greek philosophy, such as the theory of forms, the four elements theory, and the rational organization of the cosmos. When one considers such conceptual similarities against the backdrop of warming Egyptian-Hellenic relations throughout the Pre-Socratic period from the seventh century BCE onwards, the possibility that Western philosophy received some of its first impulses from the Northeast African civilization appears less far-fetched. So let's now have a quick look at some of them.

The One & The Many In Ancient Egypt

Unlike in Classical Greece, Egyptian cosmological, metaphysical and ethical concepts did not crystallize over the course of a few centuries. Instead they were the outcome of millennia of intellectual labour, during which hundreds of priests developed and grappled with challenging, often contradictory, ways of making sense of the universe. As part of that process, several schools of religious thought emerged, occasionally competing to establish their respective deities as the supreme creator. This jostling inadvertently ignited several intellectual breakthroughs at the end of the second millennium BCE, which resulted in Egyptians advancing ideas remarkably similar to some of the mainstays of later Hellenic and Hellenistic thought.

In 'Theological Responses to Amarna' (2004), German Egyptological heavyweight Jan Assmann showed how the process began in the fourteenth century BCE when Akhenaten ascended to the throne. He sought to dismantle the powerful religious establishment that stood in the way of his quest for absolute power by using a proto-scientific worldview to eradicate Egypt's polytheism. That is, he banned the entire Egyptian pantheon and replaced it with a single figure: Aten, the personification of the disc of the sun, or of solar energy. Anticipating the earliest pre-Socratic thinkers, who in various ways traced the source of the cosmos to a single element, Akhenaten promulgated that solar energy was not only divine, it was the sole element out of which the entire universe evolved. Each component of visible reality was described as an 'evolution' or emanation of that energy. In turn, the realm of invisible deities, the underworld, and spirits, were dismissed as fairy tales from a bygone era. Temples were closed, inscriptions referencing other gods were erased, and even representations of other deities were destroyed. This was the first time in history that a form of monotheism had been adopted as the official creed of a kingdom.

This swift suspension of an immense constellation of deities brought great trauma to the Egyptian intellectual elite. They had been accustomed to seeing multiple religious beliefs coexisting across Egypt. So abrupt was the rupture that once the heretic Pharaoh passed away, the deposed priesthood re-established the old theological order with unparalleled fervour. But now it was driven by a novel imperative: reconciling the manifold plurality of reality celebrated in the older pantheon with Akhenaten's monotheism.

The priesthood answered Akhenaten's monist challenge in a way that prefigured Hermetic, and perhaps even ancient Greek efforts, such as those of Parmenides and his followers, to uncover the oneness concealed behind the plurality of the visible world. The Egyptian priesthood revamped older ideas to posit a hidden divine entity, symbolized by the sun, as constituting and animating the universe. Struggling with the limited vocabulary of their time, priests tried alluding to this unknowable Supreme Being's immaterial qualities by loosely naming it 'One', 'hidden', and 'soul-like'. They claimed that it was inaccessible to language or intellect and inhabited a separate ontological space. Paradoxically, the same priests also averred that the millions of gods and other constituents of the universe were constantly evolving parts of this ineffable being, which remained present yet invisible in and as the cosmos. Egyptians occasionally used the word 'Amun' ('the hidden') as a pseudonym to refer to the nameless Supreme Being who was simultaneously a boundless unified hidden One and the infinite Many of the cosmos. This emphasis on the invisible and underlying 'oneness' of the visible universe may well have been a precursor to the Eleatic Greek idea that the manifold world of sense perception conceals or misrepresents true reality, which is singular, all-encompassing, omnipresent Being.

Dust in the Wind
Dust in the Wind © Ken Laidlaw 2018. Please visit to see more of his art.

The Four Elements In Egypt & Greece

In City of the Ram-Man: The Story of Ancient Mendes (2010), the Canadian archaeologist Donald B. Redford explained that in the Egyptian city of Mendes, priests developed the notion that in manifesting itself in and animating the universe, the Supreme Being could be designated by four elements.

This idea centred on an older belief that the number four represents cosmic totality and completeness. It must be said that there were quite a few precursors to this theory, which occasionally presented the highest divinity as possessing up to ten heads. In Mendes, however, the priesthood limited the number to four, in accordance with canonical notions of cosmic totality.

The sages of Mendes used a rather enigmatic four-headed ram named Banebedjet to articulate this idea. Each head corresponded to a deity, which represented a life-giving element. Hence, Osiris represented water; Re stood for sun or fire; Shu was air; while Geb represented earth. When united, they formed the Supreme Being, symbolically represented as the four-headed ram, which contained the four elements that constitute and sustain the universe.

Anyone with even rudimentary knowledge of pre-Socratic philosophy would notice strong parallels here with a theory developed by the fifth century BCE Greek philosopher Empedocles. Influenced by Pythagoreanism, Empedocles is largely credited with introducing the theory of the four elements into Western thought. He also associated each element (or 'root' as he called them) with a separate deity: Zeus was air; Hera was earth; Hades was fire or sun; and Nestis was water. Empedocles also asserted that when the four divine elements united, they formed a Supreme Being, whom he called 'Sphairos'. The philosopher used two allegorical figures – Love and Strife – to explain how the elements are brought together and then torn apart.

Could Empedocles have been influenced by Mendes?

It would not be too much of a stretch to picture the four-headed ram-god reaching Greek shores during Empedocles' lifetime. After all, Pharaoh Ahmose II erected a temple to Banebedjet in Mendes just one century before Empedocles' birth. And following in the footsteps of Psamtik, Ahmose extended trade and diplomatic relations with several Hellenic city-states. Alliances with Greek rulers were essential to maintaining his rule, as the pharaoh relied on Greek mercenaries to keep his enemies in check. He is said to have helped rebuild temples in Greece, and to have sent precious gifts to rulers of Sparta, Lindos, and Samos, where Pythagoras was busy building close relations with its ruler, the tyrant Polycrates.

Whether or not Empedocles drew his ideas directly from Egypt or from Pythagorean intermediaries, as some ancient sources suggest, it is clear that the similarities between his beliefs and those of his Egyptian counterparts are quite striking.

The Agency of Mind & The Theory of Forms

Another feature of Ancient Egyptian thought which approximated early Greek thought is the idea that the universe is rational, and ordered according to intellectual principles.

In the wake of Akhenaten's death, the priesthood began toying with the idea of divine intelligence and utterance. At first, only gods were conceived as the fruit of careful thought. Soon, however, creation in its entirety was explained as the product of a divine mind (which the Egyptians called 'heart') and a commanding word (which they called 'tongue').

It was under the reign of a Sudanese-born pharaoh named Shabaka that this new perspective reached its high point, with the most sophisticated articulation of creationism ever known to the pre-Hellenic world. Dubbed the Memphite Theology, it was first translated by an American Egyptologist, James Breasted. Initially dismissive of Egyptian influence in Greek philosophy, Breasted's opinion took a radical turn when he discovered the Theology housed in a dark storeroom in the British Museum. Careful analysis of the text allowed him to see that its authors posited an intellectual principle as the very cause of creation. Not only did the text's authors position the patron deity of craftsmen, Ptah, as the Supreme God, they also referred to him as 'heart', conveying that he was both the intelligence and commanding utterance in all gods and humans.

The Memphite ingenuity does not stop there. American Egyptologist J. P. Allen, along with Jan Assmann, has shown in 'Creation through Hieroglyphs: The Cosmic Grammatology of Ancient Egypt' (2007) and Genesis in Egypt: The Philosophy of Ancient Egyptian Creation Accounts (1998) how the theologians distinguished between things and 'divine words' to intimate that when Ptah transformed a pre-existing substance into the universe, he dutifully followed a finite set of forms. They saw the diverse components of the cosmos as copies of original concepts (forms), in the same way that Egyptian scribes generally believed that hieroglyphics visually represented concepts.

This assessment echoes the work of the scholar Patrick Boylan and the Egyptian art specialist Whitney M. Davies. In the 1920s Boylan showed how Egyptians used the expression 'divine words' to refer to the concepts of things rather than to the things themselves (Thoth the Hermes of Egypt: Some Aspects of Theological Thought in Ancient Egypt, 1922). In the 1970s, Davies marvelled at the inherent Platonism of what he considered Egyptian metaphysics. He painstakingly argued in 'Plato on Egyptian Art' how this metaphysics ­– in which the world consists of copies of divine words – was reflected in the civilization's art, as the artists followed mathematical proportions and an inventory of 'standard types' to depict reality. Davies went as far as suggesting that there are 'far-reaching' and 'profound' connections between Egyptian thought and Plato's Theory of Forms. According to Assmann, a 'pre-theoretical Platonism' epitomized the tendency of Egyptian scribes to see names or concepts as hierarchically ordered in an inventory of the universe. For the Egyptians, those concepts were intimately associated with Thoth, the god of wisdom, known as the 'Lord of Divine Words', who was also said to have invented writing. Over time, Thoth donned the mantle of a creator god, increasingly described as the Son, Word, and eventually Mind of the sun-god Re. It is therefore not surprising that, in the Theology, Thoth appears as the divine Word, commanding the universe into existence according to pre-existing forms.

Reading about the intricate interplay of 'mind', 'craftsman', and 'forms' in Egypt should have anyone familiar with Platonism fidgeting in their seat. The middle and later dialogues of Plato are riddled with accounts of the cosmos as being an imperfect replica of an original series of forms. In his dialogue Timaeus, for example, Plato has Timaeus recount, in the shape of a myth, how a cosmic craftsman used the forms as a model to fashion the cosmos out of chaos. Throughout this and preceding dialogues, the Demiurge, as the craftsman is called, is described as 'Mind' and 'Reason', which orders the cosmos according to mathematical principles and proportions. What is perhaps even more astonishing than these striking echoes of Memphite cosmogony is that Plato grants the Egyptian god Thoth a cameo in two of his dialogues, in order to expound the deity's role in mediating between divine forms and written script, as well as in bringing order to the multitude of human sounds. Through the mouthpiece of Amun (called Thamus in the Phaedrus), Plato chides Thoth for having introduced the written word as a substitute for the original forms. The Supreme Being warns that writing has the capacity to poison the mind with amnesia, rather than heal it with memory of the forms. In the Philebus dialogue, however, Plato rehabilitates Thoth by recounting how he is responsible for bringing order, differentiation, and unity to the infinite plurality of human sound.

That Plato displayed an unusual grasp of some ideas associated with Thoth is notable. That he gave them an exposé is quite significant. It harkens back to claims by the Greeks themselves that Plato's philosophy was fundamentally Egyptian. Strabo claimed in Geography that the Athenian may have spent thirteen years studying with the sages of Heliopolis, even claiming to have visited the sleeping quarters in the solar city's great temple, where Plato lived; while Clement of Alexandria was even able to name the priest Plato was said to have consulted.

Could Plato have spent time in Heliopolis? Could he have incorporated and embellished Egyptian ideas throughout his oeuvre?

Some do not consider either idea a stretch, since Plato was writing at a time of intense military and diplomatic cooperation between Egypt and Athens in the face of Persian military aggression. Furthermore, the Athenian deeply admired Egypt, as hinted in the Laws. He saw in the ancient civilization a stable and venerable antidote to the then chaotic political system of democratic Athens.


In the 1960s the French Egyptologist Jean Yoyotte perhaps best summed up the broader issue when he tried to resolve its most basic paradox: even though Ancient Greece and Egypt differed in their manner of articulating concepts, some of their most noteworthy ideas were quite similar (see 'La pensé préphilosophique en Egypte', 1969). Yoyotte insisted on distinguishing a philosophic Greece from a pre-philosophic Egypt. Yet he solved the puzzle by conceding that this distinction had little bearing on inter-civilizational exchanges. After all, the sages of Egypt had affirmed the four elements, the underlying unity of the One and the Many, as well as the role of divine intelligence in the cosmos, long before the birth of the first Greek philosopher. Thus, differing modes of expression aside, it is perfectly conceivable that Hellenic thinkers imported and then adapted Egyptian ideas for their own purposes. Yoyotte's thesis remains alive today as a new cohort of specialists, such as American classicist Susan Stephens and philosopher Robert Hahn uncover underestimated connections between early Greek philosophy and Ancient Egypt (see Susan Stephens' 'Plato's Egyptian Republic', 2016).

As the debate rages on, the recent discovery in Heliopolis has put the spotlight back on Psamtik I, offering a new opportunity to explore his role in linking an ancient northeast African civilization with a fledgling southern European one. Historians of the ancient world tend to agree that the linkages did see Egyptian motifs and techniques flourish in Archaic Greek art, architecture, and even medicine. What remains to be settled is whether the Pharaoh's economic and diplomatic policies also helped to stimulate Western thought. If Yoyotte's assessment is anything to stand by, then the balance of evidence suggests that Psamtik I's most enduring legacy was helping to create the conditions for Western philosophy to begin. In a world haunted by the spectre of insular populism and xenophobia, this legacy stands as an eloquent reminder of the great potential inherent within inter-civilizational exchanges.

© Peter Flegel 2018

Peter Flegel is a former speechwriter to the 27th Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada.

A special mention goes to Mary and Ken Flegel as well as Alison Redmond for their invaluable feedback.

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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Egypt ambassador to Norway inaugurates ancient Egyptian artefacts exhibition in Oslo - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online

Egypt ambassador to Norway inaugurates ancient Egyptian artefacts exhibition in Oslo

MENA <> , Ahram Online
<> , Saturday 22 Sep 2018
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Egyptian Ambassador in Norway Mahy Hassan Abdel-Latif inaugurated an exhibition of ancient Egyptian
antiquities and paintings entitled "Images of Egypt" at the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History in

The three-month exhibition showcases Egyptian artefacts from across the world's largest museums
including London's Victoria and Albert Museum, Paris's Musée d'Orsay and the US Metropolitan Museum
of Art, alongside two original copies of the book "Description de l'Égypte."

Over 300 people attended the opening ceremony including ambassadors, members of the diplomatic
corps, representatives from Norway's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and individuals from the Egyptian
community in Norway.

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Northern California ARCE $1500 Student Grant for Egypt Research


Call for Applications

Eugene Cruz-Uribe Memorial Student Grant
American Research Center in Egypt, Northern California Chapter

The Board of Directors of the Northern California Chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) is offering one grant of $1,500 to a qualified undergraduate or graduate student during the 2018-19 academic year.

Deadline for applications is Friday, October 19, 2018. The award will be presented at the ARCE NorCal chapter’s November 11 meeting.

Applicants must either be enrolled at a Northern California college or university (Monterey to the Oregon border) or come from a hometown within that area.

They must be pursuing a degree that incorporates Egyptian anthropology, archaeology, art, history, museum studies or language, or Coptic or Arabic studies in any period. Proof of enrollment may be required.

To apply, students must submit 1) a CV and 2) a brief proposal (250-500 words) of how they will use the grant. Possible uses include – but are not limited to – research, travel, or preparation of a student-led exhibition, course or media project. The grant will be awarded based on merit. In case of a tie, the winner will be determined by a random drawing from the qualified applicants.

The grant honors a beloved chapter member, the late Professor Eugene Cruz-Uribe, an Egyptologist specializing in the Greco-Roman period who was killed in a bicycle accident March 12, 2018. A recently retired professor of history at Indiana University East at the time of his death, Prof. Cruz-Uribe taught at California State University, Monterey Bay from 2007 to 2013.

Applicants for the grant in his honor should send their materials by email to by the October 19 deadline. If possible, the recipient will be expected to accept the award in person at our November meeting in Berkeley.

24 Strange and Wonderful World Records Held by Egypt and the Egyptians | Egyptian Streets

24 Strange and Wonderful World Records Held by Egypt and the Egyptians

Egyptian Streets <>

September 21, 2018

From its wonderful history and temples to impressive entrepreneurship and literature, Egypt is a
country which thousands of travelers flock to every year. Having established itself as one of the
oldest civilizations in the world (perhaps that deserves a world record of its own), it is  thus
expected that Egypt and its residents would have aimed for a couple of world records here and there.

According to the Official Guinness Records, there are more than 90 entries for Egypt alone. Here are
the funniest, most intriguing and thought-provoking.

1. Oldest cheese

University of Catania/ Cairo University

Headlines for the world's oldest cheese traveled worldwide when a team of archaeologists
discovered 3,200-year-old cheese preserved in jars inside the tomb of a high-ranking ancient
Egyptian official called Ptahmes. It was mainly made from sheep and goat's milk; it is, of course,
inedible at this point.

2. Largest Underpants: Cottonil

<>Photo credit: Egypt

Although this may bring many smiles, an Egyptian brand called Cottonil broke a record for the
largest underpants and undershirt ensemble in March this year. The underpants measures 25.36 m (83
ft 2 in) across the waist and 18.09 m (59 ft 4 in) from waistband to crotch. The event actually had
for aim to raise awareness for prostate cancer and it offered free health checks for those attending.

3. Most English Premier League Matches Scored in by an Individual in a Season: by Mohamed Salah

<>Mo Salah
with his much deserved Golden Boot award. Photo credit: Getty

Egypt's star player, Mohamed Salah playing for the Liverpool season 2017/2018, scored an impressive
32 goals in the 38-game season.

4.  Most Landmines per country: 2011

<>Photo credit: Egypt State
Information Service

Surprisingly, Egypt's land mines, which still exist from World War II and the Egypt-Israel wars, are
countless. The World Guinness Record estimates that the country has around 23 million unexploded
ones on its territory. Recently, 10 million have been cleared from Sinai and the western deserts,
but these weapons of wars have given Egypt's 'Devil's garden' reputation when referring to its

5. Oldest Dog breed: Egyptian Saluki

<>Left photo features a Saluki dog
carved in a tomb at Qubbet el Hawa, in Upper Egypt Source: Wikimedia Commons

One of ancient Egypt's lesser known aspects is how much the ancient Egyptians used to fondly take
care of domestic animals. Thousands of cat and dog mummies have been retrived from tombs over the
last decades; moreover, the depiction of these furries are included in every day scenes of tomb
owners. It hardly comes as a surprise that one of the world's oldest breed of domesticated dogs is
the saluki, which is believed to have emerged in 329 BC, is attributed to being Egyptian.

6. Largest Koshary Dish

<>Egypt broke the Guinness World Record
for the largest dish of Koshary ever!

The largest dish of koshary was prepared during a festival by local company Engezni in January 2015.
According to local outlets, the national dish weighed over 8,000 kg and was enough to feed countless
of people. The dish was served by various chefs in a circular dish that was 10 meters wide and 1.20
meters high.

7. Oldest Eocene Whale Remains: Wadi El Hittan

<>Archive photo from Valley of the
Photo by Reuters

Fayoum is an area that locals and foreigners like to go to alike, but only for the crafts produced
at Tunis village, but also to visit the natural protectorate, Wadi Al Hittan. There, fossils of
whales are displayed at an open-air museum; they date to the Eocene period, about 56 to 34 million
years ago when Egypt was covered by a sea body. These fossils are particularly important as they
reveal the evolutionary stage of the whales from land-based to sea-based creatures, progressively
losing their hind limbs.

8. First Peace Treaty: Between Ramses II and Hattusilis II

<>Kadesh Peace Treaty
Source: Flickr

Contrary to popular belief, the ancient Egyptians were as concerned with politics and international
alliances as current Egyptians. In the New Kingdom, Ramses II signed a peace treaty with King of
Hittities, Hattusilis III. The'Eternal Treaty' was bilingual: one in the franca-lingua of the time,
Akkadian (Mesopotamian language) and one in hieroglyphs (Egyptian). The treaties records the Battle
of Kadesh, and it also records the agreement between both parties to end the spat between Egypt and
Hatti (modern day Turkey). It also marked their agreement to come to each other's aide in the case
of a foreign or domestic aggression.

It was respected until the collapse of the Hittite Empire, some 40 years later.

A copy remains today in the Karnak Temple, in Egypt's Luxor.

9. Largest Cheese Slice: Halayeb Katilo

credit: Max Pixel

Once again, a dairy-inspired record. A local Egyptian company called Halayeb Katilo produced the
largest cheese slice which was displayed on 13th of July 2012, although it had been made in 2011 to
mature until the display. It measured 1.14 m and weighed 135.5 kg.

10. Most Air flights by a pet: Smarty the Cat

<>Smarty was a
ginger cat.
Photo credit: Flickr

Possibly one of the strangest records that falls under the Egypt category, a domestic cat called
Smarty took the record for most air flights by a pet. Her 79th flight in 2005 broke the record for
the ginger female furry; the latter was owned by Peter and Carole Godfrey (UK). Sadly, Smarty the
cat passed away in 2007, after her 92 flight.

11. First Stone-Cut Pyramid


Egypt is well known for its pyramids. While many only think that the Giza pyramids are worth a
visit, in reality, one of the most impressive structures in the world is still the Step Pyramid or
the Dsjoer pyramid at Saqqara as it is considered the world's first cut-stone pyramid. Scholars
estimate that this pyramid was the natural evolution of the Egyptians burial (which used to be
mastabas) tombs. This pyramid was constructed in 2750 BC to contain the mummified body of the old
Kingdom king, Djoser. It rises to 62 m and covers a base of over 1,200 m2. At its time, it would
have been surrounded by courtyards, and.

12. World Music Awards for Best Selling Middle Eastern Artist: Amr Diab


Egyptian singer Amr Diab has achieved a Guinness World Record for breaking the record number of
World Music Awards won by a bestselling Middle Eastern Artist. He was crowned 4 times as the most
World Music Awards for Best Selling Middle Eastern Artist in 1996, 2001, 2007 and 2013.

In the World Music Awards 2014, Diab was awarded Best Egyptian Artist, Best Male Arab Artist and
World's Best Arab Male Artist Voted Online. Today, he remains an active singer with a tremendous

13. Most Participants for Biggest Underwater Clean-Up


In 2015, local champion Ahmed Gabr led 644 divers
in the biggest underwater clean-up which took place in the Red Sea right off Hurghada in celebration
of the World Environment Day.

14. The Very First Zoo?

<>Left photo credit: JStore
Right photo credit: National Geographic blog

Ancient Egyptians were known to take special attention of their pets and their cattle. As such,
archaeologists were surprised to discover a vast menagerie of animals in Egypt's Luxor. The
discovery was made in 2009 and it included over 100 animals of various kings: antelopes, wildcats,
elephants, baboons and hippos dating back to 3500 BC. Archaeologists , who were excavating the
ancient site of Hierakonpolis, assume that the zoo was owned privately. Whether it can be defined as
a zoo or a private collection of animals is not easy to distinguish. One thing was clear however:
the animals were buried with extreme car and attention.

15. Fastest time to break 10 plastic coat hangers

credit: Pixabay

Another record that would fall under the random category would be the record for  fastest time
breaking 10 plastic coat hangers. It was 4.60 seconds and was achieved by Ahmed Mohammed Soliman
Ibrahim (Egypt), in Cairo, Egypt, on 2 October 2013.

16. Deepest Scuba Dive

<>Ahmed Gabr during a training run
before the big event.

According to the Guinness World Records, Egyptian diver Ahmed Gabr
<> has broken the world record
for the deepest salt water scuba dive at 332.35 meters.

17. Oldest cake? From the grave of Pepionkh

<>Food Alimentarium of Vevey displays
this incredibly ancient cake.

Egypt is extremely lucky to have so much of its ancient cultures preserved. One of the most
endearing items lately to resurface was an Egyptian cake which dates back to the reign of king Pepi
II (2251-2157 BCE). The cake was made out of two wheat flat-breads that with were filled with honey
and milk and which were cooked inside two copper moulds. It is, naturally, inedible today, and it is
exhibited at the Alimentarium in Switzerland.

18. Longest Distance Crossed on a Motocross Bike in 24 Hours: Ali Abdo's Ride

Credit: Around Egypt on a Motorcycle

Egyptian motorcyclist Ali Abdo achieved a new world record for the longest distance crossed on a
motocross bike in one day and broke Guinness World Record.

Abdo crossed 613.59 km (381.27 miles), the longest distance on a motocross bike, in 24 hours in
Egypt's coastal city of Gouna.

19. Most wins of the football Africa cup of nations: The Pharaohs


Egypt's national team has won seven Africa Cup of Nations championships: 1957, 1959, 1986, 1998,
2006, 2008 and 2010

20. Longest Line of Seeds

<>Credit: PXHere

The longest line of seeds is 546,414 m (1792.69 ft) and was achieved by Manal Mohammed Hamed, Abd El
Naser Mograby Mahmoud and Mohammed Farouk Mohammed (All Egypt), in Cairo, Egypt, on 21 March 2017.
The attempt was held by the Ministry of Education in Egypt.

21. Oldest socks

<>Photo credit: Victoria
and Albert Museum

Although these divided-toe socks were found at the end of 19th century; they are estimated to date
around 4th to 5th century. They were excavated in Egypt about today they are displayed at the
Victoria and Albert Museum in the UK. They were designed to be worn with sandals.

22. Largest Food Court: Oasis Restaurants and Entertainments

World Guinness Food court holder: Tivoli Dome
Photo credit: tivolifoodcourt.blogspot

The Tivoli dome record, which was also in Cairo, was beaten by a subsequent food court.  Oasis
restaurants and entertainment has total floor area of 41,000 m² (441,318 ft² 80 in²), it holds 25
restaurants and cafes with a total seating capacity of 4,223 and has a car park which can hold up t0
1,000 vehicles. The largest food court was inaugurated on 4 August 2011.

23. Fastest Breed of Domestic Cat: the Egyptian Mau

<>Photo credit: Wikipedia

One of the most valuable cat breeds in the world is incidentally the fastest breed of domestic cats
in the world. The Egyptian Mau has powerful leg strength which helps it jump to high-up places
without much of a challenge. Moreover, this slender cat can run up to 30 miles per hour. An Egyptian
Mau costs on average between $US 800 to 1800.

In order of speed, the nine fastest breeds of cat worldwide are the Egyptian Mau, Abyssinian, Somali
(long haired Aby), Bengal, Savannah, Manx, Siamese, Ocicat and Oriental.

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Friday, September 21, 2018

AWOL - The Ancient World Online: The Eastern Desert of Egypt during the Greco-Roman Period: Archaeological Reports
On 09/17/18 10:46, Charles Jones wrote:
The Eastern Desert of Egypt during the Greco-Roman Period: Archaeological Reports The Eastern Desert of Egypt during the Greco-Roman Period: Archaeological Reports
The Eastern Desert of Egypt during              the Greco-Roman Period: Archaeological Reports
The Eastern Desert of Egypt extends over a vast area of mountains and sandy plains between the Nile and the Red Sea. Its natural riches –gold, gems and high quality stones (such as granite from Mons Claudianus, Tiberianè or Ophiatès, porphyry from Porphyritès, basanites [greywacke] from the Wâdi al-Hammâmât, etc.)– have, despite the difficulties due to harsh climatic conditions, been exploited since the Predynastic period. The Pharaohs, the Ptolemies and the Roman emperors often sent exped...

Lire la suite

Note de l'éditeur

This book comes from a colloquium held at the Collège de France in Paris on March 30th and 31st, 2016.
Its objective was to take stock of the archaeological work of the last forty years by bringing together all the invited field actors to present a synthesis of their research on the occupation and exploitation of the Ptolemaic desert at the end of the Byzantine period.
Caption cover image: The Roman fort of Dios, 2nd-3rd century AD
© J.-P. Brun

  • Éditeur : Collège de France
  • Collection : Institut des civilisations
  • Lieu d'édition : Paris
  • Année d'édition : 2018
  • Publication sur OpenEdition Books : 14 septembre 2018
  • ISBN électronique : 9782722604889
  • DOI : 10.4000/books.cdf.5230
Jean-Pierre Brun, Thomas Faucher, Bérangère Redon et al.
Adam Bülow-Jacobsen
Quarries with Subtitles
Marijke Van der Veen, Charlène Bouchaud, René Cappers et al.
Roman Life in the Eastern Desert of Egypt: Food, Imperial Power and Geopolitics
Charlène Bouchaud, Claire Newton, Marijke Van der Veen et al.
Fuelwood and Wood Supplies in the Eastern Desert of Egypt during Roman Times
Felicity Wild et John Peter Wild
Textile Contrasts at Berenike

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A relief of king Amenhotep I recovered from London - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online

A relief of king Amenhotep I recovered from London

Nevine El-Aref , Friday 21 Sep 2018
The recovered relief
The Ministry of Antiquities mission to recover stolen and illegally smuggled antiquities has successfully seen the repatriation of a relief with the cartouch of King Amenhotep I. 

Supervisor General of Antiquities of the repatriation department Shabaan Abdel Gawad explained to Ahram Online that the relief was first noticed by a foreign archaeologist a few months ago, when it was put on sale in an auction hall in London. 

Gawad said the archaeologist realised that the relief is the same one that was stolen in 1988 from the open-air museum in Karnak Temple Complex in Luxor, as the relief is carved in limestone and inscribed with the name of king Amenhotep I.

The archeologist then promptly reported the incident to the Ministry of Antiquities. The ministry then took all necesasary legal and diplomatic procedures to stop the sale of the relief, and return it to Egypt.

The relief, Abdel Gawad said, was handed over to the Egyptian embassy in London yesterday and is to set to come home within days.

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'Gold of the Pharaohs' exhibition in Monaco hits 80,000 visitors - Egypt Today
The Gold of the Pharaohs exhibition official poster - CC        Grimaldi Forum Monaco. The Gold of the Pharaohs exhibition official poster - CC Grimaldi Forum Monaco.

'Gold of the Pharaohs' exhibition in Monaco hits 80,000 visitors

Fri, Sep. 21, 2018

CAIRO – 21 September 2018: ""The Gold of the Pharaohs" exhibition that ran at the Grimaldi Forum, Monaco from July 7 to September 9, hit 80,000 visitors, which is the highest record at Grimaldi Forum since 2008, Grimaldi Forum declared on its official Twitter account.

Grimaldi Forum referred that this exhibition was the most visited since holding the "Grace Kelly Princess of Monaco" exhibition in 2007 and "Queens of Pharaohs" in 2008.

"The Gold of the Pharaohs" showcased 149 ancient masterpieces from the Egyptian Museum. The huge, unique event was hosted by the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, between July 7 and September 9, under the auspices of Prince Albert II and the Egyptian government.

This is not the first exhibition to be hosted by the Grimaldi Forum to showcase Egyptian Antiquities. According to Grimaldi Forum's General Director, Sylvie Biancheri, a somewhat similar exhibition was hosted in Monaco ten years ago.

Biancheri told Egypt Today on July 6 that the "Queens of Egypt" exhibition, which was hosted ten years ago, was one of the most successful and well-received exhibitions organized by the Grimaldi Forum. "At the time, the government allowed moving several pieces of the ancient antiquities to be displayed inside the exhibition.

I remember that it achieved huge success, something that encouraged us to seek repeating the experience once again this year," Biancheri explained.

Biancheri pointed out that the government has fully supported the forum. She also highlighted the low profit level achieved by the exhibition due to low ticket pricing and high cost. The exhibition cost the organization some €2.5-2.7 million, while entry tickets cost only €8 each.
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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Bang or whimper? | Science


Bang or whimper?

1. Guy D. Middleton1 <>,2

See all authors and affiliations

Science 21 Sep 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6408, pp. 1204-1205
DOI: 10.1126/science.aau8834

The International Commission on Stratigraphy recently announced the creation of a new unit in the
scale of geological time, the Meghalayan Age, from 4200 years before present, or 2200 BCE, to the
present. The Commission explains that this period began with a two-centuries-long megadrought that
caused the collapse of civilizations in Egypt, Greece, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, the Indus
Valley, and the Yangtze River Valley (/1/
<>). However, there is little
archaeological evidence for such sudden, widespread civilizational collapse.

Since at least 1971, scientists have repeatedly argued that a major drought caused civilizational
collapse at numerous locations at this time (/2/
<>). Some scholars have amassed
impressive amounts of data to demonstrate the existence of a megadrought and have linked this
causally with civilizational collapse (/3/
<>). However, detailed archaeological
and historical analysis, including recent investigations of chronology and paleoclimate, suggests
that rather than simultaneous civilizational collapse, different kinds of changes occurred in
different parts of the world at different times, all of them less abrupt than once thought (/4/
<>). The environmental and climatic
determinism behind the megadroughtcollapse narrative fails to account for specific historical
circumstances, the power of human agency to drive substantial change, and the translation of
environmental factors into cultural and sociopolitical contexts. Current evidence, therefore, casts
doubt on the utility of 2200 BCE as a meaningful beginning to a new age in human terms, whether
there was a megadrought or not.

To understand in more detail what happened around 4200 years ago, consider the situation in several
of the locations for which collapse has been suggested. In Egypt, there is evidence that the
centralized power of the pharaoh in the Old Kingdom fragmented slowly into the hands of local
potentates in the First Intermediate Period (2181 to 2055 BCE). However, there was no disruption to
Egyptian civilization, no dark age, and no mass starvation and death (/10/
<>). Contemporary tomb inscriptions
such as that of the governor Ankhtifi note military exploits, demonstrating that the land could
produce enough food to feed armies; non-elite tombs became more common and richer at this time. The
Dialogue of Ipuwer, read by some as a factual account of drought, famine, and chaos around 2200 BCE,
belongs to a class of later Middle Kingdom "pessimistic" or "lamentation" literature. Written from a
rigidly aristocratic perspective, it uses the themes of chaos and disorder—really, social fluidity
and mobility—as a counterpoint to an ideology that proclaimed the rightness of centralized pharaonic
power and order (/11/ <>).

Embedded Image

The Stele of Khuivi from the First Intermediate Period in Egypt (2181 to 2055 BCE) is better
considered as art and expression from a lively social milieu.


Around the same time, the short-lived (about 100 years) Akkadian Empire in Mesopotamia also fell
apart, probably due to the desire for independence of the Mesopotamian city-states. Attributing the
empire's demise to the megadrought is problematic because the absolute chronology of the empire in
Mesopotamia remains debated; it is possible that the empire formed during the period of the
megadrought, rather than before it (/12/
<>). Some sites in northern
Mesopotamia were abandoned around 2200 BCE, but urban areas flourished elsewhere in the region,
including Carchemish and Ebla, with researchers noting that a climate change explanation does not
seem to fit the varied patterns of change over time (/5/
<>). The collapse of one empire did
not imply a general societal collapse of Mesopotamian city-states or Mesopotamian civilization;
complex societies continued to exist uninterrupted, and even the Akkadian dynasty continued as
rulers of their city.

Urbanism in northern Lebanon continued at this time, though deurbanization is apparent in the south
and in the southern Levant (/13/ <>).
This deurbanization was a centuries-long process starting around 2500 BCE, not simultaneous with the
end of the Egyptian Old Kingdom or the Akkadian collapse (/6/
<>). Indus Valley deurbanization was
only partial and also a long-term process, with an eastward shift of settlements and cultural
continuity (/7/ <>). In Greece, a land
of small-scale, fairly simple societies, changes once thought sudden—the destruction of particular
types of high-status houses and the building of new-style apsidal houses, mainly based on work at
Lerna in the 1950s—are now known to have been much more gradual processes (/8/
<>). In China, researchers note a
number of Neolithic collapses, perhaps of chiefdoms, but these happened around 2000 rather than 2200
BCE (/9/ <>). They also explain that
the Henan Longshan culture did not collapse, but rather developed into the complex Erlitou state.

Overall, the archaeological and historical evidence suggests that 2200 BCE was not a threshold date
and that there was no sudden, universal civilizational collapse. If there was a megadrought around
2200 BCE and after, it may be more instructive to look at how societies survived—their
resilience—rather than suggesting an ancient apocalypse.

What causes the misunderstandings about past collapses? A key issue is communication. Although
archaeology and history are interdisciplinary fields, they can seldom be presented in major
interdisciplinary scientific journals, because the research does not usually fit into the form of
scientific research papers and is difficult to present meaningfully in short articles. Key issues
and developments in archaeology are thus less visible to researchers in other fields and in wider
academic discourse, with discussion often remaining buried in a vast and disparate archaeological
literature. Furthermore, scholars outside archaeology may assume that older or well-known ideas
remain valid, but in archaeological discourse, knowledge is often provisional and contested, subject
to change and questioning.

Archaeologists are making efforts to address these communication problems through interdisciplinary
and outward-facing projects. For example, the Climate Change and History Research Initiative at
Princeton University draws together scholars with a range of specialisms and seeks to communicate
more nuanced messages to a wider audience (/14/
<>). Also, an increasing number of
archaeologists combine their expertise with paleoclimatology, leading to more effective and
convincing projects (/15/ <>).

Even if scientists agree that the paleoclimate data indicate substantial and widespread climatic
changes around 2200 BCE, accompanied by sudden, severe, and long-lasting aridification, they must be
prepared to admit that many people and societies seem to have coped with it and even flourished at
this time, as in Egypt. Climate change never inevitably results in societal collapse, though it can
pose serious challenges, as it does today. From an archaeological perspective, the new Late Holocene
Meghalayan Age seems to have started with a whimper rather than a bang.

This is an article distributed under the terms of the Science Journals Default License

References and Notes

1. ↵ <>The International
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*Acknowledgments: *I thank J. Haldon for commenting on a draft of this paper. This work was
supported by the European Regional Development Fund-Project "Creativity and Adaptability as
Conditions of the Success of Europe in an Interrelated World" (no. CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/16_019/0000734).

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