ARCENCPostings

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Egypt’s tomb of King Djoser reopens after 15-year closure

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1928616/middle-east

Egypt's tomb of King Djoser reopens after 15-year closure

Egypt's tomb of                        King Djoser reopens after 15-year closure
Saqqara, entrace to the funerary complex of Djoser. (File: Reuters)
Updated 14 September 2021
307
  • Major restoration work on pharaoh's tomb started in 2006
  • Egyptian minister, invited guests mark completion of work with special ceremony

CAIRO: The tomb of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh has been reopened to visitors after being closed for 15 years.

The completion of restoration work on the southern tomb of King Djoser in Saqqara was marked at a special ceremony attended by the Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled El-Anany and a group of invited guests.

Access to the tomb in the Saqqara burial site south of Cairo is via a stone staircase leading to a door carved in the rock and then an entrance corridor with another stone staircase to the cemetery door. More internal corridors lead on to burial spaces and murals decorated with Egyptian blue faience.

The tomb has a well at the end of it and a burial room containing a huge pink granite sarcophagus. The blue faience walls of numerous other corridors are decorated with fake doors bearing the image of the king and his titles.

The cemetery restoration project began in 2006 and included engineering, geotechnical, geo-environmental, and archaeological studies.

Along with the restoration of the lower corridors, work was carried out to strengthen walls and ceilings, repair cracks, and install faience tiles.

The granite sarcophagus at the bottom of the burial well was reassembled and restored, new lighting added, the cemetery floors paved, and a ladder put in leading to the well and the cemetery.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

ARCE-NC Egyptology Lecture Oct. 10 - Constructing the Sacred: Exploring the Ritual Landscape of Saqqara in 3D


The American Research Center in Egypt, Northern California Chapter, and the Near Eastern Studies Department, University of California, Berkeley, invite you to attend a virtual lecture by Dr. Elaine Sullivan, UC Santa Cruz:


Constructing the Sacred: Exploring the Ritual Landscape of Saqqara in 3D


When: Sunday, October 10, 2021, 3 PM Pacific Time

Zoom Lecture. A registration link will be automatically sent to ARCE-NC members. Non-members may request a registration link by sending email with your name and email address to arcencZoom@gmail.com. Attendance is limited, so non-members, please send any registration requests no later than Friday, October 8.

Glenn Meyer
ARCE-NC Publicity Director

 

About the Lecture:

The ancient Egyptian necropolis of Saqqara was the burial place of kings, queens, priests, and elite officials during the entire Pharaonic Period (3000-332 BCE), and boasts some of the most spectacular architecture and art in Egypt. In her recently published "born-digital" monograph, Dr. Elaine Sullivan uses a 3D model that digitally "reconstructs" the original appearance of the ancient monuments and visualizes large-scale change over time at the cemetery, allowing the archaeologist to make a virtual visit to the site at various moments in time.  The digital model provides new insights into how royal and elite Egyptians created a special monumental landscape to guarantee their eternal life and power. In this talk, Sullivan will highlight some of the findings of her research into ritual sight and visibility at this important necropolis.  

 
About the Speaker:



 
Dr. Elaine Sullivan is Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of California at Santa Cruz.  Before joining the faculty at UC Santa Cruz, she spent six years at the University of California at Los Angeles, as project Coordinator for both the NEH-funded Digital Karnak Project and the Keck Digital Cultural Mapping Program, which introduced students to Geographic Information Systems and other map-based digital applications. She has interned or worked at several museums before moving into an academic career, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum.

Dr. Sullivan has published widely on Egyptological and technological topics in both peer-reviewed and invited publications.  She has lectured throughout the United States, often focused on digital cultural mapping, transformative scholarship and geospatial renderings. Her field experience began in 1995 when she excavated in Israel, and includes work in Italy, Syria, and Luxor, Karanis, and Saqqara in Egypt. She received her Bachelor's degree in history from Duke University, including a semester in Egypt at The American University in Cairo, and her Masters and PhD from the Department of Near Eastern Studies and Art at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. 


About ARCE-NC:

For more information, please visit https://facebook.com/NorthernCaliforniaARCE/, https://arce-nc.org/, https://twitter.com/ARCENCPostings, or https://khentiamentiu.org. To join the chapter or renew your membership, please go to https://www.arce.org/general-membership and select "Berkeley, CA" as your chapter when you sign up.

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Monday, September 13, 2021

GEM opens with 10-day festival debut of Opera Tutankhamun: Egyptologist - Egypt Independent

https://www.egyptindependent.com/gem-opens-with-10-day-festival-debut-of-opera-tutankhamun-egyptologist/

GEM opens with 10-day festival debut of Opera Tutankhamun: Egyptologist

Professor of Egyptology Ahmed Badran announced that the inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum is slated for November, and will witness the grand debut of the Opera Tutankhamun.

During a phone-in with TeN satellite channel, Badran said that the opening ceremony has been assigned to an international company specialized in organizing cultural events, and the opening will last over ten days.

The opening ceremony will be accompanied by cultural segments, including the debut of Opera Tutankhamun, which is written by Zahi Hawass, to be played in the Egyptian Opera House before the opening of the museum, he said.

The museum was supposed to open during November 2020, he said, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"For the first time in history, the complete collection of Tutankhamun will be displayed in one place, which is the Grand Egyptian Museum, as it was previously distributed between the Military Museum in the Citadel, the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, and the Luxor Museum," he proclaimed.

Badran stated that the expansion of the museum's halls helps display the complete archaeological collections in one place.

Regarding visitation times, he explained: "The visitor has more than one option, the first is when they do not have enough time and takes a short tour through the short path to see the most important civilizational stages in ancient Egypt. If they have the time, they can takes the longer path where a visitor needs seven visits to finish all parts of the Grand Egyptian Museum."

Constructed on an area of approximately 500,000 square meters, the GEM is located just two kilometers from the pyramids of Giza, and will house the world's largest antiquities collection belonging to a single culture's heritage.

The GEM is set to showcase 5,000 relics from Tutankhamun's collection as well — including 2,000 artifacts that will be displayed for the first time.

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50 Years of the Wellcome Collection at Swansea and Beyond - The Media Line

https://themedialine.org/mideast-streets/50-years-of-the-wellcome-collection-at-swansea-and-beyond/

50 Years of the Wellcome Collection at Swansea and Beyond

Register here.

Free Zoom conference to mark fifty years since part of the Wellcome Collection arrived to Swansea University

About this event

On the 17th September 1971, 92 crates consisting of some 4,500 objects (mainly Egyptian) arrived to Swansea University. This was part of dispersal of the Egyptian material at the Wellcome Collection, which probably amassed somewhere in the region of 20,000 objects. To mark the fiftieth anniversary of this event, the Egypt Centre will be hosting a free three-day Zoom (Webinar) conference. The conference will focus on Wellcome's Egyptian and Sudanese collections, which were dispersed to numerous institutions following his death in 1936. It will feature talks and virtual handling sessions/tours by curators, collections managers, and researchers associated with the Wellcome material.

While tickets for this event are free, registration is required. There is also the option to make a donation to the Egypt Centre if you would like to support us. Once registered, you will receive an automated email from Eventbrite containing the Zoom link (at the bottom of the email). If you have not received this within 24 hours of booking, please contact Ken Griffin at k.griffin@swansea.ac.uk

Live closed captioning in English, Arabic, and Welsh will be available, thanks to the support of Wellcome Collection.

The programme for this event is presented below, with the times listed being BST (UK times).

Day 1: Wednesday 15 September

13.00–13.15: Introductory remarks and welcome address by Professor Paul Boyle, Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University

13.15–13.45: Ruth Horry (Collections Curator – Exhibitions, Wellcome Collection) – Henry Wellcome's Historical Medical Museum: an introduction to collecting, display and dispersals

13.45–14.15: Isabelle Vella Gregory (Deputy Director of the Jebel Moya excavations) – Piecing together the archaeological history of Jebel Moya, Sudan

14.15–14:45: Discussion panel with John Baines (Professor Emeritus at Oxford University) & Alan Lloyd (Professor Emeritus at Swansea University)

14:45–15.00: Break

15.00–15.30: Ken Griffin (Collections Access Manager of the Egypt Centre) – The Egyptian Collection of Sir Henry Wellcome

15.30–16.00: Stephanie Boonstra (Collections Manager at the Egypt Exploration Society) – Nefertiti lived there: a look at the 1930–31 EES excavation at Amarna

16.00–16.30: Frances Larson (author of An infinity of things: how Sir Henry Wellcome collected the world) – "A perfect whirl of delight": Winifred Blackman in Egypt

16.30–17.00: Rachel Barclay (Curator at Oriental Museum, Durham) – "Contained in tea chests with no lists or identification": the Wellcome Collection of Egyptology at the Oriental Museum, Durham University

Day 2: Thursday 16 September

13.00–13.30: Campbell Price (Curator of Egypt and Sudan, Manchester Museum) & Molly Osborne – Wellcome Material in Manchester

13.30–14.00: Ian Trumble (Curator of Archaeology, Egyptology and World Cultures, Bolton Museum) – The Wellcome Collection at Bolton Museum

14.00–14.30: Manchester Museum handling session/tour

14.30–15.00: Bolton Museum handling session/tour

15.00–15.15: Break

15.15–15.45: Lee Robert McStein (Technical Director at Monument Men) – The curious case of the Deir el-Bahari casts

16.45–16.15: Anna Garnett (Curator of the Petrie Museum), Kyle Jordan and Daniel Bailey – The Wellcome Collection and the Petrie Museum: Past and Present

16.15–16.45: Helen Strudwick (Senior Assistant Keeper – Egyptian Antiquities, The Fitzwilliam Museum) – Wellcome to the Fitzwilliam: the rediscovery of a collection of Egyptian objects in Cambridge

16.45–17.15: Selina Hurley (Curator of Medicine, The Science Museum) – Reviewing the Wellcome Egyptology material held on loan at the Science Museum

Day 3: Friday 17 September

13.00–13.30: Ashley Cooke (Lead Curator of Antiquities, World Museum Liverpool) – Rising from the ashes: how the Wellcome Collection came to the aid of Liverpool's war-torn museum

13.30–14.00: Carolyn Graves-Brown (Curator of the Egypt Centre) – From Wellcome to Swansea: the history of the Swansea Wellcome Collection

14.00–14.30: Swansea Wellcome Museum video recording from 1976

14.30–15.00: The Egypt Centre handling session/tour

15.00–15.15: Break

15.15–15.45: Alexandra Eveleigh (Collections Information Manager, Wellcome Collection) – Transcribe Wellcome: piecing together the Wellcome collections' diaspora

15.45–16.00: Ersin Hussein (Lecturer in Ancient History – Swansea University) – Launch of the Egypt and its Neighbours display

16.00–16.15: Dulcie Engel (Egypt Centre volunteer)- Kate's museum: transcribing the daybooks of Käthe Bosse Griffiths

16.15–16.45: Ken Griffin (Collections Access Manager of the Egypt Centre), Sam Powell (Director at Abaset Collections Ltd) & Tom Hardwick – Launch of a new online catalogue

16.45–17.15: Closing discussion

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Saturday, September 11, 2021

Northern Cal. ARCE Lecture Sunday September 12 - Hands unto Ethiopia: The First African Americans to Visit Nubia


The next virtual lecture provided by the Northern California chapter of ARCE is less than a day away. Dr. Jeremy Pope is an excellent lecturer, and you won't want to miss his talk tomorrrow at 3 pm Pacific Time, Sunday September 12.

Glenn

The American Research Center in Egypt, Northern California Chapter, and the Near Eastern Studies Department, University of California, Berkeley, invite you to attend a virtual lecture by Dr. Jeremy Pope, The College of William & Mary:

Hands unto Ethiopia: The First African Americans to Visit Nubia

When: Sunday, September 12, 2021, 3 PM Pacific Time

Zoom Lecture. A registration link will be automatically sent to ARCE-NC members. Non-members may request a registration link by sending email with your name and email address to arcencZoom@gmail.com.

Glenn Meyer
Publicity Director

About the Lecture:



Since at least the middle of the 18th century, people of African descent in the Americas have invoked ancient Nubia—the "Ethiopia" and "Cush" of the Bible—as exemplar of African history and signifier of a global racial identity. The prophecy in Psalm 68:31 that "Ethiopia shall soon stretch forth her hands unto God" became the shared slogan of political, religious, and literary movements on both sides of the Atlantic that are known collectively to historians as Ethiopianism. By 1902, Pauline Hopkins's serial novel, Of One Blood, would cast a fictional African American traveler to Nubia as the harbinger of Pan-African liberation and mutual uplift of Africans and African Americans.  

 

Yet no published study has ever analyzed—nor even documented—the experiences of the first African Americans who actually traveled to Nubia. This silence is all the more remarkable, because such analysis has been performed for the first Europeans, white Americans, and Canadian Iroquois visitors to Nubia. Dr. Pope's lecture will seek to fill this historiographical void by reconstructing the history of the first African American visitors to Nubia from their private correspondence, interviews with their descendants, and an unpublished essay on the African past that was penned by one of the travelers following his return to the United States.  

 

If the story of their transcontinental voyage has thus far escaped attention in the academy, this may be attributed in large part to the fact that it does not belong to the traditional source material of Egyptology, Nubiology, exploration, or Ethiopianism. The narrative of the first African Americans to travel to Nubia instead demonstrates how these disciplines and movements have intersected with histories of global politics, international commerce, and intellectual inquiry beyond the circle of professional scholars.
 
About the Speaker:




Dr. Jeremy Pope is Associate Professor in the Department of History at the College of William & Mary, where he is also a Faculty Affiliate in Classical Studies. Dr. Pope is a member of the editorial boards of History in Africa and 
African Archaeological Review and is the author of The Double Kingdom under Taharqo: Studies in the History of Kush and Egypt c. 690-664 BC ​(E.J. Brill, 2014). He has participated in archaeological excavations at Gebel Barkal in Sudan and at Karnak's Mut Precinct in Egypt.














About ARCE-NC:

For more information, please visit https://facebook.com/NorthernCaliforniaARCE/, https://arce-nc.org/, https://twitter.com/ARCENCPostings, or https://khentiamentiu.org. To join the chapter or renew your membership, please go to https://www.arce.org/become-arce-member and select "Berkeley, CA" as your chapter when you sign up.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

World Heritage Exhibitions Today Announces The Acquisition Of 3 Marquee Museum Exhibitions

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/world-heritage-exhibitions-today-announces-153000211.html

World Heritage Exhibitions Today Announces The Acquisition Of 3 Marquee Museum Exhibitions

·4 min read

Acquisition Cements World Heritage Exhibitions as the Industry Leader in Artifact-Based, Blockbuster Traveling Exhibits

FORT MYERS, Fla., Sept. 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- World Heritage Exhibitions (WHE) today announced the acquisition of several world-class museum exhibitions into the organization's current offerings. These renowned touring properties include POMPEII: The Exhibition, Mummies of the World: The Exhibition, and Victoria the T. rex. The industry's top cultural institutions have proudly welcomed millions of patrons through the doors to marvel at the iconic relics displayed in these tent-pole productions. This acquisition marks the transition of one of the leading historically significant blockbuster exhibitions portfolios in the world. Coupled with the content WHE has in production, this now cements the company as one of the most influential touring exhibitors on the planet.

"These exhibitions provide an opportunity to share a piece of history with the world. It's a unique collection of exhibitions that has a tremendous track record at driving museum attendance across the globe," expressed World Heritage Exhibitions President, Anthony Tann. "The topics align with our current offerings seamlessly and round-out our portfolio of exhibition offerings unlike any available to the public today."

The acquisition comes on the heels of the recent announcements of two world-premiere events that WHE is producing:

  • Machu Picchu and the Golden Empires of Peru features the most significant collection of gold treasures from Andean history to ever tour the globe. The exhibition is debuting at the Boca Raton Museum of Art this October.

  • Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs features 181 priceless Ancient Egyptian treasures and one-of-a-kind relics, many representing the exceptional pharaoh himself. The exhibition is debuting at the Houston Museum of Natural Science this November.

Both exhibitions in production are breaking down barriers of norms seen in the museum industry and are expected to be tremendously well received by the public.

"The industry is changing, and our team is at the forefront of these trends. Guests to museums and exhibitions today expect fully immersive experiences where you can truly feel the sights and sounds of these events, bringing you face-to-face with a moment captured in time," Tann continued. "We anticipate breathing a breath of new life into these already tremendously successful attractions that will allow visitors a chance to experience historical events in a way they never have before."

About the exhibitions acquired by WHE:

POMPEII: The Exhibition examines the lives of the residents of Pompeii before and after the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD through artifacts on loan from the prestigious Naples National Archaeological Museum in Italy. The exhibition features 8 body casts excavated from the site of Pompeii as well as 180 priceless artifacts.

Mummies of the World: The Exhibition brings visitors face-to-face with more than 125 real mummies and related artifacts from across the globe, providing a window into the lives of people from every region of the world and offering unprecedented insights into past cultures and civilizations. The exhibition will enthrall guests with dramatic displays of the mummies and their personal stories, as well as state-of-the-art multimedia stations that will take visitors on a 4,500-year journey to explore the mummies' history and origins as well as how they were created.

Victoria the T. rex is an experience 66 million years in the making. The exhibition's focal point, Victoria, is the largest and most complete, real touring T. rex skeleton in the world. This exhibition transports guests to a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth, bringing to life an important paleontological discovery and giving museum visitors the rare opportunity to visit the Cretaceous period, where Victoria's story unfolds in her natural habitat.

WHE plans to further usher this catalogue into an ever-evolving museum landscape. Their executive team and production staff were hand-picked for their decades of experience developing, refining, marketing, and touring the industry's top exhibitions.

"We've experienced rapid growth in recent months, expanding not only our roster of touring properties but also our team," Tann described. "Many of our staff cut their teeth in the museum industry and were pivotal in the success of these very exhibitions from their onset. Therefore, our team already knows these exhibitions and their fine lending institutions inside-and-out. We'll immediately be able to bring them to market with unprecedented fan fair. I don't think there is another team better equipped to ensure that these touring monuments to history are preserved and on display throughout the world's cultural institutions for years to come."

World Heritage Exhibitions, now the industry leader in artifact-based, blockbuster traveling exhibitions, is expected to continue to turn-heads with their proactive, new age approach to the industry.

For photos featuring the content included in these exhibitions, click here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/5eayzei32uqjkqh/AADHMfSAP420bLDzHp7cBxYZa?dl=0

Cision
Cision

View original content:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/world-heritage-exhibitions-today-announces-the-acquisition-of-3-marquee-museum-exhibitions-301372695.html

SOURCE World Heritage Exhibitions

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Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Photographic gems from Egypt - Photo Heritage - Folk - Ahram Online

https://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/32/138/422503/Folk/Photo-Heritage/Photographic-gems-from-Egypt.aspx

Photographic gems from Egypt

Excavations from the desert to the Nile are the subject of a book by the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology in Cairo

Amira Noshokaty , Monday 6 Sep 2021
Scenes from Egypt

Archaeology is a fascinating realm in which every detail carves the way to a historic revelation. Equally enchanting is the documentation of excavations.

Published in 2017, Scenes From Egypt, Photographic Gems from the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology in Cairo (IFAO) is a book that contains photographs of excavations from the desert to the Nile. Translated to Arabic by Emad Adly, it took Delphine Driaux and Marie-Lys Arnette around two years to compile these photos. 

"It all started during a short-term contract I had signed with the Archives Department of the IFAO. Many archival documents, especially photos, were in my hands. One day I showed some of these photos to my colleague, Dr Marie-Lys Arnette, who thought they were beautiful. I suggested we publish them in a book to reach a wider public," Driaux told Ahram Online.

"Then I proposed the idea to Mathieu Gousse, director of the IFAO editorial department, who thought it was a great project. I asked Marie-Lys Arnette to take part," explained Driaux. 

The book reflects upon many themes. "We evoke the work of French Egyptologists in Egypt, the archaeology, techniques, and methods of the time. We talk about the scientists, of course, but also about the workers, without whom few things would be possible in this field. Some photographs have an ethnographic dimension. They bear witness to the life of Egyptians who live near archaeological sites or work with the missions," she noted. 

Scenes from              Egypt

The first photo in the book, its cover, reflects such themes vividly. Named Wadi Al-Kanayes, 1910, the glass plate negative reveals the photo of a photographer in action. The anonymous photographer is standing at the edge of a cliff, occupied with his object of photography. They named him the acrobat photographer because of his dangerous physical endeavours to take a good photo.

Scenes from              Egypt
  

Other rare photos show the physical capabilities of the workers who are a great part of the excavations that are seldom revealed or celebrated. Between their ability to climb and maintain balance at the most dangerous heights, and in sheer darkness, Saadi Abbas and Omar Hussien were sitting skilfully putting up the electricity connection to be able to light up the Khanoum Temple in Esna sometime between December 1964 and January 1965.

Scenes from              Egypt

The book also puts in the limelight the archaeologists and Egyptologists behind excavations and gives us some perspective of their thoughts and background. One of them was a woman, which was not a common sighting in excavations back in the day.  

"Ursula Schweizer was a Swiss Egyptologist born in 1916. In 1935, she began to study Egyptology, Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Munich. She completed her doctorate in 1942 on the topic of Lion and Sphinx in Ancient Egypt. After she obtained her doctorate in 1942, she became a regular assistant at the Egyptian State Collection in Munich. After World War II, Schweitzer became an assistant at the Institute for Prehistory and Early History at the University of Basel. In 1946, she was the second woman to become a scientific member of the IFAO (after Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt). She travelled the Nile Valley as far as Sudan, the oases in the Western Desert, and the Eastern Desert as far as the Red Sea. She took part in several excavations, including in Deir El-Medina... She lectured from 1950 onwards and subsequently established Egyptology at the University of Basel. In 1954 she became a corresponding member of the German Archaeological Institute. In 1954, 1956, and 1958 she travelled again to Egypt and Sudan. In 1957, she was appointed Extraordinaria by the University of Basel. She died in 1960," she added.

Scenes from              Egypt
The woman in the photo is Ursula Schweizer, Swiss Egyptologist.

Among other outstanding archaeologists highlighted in the book is Jules Couyat (1881-1965). He was attached with a doctoral scholarship to the Mineralogy Laboratory of the Natural History Museum in Paris and had obtained two degrees in natural sciences. In 1906, he became a member of the IFAO. The director of the institute at the time, Emile Chassinat, wanted him to conduct geological research. From 1906 to 1911, one of his main tasks was to explore the Eastern Desert. On this occasion, he documented many ancient sites. He also worked with Pierre Montet in the Ouadi Hammamat. In 1912, they published together the book Les inscriptions hiéroglyphiques et hiératiques du Ouâdi Hammâmât. In 1913, he changed his name to Jules Barthoux. After his work in Egypt, he continued his career with the French Archaeological Delegation in Afghanistan.

 

Scenes from              Egypt

 


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Sunday, September 5, 2021

Destruction of 120-year-old palace sparks anger in Egypt - Al-Monitor: The Pulse of the Middle East

https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2021/09/destruction-120-year-old-palace-sparks-anger-egypt

Destruction of 120-year-old palace sparks anger in Egypt

The continuous demolition of heritage and ancient buildings in Egypt raises the ire of archaeology experts who call on authorities to deploy more efforts to renovate and preserve the country's heritage.
A view of Avenue of the Sphinxes at the entrance of the            Temple of Karnak, near Luxor, Egypt.

CAIRO — The demolition of the Andraos Palace in the city of Luxor in southern Egypt sparked heated debate and drew criticism, especially among archaeologists, because of the building's historical and heritage value and the important events it witnessed throughout history. 

On Aug. 23, the process of removing waste and demolishing some parts of the famous historical palace overlooking the Nile River kicked off as part of a plan to develop the vicinity of the Avenue of Sphinxes, also known as the Road of the Rams, which is scheduled to be inaugurated in November.

Social media users circulated pictures of the demolition of the 120-year-old palace of Tawfiq Pasha Andraos and expressed their sadness at the ongoing demolition of historical buildings in Egypt.

Coinciding with the demolition of the Andraos Palace, Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly conducted Aug. 25 an inspection tour inside the Karnak Temple and on the Road of the Rams in order to follow up on the latest developments in the preparations to start the opening of the road project to tourists.

Once the Rams Road project, a 2,700-kilometer (1,680-mile) road that connects the Luxor and Karnak temples and houses 1,200 statues, is launched, Luxor city will become the largest open museum in the world.

Mustafa Waziri, secretary-general of the governmental Supreme Council of Antiquities, said in a televised statement Aug. 25, "A decision was issued to remove the historic Andraos Palace in Luxor governorate, after it was on the verge of collapse as a result of excavations below it carried out by thieves, who are currently being prosecuted."

Waziri continued, "The remains of a Roman temple were discovered under the palace. Excavations to find out more about this temple will take place within three days and are expected to be completed within four months."

On Aug. 24, archaeological expert Emad Othman Mahran posted on his Facebook page a screenshot of the Aug. 5 decision of the committee formed by the Luxor governorate to remove the palace.

Archaeology and heritage experts rejected the demolition of the palace and called for its preservation because it constitutes part of the memory and history of Luxor governorate.

Suheir Hawas, professor of architecture and urban design at the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University and member of the National Organization for Urban Harmony affiliated with the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, wondered about "the interest in demolishing a palace of this historical value." 

Hawas told Al-Monitor she was surprised with "the insistence on demolishing the historic palace although it represents one of the historical layers in Luxor."

She said she was part of previous committees to assess the condition of the palace and the possibility of demolishing it. Hawas co-authored two reports on the condition of the palace, including a recommendation not to demolish it. She added, "I met the daughters of Tawfik Andraos [Sophie and Lodi] in 2009 during one of the palace inspections."

In 2013, Egyptian authorities found the bodies of Sophie, 82, and Lodi, 79, killed inside the palace. So far, the security services have yet to arrest the perpetrators. The two women are believed to have been killed during illegal looting or excavation activities. 

Hawas denounced the reasons behind the demolition that claim the building is on the verge of collapse, saying it could have been renovated. She criticized the state's failure to restore the palace in the past under the pretext that it was on the verge of collapse.

On Aug. 23, Samir Gharib, former head of the National Organization for Urban Harmony, posted on his Facebook page a document indicating that there was a committee formed by the Ministry of Culture in 2009 to discuss the demolition of the palace, and it unanimously rejected the demolition. He noted that the committee included representatives of the National Organization for Urban Harmony, and was headed by Saber Arab, professor of contemporary history and head of the National Library and Archives of Egypt (Dar el-Kotob) at the time.

According to Gharib's document, the committee recommended against demolishing the Andraos Palace because it represents a distinct historical and architectural value subject to the provisions of Law No. 144 of 2006 on the regulation of heritage buildings.

Regarding the historical value of the palace, Masrawy news website published a report Aug. 23 stating that the palace was established by Tawfik Pasha Andraos in 1897, and that it is one of a group of palaces of rare historical value. It contained several artifacts that were transferred to the archaeological warehouses in Luxor about 20 years ago.

The website's report stated that Andraos hosted many prominent Egyptian figures, including Saad Zaghloul, leader of the 1919 revolution. Andraos stood against the English occupation authorities and the Egyptian government in 1921 and hosted Zaghloul in his palace, at a time the Egyptian government banned his ship on the Nile River from docking on any shore.

Monica Hanna, acting dean of the Faculty of Archaeology at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, described the demolition of the palace as "unfortunate." She told Al-Monitor that the palace was like a home for the people during difficult times and has witnessed many events in the past.

She said, "Ancient Egypt is crumbling due to the demolitions and the modernization of archaeological and heritage buildings [by painting some of them]."

She noted that if the demolitions continue, Egypt will lose its history, adding, "The dilapidated buildings must be restored, not demolished. The Djoser Pyramid is on the verge of collapse. Shall we destroy it or restore it? If the Pyramids of Giza become frail, do we destroy them?"

In February 2019, Egyptian authorities removed the historic el-Anbarein market in Cairo, which is believed to have been established more than 900 years ago. In January 2016, the ancient villa of Zeinab al-Wakeel, wife of Mostafa el-Nahhas Pasha, who served as prime minister during King Farouk's era, was torn down in Alexandria. The governorate in northern Egypt has also witnessed the demolition of other ancient buildings, including the Gustav Aegeon villa, Amir el-Behar villa, Cicurel villa and Aboud Pasha villa


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