San Al-Hagar archaeological site's conversion to open-air museum of ancient Egyptian art making
Nevine El-Aref <http://english.ahram.org.eg/WriterArticles/Nevine-ElAref/283/0.aspx> , Saturday 15
The Minister of Antiquities Khaled el-Enany and an entourage of foreign ambassadors embarked on an
inspection tour Saturday to the San Al-Hagar archeological site to assess the progress being made to
develop the Sharqiya Governorate site into an open-air museum for ancient Egyptian art.
The minister was accompanied by Mostafa Waziri, General Secretary of the Supreme Council of
Antiquities, Mamdouh Gurab, Governor of Sharqiya, and a group of a dozen foreign ambassadors to
Egypt from Brazil, Lithuania, Congo, Greece, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and other attaches.
El-Enany explained that the project aims to lift the monumental blocks, reliefs, columns, statues,
and stelae laying on the sand at the site and to restore and re-erect them onto concrete slabs to
protect them for future generations. The artifacts have been laying on sands since their discovery
in the 19th century.
Waziri also said that the Egyptian mission restored and lifted-up ancient Egyptian blocks, statues,
columns and obelisks onto stone mounts to isolate them from the ground and protect them from subsoil
water, salts and moisture, as well as putting the objects on a better display to visitors.
The most important objects that the mission restored and re-erected are the northern and southern
colossi of King Ramses II, which had been left on the ground in pieces since its discovery in the
19th century, along with two obelisks and two columns of the King Ramses II era.
San Al-Hagar boasts many monumental relics and is one of the country's largest and most impressive
sites, causing Egyptologists to dub it the "Luxor of the North".
During the 21st and 22nd dynasties, Tanis was a royal necropolis housing the tombs of the Pharaohs
as well as nobles and military leaders.
Pierre Montet's excavations between the 1920s and 1950s were the most important carried out at Tanis.
Montet put an end to the enigma of the identification of the site, as some Egyptologists saw Tanis
as Pi-Ramses, while others suggested that it was the ancient Avaris.
Montet showed that Tanis was neither Pi-Ramses nor Avaris, but rather a third capital in the Delta
during the 21st Dynasty. He also unearthed the royal necropolis of the 21st and 22nd dynasties in
1939, with their unique treasures now on display in the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square.
"This discovery was not recognised in the way that the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922 was
recognised because of the outbreak of World War II," Waziri said. Among the tombs that were
uncovered were those of the Pharaohs Psusennes I, Amenemonpe, Osorkon II and Sheshonq III.
The site houses large number of tombs and temples among the largest is the one dedicated to god
Amun. It also houses the Temples of deities Mut and Khonsu and Horus along with a collection of
obelisks, columns and colossi of King Ramses II.
In December 2017, the ministry launched a comprehensive rescue project to restore Tanis and to
develop the site into an open-air museum of Ancient Egyptian art.
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