Saturday, January 19, 2019

The family of Khufu - Al Ahram Weekly

The family of Khufu

Much is known about the family of the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu, the builder of the Great Pyramid at Giza, underlining his remarkable achievements, writes Zahi Hawass


Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu
Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu

The ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu was a great king, not only because he built the Great Pyramid at Giza, the largest of all the 124 pyramids we have in Egypt, but also because he wrote, according to the third century BCE Egyptian priest Manetho, a sacred book.

We do not, unfortunately, know what was written in this book. However, we do know much about the family of Khufu and his sons Kawab, Djedefre and Baufra.

We have evidence of another prince, Djedefhor, the son of queen Meritites. It is possible that Djedefhor built his tomb, which we know about from its inscriptions to be Giza Tomb 7210-20 in the eastern field of the Great Pyramid, when he was still a young man, but that it was never used for burial because he took the throne after Khufu and changed his name to Djedefre and built his pyramid at Abu Roash.  

Prince Djedefhor became a legend at the end of the Old Kingdom and was known for his wisdom literature, a set of instructions addressed to his son. However, we also know of an inscription at Wadi Hammamat mentioning Djedefre and Djedefhor as the followers of Khufu. In this case, they must be two persons, not one as some scholars believe.

This is the same Djedefhor mentioned in the famous Westcar Papyrus, also known as "Khufu and the Magician" and dated to the Middle Kingdom. The Papyrus tells us that Khufu was sitting in his palace one day, contemplating how he could build his burial chamber. His son Hordjedef told him that he knew of a magician by the name of Djedi who had knowledge of the secret of the god Thoth, the god of wisdom. He could cut the head of a man off and then restore it.

Khufu asked him to hasten and bring this magician to him. Djedi came before Khufu, who instructed him to sever the head of a man. Djedi responded that he could not do this to another human being. Khufu said that a prisoner could be brought, but Djedi stated that a prisoner was also a human being. Then they brought a goose, and he magically took its head off its body and then restored it. Everyone was astounded by this miracle. Then the king asked Djedi about the secret of the god Thoth.

Djedi responded that this was not in Khufu's hands, but was in the hand of others, mentioning children who would be born by a woman from Heliopolis called Redjedet. Khufu was upset, but Djedi told him, "do not worry, because you will be a ruler as well as your sons and your grandsons." This story, even if it was written after the Old Kingdom, shows that Khufu was actively concerned with building his burial chamber.

We also know of a prince Khufukhaf, a son of an important queen whose name we do not know. There are also two other princes: Kha-ef-min, who held the title of "elder son of the king", the same title that Kawab held, and Nefermaat II, the grandson of Senefru and not the son of Khufu.

We know that succession to the throne of Egypt in the Old Kingdom could be difficult. But in the New Kingdom, a son could become a co-regent with his father the king. We do not know how the king was chosen, but we can see that the eldest son of the king would take the throne after the death of his father.

In the case of the death of eldest son, the next one in line would be chosen instead, as was the case with Djedefre and Khafre. The idea of who could be the king after the main one died also reflects the story of Isis and Osiris. When the god Seth killed his elder brother and took the throne, Horus, the son of Osiris, came to conquer his uncle Seth and return the throne to his father.

The most famous daughter of Khufu was queen Mersyankh II, the daughter of Khufu by a queen called Mersyankh I. We also know of Hetepheres II, the daughter of the same queen, who was married three times: to her brother Kawab, by whom she bore princess Mersyankh III; to Ankhhaf, a son of Senefru; and to Djedefre. There is also queen Khamerernebty, the daughter of Khufu from an unknown queen and married to Khafre.

A UNIQUE KING: Khufu was a unique king who established the first religious revolution in Egypt.

We know that he ruled as the god Horus, and that when he died he became the sun god. But it seems that in year five of his reign, he also proclaimed himself the sun god. I have collected evidence to prove this theory. For example, if we look at all the pyramids of the kings, we see that that the burial chamber is always located underneath the pyramid, except in the case of Sneferu and Khufu.

We can now see that he started to construct his burial chamber under the pyramid, but that he left this room unfinished and built his burial chamber within the pyramid instead because he was the sun god. The name of the pyramid was also Akhet-Khufu, which means the "horizon of Khufu", and the only entity known to be on the horizon is the sun god Re.

I have 14 other pieces of evidence to prove this theory, but I will explain here only one important element: that the Sphinx at Giza was created by Khafre to represent himself as Khafre-Horus, who worships his father Khufu-Re in the temple in front of the Sphinx.

In this temple, there is a niche in the east made for the ritual of the rising sun and another niche in the west for the ritual of the setting sun. There are 24 pillars to represent the 12 hours of the day and 12 hours of the night.

We even know that Khufu issued an order that no statue should be placed inside the tomb because he wanted to keep reserve heads in the tombs, thinking it fit to have statues only to the sun god in the temple. I believe that Khufu's monuments were later destroyed because of the changes that he brought about in the sun cult, and even his statues were destroyed. The only statuette that we have from his reign is a small ivory statuette found in Abydos in the south.

We can see the conditions of the statues of his son Khafre that were found in the valley of the temple of Khafre. The ancient Egyptians smashed the statues into small pieces as a sign of revenge because Khafre had followed his father in the new cult.

Many people have tried to reveal the secrets of the Great Pyramid using sophisticated techniques. There are often claims of secret rooms found inside the Pyramid, but the only great discoveries have been of three secret doors. A robot designed by German scientist Rudolph Gantenbrink was sent into the Pyramid's northern tunnel and found that after 20 metres the tunnel bent and unfortunately the robot could not be turned. The robot was then sent into the southern tunnel in the so-called queen's chamber, and after 60 metres the robot stopped in front of a door with two copper handles.

The National Geographic magazine commissioned another robot, and after a 1cm hole had been drilled in the south door, a camera was sent in and found a second door with copper handles. The northern tunnel was found to be bending north and south for eight metres to avoid the grand gallery of the pyramid. The robot was able to go straight for a further 60 metres like the first one and found a door with two copper handles.

It is to be hoped that one day soon we will be able to reveal the secrets of the Great Pyramid. We can see that Khufu was really a unique king. He built a pyramid that people still wonder at today, asking themselves the question of how exactly it was built.

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New heritage committee set up - Al Ahram Weekly

New heritage committee set up

A new supreme committee has been set up to oversee the country's World Heritage Sites and to draw up strategic plans for their management, protection and development, reports Nevine El-Aref


Ruins of Abu Mena City

To manage and follow up Egypt's World Heritage Sites, the government has established the first ever supreme committee to oversee the sites.

Led by assistant to the president for national and strategic projects Sherif Ismail, the committee was formed according to a presidential decree and consists of 19 members, including the ministers of antiquities, tourism, national development, and environment, the president's advisors for national security and urban planning, a representative from the General Intelligence Authority and the ministries of defence, housing, foreign affairs, interior, investment and international cooperation and transportation, and the head of the National Organisation for Urban Harmony.

The committee will be responsible for the development of a strategic vision for the management, protection and development of Egypt's World Heritage Sites, as well as maximising their potential and benefiting from sustainable development plans and coordinating with all local and international stakeholders inside and outside Egypt in the management, protection and preservation of these sites and their surrounding areas.

Ruins of Abu Mena City

It will also exert maximum efforts to inscribe more Egyptian sites on the World Heritage List managed by UN cultural organisation UNESCO.

Egypt has seven sites on the UNESCO List, including the Abu Mena City, ancient Thebes with its necropolis, Historic Cairo, Memphis and its necropolis extending from the Giza Pyramids to Dahshur, the Nubian monuments from Abu Simbel to Philae, the St Catherine's area in Sinai, and natural site of Wadi Al-Hitan in Fayoum.

The committee held its first meeting late last week and put the ruins of the oldest Christian sites in Egypt at Abu Mena at the top of its list of interventions. The idea is to halt the problem of the high level of ground water at the site and to take it off the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger.

Tarek Atia, spokesperson of the committee, said that Ismail had asked the ministers of irrigation and agriculture to provide a detailed report on steps to be taken at the site in 2019 to solve the problem of water.

Ruins of Abu Mena City

The report will also include work being achieved in the recent LE15 million project to replace decayed irrigation and drainage pipes and will be submitted at the second Committee meeting.

Ismail had also commissioned the Ministry of Environment to draw up a study of the risks of climate change to Egypt's heritage and had assigned the Ministry of Antiquities to communicate directly with UNESCO in collaboration with the Foreign Ministry to settle other matters in relation to the heritage sites, Atia said.

Accurate maps of the urban area around Abu Mena need to be provided to develop, protect and preserve the site from any further threats.

Abu Mena with its baptistery, basilicas, public buildings, streets, houses and workshops was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1979 and on the In Danger List in 2001 because the local soil, exclusively clay, becomes semi-liquid in the presence of excess water.

When in a dry state, the soil is hard and capable of supporting buildings. But the destruction of numerous cisterns around the city has entailed the collapse of several overlying structures. Huge underground cavities have opened in the north-western region of the site.

The risk of collapse has been so high that those responsible were forced to fill the bases of some of the most endangered buildings with sand, including the crypt of Abu Mena with the tomb of the saint, and close them to the public.

Ruins of Abu Mena City

Former supervisor of the International Organisations Department at the Ministry of Antiquities Yasmine Al-Shazli told Al-Ahram Weekly that the Supreme Council of Antiquities at that time, now the Ministry of Antiquities, had tried to counteract the phenomenon by digging trenches and had enlarged the protected area in the hope of lowering the pressure of irrigation.  

These measures, however, had proved to be insufficient, taking into account the scale of the problem and the limited resources available, she said.

UNESCO's World Heritage Committee has already approved a technical assistance grant from the World Heritage Fund to assist the Egyptian authorities in identifying ways of reducing the level of the water table and preventing further damage to the ancient structures.
"Rising groundwater levels are a problem throughout the Mediterranean region, linked to urban growth and agricultural development," Al-Shazli pointed out.

Ruins of Abu Mena City

ABU MENA CITY: The Abu Mena City was one of the great centres of pilgrimage in Egypt from the fifth to seventh centuries CE.

Thousands of people came from all over the Christian world seeking the site's reputed healing powers. Pilgrims took home sacred water in tiny pottery ampoules (shaped like two-handled jars and stamped with the figure of the saint between two camels) or oil from the lamp that burned before the tomb.

Bishop Kirollos of the monastery said that Abu Mena was a soldier-saint who had died a martyr's death in western Asia. His cult gained popularity when, according to the legend, his body was placed on a camel and borne inland to be buried. At a certain spot the camel refused to move further, a sign taken as divine revelation that he should be buried there.

Wind-blown sand eventually covered the tomb and no trace was left. Some centuries later, a shepherd observed that a sick lamb that crossed the spot immediately became well. When the remains of the saint were discovered, a church was built over his grave.

Ruins of Abu Mena City

The reputation of the place then spread far and wide. Pilgrims came in scores, and the stories of the wondrous cures that they carried home attracted more pilgrims. Soon the original church was too small to accommodate the number of visitors, and the Roman emperor Arcadius (395-408 CE) built another church, to which the saint's relics were transferred.

Subsequent emperors erected other buildings, and eventually the site's Great Basilica was built, to which thousands of pilgrims flocked from as far afield as England, France, Germany, Spain and Turkey. Cures were attributed to the therapeutic effects of the water, which came from springs in limestone rocks (they have since dried up) and baths were built flanking the church.

When the Roman emperor Constantine the Great's only daughter, who suffered from leprosy, was reputedly healed at Abu Mena, the fame of the site spread further throughout the Roman world.

Ruins of Abu Mena City

A great city grew up there, flourished, and eventually disappeared. The famed city written up by classical writers was thought to be legendary until in 1961 the German Archaeological Institute excavated the area, under the direction of archaeologist Peter Grossman, and discovered one of the largest and most ancient pilgrimage sites in the world.

The ruins cover an area 1km square where the main colonnaded pilgrimage route of the early Christians has been identified. It had shops and workshops to the left and right, leading to the Church of the Martyr, built during the Justinian era (528-565 CE). The ruins suggest that pilgrims gathered in a great square surrounded by hostels. There, monks could take care of the sick who came to the shrine to be healed. There are also the ruins of two large bathhouses and wells.

A new monastery has now been built at the site, its lofty surrounding walls and twin towers situated no more than 500m from the ancient site.

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Friday, January 18, 2019

UK’s Cultural Protection Fund investing over GBP £3m in six projects in Egypt

UK's Cultural Protection Fund investing over GBP £3m in six projects in Egypt

The £30m Fund is co-funded by the UK Government's Department for Digital, Culture Media (DCMS) and Sport and is delivered in partnership with the British Council.

Devdiscourse News Desk
Updated: 18-01-2019 01:51 IST
UK's          Cultural Protection Fund investing over GBP £3m in six projects          in Egypt

This week, experts from across the region gathered in Cairo to learn from the success of projects which have so far included restoring Mamluk Minbars in Cairo, and a traditional rock-salt mosque in Siwa.(Image Credit: Twitter)

A delegation of experts from across Egypt, Tunisia and Sudan are visiting the Mamluk Minbars of Cairo and celebrating the success of restoration work conducted on it as part of UK's Cultural Protection Fund.

The Cultural Protection Fund is currently investing over GBP £3m in six projects across Egypt to create sustainable opportunities for economic and social development while protecting cultural heritage. These projects bring together international experts including from Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the Egyptian Heritage Rescue Foundation, University of Oxford, the Institute of Development Studies of University of Sussex, Environmental Quality International (EQI), the British Museum, and the Levantine Foundation.

The £30m Fund is co-funded by the UK Government's Department for Digital, Culture Media (DCMS) and Sport and is delivered in partnership with the British Council. It supports local initiatives to protect at-risk cultural heritage, including monuments, archaeology, museums and libraries and also aims to train archaeologists and prevent looting and illegal trafficking. The Fund is currently supporting 51 projects in twelve countries across the Middle East and North Africa.

This week, experts from across the region gathered in Cairo to learn from the success of projects which have so far included restoring Mamluk Minbars in Cairo, and a traditional rock-salt mosque in Siwa.

British Ambassador to Egypt Sir Geoffrey Adams said:

"Tourists across the world come to Egypt to enjoy its rich history and heritage. I am delighted the British government is investing in restoring part of Egypt's heritage through the Cultural Protection Fund which brings together British, Egyptian and international expertise."

Director of British Council Elizabeth White said:

"The British Council is proud to work along with DCMS and with our partners in Egypt on projects aimed at protecting and preserving cultural heritage. In every country, this matters; in Egypt, with this country's incomparable cultural riches, the work is crucial. We are delighted to welcome project partners from across the region this week."

Abdelhamid Salah, Chairman of the Egyptian Heritage Rescue Foundation said:

"The recent thefts of objects of cultural heritage, especially those of Islamic heritage and Mamluk minibars, served as a warning to Egyptian institutions and the international community. The initiative of the Egyptian Heritage Rescue Foundation's to rescue these platforms coincided with British Council's objectives for awarding grants to cultural heritage preservation projects. Thanks to the efforts of both parties and partners, the Mamluk restoration project is now an important scientific and strategic model for protecting heritage not only to the Egyptian society but also to the international community."

(With Inputs from APO)

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Cairo museum displays Egypt’s ancient Coptic textiles
Egypt Pulse

Cairo museum displays Egypt's ancient Coptic textiles

Article Summary
The Egyptian Textile Museum's latest exhibition, "God is Love," offers several rare early Coptic textiles just in time for Coptic Christmas.

CAIRO — The Egyptian Textile Museum, an Ottoman-style building located at the heart of Islamic Cairo, pays homage to the country's Christian heritage by displaying rare and ancient Coptic textiles that date from the fourth to seventh centuries CE.

The exhibition, titled "God is Love," opened Jan. 2 in anticipation of the Coptic Christmas, which is celebrated on Jan. 7. The exhibition will run until March.

The museum's general director, Ashraf Abol Yazeed, told Al-Monitor that the exhibition is part of the museum's efforts to tie its exhibitions to special events and festivals shared among the different religions in Egypt. "We have displayed some textiles from the Sacred Chamber of the Prophet to celebrate his birthday [in November]. [For Christmas], we organized an exhibition of Coptic textiles. Some of the works displayed show that Ancient Egyptian art influenced early Coptic art," he said.

The textiles were found in el-Bagawat, an ancient Christian cemetery at the Kharga Oasis in southern-central Egypt. This cemetery, one of the oldest in the world, was excavated between 1907 and 1932 and many important artifacts of the early Coptic era were discovered, such as pottery and personal items such as combs, writing utensils and textiles. Some of the textiles were sent to the warehouses of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiques, and then given to the Museum of Textiles after its foundation in 2010. Other pieces from those excavations can be seen in Western museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Deputy Director Farag Mghawri told Al-Monitor that five of these early Coptic textiles in Cairo are being displayed for the first time.

One of the five new pieces is a child's headpiece made of cotton and red and blue wool. It bears an ankh, a symbol of life in ancient Egyptian culture. In early Coptic art, however, the ankh was used to signify the Christian cross. The early Copts feared persecution for converting to Christianity, so carefully refrained from using traditional crosses. Only in later eras did Coptic artists start drawing or weaving crosses into their works.

The displayed items also include funeral robes. Mghawri explained, "A very loose robe embroidered with blue wool used to be placed on the mummy when it was buried. Other apparel, decorated with crosses and beautiful Coptic designs, was used during holidays and funerals. The displayed pieces also include a child's robe decorated with threads of wool in magenta and loose warp threads. We also display a linen cover used in a home."

Mokhtar al-Kasbani, a lecturer on Islamic and Coptic Antiquities at the University of Cairo, told Al-Monitor, "Coptic cemeteries, especially those discovered in the Western Desert, have provided us with many early Coptic textiles," he said. "The style of the Coptic textiles further evolved with the emergence of Islam in Egypt."

He noted that the textile production, weaving and dyeing was strong among the Ancient Egyptians, and modern Egypt is also known for its top-quality linens and textiles. He added that the Copts in Egypt are still active in the textile sector. "Textile production in Egypt has developed thanks to the skilled hands of Copts," he said. "They participated in creating the cover of the Holy Kaaba and that of the Prophet's grave."

Tour guide Saleh Adel told Al-Monitor that the Egyptian Textile Museum is housed in a building built in 1822 by Mohammad Ali Pasha in honor of his son Ismail. Later, it became the Nahaseen Primary School, whose alumni included writer Naguib Mahfouz and President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

The building was renovated from 2005 to February 2010, when it was reopened as Egyptian Textile Museum. Currently, the museum holds textiles from the Pharaonic to the Islamic eras. It boasts an impressive collection of belts, mummy linens and even diapers from the Pharaonic era with statues that display different dress according to their place in society. The Roman and Coptic collections are relatively small, while the Islamic section is larger and has a special room for the Kaaba cover that dates to the time of King Farouk.

The museum's 11 halls take visitors on "a journey through time," Adel said. "A history of Egyptian textiles that begins with the Pharaoh era, passes through the Coptic and Islamic eras and ends with the modern day."

Visitor Umeima Tammam told Al-Monitor, "When I heard about the exhibition, I was curious to see the ancient Coptic textiles. Although I visit Al-Moez Street occasionally, I never thought about entering the Egyptian Textile Museum."

Though the museum is located on a busy street frequented by tourists, it is not well known. Yazeed, the museum's director, hopes that will change, "Through activities and regular events, Egyptian museums seek to instill love for museums in the hearts of Egyptians. We have significantly succeeded with university students and children in the past few years."

Found in: Cultural heritage

Hani Sameer is an Egyptian journalist who has worked as the editor of Al-Shorouk newspaper and the news site AraGeek.

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Militants kidnap Christian man in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula - The Washington Post

Militants kidnap Christian man in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula

FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2018 file photo, a choirboy holds a cross during Christmas Eve Mass at the Virgin Mary Church, in Cairo, Egypt. Egyptian security officials said Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019, that Islamic militants kidnapped a Christian man traveling in a communal taxi in the turbulent north of Egypt's Sinai peninsula. Since 2016, militants have killed more than 100 Egyptian Christians in attacks targeting churches and buses carrying pilgrims to remote desert monasteries. (Amr Nabil, File/Associated Press)

CAIRO — Islamic militants on Thursday kidnapped a Christian man traveling in a communal taxi in the turbulent north of Egypt's Sinai peninsula, according to security officials, an incident that raises the specter of renewed attacks on minority Christians in the region after a two-year lull.

The officials did not identify the man, but said police pursued the kidnappers into the desert to which they fled after the incident, killing one of them and wounding two others in a firefight, but could not free the hostage. Two policemen were also wounded in the firefight, said the officials.

There was no word on whether any of the other passengers traveling in the taxi, a minibus, were harmed, suggesting that the kidnapping of the Christian man could have been planned. The attack took place about 30 kilometers (19 miles) west of el-Arish, northern Sinai's largest city, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

A spate of attacks on Christians in northern Sinai in late 2016 and early 2017 forced nearly 300 families to flee their homes there and find refuge elsewhere in Egypt. Those killed included a cleric, workers, a doctor and a merchant. The last Christian to be killed in Sinai was in January 2018, when militants gunned him down as he walked on the street in el-Arish.

The militants, now led by the Islamic State group, say they are punishing the Christians for their support of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi who, as defense minister, led the military's overthrow of an Islamist president whose one year in office proved divisive.

The spiritual leader of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Christians, whose ancient church is the country's predominant Christian denomination, is a close ally of el-Sissi, who has made sectarian harmony a cornerstone of his domestic policy. His patronage of the community has given Christians a measure of protection but did little to protect them from Islamic radicals, particularly in regions south of Cairo where Christians are a sizable minority.

Since 2016, IS militants have killed more than 100 Christians in attacks targeting churches and buses carrying pilgrims to remote desert monasteries. Radicals in provinces like Minya, south of Cairo, whip up anti-Christian sentiments among Muslims, frequently leading mobs that torch Christian homes and businesses or run families out of villages and small towns.

Christian activists charge that some elements in law-enforcement agencies often take the side of Muslims in Muslim-Christian disputes in Minya, turning a blind eye to Muslim transgressions or insisting on resolving them through reconciliation councils rather than enforce the law and prosecute the attackers.

Also on Thursday, according to the officials, suspected militants sneaked into the parking lot of the main hospital in the city of Rafah on the Sinai border with the Gaza Strip and torched two vehicles before escaping. The incident was the latest in a recent spate of violent incidents in Rafah, most of whose residents have been evicted and compensated over the past year to deny the militants hiding places.

Nearly a year ago, the government threw into the battle against the Sinai militants thousands of troops, heavy armor, helicopter gunships and jet fighters in a bid to end the insurgency. The operation has significantly reduced the number of attacks and restored a near total normal life in el-Arish, on the Mediterranean coast.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Trump Offers Pelosi $130,000 to Keep Quiet | The New Yorker

Trump Offers Pelosi $130,000 to Keep Quiet

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In an indication that he has reached his breaking point with the Speaker of the House, Donald J. Trump is offering a hundred and thirty thousand dollars to keep Nancy Pelosi quiet, White House aides confirmed on Thursday.

According to those aides, Trump floated the idea of a six-figure payment to silence Pelosi during a closed-door meeting on Wednesday night, in which he asserted that he had done "a million of these deals."

Trump's effort to mute Pelosi faces a number of obstacles, however, including the fact that the person who has crafted such agreements for Trump in the past, Michael Cohen, is not available to perform such a service now.

Additionally, any agreement to silence Pelosi could face constitutional hurdles, since one of Pelosi's principal duties as Speaker is to speak.

At the Capitol, Pelosi said that she would reject Trump's proposed payment and added that she would offer him no money whatsoever to prevent him from delivering this year's State of the Union address.

"I am asking for an hour of silence from Donald Trump, and you can't put a price tag on that," she said.

Andy Borowitz is the New York Times best-selling author of "The 50 Funniest American Writers," and a comedian who has written for The New Yorker since 1998. He writes the Borowitz Report, a satirical column on the news, for

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Byzantine Gold Coins Found In Dakhla Oasis - Luxor Times

Byzantine Gold Coins Found In Dakhla Oasis

An Egyptian archaeological team working at Ain el Sabil area in Dakhla district of the New Valley has discovered a hidden pot that contains some gold coins that date back to the Byzantine era.

Dr Gamal Moustafa, chairman of the Islamic and Coptic Antiquities Sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, said the coins date back to the era of Byzantine Emperor Constantius II (7 August 317 – 3 November 361). Constantius II ruled the empire from 337 to 361 in the time of Pope Athanasius the Apostolic, the bishop of Alexandria, Moustafa said.

Each of the discovered coins has two faces; one of them bearing the picture of the emperor in different positions and surrounded with words, including the emperor's own name, Moustafa said. He added that the other face of the coins bear drawings and writings that indicate their date of coinage.

Kamel Bayoumi Ahmed, the head of the archaeological mission and director general of Dakhla Antiquities Sector, said the clay pot and its content were moved to a warehouse in the area. The first renovation process of the coins and the archaeological documentation already started, Ahmed said. Archaeological and scientific studies will be conducted to obtain further information about the coins, he added. 

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Greco-Roman Industrial Complex and Cemetery Discovered in Alexandria - Luxor Times

Greco-Roman Industrial Complex and Cemetery Discovered in Alexandria

An archaeological mission working in Tabet Motawah in Ameriya district of Alexandria has discovered a group of artifacts that date back to the Greek and Roman periods.

The discovered site is unique as it represents an industrial and trade complex, which was also being used as a cemetery, said Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Dr Moustafa Waziri. A set of interconnected walls that vary in their design and construction has also been discovered, Waziri added. Some of the walls had been built using irregular stones, while others had been established with carefully-cut stones, he explained.

Dr Ayman Ashmawi, the head of the Egyptian Antiquities Sector, said a big number of ovens used as separate units inside the walls were also discovered. He made it clear that the ovens had been re-built and renovated more than once due to the appearance of signs of burning in different parts of the drilling layers. Most of the ovens were used to cook food, Ashmawi said, noting that bones of birds and fish were found inside them. The existence of so many ovens is a sign that this place had been used as a service unit of the cemetery or a camp, he suggested. The discovered cemetery and fountain during the first phase of digging further emphasize this idea, Ashmawi said, adding that the place had later expanded its industrial and trade activities.

Dr Nadia Khedr, head of the Central Department of Lower Egypt's Antiquities, said among the items discovered were utensils in different shapes and styles and bearing signs of burning, as well as large quantities of pottery. This, according to Khedr, reveals that the area of the ovens dates back to the period between the first century BC and the second century AD. She added that a lamp was also discovered with the effects of ignition clear on its nozzle. Unique lamp holders with crescent decorations and a stereoscopic shape of God Serapis were also found, Khedr said. She added that the mission also discovered a glass bottle that had probably been used to preserve perfumes and a set of different bronze coins that are currently being examined.

Dr Khaled Abul Hamad, the director general of Alexandria Antiquities Sector and head of the mission, said the burials of two poor ladies, one in her middle age and wearing a copper ring, were also discovered near one of the walls and close to an oven.  Abul Hamad suggests that, once abandoned, the place had been re-used by a poor segment to bury the dead.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

News from the Conservation Lab — Conservation at the Abydos Middle Cemetery – The Kelsey Blog
On 01/16/2019 12:44 PM, leschram wrote:
News from the Conservation Lab — Conservation at the Abydos Middle Cemetery

By Suzanne Davis, Curator of Conservation

Happy New Year! My January has gotten off to a good start, because I spent most of December working at the beautiful site of Abydos, Egypt. Abydos is an ancient Egyptian royal cemetery site, and the Kelsey has a field research project there, directed by museum curator Janet Richards. We have a number of special conservation projects at Abydos, and the one I'm most closely involved with focuses on preservation of painted wood artifacts at the site. When they're excavated, these objects are in truly terrible condition (rotten wood that's chewed by termites, with bits of paint raining off into piles in the sand), and then the conservation team is responsible for putting them back together, taking care of them, and studying them along with the rest of the research team. It is interesting work, but my favorite thing about work at Abydos isn't the work, it's the people I work with.

Although the entire team is great, I'll specifically call out the conservation colleagues I worked with this year (after all, this is a conservation blog post) — Hamada Sadek and Eman Zidan.

Selfie of three people at airport
Left to right: Suzanne Davis, Hamada Sadek, and Eman Zidan, arriving at the Sohag airport for work at Abydos.

Hamada is a professor of conservation at Fayoum University. He is an incredibly thoughtful and careful conservator. He's practical and good at bench treatment, but he also does research and publishes, AND he really likes teaching. He is a lot more patient than I am. Our in-lab dialogue is usually like this:

Me: Let's get this thing done right now!
Hamada: GAH! Slow down! Did you even look at this, Suzanne??

Eman Zidan has worked in conservation and heritage preservation for both the Egyptian Museum and the Ministry of Antiquities in Egypt, and she's currently taking some time off so she can finish her master's degree in preventive conservation. This is her career mission — facilitating and improving care of archaeological collections throughout Egypt, including at places like Abydos. This is an area where I often feel overwhelmed and paralyzed by the scope of the work, but Eman is calm and able to plan for things like termite infestations and pest control (think snakes) in storage areas.

Although I appreciate Eman and Hamada for their unique contributions to the conservation program at Abydos, for me personally they have also been important peer-mentors. I'm especially grateful to the American Research Center in Egypt, whose generous funding has given me the chance to work with them. Thanks, ARCE!

--   Sent from my Linux system.

AWOL - The Ancient World Online: Chronological Lists of Oriental Institute Publications
On 01/14/2019 01:36 PM, Charles Jones wrote:
Chronological Lists of Oriental Institute Publications

Chronological Lists of Oriental Institute Publications

Between 1997 and 2011, the Oriental Institute maintained a list, by year, of its publications. This offered a useful chronological overview of the publication activity. I have now compiled lists for 2012-2018 and include links to the 1997-2011 lists below.


  • LAMINE 1. Christians and Others in the Umayyad State. Edited by Antoine Borrut and Fred M. Donner, with contributions by Touraj Daryaee, Muriel  Debié, Sidney H. Griffith, Wadad al-Qadi, Milka Levy-Rubin, Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych, Donald Whitcomb, and Luke Yarbrough, 2016

  • Nimrud: The Queens' Tombs. By Muzahim Mahmoud Hussein, translation and initial editing by Mark Altaweel, additional editing and notes by McGuire Gibson. 2016




For an up to date list of all Oriental Institute publications available online see:

--   Sent from my Linux system.