Friday, June 5, 2020

Jewellery & Crafts brand launches in Cairo's 'City of the Dead' - Egypt Today

Jewellery & Crafts brand launches in Cairo's 'City of the Dead'

Thu, Jun. 4, 2020

Cairo – 4 June 2020: A brand new line of handmade jewelry and crafts has launched in Cairo's Necropolis, AKA City of the Dead, which is rich in Mamluk monuments.

MISHKĀ brand presents leather goods, in addition to brass and silver handmade jewelry, well-crafted by a professional team consisting of 80 local women, working from a workshop close to the complex of Sultan Qaitbey.

"The word MISHKA means 'lantern' in Arabic, and our brand means a better life for the women living among these historic monuments," says Agnieszka Dobrowolska, Project Director at MISHKĀ. "It also means a new life for the City of the Dead."

Furthermore, the brand is inspired by the floral and geometric patterns that Mamluk architecture is characterized by. All products are handmade from local material and are sold at a MISHKĀ shop near the famed Sultan Qaitbey Mosque and in various other locations around the ancient city of Cairo, including Diwan Bookstores.

Also, MISHKĀ initially provided training for around 40 women from the Qaitbey area back in 2017. Their breath-taking productions were later developed into a brand by the Sultan Foundation, a non-profit organization supported by the Drosos Foundation.

The line includes earrings and necklaces trenched with a specialized jeweller's saw and bench pin, in addition to coin purses, leather notebooks, eyeglass cases and tablet covers in an array of colors.

"We blend contemporary design with traditional Egyptian crafts," says Heba al-Naggar, production manager and designer. "And this lets people see Egyptian art through a different lens."

The MISHKĀ brand is part of a larger project co-held by the Sultan Foundation and ARCHiNOS Architecture, which aims to protect the neighborhood's renowned tradition of handicrafts.

"The project aims to integrate culture into the life of the local community, while improving conditions and promoting cultural tourism to the Qaitbey neighborhood," said Dobrowolska.

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Brass earrings (350 EGP) handmade by women in the Qaitbey neighbourhood of historic Cairo - MISHKĀ brand

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Brass earrings (250 EGP) inspired by the Mamluk architecture of Cairo's "City of the Dead." - MISHKĀ brand

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Business card holders or coin purses (95 EGP) handmade from the finest local materials. - MISHKĀ brand

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Large notebooks (250 EGP) handmade from leather and available in an array of colors. - MISHKĀ brand

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Hammered brass necklace (350 EGP) from Mishka's debut collection of leather and jewellery. - MISHKĀ brand

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Brass necklace (400 EGP) available in brass and plated brass.- MISHKĀ brand

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Egyptian archaeologists rely on technology to preserve past

Egyptian archaeologists rely on technology to preserve past

Prominent Egyptian archaeologist Monica Hanna is using modern technology, including Google tools, to help protect Egypt's heritage and teach students.

al-monitor Tourists take pictures at the burial chamber and sarcophagus of King Djoser inside the standing step pyramid of Saqqara, south of Cairo, Egypt, March 5, 2020. Photo by REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany.

Topics covered

monuments, academia, antiques, technology, preservation, google, heritage, archaeology

Jun 5, 2020

"When I first embarked on my career in documenting Egyptian antiquities to preserve them and allow their study throughout the ages, this was not easy," said Monica Hanna, an Egyptian archaeologist and founding dean of the College of Archaeology of Cultural Heritage at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology, and Maritime Transport. 

Hanna was able to use modern technology to help her perform her duties to preserve and document Egyptian heritage. She now resorts to various Google tools and uses them in her work as an Egyptian archaeologist. Internet company Google was inspired by Hanna and asked her to share her experience in video footage that would promote Egyptian heritage, attract visitors from all over the world and bridge the gap between the new generation and the country's cultural history.

Hanna registered the Egyptian heritage through the Google Scholar platform, which is one of the most important engines of academic scientific research, as it specializes in scientific and academic literature needed by researchers, including professors, teachers and students. The tool also provides abundant material from research and approved scientific messages, scientific journals, books, summaries and articles issued by academic publishers, international universities, specialized organizations and other scientific research institutions.

On the debut of her career, Hanna told Al-Monitor, "I found it difficult to obtain some academic information or even share it, not to mention the difficulty of finding archaeological sites with traditional paper maps. I had to reach archaeological excavation sites in the middle of the desert relying on a paper map that I specifically acquired from the [General] Survey Authority, and without the help of satellite images. Sometimes I had no evidence to prove the existence of the site I was searching for."

She noted that Google tools have become essential in her work and she even relies on them in her research and curricula that she teaches. "Archaeologists need technology to work better. Nowadays archaeology cannot be excluded from technological development, especially at the academic level. We teach students how to use and employ modern technological tools so that they can graduate having acquired skills both in modern technologies and archaeology and can face the challenges of the 21st century."

Hanna has been working since the January 25 Revolution in 2011 to save Egypt's monuments and antiquities from being lost, by registering and documenting them. Along with two of her friends — Sally Suleiman, a tourist guide, and Omnia Abdel-Barra, an architect — she formed a team to protect the Egyptian antiquities. The three women work together in search for stolen antiquities and explore the sites from where they were looted. The team travels to archaeological sites that were looted after the 2011 revolution and launches its own investigations. They photograph the damage and the archaeological remains, if any, and then determine the losses and compare the recent photos to the site's photos before the damage that are found on Google and taken by satellite.

Hanna obtained bachelor's and master's degrees in Egyptology and Archaeological Chemistry from the American University in Cairo. In 2010, she obtained a doctorate from the University of Pisa, Italy. She was nominated twice as minister of antiquities. She also won several awards in appreciation of her efforts to preserve and document Egyptian heritage. Hanna was named the "Monuments Woman" by UNESCO in recognition of her role in saving the monuments at Mallawi Museum in Minya governorate. She was awarded the "Saving Antiquities for Everyone" SAFE Beacon Award in the United States in 2014. In 2015, she received, twice, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the American University in Cairo and New York.

Hanna said, "The guards monitoring archaeological sites in Egypt always inform us of cases of theft and looting when they happen. Sometimes we hear about these cases from newspapers or various media. The worst cases of looting and theft occurred at the archaeological sites of Middle Egypt. These sites are visited by a small number of tourists at the present time, and [local] residents stole some antiquities."

She added, "I think people are not really aware of how bad the situation of Egyptian monuments is. Our archaeological treasures are running out, and the negative impact will be significant in the long run."

Hanna stressed the need to spread archaeological awareness among citizens by launching frequent media and advertising campaigns and by allocating TV programs to this subject, most notably on popular satellite channels with a large audience.

Meanwhile, the National Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage, affiliated with Bibliotheca Alexandrina and supported by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, is one of the most important centers for accurate and purposeful documentation of Egypt's heritage. 

The center has a special global appeal as it highlights various aspects of human civilizations and monitors their development. It is part of the national plan adopted by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology for developing the infrastructure of information technology in Egypt, with the aim of documenting, protecting and rehabilitating archaeological sites, in light of the presence of a huge number of sites, monuments and artifacts scattered all over Egypt amid an expanding urban sprawl around them.

The center currently runs 10 programs: Archaeological Map of Egypt, Architectural Heritage of Egypt, Natural Heritage of Egypt, Egyptian Folklore, Musical Heritage of Egypt, Photographic Memory of Egypt, Scientific Islamic Manuscripts Heritage, Eternal Egypt website, Egyptian Heritage Panorama and International Joint Projects. All these programs aim to raise public awareness of Egypt's cultural and natural heritage using all available media.

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Thursday, June 4, 2020

Charles Dudley Warner’s Winter on the Nile | Egypt Exploration Society

Charles Dudley Warner's Winter on the Nile

Hazel Gray

As well as Henry Villiers Stuart's Nile Gleanings, the Walker Bequest of books includes another travel account written by an early member of the Egypt Exploration Society. This time it is an American author and editor, Charles Dudley Warner, who began by donating $5 a year to the Egypt Exploration Fund, and rose to be one of its US Vice Presidents during the 1890s.

Charles Dudley Warner c. 1897 (US Library of Congress)

Charles Dudley Warner was born on a farm in Massachusetts in 1829, then moved to New York state following the death of his father. After college, he worked as a railroad surveyor, hoping to improve his health and raise some much-needed cash. He graduated from Pennsylvania Law School in 1858 and spent two unhappy years practising law in Chicago. An old friend, Joseph Roswell Hawley, invited Warner to join him in Hartford, Connecticut, as co-editor of a local paper, and he jumped at the chance, setting up home there with his wife Susan in Nook Farm, a colony of well-connected writers, artists, politicians and activists that included Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mark Twain.

In 1870, Warner's journal The Courant published a series of his light-hearted essays about working in his garden, later re-published in book form as My Summer in a Garden, which became a best-seller. Other essays and travel books followed, as well as a collaboration with Mark Twain called The Gilded Age, and by 1880, Warner was one of America's most popular writers.

A first edition copy of The Gilded Age by Warner and Twain

Between 1870 and his death, among other travels, Warner made five journeys to Europe and the Middle East, leading to nine travel books. My Winter on the Nile: among the mummies and Moslems was published in 1876 and is described as 'perhaps the acme of Warner's achievements in his books of travel' (Fields 1904:54-5).

'The wooden man' as the frontispiece of Warner's Winter on the Nile

Warner gives us a humorous and detailed view of his journey up the Nile, and the day-to-day life and excitements of the voyage, with his dragoman (interpreter, translator, and guide) Abd-el-Atti emerging as one of the great characters of the book.

He first describes some of the essential preparations before any Nile voyage could begin.

'Two other necessary articles remain to be procured; rockets and other fire-works to illuminate benighted Egypt, and medicines… In the opinion of our dragoman it is scarcely reputable to go up the Nile without a store of rockets and other pyrotechnics… The common fire-works in the Mooskee he despised; nothing would do but the government-made, which are very good.'

Christmas was celebrated in Asyut.

'In the evening, with the dahabeëh beautifully decorated and hung with colored lanterns, upon the deck, which, shut in with canvas and spread with Turkish rugs, was a fine reception-room, we awaited our guests… as if we usually celebrated Christmas outdoors, fans in hand, with fire-works… The Pasha was received as he stepped on board with three rockets… Coffee and pipes are served on deck, and the fire-works begin to tear and astonish the night. The Khedive certainly employs very good pyrotechnists, and the display by Abd-el-Atti and his equally excited helpers, although simple is brilliant.'

Later in Esna, Abd-el-Atti's love of fireworks would lead to an angry visit from the governor, after a rocket from an arriving boat started a fire in the town. It could not be proved who had fired the rocket, but it was a government firework, of the type preferred by Abd-el-Atti, and, though no further action was taken by the governor, he feared for his reputation: 'How it's all right? Story go back to Cairo; Rip van Winkle been gone set fire to Esneh. Whose rockets? Government rockets. Nobody have government rockets 'cept Abd-el-Atti.'

The cover of My Winter on the Nile (18th edn) depicting a dahabiyah

Warner remarks on the lack of accommodation for tourists outside Cairo, and his thoughts on potential developments are prescient.

'There is not indeed in the whole land of Egypt above Cairo such a thing as an inn… With steamboats making regular trips and a railroad crawling up the river, there is certain to be the Rameses Hotel at Thebes before long, and its rival a Thothmes House; together with the Mummy Restaurant and the Scarabæus Saloon.'

Such accommodation would surely be necessary for future travellers, for he remarks on the immensity of the ruins in ancient Thebes.

'You need two or three weeks to see properly the ruins of Thebes, though Cook's "personally conducted tourists" do it in four days. The region to be travelled over is not only vast…but it is exceedingly difficult getting about, and fatiguing, if haste is necessary… Perhaps the easiest way of passing the time in an ancient ruin was that of two Americans, who used to spread their rugs in a shady court, and sit there, drinking brandy and champagne all day, letting the ancient civilization gradually reconstruct itself in their brains.'

And he tells us of the flourishing trade in antiquities:

'This [mummy's] hand has been "doctored" to sell; the present owner has re-wrapped bitumen-soaked flesh in mummy-cloth, and partially concealed three rings on the fingers. Of course the hand is old and the cheap rings are new… Great quantities of antique beads are offered us in strings, to one end of which is usually tied a small image of Osiris, or the winged sun, or the scarabæus with wings. The inexhaustible supply of these beads and images leads many to think that they are manufactured to suit the demand. But it is not so. The blue is of a shade that is not produced now-a-days. And, besides, there is no need to manufacture what exists in the mummy-pits in such abundance.'

A visit to the Boulaq Museum (now the Egyptian Museum in Cairo) shows Warner in rather more thoughtful mood.

'[T]he almost startling thought presented by this collection is not in the antiquity of some of these objects, but in the long civilization anterior to their production, and which must have been necessary to the growth of the art here exhibited. It could not have been a barbarous people who produced, for instance, these life-like images found at Maydoom, statues of a prince and princess who lived under the ancient king Snéfrou… But it is as much in an ethnographic as an art view that these statues are important. If the Egyptian race at that epoch was of the type offered by these portraits, it resembled in nothing the race which inhabited the north of Egypt not many years after Snéfrou.'

It appears Warner did not subscribe to the contemporary, prejudice theory of an invading race founding the Egyptian Early Dynastic culture – he believed there was a local cultural flowering which then stagnated – though he did admit that there could have been a change of 'dominating race' at some point. Writing of this apparent stagnation, he says:

'I cannot but believe that if it had been free, Egyptian art would have budded and bloomed into a grace of form in harmony with the character of the climate and the people… And to end, by what may seem a sweeping statement, I have had more pleasure from a bit of Greek work… than from anything that Egypt ever produced in art.'

Despite these reservations, Warner's travels in Egypt and the Levant awoke in him a taste for archaeology, and though the vast majority of the readily available Internet biographies make no mention of his links with the Society, one by Thomas R. Lounsbury tells us:

'Egypt in particular had for him always a special fascination. Twice he visited it—at the time just mentioned [1875-76] and again in the winter of 1881-82. He rejoiced in every effort made to dispel the obscurity which hung over its early history. No one, outside of the men most immediately concerned, took a deeper interest than he in the work of the Egyptian Exploration Society, of which he was one of the American vice-presidents. To promoting its success he gave no small share of time and attention.'

Warner died in 1900, after collapsing during an afternoon walk. Mark Twain was one of the pall bearers at his funeral.

Further Reading:

Fields, J. T. 1904. Charles Dudley Warner. New York: McClure, Phillips & Co. Available online here.

Lounsbury, T. R. 1896. 'Biographical Sketch', in C. D. Warner, The Relation of Literature to Life. Available online here.

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Egypt launches virtual tour of Abu Serga's Church in Old Cairo - Museums - Heritage - Ahram Online

Egypt launches virtual tour of Abu Serga's Church in Old Cairo

Nevine El-Aref , Monday 1 Jun 2020
Abu Serga
Abu Serga's Church
To mark the Holy Family's flight to Egypt on 1 June, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities is launching a virtual tour of Abu Serga's Church.

The Church of Saint Sergius and Bacchus, also known as Abu Serga, is built on an ancient Roman fort in Old Cairo. The history of the church is still being debated. Some scholars believe it dates to the late fourth to early fifth centuries AD, while others believe it should approximately be dated back to the 17th century AD.

The church has acquired a prominent religious status among Coptic churches because it is associated with the Holy Family's journey in Egypt. It is named after renowned early fourth century AD saints, Sergius and Bacchus, both of whom were martyred at El-Resafa in Syria for their Christian beliefs.

Like various early Christian churches, the Church of Abu Serga and its underground cave are designed in the basilica layout, and thus together consist of three parts: the narthex, nave, and sanctuary (the cave being below the sanctuary). The church is characterised by its unique architectural and artistic elements that reflect the spirit of Coptic churches' architecture in Egypt. These include the pulpit, baptismal font, inlaid ivory and wood templon, and unique religious decoration of the saints and apostles decorating the various domes, walls and columns.

Click here to see the virtual tour.


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Egypt’s Min. of Tourism & Antiquities to renovate Cairo's Bab el-Azab area - Egypt Today's-Min-of-Tourism-Antiquities-to-renovate-Cairo-s-Bab
FILE - Bab el-Azab FILE - Bab el-Azab

Egypt's Min. of Tourism & Antiquities to renovate Cairo's Bab el-Azab area

Thu, Jun. 4, 2020

CAIRO - 4 June 2020: Egypt's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities intends to develop, operate, and manage the visitors' services in the ancient "Bab el-Azab" area of Cairo Citadel [Salahuddin Al-Ayoubi Castle].

This comes in accordance with the contract signed by the Supreme Council of Antiquities with the Sovereign Egypt Fund, providing that the Supreme Council of Antiquities exclusively administers the archaeological area and the fund provides, operates and manages visitor services, aiming to revive archaeological areas and increase their historical and economic value.

The contract contributes to enhancing the investment process in the tourism field, as one of the best ways to advance tourism development and create a promising environment to attract tourism investment, develop archaeological sites, and raise the efficiency of tourism services in these sites.

The rehabilitation of the monumental buildings after their restoration is one of the most important methods of preserving them, which works to raise their efficiency, increasing their archaeological and cultural value and the economic return.

The state is keen to improve the quality of services provided to Egyptian, Arab and foreign visitors in the Citadel area -one of the most important tourist destinations in Egypt- and which lacks basic services for visitors.

The development and renovation of the "Bab el-Azab" area of the Citadel comes as part of a comprehensive plan to revive the closed area of the citadel and open it to the public, adding it to the list of historical and cultural attractions.

Furthermore, markets of crafts and heritage stores will be established, and art theaters will be managed.

Bab el-Azab is one of the doors of Salah el-Din Citadel, overlooking the Sultan Hassan School and the Al-Rifai Mosque. It is one of the largest and most beautiful Islamic structures in Cairo. The door is similar in composition to the doors of Bab el-Fotouh and Bab-Zuweila.

It is made up of two large rectangular towers that have a round facade above each room and between them t is a latch used to throw boiling oils on enemies who try to force themselves through the gate.

This door was built by Prince Radwan Khattkada Al-Jalafi, the leader of the El-Azab soldiers, in the place of an ancient door dating back to the Mamluk era. Khedive Ismail renovated the door.

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Christie's to auction Egyptian artifacts online - Egypt Independent

Christie's to auction Egyptian artifacts online

Christie's auction house in London announced that it will be selling a group of Egyptian, Roman and other antiquities in an online auction being held from June 2 to 16.

The antiquities include an Egyptian canopic jar dating back to the 26th Egyptian Dynasty (664-525 BCE). The auction house estimates the value as between US$60,000 and $90,000.

Christie's reports that the jar was taken out of Egypt, arriving in the US state of Minnesota in 1922. It arrived at Christie's in New York on December 15, 2016.

Canopic jars made of pottery or limestone were used by the ancient Egyptians in the mummification process. The Egyptians would place the entrails of their dead inside the jars in order to preserve them.

These pots were given their name because scientists first found them in the area of Canopus, now Abu Qir in Alexandria.

The pieces being auctioned also include a stone rendering of the head of King Senusret III. Its estimated price at auction is between $70,000 and $90,000. Other items incluse a limestone statue dating back to the late period (664-332 BC), as well as a plate with wooden handles and a bronze statue of the divine bull Apis.

Christie's has 54 offices in 32 countries. It also has 12 auction houses worldwide, including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zurich, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Mumbai.

Shaaban Abdel Gawad, General Supervisor of the Department of Retrieved Antiquities at the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, said that the ministry is closely following the auction and will take the necessary legal measures if the antiquities are proven to have been illegally removed from Egypt.

In statements made to Al-Masry Al-Youm, he added that his department is following all auctions, making a great effort to recover looted Egyptian antiquities.

Christie's has auctioned dozens of Egyptian pieces over the past several years, most notably the head of the Amun, which sold for roughly five million sterling pounds despite Cairo's strong protests against the sale.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Egypt’s Tourism & Antiquities Police in Minya seize 374 artifacts - Egypt Today

Part of the seized items - ET
Part of the seized items - ET

Egypt's Tourism & Antiquities Police in Minya seize 374 artifacts

Tue, Jun. 2, 2020

CAIRO - 2 June 2020: Egypt's Tourism and Antiquities Police in Minya seized 374 artifacts inside the house of a young man residing in the village of Abu Basht in Maghagha.

The seized items included necklaces, statues, scarabs, copper coins, as well as amulets of ancient Egyptian deities and sacred animals dating back to numerous eras.

Assistant Minister of Interior for the Tourism and Antiquities Police Reda el-Omda received intelligence from Assistant Director of the Tourism and Antiquities Police Mohamed Abdel Zahir that information has been received about a person in Abu Basht who possesses various antiques belonging to different ages.

A police force was formed under the supervision of Director of the Tourism and Antiquities Investigation Department Medhat Montaser. Investigations found the information to be correct. Permission was then obtained from the Public Prosecution, to search the defendant's house, Ahmed-F-H, 26, who has a bachelor's degree in law.

A black granite scarab was seized with the title of King Tutankhamun, in addition to 25 amulets for ancient Egyptian deities and some sacred animals from the Middle Kingdom of the 17th region.

A 3-cm- tall limestone statue of a child from the Greek era was also seized, in addition to a 25-cm-tall wooden statue for the god Horus, dating back to the Pharaonic times.

Furthermore, a necklace made in the form of a lion was seized, as well as a pendant with a bunch of beads and 3 medium-sized lamp potteries dating back to the Greco-Roman period.

Also, seizures included 304 copper coins of various shapes and sizes dating back to the Greco-Roman era and an Ushabti statue of 10 cm in length, dating back to the Late Kingdom.

The man was taken into custody for further investigations as to how he had access to such rare and precious artifacts.
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Sharm El-Sheikh Museum receives King Senusret III boats from Egyptian Museum in Tahrir - Egypt Today

File - Boats belong to King Senusret III from the Middle        Kingdom.
File - Boats belong to King Senusret III from the Middle Kingdom.

Sharm El-Sheikh Museum receives King Senusret III boats from Egyptian Museum in Tahrir

Tue, Jun. 2, 2020

CAIRO – 2 June 2020: Sharm El-Sheikh Museum received three large artefacts from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, in preparation for its opening soon.

The three large artefacts are the two wooden boats of Dahshur and a statue of baboon standing in the praise of the sunrise; each boat is more than 10 meters long and 2.3 meters wide.

The boats belong to King Senusret III from the Middle Kingdom; they are set to be shown inside a hall designated for them inside Sharm El-Sheikh Museum.

Moamen Othman, head of the museums sector, explained that these boats were discovered next to the pyramid of King Senusret III in Dahshur, and they were transferred to the Egyptian Museum to be re-installed and displayed.

The boats were transferred using the latest scientific methods to ensure their safety, where the vehicles were transported using a metal chassis made of stainless steel to easily move and lift the boats without affecting the body of the wooden boats.

boats 1

Director General of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Sabah Abdel Razek previously clarified that transferring artifacts to the Grand Egyptian Museum, Sharm El-Sheikh Museum and the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization is ongoing using the latest scientific methods in order to protect the artifacts from any damages.

Head of the Central Department for Engineering Affairs, Antiquities and Museum Projects Waad Abul Ela previously noted that works in the museum has been resumed since September 2018, after a hiatus of about 8 years, precisely in the aftermath of the January 2011 revolution, due to the lack of the necessary funds.

Advisor to the Minister of Antiquities for Museum Display Mahmoud Mabrouk mentioned in previous statements that the exhibition scenario in the Sharm El-Sheikh Museum will illustrate the daily life of the ancient Egyptian during the New Kingdom, where the displayed artifacts portray the civilized life the ancient Egyptians were experiencing during that era.

Also, the museum's display scenario illustrates the ancient Egyptian's interest with the wildlife, revealing how the ancient Egyptians cared about animals, birds, reptiles and insects in terms of raising, sanctifying, domesticating and treating them.

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George Floyd protests: Archaeologist slammed for offering instructions on how to topple 'racist' obelisks | MEAWW

George Floyd protests: Archaeologist slammed for offering instructions on how to topple 'racist' obelisks

Sarah Parcak of Alabama University gave her insights on pulling down monuments that are seen as symbols of racism and white nationalism as protesters deface Confederate monuments in the country

By Shubham Ghosh
Published on : 00:33 PST, Jun 2, 2020

 George Floyd protests: Archaeologist slammed for offering          instructions on how to topple 'racist' obelisks
A granite obelisk monument in US (Getty Images)

With protests against racism refusing to die down in the US, a top archaeologist has come up with instructions on social media on how to bring down an obelisk. Confederate monuments and statues have faced the ire of the protesters in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month. In states like Alabama and Tennessee, a Confederate monument was defaced while a couple of states of Confederate leaders were toppled over the weekend as part of the demonstrators' venting rage.

Sarah Parcak on Sunday, May 31, posted a series of tweets that did not speak about a specific protest but indicated at the Confederate monument in Birmingham's Linn Park. She also gave hint that she is aware of the police brutality that killed Floyd on May 25. In the tweet which she started as a "Public Service Announcement", Parcak said: "PSA For ANYONE who might be interested in how to pull down an obelisk* safely from an Egyptologist who never ever in a million years thought this advice might come in handy." She also explained obelisk in a footnote saying the structure might be "masquerading as a racist monument". Parcak is an archaeologist at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.

Protesters confront police outside the 3rd Police Precinct on May 27, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota (Getty Images)

On Sunday, a Confederate monument was defaced while the statue of Confederate captain Charles Linn (1814-82) was brought down. A day earlier, protesters in Tennessee's Nashville pulled down a statue of Edward W Carmack (1858-1908), a former senator and newspaper publisher who wrote racist editorials and was shot by a political rival. Amid the ongoing protests against racism, demonstrators have defaced and destroyed monuments in various cities. Even the iconic Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC and the National World War II Memorial could not evade the protesters' wrath. Vandalism and defacing with graffiti were a common sight at a number of monuments. 

Sarah Parcak gave detailed guideline on how to pull down obelisks

In one of her tweets explaining how to bring down an obelisk, Parcak said: "You have two groups, one on one side, one opposite, for the rope beneath the pointy bit and the rope 1/3 down. You will need to PULL TOGETHER BACK AND FORTH. You want to create a rocking motion back and forth to ease the obelisk from its back." In another post in the same thread, she said: "I recommend a rhythmic song. YOU WILL NEED SOMEONE WITH A LOUDSPEAKER DIRECTING. There can be only one person yelling. Everyone will be alternating on rope left right left right not everyone on the same side. No one else near the obelisk! Safety first!"

She also posted a rough illustration showing how an obelisk can be brought down by pulling it from two directions. She, however, said in another tweet: "BUT OF COURSE THIS IS ALL ENTIRELY HYPOTHETICAL." Parcak, in her Twitter tutorials on bringing down obelisks, however, asked people not to bring down Egyptian obelisks or even the Washington Memorial. She is an Egyptologist by training who has worked in Egypt for 20 years and has a fair understanding about ancient Egyptian architecture. In 2016, she won a $1 million TED prize and used crowd-sourced funding to use satellite imaging to identify archaeological sites. 

"My Bona Fides: I'm an Egyptologist. I have worked in Egypt for 20 years and know a lot about ancient Egyptian architecture. Especially how they raised obelisks," one of her tweets read. Parcak's final dig at the monuments came when she tweeted: "WATCH THAT SUMB*TCH TOPPLE GET THE %^&* OUT OF THE WAY IT WILL SMASH RUN AWAY FROM DIRECTION. Then celebrate. Because #BlackLivesMatter and good riddance to any obelisks pretending to be ancient Egyptian obelisks when they are in fact celebrating racism and white nationalism."

Parcak faces backlash 

Parcak faced a massive backlash on Twitter for her posts. One Twitter user replied to Parcak by tagging President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, justice department and FBI seeking an investigation into individuals "for instructing terrorist how to inflict damage to property." Another slammed Twitter saying the social media platform was okay with Parcak's tweets because it is okay with the destruction of AmericaA third one called Parcak a "white woman stoking racial violence at a volatile time" in the US and called it "criminal". In August 2017, a 'Unite the Right' rally was planned to protest against the removal of a statue of Confederate leader General Robert E Lee and the protest eventually saw a clash in which one life was lost. Two policemen also died after their helicopter crashed while flying to the rally.

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Monday, June 1, 2020

Christie’s to hold auction of Roman, Egyptian Antiquities - Egypt Today

One of the ancient Egyptian Canopic containers set for sale        in Christie's Auction House - ET
One of the ancient Egyptian Canopic containers set for sale in Christie's Auction House - ET

Christie's to hold auction of Roman, Egyptian Antiquities

Mon, Jun. 1, 2020

CAIRO - 1 June 2020: Christie's is preparing for the international auction of many different Roman and Egyptian antiquities, set for July 2-16.

The auction will be held online, due to social-distancing measures as a means to battle the novel coronavirus.

Among the Egyptian antiquities offered for sale is an Egyptian canopic container, dating back to the late period of the 26th Dynasty [664-525 BC]. The price of the container is estimated at $60,000 - $90,000.

Canopic vessels are vessels used by the ancient Egyptians during the mummification process to store and preserve the bowels of the dead for the afterlife. It was usually made of limestone or pottery.

Not all viscera were kept in a single canopic jar; there were four types of canopic jars, one to preserve the stomach, a second one for the intestines, a third one for the lungs, and a fourth one for the liver. It was believed that the deceased will need his body organs in the afterlife.

There were no containers for the heart however, as the Egyptians believed it was the location of the soul and so it was left inside the body.

Canopic vessels in the era of the Old Kingdom were distinguished by being rarely engraved, and had a mediocre lid. In the Middle Ages, inscriptions became more and more common, and the lids came in the form of human heads.

In the 19th Dynasty, the covers of the four containers were made so that each depicted one of the four sons of Horus, the guardians of the organs inside the vessels.
--   Sent from my Linux system.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Monthly Updates from ARCE


We are very pleased to have Liska Radachi joining us as ARCE's US Director. Liska has worked in the fundraising and external engagement field for over a decade. Most recently, she served as a Director of Advancement for the Smithsonian, focused on fundraising for institutional priorities including renovation of the Fossil Hall at the National Museum of Natural History, The Smithsonian American Women's Initiative, and the transformation of the National Air and Space Museum. In that role, she built the most successful National Councils at the Smithsonian with 100% giving participation and a strong pipeline of major gifts.  She received her BA in Art History from the University of Arizona and her MA in Arts Administration from Indiana University. Originally from Scottsdale, AZ, Liska lives in the Hill East neighborhood of Washington D.C. with her husband Adam and cat Linus.

Welcome to the ARCE team, Liska!


Following the launch of our virtual tours of the Tomb of Menna and the Bab Zuwayla in April, ARCE launched an additional two tours in May for the Aslam al-Silahdar Mosque and the Zawiya-Sabil Faraj Ibn Barquq.

Both of these beautiful Mamluk monuments are located in the Historic Cairo World Heritage Site and both were conserved by ARCE with assistance and support from the U.S. Agency for International Development. To experience these tours, click here.







We are very excited to announce that ARCE will launch its podcast series in July. The series will include topics such as mummification, Kingship, King Tutankhamun, 'Exodus and Egypt: Myths, History, and Archaeology,' 'Recent Research and Books,' and 'Scribe: Behind the Scenes.'

If you have any suggestions for future topics that you would like to see addressed in ARCE's podcast series, please email us at!


ARCE and its North American Chapters are collaborating on an 8-lecture series featuring exciting research and experts in the  elds of Egyptology and Archaeology. These online lectures commenced on May 9 and will take place every Saturday for the next seven weeks. The lectures are available exclusively to ARCE members.

For more information and to register, click here.


Past ARCE project director for the Red Monastery, Elizabeth S. Bolman, will speak in an online lecture titled 'Conserving Coptic Heritage: an Historic Egyptian-American Partnership,' and discuss the joint efforts between the United States and Egypt to protect Coptic heritage. 

Time: June 3, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. EST/7:00 p.m. EEST

For more information and to register, click here.

Connect With Us:


Contact Info:

American Research Center in Egypt
909 N Washington Street
STE 320
Alexandria, VA 22314
United States



On May 14, ARCE celebrated the 72nd anniversary of its founding and its mission to research and preserve Egypt's cultural heritage. To mark the day, we produced and shared a compilation video of archival images of past fellows, research supporting projects and expedition teams, and ARCE staff and events. Click here to take a trip down (ARCE's) memory lane!