ARCENCPostings

Friday, January 21, 2022

Archaeology Abridged: Operation Amethyst with Dr. Kate Liszka - YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xvz-sqkxPUw

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Researchers Unearth Colossal Pair of Sphinxes in Egypt – ARTnews.com

https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/sphinxes-found-amenhotep-iii-temple-luxor-1234616230/

Archaeologists Unearth Colossal Pair of Sphinxes in Egypt During Restoration of Landmark Temple

Tessa Solomon

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Celebrating archaeologists - Heritage - Al-Ahram Weekly - Ahram Online

https://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/50/1207/456543/AlAhram-Weekly/Heritage/Celebrating-archaeologists.aspx

Celebrating archaeologists

Nevine El-Aref , Tuesday 18 Jan 2022

The 15th Annual Archaeologists Day took place at the Cairo Opera House this week where many figures were honoured and Egyptian heritage celebrated, reports Nevine El-Aref

The 15th Annual Archaeologists Day
The 15th Annual Archaeologists Day

After a year's hiatus because of the Covid-19 pandemic, archaeologists from across Egypt met at the Cairo Opera House on Monday night for the 15th Annual Archaeologists Day.

The event brought together hundreds of archaeologists, ambassadors of foreign countries in Cairo, representatives of Egyptian and foreign universities, directors of archaeological institutes, ministry leaders, and prominent figures, all of whom attended the main auditorium at the Opera House in Cairo.

The stage became an ancient Egyptian temple for the day, with a twist as it was embellished with an imposing entrance and two statues of ancient Egyptian Pharaohs. A modern stained-glass backdrop was also part of the decoration.

During the event's musical and dance performances, the backdrop changed to show tourist destinations such as the Giza Pyramids, Luxor, Alexandria, and Hurghada, as well as photographs of conservators cleaning and restoring temples to reveal their original beauty. Archaeologists were shown uncovering the secrets of ancient Egyptian civilisation.

This year, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the day's sponsor, focused on paying homage to pioneering archaeologists and restorers who spent their lives exploring, documenting, and preserving Egypt's heritage. A number of specialists were honoured along with workers who helped in excavation works.

A two-minute documentary highlighting the restoration work being carried out at ancient Egyptian temples in Luxor, Esna, and Dendara by Egyptian conservators was screened.

During a speech at the event, Khaled El-Enany, the minister of tourism and antiquities, congratulated Egypt's archaeologists and restorers, expressing his appreciation of their efforts to preserve the history and monuments of Egypt, part of the heritage of humanity as a whole.

Despite the fact that two years have passed since the last celebration because of the coronavirus pandemic, archaeological work has kept going, El-Enany said, adding that vigorous efforts had been made to continue with many archaeological projects and museums being opened and discoveries uncovered.

He said that archaeologists have played a major role in promoting Egypt abroad and drawing the world's attention through various discoveries and the inaugurations of important archaeological projects they have undertaken and are still carrying out.

He emphasised the interest of the state in the tourism and antiquities sector and the unprecedented support from the political leadership.

El-Enany described 2022 as an exceptional year because it marks the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the tomb of the golden boy king Tutankhamen as well as the 200th anniversary of the deciphering of ancient Egyptian writing and the emergence of Egyptology.

He reviewed the ministry's achievements over the last year, including discoveries and the inaugurations of archaeological projects and museums. What had taken place in Saqqara had had the largest share of all the year's archaeological discoveries, with the unveiling of secrets about the ancient Egyptian civilisation through the discovery of more than 100 coloured wooden coffins, he said.

In Luxor, a city called the "Rise of Aton" had been discovered dating back to the reign of Amenhotep lll, one of the top ten discoveries of 2021, El-Enany said.

A number of museums had been opened including the Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada, and Royal Carriages Museums as well as two museums at Cairo Airport. The Djoser Pyramid and its southern tomb had been opened in Saqqara, along with the Elyahu Hanby Synagogue in Alexandria. The tomb of Ramses II had reopened after restoration, and three stations on the Path of the Holy Family in Egypt had been set up after development.

A first factory to make replicas had been opened, the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation (NMEC) had received the royal mummies, the Al-Jeddawi Wekala had been opened in Esna, and the first phase of the project to restore the Al-Tanbagha Al-Mardani Mosque in Cairo had been completed.

There had also been high-profile projects to restore the Sphinx Avenue in Luxor and the Baron Empain Palace in Heliopolis, he said.

The ministry has also succeeded over the past two years in recovering 5,722 artifacts from foreign countries including the US, Italy, France, Canada, the UK, Belgium, Spain, the UAE, and others.

 

Underway: The ministry will soon inaugurate the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) on the Pyramids Plateau, El-Enany said, which will be a truly exceptional event.

Engineering work is 99 per cent complete, and the GEM has received and restored more than 55,000 artefacts. The heaviest pieces have been fixed in the atrium and on the grand staircase, and over 80 per cent of the Tutankhamen collection has been installed in dedicated galleries.

Work is also underway to open the Mohamed Ali Palace in Shubra and the Graeco-Roman Museum in Alexandria, in addition to completed projects that are ready to be opened, such as the Museum of Egypt's Capitals in the New Administrative Capital.

El-Enany also spoke about the ministry's approach to holding international celebrations, seeing these as greatly contributing to promoting tourism, especially the Golden Mummies Parade and the Luxor Sphinx Avenue celebrations.

"Both celebrations are part of a will to merge the activities of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and cooperate with the Supreme Council of Antiquities and the Egyptian

Tourism Promotion Board," he said.

He went on to shed light on the legislation that has been recently enacted to further protect Egyptian antiquities, including the amendment of Antiquities Protection Law 117/1983 by criminalising the smuggling of antiquities and climbing on monuments.

A law has been passed to make the GEM a public authority reporting to the minister in charge of antiquities and another also establishing the NMEC as a public body affiliated to the minister.

Measures have been taken over the past two years to improve conditions for employees of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, with 9,215 employees being promoted to higher levels, the contractual forms of 4,247 contractors modified, and a wage for work clause introduced to put them on permanent financial grades.

A promotional incentive of five per cent of salary was approved for more than 2,600 employees of the supreme council among those not holding managerial or supervisory positions in July last year. An incentive bonus was approved for nearly 3,700 employees at the Supreme Council and the Nuba Archaeology Rescue Fund to the value of five per cent of salary and a raise of seven per cent for about 25,600 workers at the Council and the Nuba Fund.

Some 5,100 training programmes have been completed by employees at the ministry in coordination with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the Central Agency for Organisation and Administration through the Human Resources Development Unit and the Training and Efficiency Unit, El-Enany said.

The training of 2,400 employees from the Supreme Council of Antiquities in specialised programmes in the field of antiquities and museums through the Central Training Unit has been completed.

 

Honoured: As part of the day, many distinguished individuals were honoured, among them Atef Moftah, general supervisor of the Grand Egyptian Museum and the surrounding area, for his efforts in transferring the First Khufu Boat from the Giza Pyramid area to the Khufu Boat Museum at the Grand Egyptian Museum; Moemen Othman, head of the Museums Sector at the ministry and members of the Museum Scenario Committee for their efforts at museums across the country, especially in opening several museums over the past two years.

The honourees also included restorer Shamaa Abul-Abbas for her efforts in restoring the Esna Temple; archaeologist Ines Gaffar, deputy director of the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation; Zakia Youssef Medhat Topozada, professor of Egyptian archaeology at Ain Shams University in Cairo, who wrote museum guides for the Kom Oshim and Beni Sweif museums; the late Mahmoud Abdel-Razek Awad, professor of Egyptian archaeology at Suez Canal University. He obtained a Bachelor's degree in Egyptian archaeology from the Faculty of Arts at Cairo University in 1958 and then joined the Egyptian Antiquities Department, rising to become head of the Egyptian Antiquities Sector in 1981 and then head of the Museums Sector between 1990 and 1994. He participated in excavations at archaeological sites including Luxor, Saqqara, and the Sphinx.

They alao include Gamal Abdel-Rahim Ibrahim Hassan, professor of Islamic archaeology at the Faculty of Archaeology at Cairo University, a member of the Scientific Publications Committee at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, a member of the board of the Union of Arab Archaeologists, a member of the Permanent Committee of Islamic Antiquities at the Supreme Council of Antiquities, and a member of the Supreme Committee for the Museum Scenarios; Mokhtar Al-Kasabani, professor of Islamic archaeology at the Faculty of Archaeology at Cairo University, who worked as an advisor to the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities from 2004 to 2011. He is a member of the Supreme Committee of Museums and the Screenplay Committee of the NMEC and has supervised many projects for the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Also honoured were Waad Abul-Ela, former head of the Projects Sector at the Ministry of Antiquities; Maha Mohamed Mustafa, former head of the Central Administration of Historical Museums. She held many positions, including director of the Royal Vehicles Museum and director of Covenants and Records at Historical Museums. She has been a member of several committees, such as the Museums Development Committee, the Committee for the Preparation of the Scenario for the Royal Vehicles Museum in the Citadel, the Prince Mohamed Ali Palace in Manial, the Helwan Corner, and the Royal Vehicles Museum in Boulaq; Mahmoud Hassan Mohammed al-Halouaji, former director-general of the Egyptian Museum. He was director of the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities at the Egyptian Academy in Rome and studied the registration and documentation of museum collections in London. He also studied museum sciences in Vienna and the management and organisation of museum collections in the US; Mohamed Abdel-Badie, head of the Central Administration for the Antiquities of Upper Egypt. He began working at the Supreme Council of Antiquities in 1994, first as an inspector of antiquities, then director of the Permanent Committee of Egyptian Antiquities, and then head of the Central Administration of the Antiquities of Upper Egypt. He supervised the work of foreign excavations at archaeological sites in Fayoum, Saqqara, and Luxor and trained and supervised excavation schools in Giza, Saqqara, and Matariya; Abdel-Nasser Abdel-Azim, director of the Restoration of the Antiquities and Museums of Upper Egypt. He participated in many restoration projects, including those of the Avenue of Sphinxes, the Temple of Mut, the Temple of Luxor, the Temple of Todd, the Temple of Madamoud, the Temple of Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens, the Temple of Merneptah, the tomb of Tutankhamun, the tomb of Seti l in the Valley of the Kings and tombs in Al-Qurna and Deir Al-Medina; Ahmed Mohamed Sheikh, a guard in the Beheira Antiquities area; the late Abdallah Al-Sayed Al-Adl, a guard at Tall Al-Rabe in Daqahliya; and Hisham Samir, assistant to the minister for antiquities projects.

The Zahi Hawass Award for the Best Archaeologist of the Year went to Afifi Rahim, head of team excavations at the Golden City of King Amenhotep III on the west bank in Luxor; and Atef Al-Dabbah, leader of the team working to develop the aqueduct at the Salaheddin Citadel in Cairo, the Qaitbay Citadel in Alexandria, and the Mar Mina Monastery in Alexandria.

The Zahi Hawass Award for Best Restorer of the Year went to Ahmed Mohamed Ali Imam and the Egyptian-German team at the Temple of Khanum in Esna, owing to their efforts in restoring the colours and inscriptions of the temple.


*A version of this article appears in print in the 20 January, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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Friday, January 14, 2022

Greco-Roman rock-cut tomb discovered west of Aswan - Greco-Roman - Antiquities - Ahram Online

https://english.ahram.org.eg/News/455265.aspx

Greco-Roman rock-cut tomb discovered west of Aswan

Nevine El-Aref , Friday 14 Jan 2022

The joint Egyptian-Italian mission working in the vicinity of the Mausoleum of Aga Khan, west of Aswan, uncovered a Greco-Roman rock-cut tomb during work carried out during the last archaeological season.

 Greco-Roman rock-cut Tomb

The tomb consists of two parts, according to General Director of Aswan and Nubia Antiquties Abdel-Moneim Said Mahmoud.

The first part is a rectangular building containing the entrance built above ground from sandstone blocks covered by a vault of mud bricks.

The second part leads from the entrance to a rectangular courtyard carved from the rock in which four burial chambers are located.

About 20 mummies were found in the burial chambers, the majority of which are still well preserved.

"It is a mass grave that includes more than one family," said Patrizia Piacentini, professor of Egyptology at the University of Milan and head of the mission on the Italian side.

She added that many important archaeological artefacts were unearthed from the Greco-Roman era, including offering tables, stone panels written in hieroglyphic script, a copper necklace engraved in Greek, a number of wooden statues of the Ba bird and parts of coloured cartonnage (a material used in funerary masks).

During the archaeological survey in the area, a number of coffins were found in well preserved condition, some of which are made of clay and others of sandstone.

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Thursday, January 13, 2022

In Photos: Huge blocks for Sphinx-shaped King Amenhotep III colossi remain from ritual scenes uncovered in Luxor - Ancient Egypt - Antiquities - Ahram Online

https://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/9/40/455206/Antiquities/Ancient-Egypt/In-Photos-Huge-blocks-for-Sphinxshaped-King-Amenho.aspx

In Photos: Huge blocks for Sphinx-shaped King Amenhotep III colossi remain from ritual scenes uncovered in Luxor

Nevine El-Aref , Thursday 13 Jan 2022

A German-Egyptian mission directed by Hourig Sourouzian uncovered a collection of huge limestone pieces belonging to a pair of royal sphinxes as well as the remains of walls and columns decorated with festive and ritual scenes in Luxor.

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The mission was being carried out in the temple of Amenhotep III as part of 'The Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project'

Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, announced that among the discovered blocks are those of a pair of gigantic limestone colossi of king Amenhotep III in the shape of sphinxes wearing the nemes headdress, the royal beard, and a broad collar around the neck.

Both colossal sphinxes were found half submerged in water at the rear of the gateway of the third pylon. The heads of these sphinxes have been subject to meticulous cleaning and consolidation. Pieces of their inscribed chest were recovered during the clearance, one of them holding the end of the royal name who is "the beloved of Amun-Re." Other pieces of the body and the paws were safely removed in forms and will be conserve carefully.

The mission has also discovered three busts and three lower parts of statues of the lioness goddess Sekhmet in granodiorite at the façade of the Peristyle Court and in the Hypostyle Hall of the temple. These pieces will be reassembled with others found earlier at the site and will be put on display in the temple during the realisation of the site management project.

Pieces of the sandstone wall decoration in the relief depicting scenes of the Heb-sed, the jubilee festival of Amenhotep III, and offering scenes to diverse deities were also unearthed along with a small granodiorite statue of an official seated with his wife, likely to be dated to the post-Amarna period, when restoration works in this temple were carried out by artists and scribes.

Column bases and foundation blocks in the southern half of the Hypostyle Hall were also found showing that this hall was much larger than it was known, with more columns.

Sourouzian, the head of the archaeological mission, revealed the importance of such discoveries by explaining that the presence of this pair of colossal sphinxes attests to the beginning of the processional way leading from the third pylon to the Peristyle Court, where the beautiful 'Festival of the Valley' was celebrated each year, as well as the jubilee festivals of the king in the last decade of his reign.

She explains that preliminary research on these colossal sphinxes reveals that their length was about 8 metres. Now, all discovered blocks and colossi are under restoration in an attempt to re-erect them in their original location in the temple.

The 'Temple of Millions of Years' was the largest of all funerary temples on the West Bank, however, it was toppled by a strong earthquake in antiquity.

The Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project has been ongoing since 1998 under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo. Various new structures have been uncovered, along with many architectural remains; a monumental stela and numerous colossal statues of the king were mounted and raised in their original place.

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'Every stone has a meaning': On Hassan Fathy, architecture, and New Gourna - Inspiring Minds - Heritage - Ahram Online

https://english.ahram.org.eg/News/454707.aspx

'Every stone has a meaning': On Hassan Fathy, architecture, and New Gourna

Amira Noshokaty , Wednesday 12 Jan 2022
Dr. Fekry Hassan
Dr. Fekry Hassan sharing his efforts to revive and safeguard the philosophy of Hassan Fathy (Photo: Amira Noshokaty

As the Egyptian Ministry of Culture and UNESCO celebrated their joint efforts to restore and safeguard the village of New Gourna on 23 December, stories of the brilliance and inspiration of late Hassan Fathy on the architectural and human levels were being retold.

Fathy (1900-1989) was an Egyptian, internationally renowned architect who was honoured and acknowledged worldwide. He won a gold medal from the World International Union of Architects (UIA) in 1984.

More than 33 years after his death, and over 70 years since he first established New Gourna, Fathy remains very much present at the premises of New Gourna village, the first of a kind eco-friendly green earth architecture that was founded between 1946 and 1952. 

 

'Every stone has a meaning'

"You see architecture is one of the most authentic arts and is Egypt's specialty. The Arabs excelled in poetry, the Greeks in sculpture and the Egyptians in architecture. Ever since the ancient Egyptians, every stone has had a meaning," explained Fathy in one of his rare television interviews.

Fathy is best known for his book that continues to inspire generations, Architecture for the Poor, translated in 22 languages. The book documented his project to create a new residential village in Gourna area, away from the excavation and tombs, in the mid-1940s. Fathy's philosophy was not celebrated in his own country, and he faced many challenges at the time.

Bringing low-cost housing that is sustainable and eco-friendly to the market would have easily cracked the concrete construction business altogether. The fact that the relocation to New Gourna village was implemented by the government was not appealing to the people who lived near the excavation area at old Gourna all their lives. This led to the minimal occupation of the houses of New Gourna. However, Fathy was persistent and tried to attract the villagers through many ways.

The Oldest House in New Gourna

"I was born in Gourna mountain. My father worked with Hassan Fathy in 1946 and we moved from the mountains to the village where Hassan Fathy built us schools, a touristic souk, a trade souk and he even made a loom to move the tradespeople from the mountains," explained Ahmed Abdel-Radi, the owner of the oldest house in New Gourna.

"There was a school for girls, one for boys, and one for handicrafts. He built an open-air theatre, a mosque, a khan, a touristic market, and an annual trade market. In our old village, education was only for the rich, where the people would enrol their kids in schools on the eastern bank, so we used to learn how to read and write only in the kottab of the village. Hassan Fathy took us ahead a very big step, even the people who refused to move out of the mountain, because they did not like all the domes that resembled tombs, in their view, and the idea of granting their children school education would divert the children from aiding them in excavations. Hassan Fathy managed to get aid from UNICEF, so that each child who goes to school got a grant of flour, oil, milk. People started to enrol their children in schools that became full," Abdel-Radi told Ahram Online.

Ahmed Abdel Rady owner of the oldest house in new            gourna

Abdel-Radi, owner of the oldest house in New Gourna

The construction of the village had been completed before Egypt built the Aswan High Dam, which led to the increase in the levels of underground water that immensely affected the foundations of the 70 houses that Fathy had built in the village. 

People started to demolish the buildings fearing for their safety, others sought bigger space for their extended families. The result was that 65 out of the 70 houses were demolished. Then, Fekry Hassan started restoring the houses and what was left of Fathy's architecture, explained Abdel-Radi.

"Currently, we have a team and we build and train people how to build with mudbrick. I am not an architect, but I teach them the subjects that are not taught in universities, such as How to prepare the mud bricks, for they are a key element in decreasing the temperature from 43 degrees outside, to 22 degrees indoors, "added Abdel Radi. 

'The City We Need Now- Gourna'

The premises of the Hassan Fathy Center for Architecture and Development in New Gourna is a vivid manifestation of his philosophy. Taking a tour guided by professor Fekry Hassan, the director of the centre, it was easy to note the connection between the green architecture and its modern functionality, a perfect example of how heritage meets modern functionality and solves its biggest eco problem. 

"In February 2021, on the occasion of World Cities Day, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, picked Luxor as a hosting city of this year's theme titled Architecture and Cities Facing Climate Change. In this theme, Hassan Fathy is the pioneer, so we held a seminar on this topic and a global initiative was launched on what kind of city we want to live in. Gourna is the place from which the global initiative kicked off and it was called: The City We Need Now -- Gourna," noted Hassan, director of Egypt's first higher education programme in culture heritage management at the French University in Egypt, and emeritus petrie professor of archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London.

"The Hassan Fathy Centre is a place where we adopt the ideas of Hassan Fathy and the philosophy and architecture that reflect his ideas in this village. I think we succeeded to a great extent in conveying this message and the visitors appreciate and understand the importance of his philosophy. He built for every family its own quarters and did it organically and with no intersecting lines, which gave a feeling of ease, because it reflects nature -- nothing in nature is a straight line -- so have curves, like domes," added Hassan.

"He built when there was no electricity in the 1940s in the village. He created a natural air-conditioner, using domes and adding malaaf hawa (where air is cooler), which decreases the temperature substantially in the house in the summer and in the winter the house becomes warmer. He used local raw materials, which meant less transportation. This is better for the environment, where less fuel is used and less emissions produced. He believed that the building is a home, not a house, it's a maskan, which in Arabic means a place to live and the root of the word, sakina, means serenity. That's why Fathy used this term to describe his housing philosophy," noted Hassan.

What's remarkable about Fathy is his human connection with the people of New Gourna: how he genuinely cared about their well-being; how he would stage plays to raise people's awareness about Schistosomiasis, a common poverty-related disease resulting from coming in contact with fresh water infested with larval forms of parasitic blood flukes. 
"He would wear one of the old masks of World War I and play the role of the bad Mr Bel to raise the awareness of children and their parents," remembered Hassan, adding that Fathy designed a linen suit and soaked it in flax seed oil to make it impermeable, hence preventing Schistosomiasis from delving into fresh water.

Building prototypes in Spain and Latin America, and being awarded numerous architecture awards, Fathy keeps surprising us by planning ahead. In 2008, when 4,036 Palestinian houses in the Gaza Strip were demolished, the UN thought of building houses adopting Fathy's style, to be built from mud. It turned out that he had already designed a housing map for Gaza reconstruction since 1957, continued Hassan.

An artistic inspiration

Fathy also inspired the artists of his era. Among those who believed in his New Gourna and drew the people and the place is renowned Egyptian painter Mamdouh Ammar.

At the official celebration of the opening of New Gourna, a rare selection of paintings by Ammar were on display, handpicked and curated by his daughter-in-law, Abeer Helihal, in the presence of his daughter.

Ammar (1928-2012) was an Egyptian painter who spent his two years of artistic sabbatical in Luxor's Marsam in 1954, which was headed by Fathy. Ammar was inspired by Fathy and drew the women of Gourna and the place that inspired him to build his own house adopting the philosophy of Hassan Fathy while reflecting his own identity. 
"Art is the most honest documentation of civilisation. To capitalise on that, the Ministry of Culture ought to create much more artistic sabbaticals, for artists to be free to create while sustaining a decent life. This is what Mamdouh Ammar had always called for," explained Helihal.

Abeer Helihal with one of the paintings of renowned            painter Mammdouh Ammar

Helihal with one of the paintings of renowned painter Ammar

"When I open my window, the most beautiful thing my eyes see is the Dome of Kaienbey Al-Rammah, and every time I see it, I think to myself that no architect who graduated from any university in the world would be able to create something like that. Behind such piece of work is 500-600 years of heritage and handcraftsmanship that are guided by a Sufi man who is teaching them all about the words that adorn the dome because every stroke has a meaning, like the Pharaonic temples where every stone had a meaning, like the saying [of Antoine de Saint-Exupery] that every step in my father's house had a meaning, life back then also had a meaning," Fathy had said.

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Archaeologists rule out murder as cause of King Tut’s death - Egypt Independent

https://www.egyptindependent.com/archaeologists-rule-out-murder-as-cause-of-king-tuts-death/

Archaeologists rule out murder as cause of King Tut's death

 

Scholars have concluded that King Tutankhamun was not murdered, after a lengthy investigation that seemed to refute popular theory.

The death of King Tut has been the subject of great debate and major studies among academia. The ancient Egyptian pharaoh took the throne when he was only eight or nine years old, and ruled Egypt for about a decade until his death in approximately 1324 BC. Although his rule was significant in reversing the many controversial reforms implemented by his father, Akhenaten, King Tut remained a minor figure in ancient Egyptian history only until recently.

British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered King Tut's tomb in 1922, when he dug through one of the doors and entered the tomb of the pharaoh, which has remained intact for about 3,200 years.

The tomb contained more than 5,000 artifacts, including a solid coffin, a gilded mask, and thrones.

It took Carter ten years to record all the items. But the only thing he couldn't find was any record of how Tutankhamun died as there were no surviving records of the circumstances of King Tut's death.

Murder was speculated as a possible cause after an X-ray in 1968 showed two bone fragments inside the skull.

Then there were theories that the young king was brutally murdered by political enemies, during a particularly turbulent period of Egyptian history.

As Carter and other archaeologists removed the body, it was damaged because King Tut was attached to his coffin with the resins used in the mummification process.

In the process of removing the body from the coffin, much of the mummy was dismembered – it was difficult to distinguish some of the damage from the embalming process and the damage from Tut's life.

However, further analysis of 1968 X-rays, as well as CT scans, put the murder theories to the fore.

The bone fragments in King Tut's cranial cavity perfectly match two pieces of bone missing from his first vertebra, located in the neck.

The fragments were loose and were not covered in embalming resin, which allowed scientists to conclude that it was the result of the modern unwrapping of the mummy.

Radiologist Ashraf Selim told National Geographic: "If these pieces of bone [were dislodged] before death, we would assume they would be stuck to the resin inside the skull, not just loose there."

Selin believed that they may have been removed during the first attempts to remove the now-iconic gold mask of King Tut, which had been tightly affixed to his body.

Addressing the murder theory, he said: "I think it is the end of the investigation… We can now close this file."

Selin's team shifted their focus to King Tut's left leg, suggesting that a femur fracture may have played an important role in his death.

A thin layer of embalming resin can be seen on the CT scan around the fracture area.

It has been speculated that a combination of King Tutankhamun's multiple weakness disorders, a broken leg, and a severe infection could have caused his death.

"The resin flowed through the wound and got into direct contact with the fracture and became solidified, something we didn't see in any other area.

"We could not find any signs of healing of the bone."

Since there have been no antibiotics for 3,000 years, it is very likely that severe infections were caused by the fracture.

"It's probably what killed him," Selin said.

Radiologist John Benson told National Geographic in 2006 that a broken leg was likely the cause of King Tut's death, but that there would be "always" speculation.

"There are a number of possible causes of death for which there would be no residual evidence.

"Tut could have had pneumonia, or he could have died from a communicable disease.

"Maybe his immune system was a little impaired because he was trying to heal the fracture, and he caught some kind of other disease that we wouldn't really be able to prove one way or the other," Benson said.

Meanwhile, a team of German archaeologists said the Golden King was killed by the inherited sickle cell disease.

Christian Timmann and Christian Meyer noted that sickle cell anemia is the most common cause of bone damage such as King Tut's.

People with sickle cell disease can still carry the malaria parasite in their blood, despite the increased immunity caused by the presence of the sickle cell gene.

They argued that this would explain why they detected the genes of the malaria parasite in King Tut.

Senior Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass described their theory as "interesting and plausible", while archaeologists suggested that malaria was the fatal blow after weakness disorders and a broken leg.

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New discoveries in Luxor and Sinai - Heritage - Al-Ahram Weekly - Ahram Online

https://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/50/1207/455094/AlAhram-Weekly/Heritage/New-discoveries-in-Luxor-and-Sinai.aspx

New discoveries in Luxor and Sinai

Nevine El-Aref , Tuesday 11 Jan 2022

Gigantic blocks from statues of Amenhotep III in Luxor and the remains of a mining mission in Sinai were discovered this week, reports Nevine El-Aref

Newly discovered colossus of Amenhotep III
Newly discovered colossus of Amenhotep III

An Egyptian-German archaeological mission led by Hourig Sourouzian made a major new discovery at the Amenhotep III Temple on the west bank at Luxor this week during work carried out within the Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project.

Sourouzian explained that the mission had uncovered a collection of huge limestone blocks belonging to a pair of gigantic limestone statues of Amenhotep III in the shape of sphinxes wearing the ancient Egyptian nemes headdress, the royal beard, and a broad collar around their necks.

Both colossal sphinxes were found half submerged in water at the rear of the gateway of the Third Pylon of the Temple and have been subject to meticulous cleaning and consolidation. One of the pieces has the end of the royal name "the beloved of Amun-Re" on its chest. Other pieces of the body and paws have been unearthed and removed for careful conservation.

Mustafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), announced the discovery of the blocks, three busts of the lioness god Sekhmet and the remains of walls and columns on the façade of the Peristyle Court and in the Hypostyle Hall of the temple.

 The materials will be reassembled with other parts found earlier on the site and re-erected in their original locations during the site-management project.

Pieces of sandstone wall decoration depicting scenes from the Heb-sed, the jubilee festival of Amenhotep III, and offering scenes to diverse deities were also uncovered, along with a small granodiorite statue of an official seated probably with his wife and likely to be dated to the Post-Amarna Period when restoration work in this Temple was carried out.

Column bases and foundation blocks in the southern half of the Hypostyle Hall were also found showing that it was much larger than previously thought with more columns.

Sourouzian said the pair of colossal sphinxes attested to the beginning of the processional way leading from the Third Pylon of the Temple to the Peristyle Court where the Festival of the Valley was celebrated each year, as well as the jubilee festivals of the king in the last decade of his reign.

"Preliminary research on these colossal sphinxes has revealed that their length was about eight metres, making them the second-largest sphinxes produced in ancient Egypt after the Great Sphinx of Giza, measuring 22 metres long, and almost equal to the alabaster sphinx at the Mit Rahina site measuring eight metres long," she said.

The blocks are undergoing restoration before they are re-erected in their original locations in the temple.

In addition to the work at the temple, the Colossi of Memnon were monitored and scanned and their surfaces thoroughly cleaned of bird droppings.

Two quartzite colossi of Amenhotep III that had previously been re-erected by the project at the gate of the Second Pylon were documented, photographed, and photo-scanned. Cleaning and desalination work was carried out and statue fragments rejoined.

At the Third Pylon, larger parts and hundreds of smaller fragments belonging to the colossi of Amenhotep III in travertine (Egyptian alabaster) were thoroughly documented, cleaned, and photo-scanned.

Spectacular rejoins were made by the conservation team, and the prospect of raising these colossi in their original setting is likely to be realised in the near future, when the water table is lowered.

The temple was the largest of all the ancient Egyptian funerary temples on the west bank and was toppled by a strong earthquake that hit the country in antiquity.

The Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project has worked since 1998 under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo. Various new structures have been uncovered, along with many architectural remains. A monumental stela and numerous colossal statues of the king have been mounted and raised in their original places.

 

Sinai discovery: This week's second discovery was made in the Wadi Al-Nasb area in Sarabit Al-Khadem in South Sinai, where there were once turquoise mines and the temple of the goddess Hathor, the lady of turquoise.

An Egyptian archaeological mission led by Mustafa Noureddin uncovered the remains of a Middle Kingdom mining mission made of sandstone that was once used to supervise the mining of copper and turquoise more than 4,000 years ago.

Waziri said that the Egyptian mission was the first to work at Wadi Al-Nasb and at the mining site overlooking the ancient well that once supplied water to the mining district and measures 225 square metres in area. The building consists of two main halls, two rooms, and a staircase leading to the roof. The floor of the building is made of sandstone slabs.

Preliminary study indicates that the premises were built during the Middle Kingdom and continued to be used during the New Kingdom and then during the Late Period with few changes in design.

Ayman Ashmawi, head of Ancient Egyptian Antiquities at the SCA, said that modifications had been made to the building over time and that it was finally used as a copper workshop. The Egyptian mission unearthed furnaces in the top layers, uncovering copper ore, four rectangular copper ingots, crucibles, and slag, which is the waste material produced in the extraction of copper.

Wadi Al-Nasb was the largest ancient Egyptian smelting site in the Sinai Peninsula, and the amount of copper slag there is estimated at 100,000 tons. The site is among the most important copper sites in the Eastern Mediterranean and the area is famous for its unique rock inscriptions from the middle and new kingdoms.


*A version of this article appears in print in the 13 January, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

Short link:

 

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Wednesday, January 12, 2022

ARCE-NC Egyptology Lecture Feb. 6: Human Remains from the First Dynasty Subsidiary Burials at Abydos

 

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. Roselyn A. Campbell, Getty Research Institute: 


The Human Remains from the First Dynasty Subsidiary Burials at Abydos


When: Sunday, February 6, 2022, 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, February 4.

Glenn Meyer
ARCE-NC ePublicity


General view of Umm el-Qa'ab, Abydos (Wikimedia Commons image)

About the Lecture:

The subsidiary burials surrounding the royal funerary complexes of the First Dynasty rulers at Abydos have piqued scholarly and public interest for well over a century. These subsidiary burials, sometimes numbering in the hundreds, contained the remains of men and women who seem to have been associated with the royal court. The quality of the grave goods within some of these graves, as well as statements by early excavators that most of the individuals interred were relatively young and seemed healthy, have sparked debate among scholars. Were the individuals in these subsidiary graves killed in a sacrificial ritual to accompany their deceased ruler into the afterlife, or were they simply interred around the royal burial as they died naturally over time? This talk will explore new data gathered from a study of the human remains that have been preserved from some of these subsidiary burials, shedding new light on the lives and deaths of these individuals at the birth of the Egyptian state.


About the Speaker:

Dr. Roselyn A. Campbell is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, California. She is a bioarchaeologist and Egyptologist, and has worked at archaeological sites throughout Egypt as well as in Peru, Ethiopia, Spain, and the western United States. Her research focuses on evidence for violence and trauma in the past, as well as the history of cancer in antiquity, and how these topics are relevant to the modern world.


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.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Egypt mission uncovers headquarters of mining activity in Sinai during Middle Kingdom - Egypt Independent

https://egyptindependent.com/egypt-mission-uncovers-headquarters-of-mining-activity-in-sinai-during-middle-kingdom/

Egypt mission uncovers headquarters of mining activity in Sinai during Middle Kingdom

The Egyptian archaeological mission working in the Wadi al-Nasab area in South Sinai has discovered the remains of a building that was used as a headquarters for the leader of the Egyptian mining expeditions in Sinai during the Middle Kingdom.

The head of the archaeological mission Mostafa Nour Eddin said that the study also proved that this headquarters was used since its construction as a headquarters for mining missions, but it was abandoned during the second transition period, then reused during the era of the modern state, and then neglected again.

He pointed out that archaeological and scientific evidences indicate that the building was used in the Roman era; as some internal modifications were implemented to the building, such as making an entrance to it from the north, adding separating walls between the halls, and using some rooms as workshops for smelting copper.

Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri explained that this mission is the first to carry out excavations in this area.

He pointed out that the headquarters revealed by the mission is located in a distinct area in the middle of the valley and in the middle of the copper and turquoise mining areas.

Waziri said that the headquarters is a square-shaped building consisting of huge stone blocks of sandstone with a floor of stone slabs and extending over an area of approximately 225 square meters.

Ayman Ashmawy, head of the Egyptian Antiquities Sector at the Supreme Council of Antiquities, added that the initial studies on the building indicated that at the time of its construction it consisted of two floors; the first has two halls, two rooms, a bathroom, a kitchen, and a staircase that leads to the second floor.

He said that in the middle of some rooms inside the first floor, the mission found some column bases, which indicated that they were used to install and support the ceiling.

Nour Eddin said that in the upper layers of the building, the mission found copper smelting furnaces and metal processing areas, in addition to four copper ingots, each weighing between 1200 and 1300 grams.

 

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