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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Meet Herishef - Nile Magazine

Nile Magazine's Happy Halloween

International Study Trip to London, Oxford, and Berlin May-June 2016

-------Forwarded Message-------

From: Stacy Davidson <>

Stacy Davidson (Egyptology) and Melanie Hull (Near Eastern
Studies) are thrilled to announce that they are co-leading a
study trip to London, Oxford, and Berlin from 30 May- 11 June
2016. This trip is sponsored by Johnson County Community College
in Overland Park, KS, and it is the first international learning
opportunity in the region to focus on Egyptian and Near Eastern
objects in museums, to visit organizations that support archaeology
in these regions, and to tour archives that hold materials of
great importance to the fields of Egyptology and Near Eastern
Studies. Special presentations, handling sessions, and behind-
the-scenes tours are being arranged. Sites include: the British
Museum, Egypt Exploration Society, the Petrie Museum of Egyptian
Archaeology, the Ashmolean Museum, the Griffith Institute, and
Museum Island, Berlin. The trip is open to anyone over the age
of 18 with a valid passport; you do not have to be currently
enrolled in JCCC or another institution of higher learning.
Departure and arrival from the U.S.A. will be based out of
Kansas City, MO.  Please see JCCC's press release

< >

or Stacy Davidson's blog

< >

to download a brochure which includes the trip cost and details
for registration. The registration deadline is 15 Nov 2015.
Do not hesitate to contact Stacy Davidson (
or Melanie Hull ( with questions or a request
for more information. Thank you.

Stacy Davidson, Egyptologist
< >
< >
Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, KS, USA

2016 JCCC Study Trip to London, Oxford, and Berlin:
< >
Register by 15 Nov 2015

UNESCO to save New Qurna village in Luxor
UNESCO to save New Qurna village in Luxor
Thu, 29/10/2015 - 14:16

Mohamed Sameh Amr, Egypt's ambassador to UNESCO, said the organization is dispatching a team of experts to restore and maintain the New Qurna village, which was built by renowned architect Hassan Fathy in Luxor.
The village has a unique heritage value and reflects the grandeur of Hassan Fathy’s architecture, which is taught in many universities abroad.
It offers a global model as to how to build housing that commensurates with the surrounding environmental conditions and gives solutions to housing problems for low-income social classes.
Amr said part of the project will be financed by UNESCO’s Nuba Fund.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

Techniques for Scanning the Pyramids

Techniques for Scanning the Pyramids

Could the ScanPyramids Project unlock the secrets of Egypt’s Wonders of the Ancient World, asks Nevine El-Aref

Four millennia after their construction, the ancient Egyptian Pyramids at Giza still conceal their secrets. Although research has been carried out on them throughout history, many questions remained unanswered. How were the pyramids built? Why do they have different shapes? How could they have lasted for 4,500 years without collapsing? Why do the inner structures of the pyramids have such inexplicable anomalies? These are just a few of the unanswered questions that are still puzzling today’s archaeologists.

However, with the help of modern non-invasive technology many of these questions may now be finally resolved. Under the motto “Just because a mystery is 4,500 years old doesn’t mean it can’t be solved,” the Ministry of Antiquities has initiated the ScanPyramids Project in collaboration with the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University and the French Heritage Innovation and Preservation (HIP) Institute.

The project aims at probing the heart of Egypt’s pyramids from afar without touching or drilling into them. This would be achieved through the use of radioactive muons, or cosmic particles, infrared thermography, photogrammetry, scanning and 3D reconstruction by international researchers from three major universities: the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University, the Université Laval in Quebec and the Nagoya University in Japan.

 “The scientific ScanPyramids Project is an unprecedented, large-scale project and will begin early in November,” Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty told Al-Ahram Weekly on the fringes of a press conference held on Sunday in Cairo. He explained that the first phase of the project would focus on four pyramids from the Fourth Dynasty: the Bent and Red Pyramids of Snefru at the Dahshur Necropolis and the Khufu and Khafre Pyramids on the Giza Plateau.

“We selected these pyramids to be in the project’s first phase not because they are Fourth Dynasty masterpieces, but because they hide many secrets,” Eldamaty said, asking how it had been possible to construct Khufu’s Pyramid on the Giza Plateau, which contains 2.5 million blocks of stone weighing five million tons in only 25 years.

Why does the Bent Pyramid of Snefru in Dahshur have a different structure from the king’s second pyramid at the same necropolis? Why does the Bent Pyramid have two doors and two burial chambers? “The various explorations conducted in the past using less sophisticated means than today have resulted in strange images that could correspond to hidden chambers in these structures,” he pointed out, adding that the high technology methods to be used today were non-invasive and non-destructive.

Eldamaty said that two infrared thermography missions would establish a thermal map of the pyramids to reveal differences in density. One would be conducted by expert Jean-Claude Barré, while the other, running for at least a year, would be led by the Université Laval in Quebec.

“Their goal is to identify if there are any voids behind the facades of the pyramids,” he said. Two missions using muon radiography also aim to verify and accurately visualise the any unknown structures within the monuments. These techniques are being developed in Japan by teams from the country’s High Energy Accelerator Research Organisation (KEK) and Nagoya University.

“The team is to work for a year trying to crack the codes of the pyramids. I am announcing 2016 as the “Year of the Pyramids,” Eldamaty told the Weekly, adding that the ScanPyramids Project had already been approved by the permanent committee of the Ministry of Antiquities and had obtained all the necessary permissions from the concerned authorities.

“The infrared and muon technologies will also be used to look for a possible hidden chamber in king Tutankhamun’s tomb, which may be the burial place of queen Nefertiti, as British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves proposed in his recent theory,” Eldamaty said.

He said that archaeologists have not discovered the mummy of the legendary queen Nefertiti, and Reeves, who was in Luxor in September to probe his theory, believes a hidden door in Tutankhamun’s tomb could conceal her burial place. The permanent committee for Ancient Egyptian antiquities at the ministry has already approved using radar to search within the boy king’s tomb, but the search is still awaiting security clearance.

Mehdi Tayoubi, president of the HIP Institute, a co-initiator and coordinator of the ScanPyramids Project, described it as “very important” because it is a mix of the arts, science and technology in an attempt to use new perspectives and approaches to find solutions to heritage issues. “Our desire is to form an international team of experts and then to discuss the theoretical and technological approaches that could be used to test the archaeological reality on the ground,” he said.

Many previous missions have attempted to unravel the mysteries of the pyramids, he said, and even if they had been unsuccessful, they had helped advance knowledge. For example, 30 years ago the French EDF Foundation had detected a density anomaly in Khufu’s Pyramid. “Our goal is to make our contribution and to prepare, in all humility, the path for future scientific research missions,” he said.

Former minister of education Hani Hilal who leads the team from the Faculty of Engineering pointed out that until now many theories have been proposed either to explain the construction of the pyramids or their structural anomalies, but nothing has yet been proved. “Now through using state-of-the-art techniques we can get concrete results that archaeologists and Egyptologists will interpret to test which theory is correct or acceptable,” Hilal told the Weekly.

He said that when people asked him about the purposes of participating in such a project as an engineer and not an archaeologist, he answered that “I and the team of engineers are participating in the project because we are physicists and engineers and the pyramids were built by engineers, so we will be better able to understand our ancient Egyptian counterparts. But we would not be able to do so without the cooperation of the archaeologists.”

The ScanPyramids Project was in the direct line of what he had done 30 years ago in 1982, when, in collaboration with a Franco-Egyptian mission from the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University and the Ecole des Mines in France, he had helped carry out scientific and technological studies on ancient monuments in Egypt. “We were the pioneers in the domain,” Hilal said, adding that the work had led to the creation of the Engineering Centre for Archaeology in Egypt, which had become a centre of excellence in the region.

In 1986, Hilal had also participated in studies using a micro-gravimeter carried out on Khufu’s Pyramid. But he said that the surveying technique used at that time was not fully professional like the current one, so results were not achievable. But the survey helped people to understand more about the pyramids.

“With the current mission and advanced technology we may not be able to resolve all the mysteries of the pyramids, but we are progressing by testing new processes. No doubt we will obtain good results about what the pyramids hide behind their massive blocks of stone,” Hilal said, adding that if the techniques work they could also be used elsewhere.

   Infrared thermography
MATTHIEU Klein who is in charge of thermographic data acquisition in situ said that the infrared thermography work implemented by Jean-Claude Barré was one of the most promising methods to try to understand what lies within the monuments.

The technique is based on a physical law that says that all materials emit radiation as a function of their temperatures, which can be measured by digital cameras equipped with special sensors. These cameras generate images in which each colour corresponds to a given temperature.

The technique, he said, is widely used to reveal heat losses in poorly insulated homes, and it allows the presence of defects in buildings to be located. “Thus, a cold air current will be represented in blue, whereas a heat source will be shown in red. These specialised cameras are also capable of quantifying the emissivity of materials,” Klein said.

For example, under the sun’s heat the interior of a white car will be cooler than the interior of a black one. Similarly in identical sunlight, granite and limestone will not return the same temperature. “The principle is simple, but its implementation requires sophisticated instruments and highly experienced operators,” Klein said.

In this project, the goal is to realise a true thermal map of the Dahshur and Giza Pyramids. This will be done through making thermal images of the four sides of each pyramid three times throughout the day in order to read the amount of energy it gains when absorbing the sun’s heat. The first time will be half an hour before sunrise when the monument has evacuated maximum energy during the night. The second time will be at noon, and the third will be in the evening. In a few days, said Klein, hundreds of thousands of images will be recorded and compared with each other by a computer programme.

The differences in emissivity will allow scientists to investigate the surface of stones that are now the same colour due to bad weather, sand and pollution. “But what interests us most are potential cold spots on the surface, which could reveal cavities, rooms or hallways within the monuments,” he said.

  Muon detection
RESEARCHER Kunihiro Morishima of Nagoya University in Japan has invented an advanced kind of negative film like that used in old cameras that could help detect muons as part of the scanning project.

Morishima explained that muons come from the upper layers of the earth’s atmosphere, where they are created from collisions between cosmic rays and the nuclei of atoms in the atmosphere. They then fall to the ground at nearly the speed of light.

“Like the X-rays that pass through our bodies allowing us to visualise our skeletons, these elementary particles like heavy electrons can very easily pass through any structure, even large and thick rocks, such as mountains,” Morishima told the Weekly. He said that detectors, placed at appropriate places, allow scientists to discern void areas that the muons have crossed from denser areas where some of them are absorbed or deflected.

“The challenge of this technique is to create highly sensitive detectors and then to accumulate enough data over several days or months to emphasise the contrasts,” he said. He added that in the case of applying the technique to the pyramids it could take from 90 to 120 days.

“It is the first time that muon radiography has been used on a monument, but it is now frequently used for the observation of volcanoes,” Morishima asserted. He explained that more recently KEK in Japan had also developed a detection approach based on electronic scintillators, which are resistant to nuclear radiation unlike chemical emulsions, in order to scan inside the Fukushima nuclear plant.

A laboratory to develop and analyse the images captured by the muon radiography has been established on the Giza Plateau by the Japanese team. “This laboratory is the first to be built and equipped outside Japan,” Morishima said.

   Photogrammetry and lasers
RESEARCHER Yves Ubelmann said that in parallel to the Pyramids exploration missions, the Iconem Company would carry out a photogrammetry campaign using drones and laser scanners to rebuild the Giza Plateau and the site of Dahshur in virtual form with their monuments in 3D using unique centimetre precision. “This campaign is entirely dedicated to the advancement of knowledge. Sharing and transfer are the key words,” Ubelmann said.

The algorithms used by Iconem were developed by the French National Institute for Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, which is already working in Pompeii and in Syria and Afghanistan to help restore threatened sites. Ubelmann told the Weekly that Iconem would use drones with wings like helicopters in order to collect the data.

The drones with wings would allow data to be collected from large areas in the reconstruction of the pyramids’ environment with resolution of up to five cm. Details of this micro-topography would also give clues about the position or shape of unexcavated buildings.

The second type of drones look like helicopters, and though they have less autonomy they can hover. They can take images metres away from the monuments, and the results are detailed to a centimetre scale. “This high definition will provide geometric information about especially the alignment and assembly of the blocks, but also the texture and possibly traces of tools or construction work,” Ublemann confirmed.

“Photogrammetry allows us to work and combine the different scales exploited in the same digital model and propose a global interpretation of the sites,” he concluded, adding that to complete the mission the team would also perform laser analysis inside the monuments in areas where photogrammetry cannot operate.

Second batch of beams of King Khufu's solar boat transferred to GEM

Second batch of beams of King Khufu's solar boat transferred to GEM

A collection of 26 wooden beams of King Khufu's second solar boat have been transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum after restoration in situ at Giza plateau

Nevine El-Aref , Saturday 31 Oct 2015

Zidan with the team during the packing of the beams
Within the framework of the Ministry of Antiquities to restore King Khufu's second solar boat, still buried in its pit neighbouring the Great Pyramid of Khufu, a second batch of 26 wooden beams have been transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM). Eissa Zidan, supervisor of the restoration work of the boat, told Ahram Online that the beams were in a very critical condition as they were partly damaged by the underground water and the leakage of water of the neighbouring museum that displays the first solar boat of King Khufu, as well as from insects.
He continued to say that these beams were restored in situ in the laboratory established by the Japanese team led by Professor Sakuji Yoshimura and then transported to the GEM in order to be stored until the completion of the boat's restoration work.
"When all the beams area is restored the whole boat will be reconstructed in order to be ready to be exhibited beside the first one in a special display at the GEM when inaugurated," Zidan asserted. He also added that by the transmission of this collection, the number of beams transported to the GEM has reached 257 pieces from a collection of 567 beams that have emerged from the pit that still under restoration in the laboratory on site.
Zidan said that among the transported beams is the door lock of the boat's main shrine dedicated to the king.

The door-lock of the shrine
Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty told Ahram Online that this is the third phase of a five-stage project to restore Khufu's second boat. The first phase began 20 years ago, when in 1992 a Japanese scientific and archaeological team from Waseda University, in collaboration with the Japanese government, offered a grant of $10 million to remove the boat from its original pit, restore, and reassemble it, and put it on show to the public.
The team cleaned the pit of insects and the Japanese team inserted a camera through a hole in the chamber's limestone to assess the boat's condition inside the pit and the possibility of its restoration. Images taken show layers of wooden beams and timbers of cedar and acacia, as well as ropes, mats and remains of limestone blocks and small pieces of white plaster.

two beams of the boat
Yoshimura told Ahram Online that during the Egyptian-Japanese team inspection they found that the second boat was in a much better state of preservation than the first when it was discovered in 1954 by architect and archaeologist Kamal El-Malakh, together with Zaki Nour, during routine cleaning on the south side of the Great Pyramid.
The first boat was removed piece by piece under the supervision of master restorer Ahmed Youssef, who spent more than 20 years restoring and reassembling the boat. The second boat remained sealed in its pit until 1987, when it was examined by the American National Geographic Society by remote camera. After the space inside the pit was photographed and air measurements taken, the pit was resealed.
It was thought that the pit had been so well sealed that the air inside would be as it had been since ancient Egyptian times. Though sadly, Yoshimura pointed out that this was not the case. Air had leaked into the pit from outside and mixed with the air inside. This had allowed insects to thrive and negatively affect some wooden beams.

beams in storage

Brooklyn Museum: The gods Bes and Tutu

The Lamentations of Isis and Nephtys

The Lamentations of Isis and Nephtys

26 October 2015 by Paula

Egyptian papyrus from our collection
Egyptian papyrus from our collection
Marion Servat-Fredericq,  Project Assistant Curator Antiquities tells us about a recent visit to World Museum:
‘Dr Andrea Kucharek, an Egyptologist at Heidelberg University in Germany, visited World Museum recently to take a closer look at an Egyptian papyrus from our collection (Papyrus Mayer M11190). Dr Kucharek is currently working on the publication of this papyrus which bears a religious text from the Ptolemaic Period (332 –30 BC) known as “The Lamentations of Isis and Nephtys”. Papyrus M11190 is the last page of the whole manuscript. One of the four remaining pages is held in the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford, and three others are in the British Museum in London. Dr Kucharek recently travelled to Oxford, London and, at last, Liverpool to study the papyrus in its entirety. It was very interesting to listen to Dr Kucharek share her knowledge of the papyrus that she is about to publish and a fantastic opportunity for me to learn more about this object.
Osiris ruler of the underworld attended by Isis and Nephtys
Osiris ruler of the underworld attended by Isis and Nephtys
“The Lamentations of Isis and Nephtys” are a series of religious liturgies or songs addressed to the god of the dead Osiris by his two sisters Isis and Nephtys. The lamentations form part of the ritual of the Osiris mysteries which was performed in temples on particular occasions to celebrate the life of Osiris and his resurrection after death. On the copies of the Lamentations which have survived, a postscript at the end of the songs usually gives instructions about the performance of the ritual. The instructions tell us that two women impersonated Isis and Nephtys during the ceremony: “[they] shall be made to sit on the ground at the main portal of the Hall of Appearings. On their arms shall be written the names of Isis and Nephthys. Jars of faience filled with water shall be placed in their right hands, offering loaves made in Memphis in their left hands, and their faces shall be bowed.” (translation by Miriam Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature: The Late Period, III, p. 120).
Papyrus M11190 belonged to a man named Pawerem, son of Kiki, a well-known individual of the period who owned several other liturgical papyri. Many private individuals liked to be buried with copies of the Lamentations, as by doing so, they believed they were equipped with the necessary means to be reborn in the Afterlife like Osiris. The most peculiar thing about this last page of the whole papyrus is that, when the scribe finished writing the Lamentations, he copied the end of the text again, possibly in an attempt to fill in the remaining blank space on the sheet. The papyrus will feature in our new Ancient Egypt galleries.’
The Ancient world gallery, which displays highlights from our ancient Egyptian, ancient Greek, Anglo-Saxon and Roman collections, is now closed until autumn 2016. It is closed to the public as the building works have now begun on an exciting new project to develop our ancient Egypt gallery.

Brooklyn Museum: “What do all of these hats symbolize?”

Brooklyn Museum

“What do all of these hats symbolize?”

Visitors have a lot of questions about Ancient Egypt. As a concept, it is something that everyone has at least heard of, but there are a lot of different aspects to know about and a lot of things that even scholars still do not know. One recurring theme in questions is that of clothing, jewelry, and headdresses. Headdresses are especially interesting because there are so many different types. One place you can see examples of several types is a case in the Brooklyn Museum’s Egyptian galleries of 23 small objects, mostly cast in bronze, a rare material to have survived from Ancient Egypt.

There is an excellent example of the typical pharaoh’s “Double Crown” on a falcon. The falcon symbolizes the god Horus who is the patron deity of the living pharaoh. The crown he wears is a combination of two ancient crowns. The outer one is the reed crown of Lower Egypt, the Nile Delta region, this surrounds the leather crown of Upper Egypt. The entire crown is surrounded by a uraeus. A uraeus is the image of a cobra reared up with its hood flared, but mouth closed. It is a symbol of protection for the pharaoh and it is associated with the goddess Ma’at who embodies truth and balance in the universe. Wearing both crowns indicates the pharaoh’s power over both regions and they were first combined in the Early Dynastic period when both entities were first ruled as one. This particular falcon, however, was cast in the Late or Ptolemaic period thousands of years later, a testament to the endurance of this symbol.

The next time you visit the Egyptian galleries, look for how figures are identified as individuals or by status, and remember, the answer is often in that hat.

    Posted by Elizabeth Treptow

October 28, 2015

Egypt’s ‘Indiana Jones’ comes clean about the Zoe-peed-in-the-Great-Pyramid episode of his reality show

Egypt’s ‘Indiana Jones’ comes clean about the Zoe-peed-in-the-Great-Pyramid episode of his reality show

In the reality TV world, the buzz-seeking segment has become as standard as auto-tune on a Kanye track. Try to cut through the noise, i.e. those other 947 reality shows, and turn your program into must-see TV.
Sometimes the buzz works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes, even after a show fails, that moment lingers, like a bad batch of the cajun shrimp and chicken pasta at TGI Fridays. Such is my relationship with “Chasing Mummies,” the late, not-so-great History Channel program centered on longtime Egyptian antiquities minister Zahi Hawass.

So when I heard that Hawass, the blustery archaeologist famous for his outbursts and Indiana Jones hat, was making the rounds, I had to bite. (He was in D.C. this week to promote tourism in Egypt, an industry crushed by the revolution that knocked Hosni Mubarak out of power.) “Chasing Mummies” centered on Hawass and his team of archaeological fellows or actors or both – who knows! – scrambling around ancient sites. The “moment” comes in the second episode as Hawass and his group huddle in a dark chamber within the Great Pyramid of Giza.
“What’s happening, Zoe. What’s happening?” Hawass says, cutting off his lecture about the dangers of humidity on hieroglyphics to turn to the source of anguish.
Zoe cups her mouth with her hand. Is she crying? Yes, definitely tears.
“Look at me, look at me,” says Hawass, growing more urgent.
“My god,” Zoe responds, sounding rather composed for what she has apparently done. “Dr. Hawass, I lost it. And I just went to the bathroom. I’m so sorry. I couldn’t hold it.”
The great archaeologist, the man the New Yorker once referred to as “The Pharaoh,” walks away.
“Please, Dr. Hawass,” she pleads.
“You do not deserve to be working with me,” he says with disgust.
As if that’s not enough, the camera pans to the floor near Zoe and we are treated to what appears to be a puddle. Yes, she has peed in the Great Pyramid! Now that can’t be good for humidity.
Okay, it’s been five years, the show is deader than “Date My Mom,” and Hawass is in the States talking about real issues – tourism and also the need for somebody to protect Middle Eastern museums and historic sites from ISIS – but I can’t resist.
So did Zoe really “lose it?”
“No, that was not true,” Hawass says without a pause.
What do you mean? It was acting?
“Later, I found out when the show was shown and I talked to people, they told me the show was fake,” Hawass says.
But they showed that puddle?
“I found out later it was water,” says Hawass.
Not surprisingly, a History Channel representative declined to comment on Hawass, saying there simply isn’t anybody still at the network from 2010 who could address his claim. Two other producers, Archie Gips and Dennis Anderson, also declined to comment, saying they weren’t at the shoot. And Zoe D’Amato, the adventurer and actress, declined to comment as well, saying that her contract wouldn’t allow her to answer any questions.
Does Hawass regret doing “Chasing Mummies?” Not at all. The show, he says, inspired people all over the world to get excited about archaeology.
“I forgave the director and the History Channel because they were able to bring fans. Even if the show was s—-, it was great,” he said.

Mummy to get a new lease of life

Mummy to get a new lease of life

The Egyptian Mummy preserved in Telangana State Museum in Hyderabad is decaying due to lack of maintenance. Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury
The Egyptian Mummy preserved in Telangana State Museum in Hyderabad is decaying due to lack of maintenance. Photo: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

Australian expert roped in to arrest the decay and weave a narrative around the life and death of the mummy in Telangana museum.

The mummy at the State Museum will literally get a new lease of life in the next one year if the State Archaeology Department succeeds in its efforts.
The department has roped in Vinod Daniel, a noted expert in chemical conservation based in Australia, to arrest the decay and weave a narrative around the life and death of the mummy, said to be the daughter of a pharaoh. Mr. Daniel recently carried out a preliminary evaluation of the mummy without opening the case and said the decay was typical of mummies seen elsewhere.
“Humidity and oxygen cause the damage to mummies. To check them, the mummy will be shifted into a new case, similar to those that enclose the clothes of Indira and Rajiv Gandhi in New Delhi,” he said.
The oxygen-free case will maintain humidity at around 40 per cent and its interiors will be aired by nitrogen to check bacterial growth. It’s the concern of bacteria that deterred Mr. Daniel from opening the case.
“The standard protocol for conservation requires wearing healthy safety equipment. Though we can sample the air within the case, we cannot really be sure what bacteria lies within,” he said.
The State Archaeology Department has drawn flak in the past for maintenance of the mummy. Though experts had drawn up plans, the department could not conserve the mummy due to shortage of funds. Given that Mr. Daniel is doing a pro-bono job for the department, it is likely that the 2,351-year-old mummy will receive a new lease of life.
“Our aim is to ensure that the mummy does not decay further and is preserved here on and Mr. Daniel is helping us do this without costing anything,” said department’s Director Sunita Bhagwat.
Mr. Daniel, on his part, has mentioned a one-year timeframe for conserving the artefact. Besides conservation, he has also suggested researching the mummy to learn more about it in order to build a story that could be narrated to the visitors. Like three decades ago, when X-ray scan of the mummy revealed a missing tooth, this time Mr. Daniel believes a CT scan could throw light specifically on the death of the 16-year-old girl who never ceases to awe visitors in her wraps.

Nigerian sculpture, Egyptian temple drawing highlight acquisitions at Cleveland Museum of Art

Nigerian sculpture, Egyptian temple drawing highlight acquisitions at Cleveland Museum of Art

CMA acquisitions.png
A late 19th- or early 20th-century Igbo sculpture, left, and a 19th-century drawing by John Frederick Lewis highlight the newest round of acquisitions announced by the Cleveland Museum of Art. (Cleveland Museum of Art)

Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer By Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer
Follow on Twitter
on October 23, 2015 at 4:46 PM

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The newest acquisitions at the Cleveland Museum of Art include a visually powerful example of Igbo art from Nigeria and a 19th-century watercolor sketch of an Egyptian temple that almost appears to be three-dimensional.
Igbo detail.pngA detail of the Igbo sculpture recently acquired by the Cleveland Museum of Art. 
The Igbo figure, originating from one of the largest ethnic groups in southeast Nigeria, is an iconic example of its type, the museum said in a news release.
It depicts a man seated on a one-legged stool, holding a cutlass in one hand and a human skull turned upside down in the other.
Once part of a shrine, the sculpture represents a genre called ikenga, intended to receive prayers and sacrifices in return for support and guidance from ancestors.
The seated figure sports an elaborate headdress with curved horns like those of a ram, plus three projecting cone shapes on either side of the face.
The figure's forehead and temples are decorated with parallel incisions to imitate scarification patterns known locally as ichi, which show that the sculpture represents a high-ranking member of one of the many Igbo male associations and also emphasizes the prestige of the acquisition.
Gloria: Robert Rauschenberg & Rachel HarrisonHans Haacke with Sculpture, 2005. Rachel Harrison (American, 1966 - ). Wood, chicken wire, polystyrene, cement, acrylic, dolly, and pigmented inkjet print (Hans Haacke's oil painting, Homage a Marcel Broodthaers, 1982); 75 x 24 x 31 in. The Cleveland Museum of Art.
The watercolor "The Temple of Edfu: The Door of the Pylon," was painted by John Frederick Lewis, the first English artist to spend an extended period of time in Egypt, living in Cairo from 1841 to 1850.
Lewis created the drawing by the museum during an expedition with his wife up the Nile toward the end of his Egyptian sojourn.
The drawing records a minimalist, but strikingly realistic view through a pylon outside a temple courtyard.
Lewis recorded the temple's famous hieroglyphic inscriptions, but what's most striking is that he used the tan color of the paper as an equivalent for the sand-colored stone blocks of the temple.
By painting the blue sky as seen through the temple pylon, Lewis created a striking illusion of three-dimensional depth, as if the sheet of paper were a window, not a flat, two-dimensional representation.
Other acquisitions include "Hans Haacke with Sculpture," a sculpture by contemporary artist Rachel Harrison now on view through Sunday in the exhibition "Gloria: Robert Rauschenberg & Rachel Harrison,"
The sculpture, structured around a plywood plank that stands 75 inches tall, incorporates a digital scan of a portrait of President Ronald Reagan painted by Haacke, an early leader of conceptual art,
The museum says that the sculpture, created for the 4th Berlin Biennale in 2004, shortly after President Reagan's death, "questions the legacy of politics and culture—and their intersection."
Waterdrop_Zelan Tang_highres.jpgZelan Tang, Yuanming Yuan (Pavilion for Nurturing Orchids, Garden of Extended Spring), 2004, printed 2015. Lois Conner (American (1951 - ). Inkjet print, AP, triptych; image (each) 23 x 180 in. The Cleveland Museum of Art. 
The museum also received a gift from photographer Lois Conner, consisting of a triptych of black-and-white photographs of water lilies she made in 2004 at the Garden of Perfect Brightness in Beijing, an 18th century imperial Chinese garden destroyed by British and French troops during the Second Opium War.
Conner's panoramic photographs, which stand two feet high and 15 feet across, was donated by the artist in memory of the late Mark Schwartz, her friend and a museum trustee who died in 2014.

Renovation completed at ancient Greco-Roman Kiman Faris: minister

Renovation completed at ancient Greco-Roman Kiman Faris: minister

Renovation completed at ancient Greco-Roman Kiman Faris: minister
Kiman Faris Open Air Museum. Antiquities Ministry facebook page.
CAIRO: The conservation project of the ancient Greco-Roman city of Kiman Faris has been completed, Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al Damaty announced in a statement Saturday.
Ancient Egyptian and Greco-Roman statues and other architectural details found at the site have been under restoration by ARCHiNOS Architecture since 2012, said Damaty. The organization also was responsible for the presentation of the artifacts that came to the site from rescue excavations in preparation for turning it to an open-air museum, he added.
The display scheme of the artifacts is managed by the American, Dutch, New Zealand team excavating and conserving the site, according to Damaty.
“Kiman Faris was one of the largest Greco-Roman cities in the Fayoum. It was established by the Greek king Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285 B.C. – 246 B.C.) and was originally inhabited by the mercenaries of his army. The site was a religious center for the worship of God Sobek; the crocodile God. The population of the prosperous city was estimated at 2,800 people,” archaeologist Fathy Khourshid told The Cairo Post Sunday.
The earliest archaeological origins are at the city’s South Temple and can be traced to the 1st century B.C., he added.
“The exhibited pieces are among the few physical remnants of this once prominently important city and its grand temple. The work was done as part of the URU Fayoum Project (University of California, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen and University of Auckland) under the supervision of the Egyptian Ministry of State for Antiquities. It is funded by the United States Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation,” ARCHiNOS said in its webpage.

First Wave Feminist Who Invented Wicca

First Wave Feminist Who Invented Wicca

Oct 30, 2015 6:00 AM
The Forgotten Egyptologist and First Wave Feminist Who Invented Wicca
Margaret Murray unwrapping a mummy. Photo courtesy of the Manchester Museum
Margaret Murray discovered the existence of covens and witches' sabbaths in 1921. There was one problem: She was wrong.
Margaret Murray is the mother of witches that never was. A noted Egyptologist, archaeologist, anthropologist, folklorist, and first wave feminist, she is now best-known for a series of books on witchcraft that profoundly shaped the modern Wicca faith. Today, her work has been thoroughly debunked and disproved. So how did Margaret Murray go from being the world's foremost authority on witchcraft to a footnote in its history, and why doesn't anyone talk about her work anymore?
Murray believed that witchcraft did exist, and that it was an organized religion—a fertility cult that worshipped a horned god. In 1921, she expanded on the witch-cult theory in her book, The Witch-Cult in Western Europe (which can be read for free at Project Gutenberg). Based almost entirely on witch trial documents from the 16th and 17th century, Murray's hypothesis was that witchcraft pre-dated Christianity and was eventually absorbed into it, the horned god becoming an avatar for Satan. Murray was the first to use the word 'coven' to mean a gathering of witches; she insisted that covens met in groups of 13, writing in detail about 'sabbaths,' specific witches' meetings that involved elaborate rituals (including group sex and the occasional blood sacrifice). This was, at the time, revolutionary information.
The book was met with widespread acclaim and some incredulity. In 1929, she wrote the Encyclopedia Brittanica entry for 'witchcraft', which stayed in print in one version or another for 40 years. For years, she was considered the only authoritative voice on the subject. Aldous Huxley was a fan. Despite being a non-believer who only wanted to write about witchcraft to strip away its supernatural reputation, The Witch-Cult in Western Europe would become a cornerstone of a newly-emergent religion when it was picked in up by founding father Gerald Gardner and built on in his 1954 book, Witchcraft Today. Gardner took Murray's witch-cult theory and used it as a framework on which to hang his other influences— Aleister Crowley's writings, his own personal occult experiences, Freemasonry—to formulate a contemporary pagan religion. We now know it as Wicca.
There was just one problem. Margaret Murray was wrong.
Margaret Murray in 1933. Image courtesy of the Petrie Museum, University College London
Today, Wiccans still debate over the importance of her work. A director of the Centre for Pagan Studies, Ashley Mortimer is also a trustee of the Doreen Valiente Foundation (Valiente was Gardner's initiate, and a powerful figure in her own right). He is also a media spokesman and representative for a number of other pagan organizations. "I think we have to accept the position as it stands: we simply cannot accept, in the face of the evidence, that the witch-cult survived intact through the centuries and was passed on to Gerald Gardner, who merely breathed new life into it during the 20th century," he says. "Neither, however, can we accept that it never existed in the first place, or that some threads [...] of it have not survived."
Murray was born in 1863 in Calcutta, India, into a middle class family of British heritage. India was then a British colony, and career prospects for women like her were few: Volunteer, charity or mission work. Her mother, also named Margaret, had served as a missionary before she was married, traveling the country by herself in a period when it was unusual to do so. This would be a formative influence on Murray.
Murray was unconcerned by the idea that the confessions and trial documents that formed the basis of her theory could have been made under threat of torture.
When she was seven, she and her sister were sent to England to stay with her uncle John, who was a vicar. He believed that women were naturally inferior and should be morally and physically spotless. John Murray's views were pretty normal for Victorian England, and he thought it was a good idea to quote Bible verse supporting that at his prepubescent niece. In her memoirs, Murray called her uncle a 'Dominant Male,' which was probably her own polite shorthand for 'Rampaging Sexist'. Her uncle did influence her profoundly in one aspect, though. He introduced her to archaeology.
Despite no formal education, and after returning to Calcutta and working as a nurse for several years, Murray decided, in her 30s, to pursue her childhood passion. With her mother's encouragement, she moved to London and started studying egyptology under pioneering archaeologist Flinders Petrie. Her ascent was steep—in 1898 she became the first female lecturer in archaeology in the United Kingdom. She took part in several archaeological digs in Egypt and published multiple papers and books on the subject. In 1908, she unwrapped a mummy in front of an audience of over 500 people—again, the first women to do so. Murray was successful and well-respected by her peers. She was a member of Emmeline Pankhurst's WSPU, and marched to secure women's right to vote. And then World War I happened.
Murray unwrapping a mummy in front of a packed audience. Photo courtesy of the Manchester Museum
In 1914, Murray and her colleagues were unable to return to Egypt to continue their archaeological digs. Murray volunteered as a nurse for the war effort, but became sick and was sent to recuperate in a small town in Somerset—Glastonbury—to recuperate. Glastonbury was the legendary home of King Arthur's Holy Grail, and a nexus point for folk tales of the occult. Murray, seeing parallels with her Egyptology work, started digging through documents, and in 1917 she published "Organizations of Witches in Great Britain" in the Folklore Journal. That dry-sounding paper became her book, The Witch-Cult in Western Europe, and kickstarted a vein of research that would fundamentally change the face of witchcraft as we know it.
At that time, scholarly writing on witches in Western Europe was close to zero, and two schools of thought existed. Either witches did exist, regardless of whether they could cast spells or not, and they were Satan-worshipping, baby-eating, broom-riding villains, or the women convicted of witchcraft were all innocent victims of public hysteria who made confessions under threat of torture. Murray, seeing room for a middle ground, proposed a witch-cult theory that occupied the wide schism between those polar opposite perceptions.
When her work fell from favor, however, it was not gently phased out as obsolete but ridiculed and denounced as a travesty of the study of history.
But her methodologies were faulty. "Many people are ready to criticise Margaret Murray's work, perhaps in some respects with justification," says Mortimer, "and they also criticise Gerald's credulity in being taken in by her, citing his desire for her findings to be true as his blind spot." Mortimer is being generous. There was no written evidence to suggest that witchcraft was an organized religious movement, and no writings that tie witchcraft to the idea of a sabbath meeting. Even the origins of the word 'coven' was suspect (Murray thought it specifically referred to a witch—it probably came from the word 'covent' and referred to any kind of meeting, not just a supernatural one). She could only find one testimony that stated covens should be made up of 13 members, from a Scottish witch-trial testimony.
Murray was unconcerned by the idea that the confessions and trial documents that formed the basis of her theory could have been made under threat of torture. She posited that torture was illegal at that time, so it obviously never happened—a stance that is hopelessly naive by contemporary standards. However, no research existed to contradict her. She was an expert by default.
By the 1990s, new historical evidence and diverse scholarship in pagan studies meant that her work was almost entirely discredited. Writing in 2004 for The Pomegranate, an academic journal of pagan studies, Catherine Noble notes, "When her work fell from favor, however, it was not gently phased out as obsolete but ridiculed and denounced as a travesty of the study of history, an abuse of evidence coupled with academic ignorance of her subject." Though she lived to be 100, Margaret Murray faded into obscurity soon after her death in 1963. All that remains of her legacy are two busts in University College London.
Regardless of their opinions on Murray, most Wiccans would concede that her work may not have been accurate, but it did facilitate the popularity and legitimacy of their belief system. The Witch-Cult of Western Europe had a catalyzing effect. It brought witches—real witches, not devil-worshippers or victims of circumstance—into the public realm. Like some Christians, who read the Bible as a creation myth and not as historical fact, many Wiccans now embrace the spirit of Murray's findings, not the fallacy.
"It actually does not matter whether, or to what extent, Murray was right or wrong or that Gerald Gardner made it up or not," says Mortimer. "The system that was developed works for its purpose, which is religious and spiritual development. And that, in itself, is enough."

Nov. 15 Northern Cal. Egyptology Lecture - Ancient Archaeologists: How the High Priests of Osiris Transformed Abydos During the New Kingdom

The Northern California Chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt; the Department of Near Eastern Studies, UC Berkeley; and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, UC Berkeley, are sponsoring the following lecture:

Ancient Archaeologists:  How the High Priests of Osiris Transformed Abydos During the New Kingdom

By Dr. Stephen Harvey
Stony Brook University

LECTURE:   2:30 p.m.  Sunday, November 15, 2015
SOUK:          1:30 p.m.  Come early for the chapter's annual Souk and stock up on holiday gifts.
LOCATION:  Room 20 Barrows Hall, Barrow Lane and Bancroft Way, UC Berkeley

No charge, donations are welcomed.


Perhaps like the popes of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the High Priests of Amun based Karnak temple in Luxor (ancient Thebes)  at times held such power that their might rivaled that of the rulers they served.  At Abydos, pilgrimage center and main site of the worship of Osiris, the god of rebirth and resurrection, the High Priests of Osiris during the New Kingdom (ca. 1525 - 1085 BCE) also held significant power, but their stories are less well-known to the general public.  One family of powerful clerics at Abydos rose to great prominence during the time of the legendary pharaoh Ramesses the Great, and the best-known of these High Priests, a man named Wenennefer, left monuments  of unusual creativity and innovation all across the sacred landscape of Abydos.  Acting much as archaeologists do today, Wenennefer and some of his circle seem to have researched monuments, tombs, and places sacred to the earlier kings of Egypt, leaving traces of their activity in some of the oldest sites connected both to Osiris, the king of the underworld, and to the earliest kings of Egypt.  Recent excavations by Stephen Harvey's team and others have revealed further evidence of the extent and nature of the fascinating activity of these ancient intellectuals and scholars, who did much to leave their own mark upon one of Egypt's most important spiritual centers.


Egyptologist and Director of the Ahmose and Tetisheri Project at Abydos, Egypt
Since 1993, Stephen Harvey (Ph.D., U. of PA) has been Director of the Ahmose and Tetisheri Project, which centers on excavation of the monumental complex of King Ahmose at Abydos, under the aegis of the Pennsylvania-Yale-Institute of Fine Arts, NYU Expedition to Abydos. Dr. Harvey’s fieldwork in and around the pyramid complex of Ahmose (ca. 1550-1525 B.C.) has provided important new insight into temple architecture and decoration at the outset of Egypt’s New Kingdom. His book on the excavations to date is forthcoming from the Oriental Institute Press, University of Chicago. He has also worked on archaeological projects in Egypt at Giza and Memphis, as well as in the U.S., Syria, and Turkey. Currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Stony Brook University, Dr. Harvey has been consulted on and interviewed for a number of television documentaries for NOVA on PBS, the History Channel, and National Geographic (among others). He has also been a popular lecturer for many years on tours to Egypt and the Near East sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution, the Field Museum, the Explorer’s Club, the Petrie Museum in London, and the Archaeological Institute of America. He has  taught several courses for the Bloomsbury Summer School in London and in Egypt
For more information on Northern California ARCE go to or send email to Chapter President Al Berens at


Glenn Meyer
Publicity Director, Northern California Chapter
American Research Center in Egypt

Thursday, October 29, 2015

ARCE/Northern California Egyptology Lectures and Events

Welcome to the ARCE-NC Lecture Series

ARCE-NC presents free lectures open to the public on a monthly basis to promote a better understanding of Egyptian art, culture and religion both historic and contemporary in association with the Department of Near Eastern Studies and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley Campus.

We receive almost no outside funding and rely upon donations as our primary source of revenue. Lectures include such expenses as speakers honoraria and transportation fees and occasionally audio-visual equipment rental fees as well. Attendees are requested to make a donation at the door to help defray these costs. If you would like to make a donation to support our work, please use our DONATE! page to donate via PayPal (either use your PayPal acount or any credit card) or send a check in any amount made out to "ARCE/NC" to


        The Treasurer ARCE/NC
        439 Buena Vista Avenue

        Redwood City, CA 94061

American Research Center In Egypt Northern California Inc

Upcoming Lectures & Events

The Northern California Chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt and the Department of Near Eastern Studies, U.C. Berkeley and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, U.C. Berkeley Lecture Series

All lectures are on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in 20 Barrows Hall, U.C. Berkeley Campus except where noted.

Parking is available in U.C. lots after 5 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends for a fee. Ticket dispensing machines accept either $5 bills or $1.00 bills. Parking is available in Parking Structure B on Bancroft between Hearst Gym and Kroeber Hall and just across the street from the University Art Museum. Parking is also available under the shops on Bancroft opposite Barrows Hall. There is a parking structure under the Student Union further west on Bancroft. A map of the campus is available online at
For more information please send e-mail to



Fall 2015 Lecture Series



November 15th, 2015 2:30 PM  Room 20 Barrows Hall

Annual Souq begins at 1:30 PM

Dr. Steve Harvey, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU

Ancient Archaeologists: How the High Priests of Osiris transformed Abydos during the New Kingdom


December 13th, 2015 2:30 PM  Room 20 Barrows Hall

Annual Souq begins at 1:30 PM

Kathy Hansen, Independent Researcher

Driving Pharaoh's Chariots


January 10th, 2016 2:30 PM  Room 20 Barrows Hall

Dr. Peter Brand, University of Memphis

21st Century Digital Technologies meet Pharaonic Information Systems: Using 3D Modeling and Digital Imaging to Record Ancient Inscriptions in the Great Hypostyle Hall of Karnak Temple


February 14th, 2016 2:30 PM  Room 20 Barrows Hall

Dr. Eugene Cruz-Uribe, Indiana University East

A Nubian Walked into a Christian Bar at Philae and Asked . . .