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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Egypt's Nile River in jeopardy from dam in Ethiopia

Here's why Egypt's Nile River is in danger


CAIRO — About 2,500 years ago, the Greek historian Herodotus called Egypt the "Gift of the Nile."

Today, Egyptians say their ancient ancestors would have done anything to protect their indispensable Nile River, and so should they.

But overdevelopment and construction of a massive dam upstream in Ethiopia jeopardizes their vital water supply — and very existence. 

As Hassan Hamid, 36, a boatman in Luxor who ferries passengers across the Nile, explained: The pharaohs "knew all the good in their lives came from the river. We only believe in one God now, but still the Nile is our life."

The Grand Renaissance Dam, standing more than 500 feet tall, is slated to become the biggest in Africa when it begins operations later this year. The dam, about 450 miles from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, will generate 6,450 megawatts at full capacity — more than three times the energy produced by the Hoover Dam. Three-quarters of Ethiopians currently lack access to electricity, according to the World Bank.

"We've consistently been the fastest-growing economy in Africa, and this dam will help us keep up this level of growth," Ethiopia's top energy official, Motuma Mekassa Zeru, said in April when he announced the dam was 60% complete.

But Egypt and Sudan are worried that the dam will curtail their share of the Nile's waters as global warming and less rainfall also threaten to lower the river's level. The Nile provides nearly 100 million Egyptians with virtually all their water.

Ethiopia's dam could drop the Nile's levels by 25% for as long as seven years while the reservoir behind it fills up, according to a recent article in the Geological Society of America's journal GSA Today

That estimate was based on computer models, said Hany Hamroush, professor of geology and geochemistry at the American University in Cairo.

"It is alarming how much information is missing about the dam," Hamroush said. "There has to be a complete transparency and honesty and full professional data to make sure that that dam will be safe."

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has launched a diplomatic offensive to press Ethiopia to slow the timetable for filling the reservoir. He has visited the Nile basin countries of Sudan, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia five times so far this year.

"Egypt's water security is non-negotiable," said Ahmed Abu Zeid, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Cairo. "It is considered a red line that no one can approach."

But even without the Grand Renaissance Dam, the United Nations estimates Egypt will face "absolute water scarcity" by 2025 for reasons largely of its own making.

Egypt's population has almost tripled in the past 50 years to 97 million. Egyptians now have 15 times less water per person than the average American.

Pressures from the growing population also is resulting in 30,000 acres of land lost each year to illegal construction, most of it along the Nile, according to Egyptian government figures.

Such development is one reason that el-Sissi is pushing to build new cities in largely uninhabited desert areas, like the $45 billion New Administrative Capital 28 miles east of Cairo.

Authorities are taking drastic measures to protect the Nile's banks from urban sewage and industrial waste.

In May, el-Sissi ordered the demolition of 50,000 illegally built homes on Warraq, a large island in the Nile in Cairo. The government claimed the homes were on state-owned property. In July, police clashed with the homeowners, killing one.

"Where does their sewage go?" el-Sissi asked at the time. "It goes into the Nile water, which we drink."

Urban sprawl and changing agricultural practices — due in part to Egypt's Aswan Dam that allows for year-long irrigation — have caused groundwater problems along the Nile.

"I used to drink directly from the Nile," said Ahmed Sefelnasr, 43, a geologist at Assiut University. "I can't do that now and would never recommend that my students do it."

The U.S. government is helping address the issue at historical sites that attract tourists — tourism accounts for 13% of the Egyptian economy. The U.S. Agency for International Development is spending $14.8 million for Egyptian pumping projects at six key world heritage sites.

Those projects include operations at Luxor and the Giza Plateau, home to Egypt's most magnificent pyramids and the iconic Sphinx, to prevent salt-saturated Nile groundwater from damaging the popular antiquities.

"We have to tell our children not to build on the banks of the Nile," said Omar Badawi, 68, an engineer who helps manage miles of drains encircling the colossal monuments at anchient Karnak Temple.

Contributing: Mina Nader from Luxor, Egypt


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Egypt's Alexandria hosts Cleopatra-themed celebration - Xinhua |

Egypt's Alexandria hosts Cleopatra-themed celebration

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-01 05:11:14|Editor: yan

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- The Egyptian coastal province of Alexandria on Saturday held a festive event themed "Cleopatra's Dream" to highlight the discovered sunken palace and city of the ancient Egyptian queen.

A massive ancient-like parade, starting from Qaitbay Citadel, headed through the corniche avenue to newly-inagurated diving center Alexandria Dive, with a young lady playing Queen Cleopatra seated on a golden throne, dressed in golden royal robes and wearing a distinctive crown. She was also accompanied by an entourage of dozens of officers and maids dressed in ancient Egyptian outfits.

After arriving at the diving center, Queen Cleopatra was taken to a boat trip during which she handed over the key of Alexandria to Governor Mohamed Sultan when the boat passed by a yacht club, while Cairo Symphony Orchestra was giving a live performance of Aida Opera music in the background.

The celebration sheds light on Cleopatra's sunken city and other underwater ancient Egyptian and Greek antiquities in order to promote tourism and make the Mediterranean Sea city a top diving destination in Egypt and around the world.

Held in coordination with the Egyptian Tourism Ministry, the event was attended by Ashraf Sabry, head of Alexandria Dive, French underwater archeologist Franck Goddio whose team discovered the city in the 1990s, Volkhard Windfuhr, head of Cairo Foreign Press Association, among others.

"Alexandria is distinguished by having the sunken city, as well as shipwrecks dating back to the fourth and second centuries BC, besides other shipwrecks dating back to the first and second world wars," Sabry said.

Egyptian renowned filmmaker Khaled Youssef directed the carnival, where at least 50 young men and women participated in the simulated Pharaonic parade.

Not only the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom, Queen Cleopatra VII is also considered one of the most famous ancient Egyptian rulers, since Egypt fell into a province in the Roman Empire during her reign.

Being of Greek Macedonian descent, the Egyptian queen drove the merge of the Pharaonic and Greek cultures in Egypt. She was a daughter of King Ptolemy XII and succeeded him as queen in 51 BC at the age of 18. She was born in 69 BC and died in 30 BC.

Boasting thousands of artifacts, the sunken city of Cleopatra, along with the city of Heracleion, was discovered beneath the eastern harbor area of Abu Qir Bay in the 1990s.

In 1996, the Egyptian government proposed establishing an underwater museum to display the treasures of the two cities, an idea that is supported by the UNESCO but yet to be carried out.

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Gypsum head of King Akhenaten statue unearthed in Egypt's Minya - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online

Gypsum head of King Akhenaten statue unearthed in Egypt's Minya

Nevine El-Aref , Saturday 30 Sep 2017

A British-Egyptian archaeological mission from Cambridge University has discovered a gypsum head from a statue of King Akhenaten (around 1300 BC) during excavation work in Tel El-Amarna in Egypt's Minya governorate.

The head – which is 9cm tall, 13.5 cm long and 8 cm wide – was unearthed during excavation work in the first hall of the Great Atun Temple in Tel El-Amarna, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri told Ahram Online.

Waziri says the discovery is important because it sheds more light on the city that was Egypt's capital during the reign of King Akhenaten, the 10th pharaoh of the 18th dynasty whose reign was among the most ‎controversial in ancient Egyptian history.

The Cambridge University mission is led by archaeologist Barry Kemp, who started excavations in Tel El-Amarna in 1977 at several sites including the grand Aten Temple, the Al-Ahgar village, the northern palace, and the Re and Banehsi houses, according to director-general of Antiquities in Middle Egypt Gamal El-Semestawi.

The mission has also carried out restoration works at the Small Atun Temple and the northern palace.

Tel El-Amarna, which lies around 12 kilometers to the southwest of Minya city, holds the ruins of the city constructed by King Akhenaten and ‎his wife Queen Nefertiti to be the home of the cult of the sun god ‎Aten. ‎ ‎

The ruins of this great city include magnificent temples, palaces and tombs.

On 09/30/2017 06:33 AM, egyptian antiquities - search news - Google News wrote:
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Hidden Treasures: An Evening Exploring the Egyptian Collection at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum

Hidden Treasures: An Evening Exploring the Egyptian Collection at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum

October 28, 2017
6:30 pm
Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology
Kroeber Hall, UC Berkeley

We invite you to explore one of the world's most outstanding ancient Egyptian collections at this fundraiser benefiting the Northern California Chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt and the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology. Experience rarely exhibited Egyptian objects up close and personal, with special tours offered to see masterpieces in the Museum's behind-the-scenes storage areas. Cuisine from Al Masri Egyptian Restaurant, beer from Pyramid Brewery, and other refreshments are included with your ticket. You will also be able to explore the current exhibit, People Made These Things: Connecting With the Makers of Our World. For more information and for tickets, please go to .

Tea with the Sphinx – Ancient Egypt and the Modern Imagination

2018 Conference

Call for Paper 2018

Tea with the Sphinx:

Reception of Ancient Egypt's Myth, Magic and Mysticism

At the first roundtable of 'Tea with the Sphinx: Defining the Field of Ancient Egypt Reception Studies' in September 2017 a debate arose surrounding the idea of 'truth', 'facts', the ways in which knowledge is formed in the popular imagination, and how this relates to reception studies as a field. This prompted discussion surrounding how reception studies should define itself, but also, and just as importantly, how myth, incorrect 'facts', and changing knowledge can be valuable in constructing a picture of how the knowledge of the ancient past and cultures has been formed, used and re-used, contributing to an ever-evolving history of the representation of ancient Egypt and its cultural offshoots.

Thus, the organisers of Tea with the Sphinx 2018 invite papers on any aspect of the reception of ancient Egypt in the global imagination, and especially those which engage with the following themes:

  • Myths, curses, and legends
  • Magic and ritual
  • Mysticism, occultism, and spiritualism
  • Re-incarnation and transcendental experiences
  • Orientalism and imperialism
  • Mummymania
  • Literature and fiction
  • Newspapers and the media
  • Visual representations and the arts
  • Replicas, souvenirs, and Egyptomania's paraphernalia
  • Museums and display
  • Talismans and amulets
  • Science and 'rational truth' vs superstition
  • The 'celebrity' of Egyptology and Egyptologists
  • Historical 'fact' and evolving knowledge of ancient Egypt

Abstracts of up to 300 words for 20 minute papers along with a short biographical note (in the same Word document) should be sent to by April 9th 2018.

The organisers also encourage PGRs to submit ideas for poster presentations to be presented during lunch of the first day of the conference.

If you require more information, or have any questions, please send us an email using the contact form below.

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Egypt "hunting down" gays, conducting forced exams - Amnesty

Egypt "hunting down" gays, conducting forced exams - Amnesty International

CAIRO (Reuters) - Six Egyptian men arrested for "promoting sexual deviancy" and "debauchery" on social media will be subjected to anal examinations ahead of their Oct. 1 trial, Amnesty International said on Saturday.

Their arrest is part of a wider crackdown against homosexuality that started last week when a group of people were seen raising a rainbow flag at a concert, a rare public show of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in the conservative Muslim country.

At least 11 people have since been arrested, Amnesty said, and one man has been sentenced to six years in jail after local media launched a highly critical campaign against those who raised the rainbow flag at a Mashrou' Leila concert, a popular Lebanese alternative rock band whose lead singer is openly gay.

Amnesty said the Forensic Medical Authority was due to subject the six men to anal examinations to determine whether they have had homosexual sex.

Judicial sources said any defendant accused of "debauchery" or "sexual deviancy", a euphemism for homosexuality in Egypt, is subjected to a medical examination based on an order from the Public Prosecutor.

"Allegations of torturing or insulting those medically examined are lies not worth responding to. The examinations are carried out by a forensic doctor who swore to respect his profession and its ethics," one judicial source said.

Amnesty said such examinations violate the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment under international law.

"The fact that Egypt's Public Prosecutor is prioritizing hunting down people based on their perceived sexual orientation is utterly deplorable. These men should be released immediately and unconditionally – not put on trial," said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

"Forced anal examinations are abhorrent and amount to torture. The Egyptian authorities have an appalling track record of using invasive physical tests which amount to torture against detainees in their custody. All plans to carry out such tests on these men must be stopped immediately."

Egypt's Muslim religious establishment is voicing its support for the government's moves against homosexuals.

"Al Azhar will stand against calls for sexual perversion the same way it has stood against extremist groups," a preacher at the 1,000-year-old seat of Sunni Muslim learning said in his Friday prayers sermon.

Although homosexuality is not specifically outlawed in Egypt, it is a conservative society and discrimination is rife. Gay men are frequently arrested and typically charged with debauchery, immorality or blasphemy.

The largest crackdown on homosexuals took place in 2001, when police raided a floating disco called the Queen Boat. Fifty-two men were tried in the case.

Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; Additional reporting by Haitham Ahmed; Editing by Stephen Powell

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Earliest Evidence of Domesticated Sorghum Discovered | Archaeology |

Earliest Evidence of Domesticated Sorghum Discovered

Sorghum was domesticated from its wild ancestor more than 5,000 years ago, according to archaeological evidence uncovered by University College London archaeologist Dorian Fuller and colleagues in Sudan.

Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor). Image credit: Pethan, Botanical Gardens, Utrecht University / CC BY-SA 3.0.

Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) is a native African grass that was utilized for thousands of years by prehistoric peoples, and emerged as one of the world's five most important cereal crops, along with rice, wheat, barley, and maize.

For a half century scientists have hypothesized that native African groups were domesticating sorghum outside the winter rainfall zone of the ancient Egyptian Nile Valley — where wheat and barley cereals were predominant — in the semi-arid tropics of Africa, but no archaeological evidence existed.

The newest evidence comes from an archaeological site near Kassala in eastern Sudan, dating from 3500 to 3000 BC, and is associated with the Butana Group culture.

"This new discovery in eastern Sudan reveals that during the 4th millennium BC, peoples of the Butana Group were intensively cultivating wild stands of sorghum until they began to change the plant genetically into domesticated morphotypes," Dr. Fuller and co-authors said.

Diagrammatic comparison of wild and domesticated sorghum. Image credit: D.Q. Fuller.

The researchers examined plant impressions within broken pottery from the largest Butana Group site, KG23.

"Ceramic sherds recovered from excavations undertaken by the Southern Methodist University Butana Project during the 1980s from the KG23 site were analyzed," they explained.

"Examination of the plant impressions in the pottery revealed diagnostic chaff in which both domesticated and wild sorghum types were identified, thus providing archaeobotanical evidence for the beginnings of cultivation and emergence of domesticated characteristics within sorghum during the 4th millennium BC in eastern Sudan."

"Along with the recent discovery of domesticated pearl millet in eastern Mali around 2500 BC, this discovery pushes back the process for domesticating summer rainfall cereals another thousand years in the Sahel, with sorghum, providing new evidence for the earliest known native African cultigen," they said.

The research is published in the journal Current Anthropology.


Frank Winchell et al. Evidence for Sorghum Domestication in Fourth Millennium BC Eastern Sudan: Spikelet Morphology from Ceramic Impressions of the Butana Group. Current Anthropology, published online September 20, 2017; doi: 10.1086/693898

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Salima Ikram Salima Ikram
American University in CairoSociology, Anthropology, Psychology and Egyptology, Faculty Member

Mummification in Ancient Egypt

This chapter deals with the role of mummification and mummies in Egyptian religion. Mummies in terms of the deceased and his or her cult are discussed, together with mummified animals that were given as votive offerings to divinities, particularly from the Late Period until the advent of Christianity.

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Miroslav Barta Miroslav Barta
Charles University, PragueCzech Institute of Egyptology, Faculty Member

Gutenberg a zrod západního světa

V elmi často se lidé zamýšlejí nad tím, co vlastně znamená moderní Evropa či západní svět a kde hledat jejich počátky. Možných odpovědí je nepochybně vícero, já se na tomto místě přikloním k variantě, že za formování Evropy se vším dobrým i zlým může do značné míry vynález knihtisku v kombinaci se zámořskými objevy, k nimž došlo o několik desetiletí později. Objev knihtisku v polovině 15. století zcela změnil paradigma množení, šíření a sdílení informací v národních jazycích a nepřímo napomohl náboženské reformaci, jeho vliv můžeme nepochybně cítit i na pozadí tzv. vestfálského míru o mnoho...

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Miroslav Barta Miroslav Barta
Charles University, PragueCzech Institute of Egyptology, Faculty Member

Gutenberg a zrod západního světa 2

V elmi často se lidé zamýšlejí nad tím, co vlastně znamená moderní Evropa či západní svět a kde hledat jejich počátky. Možných odpovědí je nepochybně vícero, já se na tomto místě přikloním k variantě, že za formování Evropy se vším dobrým i zlým může do značné míry vynález knihtisku v kombinaci se zámořskými objevy, k nimž došlo o několik desetiletí později. Objev knihtisku v polovině 15. století zcela změnil paradigma množení, šíření a sdílení informací v národních jazycích a nepřímo napomohl náboženské reformaci, jeho vliv můžeme nepochybně cítit i na pozadí tzv. vestfálského míru o mnoho...

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Kenneth Griffin Kenneth Griffin
Bookmarked by Ellen Morris

Images of the rekhyt from ancient Egypt

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Jose Lull Jose Lull
Bookmarked by Ellen Morris

The Constellations of Ancient Egypt

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John Papadopoulos John Papadopoulos
Bookmarked by Ellen Morris

Greek towers and slaves: An Archaeology of Exploitation (2005)

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Deborah Sweeney Deborah Sweeney
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D. Sweeney, Review of Camilla Di Biase-Dyson, Foreigners and Egyptians in the Late Egyptian Stories (Probleme der Ägyptologie 32), Leiden & Boston, 2013, LingAeg 22 (2014), 337–341.

This is a review of Camilla Di Biase-Dyson's fascinating book demonstrating how our understanding of characterization in ancient Egyptian literarary texts can be enhanced by various communicative linguistic perspectives such as Systemic Functional Linguistics, conversational analysis and discourse analysis. Not only does her research produce quantifiable results, but these results are enhanced by being studied against their cultural and textual backgrounds. Her approaches provide a large number of new insights to well-known characters and their interaction with one another – such as the...

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Alejandro                                            Jiménez-Serrano Alejandro Jiménez-Serrano
Bookmarked by Ellen Morris

Sattjeni: Daughter, Wife and Mother of the Governors of Elephantine during the End of the Twelfth Dynasty, in Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde

For the last six years a multidisciplinary team of the Universidad de Jaén has been working in some of the funerary complexes of the second half of the Twelfth Dynasty in Qubbet el-Hawa. The present paper analyzes new material found in the funerary complex called QH33 and dated to that period. One of the new pieces of evidence is a ceramic with a hieratic inscription in which is mentioned a certain woman named Sattjeni and described with the title of "Daughter of H#tj-o". This personage also appears in other funerary contexts, which allows us to reconstruct the genealogy and history of the...

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Wojciech Ejsmond Wojciech Ejsmond
Bookmarked by Salima Ikram

Report from field reconnaissance at Gebelein, Khozam and el-Rizeiqat, in PAM 24/1 (2015)

A field reconnaissance in the region of Gebelein, Khozam and el-Rizeiqat in 2013 was aimed at obtaining information on site topography and state of preservation, even as it tested mobile GIS devices and remote sensing analysis to improve usage procedures in field prospection. Archival maps and satellite imaging were used to locate archaeological features, analyze changes of landscape and modern expansion of the cultivation zone from the natural alluvial plain into the low desert area.

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JJ Shirley JJ Shirley
Bookmarked by Ellen Morris

The Life and Career of Nebamun, The Physician of the King in Thebes

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