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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

New archaeological discovery at Pyramids to be announced Saturday - Egypt Independent

New archaeological discovery at Pyramids to be announced Saturday

Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anani will announce on Saturday the details of new archaeological excavations in the pyramids area of ​​Giza, amid extensive media coverage.

The Ministry of Antiquities said in a statement Tuesday that after the announcement there will be a tour at the Visitors Center and the new administrative building, and that various media will be allowed to photograph the discovery.

The most recent archaeological discovery in the Pyramids area was announced in early 2018. It revealed a graveyard belonging to a high-ranking woman called Hetteb, dating back to the Fifth Dynasty in ancient Egypt. 

The Egyptian Antiquities Mission, headed at the time by Mostafa al-Waziri, found it at the Western Cemetery in the Pyramids area.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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Reminder: Northern Cal. ARCE Talk Sunday May 5 - The Sacred Rituals of Reviving a Murdered God

Come join us this Sunday as Bryan Kraemer guides us through the Osirian world of ritual and resurrection.


The American Research Center in Egypt, Northern California Chapter, and the Near Eastern Studies Department, University of California, Berkeley, invite you to attend a lecture by Bryan Kraemer, Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art, CSU-San Bernardino

Revelation of the Mystery of Osiris, Lord of Abydos:
The Sacred Rituals of Reviving a Murdered God

Sunday,  May 5, 3 pm
Room 20 Barrows Hall
UC Berkeley Campus

(Near the intersection
of Bancroft Way
and Barrow Lane)

Photo Courtesy of Bryan Kraemer

About the Lecture:

The ancient mysteries celebrated to revive the god Osiris during festivals held at his tomb in Abydos were a secret kept by the priests of Ancient Egypt for almost 2000 years. And yet a wish to participate in these mysteries in life or after death appears among Ancient Egyptian texts so frequently that it must be one of the most talked about secrets ever. Although we have been aware of how parts of the festivals at Abydos worked for almost a century, the most secret mysteries have so far been unknown to scholars. How did the Egyptians perform the rituals to revive the murdered god?

Bryan Kraemer's ongoing research into the festivals at Abydos has revealed many of the secret mysteries. By examining unpublished or little understood texts and archaeological data, by reconstructing the ancient landscape of Abydos, and by relating it to astronomical phenomena, he has been able to reconstruct a step-by-step itinerary of the festivals of Osiris as well as an understanding of the ritual procedures at each stage as the festival was performed during the late New Kingdom to Late Period of Egyptian history. This includes the most secret steps that were privately conducted by only a select number of priests. Come to this lecture and learn about one of the best kept secrets of Ancient Egyptian religion. Learn how they miraculously recreated the body of Osiris which had been lost in the Nile, how they magically transplanted Osiris's decapitated head onto the new body and resuscitated it, why they stimulated Osiris post mortem with gustatory and sexually enticement, and why they maliciously threatened and tortured figures representing his brother Seth, his murderer. These were the most secretive aspects of the Ancient Egyptian rituals of Osiris, lord of Abydos, the god who triumphed over death.

About the Speaker:

Photo Courtesy of Bryan Kraemer

Bryan Kraemer is a Research Egyptologist at the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art in California State University San Bernardino, where he is working on the catalogue of several hundred Egyptian artifacts in the collection. He is also a Ph. D. candidate in Egyptology at the University of Chicago, working on the topic of Abydos as a sacred landscape in the Greco-Roman Period. In this research, he has been looking at a period of significant changes to Egyptian religion through the microcosm of one ancient site that was at the heart of the religion of Osiris for nearly three thousand years. He has been studying Abydos and the cult of Osiris for the last fifteen years, having participated in several archaeological missions and undertaken his own independent research projects there. Apart from his research on Abydos and Egyptian religion specifically, Bryan has worked extensively on the topic of cultural landscapes of Ancient Egypt: how cultural phenomena such as religion and administration are organized in space. He is also a co-director for the Wadi el-Hudi Expedition to the Eastern Desert, an archaeological and epigraphic project to study the ancient amethyst mines of the Middle Kingdom and Greco-Roman Period in Egypt's Eastern Desert.

Parking is available in UC lots after 5 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends for a fee. Ticket dispensing machines accept either $5 bills or $1 bills, and debit or credit cards. The Underhill lot can be entered from Channing way off College Avenue. Parking is also available in lots along Bancroft, and on the circle drive in front of the Valley Life Sciences building.

A map of the campus is available online at
For more information about Egyptology events, go to or
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Monday, April 29, 2019

10 Things You Didn't Know about "Mummies Unwrapped"

10 Things You Didn't Know about Mummies Unwrapped

Mummies Unwrapped is a new show on the Discovery Channel. Like its name suggests, it is focused on uncovering some of the secrets of mummified bodies, which explains the choice of name for the show. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Mummies Unwrapped:

1. The Name Refers to a Real Practice

It is interesting to note that the name of the show seems to refer to a real practice. For those who are curious, the Victorians are known to have purchased mummies for the purpose of hosting mummy unwrapping parties, which were particularly popular in the period when Egyptomania hit its height. Suffice to say that said practice was very destructive, so much so that it has been known to cause modern Egyptologists to grind their teeth.

2. Not the Most Bizarre Use for Mummies

With that said, mummy unwrapping parties were far from being the most bizarre use for mummies. For instance, there was a time when medieval Europeans used ground-up mummies as a cure-all for various medical conditions, which resulted in a booming trade in Egyptian mummies. Eventually, when Egypt banned the practice, some medieval European apothecaries are known to have secured further supplies of the stuff by making their own mummies, thus ensuring that the practice would continue until European scholars realized that the whole phenomenon had been caused by a serious mistranslation that resulted in what should have been "bitumen" being rendered as "mummy" instead.

3. Not Even the Second Most Bizarre Use for Mummies

Unfortunately, mummy unwrapping parties might not even be the second most bizarre use for mummies. In short, modern painters have convenient access to a wide range of colors. In contrast, their predecessors had to venture much further out for their painting supplies. Sometimes, this resulted in said individuals using paints that were hazardous to their health. Other times, well, suffice to say that the color called mummy brown was very literal in those times.

4. Not Limited to Egyptian Mummies

Generally speaking, when people think of mummies, they think of Egyptian mummies. This is understandable because ancient Egypt mummified their dead for centuries and centuries, which is why there were enough of them that there are still examples that can be studied by Egyptologists in spite of the aforementioned practices. However, it is important to note that other cultures have been known to produce mummies either intentionally or unintentionally, particularly since Mummies Unwrapped features non-Egyptian mummies.

5. Includes Mayan Mummies

To be exact, interested individuals should expect Mummies Unwrapped to feature Mayan mummies. With that said, considering the nature of the show, it wouldn't be particularly surprising if it eventually started covering mummies from cultures other than the ancient Maya and the ancient Egyptians as well.

6. The Host Is Ramy Romany

The host for the show is Ramy Romany. Interested individuals should have no problems finding bios that describe him as a documentary-maker from a family of documentary-makers, who got the chance to hone his skills with filming footage by practicing with ancient Egyptian ruins before eventually going on to get a degree in archaeology and ancient Egyptian history. As such, it is perhaps unsurprising to learn that Romany has appeared in a lot of TV shows as an expert on ancient Egyptian topics, which have been broadcast on networks such as SyFy, the History Channel, and apparently the BBC.

7. Romany Has Been on Destination Truth

By this point, some readers might have become cautious by the names of the networks mentioned. After all, neither Syfy nor the History Channel is known for their excellence when it comes to covering historical topics, which is pretty disappointing in the case of the latter to say the least. In any case, interested individuals are right to be cautious because Romany has been on Destination Truth for SyFy, which might be a fun show but is something that people should be watching while maintaining a very healthy sense of skepticism.

8. Romany Has Been on Ancient Aliens

This is particularly true because Romany was something of a regular on Ancient Aliens, which would be the History Channel show that is all about claiming alien influence in ancient civilizations. For example, he was in an episode called "Secrets of the Mummies," showing up to serve as an expert for when the show covered Egyptian mummies. Likewise, Romany showed up in "The Mysterious Nine," in which he showed up to talk about the Ennead. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, the Ennead is a Greek term for a collection of nine Egyptian deities of particular importance. Generally speaking, the term refers to the collection that was venerated at Heliopolis, but it must be mentioned that there were other versions as well.

9. Might Want to Go In with a Sense of Skepticism

Given this background, it is perhaps unsurprising to learn that interested individuals might want to watch Mummies Unwrapped with a sense of skepticism. The marketing for the show promises to use the latest technologies to produce the latest theories about the people as well as the peoples covered on it, which is very common and very exciting on its own. However, it also states that the show will cover whether supernatural phenomena were involved in the relevant processes, which is something of a warning sign to say the least.

10. Could Be Fun Anyways

With that said, Mummies Unwrapped might prove to be pretty fun anyways. Certainly, stories of curses and the like should be treated with skepticism, but they have nonetheless proved very entertaining for a lot of people over time. For that matter, coverage of the relevant myths and legends is definitely welcome because it provides important context for the practices of these ancient cultures.

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Sunday, April 28, 2019

Egypt's heritage is more than an Indiana Jones movie | TheHill

Egypt's heritage is more than an Indiana Jones movie

The opening of three Egyptian sarcophagi, or stone coffins, shown live on an American reality-TV program, created a sensation on some social-media and news outlets.

For many archaeologists and heritage specialists around the world — and especially those in Egypt — the episode raises serious questions and concerns. 

Archaeology as a discipline and Egypt as a country are routinely shown as something straight out of the 19th century. Egypt is typically portrayed as a vast colonial treasure map, open for adventurers who are, invariably, dressed like Indiana Jones, while amateurish tomb-raiding seems to be the definition of archaeology. 

In fact, archaeology, as a multidisciplinary study of ancient civilizations through their material culture, has developed into a strict methodology of documentation and analysis involving contexts and stratigraphy of human, animal and vegetal remains and of structures and other objects.  

Yet, in too many reality-TV and adventure-type programs, the material value of these objects is the sole point of interest, while poor or only the most basic information is given about all the rest. It is about the treasure — the "earth-shattering discovery" — not the valuable information. It's all about the excited shouts of "Look, there is gold!"

We watch as ancient tombs or buildings are opened and objects (in this case, amulets and scarabs) are removed without apparent previous documentation: no photos taken, no drawings, no numbers given, no bags or boxes to store the objects as they are taken away. 

This is, of course, if we buy into the story that these Upper Egypt sarcophagi were never opened before. In reality the necropolis, or ancient cemetery, where they are located was discovered a year ago; the burials look unusually clean; the objects seem detached from the mummies, as if they had been moved and cleaned; there is a conspicuous amount of sand inside the sarcophagi and the mummy wrappings do not seem consistent with the dates of each sarcophagus.

Typically, these openings claim to raise public interest in Egypt or other ancient countries and cultures, and thereby increase valuable tourism. If such claims are true — there are no statistics — the question remains: What is the price that Egypt or archaeology as a whole must pay for this return? Do we need more insensitive "Orientalist" rhetoric about the worn-out notions of mysteries, curses and secrets? Will it really raise awareness about the diversity and richness of Egypt's heritage, or simply maintain the stereotypes of a mummy in a sarcophagus with gilded objects? Will it foster dreams of looting, or perhaps provoke tourists to grab a piece of stone or a mummy bandage when they visit a tomb or to buy a looted object on eBay?

The media need to abandon the "archaeological" images of Indiana Jones and Lara Croft, who sit deeply in the conscience of the West and have their ancestry in Victorian-era colonialist experience. Those images perpetuate a historical injustice and a mythology about ancient Egypt that has nothing to do with ancient Egypt itself; it speaks only to a Western audience and does not really care about Egypt, its heritage or its financial benefit.

Sadly, there is no proper coverage of archaeology in Egyptian media, either. There are no domestic productions of documentaries, only foreign shows that do not speak directly to Egyptians. Most Egyptian scholars who appear on TV are there solely to speak to tourists, not to inspire greater interest among Egyptians in their heritage.

There also is an ethical question. Sometimes television programs show the entire corpse, and that begs the question of how appropriate it is to show dead bodies — especially on live TV. Because ancient Egyptians are long dead, it all seems fine. Yet, the debate over displaying human remains in museums has gone on for some time.

True archaeologists are extremely careful when dealing with human remains, because only careful treatment can produce meaningful scientific information. Many museums have adapted a greater sensitivity about displaying human remains. The Egyptian Museum in Turin, for example, clearly marks rooms where human remains are displayed so that visitors can decide whether to see them; the Bristol City Museum and Art Galleries displays an ancient mummy in a darkened box but visitors must push a button to temporarily illuminate the remains.

We don't need sensationalized programming that embarrassingly trivializes mankind's beginnings. We don't need morbid, insensitive tourists eager to play Indiana Jones at the expense of a country's ancient history and heritage, which often feeds into local corruption as well. 

On the contrary, we need responsible, aware, respectful tourists who come to experience the rich cultural diversity that a country like Egypt rightly cherishes. 

Dr. Monica Hanna is an archaeologist and acting dean of the college of archaeology and cultural heritage at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT) in Cairo and Aswan, Egypt. She is internationally recognized as an expert in archaeological research and as an advocate for the protection of Egypt's heritage sites and antiquities. She was honored for her work by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and by American University of Cairo (AUC). She is a graduate of AUC and of the University of Pisa, Italy.

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Spotlight: Egypt seeks to boost tourism through flourishing archeological discoveries - Xinhua |

Spotlight: Egypt seeks to boost tourism through flourishing archeological discoveries

Source: Xinhua| 2019-04-29 04:09:43|Editor: Mu Xuequan

by Mahmoud Fouly

CAIRO, April 28 (Xinhua) -- With the flourishing archeological discoveries in several provinces in Egypt this year, the Tourism Ministry has been joining the Antiquities Ministry in organizing ceremonial events to announce the discoveries as part of a plan to boost tourism that is currently recovering in the country after years of recession.

Both ministries cooperate to invite foreign media outlets to cover the discoveries and many foreign ambassadors to witness them, considering them messengers to convey a message to the whole world about Egypt's safety and unique antiquities.

On the World Heritage Day of April 18, the ministries marked the international event by announcing the discovery of a large 3,500-year-old rock-cut tomb on the Nile River's west bank near the Valley of Kings in Upper Egypt's monument-rich province of Luxor.

"These various discoveries, along with the different exhibitions of Egyptian antiquities abroad, attract more tourists to come to Egypt," Tourism Minister Rania al-Mashat told Xinhua during the ceremony attended by the Egyptian prime minister and other officials, celebrities and about 20 foreign ambassadors.

"We try to tell the whole world that Egypt's different provinces constantly impress us with new discoveries," she added.

Later in the afternoon, Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anany invited all attendees, including local and foreign media outlets, to visit colorful Nefertari tomb, which belongs to the wife of legendary ancient King Ramses II.

In the evening at Luxor Temple on the east riverbank, they held a ceremony to unveil a large 60-ton, 12-meter-tall colossus of Ramses II after its restoration and re-erection to be standing next to five other statues at the temple's pylon.

The next day, they opened Opet Temple for the first time for visitors after its recent restoration at Luxor's Karnak Temple Complex on the east bank.

"We have a very active excavation season this year as we have made several discoveries over the past few weeks," Egyptian Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anany told Xinhua at the archeological site in Luxor, noting that such discoveries "boost cultural tourism in Egypt."

The event in Luxor came a few days after the Antiquities Ministry opened at Saqqara necropolis, near the Pyramids of Giza, the newly discovered tomb of Khuwy, a nobleman who lived at the end of the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom, some 4,500 years ago.

In February, in the desert of Tuna el-Gebel necropolis of Minya province southern Egypt, the ministry announced the discovery of a tomb including more than 50 mummies in a perfect condition of preservation.

"Cultural tourism has been declining worldwide while increasing in Egypt," Mashat said in a a statement.

Tourism is one of the main sources of national income and foreign currency in Egypt besides exports, remittances of Egyptian expatriates and the revenues of the Suez Canal.

The industry brought Egypt about 13 billion U.S. dollars in revenues in 2010 alone, when some 14.7 million tourists visited the country. It is now recovering from a later recession caused by political turmoil and relevant security challenges that resulted from the ouster of two heads of state in 2011 and 2013.

While excavation works are going on continuously in Egypt, the giant Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) is currently being constructed on an area of 491,000 square meters just two kilometers from the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The museum complex is expected to feature over 100,000 ancient artifacts, about 3,500 of which belong to famous pharaoh Tutankhamun, and is expected to be the top museum in the Middle East and one of the largest in the world.

The museum is also expected to promote tourism in Egypt and to become a main destination for Egyptologists and archeologists from different parts of the world.

"We have growing archeological discoveries in all provinces, and the largest gift Egypt will offer the world is the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum by the end of 2020," the tourism minister said in a recent statement in Luxor.

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Saturday, April 27, 2019

The dead and their resting places - The Sunday Guardian Live

The dead and their resting places

Recently, archeologists discovered yet another ancient Egyptian tomb with dozens of mummies. The tomb contained the bodies of both adults and children stored across multiple burial chambers. According to the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, the main room contained about 30 mummies, including the remains of several young children. Along with other artifacts, archeologists also found a painted statuette of the "Ba-bird": a part-bird, part-human figurine depicting the "soul of the deceased," the Egyptian ministry explained. Fragments of painted wood from coffins indicated the tomb belonged to someone called Tjit, who lived around the end of the time of the Pharaohs and the start of the Graeco-Roman period—332 B.C.E-395 C.E.

This is by no means the first discovery of mummies and ancient artifacts. Nor is it the first time that speculation has been fueled: will the curse of the mummies be activated this time and extract a heavy price? Certainly, it will not be the last time either that concerns about a curse will be expressed. As Brian Handwerk wrote in the National Geographic, "the legend of the mummy's curse seems destined never to die".

In July last year, a massive black stone sarcophagus was found in Alexandria and triggered rumours that the 27-ton stone sarcophagus was the final resting place of Alexander the Great. But there were also warnings against opening the tomb due to worries of a mummy's curse. But despite the anxieties, the mysterious black sarcophagus was opened, and as Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said, "We've opened it and, thank God, the world has not fallen into darkness. I was the first to put my whole head inside the sarcophagus… and here I stand before you … I am fine."

However, there are many stories and theories about people who did not remain fine after disturbing a mummy and died strange deaths. But to return briefly to the black stone sarcophagus, BBC News reported that the stench which leaked out upon opening the lid by just was enough to clear the site. Egyptian military engineers had to be called in to help pry the sarcophagus open. The black sarcophagus was found to contain three skeletons and lots of sewage water. And believe it or not, over 20,000 people petitioned online to drink the "Pharaoh Punch"—the sewage water in which the three skeletons had been seeped for over 2000 year s! Alicia Mcdermott wrote: "The creator of the petition, innes mck explained why: 'we need to drink the red liquid from the cursed dark sarcophagus in the form of some sort of carbonated energy drink so we can assume its powers and finally die.' Others backing the petition give an interesting array of explanations why they want access to the smelly sewage; reasons range from re-animating mummies to gaining superpowers to natural selection taking its course…"

The Egyptian Antiquities Authority felt it necessary to declare that the liquid "is neither 'juice for mummies that contains an elixir of life' nor is it red mercury"—it's just sewage water that has had human remains marinating in it for a couple of thousand of years. But thousands of petitioners were not convinced and the petition's creator rebutted, "please stop trying to tell me the skeleton juice is mostly sewage that's [ sic] impossible everyone knows skeletons cannot poop." Curiously, the lure of an elixir with unknown powers seemed to override considerations of the mummies curse, which brings one to the question, why is a mummy's curse deemed to be so powerful and is there evidence to support it? According to Dr Craig Barker, a classical archaeologist and museum educator, "A mummy is a deceased human or animal whose skin and organs have been preserved. This can either be done deliberately, through chemical embalming processes, or accidentally, thanks to the climate. A number of ancient cultures practiced deliberate mummification, such as the Chinchorro people of South America, and most famously, the desiccated bodies of ancient Egypt, which were meticulously prepared for the afterlife."

The mummy, Barker explains further, symbolises some of our most basic fears surrounding mortality. The mummy's enduring appeal can also be traced to the one archaeological dig everyone on the planet has heard of: Tutankhamun's tomb. The discovery of this tomb by Howard Carter in the Valley of the Kings in 1922 made international headlines. Carter had an exclusive deal with the Daily Express newspaper, which led other reporters to embellish their stories. This led to reports of a supposed curse on the tomb, "Death comes on swift wings to him who disturbs the peace of the King". "It was nonsense of course, but once the financier of the archaeological project, Lord Carnarvon, died in Cairo thanks to an infected mosquito bite, the curse story took off faster than any real news. In popular culture, mummies and curses became irreversibly linked."

Though the public fascination for curses pre-dates Carnarvon's unfortunate death, the real curse of the mummies, Barker avers, is not what they can do to us in fiction and film, but rather the way we have desecrated and treated them in real life. In an insightful article, National Geographic said that Salima Ikram, an Egyptologist at the American University in Cairo, believes the curse concept did exist in ancient Egypt as part of a primitive security system. "She notes that some mastaba or early non-pyramid tomb walls in Giza and Saqqara were actually inscribed with 'curses' meant to terrify those who would desecrate or rob the royal resting place. They tend to threaten desecrators with divine retribution by the council of the gods or a death by crocodiles, or lions, or scorpions, or snakes."Whatever the theories, it is a known, oft experienced fact that the dead do not want their last resting places to be disturbed.

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The Latest Discoveries in Egyptology (March-April 2019) - Nile Scribes

The Latest Discoveries in Egyptology (March-April 2019)

Every two months, the Nile Scribes bring you summaries of the latest news and discoveries in Egyptology, both from the field and the library. We introduce you to the newest archaeological finds or rediscovered artefacts from museum collections, plus other new theories stirring in the Egyptological Zeitgeist. This spring, we have been particularly captivated by the reliefs from the tomb of a Fifth Dynasty official at South Saqqara, and the corresponding discovery of a previously unknown queen of Egypt.

Did you read our edition of Discoveries from January & February?

The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities publishes a very helpful round-up of recent discoveries, events, and projects in Egypt in an accessible PDF format. The latest issue was published in March 2019 (English or Arabic).

A type of ship known as baris has recently been                  found at Thonis-Heraklion: it confirms a detailed                  description of the vessel preserved in Herodotus'                  writings (Photo: Christoph Gerigk/Franck Goddio/Hilti                  Foundation)
A type of ship known as baris has recently been found at Thonis-Heraklion: it confirms a detailed description of the vessel preserved in Herodotus' writings (Photo: Christoph Gerigk/Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation)

Nile shipwreck discovery proves Herodotus right – after 2,469 years (March 17 – Guardian)

NS: Herodotus, who devoted a book to his supposed travels through Egypt, is typically regarded with caution in his descriptions surrounding Egypt. However, his detailed description of a type of boat known as a baris has been confirmed as quite accurate: underwater archaeologists working at the sunken city of Thonis-Heraklion have come across the wreckage of a sunken ship – exactly of the type which Herodotus described.

"In the fifth century BC, the Greek historian Herodotus visited Egypt and wrote of unusual river boats on the Nile. Twenty-three lines of his Historia, the ancient world's first great narrative history, are devoted to the intricate description of the construction of a "baris". For centuries, scholars have argued over his account because there was no archaeological evidence that such ships ever existed. Now there is. A "fabulously preserved" wreck in the waters around the sunken port city of Thonis-Heracleion has revealed just how accurate the historian was. "It wasn't until we discovered this wreck that we realised Herodotus was right," said Dr Damian Robinson, director of Oxford University's centre for maritime archaeology, which is publishing the excavation's findings. "What Herodotus described was what we were looking at.""

Cartouches of Ramesses II were found in several                  places across the complex (Photo: Egyptian Ministry of                  Antiquities)
Cartouches of Ramesses II were found in several places across the complex (Photo: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities)

New temple palace discovered at Ramses II's temple in Upper Egypt's Sohag (March 29 – Ahram)

NS: Next to the amazing temple of Sety I at Abydos is located a temple built by his successor, Ramesses II. An excavation team has come across further evidence of occupation from the time of the famous king. The article alludes to the unearthing of a palace attached to the temple and it also appears that further parts of the temple have been revealed.

"Excavation work carried out in Ramses II's temple in Abydos, Sohag, has uncovered a new temple palace belonging to the 19th Dynasty king. The discovery was made by the New York University mission, directed by Sameh Iskander. "It is a very important discovery which will change, for the first time, the plan of the temple more than 160 years since its discovery," said Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. He describes the new discovery as "an important contribution to our understanding of the development of the temple palaces during the Ramesside period." The location and layout of the palace exhibits a noteworthy parallel to the temple palace of Ramses II's father Seti I in Abydos some 300 metres to the south."

Colourful and vivid scenes from the daily life can be found in the tomb of Khuwy at South Saqqara (Photo: Hana Vymazalová)

Discovery of a unique tomb and the name of an ancient Egyptian queen in south Saqqara (April 2 – Czech Institute of Egyptology)

NS: What a remarkable discovery: an Egyptian mission working in south Saqqara uncovered a tomb belonging to the official Khuwy, who lived during the Fifth Dynasty. The walls are decorated in vivid colour with scenes pulled from the 'daily life' repertoire. Discoveries in this area go in hand with the announcement of a previously unknown Queen Setibhor, whose name is preserved on a column base nearby. The Ministry of Antiquities has also posted a short video through the tomb on its Twitter feed.

"The tomb was found during the excavation and documentation activities of the area. The tomb consists of a superstructure with an L-shaped offering chamber, which was once decorated with reliefs. Only the bottom part of this decoration is preserved due to re-use of its white limestone blocks in later times. In the north wall of the tomb the mission found the entrance to a unique substructure, which is for the first time clearly inspired by the design of the substructures of the royal pyramids of the 5th Dynasty. This part of the tomb started with a descending corridor, which leads to a vestibule. An entrance in its southern wall gives access to a decorated antechamber. Its decoration represents the tomb owner sitting in front of the offering table on the south and north walls."

A large anthropoid sarcophagus recently discovered                  at Quesna in the Delta (Photo: Ministry of Egyptian                  Antiquities)
A large anthropoid sarcophagus recently discovered at Quesna in the Delta (Photo: Ministry of Egyptian Antiquities)

Limestone Coffin Housing 2 Ptolemaic-Era Mummies Unearthed in Monufia (April 2 – CairoScene)

NS: New parts of an ancient cemetery at Quesna, north of Cairo, have been uncovered, stretching in time from the Old Kingdom to the Ptolemaic Era. Among the discoveries were an anthropoid limestone sarcophagus, two meters in length, that contained the mummies of two persons buried together.

"The mission accidentally stumbled upon the sarcophagus while they were digging at the northeast side of the archaeological site. Waziri stated in a press release that the sarcophagus is two metres long and 60cm in width and in a good condition, despite the status of the mummies inside of it. Gilded coins and fragments were also found inside the sarcophagus covering the top mummy. The whole discovery was sent to be restored in Kafr El-Sheikh's storage gallery."

A large number of mummified birds was found in a                  tomb at Aswan along with many mummified mice (Photo:                  Mohamed Abd El Ghany)
A large number of mummified birds was found in a tomb at Aswan along with many mummified mice (Photo: Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

Mummified mice found in 'beautiful, colourful' Egyptian tomb (April 6 – Guardian)

NS: Among finds of several mummies were fragments of mummy masks and perhaps, most intriguingly, the mummified remains of mice and many other animals. The tomb has also preserved in vivid colour several funerary scenes and texts that speak to the family background of its owner: Tutu.

"Dozens of mummified mice were among the animals found in an ancient Egyptian tomb that was unveiled on Friday. The well-preserved and finely painted tomb near the Egyptian town of Sohag – a desert area near the Nile about 390km (242 miles) south of Cairo – is thought to be from the early Ptolemaic period, dating back more than 2,000 years. The tomb is believed to have been built for a senior official named Tutu and his wife, and is one of seven discovered in the area last October, when authorities found smugglers digging illegally for artefacts. Its painted walls depict funeral processions and images of the owner working in the fields, as well as his family genealogy written in hieroglyphics. "It's one of the most exciting discoveries ever in the area," said Mostafa Waziri, the secretary general of Egypt's supreme council of antiquities."

Investigating the contents of teeth in deceased                  persons may produce some unexpected insights (Photo:                  Nancy Lovell)
Investigating the contents of teeth in deceased persons may produce some unexpected insights (Photo: Nancy Lovell)

Archaeologists Discover A New Profession In An Ancient Egyptian Woman's Teeth (April 11 – Forbes)

NS: The skeleton of an older woman was among the more than 65 bodies unearthed at Mendes in the Nile Delta in the late 1970s. Recent reevaluation of some of the dental remains have produced some unexpected results, which add to our limited understanding of the types of professions which women held in Egyptian society.

"Some archaeologists rejoice in opening graves that have been sealed for millennia, while others marvel when their lab work reveals the hidden past of a particular person. During routine analysis of a skeletal collection from ancient Mendes, two archaeologists discovered odd tooth wear in an older Egyptian woman that suggested her body had more to tell them about her life. The skeleton was originally excavated in the late 1970s by the NYU Institute of Fine Arts Expedition to Mendes, along with 67 others. The site was the capital of ancient Egypt during the 29th Dynasty, or roughly the 4th century BC, but it was occupied continuously for a total of about 5,000 years. In addition to being a capital, Mendes was a trade hub and religious cult center, and archaeologists have also found residential and burial areas."

The remains of around 30 Egyptians was uncovered in                  a tomb near Aswan's Aga Khan Mausoleum (Photo: Egyptian                  Ministry of Antiquites)
The remains of around 30 Egyptians was uncovered in a tomb near Aswan's Aga Khan Mausoleum (Photo: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquites)


Graeco-Roman era tomb discovered in Upper Egypt (April 23 – Ahram)

NS: An exciting discovery was recently announced by Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities: an Italian team working near the Aga Khan Mausoleum in Aswan have uncovered burials of around 30 Egyptians dating to Graeco-Roman times. The mission had been successful in mapping the more than 300 tombs in the area and this discovery also provided the team with texts identifying the owner as Tit.

"An Egyptian-Italian archaeological mission working at the Aga Khan Mausoleum area in Aswan has discovered a rock-cut tomb dating back to the late Pharaonic Graeco-Roman period. Mostafa Waziri, the general secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, explains that the mission found inside the tomb parts of a painted wooden coffin. Also discovered were fragments of another coffin adorned with a complete text that includes the name of the owner, identified as Tjt, and an invocation to the gods of the First Cataract; Khnum, Satet and Anuket, as well as Hapy, the Nile god."

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Egyptian village revives Papyrus as tourism returns - SciDev.Net


Egyptian village revives Papyrus as tourism returns

Egyptian village revives Papyrus as tourism returns
Copyright: SciDev.Net/ Hazem Badr

Speed read

  • Egyptian village revives papyrus farming and industry
  • Industry has become essential source of income for villagers
  • Fine arts professor played key role in its revival
[Sharqiya, Egypt] Mona Azazy, like many children in her village, grew up watching her mother holding sticks of papyrus plant, cutting it into slices and preparing it for a series of industrial phases that finally result in printed papers called papyri.
Although Azazy has completed her vocational secondary school education, she still chose her mother's profession, like most young men and women from El-Karamous village, in the Sharqiya governorate of Egypt's Nile Delta.

"This is the only profession we know. We go to school and even university, but we are still convinced that our livelihoods revolve around papyrus,"

Mona Azazy, El-Karamous resident

"This is the only profession we know," she explains. "We go to school and even university, but we are still convinced that our livelihoods revolve around papyrus."
Papyrus is an African herbaceous plant, belonging to the Cyperaceae family. It develops into its final shape when it grows into long stems, similar to sugar cane or reeds submerged in water.
Papyrus is originally a Greek word, derived from the Egyptian word 'papuro', meaning 'royal' or 'that of the Pharo', as the government used to possess the land and control papyrus production.
Grown by the Nile, it was used by ancient Egyptians to write and document incidents, as well as science and arts.
In ancient times, the planting of papyrus spread from Egypt to Palestine and Sicily, before being adopted all over the Mediterranean, and parts of Europe and southwest Asia.
What remains of that history is the science of papyrus - the study of art, correspondence, legal records, and other ancient documents written on papyrus, as well as the translation and preservation of ancient original manuscripts.

Bringing back papyrus

El-Karamous village has been able to bring back papyrus farming, and use the plants to make paper for printing on, restoring the industry to the heart of its economy. The majority of residents are now employed in some aspect of the process.

The production process starts by cutting the plant, collecting it, and then slicing the rods.
The slicing relies on a workforce of women who are equipped with a strong piece of string, one end fixed to the wall, the other used to cut the rods.
It may look simple, but the slicing can cause severe pain in the hands and shoulder muscles to those unaccustomed to it. This was the experience of Sanaa Metwally, a housewife who returned to the profession after five years of absence.
Metwally says that one of the problems the industry faces is its reliance on tourism, making it subject to ups and downs.
After the uprising of 25 January, 2011, most workshops closed and farmers gave up planting papyrus as tourism came to a halt.
But with the slow comeback of tourism more recently, papyrus workshops and farmers have resumed their work.
Metwally adds while grasping her palm: "It is really weird how I need rest now, I used to work for eight hours with no break."
She and her colleagues get no fixed income for their work. Instead, earnings are based on production: 20 EGP (almost 1US$) for a container of slicing rods, where on average workers fill just three containers per day.
Despite this, Metwally expresses her gratitude to the profession and says: "This is the best job women can do to add to the family income, other than governmental jobs".
Mohammed El-Sayed, the owner of one of the workshops that resumed work after a period of closure, also appreciates working in the industry. He is responsible for all the manufacturing stages other than slicing, with the help of his offspring.
Sayed - originally a farmer - owns the workshop where Metwally works, as well as a plot of land where he grows the plants and manufactures papyrus.
After the papyrus stems have been sliced, they are immersed in potassium carbonate mixed with water to gain more flexibility, he explains, then in a chlorine and water mixture to whiten them.
"After that, slices are put side by side, compressed several times by different compressors… until they are completely dry," he says. "Paper is then transferred to printing houses in the village that specialise in designing Pharaonic drawings and putting them on papyrus."
El-Sayed was among the pioneers of papyrus cultivation and manufacturing, an activity that started in the village in the 1970s, thanks to the efforts of one of the residents, an expert in fine arts.

Sowing the seed

Local resident Al-Shabrawy Ismail says: "It all started when Dr. Anas Mostafa, a professor of fine arts, was on a scientific mission with Dr. Hassan Ragab, founder of the 'Pharaonic village' [a tourism park], and a key figure in preserving papyrus. He had the idea of producing paper featuring artistic illustrations. He bought a seedling from Sudan that he then cultivated on land he owned in the village."
Plant cultivation was not a problem, but the challenge was how to make the paper. Although ancient Egyptians documented fine details on many subjects, they didn't explain how they made the ancient material.
According to Ismail, Hassan started researching the subject in the early 1960s, and managed in 1966 to manufacture a paper that could be used for writing - after 1,000 years of oblivion.
By 1977, Hassan had a patent for his method and started presenting it to his park visitors.
Mostafa then implemented the same method in a workshop he set up in the village, where he trained local people, and the industry spread throughout the village and across generations.
Papyrus cultivation and manufacturing both require expertise, which many of the village residents possess, having been trained by experts.
Ismail elaborates: "We've learned when the plant needs more water and the right space we should leave between one seedling and the oth
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The Hieroglyphics Initiative: an open source digital platform for Egyptology | L.I.S.A. SCIENCE PORTAL GERDA HENKEL FOUNDATION
Kirsten Schröder | 04/26/2019 | 425 Views | Presentations |

The Hieroglyphics Initiative: an open source digital platform for Egyptology

Abendveranstaltung der Berlin-Brandenburgischen Akademie der Wissenschaften

Can we train a machine to translate Egyptian hieroglyphs? This is the question the independent production company Psycle explored in a Ubisoft research project. Taking the facsimiles created by Egyptologists as our starting point, we created a processing pipeline that begins with photographs of hieroglyphs in situ, and ends with possible translations in a modern language. The pipeline uses computer vision techniques to find candidate glyphs and glyph groups in an automatically generated facsimile. Next, neural nets are used to recognise the candidate glyphs and, finally, sequences of glyphs are compared to dictionaries of glyph words in order to find possible translations.

The lecture discusses not only the technical challenges of the project, but also highlights the limitations of machine learning, and the critical importance of the amount and consistency of data for enterprises of this type. The engagement and support of the academic community, which was crucial in giving direction and substance to the project, is also discussed. The project has generated a research and teaching tool for Egyptologists, an open-source repository of code, and several avenues for further research and collaboration.

Go to the article to view the lecture.

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Egyptologist in Canada presents theory of two queen rule before Tutankhamun

Egyptologist in Canada presents theory of two queen rule before Tutankhamun

Researchers have known for more than half a century that a queen had reigned before Tutankhamun, whose intact tomb was discovered in 1922, sparking global interest in Egyptology (AFP Photo/STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN)

Montreal (AFP) - Tutankhamun, the boy king of ancient Egypt, came to power only after two of his sisters jointly held the throne, according to an Egyptologist at Canada's Universite du Quebec a Montreal (UQAM).

Researchers have known for more than half a century that a queen had reigned before Tutankhamun, whose intact tomb was discovered in 1922, sparking global interest in Egyptology.

Some thought she was Nefertiti, the sister and wife of Akhenaten, who proclaimed herself "king" following his death. Others believed it to be the eldest daughter Princess Meritaten.

UQAM's Valerie Angenot says she has now conducted an analysis based on the study of symbols which revealed that two daughters of Akhenaten seized power at his death while their brother Tutankhamun, aged four or five at the time, was too young to rule.

Akhenaten had six daughters before having his son later on, who had a frail constitution and was plagued by illness throughout his life.

Akhenaten married Meritaten to prepare her to one day rule, but some inscriptions also indicate he was grooming another daughter Neferneferuaten Tasherit, for rule.

They jointly ascended to the thrown under a common name, according to Angenot.

Her work was presented at American Research Center in Egypt annual conference in Alexandria, Virginia, where she said it was well received.

"Egyptology is a very conservative discipline, but my idea was surprisingly well received, except for two colleagues who fiercely opposed it," she said, adding she hoped it could advance knowledge on succession issues in Ancient Egypt and of the Amarna Period.