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Monday, December 30, 2019

An Afterlife So Perilous, You Needed a Guidebook - The New York Times

An Afterlife So Perilous, You Needed a Guidebook

Archaeologists unearthed the remains of a 4,000-year-old "Book of Two Ways" — a guide to the Egyptian underworld, and the earliest copy of the first illustrated book.

A detail from the floor of a coffin of Gua, physician of Djehutyhotep, a nomarch of Deir el-Bersha, Egypt, during the Middle Kingdom, with markings showing the "two ways" of the ancient Egyptian afterlife. Researchers recently unearthed the remains of an even older "Book of Two Ways."Credit...Werner Forman/Universal Images Group, via Getty Images

When it comes to difficult travel, no journey outside New York City's subway system rivals the ones described in "The Book of Two Ways," a mystical road map to the ancient Egyptian afterlife.

This users' guide, a precursor to the corpus of Egyptian funerary texts known as "The Book of the Dead," depicted two zigzagging paths by which, scholars long ago concluded, the soul, having left the body of the departed, could navigate the spiritual obstacle course of the Underworld and reach Rostau — the realm of Osiris, the god of death, who was himself dead. If you were lucky enough to get the go-ahead from Osiris' divine tribunal, you would become an immortal god.

"The ancient Egyptians were obsessed with life in all its forms," Rita Lucarelli, an Egyptology curator at the University of California, Berkeley, said. "Death for them was a new life."

The two journeys were a kind of purgatorial odyssey reminiscent of Dungeons & Dragons: extraordinarily arduous, and so fraught with peril that they necessitated mortuary guidebooks like "The Book of Two Ways" to accompany a person's spirit and ensure its safe passage. (The "two ways" refer to the options a soul had for navigating the Underworld: one by land, the other by water.) Among other annoyances, the deceased had to contend with demons, scorching fire and armed doorkeepers, who protected the dead body of Osiris against gods bent on preventing his rebirth, according to Harco Willems, an Egyptologist at the University of Leuven in Belgium. Success in the afterlife required an aptitude for arcane theology, a command of potent resurrection spells and incantations and a knowledge of the names not just of Underworld doorkeepers but also of door bolts and floorboards.

In a new study published in the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Dr. Willems detailed how a team of researchers under his direction unearthed the remains of a 4,000-year-old "Book of Two Ways" — the earliest known copy of the first illustrated book. In 2012 they reopened a long-abandoned burial shaft in the cliff-side necropolis of Deir el-Bersha, a Coptic village midway between Cairo and Luxor on the eastern side of the Nile. The site was the main cemetery for the region's governors, or nomarchs, during Egypt's Middle Kingdom, roughly 2055 to 1650 B.C.E., and boasts many elaborately decorated tombs.

ImageFragments from a
Fragments from a "Book of Two Ways" discovered recently by Harco Willems, an Egyptologist at the University of Leuven in Belgium. It was found on the coffin of a woman named Ankh, in a long-abandoned burial shaft in the cliff-side necropolis of Deir el-Bersha.Credit...Harco Willems

The shaft that Dr. Willems investigated was one of five in the tomb complex of the nomarch Ahanakht. Twenty feet down, the researchers found the remains of a sarcophagus neglected by previous generations of archaeologists. Most of its contents had been looted or destroyed by fungi, but two rotting cedar panels turned out to be etched with images and hieroglyphs. To Dr. Willems's amazement, the fragments of text were from a "Book of Two Ways." Inscriptions found nearby referred to the reign of Pharaoh Mentuhotep II, who ruled until 2010 B.C.E. These suggest that the manual is some four decades older than any of the two dozen extant copies.

The 63-year-old Dr. Willems grew up in the Netherlands. His entry into the ancient Egyptian netherworld began at age 12, when he read Hans Baumann's "The World of The Pharoahs," an exploration of Egyptian antiquity from the point of view of a modern child. After majoring in Egyptology at Leiden University, Dr. Willems earned a Ph.D. at the University of Groningen, studying Middle Kingdom coffins. He has directed the dig at Deir el-Bersha since 2001; before that, the last time the tomb had been excavated was 86 years earlier, when it was explored by George Reisner, an American Egyptologist supported by Harvard University and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

The Reisner expedition is mostly remembered for the discovery of the tomb of the provincial governor Djehutynakht, the predecessor of Ahanakht. Among the treasures unearthed: a mummified head; a headless, limbless torso; and a chapel whose portico harbored two palm-columns, a rectangular inner hall and a deep chamber. Alas, in a secondary shaft, labeled Tomb 17K85/1B, Dr. Reisner came up empty. Scanning the scattered debris — yellowing newspapers, cigarette butts — he concluded that the chamber had been thoroughly ransacked by looters. He abandoned his search after only a few feet.

Aided by Dr. Reisner's excavation diary, Dr. Willems set out to document Tomb 17K85/1B in greater detail. Suitably gloomy, dank and eerie, the shaft was like the remains of a dark forest, with hundreds of bits of cedar coffin planks spread about as if deposited by a flash flood. Given the brittleness of the 4,000-year-old wood, the excavators carefully packed up the shards for conservation back at the university in Belgium.

Wooden sarcophagi of the Middle Kingdom's grandees were primarily painted on the inside. "These 'Coffin Texts' tend to situate the deceased in the world of the gods," Dr. Willems said. "Sometimes they are combined with drawings. At Deir el-Bersha, one frequently encounters 'Books of Two Ways.'"

The images were only applied in paint, but the hieratic texts were written in black or red ink and later traced, coarsely, with a knife. Although almost all color on the planks had disappeared and only the scratches remained, Dr. Willems managed to decipher many of the faint engravings using high-resolution images and DStretch, a software tool for digital enhancement of rock art.

Since some of the planks were etched with the name Djehutynakht, Dr. Willems at first assumed the coffin had contained that governor's body. But closer inspection revealed that its occupant was actually a woman named Ankh, who appeared to have been related to an elite provincial official. Indeed, the jumble of bones found in the shaft may be hers, even though the Book refers to Ankh as "he."

"To me, what's funny is the idea that how you survive in the netherworld is expressed in male terms," Dr. Willems said. To the ancient Egyptians, creation and regeneration were solely the province of male gods. "Goddesses were believed to be protective vessels," Kara Cooney, a professor of Egyptian art and architecture at the University of California, Los Angeles, said. In the engraving, "the pronoun 'he' was essential even for female deceased people because they needed to be like Osiris."

Generally, each individual's Book differed in length and lavishness depending on its owner's wealth or status. "This one begins with a text encircled by a red line designated as 'ring of fire,'" Dr. Willems said. "The text is about the sun god passing this protective fiery ring to reach Osiris." Gates feature prominently, as do two looping lines indicating the separate roads to the afterlife, surrounded by malignant spirits and other supernatural beings. The final image shows a barque dragged on a sledge — "Spell 1128," Dr. Willems said — and follows the final text ("Spell 1130"), which yokes the dead person's identity forever to the sun god, Ra, the creator. Assuming Ankh casts her spells properly, she has become a god.

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Sunday, December 29, 2019

Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass sees role as ‘custodian’ of antiquities - art and culture - Hindustan Times

Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass sees role as 'custodian' of antiquities

A larger-than-life character, who sees himself as "the custodian of Egyptian antiquities", Zahi Hawass evokes in the same breath ancient deities and Pharaohs as well as his own name.

art-and-culture Updated: Dec 06, 2019 09:30 IST

Agence France-Presse
Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass sees role as 'custodian'          of antiquities.
Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass sees role as 'custodian' of antiquities.(Unsplash)

Standing at the foot of the towering Great Sphinx of Giza, Zahi Hawass revels in his reputation as an indefatigable yet controversial figure in the enigmatic world of Egyptology.

With the early morning sun-kissed pyramids behind him, the 72-year-old dubbed "the Egyptian Indiana Jones" posed casually for photos sporting his trademark cowboy hat.

"This is a real archaeologist's hat. Harrison Ford's was a fake," he joked with AFP, referring to the American actor and star of the Indiana Jones movies.

Hawass, who has appeared in dozens of documentaries about ancient Egypt, is himself a star attraction for a luxury archaeological tour organised by an operator based in Poland.

A larger-than-life character, who sees himself as "the custodian of Egyptian antiquities", he evokes in the same breath ancient deities and Pharaohs as well as his own name.

Regaling tour participants with stories of his archaeological adventures, he boasts of his international achievements and cheerfully poses for selfies.

The high energy show is all part of his rambunctious performance for the eager crowd who fork out almost 10,000 US dollars each for two weeks of travel basking in his knowledge on all things Pharaonic.

- 'I found my passion' -

Despite his swagger, Hawass says he never once imagined he would have such a meteoric rise in the often dry and dusty world of archaeology.

"When I was young, I wanted to be a lawyer... I was a very bad student," he told AFP.

On a whim, a few friends advised him to study archaeology, and he fell instantly in love.

One day while out on a dig everything clicked when he uncovered a statue. "I thought to myself, I've found my passion," he said.

Today several decades later, he divides his time between digs in southern Egypt, his Cairo office, a daily sports workout and a multitude of prestigious conferences both at home and abroad.

But his flamboyant showmanship when enthusiastically unearthing Egypt's ancient treasures to a global audience has ruffled many in his esteemed academic community.

Some peers accuse him of being a businessman cashing in on his celebrity. And he admits that $150 per entrance ticket to one of his conferences is a little steep.

But to those who accuse him of lacking empirical rigour in his fieldwork, he hits back and points to his many awards.

"I have made some major discoveries," he said citing the tombs of the pyramid builders in Giza in the 1990s or the golden mummies of Bahariya Oasis, eastern Egypt, in 1996.

Fayza Haikal, professor of Archeology at the American University of Cairo (AUC), said his research methods are "serious".

"Like all stars, he has his fans and detractors," she said.

Hourig Sourouzian, a renowned Armenian archaeologist working in Upper Egypt, is more generous in his assessment.

He maintains Hawass has been a dynamic "engine" for Egyptology, translating to lucrative research grants from governments and funding bodies.

- 'Ambassador for archaeology' -

Hawass was head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities from 2002 to 2011 and then briefly minister of antiquities in early 2011.

It was a portfolio especially created for him. But he had to give it up right after the 2011 revolution that unseated long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Employees hurled abuse at him amid charges of nepotism and accusations of smuggling antiquities to overseas buyers as he was escorted out of the Egyptian Museum.

He left in a haze of corruption allegations along with other Mubarak allies.

A case brought against him was overturned and the charges dropped on legal technicalities. Hawass maintains his innocence and boasts that the case never made it to court.

Under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, he remains an influential figure in the field, and he is effusive in his praise of the general-turned-politician saying he "saved Egypt".

There have been rumours of a bitter rivalry between him and the current minister of antiquities, Khaled El-Enany, but Hawass dismisses such talk saying his successor is "doing a very good job".

"Enany when he came he depended on the people that I trained," he said. "And he calls me for advice all the time."

Disparagingly, Hawass continues to describe the 2011 uprising as a "stupid revolution" lamenting that the political turbulence delayed the opening of his brainchild, the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM).

The gigantic museum, overlooking the Giza pyramids, is now set to open to the public in 2020 five years later than originally planned.

Hawass hopes it will lure back tourists after a slump since the revolution and a string of deadly terror attacks.

More than 11 million tourists visited Egypt in 2018 some drawn by many recent discoveries in which he was involved.

"We can say anything we want, but Zahi is the best ambassador for Egypt and archaeology," said Sourouzian.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

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In Pics: The most attractive tourist destinations in West Sinai - Egypt Today
Serabit el-Khadem Serabit el-Khadem

In Pics: The most attractive tourist destinations in West Sinai

Sun, Dec. 29, 2019

CAIRO - 29 December 2019: Serabit el-Khadem is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in West Sinai for tourists and archaeologists alike.

It is also one of the most important archaeological areas in the peninsula, which bears indications of the creativity of the ancient Egyptians in exploiting the mineral resources of Sinai.

Archaeologist Mustafa Nourel-Din, director of the South Sinai and Red Sea Training Center, told Egypt Today that It is possible to invest Serabit el-Khadem region to be a source of national income without compromising its nature.


He also added that some archaeological areas in South Sinai such as Oyoun Moussa, Wadi Grandel, Wadi Ferran and Jabal Sirbal are closely related to religious events. Other areas such as Rawd Amira, Wadi Al-Hamr and Wadi al-Khaleejare related to the ancient Egyptian mining activity, where they used to extract copper and turquoise.

The Temple of Hathor is considered one of the largest ancient Egyptian monuments in Sinai where the temple contains memorial halls for numerous pharaos, including Amenemhat l, Senusret l, Tuthmosislll, Hatshepsut and Ramses II.

Nour el-Dinsaid that the Ministry of Antiquities implemented a project to develop the archaeological area in 2010. The development project included paving the road leading to Serabit el-Khadem with a length of about 7 km, developing the road leading to Hathor Temple, and establishing an administrative building for the archaeological area in Serabit el-Khadem, in addition to developing the archaeological areas of Wadi el-Nassab, Wadi el-Sahou.



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The Eternal Nile Is Even More Ancient Than We Thought - Eos

The Eternal Nile Is Even More Ancient Than We Thought

Deep-mantle flow helps maintain the river's steady course.


If you had traveled the length of the Nile River 30 million years ago, you would have followed much the same 6,650-kilometer course that you would today. The river has been flowing from its headwaters in the Ethiopian Highlands to its mouth in the Mediterranean Sea for about 6 times longer than previously thought, its course held steady by deep-mantle currents that mirror the Nile's northward flow.

The geological evolution of the Nile River is complicated, said Thorsten Becker, a geophysicist at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) and a coauthor on a new study published in Nature Geoscience. At least five ancestral rivers have flowed north from the Ethiopian Highlands since the Miocene. "When the river we now know as the Nile formed has been debated for some time," Becker said.

Lead author Claudio Faccenna, also at UT Austin, and colleagues took a deeper approach to deciphering the Nile's ancient history by connecting the gently tilting landscape along the river's course to a conveyor belt of mantle rock that wells upward in the south under the Ethiopian Highlands and pulls downward on the Earth's crust under the Mediterranean, keeping the Nile on a consistently northward course.

The idea that mantle flow patterns can influence surface topography is not new, but the sheer scale of the Nile River drainage offers a unique opportunity to study large-scale surface expressions of this mantle-landscape interaction, Becker said. "Because the river is so long, it offers a unique opportunity to study these interactions on a landscape-wide scale."

The team first traced the geologic history of the Nile by correlating ancient volcanic eruptions in the highlands with massive deposits of river sediments transported to the Nile Delta. By combining these observations, the team was able to determine that the Ethiopian Highlands rose dramatically around 30 million years ago and have remained relatively unchanged ever since, supported by a steady upwelling of hot mantle below the mountain range.

The researchers then verified their findings using computer modeling to simulate the past 40 million years of plate tectonic activity in eastern Africa, an extremely active region due to the East African Rift system. The models indicate that a stationary mantle plume that created the highlands evolved into a sustained south to north flowing conveyor belt of mantle that mirrors the south to north gradient of the river. The topography simulated by the model was "strikingly similar" to the course of the actual Nile, Becker said, down to the locations of the famous Cataracts of the Nile—a series of six rock-choked rapids between Khartoum, Sudan, and Aswan, Egypt.

"This study links a pretty diverse set of geologic observations and embeds those findings into a state-of-the-art flow model for the mantle," said Eric Kirby, a geophysicist at Oregon State University who was not involved in the new study. "It's a very compelling combination of techniques."

: The study's lead author, Claudio Faccenna, examines a            rock as part of the geological field evidence portion of the            project.
The new study combines geological field evidence with the latest modeling techniques to reveal new insights into the age of the Nile River. Credit: Claudio Faccenna

"Over the past decade or two, understanding how the deep Earth influences the surface has been a burgeoning field," Kirby said, "driven by increasingly high resolution seismic images and advances in our understanding of how to relate seismic images to properties that govern mantle flow, such as temperature, viscosity, and composition."

More work will need to be done to further decipher the mysteries of the Nile, said Bob Stern, a geoscientist at the University of Texas at Dallas who was not involved in the new study. An interesting next step could involve focusing the new techniques on the Nubian Swell, a region of structural uplift that runs east to west across the river, creating the Cataracts of the Nile, Stern said.

"The Nubian Swell is a mysterious area that shows no signs of igneous activity, and yet the mantle has to be responsible for that uplift somehow," he said. The uplift also is likely to have occurred more recently than 30 million years ago because the rocky cataracts would have been worn down by the powerful river in that much time, he said. "It's a hard place to understand just by looking at the surface expression," Stern said. "We need to look deeper."

Becker and colleagues are also planning to use their new observational and modeling techniques to look at mantle activity under other large rivers, such as the Congo and Yangtze Rivers. "We're hoping to develop techniques of reading the topography that help us fingerprint the underlying deep-mantle processes," he said. "How does the mantle shape the landscape over time? What are the geological and geophysical constraints? These are some of the big picture questions we're trying to answer."

—Mary Caperton Morton (@theblondecoyote), Science Writer

Citation: Morton, M. C. (2019), The eternal Nile is even more ancient than we thought, Eos, 100, Published on 27 December 2019.
Text © 2019. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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Hurghada Museum to be inaugurated on Jan.2020 - Egypt Today
File - Hurghada Museum. File - Hurghada Museum.

Hurghada Museum to be inaugurated on Jan.2020

Sat, Dec. 28, 2019

CAIRO – 28 December 2019: Hurghada Museum is scheduled to be inaugurated on January 22, 2020.

Hurghada Museum had been designed in accordance with world-class museum standards to display the aesthetic and luxury side of the Egyptian civilization throughout the ages.

The museum will also display manifestations of sports activities, such as river fishing and hunting, as well as music and dance events, as of the Pharaonic era up top modern times, in a bid to draw a relation between different civilizations.

The number of artifacts to be displayed in the museum will be 1000 pieces in order to attract tourists to visit the museum.

Hurghada Museum's lighting and security systems, were implemented in accordance with the ministry of antiquities requirements and in coordination with the Ministry of Interior to secure the museum with modern equipment and highly qualified personnel.

This is in addition to training the staff to professionally deal with and assist visitors of the museum.

The museum is set to encourage holidaymakers to visit museums during their stroll in the coastal areas and will contribute to the promotion of tourism in Egypt.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled Anany directed the museum officials to hold a meeting with tourism companies in Hurghada before the opening to discuss the marketing methods that can benefit both parties.

Hurghada Museum is one of the most prominent projects implemented by the Ministry of Antiquities in partnership with the private sector, which provided the museum's building.
This will be the first museum to be opened in partnership with the private sector.

The Ministry of Antiquities will be the only entity managing and supervising the museum.
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Egypt begins moving Luxor sphinxes to Tahrir Square - Egypt Independent

Egypt begins moving Luxor sphinxes to Tahrir Square

Egypt's Antiquities Ministry on Friday has begun moving four of the sphinxes in Luxor's Karnak Temple, relocating them to Tahrir Square.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly instructed that a specific timetable be drawn up to complete Tahrir Square's developmental work – which includes decorations such as a pharaonic obelisk and the four sphinxes.

A source in the Antiquities Ministry said that the sphinxes to be moved were among a group of 60 located behind the first edifice of the temple. These sphinxes are not among the ones on Luxor's Avenue of Sphinxes linking the Luxor and Karnak temples, which the Ministry is working to renovate its tourist walkway.

The move was met with resentment in Luxor among tourist and archaeological circles however, as it was believed to be stripping Luxor of its heritage.

A member of the Chamber of Tourism and Travel Companies in Luxor, Mohamed Qenawy,  said that relocating the sphinxes and other statues will negatively impact visits to Luxor.

He also warned of the risks of gathering all these artifacts in one place, as it makes them more vulnerable to loss and damage.

The director of the Luxor Center for Studies, Dialogue and Development Mohamed Abo Saleh urged the Antiquities Ministry to review its decision.

The transfer of 122 items, including some of Tutankhamun's holdings, from Luxor's museums and temples over the past year has angered the city's residents, he said, as they were eager to create a museum in the city that would accommodate new archaeological discoveries, instead of clearing Luxor from its antiquities.

Informed sources in the city said that some royal statues will also be transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum during the coming period, including some statues from the Luxor Temple cache discovered in 1989.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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Saturday, December 28, 2019

Egypt breaks a Guinness Record with a portrait of Tut's mask made from 7260 coffee cups - Egypt Today
File- King Tutankhamun's mask portrait made from 7260 coffee        cups File- King Tutankhamun's mask portrait made from 7260 coffee cups

Egypt breaks a Guinness Record with a portrait of Tut's mask made from 7260 coffee cups

Sat, Dec. 28, 2019

CAIRO – 28 December 2019: Grand Egyptian Museum witnessed a celebration of breaking a new record at Guinness world Record by drawing a portrait of King Tutankhamun's mask made from 7260 coffee cups on Saturday, December 28.

record 1

Deputy of Minister of Antiquities and Tourism Ghada Shalaby: This event is very important to highlight the importance of the Egyptian antiquities and promote tourism

Head of Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziry: This is an international event that is hosted by the Grand Egyptian Museum, the largest and most prestigious cultural building in the world.

record 2

Country Manager - MENA at Guinness World Record ,Talal Omar : I am happy to witness this important event ,for the largest coffee cups painting for King Tut in this museum that combines history and modern architecture

In an atmosphere of enthusiasm and joy, a group of young Egyptians implemented the design of King Tutankhamun's mask on an area of 60 square meters, in the area leading to the open restaurants location at the Grand Egyptian Museum.

At the end of the event Guinness Book of Records recorded Tutankhamun portrait as the biggest painting to be executed with the largest number of coffee cups.

The inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum is one of the main events that Egypt and the whole world is waiting for in 2020.

On December 19, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Anany announced on a meeting held with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli that about 94.5 percent of GEM work was finalized.

He noted that about 49,603 artifacts were moved to the Grand Egyptian Museum so far.

One of the most important transferred artifacts were the statues of King Ramses II, Sekhmet and Seti, in addition to a huge pink-granite portray of Ramses VI, and another distinguished set of statues that express the mastery of ancient Egyptian art.

Also a statue of King Khafra made of alabaster and a statue of the priest Kay made of colored limestone, depicting the priest sitting on a seat with a half backrest, beside his left foot is a small statue of his wife and a sarcophagus of king Senusert I was transferred to GEM.

On October 19 ministry of antiquities announced the discovery of the largest cache in the cemetery of El-Assasif by the Egyptian archaeological mission. A total of 30 coffins spanning back to the 22nd Pharaonic Dynasty were discovered and placed in a warehouse to protect them from thievery.

The 30 archaeological coffins have been transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum.

The cache was buried one meter from the surface of the ground. The first row consisted of 18 coffins and the second consisted of 12 coffins for men, women, and 3 children.

For the first time GEM will display Tutankhmaum treasures in one place. The total number of antiquities belonging to King Tutankhamen is 5398. Among king Tut's artefacts that was transferred is his coffin.

The transferred coffin is one of the three coffins of Tutankhmaum, portraying the golden king as God Osiris. The coffin was discovered in King Tut's burial chamber in 1922. The outer ark is made of gilded wood.

The hands are clipped with gold foil, crossed across the chest, while holding royal decals inlaid with blue and red glass beads. It is 223.5 cm in length, 86.8 cm in diameter, while its height is 105.5 cm. The ark contains silver handles on both sides that were used to move the lid.

Minister of Antiquities announced that 50000 artifacts were transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum so far.

The Grand Egyptian Museum will be the largest museum in the world dedicated to one civilization only; the dazzling ancient Egyptian civilization.

GEM will include a children's museum, an educational center, a handicraft center, educational classes and a museum dedicated to sun boats, in addition to the first field for a hanging obelisk.

The Grand Egyptian Museum will turn Egypt to a main worldwide hub for Pharonic artifacts and a must-visit place for both tourists and Egyptologists.

This great museum is tailor made to benefit from the diversity of Egypt's monuments and artifacts to be displayed in one place and one location to maintain and preserve this one of a kind heritage.

GEM site is only 2km from the Giza Pyramids, located between the ancient Great Pyramids and the modern city of Cairo, at the junction between dry desert and the fertile floodplain, the Grand Museum is a portal to the past.

The Giza Pyramids and its Necropolis nominated by UNESCO among the world Cultural Heritage Sites as it houses unique monuments from the dazzling Egyptian civilization.

The Grand Egyptian Museum complex is built on a plot of land of approximately 117 feddans, about 480,000 square meters.

GEM opening will be attended by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi as well as kings, princes, presidents, heads of international organizations, and senior officials from all around the world.

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Northern Cal. Egyptology Lecture 1/12/2020: Rethinking Human and Animal Representation in Egyptian Art

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 Dr. Jennifer Miyuki Babcock, Pratt Institute:

Man vs. Wild? Rethinking the Interpretation of Human and Animal Representation in Egyptian Art

Sunday,  January 12, 2020, 3 pm

Room 20 Barrows Hall
UC Berkeley Campus

(Near the intersection
of Bancroft Way
and Barrow Lane)

About the Speaker:

Dr. Jennifer Miyuki Babcock is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of History of Art and Design at Pratt Institute and also teaches at other universities in New York City, including New York University, The New School, and The Fashion Institute of Technology. She teaches survey art history courses that range from prehistory to modern times, and also leads classes that focus on the ancient Mediterranean world and its intercultural exchanges. Prior to teaching, she was a Postdoctoral Curatorial Associate at The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World and has held research and fellowship positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the Brooklyn Museum.

Dr. Babcock earned her PhD at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU in ancient Egyptian art and archaeology in 2014. Her dissertation, The Imagery of Anthropomorphized animals in New Kingdom Ostraca and Papyri: Their Artistic and Cultural Significance demonstrates how the images of anthropomorphized animals are linked with major aspects of Egyptian art, such as narrative, parody, and aesthetics. Currently, Dr. Babcock is revising her dissertation into a book, and her manuscript, Tree Climbing Hippos and Ennobled Mice: Animal Fables in Ancient Egypt, is in review with Brill Publishers. Her research interests, including the construction of visual narrative and the development of ancient Egyptian iconography, have been supported by faculty development grants and awards from The New School and The Fashion Institute of Technology.

About the Lecture:

In the past, certain scholars have argued that ancient Egyptian depictions of domestic and wild animals are shown within postures and situations that emphasize their natural movements and behaviors; this is in contrast to human representation, which follows strict and rigid artistic conventions. This interpretation suggests that the artistic treatment of human and animal representation is different, and that the ancient Egyptians intended to show the dichotomy of order and chaos through the human and animal world, respectively. However, a closer look at these images indicate that some of the same artistic restraints imposed on human representation are also seen in animal representation, such as the use of the canon of proportions, strict register lines, and iconicity. This talk will discuss the scholarly bias toward human representation, and investigate why Egyptologists have taken for granted that animals demonstrate higher levels of artistic freedom when in fact there are numerous examples of seemingly spontaneous human movement and behaviors in Egyptian art as well.

Lectures are free and open to the public. Donations are welcomed.
No photographing or recording of lectures without the express permission of the speakers.
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 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 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

Friday, December 27, 2019

Guinness Records celebrates Tutankhamun’s coffee-cups portrait on Dec. 28 - Egypt Today's-coffee-cups-portrait-on-Dec-28
King Tut - Press photo King Tut - Press photo

Guinness Records celebrates Tutankhamun's coffee-cups portrait on Dec. 28

Wed, Dec. 25, 2019

CAIRO - 25 December 2019: On Dec. 28 the Grand Egyptian Museum will host a celebration of the Guinness Book of Records to set a new record in the name of Egypt for drawing a picture of King Tutankhamun's mask with coffee cups.

The celebration takes place in the external lobby of the Grand Egyptian Museum in front of the glass pyramid, with the participation of numerous stakeholders and local and international media outlets.

The Grand Egyptian Museum is considered the largest museum in the world dedicated to one civilization; the ancient Egyptian civilization. It includes antiquities from prehistoric times to the Greek era. It is scheduled to officially launch at the end of 2020.

For the first time in history and in one place, the personal belongings of King Tutankhamun will be exhibited in two halls of the museum covering an area of 7200 square meters.

Tutankhamun's belongings that will be exhibited in the museum exceeds 5,000 pieces, in addition to displaying the outer sarcophagus of the golden king.

The outer sarcophagus remained in his grave since its discovery in 1922, until it was transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum in 2019, to be displayed for the first time with Tut's other three sarcophaguses in one place.

Two of the sarcophaguses were displayed in the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, while the third was exhibited in his cemetery in the Western mainland in Luxor.

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Egypt’s Top 10 Archaeological Discoveries of 2019

Egypt's Top 10 Archaeological Discoveries of 2019

It's been an amazing year for archaeology.


Looking back, 2019 was a fantastic year for archaeological missions in Egypt. A plethora of new discoveries and preservations were uncovered, giving us the feeling that the magic of Egyptian history is practically endless. Let's take a look at some of the most significant discoveries of the year:

1. Ancient Roman townhouse and university in Alexandria 

An Egyptian-Polish archaeological mission uncovered remains of an Ancient Roman town in Alexandria's Kom El-Dekka in July. The discovery included a collection of mosaics covering the floor of a townhouse, a small theatre, a massive imperial bathroom and a unique collection of 22 lecture halls, which are believed to be the remains of an old university.

2. 30 coffins holding Ancient Egyptian priest mummies 

 Archaeologists unearthed 30 sealed wooden coffins with priest mummies within at El-Assasifan ancient necropolis nearby Luxor in October. The coffins date back to about 3,000 years but were astonishingly well-preserved, and included 23 adult males, 5 adult females and 2 children.

3. Sohag tomb and Tutu's mummy 

Archaeologists uncovered a unique and intact tomb in Egypt, whose inscriptions still have their original colour. Believed to be the tomb of a high-ranking official from the Ptolemaic Period called Tutu, the tomb contained tens of mummified animals, in addition to one human mummy, which is believed to have once been the owner of the tomb.

4. Ramses II statue under Giza house 

 A bust of Ramses II was discovered in Mit Rahina village near the Great Pyramids of Giza. The bust is considered an extremely rare find as it is made from rose granite. It was found alongside remains of an ancient temple to Ptah, a patron god. Initially, a 62-year old resident of the village attempted to excavate it illegally underneath his home until a team from the Ministry of Antiquities was sent to continue the dig.

5. Khuwy tomb of Saqqara 

An Egyptian archaeological mission discovered the tomb of a Fifth Dynasty official named Khuwy in Saqqara back in April. The tomb was incredibly well preserved, carrying all its original colours. The sarcophagus and mummy of Khuwy were found in ruins as a result of an attempted robbery, but the remains show clear signs of mummification.

6. Discoveries in Underwater Cities of Heracleion and Canopus

Discoveries including jewellery, new ports, pottery, and temple ruins were made in July about 32km northeast of Alexandria in the ancient underwater cities of Heracleion and Canopus. The mission was able to conclude that the city was much bigger than previously thought.

7. The accidental discovery of 20 Greco-Roman and Ptolemaic Sites 

Some 20 archaeological sites from the Ptolemaic and Greco-Roman eras were uncovered in central and east Alexandria by coincidence after the land was identified for construction suitability.

8. Strange Egyptian head cones 

What was once considered an artistic depiction was discovered earlier this month in Akhetaten. The mysterious cone-shaped headwear, made of bees-wax, was found in a grave by a team of archaeologists from Monash University in Melbourne and the Ministry of Antiquities.

9. Lion cub mummies 

Various animal and bird mummies, as well as 75 wooden and bronze statues, were discovered at the Bubastian necropolis in Saqqara in November. Two of the animal mummies were lion cubs, which is an extremely rare find. The discovery also included a very rare stone scarab, which Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, dubbed "the largest in the world."

10. Limestone coffin housing 2 mummies 

An Egyptian archaeological mission from the Ministry of Antiquities unearthed a well-preserved coffin made out of limestone that was carrying two poorly preserved mummies in the Qesna quarry excavation site in Monufia back in April.

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Egypt to reopen historic Jewish synagogue in January

Egypt to reopen historic Jewish synagogue in January

Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue has undergone a three-year renovation. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 27 December 2019
  • It is one of the largest Jewish temples in the Middle East
  • It was built in the 1850s

ALEXANDRIA: Egypt is set to reopen a historic Jewish synagogue in Alexandria after a three-year process of restoration. The Ministry of Antiquities announced that the Eliyahu Hanavi synagogue will be reopened in January.

It is one of the largest Jewish temples in the Middle East and has undergone a series of restorations since 2017.

Egypt's Minister of Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani visited Alexandria to see the latest developments at the synagogue and other archaeological sites, including the Greco-Roman Museum, the Alexandria National Museum and some jewelry museums.

The ministry said: "The renovation work included the structural reinforcement of the building, architectural and precise restoration of the main facades and the decorative walls, as well as wooden and copper elements in the temple. In addition to the development of modern lighting systems, insurance and warning, in preparation for its opening in January."

The statement added that the restoration of the synagogue and the Greco-Roman Museum comes within the interest of the Egyptian government in preserving its heritage, whether it be pharaonic, Jewish, Coptic or Islamic.

After the decrease of the Jewish population in Egypt, Eliyahu Hanavi is one of the two remaining synagogues in Alexandria. It was built in the 1850s but closed at the end of 2012 due to security reasons.

The temple was included in the 2018 Archeology List of the World Monuments Fund for Endangered Monuments.

According to its website, it is a "symbol of Egypt's historical pluralism, when diverse national and religious communities lived together in a spirit of coexistence and religious freedom."

This restoration is a part of a cooperation protocol signed between the ministry and the Armed Forces Engineering Authority in April 2017, with a goal to develop and repair eight archeological sites, including Al-Baroun Palace in the Heliopolis district and the Mohammed Ali Shubra Palace.

The agreement also commits them to the development of the pyramids of Giza and the restoration of Alexan Palace in Assiut.

The protocol is an attempt to stimulate tourism and encourage Egyptian visitors — especially children — to visit regional museums to discover the greatness of their country's civilization and raise their archeological and cultural awareness.

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1st long-term exhibition on Egypt underway in Korea
1st long-term exhibition on Egypt underway in Korea
Posted : 2019-12-23 14:25
Updated : 2019-12-23 18:07
Yi Whan-woo

Egyptian Ambassador to Korea Hazem Fahmy, fourth from                left, National Museum of Korea Director-General Bae                Ki-dong, fifth from left, and Brooklyn Museum curator                Edward Bleiberg, left, join a ribbon-cutting ceremony                during the opening of the World Culture Gallery of the                National Museum of Korea in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Dec. 16.                The gallery features a collection of 94 Egyptian artifacts                belonging to the Brooklyn Museum in New York City. / Korea                Times photo by Yi Whan-woo
Egyptian Ambassador to Korea Hazem Fahmy, fourth from left, National Museum of Korea Director-General Bae Ki-dong, fifth from left, and Brooklyn Museum curator Edward Bleiberg, left, join a ribbon-cutting ceremony during the opening of the World Culture Gallery of the National Museum of Korea in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Dec. 16. The gallery features a collection of 94 Egyptian artifacts belonging to the Brooklyn Museum in New York City. / Korea Times photo by Yi Whan-woo

Artifacts travel to Seoul ahead of 2020 opening of Cairo museum

By Yi Whan-woo

A long-term exhibition featuring ancient Egyptian artifacts is taking place for the first time in Korea.

Egyptian Ambassador to Korea Hazem Fahmy, fourth from                left, National Museum of Korea Director-General Bae                Ki-dong, fifth from left, and Brooklyn Museum curator                Edward Bleiberg, left, join a ribbon-cutting ceremony                during the opening of the World Culture Gallery of the                National Museum of Korea in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Dec. 16.                The gallery features a collection of 94 Egyptian artifacts                belonging to the Brooklyn Museum in New York City. / Korea                Times photo by Yi Whan-woo
A relief of Ramses II
Egyptian Ambassador to Korea Hazem Fahmy, fourth from                left, National Museum of Korea Director-General Bae                Ki-dong, fifth from left, and Brooklyn Museum curator                Edward Bleiberg, left, join a ribbon-cutting ceremony                during the opening of the World Culture Gallery of the                National Museum of Korea in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Dec. 16.                The gallery features a collection of 94 Egyptian artifacts                belonging to the Brooklyn Museum in New York City. / Korea                Times photo by Yi Whan-woo
Mummy of Thothirdes, an Egyptian priest who is believed to have died between 768 B.C. and 545 B.C.
Egyptian Ambassador to Korea Hazem Fahmy, fourth from                left, National Museum of Korea Director-General Bae                Ki-dong, fifth from left, and Brooklyn Museum curator                Edward Bleiberg, left, join a ribbon-cutting ceremony                during the opening of the World Culture Gallery of the                National Museum of Korea in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Dec. 16.                The gallery features a collection of 94 Egyptian artifacts                belonging to the Brooklyn Museum in New York City. / Korea                Times photo by Yi Whan-woo
Coffin of Thothirdes
The exhibition at the World Culture Gallery of the National Museum of Korea in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, opened on Dec. 16. It will run until November 2021.

The National Museum of Korea previously hosted special exhibitions of Egyptian artifacts in 2009 and 2016, respectively, with each lasting a couple of months.

The 2019 program is being held in cooperation with Brooklyn Museum in New York City, showcasing 94 artifacts including mummies, coffins and sculptures dating from 4100 B.C. to 2 A.D.

All displayed items are part of the permanent collection of Brooklyn Museum.

The National Museum of Korea planned the exhibition in celebration of opening of the World Culture Gallery, which has been expanded from the Asia Culture Gallery that consisted of historical, artistic and cultural objects from China, India, Central Asia and Southeast Asia.

One of the highlights is a relief of Ramses II in limestone. It is suggested it came from the temple of Ramses II at Abydos and was carved within the first two years of his reign.

The exhibition also shows the mummy and wooden coffin of priest Thothirdes. Carbon-14 dating, a scientific method used to determine the date of archaeological samples, indicates that Thothirdes died between 768 B.C. and 545 B.C., supporting the 26th Dynasty date suggested by the style of his coffin.

A celebratory reception at the museum, Dec. 16, drew Egyptian Ambassador to Korea Hazem Fahmy, National Museum of Korea Director-General Bae Ki-dong, and Brooklyn Museum curator Edward Bleiberg, as well as foreign envoys and other members of the diplomatic corps in Seoul.

Ambassador Fahmy expressed hope the Egypt gallery will open "your eyes to a tiny sample of the wonders and mysteries of ancient Egypt."

Referring to the planned opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo next year, Fahmy also said the Seoul exhibition will hopefully "stimulate your desires to visit the land of the pharaohs."

"It is the first of its kind ever in Korea to span a period of two full years … Having such a gallery in Korea has a special significance, being in a country that has its own ancient civilization and deep roots in history, and a state of development that carved its own big mark on the present global arena," he said.

The ambassadors noted these items show how ancient Egyptians worked hard in pursuit of immortality and have advanced science and technology accordingly, such as mummification and construction of pyramids.

"It might be worth mentioning in this regard that with all the advanced technology the world commands today, we are still not able to discover the secrets behind many of the techniques and technologies used by the pharaohs."

Director-General Bae said Egypt, as the cradle of one of the four major ancient civilizations, is a "meaningful starting point" to understand the world's cultures.

"This how we have decided to come up with the country's first-ever Egypt gallery on a long term," he said.

Noting Egypt is located on the easternmost tip of Africa and Korea is on Eurasia's eastern front, Bae said the museum, through the exhibition, is expected to help raise awareness here toward Egyptian civilization while offering foreigners a chance to learn about Korea's culture.

The World Culture Gallery, according to Bae, will showcase a rotation of artifacts from other parts of the world every one or two years after the Egypt exhibition.

"And we'll take the Egypt exhibition as a moment for the gallery to develop into a world culture museum," he said.
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