Search This Blog

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Monthly Updates from ARCE

We love to share when ARCE makes the news! Elizabeth Bolman, ARCE's past director for the Red Monastery conservation project in Sohag, Egypt, authored a piece for the Wall Street Journal about the incredible early Coptic monument and the efforts of ARCE and USAID to preserve it. 
To read the article, click here.
The stunning painted interior of the church. 
This month, ARCE launched virtual tours of two separate conservation and site management projects that it carried out at the Monastery of St. Anthony's in the Eastern Desert. Enjoy the advantages of being an armchair tourist and visit the beautifully conserved medieval wall paintings at St. Anthony's before stopping off at the museum space that ARCE installed. 
The Monastery of St. Anthony's. Photo: Michael Jones.

ARCE's first-ever podcast launches on our website on July 8 and will feature Dr. Aidan Dodson speaking about King Tutankhamun's tomb and its treasures.
If you have any suggestions for future topics that you would like to see addressed in ARCE's podcast series, please email us at!

ARCE is pleased to launch its newst fellowship opportunity for Egyptian scholars based in Egypt. Two 12-month fellowships will be awarded and applications will be accepted beginning from July 1. 
For more information on this research position and the guidelines for applying, click here.

ARCE will be welcoming its new Communications Manager, Dania Younis, in July.
Dania holds a bachelor's degree in mass communications from the American University in Cairo. She established her own marketing agency in 2016 and has been working in the field of creative marketing and communications since 2014. She held previous positions at Qsoft Holding and MAD Solutions, and previously served as the Public Relations Specialist for the El Gouna Film Festival in 2018.  After having her fair share of marketing and creative endeavors, Dania shifted to the non-profit sector where she served as the Marketing and Communications Lead for INJAZ Egypt and continues to strive for a career path where she's part of organizations that positively affect society.  
Welcome to the team, Dania!
ARCE is gearing up for its March 2021 member tour of Egypt. For this coming edition, we've included new locations like Tell el-Amarna and Minya, as well as an optional extension to the northern coastal city of Alexandria.
For more information and to view the itineraries, click here.

Past ARCE project director for the Tomb of Menna, Melinda Hartwig, will speak in a public online lecture titled 'The Tomb Chapel of Menna (TT 69): The Art, Culture, and Science of Painting in an Egyptian Tomb,' and discuss the international team of conservators, Egyptologists, scientists,  and digital specialists that conserved the Tomb of Menna between 2007 and 2009. Registration for this event will open on July 1.
Time: July 15, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. ET
For more information and to register, click here.

ARCE has partnered with the National Arts Club to host an online lecture with Julie Anderson, titled 'Excavating Dangeil: A Voyage of Discovery Through Intersecting Cultures.' 
Excavations at Dangeil, located close to the Nile in what is now central Sudan, have uncovered a previously unknown 1st century CE temple dedicated to the god Amun. Earlier rulers discovered there in a statue hoard include the celebrated Kushite Pharoah Taharqo. This is one of many discoveries at Dangeil throwing unexpected light on African history from antiquity into the medieval period and later.
Time: August 18, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. EEST
For more information and to register, click here.

Connect With Us:


Contact Info:
American Research Center in Egypt
909 N Washington Street
STE 320
Alexandria, VA 22314
United States

Monday, June 29, 2020

Egypt’s Tourism & Antiquities Min. keen to complete Akhenaten’s Museum in El-Minya - Egypt Today

Akhenaten Museum - ET Akhenaten Museum - ET

Egypt's Tourism & Antiquities Min. keen to complete Akhenaten's Museum in El-Minya

Sun, Jun. 28, 2020

CAIRO – 28 June 2020: Despite the COVID-19 pandemic that strongly hit the entire world, Egypt's Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities did not stop its work. The ministry's work is carried out within the framework of strict precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the novel virus, and to complete work on archaeological sites.

Among the museums, which Egypt's Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities is working on, is the Akhenaten Museum in Minya.

Head of the Central Department for Engineering Affairs, Archeology and Museum Projects
Waad Abul-Ela stated that the work of the third stage has been completed in the museum, and the fourth stage has started. Abul-Ela further added that work inside the museum is underway, and the ministry is working to complete the open-air sites to open them at the earliest time, according to the precautionary measures implemented by the state to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Furthermore, in regards to the German grant to the museum, Abul- Ela said in press statements that the grant is supposed to be allocated to the museum's security equipment and showcases, but has not yet arrived.

Abul-Ela clarified that not receiving the grant did not interfere with the work inside the museum, where internal finishing work is currently being conducted. He pointed out that the museum spans over an area of 25 acres with a length of 600 meters on the Nile Corniche and consists of 14 show-casing halls. According to Abul-Ela, the number of artifacts due to be displayed at the museum may reach 10,000 artifacts.

Moreover, the museum's main hall illustrates the history of the city of Minya through different eras, while the rest of the halls contain artifacts that narrate the history and art of Akhenaten's era. The museum also contains a theater, cinema, and conference hall for about 800 people, an ancient library and a bazaars area consisting of 19 bazaars. This is in addition to five artificial lakes overlooking the Nile, and a number of cafeterias, an administrative building with a staff training center and another to revive heritage industries and crafts.

Works of establishment of the Akhenaten Museum in Minya was first conducted in 2003. The project was divided to three stages.

According to Abul-Ela, the first stage was completed in 2007, and included the museum's concrete structure and the buildings of the main museum, as well as the usual works and finishes for the attached buildings, which are represented in the restoration school, the machinery building, the cafeteria, the gift shop building, the bridge, and the gates.

In addition, Abul-Ela explained that the second phase of the museum project included the facades of the main museum building, as well as maintenance works of the central air conditioning, elevators, irrigation network at the general site and the building of the tourist police station. He also pointed out that some obstacles hinder the implementation of the second stage, and reviewed the most important of these obstacles before the Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly.

According to Abul-Ela, the second stage is extended in the works of the third stage of the museum project, which includes the work of the interior finishes of the main museum building and the completion of works at the general site, along with all electrical work, and the completion of air conditioning, fire and irrigation maintenance works.

Additionally, Abul-Ela clarified that the project was halted due to the events of the January 25 revolution, due to the lack of funds; then construction work started again under President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to complete the third stage.

The idea of establishing the Akhenaten Museum came through an agreement between Minya Governorate and a German city in 1979, to illustrate the era of Akhenaten, and the period of unification to tell the story of Tel el-Amarna as a part of Minya Governorate, the capital of Egypt at that time.
--   Sent from my Linux system.

Anani: Grand Egyptian Museum is 90% complete thanks to Engineering Authority's efforts - Egypt Today

File - Grand Egyptian Museum File - Grand Egyptian Museum

Anani: Grand Egyptian Museum is 90% complete thanks to Engineering Authority's efforts

Mon, Jun. 29, 2020

CAIRO – 29 June 2020: Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled el-Anani said that the inauguration of the Baron Palace is a touristic event that has an important cultural impact.

Anani further stated that the inauguration of the Baron Palace asserts that Egypt does not forget its history and works to develop the historical Heliopolis area. The country is working to provide an archaeological infrastructure and open two airports that will have a positive impact on Egyptian tourism, according to Anani.

During his speech at the opening of a number of national projects in the presence of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Anani added that the Grand Egyptian Museum project was the latest qualitative shift in the West Cairo region, explaining that before mid-2016, the implementation rate was 17 percent, but after the Engineering Authority of the Armed Forces took over the project, the implementation rate reached 90 percent. Additionally, costs were reduced from LE 1.6 billion to 700 million without affecting the quality.

Anani explained that the Grand Egyptian Museum spans on an area of 490,000 squared meters. A pyramid wall and a glass façade that provide a panoramic view were completed, and 51472 artifacts were transported to the museum from all over the country.

Egypt's minister of tourism & antiquities clarified that 90 percent of the second Khufu Ship has been restored. This is in addition to restoring Tutankhamun belongings, exhibiting 92 pieces on the private stairs, receiving a large number of monuments, and completing the impressive staircase that ends in the pyramids.

Moreover, Anani reviewed the archaeological projects that have been completed in various governorates in the past few years, like the restoration of the Hanging Church, Al-Fateh Mosque located in one of the presidential palaces and the Jewish temple in Alexandria, where three Islamic, Christian and Jewish projects were opened in just 3 hours.

Anani stated that the first tourist restaurant in the Haram area [Pyramids Area] is being prepared for opening, in cooperation with an Egyptian company, stressing that there is a directive to convert the area surrounding the Grand Egyptian Museum to an international tourist resort.

Anani also stated that a global procession of 22 kings and mummies is underway, 22 warships and barges-like vehicles have been prepared, pointing out that the Tahrir Square and the facade of the Egyptian Museum were developed, all the way to equipping the Sharm El-Sheikh Museum.

In addition, Anani explained that the Baron Empain Palace was not developed since its establishment, noting that the Engineering Authority, in cooperation with national companies, worked on this project according to precise scientific methods.

He pointed out that the original photos were referred to for structural engineering work; the palace was suffering from neglect, and now it has become an architectural masterpiece and has been fully equipped and developed to receive tourists
--   Sent from my Linux system.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

French archaeologist and husband charged over Mideast antique trafficking

French archaeologist and husband charged over Mideast antique trafficking

The Golden Coffin of Nedjemankh, on display at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Cairo, after its repatriation from the US (AFP Photo/Khaled DESOUKI)

Paris (AFP) - A prominent French archaeologist and his husband were charged on Friday as part of an investigation into an antique smuggling ring exploiting unrest in Middle Eastern countries to spirit out works to sell in France, sources said.

Christophe Kunicki and his husband Richard Semper were charged in Paris with a range of crimes including fraud, money laundering and forgery, a judicial source and a source close to the inquiry told AFP.

The pair were presented to a judge and released under judicial supervision.

The two men were arrested along with three other suspects on Monday and Tuesday during searches of prestigious Parisian art markets and antique dealers.

Antiques worth tens of millions of euros are thought to have been taken from countries including Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen, often through the renowned Pierre Berge auction house based in Paris.

The three other suspects -- Pierre Berge's director, a former curator at the Louvre museum, and an eminent Parisian gallery owner -- were released without facing the investigating judge.

Kunicki and Semper, widely respected figures in the rarified world of Parisian antiquities, are suspected of taking advantage of the instability that followed the Arab Spring in the early 2011 to loot ancient relics.

Such trafficking would likely have involved hundreds of relics valuing tens of millions of euros, according to sources close to the inquiry.

Agents from France's Central Office for the Fight against Traffic in Cultural Goods (OCBC) are investigating whether the high-profile suspects falsified the origin of the items with the help of intermediaries in the involved countries.

That invented history would then have allowed the items to be resold to individual buyers as well as globally esteemed institutes such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi and New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Kunicki, a Mediterranean archaeological specialist and member of the French Society of Egyptology, and his husband had previously been linked to a sarcophagus plundered in Egypt in 2011.

The sarcophagus of ancient Egyptian priest Nedjemankh moved through Dubai, Germany and Paris before Kunicki sold it to New York's Met for 3.5 million euros ($4 million) in 2017.

The Met held an exhibition named after the plundered item -- "Nedjemankh and His Gilded Coffin" -- before it was returned to Egypt in 2019 after an investigation revealed it was stolen during the uprising that ousted Egyptian ruler Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

--   Sent from my Linux system.

Feature: Egypt to integrate leisure, cultural tourism in Sharm el-Sheikh resort via under-construction museum - Xinhua |

Feature: Egypt to integrate leisure, cultural tourism in Sharm el-Sheikh resort via under-construction museum

Source: Xinhua| 2020-06-25 17:16:20|Editor: huaxia

by Marwa Yahya

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Located in the Red Sea's most famous resort, Sharm el-Sheikh Museum is expected to promote the integration of cultural and beach tourism.

Covering 190,000 square meters, the museum is divided into two large galleries with six displaying halls, administrative building, cafeteria, restaurants, stores, bazaars, open-air theatre and rest house for the security men, said Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

"So far 5,120 pieces have been transferred to the museum and the whole work continues apace ahead of the official partial opening in a few weeks," Waziri told Xinhua.

The museum is expected to display 6,000 pieces from ancient Roman and Chinese civilizations along with some modern artifacts of Egypt's desert life, he highlighted.

The council's top official explained that the work has been resumed over the past three years after it was suspended in 2011, adding that the construction so far has cost 600 million Egyptian pounds (nearly 37 million U.S. dollars).

The most important pieces in the museum are the granite head of King Tuthmosis II, two wooden boats belonging to King Senusret III from the Middle Kingdom, mummies of lions' cubs, mongoose, scarab, and birds.

"The museum aims to encourage foreign visitors to see our heritage and old civilization without heading to the capital or Upper Egyptian cities," said Mahmoud Mabrouk, advisor to the minister of tourism and antiquities for exhibition design.

Mabrouk stressed that the museum is distinguished because it narrates the old daily activities of ordinary people rather than the lives of kings and queens.

"The exhibition scenario in the museum will illustrate the daily life of the ancient Egyptian during the New Kingdom," Mabrouk said, noting that the museum focuses on displaying ancient Egyptian's interest in the wildlife and respect for animals.

He added that there is much interest given, with regards to the display scenario, to other civilizations that passed through Egypt like the Greek-Roman which stayed here for 973 years.

"Some 33,000 baths, that were resembling clubs, have been discovered in Egypt, so we chose to build the same model and fill it with the Greek famous sculptures," he said.

He explained that other pieces from the Othmanian empire and the desert life of Sinai tribes will be exhibited in the new museum, asserting that "zigzag glass boxes illustrating the Chinese Silk Road are designed to connect all these civilizations together."

He indicated that the Silk Road has provided the world with secrets of printing, silk, and drawing on plates. "The Chinese ancient road was linking Asia with Europe through Egypt and trading splendid types of faience and ceramic," according to Mabrouk.

The civilizations were not living in isolation. Each one has been integrating with another, he added.

During a recent inspection tour to the Red Sea's resorts of Sharm el-Sheik and Hurghada, Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Khaled al-Anany, also visited the Hurghada museum to follow the anti-COVID-19 precautionary measures ahead of its reopening in July.

Egypt will resume its international air traffic across the country and tourism in three provinces from July 1, after more than three months of international flight suspension over COVID-19 concerns. Enditem

--   Sent from my Linux system.

When the Louvre Reopens, It’s Going to Be Quiet - The New York Times

When the Louvre Reopens, It's Going to Be Quiet

The museum's president said visitor numbers could be reduced as much as 80 percent. That might mean a better view of the Mona Lisa, if you can get there.

A member of staff preparing the Louvre for its reopening on July 6.Credit...Julien Mignot for The New York Times

The Musée du Louvre in Paris is set to reopen on July 6 after a 16-week shutdown that has taken a 40-million-euro toll on its bottom line.

In a normal year, the world's largest museum hosts 10 million visitors in 925,000 square feet of space open to the public.

When the museum reopens, 70 percent will be accessible, including the large galleries of French and Italian paintings, the sculpture courtyards and the Egyptian antiquities section. But with France's borders still closed to travelers from outside the European Union, visitor numbers will be a fraction of what they usually are in the peak summer season.

"We are lucky to be a state-owned museum," said Jean-Luc Martinez, the Louvre's president.Credit...Julien Mignot for The New York Times

While France was in lockdown, the museum was managed from home by its president, Jean-Luc Martinez, a specialist in ancient Greek sculpture who has been in charge since 2013. He spoke to The New York Times by telephone in mid-June. The following conversation has been edited and condensed:

What's your major challenge in reopening?

Reassuring the public. At the Louvre, it's fairly easy, because the spaces are gigantic, and thanks to online ticketing, we can control how many people come in. Visitors will be able to stand in line securely at the entrance, and masks will be mandatory for visitors aged 11 and over.

What will it be like to visit the Mona Lisa?

We renovated that gallery and inaugurated it last fall. We've introduced lines and a space between each visitor that will allow museumgoers to get closer to the painting. Until now, people would crowd around the Mona Lisa. Now, visitors will stand in one of two lines for about 10 to 15 minutes. Then each person is guaranteed a chance to stand in front of the Mona Lisa and look at her from a distance of about 10 feet. We want to make the encounter with the Mona Lisa a special moment.

Visitors will be able to come within about 10 feet of the Mona Lisa after the reopening, Mr. Martinez said.Credit...Julien Mignot for The New York Times

But you'll have far fewer visitors because of the pandemic.

Yes. Normally, 75 percent of our visitors on average are from abroad. That percentage rises to 80 percent in the summertime. Of those visitors, 1.5 million are American, and 800,000 to 900,000 are Chinese. If Europe's borders with the rest of the world are not opened this summer, we will see an 80 percent drop in visitors.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, we lost 40 percent of our visitors, and took three years to get back on track. After the 2015 terrorist attacks in France and elsewhere in Europe, we had another 40 percent drop, but everything normalized after a year.

This time, we don't know what will happen. Our worst-case scenario is that it will take us three years to get back to our normal visitor levels.

How will you make up for lost ticket sales? In 2018, they brought in €87 million, around $100 million.

We're working with the Ministry of Culture on a plan to guarantee the future of the Louvre. The Louvre and the Château de Versailles are particularly reliant on international tourism.

And you already receive a large subsidy from the French government.

We receive €94 million a year from the state, the largest contribution the French government makes to any French museum. We are lucky to be a state-owned museum. People make fun of the French model, but it gives more solidity to centuries-old institutions

Seventy percent of the space usually accessible by the public will be open on July 6, including the galleries in which French art is displayed.Credit...Julien Mignot for The New York Times

How much did your blockbuster Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, which closed right before the lockdown, bring in?

We had 1.2 million visitors, which works out to about €2.5 million in revenue. That's quite exceptional. Generally, exhibitions are loss-making, which is not a word I like to use. They cost us money.

The "Salvator Mundi," attributed to Leonardo, never made it to the Leonardo exhibition. Will we ever see it in Paris or at the Louvre Abu Dhabi?

I can't answer that question. I had requested it for the Leonardo exhibition, and it never came. I hope that the painting will one day be on public view, because it's important for people to form an opinion. The museum is exactly the right place for works to be shown so that opinions can be expressed.

What about demands for the restitution of objects from former French colonies? Has the Louvre received any of those?

No, we have not received requests from former French colonies in that respect.

The question of provenance and of the origin of the collections is at the heart of what we do at the Louvre, and not just because of the pressure generated by these debates. In 2021, the Louvre will put all of its collections online, and the question of provenance will have been examined in the process.

Work has to be done on provenance and on the accessibility of the collections, both to researchers and to the general public. We also have to share, with the countries that these collections come from, everything that we know about them.

We're seeing public statues and monuments being torn down all over the Western world right now. What do you think of this?

I'm a historian by training, and history is something that is constructed methodically, not under pressure from emotions and rumors. I think museums have a role to play. They're the place where memories can be shared. Otherwise, memories clash.

There are of course dark chapters in history, and controversies. But in a democratic system, that's legitimate and healthy. On the other hand, destroying statues and works of art is something that happens in dictatorships. You can contextualize them, you can explain them. My belief as a historian is that you have to strive for dialogue

New signage will guide visitors through the museum and encourage social distancing.Credit...Julien Mignot for The New York Times

Do you think historians will remember the coronavirus as the thing that killed off mass tourism?

I don't think so. It's fashionable to say that right now. But the great palace-museums such as the Vatican, the Hermitage and the Louvre will remain tourist sites. The word "tourist" is not a bad word.

So you really think you'll get back to 10 million visitors a year?

I think so, yes. Contrary to what some people think, the world after the coronavirus will not be that different from the world before.

--   Sent from my Linux system.