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Sunday, January 30, 2022

Upcoming Egyptology Lectures, Northern California ARCE

American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE)

Northern California Chapter

Upcoming Lectures

ARCE's Northern California Chapter is pleased to present the following lectures by renowned Egyptologists. Until otherwise noted, all lectures are virtual, at 3 p.m. Pacific Time. Registration instructions will appear in upcoming posts. In normal times, most lectures take place on the University of California Berkeley campus.

The Human Remains from the First Dynasty Subsidiary Burials at Abydos
February 6, 2022
Dr. Roselyn Campbell, Getty Research Institute
To register for this lecture, send a request to   

Visions of Ancient Egypt in Athenaeus' Deipnosophistae
March 13, 2022
Dr. Carly Maris, University of San Diego

Making Millions of Pots: How the Cult in Ancient Egypt Met its Demand for Pottery
April 10, 2022
Dr. Meredith Brand, Cal State University San Bernardino

The First Pharaohs
May 1, 2022
Dr. Aidan Dodson, University of Bristol
Please note: This lecture is scheduled for 2 p.m. Pacific Time, NOT 3 p.m.

For more information, please visit,,, or To join the chapter or renew your membership, please go to and select "Berkeley, CA" as your chapter when you sign up.

ARCE: New Online Library Portal


 New Online Library Portal

We are pleased to announce that the beta version of our new library portal has been launched. Through the portal ARCE members can access our online catalogue and our digital library, which currently includes over 5,000 ebooks. Non-members can access the online catalogue and open-access publications linked to the portal. The ARCE library is currently subscribed to the Brill, Archaeopress and JSTOR databases and our digital library will be constantly growing through new subscriptions and the purchase of individual e-publications. ARCE members will receive their usernames and passwords via email.

Note that your subscription will expire automatically once your ARCE membership ends, so make sure you renew your membership on time. New members should expect to receive their usernames and passwords about two weeks after they pay their membership fee. Also note that our digital library is for your personal use only. User activity is tracked, so exceptionally large numbers of downloads of restricted access e-books and frequent logins through different IP addresses, indicating that users are sharing their log in information with others, will result in the cancellation of your account.

We will be constantly trying to improve the portal, so we invite you to send us any comments you may have. Please send your questions and comments to

Access the library portal here

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Were the Pyramids Built or Poured? - Archaeology Review

Were the Pyramids Built or Poured?

concrete pyramid
Photo by Hassan Nasser (

In this post, I review the idea that monumental architecture in Egypt or elsewhere was created by pouring concrete into forms to make stones. From powdered stone.

Since Joseph Davidovits first proposed the notion as early as 1988, various proponents of fringe archaeology like to claim that the monumental architecture of cultures around the globe was created through the use of geopolymer. In short, pyramids and temples weren't' made by stacking stones but by pouring cement into stone-shaped forms.

This, they claim, explains how the material was moved, how it was shaped, and why some stones fit together so tightly.

Except it really doesn't.

The fringe proponents of pseudoarchaeology, including Davidovits, argue their points at least partially from ignorance. To illustrate that ignorance Davidovits makes positive claims like how granite being "among the hardest" of materials is not worked by modern sculptors. They do.

Or how granite objects of Egyptian art, so "smooth and glossy, … bear no tool marks." Many do.

But who want's tool marks in their artistic creations. These were often burnished and polished away with stones and clays.

Red Flags of Pseudoarchaeology

traveler standing on stone monument in desert
Photo by Spencer Davis on

Davidovits is so resolute in his views of ancient stonework it should be a red flag for the reader. That he mischaracterizes the positions of Egyptologists who have many hundreds of hours of experimental archaeology and direct study of ancient Egyptian construction techniques based on materials and writings found in the archaeological and epigraphical records is certainly a red flag.

Davidovits states "Egyptologists claim that this unparalleled structure [the Great Pyramid] was built using primitive stone and copper tools."

On the contrary, Egyptologists conclude that ancient Egyptians made remarkable use of available materials which happen to include stone, copper, wood, water, sand and other materials in ways that demonstrate some very advanced understandings of environment, math, physics, and engineering for their time. Primitive they were not.

Yet, Davidovits sees copper tools as "quite unsuitable for cutting 25 million limestone blocks in 20 years." what he seems to ignore is the fact that it wasn't the copper that did the cutting—it was the quartz sand. And it all becomes very possible when you apply a huge labor force.

An argument from personal incredulity

Drilling diorite with a bronze tube and sand. Photo from Denys Stocks (2003).

Ultimately this is a setup for his question: how can a civilization without benefit of hard metals prepare many thousands of blocks with such precision?" Ignoring the use of billions of tiny hard quartz cutting blades (sand), Davidovits continues with his version. Which is: this ancient and "primitive" civilization poured concrete into wood forms to create a geopolymer concrete.

In his 1988 book, The Great Pyramids an Enigma Solved, Davidovits continues cherry-picking this or that claim of Egyptology and archaeology, mischaracterizing most of them and misunderstanding many others, until he creates a straw-man easy enough to knock down with his own hypothesis.

Davidovits' central hypothesis

Davidovits lays it out with the method of ancient Egyptians pouring and casting stones for the pyramids. "No stone cutting or heavy hauling or hoisting was ever required."

"Limestone mud was carried up by the bucketful and then poured, packed or rammed into molds (made of wood, stone, clay or brick) placed on the pyramid sides."

Where was the limestone mud obtained from, you ask? By crushing limestone blocks into a near powder form.


From the point of view of even a first-year archaeology student, one question should come immediately to mind: "where are the molds in the archaeological record?"

Photo by Gullevek on

I'm sure Davidovits would hand-wave the question with something like most were wood and were either burned for fuel or reused for other construction projects. However, this would not be the only evidence for them. I've observed a lot of poured concrete over the years and there's always some mold line left in places the builder didn't think would show. There are always things that end up trapped in the concrete matrix as it cures. And some cat always walks across the project.

Davidovits claims previous poured blocks would be the face for the next side, etc. But this really doesn't follow since the pyramids have the appearance of thousands of individual blocks not concrete poured against other concrete.

If these skeptical points aren't enough, however, the real argument against Davidovits' hypothesis is his own hypothesis.

Imagine adding concrete to this small form one small bucket at a time. Photo by NCDOTCommunications at

Davidovits claims the ancient Egyptians poured the pyramids because moving precut and quarried stone was too much work. But it's still at least the same amount of mass being transported, albeit in smaller chunks. In fact, one could easily argue the amount of mass being moved from source to pyramid is between 1/3 and 2/3 more when you consider the water needed to turn limestone powder and the other geopolymer additives Davidovits describes into a pourable matrix.

If I hammer even the most brittle limestone block to a pile of powder that I then mix with water which I need to move bucket-by-bucket to an alleged form at the pyramid under construction fast enough that it doesn't dry out before I pour it, am I really saving any calories than if I just got a few hundred friends and moved the stone whole?

Even if I move the powder and mix it with water on location, I still have to bring the water. How many hundreds or thousands of bucket loads would this be?

His critics

Davidovits' hypothesis has been disputed by several geologists in the past, and he always responds with how they are doing "pseudoscience" and hand-waves their evidence away with grand gestures that essentially amount to he's just smarter than they are that's why they're wrong.

I read his book. His papers. I read a few of the critiques that came out by Jana, Harrell and Penrod, and Folk and Campbell. And I read Davidovits' response to the critics.

Initially, I was interested in the idea that a geopolymer might have been used in at least some of the pyramid construction. I was genuinely hopeful this might prove to be a hypothesis worth considering. But the manner in which Davidovits presents and defends his ideas end up with many of the red flags one might associate with other pseudoarchaeological and fringe ideas. He responds to critics by cherry-picking and mischaracterizing their critiques and accusing them of "pseudoscience" in a tu quoque manner, as if to say, "no you!" at the accusation.

The idea of ancient concrete or geopolymer use is intriguing. I see no reason why it would be beyond their technical capabilities. I just don't think the Egyptians would have increased their workload to create monumental architecture of grandiose proportions. Particularly when it essentially means they would be constructing fake stones instead of using genuine ones.

The whole point of grandiosity is to be grandiose.

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Friday, January 28, 2022

Sotheby’s attempts to sell ancient Egyptian statue for $3-5M; is it legal? - EgyptToday

Sotheby's attempts to sell ancient Egyptian statue for $3-5M; is it legal?


Thu, 27 Jan 2022 - 12:13 GMT

The statue being held for              sale in Sotheby

The statue being held for sale in Sotheby's - Social media

CAIRO – 27 January 2022: Antiquities expert  Abdel Rahim Rihan, director-general of Archaeological Research, Studies and Scientific Publication in the South Sinai Region, confirmed that Sotheby's International Auction Hall is currently displaying a unique statue dating back to the era of the builders of the Great Pyramids.

According to Rihan, the statue  was found in the tomb west of the Pyramid of Khufu [Cheops]. Sotheby's placed an estimated price for the statue between $3000000 and $5000000, equivalent to approximately L.E. 80,000000.

The statue was excavated from tomb No. G 2415 in the Great Western Region, next to the Pyramid of Khufu [Cheops], by the American archaeologist George Andrew Reisner, who was working on the mission of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, in 1913. It belongs to a man named "Wiri" and his wife "Miri" from the Fifth Dynasty, and it was found among seven other statues of the owner of the tomb.

The statue was given to the museum by the Egyptian Government's Antiquities Department at the time, which allowed foreign missions to keep and export some of the materials they discovered during their excavations, according to a statement from Sotheby's Hall.

Rihan clarified that Egypt has the right to demand a halt to the sale of the statue and to demand its return to Egypt for the following reasons: The statue came out of Egypt under repealed laws by virtue of the issuance of the Antiquities Protection Law, which canceled all previous laws, and therefore everything that resulted from it is void; and Law No. 215 of 1951 is repealed by virtue of Antiquities Protection Law No. 117 of 1983, amended by Law No. 3 of 2010, amended by Law No. 91 of 2018 and amended by Law 20 of 2020.

Consequently, it is Egypt's right to consider the antiquities that came out of the country under this law as antiquities illegally smuggled from Egypt.

Rihan indicated that Sotheby's Hall is required to submit the bonds for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to obtain this statue from Egypt and the museum's sale of the statue to Sotheby's.

However, according to Rihan, it did not provide such documents in the statement of displaying the statue for sale, which indicates that the statue arrived in the hall illegally, because there are no proper export documents to obtain the statue. This can be considered an attempt to forgery to find a modern illegal ownership formula to justify the sale.

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An Immersive Celebration of Ramses II Transports Visitors to Ancient Egypt | History | Smithsonian Magazine

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Monday, January 24, 2022

A Fetus Was Preserved Within an Egyptian Mummy Because It 'Pickled', Scientists Say

Volumetric rendering of fetus from CT data with interpretation. (Ejsmond et al., J. Archaeol. Sci., 2022)

A Fetus Was Preserved Within an Egyptian Mummy Because It 'Pickled', Scientists Say

24 JANUARY 2022

Last year, archaeologists presented an incredible first: the discovery of a mummified fetus within the abdomen of its mummified ancient Egyptian mother.

Who the woman was, and how she died just over 2,000 years ago are both still mysteries – hence she is known as the Mysterious Lady. But now we know how the fetus was preserved. According to new research by the Warsaw Mummy Project, the preservation occurred via the acidification of the woman's body as she decomposed.

As the researchers so colorfully put it, the process is akin to pickling an egg.

"The fetus remained in the untouched uterus and began to, let say, 'pickle'. It is not the most aesthetic comparison, but conveys the idea," the research team, led by bio-archaeologist Marzena Ożarek-Szilke of the University of Warsaw in Poland and archaeologist Wojciech Ejsmond of the Polish Academy of Sciences, explain in a blog post.

"Blood pH in corpses, including content of the uterus, falls significantly, becoming more acidic, concentrations of ammonia and formic acid increase with time. The placement and filling of the body with natron [a salt mixture collected from dry lake beds] significantly limited the access of air and oxygen. The end result is an almost hermetically sealed uterus containing the fetus."

The question as to whether what they had found was actually a fetus was posed by radiologist Sahar Saleem of Cairo University in Egypt, who penned a reply to the initial discovery. She noted that no bones could be detected in the scans of the mummy, and therefore the identification of a fetus must be inconclusive.

But this is not unexpected, Ożarek-Szilke and her team argue. Fetal bones are very poorly mineralized during the first two trimesters, which means they are difficult to detect in the first place after undergoing taphonomic (or preservation) processes. Fetal bones are even hard to find during archaeological excavations.

In addition, the acidifying processes that would have taken place inside the corpse of the Mysterious Lady as her body decomposed would have further demineralized the already delicate fetal bones.

It's not dissimilar to the natural process of mummification that takes place in peat bogs, where the highly acidic environment 'pickles' soft tissue, but demineralizes the bones.

mummy fetus ct0scanCT scan of the fetus in utero; A is the head and B is the hand. (Ejsmond et al., J. Archaeol. Sci., 2022)

"This process of bone demineralization in an acidic environment can be compared to an experiment with an egg," the researchers write. "Picture putting an egg into a pot filled with an acid. The eggshell is dissolving, leaving only the inside of the egg (albumen and yolk) and the minerals from the eggshell dissolved in the acid."

The reason the body of the Mysterious Lady and the body of the fetus are different in this regard is because they mummified differently. The Lady was mummified using natron, a naturally occurring salt mix that the ancient Egyptians used to dry out and disinfect bodies. The fetus, in her sealed womb, mummified in the resulting acidic environment.

In addition, the minerals leached from the fetus' bones would have been deposited in the soft tissues of the fetus itself, and the uterus around it, resulting in a higher-than-expected mineral content. This means that these tissues would have higher radiodensity in the CT scans.

The results suggest that perhaps other pregnant mummies might be hiding in plain sight in other museum collections. Scans of mummies are usually identifying bones, and amulets tucked inside their wrappings. By looking carefully at soft tissues, other such mummies might be identified.

In turn, this might help archaeologists and anthropologists uncover why the fetus was left intact when the Mysterious Lady's other internal organs were removed for the mummification process.

"Maybe it had something to do with beliefs and rebirth in the afterlife," Ożarek-Szilke told Science in Poland. "It is still difficult to draw any conclusions as we do not know if this is the only pregnant mummy. For now, it is definitely the only known pregnant Egyptian mummy."

The team's analysis also determined that, due to the position of the fetus and the closed condition of the birth canal, the woman did not die in childbirth. Previous analysis found that the Mysterious Lady was between the ages of 20 and 30 when she died, and her pregnancy was between 26 and 30 weeks.

"The Mysterious Lady died together with the unborn child, and by examining her, we restore their memory," the researchers write.

"We remember that it was a long-lived person who had her dreams, probably loved ones and was loved. Now she reveals to us the secrets she took with her to the grave."

The research has been published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Musée Champollion: The First Museum Dedicated to Egyptology

Musée Champollion: The First Museum Dedicated to Egyptology

Musée Champollion
Musée Champollion © Département de l'Isère Musée Champollion

The Champollion family mansion in the town of Vif, south of Grenoble in the Isère department, has been entirely transformed as the site of the first museum dedicated in its entirety to Egyptology, a discipline that the Champollion brothers helped found.

From local Isère to the far-off banks of the Nile, the visit retraces the career of the Champollion brothers, step by step. The grounds were restored in the spirit of the 19th century, reforested, and adorned with flower beds and an orchard of local species to recreate the original rural ambiance.

Displays include items from both the permanent collection and archives of national museums, notably 85 Egyptian antiquities from Louvre Museum exhibited on the second floor, in a room dedicated to the original Charles X Museum. This was the first Egyptology section within the Louvre, which opened in 1927 with none other than Jean-François Champollion as its first curator.
Inaugurated June 2021.


Musée Champollion
45, rue Champollion
38450 Vif
Tel: +33 (0)4 57 58 88 50
The museum is part of a network of 11 museums operated by the Isère department.
Entry is free but it's necessary to make a reservation online in advance.
Closed Mondays. Hours vary by season. Check the official website for exact times.

From France Today Magazine

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Grave danger: Controversy over Egyptian government plan to demolish Cairo historic cemeteries - Heritage special - Heritage - Ahram Online

Grave danger: Controversy over Egyptian government plan to demolish Cairo historic cemeteries

Amira Noshokaty , Saturday 22 Jan 2022

​Cairo's historic cemeteries are at risk of being demolished, but what is so important about such ancient grave yard?

Grave danger
Photo courtesy of Karim Badr

It was a full house last Saturday, at the seminar and photo exhibition titled Contemporary Cemetery Architecture in Egypt, Value and Challenges. The event was organized by the safeguard of Cairo's historic cemeteries group that was launched a few months ago, in reaction to the government's plan to relocate some of Cairo's cemeteries as part of development of roads of the capital.

The government plan has been highly opposed in the media by the families of the cemeteries at stake as well as historians who believe that the cemeteries are part and parcel of Egypt's tangible and intangible heritage. Prior to the seminar, the safeguard of Cairo's historic cemeteries group launched an online petition addressing Egypt's President Abdel Fatah Al Sissi to intervene.

Held at Greater Cairo Public Library, the seminar was moderated by one of the organizers of the event professor Galila El-Kadi, an architect and head of research at the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) in Paris. El-Kadi is a co-author of Architecture for the Dead: Cairo's Medieval Necropolis

The cultural value

"What the ancient Egyptians left us is tombs, and from such tombs we got to know our ancient history. So if every ruler demolished the cemeteries of the one before him, all of the ancient Egyptian history would not have existed, as if they never were, we would have known nothing about them," El-Kadi said, explaining the immense importance of Cairo's Historic cemeteries. She added that they reflect a rich diverse plateau of architecture styles according to the culture and social class of the people that are buried there. And they all have a housh internal open yard. "The housh is built with stones in order to defy time and live" she added.

"And because of all these values, the UNESCO put the cemeteries of Cairo in 1979 on the list of world heritage sites since it is already on the premises of Historic Cairo. The national organization for urban harmony when it was first established in 2002, focused on the cemeteries and started to register some of them as places of unique architectural style," she added, explaining that it is also protected by Egyptian laws. And despite all such laws, the cemeteries suffered negligence throughout the decades. 

According to El-Kadi, since the first urban planning of greater Cairo in 1956, there has been no plan to regulate the relationship between the city of the dead and that of the living, except the 2050 plan that aims to demolish the city of the dead altogether. She recalled how the Fardous (heaven) axis last year cut through the mamluk cemeteries from east to west demolishing registered housh in the process.

 "It's a personal family heritage that grew to become human heritage, this is not mere burial grounds," concluded El-Kadi, noting that the new planned axis in the southern historic cemeteries, would demolish cemeteries of Egyptian cultural icons.

"The general welfare is important and preserving heritage is also a general welfare, we can always cater for both," she concluded.

"Historic Cemeteries, a timeline of Egypt's capitals"

According to antiquities professor Hossam Ismail at Ain shams university, the historic cemeteries of Cairo is more of a trail of establishment of modern Egypt from the time of Amr Ibn Al A'as till now.

Why Moqattam?

Choosing this area specifically, down the Moqattam Mountain, goes back to Amr Ibn Al A'as' negotiations for the handover of Egypt from the Byzantine ruler Al Moqawqes. "The story goes that Al Moqawqes wanted to keep Al Moqattam Mountain because of its religious value but Amr Ibn Al A'as refused. It is said that when God picked a mountain upon which he shall reveal himself, all other mountains donated plants and flowers as tokens to the chosen mountain. Except for Al Moqattam, it donated all its greenery. So God rewarded the Moqattam by making it the burial ground of those who shall go to heaven," explained Ismail.  

And from that time on, when Amr Ibn Al A'as built Egypt's capital Al Fustat, he started burying in this area where a lot of Sahabis (disciples) are buried such as Oqba Ibn Amer.  

By the reign of the Abbasids, when they built their new capital, The Askar, they extended their cemeeries to the Imam Al-Shafii and al Saida Nafisa area. By the reign of the mamluks the cemeteries reached Saida Eisha Square, and were named Qayed Bay Cemeteries, the eastern arafa or arafet al-Mamalik.

The origin of the Name Arafa

The name Arafa, added Ismail, is a synonym of cemeteries only in Cairo, for it is derived from Beni Qarafa, pronounced Arafa in slang Egyptian, one of the first Arab tribes that settled in Cairo during the rule of Amr ibn Al'as and set their burial grounds there.  

A symbol of continuous heritage

Through her talented lens and research skills, Alia Nassar, an architect and photographer, shared some outlines of her documentation project of Al Arafa.

"Arafa is a symbol of continuous heritage, for Arafa has social values that extend from the ancient Egyptians till now," noted Nassar as she pointed out the similarities between both. "House of eternity was literally a house and a place to live like their own houses. They wrote their names and titles like we do on our tombstones, for ancient Egyptians the name is part of the soul and erasing the name means he never existed.

Communication between the dead and the living

"The concept of "offerings" in the form of food and beverages in Ancient Egypt was a way of communication with their dead. They also would bring them blue lotus flowers. They believed that the dead can protect them from any evil spirits," elaborated Nassar, noting that the food they get is eventually handed out to the poor, which is exactly what Egyptians nowadays do, when they come and visit their loved ones in the cemeteries. They would buy flowers, bring food to give out to the poor and spend the whole day there scattering flowers and happy memories of the diseased, she added.

"Then after celebrating their diseased, they would break an "olla "(Pottery drinking pot) after this so that death does not come back, like we do when someone terrible finally leaves, as a gesture of good riddance," added Nassar.

"And finally the ancient Egyptians used to write letters to their dead ones and we still do, like those letters addressing Sufi Imam Al Shafaii and the Walli they believed is living in Bab Zoweila,"she concluded.

A History Book wide opened

 "I think that the cemeteries are a history book on the ground, you can learn and love your country from all the history of the people that preceded," explained Dr. Mostafa El-Sadek, a physician and one of the experts who documented the Historic Cemeteries of Cairo.

"I believe that the tomb stone is the identity card of a person. You would find an emma (head turban) or tarboush (Fez) and braids for woman. Some would draw their medals of honors, here the flowers decorating the tombs are hand engraved on marbles that is highly unique and artistic given the fact that there was no machines back then to do this, just go and see how much we are going to lose if we demolish it," concluded El-Sadek.

An alternative route

"We created an online map of Historic Cemeteries of Cairo on Google and anyone can add to it so we have a documentation with photographs and maps of the cemeteries of value," explained Tareq Al-Murry, historian, architect consultant and founder of the safeguard of Cairo's historic cemeteries group. Al Murry shared with the audience an alternative axis that could ease the traffic flow without demolishing the cemeteries. That was followed by a comprehensive strategy for Egypt's public transportation proposed by young engineer Amr Essam.

Man interrupted!

"My name is Hany al Fekki. I am the one who designed and implemented the fardous Axis and the Salah Salem axis and all the bridges of Heliopolis and Nasr City," explained the man in black who took the audience by surprise for he was not invited.

After briefly explaining that he will not touch any "historic" tombs, an argument followed between him and the panel because any tombs in Historic Cairo is by default regarded as historic and of great value and should not be demolished as per UNESCO 1979 and per national laws. 

El Fekki explained that the plan of the new Salah Salem Axis and how the road will extend to Al Saida Eisha area, will take off Saida Eisha bridge, and cut  into the slum area behind the Saida Eisha mosque.  

"The political leaders said that they want to make yards for Al Al Beit (Decedents of Prophet Mohammed) mosques like Al Hussien's yard, and this is what we started to do," noted El Fekki.

The audience argued that this axis will allow more cars next to the historic cemeteries which will cause a lot of turbulence and gas emissions that could eventually ruin the historic cemeteries that they drive pass them.

On asking him directly, will the cemeteries in general be affected with the new Salah Salem axis?

"Yes and in the future, all of the cemeteries are going to be demolished, except for the historic ones, "he told Ahram Online.

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Archaeologists have recreated the appearance of the famous Egyptian mummy from Switzerland (photo) - The Saxon

Archaeologists have recreated the appearance of the famous Egyptian mummy from Switzerland (photo)

Scientists managed to convey the facial features of a woman, including her nose, cheeks and even lips. However, the color of her skin and her eyes has not yet been reliably determined.

Shep-en-Isis is an Egyptian mummy that has been kept since 1820 in the Swiss Library of the monastery of St. Gall. After spending several months, scientists at the FAPAB research center in Sicily successfully reconstructed the mummy's face using modern forensic techniques, writes Ancient Origins.

The story of Shep-en-Isis

The coffin of Shep-en-Isis was found in the southern part of the funerary temple of Pharaoh Hatshepsut in the Deir el-Bahri valley, on the western bank of the Nile River. Mortuary temples were built by pharaohs so that people would worship them after death.

Archaeologists have recreated the appearance of the              famous Egyptian mummy from Switzerland (photo)

Archaeologists have recreated the appearance of the              famous Egyptian mummy from Switzerland (photo)

Shep-en-Isis was found in a family tomb located inside the temple, along with her father Pa-es-tjenfi, whose mummy is kept in Berlin. Shep-en-Isis was one of the first Egyptian mummies acquired by Switzerland, and shortly after its arrival in 1820, it was put on public display.

This well-preserved mummy with an exquisite sarcophagus soon became a major attraction, in fact quickly reaching the status of Switzerland's most popular mummy. However, in addition to this, she also became the object of various studies.

The study of the embalmed body for two centuries showed that the woman lived in the 7th century BC. during the XXVI dynasty (between 685 and 525 BC), the last period of glory of Ancient Egypt.

Archaeologists have recreated the appearance of the              famous Egyptian mummy from Switzerland (photo)

"Based on the anatomical age of Shep-en-Isis and the decoration of the inner sarcophagus, she must have been born around 650 BC and died between 620 and 610 BC," said Egyptologist Michael Habicht from the University of Zurich.

The inscriptions on her coffin testified that she belonged to a wealthy upper-class family and came from the family of the high priests of Amun (the highest title among the priests of the ancient Egyptian god Amun) in Thebes. Judging by her family background, she probably received an education. However, many years of research did not allow to establish the identity and profession of her husband, as well as whether she had children.

Restoring the appearance of a mummy

Archaeologists have recreated the appearance of the              famous Egyptian mummy from Switzerland (photo)

Along with historical documents and research data, the FAPAB team had a set of computer topographic images available in the library, and morphological data that could be used for facial reconstruction.

Brazilian specialist Cicero Morais, who is a 3D designer and is known in this field for his reconstructions of the faces of historical figures such as Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ, was brought in to work on the project.

Morias modeled the facial muscles, as well as adipose tissue of the mummy. The skin, in turn, was added in accordance with the previously established soft tissue thickness at certain anatomical points.

Archaeologists have recreated the appearance of the              famous Egyptian mummy from Switzerland (photo)

The best-preserved feature of the mummified body was a full set of slightly protruding teeth. All this, along with a harmonious and well-proportioned skull, suggests that during her lifetime Shep-en-Isis was most likely a beautiful young woman.

How close to reality is the reconstruction of the mummy's face?

Morais and his team focused solely on reconstructing the appearance and anatomical details without adding decorations, clothing or hair. And all due to the fact that such accessories are based on assumptions, not facts.

Answering questions about how close to the original, in his opinion, the results of the work done, Habicht noted that the reconstruction The face follows statistical and anatomical data. Facial features correspond to reality, keeping the shape of the face, nose, cheeks and lips. However, the team had to resort to some guesswork when it came to skin and eye color.

Archaeologists have recreated the appearance of the              famous Egyptian mummy from Switzerland (photo)

But during another study scientists were able to find out how the fetus of a pregnant Egyptian mummy, 2,000 years old, was preserved. As it turned out, the whole thing was in an unusual chemical process, as a result of which the fetus was "pickled" and locked in time.

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Korea to participate in restoration work at Egyptian temples

Korea to participate in restoration work at Egyptian temples
Posted : 2022-01-23 13:17
Updated : 2022-01-23 17:50

Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) Administrator                Kim Hyun-mo, front left, and Egypt's Supreme Council of                Antiquities Secretary-General Mostafa Waziri, front right,                pose after signing a memorandum of understanding for                cooperation in the cultural heritage property management                field, at Prince Mahammad Ali Palace in Cairo, Friday                (local time). Courtesy of CHA
Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) Administrator Kim Hyun-mo, front left, and Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities Secretary-General Mostafa Waziri, front right, pose after signing a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the cultural heritage property management field, at Prince Mahammad Ali Palace in Cairo, Friday (local time). Courtesy of CHA

By Kim Rahn

The cultural heritage property management authorities of Korea and Egypt have agreed to cooperate in the restoration, excavation and preservation of antiquities, the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) said, Sunday.

The CHA and the Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for cooperation and exchange in cultural heritage property management in Cairo, Friday (local time), on the sidelines of President Moon Jae-in's official visit to the African country.

In talks on the previous day with CHA Administrator Kim Hyun-mo, Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the council, requested CHA's participation in restoring the Ramesseum Temple in Luxor and in the excavation of a temple of Thutmose IV, using Korea's restoration techniques, and the Korean agency accepted.

Under the agreement, the two sides will cooperate in surveying, excavating and restoring archaeological relics, fighting the trafficking of cultural assets, supporting each other's bids for cultural heritage properties to be registered as World Heritage as well as exchanges of specialists in related fields.

The CHA will expand its official development assistance (ODA) to include the restoration of a pylon at the Ramesseum Temple in Luxor and the digitization of Egypt's cultural heritage assets through ODA programs starting in 2023.

It will restore the collapsed pylon and refurbish the entrance. The administration will also help Egypt set up a digital database of historical sites and cultural heritage remains owned by the country's six major museums and research institutes.

The two sides will support each other's efforts to register cultural heritage assets as UNESCO World Heritage, including Korea's bid to have the Gaya Tumuli, a set of seven tumuli sites in southern parts of the country, listed during a World Heritage Committee meeting slated for June.

"The MOU is significant in that we've expanded the regions to which we offer ODA programs in the cultural heritage sector," the CHA said in a press release. "We hope the agreement will help Korea be positioned as a contributor in aid projects in the cultural heritage property sector. We'll continue to improve our ODA programs in it."
--   Sent from my Linux system.