Leave a comment

NEWS: Ptolemaic rock-cut tombs discovered in Alexandria

(Source: Luxor Times).

An Egyptian team of archaeologists directed by Fahima El Nahas (General Director of Excavations in Alexandria) discovered a part of the west cemetery of Ptolemaic Alexandria. The discovery took place during the excavation work at the site before allowing the building of a modern wall in the railways workshops in Gebel El-Zaytoun in Alexandria.

(Source: Luxor Times).

Dr. Aiman Ashmawi said that during the work, a group of rock cut burials were discovered. Each group of burials have a separate architectural unit consists of a number of steps leading to a small hall (probably used for visitors to rest) then a rectangular courtyard with the burials entrances as well as a tank used for funerary uses and probably used by the deceased family.

Dr. Ashmawi also said that the tombs were most likely used for a long period of time and they belong to poor individuals. The tombs have coloured layers of mortar and basic mortar with no desecration which reflects the economical status of the deceased buried there. The preliminary examination can tell that some of the tombs were modified architecturally through times to add some features or to seal some burials openings which can confirm that different generations used those tombs.

Dr. Khalid Abo El-Hamd (General Director of Alexandria Antiquities) said that many pots were discovered as well as lamps bearing distinguished decorations including animals eating or nursing their young ones. A number of glass and pottery pots were discovered too with amphorae and circular shaped pottery bearing reliefs of girls (maybe dancers).

Many skeletons were discovered in a mess because of the damage caused at the site during the 1930s when the railways structures were installed and later because of the WWII air strikes.

Dr. Mostafa Waziry, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that the ministry allocated the needed funds to start salvation excavation at the site by an archaeological mission of the ministry and under the supervision of Dr. Khalid Abo El-Hamd” – via Luxor Times.


Fully discovered by Carter: no more to King Tutankhamun’s tomb

“High-level geophysics research provides conclusive evidence on the non-existence of hidden chambers adjacent to or inside Tutankhamun’s tomb (KV62).

Dr. Mostaf Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities announced that the Head of the Italian scientific team Dr. Francesco Porcelli of the Polytechnic University of Turin is to provide all details of the Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) studies and analysis during a speech he would deliver later today at the current Fourth Tutankhamun International Conference.

The team also include experts from the nearby University of Turin and from two private geophysics companies, Geostudi Astier (Leghorn) and 3DGeoimaging (Turin), who have completed the analysis of the GPR data collected from the inside of Tutankhamun’s tomb (code name KV62) last February 2018.

Dr. Waziri pointed out that Dr. Porcelli has submitted a scientific report to the Permanent Committee for Ancient Egyptian Antiquities at the Ministry of Antiquities with all the results of the GPR data analyses, revealing that the GPR scans were performed along vertical and horizontal directions with very dense spatial sampling. Double antenna polarizations where also employed, with transmitting and receiving dipoles both orthogonal and parallel to the scanning direction.

Dr. Porcelli asserted that the main findings are as follows: No marked discontinuities due to the passage from natural rock to man-made blocking walls are evidenced by the GPR radargrams, nor there is any evidence of the jambs or the lintel of a doorway. Similarly, the radargrams do not show any indication of plane reflectors, which could be interpreted as chamber walls or void areas behind the paintings of KV62 funerary chamber.

It is concluded, with a very high degree of confidence, said Dr. Porcelli, the hypothesis concerning the existence of hidden chambers or corridors adjacent to Tutankhamun’s tomb is not supported by the GPR data.

This is the third GPR survey to be conducted. It was designed to stop the controversy aroused after the contradictive results of two previous radar surveys carried out by a scientific Japanese and American teams, to inspect the accuracy of a theory launched in 2015 by British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves who suggested the existence of queen Nefertiti’s tomb concealed behind the north and west wall paintings of king Tutankhamun’s burial chamber.

To solve the difficulties encountered by the two preceding surveys and provide a conclusive response, the Ministry of Antiquities in early 2016, decided to discuss the matter in the second International Tutankhamun Conference held in May 2016 and attended by a group of pioneer scholars, archaeologists and Egyptologists who on their turn asserted to conduct a third GPR systems with different technology to put an end to such debate” – via The Luxor Times.

You can view a video of the Minister of Antiquities speaking about the results here.

Leave a comment

Statues of ancient Egyptian lioness deity Sekhmet uncovered in Luxor

Sekhmet uncovered (Source: Ahram Online).

A collection of 27 fragmented statues of the lioness goddess Sekhmet has been uncovered during excavation work at the King Amenhotep III funerary temple at the Kom El-Hettan area on Luxor’s west bank.

The discovery was made by an Egyptian-European archaeological mission led by archaeologist Hourig Sourouzian as part of the King Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the black-granite statues have a maximum height of about two metres. Some statues depict Sekhmet sitting on a throne, holding the symbol of life in her left hand, while others show her standing and holding a papyrus sceptre before her chest. The head of Sekhmet is crowned with a sun-disk, while a uraeus adorns her forehead. 

Sourouzian told Ahram Online that the discovery includes many almost complete statues with only the feet and base missing.

Those statues that were not buried so deep in the ground are in a good state of preservation, he said. Others that were found at deeper levels are in a bad condition due to subterranean water and salt, which damaged the surface.

“The sculptures are of a high artistic quality and of the greatest archaeological interest,” Sourouzian said.

She said the importance and quality of the statues explains why they survived a period of extensive quarrying of the temple remains in the Ramesside Period, after a heavy earthquake had toppled the walls and the columns of the temple in 1200 B.C.

Sourouzian pointed out that the statues are now in restoration. They will be cleaned and desalinated, as they were lying in a layer of mud and crushed sandstone. All statues of the goddess will be placed back in their original setting when the site protection project is completed” – via Ahram Online.

1 Comment


Sacred Landscapes and Legitimation in the New Kingdom Eastern Desert.

Anna Garnett (Curator at the Petrie Museum of Archaeology, UCL).

The Eastern Desert creates a setting where the mutual interaction between people and the landscape, as expressed though rock art, graffiti and monumental construction, developed over time, leaving behind narrative reminders of their authors’ journeys through the desert landscape. Royal cultic enclosures for the worship of local and national deities, and the cult of the divine king, were constructed at specific sites in the Eastern Desert during the New Kingdom (c. 1550-1069 BC) as visible markers of the pacification of the chaotic desert and integral components of conceptual ‘desertscapes’.

A number of desert shrines are well preserved as a result of the favourable environmental conditions in which they were built, forming memorials to specific deities whilst also expressing the divine role of the pharaoh in the peripheral regions of Egypt and serving as a constant reminder of the king’s domain, even when he himself was so far removed from the sites.

This paper will provide an overview to two of these sites (Wadi Hellal and Wadi Mia) and present the evidence for royal and divine legitimation in these desertscapes.

Location: SURF Room, Fulton House, Swansea University, Singleton Park Campus.

Time: Thursday, 23 November 2017, 4.30–6.00 pm. Presentation begins at 5:00 pm.

Free entry; all welcome! The lecture will be in English.


Leave a comment

NEWS: 4000 year old wooden head discovered in Sakkara

The wooden head (Source: Luxor Times).

“A wooden head, probably of the sixth dynasty queen Ankhnespepy II, has been unearthed in the area located to the east of her Pyramid in Sakkara necropolis during excavation work carried out by a French-Swiss team from Geneva University.

Dr. Mostafa Waziry, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities announced today. 

Dr. Waziry explains that the head is almost human proportions with a small part of the neck which reached 30 cm tall. The ears are decorated with wooden earrings.
Professor, Philip Collombert, Head of the French-Swiss mission said that the head was found in a disturbed layer to the east of the queen’s pyramid near the area where the pyramidion was uncovered early this week. 
The mission has uncovered a large upper part of a granite obelisk that may belongs to the queen’s funerary temple.
Dr. Collombert said that the head is not in good conservation condition and it will be subjected to restoration.
“It is a promising area that could reveal more of its secrets soon,” said Dr. Waziri. He added that the mission is to continue its excavations in an attempt to discover the queen’s pyramid surroundings and the rest of its funerary complex and collection” – via Luxor Times.

Leave a comment

NEWS: Czech archaeologists discover Ramses II temple remains south of Cairo

(Source: Luxor Times).

“The Egyptian-Czech Archaeological Mission uncovered remains of King Ramses II Temple during the excavation works carried out at Abusir.

Dr. Mostafa Waziry, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of
 Antiquities announced the discovery.
Dr. Waziry explains that the discovery comes after the mission had found in 2012
archaeological evidences that shows the existence of a temple in this area,
a fact that encourages the mission to resume its excavations in this area and the neighborhood along the last four years.

Dr. Mohammed Megahed, Deputy director of the mission, said that the temple is 32 x 51 meters wide and consists of mud brick foundations of one of its pylons, a large forecourt that leads to the pillars hall whkch parts of its halls are painted in blue.
At the rear end of the court, the mission found a staircase or a ramp
leading to a sanctuary whose back part is divided into three parallel chambers. The remains of this building were covered with by huge deposits of sand and chips of stones of which may bore fragments of polychrome

(Source: Luxor Times).

Dr. Miroslav Barta, The head of the Czech mission explains that the different titles of King Ramses II were found engraved on a relief fragments which is connected to the cult of the solar deities.

In addition, relief fragments depicting scenes of the solar gods ”Amun”, “Ra and Nekhbet”
He continues that this temple is the only evidence of the King Ramses II presence in Memphis necropolis and confirms at the same time the continuation of the worshipping of the sun god “Ra” in the region of Abusir, which began since the 5th dynasty and continued until the era of the New Kingdom” – via Luxor Times.

Leave a comment

NEWS: Old Kingdom pyramid peak discovered in Saqqara

A granite pyramid peak, probably belonging to Queen Ankhnespepy II, was unearthed in Saqqara (Source: Ahram Online).

“A Swiss-French archaeological mission directed by Professor Philippe Collombert from the University of Geneva has unearthed a large granite pyramidion, or pyramid peak, probably belonging Queen Ankhnespepy II, in the Saqqara necropolis.

This is the second discovery in a week by the Swiss-French mission, according to the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziri.

The team previously unearthed the largest obelisk fragment ever discovered from the Old Kingdom, measuring 2.5 meters tall.

This week’s discovery measures 1.3 metres high and 1.1 metres wide on its sides.
Its upper part is partly destroyed, but shows that it had been covered by metal foil, either gold or copper.
“The surface of the pyramidion’s lower part is not clean, as if it had been reused, or better, as if it had been left unfinished,” Collombert pointed out, adding that the area under the pyramidion is clearly smooth, and also shows the usual carved recesses that permit its fixation of top of the pyramid.
“We think that it is the pyramidion of the satellite pyramid of Queen Ankhnespepy II, as it was found near the place where we should expect the satellite pyramid to have been located,” Collombert told Ahram Online.
He asserted that this fragment comrpised the only part of this secondary pyramid yet to be found. The queen’s main burial pyramid was discovered in Saqqara in 1998.
The Head of the Ancient Egyptian Sector at Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities, Ayman Ashmawy, said that the mission is progressing well this archaeological season, and that the new discovery suggests the team will soon locate the queen’s complete funerary complex.
Queen Ankhnespepy II (ca. 2288-2224 BC) was a 6th Dynasty consort of King Pepy I and the mother of King Pepy II” – via Ahram Online.