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NEWS: Spanish team discovers unique tombs

“The Egyptian-Spanish archaeological mission working at the site of Oxyrhynchus, known as Per-medjed in ancient Egypt, was one of the most important cities in Egypt during the Greco-Roman Period. The most part of the city is under the modern city El-Bahnasa (180 km south of Cairo) has discovered a unique Saite tomb.

Dr. Mostafa Waziry (Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities) said “The tomb is unique. This style wasn’t discovered before in El-Bahnasa. The one-room polish limestone tomb has an entrance form the north. The walls leaning at the ceiling so it makes it flat instead of domed like the previously excavated tombs in the area.”

Dr. Waziry also said “No funerary furniture was found in the tomb.”

The director of the mission from Barcelona university Dr. Esther Pons said “The excavations revealed 8 tombs, all non-decorated with domed ceiling. Several Roman tomb stones were found inside as well as Bronze coins, Small crucifixes and mud seals.”

The discovered tombs were unearthed under the bases of the gravestones from a Roman Period. Some of the findings were related to the deceased people from the Byzantine Period, such as inkpots and bronze earrings, ostraca and a funerary gravestone from a freedman, a released slave who could prosper and had been asked to work on a stela.

The team had to finish this season’s work early because of COVID-19 epidemic. During this mission, researchers worked on topographical works, as well as 3D photogrammetry and aerial imaging.

The excavation in the Oxyrhynchus site is a joint project by the Institute of Ancient Near East Studies (IPOA) of the UB, the Spanish Ministry for Culture and Sports, the University Paul Valéry – Montpelier 3, the Palarq Foundation and the Catalan Society of Egyptology and of course the main partner, The Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities” – via Luxor Times.


NEWS: Voice of 3,000-year-old Egyptian priest brought to life

(Source: Leeds Museums and Galleries)

“Scientists have fulfilled a mummified Egyptian priest’s wish for life after death – by replicating his voice with artificial vocal chords.

Nesyamun’s voice has been reproduced as a vowel-like sound that is reminiscent of a sheep’s bleat.

The priest lived during the politically volatile reign of pharaoh Ramses XI, between 1099 and 1069BC.

As a priest in Thebes, Nesyamun would have needed a strong voice for his ritual duties, which involved singing.

When Nesyamun died, his voice fell silent, but 3,000 years on, a team of researchers have brought it back to life.

They have done so by producing a 3D-printed voice box based Nesyamun’s vocal tract, which was scanned to establish its precise dimensions.

By using the vocal tract with an artificial larynx sound, they synthesised a vowel sound meant to be similar to the voice of Nesyamun.

It is believed to be the first project of its kind to successfully recreate the voice of a dead person through artificial means. In the future, the researchers hope to use computer models to recreate full sentences in Nesyamun’s voice” – via BBC News.

Read more and watch the video here.

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NEWS: Coffins Cachette Discovery in Luxor

(Source: Luxor Times).

Dr. Khaled El-Enany, Minister of Antiquities accompanied by Dr.Mostafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, rushed to Luxor to inspect the newly discovered cachette of intact and sealed coffins at Assasif on Luxor’s West Bank.

The details of such a discovery will be announced in a press conference to be held on Saturday.

The discovery details known so far as follows; a cachette contains at least 20 painted wooden coffins and they appear to be intact and many in an excellent state of preservation. The coffins are stacked in two layer and has human remains and mummies inside” – via Luxor Times.

For more exclusive photographs, visit the Luxor Times website.

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NEWS: Zahi Hawass announces two archaeological discoveries by his team in Luxor

The discoveries include a clay oven and area for workmen, and a royal tomb (Source: Ahram Online).

“Egyptologist Zahi Hawass has announced two new archaeological discoveries made by an Egyptian expedition which he is heading in Luxor.

One discovery was in the West Valley, also known as the Valley of the Monkeys, and the other was in the East Valley, which contains the famous pharaonic tombs.

He made the announcement during a press conference on Luxor’s West Bank on Thursday which was attended by Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and the secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri.

You can view exclusive videos from Luxor Times below:

Hawass said that the Egyptian expedition, which has been working in the Valley of the Monkeys since December 2017, has found “an industrial area” for the first time ever in the location.

He explained that the area contains an oven used for clay products, and a water storage tank used by workmen to drink from.

A scarab ring and hundreds of inlay beads and golden objects which were used to decorate royal coffins were also discovered at the site (Source: Ahram Online).

A scarab ring and hundreds of inlay beads and golden objects which were used to decorate royal coffins were also discovered at the site. Some of the inlays are decorated with the wings of Horus.

Hawass said that the excavation in the West Valley is searching for the tombs of Nefertiti and Ankhsenamun, her daughter and the widow of Tutankhamun.

He said that he thinks that the wide valley between the tomb of Amenhotep III and Ay could be the area that contains the tombs of the Amarna family. Another crucial discovery, he said, is the uncovering of 30 workshops. They are comprised of storage buildings and buildings for the cleaning of the funerary furniture, and contained many pottery finds dated to the eighteenth dynasty.

He has also discovered a royal tomb, labelled KV 65. Inside were tools used for tomb construction.

Hawass said that the expedition that is working in the East Valley is the largest excavation which has taken place since the time of Howard Carter. It is searching for tombs that have never been found before, as well as those of the wives and sons of the kings of the eighteenth dynasty buried in the Valley of the Kings, since the Valley of the Queens did not start taking on burials until the beginning of that dynasty.

The expedition is working near the tomb of Ramses VII, the tomb of Hatshepsut, the tomb of Ramses III and behind the tomb of Merenptah, the son of Ramses II.

The expedition also excavated the surroundings of the tomb of Tutankhamun. It found many important objects, he said” – via Ahram Online.

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NEWS: Ancient Egyptian Mayor’s Tomb Discovered in Luxor

(Source: Luxor Times).

“A tomb belonging to an high official held many titles including Mayor, Royal Seal Bearer and Prince who was called “Djehuty Shed Sou” has been discovered in Dra’ Abu el-Naga site on the West Bank of Luxor city in Upper Egypt, Minister of Antiquities Khaled el Anani announced Thursday.

“It is the biggest rock-cut tomb to be unearthed in the ancient city of Thebes”, the minister said, “dated back to the Ramesside era”.

Moustafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, called it “an important discovery” because it would change the historical and archaeological map of Dra’ Abul el-Naga necropolis.

An Egyptian archaeological team, under Waziri, discovered the tomb – which is located to the north of Theban Tomb TT255 of Roy – after removing the debris that accumulated as a result of successive foreign excavations more than 200 years ago.

As the team worked to remove the rubble on the site, it came across a complete compartment made of adobe with its well inside the courtyard of the cemetery, Waziri said, adding that it probably dates back to the period of the Ramesses, Waziri said.

He added that six other tombs have been discovered underneath the courtyard, noting that one of them belongs to the king’s scribe.

A group of Ushabti statues made of blue faience and wood has also been unearthed, as well as an assembled mask made of cartonnage and more than 50 funeral seals of persons whose tombs are yet to be discovered, the MoA official said” – via Luxor Times.

You can read more and watch an exclusive video here.


NEWS: Discovery of an Ancient Egyptian Woman’s Teeth Reveals She Had a Surprising Profession

Incisor wear. (Source: Lovell & Palichuk, Bioarchaeology of Marginalized People, 2019)

“When we study ancient societies, it can sometimes be difficult to tell who fulfilled which of the various day-to-day roles. For Ancient Egypt, we have a wealth of information, including pictorial records along with sculptures and figurines, buried with the deceased so they could have workers in the afterlife.But these depictions can be idealised, or leave things out. Bones, on the other hand, don’t lie – and the teeth of an Egyptian woman who lived over 4,000 years ago show that the lives of women back then may have been more varied than some records suggest.

Two patterns of wear on 16 of her 24 teeth are inconsistent with eating, which means she was using her teeth for something else; further analysis suggests she was a craftswoman.
This, according to a research team from the University of Alberta, is a surprise.
“Based on tomb paintings and recovered texts, scholars assert that there were only seven professions open to women throughout ancient Egyptian culture history,” they wrote in a new paper.

“[Those are] as priestesses in temples dedicated to goddesses (for high status and well-connected women); as singers, musicians, and dancers (for women with skills and talent); as mourners; as weavers of cloth in the workshops of the aristocracy; and as midwives.”
The remains, originally excavated in the 1970s, are from a necropolis in Mendes, which was once the capital of Ancient Egypt. The woman lived around 2181-2055 BCE, and died after the age of 50.

Apparently she was well respected, too, compared to other remains dating from the same era. She was placed in a wooden coffin lined with reeds, with grave goods that contained alabaster vessels, a bronze mirror, cosmetics and gold leaf.

And, of the roughly 1,070 total teeth from the necropolis site that survived the millennia and excavation of their 92 skeletons, only hers showed these unusual wear patterns” – via Science Alert.

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NEWS: Huge discovery as sarcophagus opened after 2,500 years

Archaeologists opened the priest’s stone sarcophagus (Source: Discovery Channel).

“The discovery of the “exquisitely preserved” mummy was made at Al-Ghorifa, a remote site around 165 miles south of Cairo. Archaeologists opened the priest’s stone sarcophagus in a live broadcast of Expedition Unknown: Egypt Live on the Discovery Channel on Sunday. They found the mummy covered in gold banding inside the sealed stone coffin.

Zahi Hawass, an Egyptian archaeologist and former antiquities minister, lead the expedition with American explorer and host of the show Josh Gates.

When the high priest was discovered, Mr Hawass said: “I can’t believe this, this is incredible.”

Mr Gates then added the mummy was a high priest of Thoth, the ancient Egyptian God of wisdom and magic. He said: “Towards the end of Ancient Egypt, the power really was with the high priests and you can see this… almost feels like a royal burial.”
Two other mummies were also found during the expedition.

One was believed to be a female and was found inside a “family tomb” with other objects including ancient board games.

The mummy may also date back Ancient Egypt’s 26th dynasty, which was the last native dynasty to rule until 525 BC. The Discovery Channel confirmed the third mummy was not a high priest or well preserved.

A 2,500-year-old wax head was also found and was thought to be a cast of one of the high priests.” via The Express.

To read the article and watch a video clip, click here.


NEWS: Ancient Egyptian sarcophagus to be opened on live TV

Thousands-year-old coffin to be featured on Discovery channel is believed to contain an Egyptian nobleman (Source: The Times of Israel).

“A sarcophagus believed to contain an Egyptian nobleman will be opened on live TV during a special broadcast by the American channel Discovery.
The two-hour “Expedition Unknown: Egypt Live” will air Sunday night (0000 GMT Monday) from the site outside Minya, which is along the Nile River south of Cairo and its Giza pyramids.

Egypt has sought to promote archaeological discoveries across the country in a bid to revive tourism hit by turmoil after the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak.

The site containing the sarcophagus was discovered in February last year, and a Discovery spokesman told AFP that the project was set up in collaboration with Egypt’s antiquities ministry.

Archaeologists at the site recently discovered a network of vertical shafts leading to a network of tunnels and tombs containing 40 mummies “believed to be part of the noble elite.”
In one of those, a limestone sarcophagus holding a 3,000-year-old mummy is to be opened during the show.

Discovery declined to disclose the identity of the mummy prior to the broadcast” – via The Times of Israel.

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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.