Leave a comment

NEWS: Barque station of Queen Hatshepsut discovered on Elephantine island

Pillar from the barque station (Source: German Archaeological Institute).

“Archaeologists have announced the discovery of an ancient building believed to be a barque station from the time of Queen Hatshepsut.

The station, comprising of a number of stone blocks was unearthed by the German Archaeological Institute during excavations on Elephantine Island.

Ancient Egyptian barques were a type of boat used from Egypt’s earliest recorded times and are depicted in many drawings, paintings, and relief’s that document the culture. Transportation to the afterlife was believed to be accomplished by way of barques as well, and the image is used in many of the religious murals and carvings in temples and tombs.
Temples often included barque shrines “Stations” in which the sacred barques rested when a procession was not in progress. In these stations the boats would be watched over and cared for by the priests.

According to Dr Felix Arnold – Field director of the mission, the building served as a way-station for the festival barque of the god Khnum.
The building was later dismantled and about 30 of its blocks have now been found in the foundations of the Khnum temple of Nectanebo II. Previous excavations on the site by the Swiss Institute discovered some of the initial remains, but their function has now only just become clear. 

Female representation of Hatshepsut (highlighted by red lines) that was later replaced by the image of a male king (Source: German Archaeological Institute).

The building originally comprised of a chamber for the barque of the god Khnum, which was surrounded on all four sides by pillars.

On the pillars are representations of several versions of the god Khnum, as well as other gods, such as Imi-peref “He-who-is-in-his-house”, Nebet-menit “Lady-of-the-mooring-post” and Min-Amun of Nubia. 
Several of the blocks contain the inscriptions of Hatshepsut as a woman, suggesting that its construction is most probably during the early years of her reign. Only very few buildings from this early stage of her career have been discovered so far. The only other examples have been found at Karnak” – via Heritage Daily.

Leave a comment

NEWS: Swiss archaeologists discover New Kingdom stela at Elephantine

 

(Source: Luxor Times).

“The Swiss mission working at Elephantine island and directed by Dr. Cornelius von Pilgrim, succeeded in discovering an Old Kingdom statue of Prince “Heqaib” and another statue for unidentified person as well as an offering stele dated to 18th Dynasty, New Kingdom. The sandstone stele measures 40 cm width by 60cm height.

According to Dr. Mahmoud Affifi, the statues were discovered near Khnum temple which might be an indication to that worshipping “Heqaib” wasn’t just in his sanctuary which was build during the Middle Kingdom but it might extended to Khnum temple” – via Luxor Times.

More photos here.

Another press release can be found here.

3 Comments

NEWS: Tutankhamun tomb has numerous secret chambers, Egyptian official says after Japanese study that could shed light on Nefertiti’s resting place

 

(Source: The Independent).

“Egyptian ministers have previously promised that the chamber would be ‘full of treasures’ and could be ‘the discovery of the 21st century’
There are two previously secret chambers hidden in King Tutankhamun’s tomb, Egyptian officials have said.

Hidden behind the walls of the Egyptian tomb are secret chambers, which could be “full of treasures”, according to previous statements by Egyptian officials. There is a 90 per cent chance that the hidden chambers exist, according to Egypt’s antiquities minister.

The two rooms contain either metal or organic material, according to the scans. They are hidden on the north and eastern walls of the tomb, a minister said.

The previously undiscovered chambers might unlock many of the deepest secrets of the ancient Egyptians. Some theories have suggested, for instance, that parts of the tomb might contain the resting place of Queen Nefertiti, who scholars have argued might have been Tutankhamun’s mother.

If the chambers are hiding the tomb of Queen Nefertiti, then they could be one of the most important finds of the 21st century. They would put to rest long discussions about her ultimate resting place — and arguments that contend that Tutankhamun’s tomb was originally built for his possible mother.
The discovery was made after a Japanese radar study that looked to map out the contents of the tomb. The researchers will conduct a more advancedscan at the end of this month that will be able to check for certain whether the empty spaces are chambers.

If that scan comes back with proof, then the team will discuss how and when they can get into the rooms.
“We can say more than 90 percent that the chambers are there,” said Mamdouh Eldamaty, an egyptologist who is the country’s antiquities minister. “But I never start the next step until I’m 100 percent” – via The Independent.

Leave a comment

NEWS: Six New Kingdom Statues Found in Aswan

(Source: Ministry of Antiquities Facebook page).

“Antiquities Minister Dr. Mamdouh Eldamaty announced today the discovery of 6 rock cut statues inside the chapels 30 and 31 in Gebel Elselsela Area- North Aswan. The discovery was made during the excavation works performed by Lund University Mission – Sweden headed by Dr. Maria Nilsson and Dr. John Ward.

Eldamaty said that this is an important discovery because Gebel Elselsela was subjected to an earthquake in ancient times beside the erosion effects which made it completely covered with huge blocks, a situation that lead “Caminos” an Egyptologist to report Chapel 30 as totally demolished. However, the mission succeeded in terminating the cleaning and survey works inside the two chapels and uncover the statues. 

(Source: Ministry of Antiquities Facebook page).

On the other hand, Dr. Mahmoud Afifi, Head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities said that the six statues date back to the New Kingdom Era, two of them were found at the rear of chapel 30 and they are the statues of the tomb owner and his wife seated on a chair. The tomb owner is represented in the Osirian position, his arms crossed over his chest and wearing a shoulder length hair wig. The wife on the other hand is represented putting her left arm on her husband’s shoulder while her left arm on her chest.

(Source: Ministry of Antiquities Facebook page).

The other four statues, added Afifi, were found at the rear of chapel 31 and they belong to “neferkhewe”, Overseer of the Foreign Lands during the reign of “Thutmosis III”, his wife, his daughter and son.

Finally, General Manager of Aswan Archaeological Area, Nasr Salama said that the Swedish Mission which started its work in 2012 will continue its excavation works in the area trying to discover more inside the 32 chapels of Gelbel Elselsela, emphasizing the importance of this area in particular because it was where the blocks used in building the temples were cut from” via a The EEF.

1 Comment

NEWS: ’90 percent chance of hidden rooms in Tut tomb’, Egypt says

 

Japanese radar specialist Hirokatsu Watanabe stands with his equipment outside King Tutankhamun’s burial chamber in the Valley of Kings in Luxor, Egypt (Source: Ahram Online).

“Egypt said there is a 90 percent chance that hidden chambers will be found within King Tutankhamun’s tomb, based on the preliminary results of a new exploration of the 3,300-year-old mausoleum.

Researchers say the discovery of a new chamber could shine new light on one of ancient Egypt’s most turbulent times, and one prominent researcher has theorized that the remains of Queen Nefertiti might be inside.
Egypt began the search for the hidden chamber last week. Announcing the results of three days of testing in the southern city of Luxor, Antiquities Minister Mamdouh Eldamaty said the findings will be sent to Japan for a monthlong analysis before the search is resumed” – via Ahram Online.

Read more here.

3 Comments

NEWS: Tutankhamun unmasked?

 

Did the iconic funerary gold mask of King Tutankhamun belong to his stepmother Queen Nefertiti as Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves wrote in a scholarly work on the mystery? (Source: Ahram Online).

“Before being published in a scientific journal in December, British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves, from Arizona University, sent Al-Ahram Weekly an advance copy of his article on the original name inscribed on Tutankhamun’s mask.
Entitled “The Gold Mask of Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten” Reeves relates that an essay was behind his first doubts about King Tutankhamun’s possession of his iconic gold mask, now under restoration at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square.

In the paper Reeves wrote several years ago, in an essay which is yet to appear, he sought to demonstrate that the famous gold mask from King Tutankhamun’s tomb (KV 62) had been created not for the boy king but for the use of a female predecessor named Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten (Queen Nefertiti) who was King Akhenaten’s co-regent.

“The evidence in favour of this conclusion was, and still is compelling,” Reeves said, adding that he was able to muster for it no inscriptional support. Detailed scrutiny, both of the mask itself and of photographs, furnished not the slightest hint that the multi-columned hieroglyphic inscription with cartouche might pre-date Tutankhamun’s reign.

“Happily, this reluctant presumption of the mask’s textual integrity may now be abandoned,” Reeves pointed out in the paper, asserting that “a fresh examination of the re-positioned and newly re-lit mask in Cairo at the end of September 2015 yielded for the first time, beneath the hieroglyphs of Tutankhamun’s prenomen, lightly chased traces of an earlier, erased royal name.”

With the kind cooperation of former director of the Egyptian Museum Mahmoud Al-Halwagi and the museum’s photographer Ahmed Amin, it proved possible to secure an exceptionally clear image of this palimpsest.

Drawing by Gabolde illustrating:(upper) the present, Tutankhamun-era inscription(green)with visible portions of the earlier,underlying text (red); (Lower)the original name(yellow) as reconstructed on the basis of these still-visible traces (red) (Source: Ahram Online).

Given its significance, Reeves was keen to share this discovery with specialist colleagues, from whom he also sought input. “For, although the opening signs of the underlying text were obvious enough, those traces close to the cartouche’s ‘tie’ were proving difficult to disentangle,” Reeves wrote. He added that his request for aid evoked responses from both Ray Johnson and Marc Gabolde. “I am extremely grateful for their contributions to this note,” he said, confirming that “not only has our collaboration resulted in a reasonably definitive reconstruction of the name-form originally borne by the mask, but this name indeed confirms the conclusion I had reached previously on non-inscriptional grounds — namely, that Tutankhamun’s headpiece had been prepared originally for the co-regent Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten.”

The changes to which the mask’s cartouche had been subjected are presented in a drawing by Gabolde. “Above, in green, we see the present, Tutankhamun-era inscription, with visible portions of the earlier, underlying text highlighted in red; below, in yellow, is the agreed reconstruction of this original name.””- via Ahram Online.

Read more here.

3 Comments

NEWS: Radar scans in King Tut’s tomb suggest hidden chambers

 

Hirokatsu Watanabe, a radar specialist from Japan, pushes his specially modified Koden-brand machine along the north wall of Tutankhamun’s burial chamber (Source: National Geographic).

“After two days of radar scans in the tomb of Tutankhamun, archaeologists have concluded that preliminary examination of the data provides evidence that unopened sections lie behind two hidden doorways in the pharaoh’s underground burial chamber.

The results, announced Saturday morning at a news conference in Luxor, bolster the theory of Nicholas Reeves, a British archaeologist who believes that the tomb contains another royal burial. The hidden tomb, he has speculated, belongs to Nefertiti, King Tut’s mother-in-law, who may have ruled as a female pharaoh during Egypt’s 18th Dynasty. If so, this would be only the second intact royal burial site to be discovered in modern times—and it would, in the words of Mamdouh Eldamaty, the Egyptian antiquities minister, represent “one of the most important finds of the century.” At the press conference, he said he was “90 percent positive” that another chamber lies behind the north wall of the tomb.
On Friday, Eldamaty stood next to that wall, which is painted with a scene depicting the burial rituals of the boy pharaoh, who ruled in the 14th century B.C. “The radar scan tells us that on this side of the north wall, we have two different materials,” he said. “We believe that there could be another chamber.”

The scans—conducted by Hirokatsu Watanabe, a Japanese radar specialist— also provide evidence of a second hidden doorway in the adjoining west wall.

Together these features lend credence to Reeves’s theory, which he made public in July. Since then examinations of the physical features of the burial chamber have added support. But until the tests began on Thursday, the evidence ran no deeper than the surface of the walls. Radar scans had never previously been conducted in the tomb, and they represent a crucial step in the investigation. For the first time, specialists have collected data about both the material structure of the walls and the open spaces behind them. It’s these spaces that are most intriguing—they could contain artifacts and possibly even burial goods that rival those found with Tutankhamun.

“Everything is adding up,” Reeves, a National Geographic grantee, told me on Thursday evening, immediately after a suspenseful examination with the radar. We were standing next to the north wall, whose painted scene has been visible since 1922, when Howard Carter rediscovered the tomb. But after observing the scans, I found that the wall looked different to me—I couldn’t help but imagine what may lie beyond. “The tomb is not giving up its secrets easily,” Reeves continued. “But it is giving them up, bit by bit. It’s another result. And nothing is contradicting the basic direction of the theory.”

The first scans in the tomb happened to be scheduled for Thanksgiving, and they began at dusk, after the tourists had left and the Valley of the Kings had fallen silent. Watanabe had last worked in the Valley 15 years ago on another Reeves project. Those scans revealed a number of features that appeared to be underground chambers, one of which turned out to be a tomb. (The others have yet to be investigated further.) Watanabe has also used radar to identify previously hidden ancient monuments in South America. Both of these projects involved radar machines that pointed downward. Such equipment is generally used by engineers; the radar can locate rebar in bridge decks, for example, or find structural weaknesses.

In 2009, a Madrid-based team of conservators and artists called Factum Arte began conducting high-resolution laser scans of the tomb.
After [an] aborted scan, Watanabe tinkered with the radar machine […]. The room hushed, and he began to push the cart along the wall once more. After moving a little more than half of the distance, he broke the silence: “They changed the material here.”

This was exactly the point at which there seemed to be a doorway on the Factum Arte scans. Watanabe is not an Egyptologist, and he had not studied Reeves’s ideas closely, but what he observed on the radar matched up. He did one more scan of the west wall, and then he proceeded to the north. “It’s just a solid wall,” he called out, at the beginning. He reached the section of the wall that Reeves had proposed was a blocked-over partition. “There is a change from here,” Watanabe announced.

After he was finished, he studied the multicolored bars that ran across the computer screen. “Obviously it’s an entrance to something,” he said through a translator. “It’s very obvious that this is something. It’s very deep.”

The next day, Eldamaty and Reeves confirmed that the initial analysis of the data was extremely encouraging. It showed at least two materials: bedrock and something else. “The transition from solid bedrock to non-solid bedrock, to artificial material, it seems, was immediate,” Reeves said, speaking of the north wall. “The transition was not gradual. There was a strict, straight, vertical line, which corresponds perfectly with the line in the ceiling. It seems to suggest that the antechamber continues through the burial chamber as a corridor.” He continued: “The radar people tell me that we can also recognize that behind this partition there is a void.” Eldamaty has said that Watanabe will spend another month analyzing the data, and then he will give final, detailed results” – via National Geographic.

Read more here.