Archive – May 2011

Egyptology news – Archive news from May 2011

Alabaster Statue of Amenhotep III Found On West Bank at Luxor
Statue of Amenhotep IIIA statue of King Tutankhamun’s grandfather King Amenhotep III has been discovered by the Egyptian European Mission excavating at Kom El Hetan, the site of the funerary temple of Amenhotep III on the West Bank at Luxor. The alabaster statue shows the King in a seated position wearing royal headgear. The Mission found the head of the statue separate to any other items during the excavation work in the corridor leading to the third pylon of the temple. Dr. Zahi Hawass says that the statue is one of two statues once stood on the sides of the temple but they were destroyed because of the earthquake that hit Egypt during the Roman period and destroyed the whole temple except for the colossus of Memnon. Read the full initial account on the Luxor Times website and the official MSAA press release on the Zahi Hawass website.

Egypt’s Lost Cities – New Discoveries Using Satellite Technology
View the most recent BBC programme that potentially reveals over 1,500 undiscovered ancient sights viewed from space. Find out more about Dr Sarah Parcak’s research, with the full 1.5 hour show available online:

First Images from Great Pyramid’s Chamber of Secrets
Graffiti from instead the Great Pyramid at GizaA robot has sent back the first images of markings on the wall of a tiny chamber in the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt that have not been seen for 4,500 years. It has also helped settle the controversy about the only metal known to exist in the pyramid and shows a “door” that could lead to another hidden chamber. The pyramid is thought to have been built as a tomb for the Pharaoh Khufu and is the last of the seven wonders of the ancient world still standing. The markings might be ancient graffiti tags left by a worker or symbols of religious significance. Read the full story on the New Scientist website.

Ancient Egyptian Buried City Revealed by Satellite
In a new documentary to be aired by the BBC, an infra-red satellite image reveals the pattern of streets and houses in the buried ancient city of Tanis in Egypt. The new technique has also shown up the sites of 17 lost pyramids as well as thousands of tombs and settlements. Dr Sarah Parcak of the University of Alabama at Birmingham explains the findings at Tanis to Liz Bonnin and Dallas Campbell for the TV programme Egypt’s Lost Cities which can be seen on BBC One on Monday 30 May at 2030 BST.

Seven New Tombs Open at Saqqara
A relief from the tomb of HoremhebThe tombs of King Tut’s high officials were opened on Monday 23rd May 2011 for the first time to the public. Seven ancient Egyptian tombs of top New Kingdom governmental officials and nobles were officially open to the public in an inauguration ceremony at the Saqqara Necropolis. HJournalists, photographers and TV anchors gathered at Saqqara, 30km south of the Giza Plateau, to catch a glimpse of the tombs that the Minister of State for Antiquities – Zahi Hawass is opening to the public for the first time. The newly inaugurated tombs belong to King Tut’s general, who later became King Horemheb; his treasurer, Maya; the steward of the temple of Aten, Meryneith; the royal butler to both King Tut and Akhenaten, Ptahemwia; the overseer of the treasury of Ramsess II, Tia and the harem overseer under King Tutankhamun, Pay and his son, Raia. Read the full story on the Ahram Online website.

The Oriental Institute in Chicago Launches New YouTube Channel
The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago has just launched a new YouTube channel featuring a number of interesting videos that includes the following look at ‘Scribes at work:

New Ancient World Open Bibliographies Project Launches
Ancient bibliography booksA new bibliography website has been set-up whose aim is to provide an online destination for students and scholars seeking bibliographies about the ancient world. The Ancient World Open Bibliographies seeks to provide annotated bibliographies on specific subjects that serve as an introduction to students or to scholars exploring a new area of research. They will also link to existing open-access bibliographical resources online. Currently the porject is rich with information covering Classical, Near Eastern and Egyptian Studies. The project is currently available via a dedicated wiki at

Local NGO in Egypt Works to Save Lake Qarun
Photograph of Lake QaranNature Conservation Egypt (NCE), a local NGO in Egypt, is working to draw public attention to and stop the implementation of a massive development project on Lake Qarun in Fayoum. The group says, “We want it turned into a geopark and then we’ll lobby for a proper application by the Egyptian world heritage committee so that it is declared a World Heritage Site…” NCE wrote a petition on Saturday and managed to get more than 400 signatures within 48 hours online. The petition, which is addressed to the Ministers of Antiquities, Environment, Tourism and Foreign Affairs, highlights five main demands. The petition can be found at: and the full news story can be found on The Daily News Egypt website.

Transporting the Blocks and Megaliths of the Great Pyramid
View of the Giza PlateauAn interesting hypothesis was published this week [w/c 16/05/11] on how two sets of ramps may have been developed by the Ancient Egyptians to build and construct the Pyramids on the Giza Plateau. The article looks at this theory in more details and provides an insight in to how were the sixty-ton megalithic beams moved from the harbor at the base of the Giza Plateau to 43+ meters high into the Great Pyramid? Read the full review on the Em Hotep website.

Back to School for Museum Staff
With the imminent establishment of the first-ever Institute for Museology in the country, this is an interesting interview with Ramadan Badri Hussein, Supervisor of the Office of MSAA’s Minister for Archaeological Affairs, about the human element of the new Egyptian museums system. Read the full interview on the Al-Ahram website.

Ashmolean Museum’s New Egyptian Galleries to Open in November
PreDynastic hippo from the Ashmolean Museum collectionThe Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, UK, holds one of the largest ancient Egyptian and Nubian collections, that are second only to those in the British Museum — holding around 40,000 objects, and spanning all periods from prehistory to the 7th century AD. The Egyptian galleries are currently undergoing a complete renovation and are now set to re-open at the end of November 2011. There will be five galleries in future. The four existing galleries, redesigned and redisplayed, plus a fifth created in the tall stuccoed gallery, that was previously the museums shop. It will be possible to view sneak previews of each gallery, prior to the reopening online. Read the full article on the Egyptology News Network website.

Egypt to Open Suez National Museum of Antiquities
Photograph of some of the Suez Museum artefactsThursday 19th May 2011, sees the official opening by Egypt’s Prime Minister Essam Sharaf of the Suez National Museum of Antiquities, which will showcase nearly 7,000 years of Suez history. The museum will showcase the history of the city from prehistoric times to the modern era. It includes a Suez Canal display that features artifacts, paintings and maps detailing the canal’s history. Built over three years with a budget of LE 42 million, the museum is 5,950 square meters in size and displays 1,500 artefacts. Read more about the museum opening on the Ahram Online website.

Mysterious Ancient Rock Carvings Found Near Nile
Photograph of the rock carvingsAn archaeological team in the Bayuda Desert in northern Sudan has discovered dozens of new rock art drawings, some of which were etched more than 5,000 years ago and reveal scenes that scientists can’t explain. The team discovered 15 new rock art sites in an arid valley known as Wadi Abu Dom, some 18 miles (29 kilometers) from the Nile River. It’s an arid valley that flows with water only during rainy periods. Many of the drawings were carved into the rock faces — no paint was used — of small stream beds known as “khors” that flow into the valley. Read the full story on the LiveScience website.

Latest Theban Mapping Project Update
Theban Mapping Project Website home pageRecent updates have been made to the Theban Mapping Project website. It now includes the most significant update on the clearance of KV5 in a decade. The main burial chamber was once lavishly decorated and, given the number of rooms, at one time the tomb must have beeen incredibly richly decorated with artefacts and furniture. Kent Weeks also mentions the forthcoming publication of an ‘Atlas of the Valley of the Queens’ and material on the tombs of princesses buried in wadis close to the main Valley of the Kings. Visit the Theban Mapping Project website for more details in the March 2011 Progress Report.

King Tut Exhibition Reaches Australia
Coffinette for the viscera of TutankhamunThe travelling King Tutankhamun exhibition has now reached Melbourne in Australia. It’s the first time Tutankhamun’s burial treasures have travelled to Australia, having left Cairo in 2005 for exhibitions in London and New York. They return back to Cairo at exhibition’s end and proceeds will contribute to the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) at Giza, their future home.
Read the full review on The Australian news website.

New Major Exhibition Planned for November 2011 at The Smithsonian
Photograph of mummy from the exhibitionThe Smithsonian Museum in Washington, US, will be holding a major exhibition starting in November 2011 all about ‘Eternal Life in Ancient Egypt’. The exhibition will focus on Egyptian burial ritual, how it reflects Egyptian cosmology, and the insights that mummies, burial ritual, and cosmology provide about life in ancient Egypt.

It’s a chance to explore the ways in which mummies, tombs, and Egyptian mythology open new windows into the lives of ancient Egyptians as they navigated through the world of the living to achieve eternal life after death.

Take a sneak preview on the Smithsonian website.

2015 Opening for the Grand Egyptian Museum
Dr Zahi Hawass. Minister for Antiquities confirmed that the new $US 550 million Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) will be finished and open by 2015. The museum will be sited on 50 hectares of land in Giza and is part of a new master plan for the plateau. For a glimpse of what can be expected, why not view the following video:

Egypt Renews its Campaign for the Return of the Nefertiti Bust from Berlin
Photograph of Nefertiti's Bust in the Berlin MuseumThe renewed campaign for the return from Germany of the iconic bust is among plans for the return of other artefacts to enhance the exhibits at the new Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza.

The bust is ranked first on a “Wish List” of five important objects exhibited abroad that Egypt hopes to see returned. The other four objects on the list are the Rosetta Stone, now in the British Museum in London; the statue of Hemiunnu, architect of the Great Pyramid, in the Roemer-Pelizaeus Museum in Hilesheim; the Dendara Temple Zodiac in the Louvre in Paris and the bust of Kephren’s pyramid builder Ankhaf in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Read the full story on the Ahram Online news website.

Kent Weeks Interview on the Protection of Egyptian Monuments
Photograph of Egyptologist Kent WeeksIn an interview with Newsweek, renowned Egyptologist Kent Weeks has given his view of how the protection of Egyptian monuments and antiquities should be foremost on the Ministry of State Antiquities agenda. The recent upheaval in Egypt has brought to light the very serious problems of the looting of antiquities. The article explores the issue of looting in Egypt and the future of our Antiquities. Read the full interview on the Newsweek website.

Back to this months current Egyptology news and other archives…

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