Archive – Apr 2011

Egyptology news – Archive news from April 2011

Limestone Relief to Return to Egypt from Mexico
Photograph of the reliefAn ancient Egyptian object, a limestone relief panel, will return to Egypt from Mexico.  The relief, which depicts the head of an unidentified person, has been in the custody of Mexican customs for three years.  It is currently at the Egyptian Embassy in Mexico City and will return to Egypt shortly. Upon the object’s arrival in Cairo, it will undergo restoration, in order to be exhibited at the Egyptian Museum, stated Ahmed Mostafa, the Head of the Recovered Antiquities Department. Read more about this story on the Ahram Online news website.

Huge Granite Statue of King Amenhotep III Rediscovered in Luxor
Amenhotep III colossal statue - Photo courtesy of MSAAA colossal statue of Amenhotep III was uncovered during the Ministry of  State for Antiquities’ (MSA) excavation in the area of the funerary temple of King Amenhotep III on the West Bank of Luxor. The mission, led by Dr. Zahi Hawass, Minister of State for Antiquities, unearthed a statue 13 meters tall that consists of seven large quartzite blocks. The statue is one of a pair that once flanked the northern entrance to the temple, Dr. Hawass said, which was damaged by a severe earthquake in 27 BC. The blocks are currently undergoing restoration in an attempt to re-erect the statue in its original position. The head of this statue has not been found yet, but the mission is continuing to excavate and hopes to discover it. Dr. Hawass stated that the pair were previously discovered by Egyptian Egyptologist, Labib Habachi and German Egyptologist, Gerhard Haeny in the 1970’s. These Egyptologists documented both statues and left them on site, hidden in the sand. Archaeologist, Abdel Ghaffar Wagdi, the supervisor of the excavation, stated that the new mission has also discovered two other statues, one depicting the god Thoth as a baboon and one of the lion-headed goddess, Sekhmet. The Sekhmet statue is formed of black granite, 185 cm tall and 74 cm wide. Sekhmet statues have been found in large numbers at this temple, and one theory for this is that Amenhotep III suffered from an illness near the end of his reign and made offerings to this goddess for protection against it. [Source MSAA Press Release]

Issue Two of Al RAWI – Egypt’s Heritage Magazine is Now Available
Cover of Issue Two of the Al Rawi Heritage magazineThe latest issue of Al RAWI – the quarterly bilingual magazine published in Egypt on the country’s history and heritage, is now available to buy. This current issue looks at the state of Egyptian heritage sights post the January Revolution; highlights of the Coptic Art exhibition in Cairo; saving Egyptian crafts for the future and a nostalgic look at the once great Art Deco cinema interiors of Cairo. Visit the Al RAWI website for more information about this great magazine.

2,700 Year Old Mummy Helping to Solve Crimes
This is an interesting medical article on how a 2,700 year old mummy of a young Egyptian girl, is helping helping Vermont doctors and law enforcement officials find truth in one of the most challenging of modern-day crimes: the unexplained deaths of young children. After spotting the mummy at the University of Vermont’s Robert Hull Fleming Museum in Burlington, Dr. Jason Johnson, a radiology resident, arranged to have it put through his hospital’s state-of-the-art CT scanner. He wanted to know about the life of what is believed to be the remains of an Egyptian servant girl of about 14 – and what led to her death. Read the full story on The Victoria Advocate news website. 

Latest Update on the Plans for the New Grand Egyptian Museum
Image of the external view of the planned GEM project at GizaThe GEM project is now once again moving ahead according to Dr Zahi Hawass. The new Museum is intended to be an art museum, and the purpose is to display the best art from ancient Egypt in a way that people can understand and appreciate. One third of the GEM will be dedicated to the Tutankhamun collection, with the famous golden mask of Tutankhamun being its own room, so that there is enough space around it for many people to appreciate its beauty.  Read the full update on the Zahi Hawass website.

Egypt’s Antiquities Ministry Releases First Official Replicas
Photograph of King Tutankhamun's chariotIf any Egyptology enthusiast ever wanted an official, to-scale replica, then the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities Affairs has just opened a production unit, which has sold LE2m worth of replicas to hotels in Sharm el-Sheikh. The production unit has just fabricated its first batch of replicas that includes 130 replica statues, depicting the unique collection of King Tutankhamun. The replicas are to be produced exclusively for tourists and hotels in Sharm el-Sheikh. Read the full story on the Ahram Online website.

Digital Karnak – Take a New Look Around Karnak Temple
The Digital Karnak Project aims to make the ancient Egyptian site of Karnak more accessible to students and instructors in the English-speaking world. As part of this goal, a 3D Virtual Reality model of the temple has been constructed, offering students a completely new way to view the temple: reign-by-reign, following the complex patterns of royal construction, modification and destruction that are now obscured by the latest building phases at the site. Take a look at the Digital Karnak Project website for more information.

A New Valley of the Kings Mystery is Revealed
Photograph of the Valley of the Kings in LuxorNew research presented recently at the annual meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) shows that a tomb in the Valley of the Kings – KV 44 – contained the remains of infants who were suffering from disease. The skeletons of adult women were also found but no men. Certainly not the tomb of a Pharaoh. The tomb was first discovered in 1901 by Howard Carter who found it to be looted and containing “rubbish”. Its design is remarkably simple, consisting of a single shaft entry and a chamber with no apparent decoration on the walls. Find out more about this new research on the ‘Past Horizons‘ website.

Story of How a Poor Boy Weaver Was Buried in a Lavish Coffin
Photograph of the coffin of Nakht, courtesy of the Unreported Heritage News websiteA poor boy’s grave – just how did a teenage Egyptian weaver end up with a “very nice” coffin? About 3,200 years ago, at a time when Egypt was recovering from civil war, a boy named Nakht worked as a weaver for a funerary chapel. The coffin of Nakht is faded and looks quite plain. However, high resolution photographs taken of the coffin show that originally it was well decorated. Also it appears to have been made out of imported wood. So read the full story, on the ‘Unreported Heritage News‘ website to find out more about the suggestions of why this boy ended up with such a high-end coffin.

Ancient Egypt Magazine Latest Issue April / May 2011
Cover of the Ancient Egypt magazine April / May 2011 issueThe latest issue of the UK’s Ancient Egypt magazine includes an extended feature and report from the Editors and from Ayman Wahby Taher on recent developments in Egypt and on the damage to the theft of antiquities and the ancient sights. Other features include a look at ‘Why Belzoni went to Egypt?’ and the meaning of ‘Colours used in Ancient Egypt’. Visit the magazines website for more information on this latest issue and how you can subscribe.

British Archaeology Magazine Latest Issue May / June 2011
Image of cover of May/June issue of BAThe latest May / June 2011 issue of the UK’s British Archaeology magazine includes on article entitled ‘Overthrowing Egypt’s Past’. It looks at how Egypt’s ancient past was caught up in the 25th of January Revolution. It includes an exclusive eyewitness account and photos by archaeologist Heinrich Härke of events in Cairo as protests began in late January; a diary of incidents affecting the Egyptian Museum and ancient sites; and an exclusive English translation of a message sent to newly re-appointed antiquities minister Zahi Hawass by Dr Hany Hanna, Supreme Council of Antiquities, asking that corruption be swept away from the world of Egyptian archaeology. View the details and how to subscribe on the Council for British Archaeology website.

Interview with Egyptologist Toby Wilkinson on Ancient Egypt
Image of sleeve of the book cover for the Rise and Fall of Ancient EgyptThe Egyptologist Tony Wilkinson recently gave an interview to The Wall Street Journal. As an Egyptologist for the past 20 years, he has published seven books surrounding his research into ancient Egyptian civilization. His newest entitled ”The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt” looks 3,000 years back into Egypt during the times of Pepi II, who was made king as an infant, eleven pharaohs named Ramesses and Nefertiti. In the  interview Toby answers questions on his interest in Egypt, the often-tricky diplomacy of recovering artefacts and the dystopian reality of the countries ancient rulers. Read the full interview on the SpeakEasy website.

Watch Out for Fakes – Especially Those that Cost £440,000
Photograph of the Amarna Princess statue courtesy of the Bolton Museum websiteBolton Council in the UK bought the Amarna Princess in 2003 after Christie’s and the British Museum authenticated the figurine as 3,300 years old. The museum paid for £440,000. However, the statue of the granddaughter of King Tutankhamun was actually created by Shaun Greenhalgh in his shed in Bolton! It and other fakes, will go on display at Bolton Museum from 16th April 2011. Greenhalgh, of Bromley Cross in Bolton, was jailed for four years and eight months at Bolton Crown Court in 2007 after admitting selling faked and forged works of art as genuine and laundering the money he made. Read the full story on Amarna Princess on the BBC website.

Star Exhibition Piece is Unpacked at the Oriental Museum in Chicago
Photograph of statue of King Khasekhem courtesy of The Ashmolean MuseumAs a special exhibition opens at the Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago – “Before the Pyramids: The Origins of Egyptian Civilization”, we can take a look behind the scenes as they unwrap one of the exhibition’s star attractions. The statue of King Khasekhem is the oldest inscribed statue of a king known from Egypt and it may also be the oldest known king statue with an inscription. The statue is on loan from The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, UK and has never before left the museum or country since it was acquired in 1897. Check out the full story and view a video of the unpacking on the Chicago Tribune news website.

Mummy Royalty Show Signs of Clogged Arteries From 3,600 Years Ago
Photograph of CT Scan of mummies in the Cairo MuseumA team led by cardiologists Adel Allam of the Al Azhar Medical School  in Cairo and Gregory Thomas of the University of California, Irvine, has conducted the broadest and most detailed study yet of atherosclerosis – a  hardening of the arteries that causes both strokes and heart attacks-among ancient Egypt’s upper classes. By building on earlier work and performing CT  scans on 52 of their mummies, a study presented at the scientific session of  the American College of Cardiology in New Orleans, stated that they have found that 45% exhibited definite or probable hardening of the arteries. Find out more about this interesting discovery on both the ScienceNow and Kansas City Star websites – the latter includes a video and photo gallery.

Take a Look at Brooklyn Museums Long-Term Installation – ‘The Mummy Chamber’
Photograph of the Coffin and Mummy Board of Pa-seba-khai-en-ipet - Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum“The Mummy Chamber” is a term installation that opened last year in the Brooklyn Museum in New York. The exhibition has more than 170 objects from the Brooklyn Museums world-famous holdings of ancient Egyptian material. It explores the complex rituals related to the practice of mummification and the Egyptian belief that the body must be preserved in order to ensure eternal life. Take a look at this short video to see what it’s like to take the mummies to be CT scanned and find out what the Museum learned about the Mummy of Hor. Also, check out the exhibition on the Brooklyn Museum’s website.

EES Delta Survey Project Posting Daily Blog Reports
Photo of Delta regionThe Egypt Exploration Society (EES) took over a project in 1997, which attempts to record all of the archaeological sites of Lower Egypt. Now for the third season running, during March and April 2011, Dr Patricia Spencer, the Society’s Director, will be posting regular updates from the Delta, Egypt.  With the support of the grant given to the EES Delta Survey by the British Academy they hope to survey a large tell, Kom el-Daba, in Kafr es-Sheikh Governorate, which they first visited in 1990 and which has substantial brick remains. Updates from the field will be posted on the Surveys Blog website.

Queen Hatshepstut’s Identity Confirmed by a Dentist
Photograph of Queen Hatshepstut's mummyEven Egyptology reaches as far as the world of dentists! Interesting article from The National Magazine for Dental Hygiene Professionals, looks at how a dentist finally identified an object found in the mummy that was thought to be Hatshepstut’s, as a molar with a missing root. Read the full article on the RDH website.

Back to this months current Egyptology news and other archives…

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