Archive – Feb 2011

Egyptology news – Archive news from February 2011

Bibliotheca Alexandrina Reopens
Interior photograph of the Bibliotheca AlexandrinaThe Library of Alexandria, also known as the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, reopened this week. It was closed for the last few weeks during the demonstrations, both to protect it from vandalism and to protest the army’s curfew. The library’s director, Ismail Serageldin says that in all the protests, not a stone was thrown at the library and not a pane of glass was broken. Visit the Bibliotheca Alexandrina website for more information about the protests and visiting the Library.

Christies Auction An Exceptional Copy of the Famous ‘Description de l’Egypte’
Photograph of the 23 Volumes of The Description de l’EgypteChristies announces the sale of the Michel Wittock Collection, Part IV, which will be held in Paris on May 11 2011. The sale will include and exceptional copy of the famous ‘Description de l’Egypte’, bound by Jean-Joseph Tessier in polished and richly decorated calfskin. ‘Description de l’Égypte’ comprises 23 volumes in their original mahogany display case, which is expected to realize €500.000 to €700.000. This is the first edition of this monumental publication, which is considered to be the foundation of modern Egyptology: a virtually complete set of the large paper issue, printed on woven paper with handcoloured ornithological plates. The Description de l’Egypte is the most extravagant official publishing enterprise ever accomplished. After his nomination to the command of the Egyptian campaign (1798-1801), Napoleon appointed a considerable staff of scientists, artists, architects and others, including eminent names such as Monge, Barraband, Redouté and Vivant-Denon, with a brief to undertake a comprehensive description of the country’s flora, fauna, monuments and architecture. The resulting mass of information was encapsulated in this seminal publication which began in 1803 but was not completed until 1830. Read the full review of the auction on the ‘‘ website.

AERA Field Excavation Season Blog Now Available Online
Photograph of the Sphinx on the Giza PlataeuThe ‘Ancient Egypt Research Associates’ (AERA) explores Egypt’s archaeological records seeking the origins of civilization. Their mission is to contribute insight and understanding to the present awareness of cultural evolution. The Association primarily directs an international, interdisciplinary team of archaeologists and specialists at the site of the ancient pyramid settlement at the Giza Pyramids. They have worked most notably on the ‘Giza Mapping Project’, ‘The Sphinx Project’ and ‘The Lost City of the Pyramids’. This season they are excavating in both concession areas at Giza – the Workers Settlement (The Lost City and Heit el-Ghurab) and the town of Queen Khentkawes. Both sites date from the mid 4th Dynasty (circa 2529 -2471 B.C.) Find our more about the excavations on the AERA website and blog.

National Geographic TV Channel in the US Plans Weeklong Special on Egypt Starting Today
National Geographic Channel Egypt Special ProgrammingNational Geographic Channel is planning a weeklong programming event about Egypt starting on Tuesday February 22nd. Primetime hours of ‘Treasures of Egypt’ will be introduced with newly produced segments, where they will add current context to historical material through interviews with National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Zahi Hawass. The programming will centre on Egypt’s cultural heritage and the importance of preserving it amid the current changes happening in the country. Visit the NatGeoTV website for full details of the programmes.

‘Secret Egypt’ Opens at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry in the UK
Photograph of a Poster for the Secret Egypt ExhibitionA brand new exhibition allows visitors to investigate the truth behind some of the most popular myths about ancient Egypt amongst displays that bring together over 200 objects from some of the most important Egyptian collections in the country. The climax of the exhibition visitors are invited to explore a recreated tomb, answering ‘ Why were the ancient Egyptians obsessed with death?’ The display includes an offering chapel and a mummy of a woman called Perenbast. This is a great example of the care and respect given during the preparations for passing into the eternal life. The exhibition runs until the 5th June 2011.

Find out more about the exhbition and related events on the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum website.

New Cleopatra Exhibition Previews at the Cincinnati Museum Center in the US
A new exhibition “Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt” previewed at the Cincinnati Museum Center. The exhibition will open to the public at 10 a.m. on Friday18th February, but about 1,600 teachers and guests signed up for a free preview on Tuesday afternoon at the Museum Center’s invitation. View this video on the installation of one of the Cleopatra colossal statues:

The exhibition includes about 150 artefacts from around Cleopatra’s time that archaeologists recovered from submerged ancient Egyptian cities and from an area west of Alexandria, where Cleopatra may be buried. You can view the full story on the website.

Official Press Release from the SCA Bearing Sad News About Some Ancient Egyptian Sights
Photograph of the False Door of Nobleman Hetep-Ka
From today’s [17/02/11] official SCA Press release of a meeting between Dr.Hawass, members of the Ministry of Antiquities Affairs and the Antiquities and Tourism Police:

“Unfortunately, Dr. Hawass was also burdened with announcing the sad news that several sites had been vandalized. Today, Dr. Sabry Abdel Aziz, Head of the Pharaonic Sector of the Ministry of State for Antiquities Affairs, reported to the Minister that the tomb of Hetep-Ka, in Saqqara, was broken into, and the false door was stolen along with objects stored in the tomb. In Abusir, a portion of the false door was stolen from the tomb of Re-Hotep. In addition, many magazines also suffered break-ins: magazines in Saqqara, including the one near the pyramid of Teti, and the magazine of Cairo University all had their seals broken. Dr. Hawass has created a committee to prepare reports to determine what, if anything is missing from these magazines. The Egyptian Military caught, and dismissed, thieves attempting to loot the sites of Tell el Basta; the military also caught criminals trying to loot a tomb in Lischt. There have also been many reports of attacks on archaeological lands through the building of houses and illegal digging. Dr. Hawass has asked all of the sector heads in the Ministry of State for Antiquities Affairs to make full reports for each site in Egypt.”

Mummy Remains Show False Toes Helped Ancient Egyptians Walk
Photograph of the False Toe from the Cairo Museum - courtesy of the University of ManchesterTwo artificial big toes, one found attached to the foot of an ancient Egyptian mummy, may have been the world’s earliest functional prosthetic body parts, says the scientist who tested replicas on volunteers. University of Manchester researcher, Dr Jacky Finch, has shown that a three-part wood and leather artefact housed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, along with a second one, the Greville Chester artificial toe on display in the British Museum, not only looked the part but also helped their toeless owners walk. Read the full research article on the New Scientist website.

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