Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Temples of stone: In the footsteps of George Rodger - BBC News

Temples of stone: In the footsteps of George Rodger

To see the rest of Rodger's beautiful photos, go to the web site.


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Ancient History: Two Mummies Discovered With Cancer

Ancient History: Two Mummies Discovered With Cancer

The oldest cases of multiple myeloma and breast cancer date back to ancient Egyptian mummies.
BY Kristie L. Kahl
PUBLISHED January 16, 2018
Ever wonder how far back cancer diagnoses actually go? Well, according to an international group of researchers, the oldest known cases of multiple myeloma and breast cancer date back to two Egyptian mummies.

A team of researchers, including members from the University of Granada's anthropology group in Spain, conducted CT scans of two mummies found in the pharaonic necropolis of Qubbet el-Hawa in Aswan, Egypt.

Through their analysis of CT scans, the researchers determined a woman with breast cancer died around 2000 B.C., and a man with multiple myeloma died around 1800 B.C. According to the researchers, both individuals belonged to the ruling classes, or at the very east to the wealthy classes, of the governing Egyptian families of Elephantine.

The researchers chose CT scans, in this instance, rather than traditional methods because these scans would yield better results when dealing with the dressing and embalming of the mummies.

"CT scanning techniques provide better results than traditional methods, which invariably lead to significant loss of the mummy wrapping as well as to partial destruction of the dressing and the body itself," a University of Granada press release said. "Moreover, tomography scanning techniques are more precise when it comes to ascertaining information about the insides of the mummies, as well as capturing minute details in the dressing and about the embalming techniques employed."

Specifically, the researchers used a next-generation CT scanner capable of performing 124 tomographic slices simultaneously and, they noted, with a very high degree of precision.

The mummies had been reduced to bones, but were wrapped in a large number of bandages. "Details such as these suggest that embalming techniques changed over time," the release said.

The team conducted CT scans in two additional intact mummies from the Late Period of ancient Egypt – a boy around 9 years of age and a young teenage girl. However, no traces of disease were found in these mummies.

Lastly, the researchers highlighted how important these findings are.

"Studies conducted on the two oldest mummies, which reveal evidence of breast cancer and multiple myeloma – the oldest known cases to date – have enabled researchers to confirm that these diseases were already present in humans in ancient times," the release said. "The research findings also confirm that these individuals belonged to an advanced society with enough resources to support and care for them throughout the long course of their diseases, at a time when no cures or treatments were available."
Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the Myeloma CURE discussion group.
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Reports on Giza Pyramids administration to be transferred to Emirati company 'rumor': official - Egypt Independent

Reports on Giza Pyramids administration to be transferred to Emirati company 'rumor': official

The Egyptian company of 'Orascom' will only upgrade, operate sound and light shows at pyramids, share profits with state for 20 years: says head of [ECLS]

News reports alleging that the Egyptian government will transfer the administration of the Giza Pyramids to an Emirati company for the next 20 years went viral on social media on Monday.

The reports were based on a 2015 agreement that was signed between the state-run Egyptian Company of Light and Sound (ECLS), currently assigned to operate night shows at the Giza Pyramids, and an Emirati company called Prisme International UAE.

Some social media users expressed anger at the news, launching heavy criticism against the Egyptian government.

Egypt Independent spoke to the head of the ECLS Sameh Saad on Tuesday to get more details on the authenticity of the news reports and the agreement between his company and the Emirati one.

"The 2015 agreement stipulated that Prisme International UAE will be responsible for the upgrading process of the lighting and sound systems used to operate the night shows at the Giza Pyramids. It will also share profits of the show with the ECLS for 20 years [but] this does not mean that it will administrate the Giza Pyramids" Saad told Egypt Independent on Tuesday.

Saad noted that Prisme international UAE is now under the administration of the Egyptian company Orascom that is owned by the infamous Egyptian business tycoon Naguib Sawiris, adding that Orascom has the majority of shares of Prisme international UAE, meaning that the deal was made between two Egyptian companies.

"The partnership is now with an Egyptian company not Emirati company as rumored. The agreement has now been activated after the company was subjected to Egyptian administration, and in both cases, the company is not administrating, it only develops sound and light techniques and will operate them for 20 years under the supervision of the Egyptian Company of Light and Sound. Both companies will share the profits" Saad clarified.

He further explained that the agreement stipulated that Prisme international UAE will only develop the restaurants and sound and light devices used to operate the night shows around the Sphinx, not the Pyramids.

"The Pyramids are totally under the supervision and administration of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities during morning [hours]. With the arrival of night, the administration of the pyramids and Sphinx goes to the Egyptian Company of Light and Sound. The agreement is not related to the Pyramids at all as people are prohibited from entering it at night as there are light and sound shows there."

The shows that are being operated by the Egyptian Company of Sound and Light tell the story of the history of the Pyramids while making use of light and sound effects.

On the reasons that pushed the Egyptian company of Light and Sound to reach an agreement with the Prisme company, Saad noted that the sound and light techniques used to operate the show have not been updated since 2005, making it  necessary to upgrade them. he noted that the company was going to do such an upgrade in 2010 with its own financial resources, but when the 2011 revolution broke out the company's revenues dropped which made them postpone the plans.

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Ancient DNA results end 4,000-year-old Egyptian mummy mystery | EurekAlert! Science News

Ancient DNA results end 4,000-year-old Egyptian mummy mystery

University of Manchester


IMAGE: The Two Brothers are the Museum's oldest mummies and amongst the best-known human remains in its Egyptology collection. They are the mummies of two elite men -- Khnum-nakht and Nakht-ankh... view more 

Credit: Manchester Museum, The University of Manchester

Using 'next generation' DNA sequencing scientists have found that the famous 'Two Brothers' mummies of the Manchester Museum have different fathers so are, in fact, half-brothers.

The Two Brothers are the Museum's oldest mummies and amongst the best-known human remains in its Egyptology collection. They are the mummies of two elite men - Khnum-nakht and Nakht-ankh - dating to around 1800 BC.

However, ever since their discovery in 1907 there has been some debate amongst Egyptologists whether the two were actually related at all. So, in 2015, 'ancient DNA' was extracted from their teeth to solve the mystery.

But how did the mystery start? The pair's joint burial site, later dubbed The Tomb of The Two Brothers, was discovered at Deir Rifeh, a village 250 miles south of Cairo.

They were found by Egyptian workmen directed by early 20th century Egyptologists, Flinders Petrie and Ernest Mackay. Hieroglyphic inscriptions on the coffins indicated that both men were the sons of an unnamed local governor and had mothers with the same name, Khnum-aa. It was then the men became known as the Two Brothers.

When the complete contents of the tomb were shipped to Manchester in 1908 and the mummies of both men were unwrapped by the UK's first professional female Egyptologist, Dr Margaret Murray. Her team concluded that the skeletal morphologies were quite different, suggesting an absence of family relationship. Based on contemporary inscriptional evidence, it was proposed that one of the Brothers was adopted.

Therefore, in 2015, the DNA was extracted from the teeth and, following hybridization capture of the mitochondrial and Y chromosome fractions, sequenced by a next generation method. Analysis showed that both Nakht-Ankh and Khnum-Nakht belonged to mitochondrial haplotype M1a1, suggesting a maternal relationship. The Y chromosome sequences were less complete but showed variations between the two mummies, indicating that Nakht-Ankh and Khnum-Nakht had different fathers, and were thus very likely to have been half-brothers.

Dr Konstantina Drosou, of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Manchester who conducted the DNA sequencing, said: "It was a long and exhausting journey to the results but we are finally here. I am very grateful we were able to add a small but very important piece to the big history puzzle and I am sure the brothers would be very proud of us. These moments are what make us believe in ancient DNA. "

The study, which is being published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, is the first to successfully use the typing of both mitochondrial and Y chromosomal DNA in Egyptian mummies.

Dr Campbell Price, Curator of Egypt and Sudan at Manchester Museum, said: "The University of Manchester, and Manchester Museum in particular, has a long history of research on ancient Egyptian human remains. Our reconstructions will always be speculative to some extent but to be able to link these two men in this way is an exciting first."


About The University of Manchester

The University of Manchester, a member of the prestigious Russell Group, is the UK's largest single-site university with more than 40,000 students - including more than 10,000 from overseas.It is consistently ranked among the world's elite for graduate employability.

The University is also one of the country's major research institutions, rated fifth in the UK in terms of 'research power' (REF 2014). World-class research is carried out across a diverse range of fields including cancer, advanced materials, addressing global inequalities, energy and industrial biotechnology.

No fewer than 25 Nobel laureates have either worked or studied here.

It is the only UK university to have social responsibility among its core strategic objectives, with staff and students alike dedicated to making a positive difference in communities around the world.

Manchester is ranked 38th in the world in the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2017 and 6th in the UK. Visit for further information.

Facts and figures:

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News and media contacts:

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

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Monday, January 15, 2018

Giza Plateau to open earlier to accommodate more tourist visitors - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online

Giza Plateau to open earlier to accommodate more tourist visitors

The Ministry of Antiquities has set new opening hours, running from 7:00 am to 5:00 am each day, starting on Tuesday

Nevine El-Aref , Monday 15 Jan 2018
Visitors film the light on the historical site of Giza            Pyramids as they celebrate the New Year in Eg
Visitors film the light on the historical site of Giza Pyramids as they celebrate the New Year in Egypt, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. (AP)
The Giza Plateau archaeological site is to open to visitors one hour earlier in the mornings starting on Tuesday, as part of a Ministry of Antiquities effort to encourage more tourists.

Opening hours will now run from 7:00am to 5:00 pm instead of 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Ashraf Mohi, director general of the Giza Plateau site, told Ahram Online that the decision was approved by the board of directors of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

"These changes aim to make the site available for more time, especially as the country's tourism season has just started," Mohi said.

He said that earlier this month the board of directors approved the extension of visiting hours at the Edfu and Kom Ombo temples in Aswan Governorate through the winter months.

The move was intended to accommodate delays in the arrival of River Nile cruise boats due to the low water levels on the river.

Edfu temple will remain open until 5:00 pm every day instead of 4:00 pm, and for Kom Ombo temple will be open until 9:00 pm instead of 8:00pm.

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49th Cairo International Book Fair to commence Jan. 27 - Egypt Today
The 49th Cairo International Book Fair poster – Egypt Today
The 49th Cairo International Book Fair poster – Egypt Today

49th Cairo International Book Fair to commence Jan. 27

Fri, Jan. 12, 2018

CAIRO – 12 January 2018: Twenty-seven countries, including 17 Arab countries and 10 foreign countries will participate in the 49th Cairo International Book Fair, which will run from January 27 to February 10.

The details of the fair were announced in a press conference on Wednesday, January 10. The 49th edition poster was also released during the conference.

"The late veteran writer Abdel Rahaman el-Sharakawy was chosen to be the person of the year because he participated in the renewal of religious discourse in addition to being a renowned theatrical writer," recounted Haitham el-Hag, head of the Egyptian General Authority for Books.

El-Hag added that the Ministry of Education will coordinate the first week of the second semester in tandem with the book fair's second week as a "Reading Week".

"The books industry in Egypt is the core of its soft powers, because it is the origin of all kinds of art," Egyptian publisher Adel el-Masry stated during the press conference.

"We decided that the art camp of this edition will bear the name of the late great Egyptian artist Shadia," el-Hag continued, "The 49th edition poster was designed by the book fair's permanent committee in collaboration with the Egyptian Fine Arts Sector."

Farid Dahman, the deputy Algerian ambassador announced that about 10 percent of the participating publishing houses are Algerian. Algeria has been chosen as a guest of honor in this year's fair, after Egypt was chosen as guest of honor for a similar fair in Algeria last year.

El-Hag previously announced that the figures for publishing houses' participation in the Cairo International Book Fair for this year increased significantly compared to last year.

"The increase in publishing houses' participation in the 49th edition is 120 percent in comparison to last year," el-Hag stated.

El-Hag added that about 144 new publishing houses are participating in the book fair this year for the first time. "The Fair's Authority suggested launching a second round of the book fair in October. From our side as the Egyptian General Authority for Books, we are ready to cooperate in the launching of any book fair. We are currently discussing this proposal," el- Hag said.

The 49th edition will host a lot of new activities for the first time, such as establishing theaters, cinema halls and fine arts halls, in addition to increasing the number of books dedicated to children.
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How to Get Tickets to the New King Tut Exhibit Coming to LA - NBC Southern California

How to Get Tickets to the New King Tut Exhibit Coming to LA

Organizers said the exhibit will feature items used and owned by the so-called "Boy King"

How to Get Tickets to the New King Tut Exhibit Coming              to LA
In this image distributed on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, children celebrate the announcement of the KING TUT: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh exhibition at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, overlooking an artistic recreation of his tomb that appears as if in 3D.

Tickets will go on sale Tuesday for a California Science Center exhibit billed as the largest traveling collection outside Egypt of artifacts from the tomb of Tutankhamun -- better known as King Tut.

The exhibition, titled "King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh," will open at the science center in March, beginning a 10-city tour to mark the approaching 100th anniversary of the tomb's discovery.

The exhibit will include more than 150 artifacts, far more expansive than past displays that have generally been limited to about 50 items. Organizers said the exhibit will feature items used and owned by the so-called "Boy King," such as golden jewelry, carvings, sculptures and ritual antiquities.

About 40 percent of the artifacts will be leaving Egypt for the first - - and last -- time, with the items eventually returning to Egypt to be permanently displayed at the under-construction Grand Egyptian Museum.

The exhibit will open March 24 at the California Science Center, where it will remain until January 2019, when it will move to Europe.

"Its ornate artifacts and multimedia displays will stimulate interest in the many sciences related to archaeology," said Jeff Rudolph, president of the California Science Center. "Guests will also learn how the scientific analysis of his 3,000-year-old mummy revealed new information about his health and lineage, as well as how cutting-edge archeological tools are assisting in discovering tombs and analyzing existing ones in ways never before imagined."

King Tut's tomb was first discovered by British archaeologist and Egyptologist Howard Carter in 1922.

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Giza Pyramids: Egyptian Heritage Turns Into National Embarrassment | Egyptian Streets

Giza Pyramids: Egyptian Heritage Turns Into National Embarrassment

In late 2016, Egypt's Ministry of  Antiquities and Ministry of Tourism announced that they had spent a collective $US 40 million to renovate the Great Pyramids of Giza Complex in an attempt to make the area more accessible and enjoyable for visitors.

Almost 16 months later, visitors and locals are asking: where did the money all go?

In the 2016 statement, the Minister of Antiquities Khaled Al-Anany said that the $US 40 million would be spent on constructing an information centre, administrative building, and toilet facilities; installing 'high-tech' security gates at the entrance; installing rubish bins throughout the Complex; and moving vendors to a designated area.

Yet, in two separate visits to the Pyramids in January of this year, Egyptian Streets has found that the Pyramids Complex remains unsafe, unclean, and confusing.

No Information Centre

No information centre currently exists to provide visitors with any information or guidance, despite the Minister of Antiquities stating that such centre would be constructed by the end of 2016. Tourists continue to be left without much guidance, forced to either rely on pre-planned tours or risk being scammed by locals.

Even worse, if tourists arrive without any cash, they are unable to purchase any entrance tickets. The ticket office does not accept credit or debit cards and there are no ATM machines nearby.

This is the entrance to the 'high-tech' security gate the tourists have to pass.

High-Tech Security Gates Aren't So High-Tech

The 'high-tech' security gates are basic x-ray machines and metal detectors which are found across the country. In fact, the metal detectors were not working at all during both visits by Egyptian Streets to the Pyramids.

Portable Toilets

The toilets allegedly constructed at the Pyramids are simply portable toilets that, on both occassions, were unclean.

The newly installed 'toilet facilities' at the Complex.

If the Ministry expects tourists will spend hours at the Pyramids – taking photographs, riding camels, entering ancient tombs, and building a spiritual connection with the land – then the Ministry needs to have clean and accessible bathrooms for all tourists (including the disabled) at numerous locations throughout the Complex. The bathrooms should be regularly cleaned and maintained.

Rubbish Bins?

Rubbish bins installed at the Complex

While some rubbish bins have been installed at the Pyramids, these bins are scarce and unmaintained, with bags filled with garbage left next to the bins. Around the Complex, littering continues to be a problem.

Intimidation, Harassment, and Coercion

In a video shared on Facebook by Egyptian Streets, it was revealed how 'thugs' continue to intimidate and harass visitors and tourists just outside the main entrance of the Pyramid Complex.

Photo credit: Egyptian Streets

This is a problem that has existed since 2012. Comments by readers suggest that some of the men involved have attacked visitors, forced themselves into the cars of visitors, and more. Such action continues to occur in front of tourism police who simply stand by without taking any action to protect tourists and visitors.

Vendors…Vendors Everywhere

Vendors and owners of camels continue to harass tourists throughout the Complex, with a group of individuals often awaiting tourists the moment they pass through the 'high-tech' security gates.

While the Minister of Antiquities promised that vendors would only be allowed to engage with visitors at a designated area, this continues to be an unsolved issue. Egyptian Streets' reporter was followed for more than 20 minutes by one vendor who simply refused the fact that the reporter was not purchasing any over-priced souvenirs from him.

Meanwhile, in video captured by Egyptian Streets, a group of vendors were witnessed loudly arguing in the shadow of the Great Pyramid after one of the vendors 'stole a customer away'. This behaviour attracted negative attention, and even involved physical violence, yet police simply stood by and watched.

So Where Did the $US 40 Million Go?

Visitors should feel welcomed and safe both inside and outside the Complex. The Tourism and Antiquities Ministries need to ensure tourism sites across the country are safe and accessible. The fact that the Complex remains in shambles shows a lack of appreciation and respect for the world's last remaining ancient wonder.

Perhaps more importantly, where did the $US 40 million go and why has nothing changed for the better?

Mohamed Anwar al-Sadat Will Not Run for Presidency, Slams Egypt's Presidential Elections
Egyptians Invest in Bitcoins Amid Stagnated Incomes

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Historical door at Giza Pyramids stolen - Egypt Independent

Historical door at Giza Pyramids stolen

A theft was carried out at the Giza Pyramids' cemetery of builders, which was opened for visitors in November for the first time since its discovery in 1990 by Egyptian archaeologist and former Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass.

The incident revealed continued neglect by officials of the Ministry of Antiquities.

Although the Antiquities Ministry maintained secrecy regarding the theft, Al-Masry Al-Youm learned from informed sources that the theft included part of the door of the cemetery of Nefer Theth.

The cemetery of Nefer Theth belongs to the supervisor of the Royal Palace, and was in a good state of preservation.

It has two doors and inscriptions along the walls, according to a statement issued by the Antiquities Ministry in November.

The sources said that the theft occurred at dawn on January 7.

The sources added that the theft was discovered while guards were changing work shifts.

The only punitive action taken by the Ministry of Antiquities was the transfer of the Director of the Pyramids' area's administrative security Mohamed Fatehy Mansour to another post as inspector with the Imbaba Antiquities Department.

No action has been taken against the director of the Pyramids area or his deputy.

Al-Masry Al-Youm received a copy of the transfer decision of Mansour, which did not mention that the reason behind the transfer was the theft.

Al-Masry Al-Youm could not reach the Pyramids area officials for a response.

Head of Egypt's Antiquities Department said that the piece of the stolen door was later found and prosecutors handed it over to the Antiquities Ministry on Monday. It was restored and returned to its place on the door, he said.

Ashmawy told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the perpetrator has been arrested. He is a resident of Nazlet al-Semman area. Ashmawy added that the perpetrator broke a piece of up to 30 centimeters from the door of the cemetery.

In an earlier press statement, Ashmawy said that the site of the Pyramids builders' cemetery was developed and equipped to suit its historical and archaeological value and to facilitate the visit process.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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Europe's Plunder: Notes on the History of Egyptology - Signature Reads

Europe's Plunder: Notes on the History of Egyptology

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The 19th-century craze for Egyptology began, curiously enough, with Napoleon. When the French dictator launched his campaign to conquer Egypt in 1798, he commissioned French experts to make a thorough study, examining the land, its people, and its history. Under his direction they compiled the Description de l'Égypte, a lavish work that ran to almost forty volumes of exquisite artwork depicting animals and monuments that captured the imagination of western Europeans. Published over the course of two decades, the Description required the work of more than 160 scholars and scientists, fueling a passion for the land of the pharaohs.

Buy The Book

A Treacherous Curse

Perhaps the greatest academic triumph of Napoleon's researchers was the eventual translation of the Rosetta Stone. Prior to this, hieroglyphics were undecipherable, the meanings of the symbols lost to time. After more than two decades of work, the stone eventually yielded its secrets thanks to philologist Jean-Francois Champollion.

Unfortunately, during the Egyptology fad that ensued, Europeans raced to plunder the country. Former circus strongman Giovanni Belzoni, a self-taught archaeologist, used dynamite to blow away the doors of tombs reluctant to reveal their treasures. Others followed, swarming through the traditional royal burial sites in the Valley of the Kings to plunder graves and topple obelisks to cart back to the capitals of Europe. Collectors vied to acquire the latest in art and artifacts, everything from game boards to canopic jars which once held the mummified organs of the dead. To set off their new treasures, they decorated their houses and theaters and dressed themselves in Egyptian motifs. Even Wedgwood offered a tea service to celebrate Nelson's victory during the Nile campaign—complete with crocodile finials on the teapot."Their ghoulish enthusiasm did not end with the printed word. Mummy unrollings became a fashionable entertainment."TWEET THIS QUOTE

The fervor for all things Egyptian waxed and waned during the 19th-century, but it never entirely faded. The advent of steam travel meant that new horizons were opened up to Europeans who had restricted themselves to Grand Tours of their own continent in previous centuries. As Victoria's reign stretched on, intrepid visitors clambered up pyramids and ventured up the Nile in search of adventure.

None were more intrepid or famous than the indefatigable novelist and traveler, Amelia B. Edwards. An Englishwoman abroad, Edwards wrote extensively of her experiences in A Thousand Miles Up the Nile, chronicling her travels as she sailed in a dahabiyeh south towards the Sudan. Even the Prince of Wales got in on the act, forming his own expedition in 1862—complete with traveling taxidermist—to journey up the Nile.

Always glimmering on the horizon was the hope of an undiscovered tomb, an intact burial from antiquity that would hold unimaginable treasures. As new finds were made in the Valley of the Kings, scholars realized how many tombs were yet potentially undiscovered, tantalizing the world with the possibility of gold and mummies and jewels. It was not until the early 20th century that such a find was made, but the possibility of it enchanted Victorians. They devoured travel memoirs, newspaper features, collections of letters, photographic essays—anything and everything on the subject of Egypt.

But their ghoulish enthusiasm did not end with the printed word. Mummy unrollings became a fashionable entertainment. Wealthy collectors purchased mummies that had been disturbed during the endless construction projects in 19th-century Egypt and imported them to Europe. (Egyptians themselves had been known to use the flammable, bitumen-covered mummies as fuel for their railway engines.) Gathering their friends and families, the collectors would make an evening's entertainment out of stripping the mummies of their wrappings. Enterprising showmen offered similar thrills to the general public, charging them for the price of admission.

Reporters launched careers covering the stories of professional rivalries, inventing lurid tales of ancient curses, while writers like Arthur Conan Doyle penned sensational stories of mummies to frighten and delight their readers. In her newest adventure, The Treacherous Curse, Veronica Speedwell is thrust into this heated atmosphere of greed, rivalry, and the shadowy unknown as she races to discover the truth behind a mummy's curse before it is too late.

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Valley of the Queens Assessment Report Vol.1 and 2

book cover

Edited by Martha Demas and Neville Agnew

Volume 1
Download (29MB)
Print on demand ( Volume 2
Download (52MB)
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The Valley of the Queens Project was a collaboration of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and the Getty Conservation Institute from 2006 to 2011. The project involved comprehensive research, planning and assessment, followed by concept proposals and culminating in the development of detailed plans for flood mitigation, tomb stabilization, wall paintings and site elements, and site and visitor management and infrastructure. Volume 1 records the research and assessment undertaken for these aspects. Volume 2 of the report is the condition summary of the 111 tombs from the 18th,19th, and 20th Dynasties in the Valley of the Queens.

Volume 1: Conservation and Management Planning
Volume 1 consists of six parts. Parts I and II comprise introductory information, an overview of the significance, components and historical context of QV from the 18th Dynasty through the Coptic period, with selected historical and iconographical profiles of tombs, and comprehensive bibliographies and a table of the use, research and interventions at the site.

Part III is an assessment of the management context, which includes the main issues that affect operations at the site as well as elements of an operational plan and considerations of financial sustainability. Part IV focuses on visitor management, including visitor statistics, surveys and observations, the history of visitation, and the potential for additional site elements to be opened for public visitation.

In Part V, sitewide threats and considerations are addressed, including flooding and its assessment through computer modeling and bat colonies that inhabit many of the tombs. Part VI is an historical overview and condition assessment of the fourteen site elements (non-tomb features) in the Queens Valley and its subsidiary valleys.

Volume 2: Assessment of 18th, 19th, and 20th Dynasty Tombs
Part VII, the 18th Dynasty tombs, includes a summary of tomb architectural development, the geological and hydrological context, and a brief condition assessment of each of the seventy-seven 18th Dynasty tombs.

Part VIII describes the 19th to 20th Dynasty tombs. It includes a summary of tomb architectural development, geological and hydrological context, and wall painting techniques. For the thirty-four 19th and 20th Dynasty tombs, an inventory form summarizes basic general information (naming systems, attribution, reign; typology; objects recovered; table of use and interventions; and documentation and references). This is followed by detailed assessment of the condition of the paintings and structural stability, and summary recommendations that emerged from the assessments.

How to Cite this Work:
Demas, Martha, and Neville Agnew, eds. 2012. Valley of the Queens Assessment Report: A Collaborative Project of the Getty Conservation Institute and the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Egypt. Vol. 1, Conservation and Management Planning. Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute.

Demas, Martha, and Neville Agnew, eds. 2016. Valley of the Queens Assessment Report: A Collaborative Project of the Getty Conservation Institute and the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Egypt. Vol. 2, Assessment of 18th, 19th, and 20th Dynasty Tombs. Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute.
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Ministry of Antiquities opens 2018 with two major discoveries - Daily News Egypt

Ministry of Antiquities opens 2018 with two major discoveries

Archaeological missions found Aswan's oldest disocvery at Edfu temple, stele of Ramses II in Tanis city

While 2017 was the year of discoveries for the Ministry of Antiquities, with almost no week passing without unearthing a new artefact from an ancient era, 2018 seems to be following the same track with two major discoveries in the first few days of the year.


The Ministry of Antiquities announced on Friday discovering a granite stele for King Ramses II in Tanis city, or San El-Hagar, located in the north eastern Nile Delta.
The discovery came as a part of a development programme the ministry adopted to renovate ancient remains in the area, which holds a significant historical importance as the northern capital of Egypt during the 21st and 23rd dynasties.

The light pink, granite slab features Ramses II while serving offerings to gods.

The stele, along with other statues featuring Ramses II and other statues of the royal family of the two main dynasties—the 21st and 23rd—is to be showcased at the area's museum, which was opened last December.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, revealed in a press release that Tanis city is one of the most neglected archaeological areas in Egypt despite its historical importance. He also asserted that many foreign missions have carried out excavation work there, yet, it remains in need of more attention regarding the restoration of the discoveries.

This discovery came two days after the ministry announced finding Aswan's oldest archaeological discovery, found at Til Edfu site, at the hands of an Egyptian-American archaeological mission from the University of Chicago.

The mission unearthed a late-Fifth Dynasty administrative complex as well as a collection of four artefacts at Kom Ombo Temple, also in Aswan.
Waziri stated that the discovered artefacts are the oldest in Aswan, "as the earliest archaeological evidence previously found dates back to the second half of the Sixth Dynasty."

For her part, Nadine Mueller, head of the excavation mission, asserted that the discovered complex holds the most importance of all, as "it sheds light on the royal expeditions organised during the Fifth Dynasty," she explained.

It also shows that the internal structures of the complex were once used as a storehouse for the products and goods of the expeditions sent by the king to bring minerals and precious stones from the eastern desert, the press release read.


The mission started its work in 2014, looking for remains of King Djedkare Isesi, a ruler of the Fifth Dynasty.

Inside the complex, a collection of artefacts belonging to Djedkare Isesi were found, including 220 of his mud brick stamps, as well as the names of the workers who participated in the excavations and mining works such as a commander called "Sementio". Shells from the Red Sea and Nubian pottery were also found, as well as fragments of mining activities.

Djedkare Isesi's period of rule was characterised by a large number of royal expeditions to Wadi Al-Maghara in South Sinai, to extract raw materials, especially copper, in addition to the famous trip to Punt to obtain goods not available in Egypt.

As for the other collection, found at Kom Ombo Temple, Ayman Ashmawi, head of the Egyptian Antiquities Sector at the ministry, said that they include a limestone stele of a man and his wife presenting offerings to a seated deity who lost his legs.

"The stele measures around [40 by 27 centimetres] while the upper part of its left side is missing. A sandstone statue depicting a seated man was also found as well as two sandstone statues of [the] god Horus in the form of a falcon without any inscriptions," he concluded.

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Ramses II stelae uncovered at San Al-Hagar site - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online

Ramses II stelae uncovered at San Al-Hagar site

San Al-Hagar is a very distinguished archaeological site houses a vast collection of temples, among them temples dedicated to the goddess Mut, god Horus and god Amun

Nevine El-Aref , Saturday 13 Jan 2018
the newly discovered stelae
During work carried out at San Al-Hagar archaeological site in Sharqiya governorate with a view to develop the site into an open-air museum, archaeologists stumbled upon a stelae of 19th Dynasty King Ramses II.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the stelae is carved in red granite and depicts King Ramses II presenting offerings to a yet unidentified ancient Egyptian deity.

He said that although several foreign missions have worked on the site, it has never been completely excavated and was neglected.

"This discovery encourages the Ministry of Antiquities to start a comprehensive development project at the site in order to rescue its monuments and transform it into an open-air museum," Waziri added.

waziri examining the stelae

San Al-Hagar is a very distinguished archaeological site houses a vast collection of temples, among them temples dedicated to the goddess Mut, god Horus and god Amun. 

Several foreign missions, among them a French mission, have worked on the site since the mid-19th century.

Waadalla Abul Ela, head of the ministry's projects sector, explained that a project started a month ago aims to create a collection of concrete mastaba for the monumental blocks, statues and stelae that were laying on the floor of the temple.

part of the development work
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Egyptian monuments reopen - Islamic - Heritage - Ahram Online

Egyptian monuments reopen

Three Mameluke monuments in Islamic Cairo are to be reopened to the public after restoration

Nevine El-Aref , Saturday 13 Jan 2018
The facade of the bimaristan

Three Mameluke-period monuments, the Al-Muayyedi Bimaristan, the Tekkeyet Al-Bustami and the Darb Al-Laban Gate in Islamic Cairo are to be reopened to the public next week after restoration work. 

A Bimaristan is a Mameluke hospital, while a tekkeya is a Sufi charitable building. The buildings have been shrouded in scaffolding for the past three years as restoration work continues, with it being slated to finally come off next week. 

The monuments, like others in heavily populated areas, were suffering from environmental dangers, including air pollution, high subsoil water levels, high levels of humidity, water leakage, the effects of a decayed sewerage system installed 100 years ago, and the adverse effects of the 1992 earthquake that increased the number of cracks in their walls, leading in some cases to partial collapse.  

"One of the most serious causes of the damage to the buildings has been encroachment from the monuments' neighbours who used the tekkeya for example as a residential building and the bimaristan as a garbage dump," Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, director of the Historic Cairo Rehabilitation Project that supervised the work, told Al-Ahram Weekly.

He said the walls of the three monuments had cracked and partly collapsed, masonry was damaged, and the condition of the ceilings was critical. Decorations were heavily damaged and several parts were missing, while most of the flooring was broken. 

wall decoration of the bimaristan

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany said the restoration had been carried out according to the latest scientific methods. "Every effort was made to ensure that all the original architectural features were retained," he said, adding that the restoration of the buildings had had important advantages in that individual monuments were being preserved for future generations and the entire neighbourhood was being revived and upgraded. 

Abdel-Aziz said that the aim of the restoration was mainly to strengthen and consolidate the monuments and protect them from future damage. The walls were reinforced, cracks were treated, façades were consolidated, missing and decayed stones were replaced, and masonry was cleaned and desalinated. Tilted pillars and walls were readjusted to their original positions, broken woodwork was re-installed and missing parts were replaced with others of the same shape, size and material.

The ceilings were consolidated and insulated with special material to prevent the leakage of rainwater into the monuments. A special system was also designed to accumulate rainwater in one place and feed it into the main sewage system. 

The areas surrounding the three monuments were cleaned, restored and upgraded in order to be venues hosting cultural events as well as for holding workshops to raise the cultural awareness of their inhabitants.

Tekeyet al-bustami

The Al-Muayyedi Bimaristan was built by one of the most important Circassian Mameluke sultans to rule Egypt, Al-Muayyad Sheikh Al-Mahmoudi, who reigned between 1418 and 1420 CE. The Bimaristan is the second public hospital still remaining from the period after that of the Mameluke sultan Qalawun built in 1284 in Al-Muizz Street in Islamic Cairo. 

The Al-Muayyedi Bimaristan is noted for its monumental scale, unprecedented in a civic building, which was clearly inspired by the nearby free-standing sultan Hassan Madrassa, and also for its portal, which is set in a distinguished Persian character façade. The portal has a muqarnas hood (stalactite decoration) and a window with a pair of colonnades featuring a snake as a symbol of healing.

The Bimaristan is located in the Darb Al-Laban area on the site of the sultan Al-Ashraf Shaaban Madrassa, founded in 1367 and demolished by sultan Farag Ibn Barquq in 1411 and used as a military garrison to protect the nearby Citadel if it came under siege during times of trouble. 

Al-Muayyad Sheikh Al-Mahmoudi rebuilt theBimaristan on the remains of the Al-Ashrafiya Madrassa (school). The building is a shell and has lost many sections of its outlying structure. The area in front was levelled in 2005 by the then Supreme Council of Antiquities to allow a full view of the façade.

The complex originally included the remains of a mosque, three minarets, two mausoleums and a madrassa. The two-storey structure was divided into male and female sectors, with a timber-roofed middle hall and four iwans (vaulted open chambers) with pointed arches. A manuscript describes it as originally having 25 chambers plus four secluded rooms for special patients, as well as a pharmacy, library and a small mosque. 

Near the entrance there was asabil (drinking fountain), a school for orphans and a third smaller mosque. The hospital fell into disuse following the sultan's death. Today, its upper floor is missing, but the main façade reflects the wonderful proportions and ornamentation of the Mameluke period. 

Darb Al-Labana gate

During the restoration work, Abdel-Aziz told the Weekly, conservators had stumbled upon a tunnel connecting the Bimaristan to the Tekkeyet Al-Bustami as well as a cistern under the mosque and a well under the men's section. A distinguished plaque had been found decorated in light and dark blue elements and bearing the name of Al-Muayyad Sheikh Al-Mahmoudi in Kufi Arabic writing. 

The Tekkeyet Al-Bustami was originally built by the tenth Circassian and 34th Mameluke sultan of Egypt, Seifeddin Abu Saad Gakmak, for Sufis coming from Bukhara in Central Asia in 1443 CE.

Abdel-Aziz said thetekkeya was originally a small mosque built by the sultan Mohamed Ibn Qalawun for a sufi named Taqieddin Al-Bustami from Persia who lived in it until he passed away. It has a central open court, and around it are several structures, among them a small mosque, a madrassa, a garden leading to the nearby Bimaristan through the newly discovered tunnel.

During the restoration work, engravings revealing calculations and mathematical exercises were uncovered, as well as a cistern and a burial area.

The Darb Al-Laban Gate was built in limestone during the Bahari Mameluke era and located beside the tekkeya. It consists of a gate which is the oldest of those that once marked the entrance to many Islamic City alleys. 

The gate has a small-decorated widow with iron bars to allow the entrance of air and light. It is decorated with wooden and stone decorative elements with geometric designs.

This article was originally published in Al-Aham Weekly

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Stela of 19th Dynasty King Ramses II discovered - Egypt Today
A stela carved in red granite depicting 19th Dynast King        Ramses II presenting offerings to an ancient Egyptian deity –        Ministry of Antiquities Facebook page A stela carved in red granite depicting 19th Dynast King Ramses II presenting offerings to an ancient Egyptian deity – Ministry of Antiquities Facebook page

Stela of 19th Dynasty King Ramses II discovered

Sat, Jan. 13, 2018

CAIRO – 13 January 2018: A stela of 19th Dynasty King Ramses II was discovered by an Egyptian mission during work carried out at the San Al-Hagar archaeological site in the Sharqiya governorate.

Mostafa el-Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, announced that the stela is carved in red granite and depicts King Ramses II presenting offerings to an ancient Egyptian deity.

He recounted that although several foreign missions have worked on San Al-Hagar archaeological site it has never been extensively excavated and was neglected for some time.

"This neglect pushed the Egyptian mission and the Ministry of Antiquities to establish a comprehensive development project at the site to protect its monuments and convert the site to an open air museum," Waziri added.

San Al-Hagar is a prominent archaeological site that houses a wide collection of temples, among which, there are temples tailor-made to the goddess Mut, the god Horus and the god Amun. Several foreign missions previously worked at San Al-Hagar because of its archeological importance.

Waadalla Abul Ela, head of the ministry's projects sector, announced that a development project started a month ago targets to establish a collection of concrete mastaba for the monumental blocks and stelae that were in the temple.

Additionally, the Egyptian-American archaeological mission from the University of Chicago uncovered an administrative complex, dating back to the late Fifth Dynasty, during excavation works carried out at Tel Edfu, according to the Ministry of Antiquities on Thursday.

Waziri said that the administrative complex is the oldest archaeological evidence found at the Tel Edfu site until now, proving that the site still has many undiscovered treasures.
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Friday, January 12, 2018

Cheops' pyramid: Is there an iron throne in the newly discovered chamber? | EurekAlert! Science News
Public Release: 

Cheops' pyramid: Is there an iron throne in the newly discovered chamber?

Politecnico di milano


IMAGE: North-south section of the Great Pyramid showing (dust-filled area) the hypothetical project of the chamber, in connection with the lower southern shaft. The upper southern shaft does not intersects the... view more 

Credit: Giulio Magli

In early November 2017, Nature published the results of the Scan Pyramids project, led by Mehdi Tayoubi (Hip Institute, Paris) and Kunihiro Morishima (University of Nagoya, Japan): there is a "huge void", at least 30 meters long, within the Pyramid of Cheops.

Discovering its function and content clearly is a most passionate challenge for archaeologists.

Giulio Magli, Director of the Department of Mathematics and Professor of Archaeoastronomy at the Politecnico di Milano, has formulated one of the first hypotheses of interpretation.

"Cheop's Pyramid, built around 2550 BC, is one of the largest and most complex monuments in the history of architecture. Its internal rooms are accessible through narrow tunnels, one of which, before arriving at the funerary chamber, widens and rises suddenly forming the so-called Great Gallery. The newly discovered room is over this gallery, but does not have a practical function of "relieving weight " from it, because the roof of the gallery itself was already built with a corbelled technique for this very reason."

So what does that mean?

"There is a possible interpretation, which is in good agreement with what we know about the Egyptian funerary religion as witnessed in the Pyramids Texts. In these texts it is said that the pharaoh, before reaching the stars of the north, will have to pass the "gates of the sky" and sit on his "throne of iron".

Within the Pyramid there are four narrow shafts, the size of a handkerchief, directed to the stars. The pharaoh's afterlife was in fact, according to the Texts, in the sky, and in particular among the stars of the north, like the Big Dipper and Draco. Two of the four channels open onto the facades of the monument, while the other two run into small doors. One of the two doors, the south one, has been explored several times without results, while the north one is still sealed.

These doors are with all probabilities representative of the " gates of the sky " and the north one could well come into the newly discovered room. The room may contain, at its upper end and exactly under the apex of the great pyramid, an object needed by Cheops after crossing the doors: the "iron throne" mentioned in the Pyramid Texts.

We can get an idea of how this object could be, looking at the throne of Cheop's mother, Queen Hetepheres, which has been found in pieces and reconstructed by Harward University. It is a low chair of cedar wood covered with sheets of gold and faience. Cheops' could be similar, but coated with thin iron sheets. Of course it would not be melted iron, but meteoritic iron, that is, fallen from the sky in the form of Iron meteorites (distinguishable due to the high percentage of Nichel) and again cited in the Texts. It is certain that the Egyptians knew this material since many centuries before Cheops, and continued to use it for special items designed for the Pharaohs during millennia: just think of the famous Tutankamon dagger.

A way to check or discard this hypothesis exists: a new exploration of the north shaft. This is a long-awaited exploration, long before the room's discovery. At present, it is difficult to say with certainty that the northern channel leads into the newly discovered room - the "big void" as baptized by its discoverers - because the available images are approximate. The Scan Pyramid project indeed used a non-invasive technique based on the measurement of muons: elementary particles that are generated in cosmic rays and are absorbed differently depending on the materials they go through. The result is similar to a radiography which must be interpreted.


Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

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