Thursday, June 30, 2016

(86) ‎Ministry of Antiquities: Egyptian people to choose "a piece of the month" at the EM

This is a Facebook translation from Egyptian to Arabic. I have made no attempt to fix it, but you get the idea. Glennوزارة-الآثار-172009302844728/

For the first time the Egyptian people participate in the selection of the presentation of his tracks.
A painting of birth tops the list of the vote in the selection of a piece of July with the Egyptian Museum
Spearheaded a painting of birth voter list in the initiative launched by the ministry of the effects across her page on the official website of the social networking Facebook, calling on the Egyptian people to choose "a piece of the month" and decision of the exhibit in the first of July The Egyptian Museum in editing. And I got all the painting on the first place while the wig hair came in second place and a statue of a hippo. Third place.
Shout it, d. Khalid Anani Minister of effects, who expressed his happiness for effective participation by the cake lovers of ancient Egyptian civilization is clearly demonstrated during the voting process for a piece of the artifacts that they wish to present it to the museum to see him. On the ground.
For its part, commended the president of inspiration to reform the sector at the ministry of the museums of effects on the selection of the Egyptian people to this painting specifically for their valuable archaeological, artistic big and confirmed that the participation of the Egyptian people in such initiatives would contribute significantly In creating new channels of communication with various segments of the Egyptian people, which in turn leads to increased awareness of the rich. They have.
As I explained to reform the winning painting due to the ducks, peaceful, and imagine a lady give birth with the help of gods birth.
That little painting birth were selected from among the ten pieces of the ministry of the effects by placing them to the public vote on it via the website of the ministry's official website on Facebook came Maggie Facebook. Diverse Historical times for these pieces as diversity style kid the sculpture. Her to stay. Each and every one of them a witness to the prosperity of the arts of ancient Egypt in various historical eras.

The Hidden Treasures of the Cairo Geniza | Ancient Origins

The Hidden Treasures of the Cairo Geniza

(Read the article on one page)

The Cairo Geniza (spelt also as Genizah) is the name given to a collection of Jewish manuscript fragments that was discovered in Cairo. It is estimated that there are over 350000 individual fragments in this collection, making it the world’s largest and most important collection of medieval Jewish manuscripts. As its name suggests, these fragments were discovered in a geniza, which is a storage area in a Jewish synagogue or cemetery that was used to deposit sacred manuscripts that were no longer in use. More precisely, the geniza in where the fragments were found belonged to the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Fustat, which is today part of Old Cairo.

Ben Ezra Synagogue

The Ben Ezra Synagogue is said to have been established during the 9th century AD. During that time, that section of Cairo was a home to a bustling Jewish neighborhood. Like other synagogues, the Ben Ezra Synagogue also contained a geniza, which may be found in a dark, sealed room just under the building’s roof. Over the centuries, various documents were deposited by the Jewish community in the geniza. According to rabbinic law, sacred books that are no longer in use may not be casually discarded or destroyed. Such texts should be buried, or, if burial was not possible, be placed in a geniza. Apart from such sacred texts, the Cairo Geniza also contains secular texts as well as everyday documents.

Ben Ezra Synagogue (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The existence of the Cairo Geniza seems to have not been given much attention until the end of the 19th century. During the second half of the 18th century, a German poet, traveler and book dealer by the name of Simon von Geldern mentioned the geniza of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in his writings. Although he visited the structure, he did not have the opportunity to examine its contents. This was due to a local superstition which warned that disaster would befall anyone who touched the contents of the geniza. Several other visits to the geniza have been recorded, though its contents were never studied, and its importance yet to be realized.

Content Analysis

This changed in 1896, when a Talmudic scholar by the name of Solomon Schechter became the first person in modern history to analyze the contents of the Cairo Geniza. Schechter, who was a scholar at Cambridge University, received a visit from a pair of Scottish identical twins, Agnes Smith Lewis and Margaret Dunlop Gibson in that year. The twins had just returned to Cambridge from a trip to the Middle East, and brought with them several pieces of ancient Hebrew manuscripts that they had obtained from a bookseller in Cairo. When these were shown to Schechter, the scholar recognized that one of the manuscripts was an original copy of ‘The Wisdom of Ben Sirah’.

Solomon Schechter at work in Cambridge University Library, 1898. (Public Domain)

Realizing the importance of the twins’ discovery, Schechter set sail for Egypt. Fortunately for the scholar, the dry Egyptian air helped to preserve the fragments that were stored in the geniza. Still, many of the fragments were not in very good condition. Schechter succeeded in shipping most of the contents of the geniza back with him to Cambridge. When he became the president of the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1902, Schechter brought some of the fragments with him to New York.

The Cairo Geniza Today

At present, it is estimated that 70 % of the Cairo Geniza is kept in Cambridge, whilst between 20 % and 25 % of it can be found in the Jewish Theological Seminary. The remainder is said to be scattered in collections around the world. As mentioned earlier, the Cairo Geniza not only contains sacred works, but also secular and everyday writings, such as shopping lists, marriage contracts, medical books and business letters. The reason behind the internment of such pieces of writing in the geniza is said to be due to the fact that it was customary for the Jews during the Middle Ages to refer to God whenever they wrote something. As these texts bore the name of God, they have to be disposed of appropriately, i.e. either by burial or by keeping them in a geniza. Thus, the Cairo Geniza offers us a glimpse of Jewish life in Medieval Cairo.    

Top image: Interior of the synagogue. (CC BY-SA 3.0) and a Hebrew manuscript with Babylonian vocalization (Public Domain)

By Wu Mingren


Cambridge University, 2016. Cairo Genizah. [Online]
Available at:

Greenhouse, E., 2013. Treasures in the Wall. [Online]
Available at:

Oreck, A., 2016. Modern Jewish History: The Cairo Genizah. [Online]
Available at:

Shurkin, J. N., 2011. Hidden Treasures of Cairo Genizah. [Online]
Available at:

The Friedberg Jewish Manuscript Society, 2016. The Cairo Genizah. [Online]
Available at:

Conserving & Interpreting ‘Soul Houses’ | Egypt at the Manchester Museum

Conserving & Interpreting 'Soul Houses'

Campbell@Manchester wrote:
Conserving & Interpreting 'Soul Houses'

Caroline Berry, a conservation intern at Manchester studying Conservation Studies at Durham University, describes work on an important part of the collection.

'Soul Houses' on display in our Egyptian Worlds gallery

Manchester Museum's Egyptian Worlds Gallery has a great collection of objects which offer an insight into the ordinary and extraordinary of everyday life in Ancient Egypt, and sometimes if you look at objects from a different angle even more information into their story can be found. This is the record of one such event.

As part of this collection the Museum has a number of pottery 'Soul Houses' given by Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie in 1907, which form the largest collection to come from one site, being the cemetery site of Rifeh in Middle Egypt. As part of my internship I have been fortunate to conserve four of these objects.

No. 4260


To speak quickly of the background of these objects, Petrie coined the term 'Soul Houses' to describe these objects.  He believed the pieces were used to provide provisions for the afterlife. He was uncertain whether these objects were to house the ba, the spirit of mobility of the deceased when it entered the land of the living or as an offering for ka, the spirit of sustenance, to use in the afterlife, hence the umbrella term 'Soul' to capture both eventualities.

Petrie used consecutive letters A to N to type these objects. 'A' was used for the objects he considered to be the earliest form and N the most modern. He used terms from contemporary architecture to aid this development. An example of each type was sent to Manchester by Petrie to form the type collection that we have here today.

The models are hand-built, probably assembled by pressing and pinching together rolled out flat slabs of clay to manipulate the form. The size of the objects and the uneven nature of the base may suggest the objects were made on a floor and fired institute. The quality of the fabric suggests firing would have been no higher than 900°C. Although there is no contextual evidence for production, it is likely that this happened within a domestic setting rather than the cemetery.

An important aspect of conservation is to build an in-depth record of each object treated. While undertaking the photography, a mat impression, which appears to be layers of grass or reeds tied into bundles, was found on the base of 4360 (below).

Underside of no. 4360

After checking the bases of the other Soul Houses from Rifeh, it was found that 4360 was the only object with this impression. Deciding to check the bases of the other ceramic offering trays held in the collection, 6544 from Sanam, Sudan (below) was the only other ceramic model to be found with a mat impression, although this impression is similar to an imprint of basketwork, as the example of contemporary basketry in the picture below suggests. (below)

No. 6544


Underside of no. 6544


Basket from Kahun, late 12th Dynasty


Here at Manchester we're are very excited by these findings and were hoping others may be able to share any such findings they have come across in Ancient Egyptian ceramics. We urge anyone with a soul house or offering tray, as long as the object is stable to do so, to check under the object and report back if they too have mat impression on their bases!

Newsletter Osirisnet Juin - June 2016

Newsletter Osirisnet Juin - June 2016

Nouvelle étude du sarcophage découvert dans la tombe KV55Study aims to uncover mystery of Luxor's tomb KV55

Photo: MSA and Jon Bodsworth

Depuis leur découverte en 1906, dans la tombe KV55 de la Vallée des Rois, un sarcophage doré à la feuille d'or est soupçonné d'appartenir au pharaon Akhénaton.
Or en 1906 également, quelques 500 fragments de feuilles d'or avaient été retrouvés "près d'un sarcophage" selon une note qui les accompagnait ; depuis, ces fragments dorment dans une boite en bois. Leur analyse vient d'être confiée à des équipes égyptiennes, sous les auspices du MSA et d'experts internationaux. L'objectif est d'identifier enfin le propriétaire du sarcophage.

The Ministry of Antiquities has started the second phase of a study aimed at uncovering the mystery behind an unidentified sarcophagus found in 1906 inside tomb KV55 at the Valley of the Kings. This tomb was thought to hold the body of the monotheistic king Akhenaten, though no definitive evidence has been presented to back up this speculation.
A study is being carried out on a collection of 500 gold sheets found in a box in storage at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir along with the remains of a skull and a handwritten note in French. The note is dated to when KV55 was first found and states that the 500 accompanying sheets were discovered with a sarcophagus, though it does not mention which one, maybe the sarcophagus found in KV55.
Islam Ezzat, member of the scientific office at the ministry of antiquities pointed out that after the completion of this extensive study the identity of the owner of this sarcophagus would be determined as well as the owner of tomb KV55.

La chapelle cachée dans la salle de repos d'un musée de ChicagoThe Secret Egyptian Chapel Hidden Inside a Chicago Break Room

Photos : Anni Glissman

Le Field Museum de Chicago a été fondé pour commémorer l'Exposition universelle de 1893, et ses collections ont été construites à partir d'objets qui avaient été exposés. Mais il manquaient des objets égyptiens. C'est pourquoi Edward Ayer, directeur du musée, fut envoyé en Égypte d'où il ramena les vestiges d'une chapelle de l'Ancien Empire. Quand le musée a déménagé, en 1921, la chapelle a suivi.
Par contre, lorsque ultérieurement les salles égyptiennes ont été déplacées, la chapelle, qui avait été cimentée dans les murs et boulonnée dans des cadres en acier, n'a pas pu être bougée. De ce fait, elle est aujourd'hui dissimulée derrière des murs et on ne peut y accéder que par une porte située dans une salle de repos.
La chapelle, étroite mais haute, est au nom de Netjer-Ouser, probablement un fils du roi Ounas (dernier roi de la Ve dynastie) qui exercait des fonctions importantes :"Intendant royal", "Supérieur des scribes" (vue)
Le musée envisage une réinstallation, qui sera longue et coûteuse, mais dans un avenir lointain.

It’s a normal office break room—fluorescent lighting, coat rack, microwave. But it’s in a museum, so of course there’s something a little quirky about it. In this case, it’s the 4,300-year-old Egyptian chapel sealed up behind the wall. The Field Museum was originally founded to commemorate the 1893 World’s Fair, and its collections were built from objects that had been displayed in the Fair, but there weren’t any ancient Egyptian objects from the Fair that made their way to the museum. Thus, the director of the museum, Edward Ayer, was sent to Egypt where he bought the wall of a chapel. The chapel and its walls traveled by boat from Egypt to Chicago, where they were put on display at the Field. When the museum moved to a new building in 1921, the ancient chapel walls came too. But when the Egypt exhibit was renovated in the 1980s, the chapel wasn’t part of it: the limestone bricks had been cemented into the walls, and it had been bolted into steel frames.
This chapel belongs to Netjer-User, possibly a son of Unis (last king of the 5th dynasty). Netjer-User was a powerful man in his own right, a temple official with titles including “royal chamberlain,” “controller of scribes,” and “supervisor of the masters of the king’s largess” (view)
The museum has long-term plans to reincorporate the chapel into a public display, but doing so will take time. A lot of work and funding are needed before it’s ready to be back on display.

Il est de retour !Egypt's world-famous archaeologist back in the field

Photo : AP

Zahi Hawass, ancien directeur du SCA, ancien ministre des antiquités, limogé en 2011 revient sur le terrain. Le ministre actuel vient de le charger de la surveillance et de l'interprétation des résultats d'une nouvelle série de scans de la Grande Pyramide par la technologie des muons.
On se souvient que, récemment encore, le Dr Hawass déclarait que jamais aucune découverte archéologique n'avait été faite à l'aide de scanners. Depuis qu'il a été nommé, son discours s'est infléchi : les scans peuvent être utiles s'ils sont sous le contrôle de la bonne personne. Un égyptologue bien sûr...

Zahi Hawass, Egypt's former head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, former antiquities minister, dismissed from the post after Egypt's 2011 uprising is back in the field : he has been appointed by the Antiquities Ministry to head the team that will review the muons scan of the Great Pyramid of Giza results. Hawass has in the past downplayed the usefulness of scans on ancient sites, saying that they have never found anything important. But back in the field following his new appointment, Hawass seemed more reluctant to criticize scanning technologies. He said they could be useful if directed by the right hands — such as his own. "You need Egyptologists to oversee all this, otherwise mistakes can be made," he said...

(Re)ouverture à Louxor des tombes de Néfertari et de Sethy 1erTombs of Nefertari and Seti I in Egypt's Luxor to reopen to visitors

Photos : Th. Benderitter ; G. Modonesi


Oui, vous avez bien lu ! Pour tenter de faire revenir les touristes, le ministère des antiquités à décidé la réouverture au public des tombes de la reine Néfertari (voir la description de sa tombe sur Osirisnet), Grande Épouse royale de Ramsès II, et de celle du pharaon Sethy I. Ces tombes extraordinaires étaient fermées au public depuis des années.
La réouverture se fera "d'ici un mois" (Al Ahram) ou "en octobre" (Luxor Times). Le nombre de visiteurs sera limité à 100 ou 150 par jour, et le prix d'entrée sera de 1000 EGP (100 €)

Sethy I

Egyptian antiquities officials have decided to re-open the tombs of Queen Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens (see the description of her tomb on Osirisnet) and King Seti I in the Valley of the Kings, both of which have been closed for several years.
The tombs in Luxor will re-open "in a month's time" (Al Ahram) or "in October" (Luxor Times), and tickets will cost EGP 1,000 (approx. $113, GBP78).The number of visitors is to be limited to around 100 to 150 people a day.

Les objets de la tombe de TTA au Grand Musée ÉgyptienTutankhamun collection to be moved to Grand Egyptian Museum by end of 2016

Photo : Al Ahram

D'ici la fin de l'année 2016 les objets de la tombe de Toutankhamon seront déménagés dans le nouveau Grand Musée Égyptien sur le plateau de Guiza. Depuis plus de 80 ans ils se trouvent dans le Musée Égyptien de la place Tahrir. Certaines pièces doivent être restaurées avant leur transport.

By the end of 2016, and after almost 84 years, the treasured collection of the golden king Tutankhamun will be moved from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir to its new permanent exhibition hall at the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) overlooking the Giza Plateau. collection will be transported after the carrying out of preliminary restoration of some artefacts in the collection at the Tahrir Museum. Another phase of restoration work will take place at the state-of-the-art GEM laboratories.

Viaje a las entrañas de una tumba del Antiguo Egipto

Source: EEF NEWS - Photo : Francisco Carrion

Cet article en Espagnol concerne le travail de l'équipe de l'Université Libre de Berlin, dirigée par Antonio Morales, dans la tombe TT 315 d'Ipy. Elle s'accompagne d'un remarquable vidéo en 3D.

This article in Spanish is about the work of the Free University of Berlin, headed by Antonio Morales, in the tomb TT 315 of Ipy. It has an interesting video.

Reconstitution photogrammétrique du sarcophage de Sethy IPhotogrammetric recording of the sarcophagus of Seti I

Depuis 1824, date à laquelle Belzoni l'a acheté, le sarcophage extérieur de Sethy I se trouve au musée John Soane à Londres. Une équipe de Factum Arte, célèbre depuis la reconstitution de la tombe de Toutankhamon, va reproduire l'objet par photogrammétrie. Une technique difficile à mettre en œuvre en raison de la pierre utilisée ("albâtre" transclucide) et des courbures du sarcophage.
Parallélement, Factum Arte a commencé en avril à scanner la gigantesque tombe de Sethy I, une opération qui va durer au moins trois ans. Les fragments de parois dispersés dans différents musées du monde seront également scannés.
À terme, la tombe reconstituée trouvera place à côté de celle de Toutankhamon, à l'entrée de la Vallée des Rois.
Et le sarcophage dupliqué retrouvera sa place dans la salle de l'or.

The sarcophagus of Seti I has been in the collection of Sir John Soane’s Museum since it was purchased from Belzoni in 1824, and a team from Factum Arte is going to undertake a photogrammetric recording of the sarcophagus. The sarcophagus is made of translucent alabaster; this characteristic, along with its shape makes it a challenging object to record.
Meanwhile, the recording of the entire tomb of Seti I in Luxor has started in April 2016 and is going to last for at least three years. This important work takes further the techniques which recently led to the possible discovery of a new tomb behind the north wall of Tutankhamun’s burial chamber, and will result in both colour data and 3D scans of the subtle relief carving. The digitisation is not limited to the walls of the tomb: the intention is also to record all the fragments of Seti’s tomb that have been removed since its discovery and which can now be found in museums around the world.
The facsimile of the sarcophagus will take pride of place in the full facsimile of Seti I’s tomb which will be installed near the entrance to the Valley of the Kings.

Latin American Herald Tribune - Web Users Select “Piece of the Month” for Egyptian Museum

Web Users Select "Piece of the Month" for Egyptian Museum

CAIRO – Web users from Egypt and around the world were able to choose for the first time the archaeological "piece of the month" to be exhibited in July in a special space by the Egyptian Museum, the Antiquities Ministry said Wednesday.

The ministry launched the project on its official Facebook page, where every online user could vote for the "piece of the month" to be exhibited for 30 days starting July 1 in a selected area of the museum.

The ministry wants to introduce the public to pieces preserved in the museum and share the decision of which piece to highlight each month, a choice previously made by museum officials.

The archaeological piece garnering the most votes this month is a Ptolemaic-era relief depicting a woman in labor assisted by birth deities.

An antique wig and a statuette depicting a blue hippopotamus were voted into second and third places.

The Greco-Roman period began in Egypt with the conquest by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C. and ended when the Romans took over Alexandria in 30 B.C., putting an end to the reign of Cleopatra VII.

Elham Salah, president of the ministry's Department of Museums, praised the popular vote for this particular stele given "its great archaeological and artistic value."

"Citizen participation in these kinds of initiatives will help create new channels of communication with different segments of society," which "will contribute to raising their archaeological awareness," Salah said in a statement.

The most-voted stele was selected by Web users from among 10 pieces pre-selected by the ministry with an eye toward publicizing pieces usually forgotten in the museum's vast holdings, where mummies, sarcophagi and pharaonic statues get more attention.

In Cairo, soaking up the simple pleasures and the wild, beautiful Sinai Desert - The Washington Post

In Cairo, soaking up the simple pleasures and the wild, beautiful Sinai Desert

Our readers share tales of their ramblings around the world.

Who: Regina Goetze Roman of Alexandria.

Where, when, why: For many years, I organized and guided groups for pilgrimages to Egypt, especially Cairo and the South Sinai. My last group was in 2010, and I had not been back since then. I had missed the wild and beautiful landscape of the Sinai Desert, the living history of Cairo and, most of all, the genuine hospitality of the Egyptian people. Although I went for only eight days, I could have easily stayed longer.

Highlights and high points: The sight that always takes my breath away is sunrise from the peak of Mount Sinai, the “Mountain of Moses.” As I began the 3 a.m. ascent with my guide, Khalid, I was surprised that we were the only ones on the trail. Usually, there are thousands of tourists from around the world making the climb. Without the other flashlights lighting the way, I was mesmerized by the brilliance of the Milky Way. There was almost enough light to guide us.

About three quarters of the way up, we stopped at a Bedouin hut for a cup of hot mint tea to regain a bit of stamina before the final push up 750 irregular stone steps. There were only a few other tourists at the peak, but I could sense the collective thrill of awe and wonder when the first, orange glow hit the rounded mountain tops.

At the base of the mountain is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of St. Catherine’s Monastery, built in the 6th century. I stayed at the monastery, which has simple, but comfortable accommodations and meals for guests.

Cultural connection or disconnect: The greatest connection was the people I met, whether it was in the lively Khan el-Khalili bazaar in Cairo or the quiet desert with the Bedouin children. In the village of St. Catherine, I met Nadia, who designs and makes her own beaded bags. In the midst of buying several gifts for friends and drinking tea, she showed me her 10-year-old son’s English notebook. With her broken English and my “universal” language of using gestures, we talked about the joys and frustrations of being a mother and showed each other photos of our children. We laughed, hugged and exchanged gifts — a small beaded bag and a tube of Nivea cream.

Biggest laugh or cry: I delivered some sample tubes of toothpaste and toothbrushes to the children in the south Sinai. When I asked to take a photo of them with the toothbrushes, they held up the lollipops I also had given them. Their big, toothy grins let me know they were anxious to eat their sweets — the toothbrushes would have to wait!

How unexpected: What captured my attention is the joy of the Bedouin children of the Sinai. While Rabia, my host, was visiting with his friends and conversing in Arabic, I sat and watched the children play. They had no toys, just the sand and stones around them, and yet they played tic-tac-toe, touch tag and other games. I played “guess which hand the stone is in” with two of the 8-year-old girls. I made funny faces or pretended to throw the stone away. Each time, they laughed, giggled, hugged one another and found pleasure in the simplest games.

Fondest memento or memory: I loved being in the desert — disconnected from all electronics, wearing no watch and having no traditional sources of entertainment. I felt joy in conversations and storytelling, watching the campfire glow and seeing the Milky Way clearly. The silence of the desert was refreshing and the stillness was nourishing to my soul. Simple food tasted delicious and water never tasted so good. I brought back the desire to simplify my life and find joy in even the smallest of gifts. Rumi, the 13th-century Sufi poet, wrote that journeys bring power and love back into us. That it did, indeed!

To tell us about your own trip, go to and fill out the What a Trip form with your fondest memories, finest moments and favorite photos.