Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Ancient wall markings of wild animals uncovered in South Aswan

Pre-Dynastic wall markings have been uncovered in Subeira Valley near Aswan

By Nevine El-Aref , Wednesday 4 Oct 2017

During an archaeological survey in the desert of Subeira Valley, south Aswan, an Egyptian archaeological mission from the Ministry of Antiquities stumbled upon pre-Dynastic rock markings.

Photo courtesy of Ahram Online

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, explained that the markings can be dated to the late pre-Dynastic era, and were found engraved on sandstone rocks. They depict scenes of troops of renowned animals at that time, such as hippopotamuses, wild bulls and donkeys, as well as gazelles. Markings showing workshops for the production of tools and instruments were also found on some of the rocks.

Nasr Salama, director general of Aswan and Nubia Antiquities, described the newly discovered markings as "unique and rare" in Egypt. He pointed out that similar markings were previously uncovered at sites in Al-Qarta and Abu Tanqoura, north of Komombo town.

"These markings helped archaeologists to determine the exact dating of the newly discovered ones in Subeira Valley," Salama asserted. He added that 10 new sections of wall markings at around 15,000 years old had been discovered.

Adel Kelani described the discovery as important because it dates to the same period of markings founds in caves in southern France, Spain and Italy, which confirms the idea that art and civilisation during that time spread from Africa to Europe and not vice versa.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Gypsum head of King Akhenaten statue unearthed in Egypt's Minya

Nevine El-Aref , Saturday 30 Sep 2017

A British-Egyptian archaeological mission from Cambridge University has discovered a gypsum head from a statue of King Akhenaten (around 1300 BC) during excavation work in Tel El-Amarna in Egypt’s Minya governorate.
Photo courtesy of Ahram Online

The head – which is 9cm tall, 13.5 cm long and 8 cm wide – was unearthed during excavation work in the first hall of the Great Atun Temple in Tel El-Amarna, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri told Ahram Online.

Waziri says the discovery is important because it sheds more light on the city that was Egypt's capital during the reign of King Akhenaten, the 10th pharaoh of the 18th dynasty whose reign was among the most ‎controversial in ancient Egyptian history.

The Cambridge University mission is led by archaeologist Barry Kemp, who started excavations in Tel El-Amarna in 1977 at several sites including the grand Aten Temple, the Al-Ahgar village, the northern palace, and the Re and Banehsi houses, according to director-general of Antiquities in Middle Egypt Gamal El-Semestawi.

The mission has also carried out restoration works at the Small Atun Temple and the northern palace.

Tel El-Amarna, which lies around 12 kilometers to the southwest of Minya city, holds the ruins of the city constructed by King Akhenaten and ‎his wife Queen Nefertiti to be the home of the cult of the sun god ‎Aten. ‎ ‎
The ruins of this great city include magnificent temples, palaces and tombs.


Friday, September 22, 2017

Sphinx, Baboon and Cat Statues Found in Ancient Egyptian Burial

By Laura Geggel, Senior Writer | September 21, 2017

After years of being washed, perfumed and fed in ancient Egypt, the statue of a revered Egyptian deity was given a proper burial with other "dead" statues more than 2,000 years ago, a new study finds.

Ancient Egyptians buried the statue of the deity Ptah — the god of craftsmen and sculptors — with other revered statues, including those of a sphinx, baboon, cat, Osiris and Mut, in a pit next to Ptah's temple.

The statue of Ptah had likely sat in the temple for years, but it and the other sacred objects were respectfully buried after they accumulated damage and were declared useless by the ancient Egyptians, the researchers said.

"We can consider that when a new statue was erected in the temple, this one [of Ptah] was set aside in a pit," said study co-researcher Christophe Thiers, director of the French-Egyptian Center for the Study of the Temples of Karnak. "The other artifacts were also previously damaged during their 'lifetime' in the temple, and then they were buried with the Ptah statue."

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Amun-Re goldsmith tomb uncovered in Draa Abul Naga necropolis on Luxor's west bank

The tomb was discovered along with a number of others by an Egyptian archaeological mission led by Mostafa Waziri

By Nevine El-Aref , Saturday 9 Sep 2017

In a gala ceremony held in Draa Abul-Naga necropolis on Luxor's West Bank on Saturday, Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany announced the discovery of an 18th Dynasty tomb of god Amun-Re’s goldsmith, Amenemhat (Kampp 390), and a Middle Kingdom burial shaft for a family.

Luxor Governor Mohamed Badr attended the ceremony as well as members of parliament, the Greek and Cypriot ambassadors to Egypt, as well as China's cultural attaché and the Swiss head of mission.

The discovery was made by an Egyptian archaeological mission led by Mostafa Waziri. The newly discovered tomb includes an entrance located in the courtyard of another Middle Kingdom tomb, Kampp 150.

The entrance leads to a squared chamber where a niche with a duo statue depicting the tomb owner and his wife is found on one end. The statue shows Amenemhat sitting on a high backed chair beside his wife who wears a long dress and wig.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Meet King Tut’s Father, Egypt’s First Revolutionary

Akhenaten upended the religion, art, and politics of ancient Egypt, and then his legacy was buried. Now he endures as a symbol of change.

By Peter Hessler
Photograph by Rena Effendi

Sometimes the most powerful commentary on a king is made by those who are silent. One morning in Amarna, a village in Upper Egypt about 200 miles south of Cairo, a set of delicate, sparrowlike bones were arranged atop a wooden table. “The clavicle is here, and the upper arm, the ribs, the lower legs,” said Ashley Shidner, an American bioarchaeologist. “This one is about a year and a half to two years old.”

The skeleton belonged to a child who lived at Amarna more than 3,300 years ago, when the site was Egypt’s capital. The city was founded by Akhenaten, a king who, along with his wife Nefertiti and his son, Tutankhamun, has captured the modern imagination as much as any other figure from ancient Egypt. This anonymous skeleton, in contrast, had been excavated from an unmarked grave. But the bones showed evidence of malnutrition, which Shidner and others have observed in the remains of dozens of Amarna children.

“The growth delay starts around seven and a half months,” Shidner said. “That’s when you start transition feeding from breast milk to solid food.” At Amarna this transition seems to have been delayed for many children. “Possibly the mother is making the decision that there’s not enough food.”

Until recently Akhenaten’s subjects seemed to be the only people who hadn’t weighed in on his legacy. Others have had plenty to say about the king, who ruled from around 1353 B.C. until 1336 B.C. and tried to transform Egyptian religion, art, and governance. Akhenaten’s successors were mostly scathing about his reign. Even Tutankhamun—whose brief reign has been a subject of fascination since his tomb was discovered in 1922—issued a decree criticizing conditions under his father: “The land was in distress; the gods had abandoned this land.” During the next dynasty, Akhenaten was referred to as “the criminal” and “the rebel,” and pharaohs destroyed his statues and images, trying to remove him from history entirely.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

2,000-Year-Old Tombs from Roman Period Found in Egypt

By Owen Jarus, Live Science Contributor | August 24, 2017

A series of tombs dating back about 2,000 years, to the time when the Romans controlled Egypt, has been discovered, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities announced yesterday (Aug. 23).

Excavations at Bir esh-Shaghala in the Dakhla Oasis have uncovered tombs made of mudbrick and some are quite large containing multiple burial chambers. Some of the tombs have vaulted roofs and one tomb has a roof built in the shape of a pyramid.

Five of the tombs were recently discovered while eight more were found within the past six excavation seasons, ministry officials said in a statement. 

Artifacts were found in the tombs, including mummy masks and pieces of inscribed pottery known as ostraca. Giant containers were also found that may have held wine or olive oil, although chemical tests will need to be done to confirm this. The discovery of the tombs was made by a team of archaeologists from Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities. The excavations at Bir esh-Shaghala are scheduled to continue.

The Romans took over Egypt in 30 B.C., following Cleopatra VII's suicide after her navy was destroyed by the Roman Emperor Octavian at the Battle of Actium. While the Roman emperors ruled Egypt from Rome, the Egyptians revered the emperors as pharaohs. Their traditional Egyptian funerary customs (including mummification) and religious practices continued until the Roman Empire adopted Christianity as its official religion during the fourth century A.D.

Located in the Western Desert, about 217 miles (350 kilometers) west of Luxor, the Dakhla Oasis contains a vast amount of archaeological remains that date from prehistoric to modern times. A number of settlements from the Roman era flourished in the Dakhla Oasis. In 2014, Live Science reported that one of the Roman era settlements in the oasis had yielded the remains of an ancient school covered with writing that included references to drug use.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Three Ptolemaic tombs uncovered in Egypt's Minya, contents suggest a 'large cemetery'

Three new discoveries in El-Kamin El-Sahrawi point to a large cemetery spanning the 27th Dynasty and the Graeco-Roman era

By Nevine El-Aref , Tuesday 15 Aug 2017

Three rock-hewn tombs from the Ptolemaic era have been discovered during excavation work in the El-Kamin El-Sahrawi area of Minya governorate, the Ministry of Antiquities announced on Tuesday.

The discovery was made by an Egyptian archaeological mission from the Ministry of Antiquities working in the lesser-known area to the south-east of the town of Samalout.

The tombs contain a number of sarcophagi of different shapes and sizes, as well as a collection of clay fragments, according to ministry officials.

Ayman Ashmawy, head of the ministry's Ancient Egyptian Sector, said that studies carried out on the clay fragments suggest the tombs are from the 27th Dynasty and the Graeco-Roman era.

"This fact suggests that the area was a large cemetery over a long period of time," said Ashmawy.

Ashmawy describes the discovery as "very important" because it reveals more secrets from the El-Kamil El-Sahrawi archaeological site.

During previous excavation work, the mission uncovered about 20 tombs built in the catacomb architectural style, which was widespread during the 27th Dynasty and the Graeco-Roman era.