Monday, November 30, 2015

News, Sharm El Sheikh: Diver Ahmed Gabr Dives from Dahab to Sharm el-Sheikh for New Guinness Record

Egyptian diver Walaa Hafez - Facebook
CAIRO: Egyptian captain Walaa Hafez is planning to dive from Dahab to Sharm el-Sheikh in South Sinai for a distance of 100 kilometers in less than 24 hours on Saturday and Sunday, according to his Facebook page.

Hafez, a former navy officer, will submerge into the Red Sea to break a new Guinness World Record in Scuba diving. In June, he set a Guinness World Record for the longest open saltwater Scuba dive for 51 hours and 20 minutes in Hurghada.

In September 2014, Egyptian diver Ahmed Gabr, also a former military officer, set the world scuba diving depth record, submerging to 332.35 meters off the Red Sea resort of Dahab, and emerging the next day to best the previous record of 318.25 meters set by South African Nuno Gomez in 2005.
Source: Cairo Post– By/Rany Mostafa
Related Posts:
* Egypt Sets A New Guinness World Record For The Biggest Underwater Clean-Up
News: Ahmed Gabr, Egyptian Breaks Diving World Record in Guinness 
News: Egyptian Diver Seeks to Break Another Record in February 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Our Treasures Abroad, Switzerland: Egypt to Repatriate 8 Artifacts Smuggled to Switzerland - Minister

Granite wall fragment that Egypt is trying to restore from Switzerland.
Antiquities Ministry Facebook page
CAIRO: Egypt is working on repatriating a set of eight ancient artifacts that were smuggled to Switzerland following the 2011 uprising, Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al Damaty announced Saturday.

The artifacts in question span several eras of the ancient Egyptian history and were illegally excavated from several archaeological sites across Egypt, said Damaty.

“These artifacts were monitored during a routine search of international auction halls periodically carried out by members of the ministry,” Head of the Restored Antiquities Department Ali Ahmad said in a statement Saturday.

One of items, dating back to Egypt’s Greco-Roman era, is among other artifacts looted from the Temple of Behbit Al-Hegara, said Ahmed. “The artifact is registered in the Egyptian antiquities’ records, which will facilitate the ministry’s mission to repatriate it,” he added.

During the past few years, Egypt has taken legal actions to restore dozens of artifacts smuggled amid the rising illicit digging activities carried out in several Egyptian archaeological sites following the 2011 uprising. The other artifacts include a Late-Period funerary limestone fragment, a Pre Dynastic pot, an old Kingdom stone block, a female wooden statue that dates back to the 6th Dynasty, a Greek statue, and finally two coffins also from the Greek Era, said Ahmed.

It is estimated that around $3 billion in Egyptian antiquities have been looted since the outbreak of the January 25 Revolution in 2011 and the consequent security lapse across Egypt, according to the International Coalition to Protect Egyptian Antiquities, a U.S.-based initiative partnered with Egypt’s Antiquities Ministry.

During the past four years, Egypt has recovered over 1,600 artifacts and is currently working on other cases in many European countries, former Ministry of Antiquities Museums Sector head Ahmed Sharaf previously told The Cairo Post. “It is impossible to provide an accurate number of the artifacts that have been stolen since the January 25 Revolution,” he said.
Source: Cairo Post – By/Rany Mostafa

New Discovery, Luxor: ‘Well-Preserved’ Sarcophagus of 22nd Dynasty Nobleman Unearthed in Egypt’s Luxor

An anthropoid sarcophagus of a 22nd dynasty nobleman was discovered in El-Assassif necropolis on Luxor's West Bank. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

During today’s inspection tour in Luxor’s West Bank around the tomb of the 22nd dynasty’s Amenhotep-Hwi (TT28), Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty announced the discovery of the sarcophagus of a 22nd dynasty nobleman named Ankh-If-Khonsu.

Eldamaty explained that the sarcophagus was found to be well preserved and in excellent condition after being unearthed from a niche carved in the tomb's rock. The find was made early this week by a Spanish mission from the Institute of Ancient Egyptian studies in collaboration with an Egyptian mission from the ministry of antiquities.

Head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities department Mahmoud Afifi said that the sarcophagus is in the very distinct style of the 22nd dynasty and it is carved from wood that is covered in a layer of plaster.

The sarcophagus depicts the facial features of the deceased wearing a wig and a crown made of flowers. His chest is decorated with a necklace and he is holding papyri flowers. Afifi added that the sarcophagus is decorated with hieroglyphic texts and scenes depicting the deceased in different positions before deities Osiris, Nefertem, Anubis, and Hathor. Sultan Eid, head of the central administration of Upper Egypt, told Ahram Online that the sarcophagus contains a mummy, but it has not been yet studied.

News, Luxor: Experts Optimistic Tut’s Tomb may Conceal Egypt’s Lost Qeen

Eldamaty at Radar Session
LUXOR: Chances are high that the tomb of Ancient Egypt’s boy-king Tutankhamun has passages to a hidden chamber, which may be the last resting place of the lost Queen Nefertiti, experts said on Saturday.

There is huge international interest in Nefertiti, who died in the 14th century B.C. and is thought to be Tutankhamun’s stepmother, and confirmation of her final resting place would be the most remarkable Egyptian archaeological find this century.

New evidence from the radar imaging taken so far is to be sent to a team in Japan for analysis. The results are expected to be announced in a month.

“We said earlier there was a 60 percent chance there is something behind the walls. But now after the initial reading of the scans, we are saying now its 90 percent likely there is something behind the walls,” Egyptian Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty told a news conference.
He said he expected to reach the other side of the tomb’s wall within three months.

Discovery of Nefertiti, whose chiseled cheek-bones and regal beauty were immortalized in a 3,300-year old bust now in a Berlin museum, would shed fresh light on what remains a mysterious period of Egyptian history.

It could also be a boon for Egypt’s ailing tourism industry, which has suffered near endless setbacks since the uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and which is a vital source of foreign currency.

“There is, in fact, an empty space behind the wall based on radar, which is very accurate, there is no doubt,” Japanese radar specialist Hirokatsu Watanabe said, his hand hovering over a fuzzy blue radar scan he said indicated the presence of a false wall. The size of the cavity is not known.

DAMAGE RISK
British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves, leading the investigation, said last month he believed Tutankhamun’s mausoleum was originally occupied by Nefertiti and that she had lain undisturbed behind what he believes is a partition wall.
Japanese radar specialist Hirokatsu Watanabe stands with his equipment
outside King Tutankhamun's burial chamber in
the Valley of Kings in Luxor, Egypt
But at the news conference with Damaty on Saturday, Reeves warned that even the most minor of incisions in the wall could wreak damage to an inner chamber that may have been hermetically sealed for so many years.

“The key is to excavate slowly and carefully and record well. The fact is this isn’t a race. All archaeology is disruption. We can’t go back and re-do it, so we have to do it well in the first place,” Reeves said.

In search for Egypt’s lost Queen Nefertiti, focus turns to King Tut’s tomb

“I’m feeling more certain today than I expected to be,” he said outside the Howard Carter House, a site named after the British archaeologist propelled to international celebrity for his discovery of the Tutankhamun tomb in 1922.

King Tut, as he is affectionately known, died around 1323 B.C. His intact tomb, complete with his famous golden burial mask, was discovered in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor.

Experts have long sought to understand why Tut’s tomb was smaller than that of other pharaohs and why its shape was more in keeping with that of the Egyptian queens of the time.

Japanese radr expert Watanabi examines data as Minister Eldamaty
 watches on (Photo: Nevine El Aref )
Egyptologists remain uncertain over where Nefertiti died and was buried. She was long believed to have passed away during her husband’s reign, suggesting she could be buried in Amarna, where her bust was found in 1912, some 400 km north of Luxor.

More recently, most experts, including Reeves, have come to believe she outlived Akhenaten, who may have been Tut’s father, but changed her name and may have briefly ruled Egypt.

“Research doesn’t always translate into reality. But it looks like we’re headed in the right direction, and our investigations are going well,” said Reeves.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

News, Cairo: 4.5 K Tourists Arrive in Cairo Airport Last Tuesday - Source

CAIRO: As many as 4,458 tourists have arrived in Cairo International Airport Tuesday, official sources at the airport told Youm7.

The airport received 2,102 tourists from Arab countries along with 2,356 tourists from Europe, North America and the rest of the world, said the source.

Following the Russian plane crash that killed 224 passengers and crew, swift decisions were taken by a number of countries including Germany, Russia, France and the UK to evacuate their tourists from the resort town, after reports that a bomb may have been the cause.

Egypt’s political turmoil following the 2011 January uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak has badly affected tourism sector, which has only recently started to rebound; Egypt’s second most important source of national income after the Suez Canal provides direct and indirect employment to up to 12.6 percent of the country’s workforce.

The country’s revenues from tourism industry decreased by 15 percent in the 3rd quarter of 2015 compared to the same period last year, said tourism ministry economic advisor Adala Ragab last week.

Revenues from tourism represent 11.3 percent of Egypt’s gross domestic product (GDP.)
Source: Cairo Post– By/Rany Mostafa

Short Story: Tutankhamun Unmasked?

Did the iconic funerary gold mask of King Tutankhamun belong to his stepmother Queen Nefertiti as Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves wrote in a scholarly work on the mystery? Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Before being published in a scientific journal in December, British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves, from Arizona University, sent Al-Ahram Weekly an advance copy of his article on the original name inscribed on Tutankhamun's mask.

Entitled "The Gold Mask of Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten" Reeves relates that an essay was behind his first doubts about King Tutankhamun’s possession of his iconic gold mask, now under restoration at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square.

In the paper Reeves wrote several years ago, in an essay which is yet to appear, he sought to demonstrate that the famous gold mask from King Tutankhamun's tomb (KV 62) had been created not for the boy king but for the use of a female predecessor named Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten (Queen Nefertiti) who was King Akhenaten’s co-regent.

"The evidence in favour of this conclusion was, and still is compelling," Reeves said, adding that he was able to muster for it no inscriptional support. Detailed scrutiny, both of the mask itself and of photographs, furnished not the slightest hint that the multi-columned hieroglyphic inscription with cartouche might pre-date Tutankhamun’s reign.

"Happily, this reluctant presumption of the mask’s textual integrity may now be abandoned," Reeves pointed out in the paper, asserting that "a fresh examination of the re-positioned and newly re-lit mask in Cairo at the end of September 2015 yielded for the first time, beneath the hieroglyphs of Tutankhamun’s prenomen, lightly chased traces of an earlier, erased royal name."

Detail of The Inscription on The Gold Mask Showing Cartouche Containing 
Tutankhamun’s Prenomen ( Photograph by Ahmed Amin, Cairo Museum)
With the kind cooperation of former director of the Egyptian Museum Mahmoud Al-Halwagi and the museum’s photographer Ahmed Amin, it proved possible to secure an exceptionally clear image of this palimpsest.

Given its significance, Reeves was keen to share this discovery with specialist colleagues, from whom he also sought input. "For, although the opening signs of the underlying text were obvious enough, those traces close to the cartouche’s ‘tie’ were proving difficult to disentangle," Reeves wrote. He added that his request for aid evoked responses from both Ray Johnson and Marc Gabolde. "I am extremely grateful for their contributions to this note," he said, confirming that "not only has our collaboration resulted in a reasonably definitive reconstruction of the name-form originally borne by the mask, but this name indeed confirms the conclusion I had reached previously on non-inscriptional grounds -- namely, that Tutankhamun’s headpiece had been prepared originally for the co-regent Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten."

The changes to which the mask’s cartouche had been subjected are presented in a drawing by Gabolde. "Above, in green, we see the present, Tutankhamun-era inscription, with visible portions of the earlier, underlying text highlighted in red; below, in yellow, is the agreed reconstruction of this original name."

"The easiest elements to recognise within the erased text are three floating legs of a xpr-hieroglyph. Positioned somewhat to the left of the superimposed xpr of

Drawing by Gabolde illustrating:(upper) the present, Tutankhamun-era inscription(green)
with visible portions of the earlier,underlying text (red); (Lower)the original name(yellow)
as reconstructed on the basis of these still-visible traces (red)
Tutankhamun’s prenomen nb-xprw-ra (Nebkheperure), space had originally been reserved on the right to accommodate a separate sign with rounded top and vertical base -- evidently an anx," Reeves explains. He notes:  "In combination with the remains of three short verticals beneath the later plural strokes of the Tutankhamun xprw and a heavily reemphasised ra, what these traces plainly spell out, from right to left, is the prenomen anx-xprw-ra -- Ankhkheperure.”

Reeves continues: "There exist, of course, two versions of the Ankhkheperure phenomena: the first, incorporating an epithet associating the owner with Akhenaten, was a form employed exclusively by the female co-regent Neferneferuaten; use of the second, without epithet, appears to have been restricted to the pharaoh Smenkhkare." 

As the positioning of its opening traces suggests, Reeves said, the version originally carried by the gold mask had been that with epithet -- an impression confirmed by the shadow-outline of a long, rectangular sign consistent with the hieroglyph mr, “beloved (of),” which physically underlies the nb of nb-xprw-ra.

After this comparison Reeves was perplexed about the earlier cartouche, as a seemingly limited space was left for the writing of this epithet.

"It was inadequate for any of the forms currently attested for Neferneferuaten," said Reeves, adding that the explanation would be provided by Ray Johnson who recognised that the cartouche employed by Tutankhamun was in fact an appreciably shortened version of the Neferneferuaten oval which had formerly occupied this position, with the area freed up by that earlier cartouche’s reduction in size filled by the two vertical signs mAa xrw, “true of voice.”

"What, then, had been the precise form of the Ankhkheperure epithet in this earlier and longer cartouche?" Reeves noticed that shallow traces of a long and a short vertical to the left of the discerned mr, “beloved (of),” suggest an answer. While other identifications of these cuts could be argued (for example, as elements of a reed-leaf i, which would imply an employment of the rare epithet mr itn, “beloved of the Aten”), the most likely reconciliation of the surviving traces, he believes, is surely nfr. "This would point towards the far more commonly encountered designation mr nfr-xprwra, “beloved of Neferkheperure” (i.e. of Akhenaten)," Reeves wrote.

News: British Tourists will Return to Egypt in a ‘Few Weeks’ - Official

CAIRO: British tourism will return to Egypt, particularly to Sharm el Sheikh, in the coming few weeks, said Chairperson of the British-Egyptian Business Association Sameh Saif al-Yazal in a press conference Wednesday.

The return of British tourism depended on reports conducted by a U.K. security delegation, tasked to check the security measures in Egyptian airports, al-Yazal added, noting that the outcomes in the reports were “positive.”

A U.K delegation of aviation and counter-terrorism experts visited Cairo on Nov. 18, discussing strategic joint plan for returning the British tourists as soon as possible, al-Yazal continued. The Association will send delegation to U.K. for attracting new investments to Egypt, he said.

Following the Oct. 31 crash of Russian passenger plane in central Sinai 32 minutes after it took place from Sharm el Shiekh Airport, Russia and Britain evacuated their nationals from the Red Sea-located city to which Britain and Ireland suspended its flights.
Source: Cairo Post – By/ The Cairo Post

Thursday, November 26, 2015

New, Sinai: Convoy of 1.8K Youth Heads to Sharm el Sheikh to Boost Tourism

Tourists Riding Camels in the Red Sea Resort of Sharm al-Sheikh
CAIRO: A convoy of 1,800 Egyptian youths will head Monday to Sharm el Sheikh in an effort to boost tourism, after this profitable sector was dramatically affected by Russian crashed incident in Central Sinai, Youm7 reported.

Outside Cairo Stadium, the youth from different Egyptian bodies and institutions gathered to fly to the resort where they will participate in the Arab Youth Festival that will be attended by Arab Foreign Ministers. A week ago, a group of Egyptian actors and actress flew to the Sinai city to boost the limping sector.

The Tourism Ministry is planning to launch the “This Is Egypt” tourism promotion campaign in five Arab countries as of Dec. 1; the campaign will initially target five countries: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Jordan and Lebanon.

On Oct. 31, a Russian plane crashed in Central Sinai about 23 minutes after it took off from Sharm el Sheikh Airport, killing all 224 aboard. Russia announced that the crash could be caused by a home-made bomb planted on board; however, Egypt is waiting for the results of the international investigation committee to be announced.  Following the crash, an Islamic State group affiliate in Egypt claimed responsibility for downing the plane.


Russia has halted its flights to Egypt and banned EgyptAir flight to enter into its airspace; other European countries have halted their flights to Sharm el Sheikh Airport. Egypt’s tourism sector, which represents 11 percent of the country’s GDP, has been suffering from ongoing shocks ever since the 2011 uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak.
Source: Cairo Post – By/ The Cairo Post

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

News, Sharqiya: New Discovery in Egypt Highlights the History of the Hyksos Capital of Avaris

A gigantic Middle Kingdom sandstone wall has been uncovered in Tel Al-Dabaa town in Sharqiya governorate. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

A Part of The Newly Discovered Wall and The Depression
An Austrian archaeological mission uncovered a 500-meter-long sandstone wall from the late Middle Kingdom era during excavation work carried out in Tel Al-Dabaa town (Avaris) in Sharqiya governorate in the Delta, the antiquities minister announced on Tuesday.

Mamdouh El-Damaty described the discovery as important because it highlights the second intermediate period and the Hyksos invasion to Egypt that is considered as a crucial era in ancient Egyptian history. Tel Al-Dabaa, or Avaris in ancient times, was also Egypt's capital and it has still not yet been totally explored and studied because most of its ancient ruins are still hidden within the town's agricultural land.

Mahmoud Affifi, the head of the ancient Egyptian antiquities department, said that the location of the newly discovered wall suggests that it once enclosed a port because it stretches along a depression very deep on the eastern side.

He suggests that the wall could be related to an old town that controlled all the entrances to the depression and the town's provinces located on the western side of the wall.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

News, Luxor: Search for Nefertiti in Tutankhamun's Tomb to Start Thursday

The three-day operation will involve the use of non-invasive radar to search behind the walls of Tutankhamun's burial chamber. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
Reeves and Eldamaty inspecting Tutankhamun's burial chamber last September
Exploration work will start Thursday to test a theory that Egyptian Queen Nefertiti is buried behind a wall in the tomb of King Tutankhamun in Luxor's Valley of the Kings, according to Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities.

The theory was developed by Arizona University Egyptology Professor Nicholas Reeves, who is currently working with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities to use non-invasive Japanese radar to search for the queen's remains.

Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty told Ahram Online that the work is to be carried out over three days, and will involve the use of radar signals and infrared thermography to probe the north and west walls of the boy-king's burial chamber.

Reeves conducted initial field inspections of the tomb in September, which he said revealed that the burial chamber ceiling extends beyond the northern and western walls, which suggests the presence of hidden chambers.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Recovered Artifacts, Vienna: Egypt recovers 26th dynasty faience statuette in Austria

Egypt recovered a 26th-dynasty Ushabti figurine from Vienna after six months of negotiation and legal procedures. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The Recovered Ushabti Figurine
Egypt's embassy in Austria received on Sunday a 26th dynasty Ushabti figurine from Vienna before it was sold on the antiquities trading black market.

Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty told Ahram Online that the statuette was recovered in collaboration with Interpol and the Egyptian embassy in Vienna.

The head of the antiquities repatriation department Ali Ahmed told Ahram online that the Austrian police caught a suspect in the possession of the artefact  "red-handed" while trying to sell the figurine in Vienna.

The seller was not able to prove his ownership of the statuette and the police reported the incident to Egypt's embassy. The embassy in turn informed the antiquities ministry.

Ahmed said that during the last six months all legal procedures were taken to establish Egypt's ownership of the statuette so it could be returned to its country of origin.

On Sunday, Ahmed confirmed that the artefact was handed to the Egyptian embassy in Vienna.  Ahmed also explained that the figurine was originally stolen during illegal excavation work at Saqqara necropolis in Giza. The statuette is carved in faience and belongs to a 26th dynasty noble called Huriraa.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Our Treasures Abroad, New York: Statue of Ancient Egypt War Goddess Sekhmet Sells for $3-5 Mat Sotheby’s

Egyptian War Goddess Sekhmet Statue
CAIRO: A pink granite statue of the ancient Egyptian war Goddess Sekhmet is up for sale at the US-based Sotheby’s auction house for $3-5 million.

The lot, which dates back to the reign of the 18th Dynasty Pharaoh Amenhotep III (1403 B.C-1365 B.C.,) is a part of a collection of “Ancient Egyptian Sculpture & Works of Art” offered for sale Dec. 8.

The lion-headed goddess seated against a back pillar with her hands resting by her knees, the right hand open, the left hand holding an ankh, and wearing a long close-fitting dress with a broad collar, according to Sotheby’s website.

The collection comprises of 46 artifacts dating back to several eras of the pharaonic period (3200 B.C.-332 B.C.)

Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al Damaty Friday the ministry has taken “all legal measures” to stop the sale of the collection along with other sets of authentic artifacts up for sale in the U.K.’s Christie’s and France’s Mellon auction houses.

Damaty said has sent the photos to all museums, archaeological sites and antiquities storerooms across the country to check if those pieces were stolen from them or taken during illegal excavations so as to take the necessary measures to repatriate them, according to the statement.

Egypt’s political turmoil since the January 25 Revolution in 2011 and its consequent security lapse have left the country’s cultural heritage vulnerable to looting. During the past four years, Egypt has recovered more than 1,600 artifacts and is currently working on other cases in many European countries, Ahmed said.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Our Treasures Abroad, Europe: Egypt Tries to Halt Sale of ‘Looted’ Artifacts at UK, French Auction Houses

Egyptian Antiquities 
CAIRO: The Antiquities Ministry announced Friday it has taken “all legal measures” to stop the sale of a set of ancient Egyptian artifacts up for sale in the U.K.’s Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction houses and France’s Mellon auction.

“The collection, spanning several eras of the ancient Egyptian history, includes, amulets, wall fragments,  wooden and silver statues, stone jars, mascots and jewelry,” head of the Repatriated Artifacts Department Aly Ahmed told The Cairo Post.

Photos of the items in question along with others are shown on websites of the said auction houses, he added.

Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al Damaty has sent the photos to all museums, archaeological sites and antiquities storerooms across the country to check if those pieces were stolen from them or taken during illegal excavations so as to take the necessary measures to repatriate them, according to the statement.

Egypt’s political turmoil since the January 25 Revolution in 2011 and its consequent security lapse have left the country’s cultural heritage vulnerable to looting.

During the past four years, Egypt has recovered more than 1,600 artifacts and is currently working on other cases in many European countries, Ahmed said.
Source: Cairo Post – By/Rany Mostafa

Thursday, November 19, 2015

News, Giza: King Amenhotep III Colossi to be on Displayed on GEM's Grand Staircase

Tawfik and Zidan during the packing of the duo statue
Six years after its discovery on Luxor's west bank, the statue of the New Kingdom’s King Amenhotep III is to be transported to the GEM next week. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

At Kom Al-Hittan area, where the ruins of King Amenhotep III’s funerary temple stands on Luxor's west bank, workers and archaeologists are busy restoring the colossal statue of King Amenhotep III. 

This statue is to be packed and transported to Cairo for restoration next week in order to be put on the planned grand staircase of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) overlooking the Giza plateau.

Amenhotep III and Rahurakhti
Director General of the GEM Tarek Tawfiq told Ahram Online that the statue was discovered within the ruins of the temple in 2009 by an Egyptian archaeological mission. It depicts King Amenhotep III with the ancient Egyptian god Ra-Harakhti with a human body and a falcon head. 

The statue is partly deteriorated with missing legs. He described the statue as "very distinguished" because it depicts the king in equal size to the god.

"This is the biggest statue to be transported to the GEM after the transportation of the King Ramses II statue, which was on display at Ramses Square in downtown Cairo," Tawfik told Ahram Online. 

He went on saying that Amenhotep III's colossus is to be transported next week to GEM's conservation lab where it will be subjected to restoration and kept in storage until the opening of the GEM.

He explains that the Grand staircase will put on show 100 artefacts that reflect the kingship in ancient Egypt. Among these objects are a granite column from king Sahure temple in Saqqara as well as other reliefs and architectural elements.

Restoration and Packing Director General at the GEM Eissa Zidan told Ahram Online that two black granite statues of the lioness war deity Sekhmet are to also be transported from Luxor to Cairo. 

The dueo statue of king Amenhotep III
These statues were discovered at the ruins of King Amenhotep III temple on Luxor's west bank as it was among the temple's decorative items. Both Sekhmet statues would be exhibited at the GEM Grand Staircase.

Zidan pointed out that restoration work on King Amenhotep III’s colossus will start immediately after its arrival from Luxor and it would be mounted and cleaned. A new mounting to hold the colossus will also be created.

Osama Abul Kheir, director general of restoration work said that the three statues are now covered with non-acidic foam to protect them during their trip to Cairo and then inserted in wooden boxes for transportation.

Recovered Artifacts, Beni Suef:Tourism Police Foils An Attempt to Sell 1,774 Illegally Excavated Artifacts

CAIRO: The Tourism and Antiquities Police have recovered a set of 1,774 ancient artifacts following six-hour armed clashes with illicit antiquities dealers in Upper Egypt’s governorate of Beni Suef, Youm7 reported Thursday.

The artifacts, spanning several periods of the Egyptian history, comprise several alabaster jars, wooden masks, offering tables made of granite, canopic jars , silver and golden headrests and funerary masks.

Investigations carried out by policemen from the General Administration of Tourism and Antiquities Police revealed that three peasants were planning to sell a collection of artifacts obtained through illicit digging activities near their farmland.

After issuing the arrest warrant, the police raided the residence of the dealers and were able to arrest them and seize the artifacts, Youm7 reported. The authenticity of the artifact was confirmed by a committee of specialists.

Egypt’s political turmoil since the January 25 Revolution in 2011 and its consequent security lapse left the country’s cultural heritage vulnerable to looting.

During the past four years, Egypt has recovered more than 1,600 artifacts and is currently working on other cases in many European countries, head of the Repatriated Artifacts Department Aly Ahmed previously told The Cairo Post.
Source: Cairo Post – By/ Rany Mostafa

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

    News, Cairo: 'Magical Shirt' to Protect Against Diseases Set for Display at Renovated MIA

    The Museum of Islamic Art, damaged in a powerful car bombing in 2014 targeting an adjacent building, is set to reopen December after nearly two years of restoration work. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

    Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities is to open next month the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) after almost two years of restoration work. In January 2014, the museum was damaged after powerful car bomb exploded outside the adjacent Cairo Security Directorate. 

    The façade of the museum was completely destroyed, glass windows broken, and ceilings inside the museum fell down with a large number of artifacts damaged. In August 2014, the United Arab Emirates adopted the museum's restoration scheme and in December the museum is finally to be re-inaugurated.

    MIA Director General Ahmed El-Shoki said that the display arrangement at the museum has been changed, with artefacts now exhibited in three topics: first, Islamic objects from Egypt's history; second, items from other Islamic countries; third, artefacts according to their use, such as writing, daily life and medicine.

    The medicine hall, El-Shoki continued, is to put on display a collection of medical equipment used during the Abbasid era, as well as surgical instruments and medical manuscripts on the medicinal benefits of herbs. Medical terminologies and pharmacological components used by the Arab physician Ibn Sina are also on show. 

    "The most distinguished artefact on display in the medicine hall is the Iranian shirt known as the "Magical Shirt," El-Shoki told Ahram Online, adding that the shirt goes back to the Safavid Iranian era and is decorated with spells that protect its wearer from any diseases.

    One of the spells, said El-Shoki, reads: "The person who wears this shirt will be protected from diseases, pains and assassination."  He continued that it seems the spell did not last long, as the shirt bears traces of blood, suggesting that the person who wore it was injured or killed. The shirt came to the museum in the 1960s and is now under restoration before being exhibited.
    Source: Ahram Online
    More About Islamic Art Museum News Click Here 

    Back Home, Berlin: German Man Returns Mummy Mask to Egypt After 50 Years Away

    The Recovered Mask
    The man said his father asked for the artifact to go back home after his death. Written By Nevine El-Aref.

    Egypt received a Graeco-Roman mummy mask from Germany on Wednesday after remaining in the possession of a German collector for almost 50 years.

    The mask was returned to Egypt after a German man handed the artifact to Egypt's culture office in Berlin.

    The man returned the mask on the request of his father, who asked that it be sent back to its homeland, Egypt, after his death.

    After being subjected to an archaeological inspection, a team of Egyptian archaeologists approved the authenticity of the mask and it is now in the Egyptian museum for restoration.
    To Read All Back Home Antiquities Posts Click Here 

    Valley of Kings: The Burial Chamber - House of Gold Wherein One Rests


    If the tomb had been completed, the right (north) and left (south) sides of the lower floor level would have been extended, leaving only ledges for the upper floor level on the left and right sides of the chamber, instead of the wide surfaces now there.

    The sides of the burial pit were roughly widened to accommodate a large, red granite sarcophagus box, now broken in two, with its foot half lying in the pit.

    Four pillars flank the front (east) wall of the chamber with two on each side of the descent from the gate to the central lower level. The first and fourth pillars were not completely cut away from the surrounding rock. The pillars show Rameses VI with "Ma'at", "Ptah-Sokar", "Anubis", "Meretseger", "Osiris", and "Ptah". In the rear (west) wall, there are four pilasters, representing unfinished cuttings of pillars.

    The left, right and rear walls and pilasters are decorated with texts from the Book of the Earth. Pilasters 2 and 3 are inscribed with the names of Rameses VI. The vaulted ceiling, which extends over the burial pit and the spaces to its west and east, is cut at a right angle to the tomb's axis. The Sky goddess "Nut" is drawn twice separating the vaulted ceiling into two spaces (east and west).

    The space to the east depicting the "Book of day" with red disks "the sun" inside the yellow body of Nut and a very dark blue background. The book of Day holds names and epithets of Rameses the sixth. and a description of the sun god "Ra" journey through the heavens in the day time before he is swallowed by the sky goddess "Nut".

    The space to the west is depicting the "Book of night" with five points stars inside of Nut and a black background representing the night. The book of Night is a description of the sun god "Ra" journey through the heavens wherein he is swallowed by the sky goddess "Nut" in the evening and reborn in the morning.

    information about this very rich tomb is provided with a little help from our friends at The Theban Mapping Project , check out their amazing work documenting the valley and make sure you follow us for updates.