Monday, February 29, 2016

News: Egypt Promotes Tourism in ITB Berlin

CAIRO: A total of $1.7 million has been allocated to promote Egypt as a tourist destination in Germany, head of the Tourism Promotion Authority Mohamed Abdel Gabbar told Youm7 Thursday.

An advertisement campaign on German newspapers, radio and streets as well as on social media has been launched ahead of ITB Berlin, an international travel trade show March 9-13, Abdel Gabbar said.

Twelve Egyptian travel agency and 52 hotels will participate in the show, Abdel Gabbar said, adding that another campaign will kick off in May.

The Egyptian tourism industry has been hit by waves of deterioration since the Jan. 25 Revolution in 2011. Most recently, a Russian plane crashed over Sinai, killing all 224 on board; a number of states banned traveling to Egypt following the incident.
Source: Cairo Post By/ The Cairo Post

New Discovery, Luxor: Secret Room ‘Full of Treasures’ Discovered Near Tutankhamon’s Tomb

CAIRO: A secret room with “treasures” near King Tutankhamen’s 3,300-year-old tomb has been discovered, Egyptian Minister of Tourism Hesham Zazou told Spanish newspaper ABC during his trip to Spain.

The new discovery will officially will be announced in April, he added. A French team told Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh al-Damaty that radar and thermography on the walls of the tomb revealed that there is a hidden chamber, French newspaper Le Figaro reported.

“It (the hidden chamber is full of treasures,” Damaty was quoted as saying. Tut’s tomb was discovered in 1922; the gold mask of the Pharaonic king is in the Egyptian Museum downtown.

In November the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities conducted researchers for hidden chambers could include Queen Nefertiti. The researchers have been carried out upon hypothesis from British Egyptology Nicholas Reeves.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

News: Egypt’s Super Long Nile Cruise Tours Resume After 1-Year Hiatus

CAIRO: Egypt’s Nile cruise tours, running from Cairo to Aswan and vice versa, have resumed Friday after a one-year hiatus, Youm7 reported.

A total of 70 German tourists have embarked on a Nile cruise that sailed downstream from Aswan to Cairo Friday. The 14-night cruise program includes several sightseeing to the country’s archaeological sites located on the two banks of the River Nile. A Tourist guide told Youm7 that the resumption of the Nile cruise package tours would last until August.

Aswan-Cairo Nile cruise packages, better known as the Super Long Nile Cruise, were halted for security reasons following the Luxor massacre when 62 people, mostly tourists, were shot dead by Islamist militants at the temple of Queen Hatshepsut in the west bank in Luxor in November 1997, Mohammed Ayoub, chairman of the Chamber of Floating Hotels had previously told The Cairo Post.

However, in Feb 2015, the tour has partially resumed before it has been suspended again a few month later probably due to the sharp decrease in number of tourists visiting Egypt or security concerns. Summer is known to be a low season for Egypt’s cultural tourism due to the hot weather.

“The package was halted also due to the variable depth of the River Nile throughout the year which has repeatedly caused damage to the submerged parts of the cruise ship’s hull and the bottom structure leading ships to aground accordingly,” according to Ayoub.

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 Hosni Mubarak. Tourism sector saw gravely negatively was affected after the crash of Russian passenger plane in Central Sinai on Oct. 31, 2015, particularly after speculation supported by western intelligence indicating a bomb was behind the crash

Tourism revenues dropped during December 2015 by 52 percent compared to that of January 2015, Youm7 quoted Adla Ragab, the economic advisor for Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou Feb. 18.
Source: Cairo Post By/ The Cairo Post

News, Al- Beheira: Gianaclis Palace in Abou Al-Matamir Becomes a Nile Delta Archaeological Site

Gianaclis Palace in the coastal governorate of Al-Beheira is to be added to Egypt's Heritage List for Islamic and Coptic monuments. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Gianaclis Palace
Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities has started the documentation process for adding Gianaclis Palace in Abou Al-Matamir city in the costal governorate of Al-Beheira to the country's Heritage List for Islamic and Coptic monuments.

Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty announced today that the decision was taken according to Article 1 of Egypt's Antiquities Law No 17/1983, stipulating that any edifice in Egypt with distinguished archaeological or historical value, or decorative or artistic elements, be put on Egypt's Heritage List as symbol of Egypt's historic civilisation.

Eldamaty told Ahram Online that the 30 feddans wide Gianaclis Palace was built within the vineyards on Al-Nubareiya canal in Abou Al-Matamir city in 1948 by Greek businessman Nicola Biyarkos, known in Egypt as Gianaclis. The palace was built in Italian architectural style with six flours and 366 windows: one for each day of the year, including leap years.

In 1956, after the July 1952 Revolution, Eldamaty said, the palace was put into the possession of the presidency, and late President Gamal Abdul Nasser decided to build an administrative building in the palace garden, along with electricity and water improvements.

During the tenure of late President Anwar El-Sadat, a military airport was established as well as a number of military settlements. Along the span of its history, Gianaclis Palace hosted several leaders and presidents of different countries. It was also the residential home of toppled Sudanese President Gaafar Al-Numeri.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

News, Cairo: Egypt releases 3 Charged with Breaking, Selling Giza Pyramids pieces.

CAIRO: Three camel vendors at the Giza Pyramids who were detained over charges of breaking pieces of the 4,400 year-old monument with hammers and selling them to tourists, were released Wednesday evening and fined 5,000 EGP ($638) each, Youm7 reported.

On Feb. 6, the vendors, who provide camel rides for tourists visiting the archaeological site, were arrested at the Pyramid site after they have been recorded while they sell the tourists the pieces.

According to a statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, they  confessed their crime of selling pieces of the pyramid of Menkawre for tourists for prices ranging from 250 EGP ($31) to 5,000 EGP. The General Prosecution has appealed against their release.
Source: Cairo Post By/ The Cairo Post

News: Sharm El-Sheikh will Host Arab Tourism Forum Mid-March

Tourism Activation Authority carried out action plan over past 2 years in Gulf market resulting in growth of more than 20%.
The Tourism Activation Authority plans to organize the Arab Tourism Forum mid-March in Sharm El-Sheikh in coordination with the Arab Tourism Organization, according to authority chairman Sami Mahmoud.

Arab tourism comes at the forefront of markets in which the Ministry of Tourism recently operates on and it represents 20% of the total tourist influx to Egypt annually.

“We implemented an action plan over the past two years in the Gulf market resulting in a growth of more than 20% of this market,” Mahmoud said. “The ministry will work on a strong presence in the countries of the [Moroccan] market in the current period in cooperation with tour operators and the Egyptian Federation of Private Aviation.”

The authority asked Egyptian tourism companies and hotels to participate in the forum owing to the importance of the Arab market. Mahmoud hopes there will not be a huge retreat in tourist influx to Egypt by the end of 2016; the state lost its chance in the winter season.

Member of the Egyptian Federation of Chambers of Tourism Hussein Shokri said the Arab influx pushed occupancies growth during 2015 in Cairo. “The hotel occupancy in Cairo by the Arab influx exceeded 80% in some months, especially during mid-2015 and we hope for an increase this year,” he said.

Hotel capacity in Cairo is about 30,000 rooms. Arab tourists prefer hotels with a Nile view hotels in downtown Cairo and hotels near Cairo International Airport for their business trips.

Shokri said Arab tourism in the past period achieved major breakthroughs, pushing tourist directions in the region to compete with Turkey, Morocco, and Dubai. Egypt has a limited share of the Arab influx still and is able to attract more than 3m tourists from Arab countries annually.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

New Discovery, Dahshur: Egyptian Middle Kingdom Tomb Discovered at El-Lisht

Parack and youssef during excavation
The tomb of King Senosert I’s stamp bearer was discovered at the El-Lisht archaeological site in the Dahshur necropolis. Written By/ Nevine El-Aerf.

An Egyptian-American mission from Alabama University has stumbled upon a very well preserved tomb of King Senosert I’s stamp bearer while conducting cleaning work in an area south of King Senosert I’s pyramid.

An Egyptian-American mission from Alabama University has stumbled upon a very well preserved tomb of King Senosert I’s stamp bearer while conducting cleaning work in an area south of King Senosert I’s pyramid.

Mohamed Youssef, director of the Dahshur archaeological site, told Ahram Online that the tomb is dated to the 12th dynasty during the reign of the Middle Kingdom King Senosert I.

The tomb is carved in the bedrock of the necropolis and has a mud brick ramp. The walls of the tomb are engraved with scenes depicting the deceased at work in front of deities and in different position with his family. 
the entrance gate of the tomb & wall scene depicting the deceased during hunting trip
(courtesy of the ministry of antiquities)
Excavation work is now in full swing to know more about the tomb and the deceased.

Sarah Parcak, director of the archaeological mission from Alabama University, said that the mission is now training a number of Egyptian archaeologists on the new techniques and methods used in the documentation and preservation of antiquities, as well as using satellites in safeguarding the archaeological sites.

El-Lisht is the site of the Middle Kingdom necropolis for royals and elites. It includes the two pyramids of kings Amenemhat I and Senusret I, which are surrounded with smaller pyramids of members of the royal family, as well as many mastaba tombs of top governmental officials.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

iCruise Egypt - Vol. 21: Oberoi Philae - The Most Unique and Luxuries Nile Cruise

Explore the Nile in unparalleled luxury on The Oberoi Philae.Discover ancient monuments, temples and five thousand years of Egyptian culture during a leisurely four or six nights cruise. 

Rejuvenate your senses with wellness options that include therapy rooms, a swimming pool and gymnasium. Spacious luxury cabins & suites, personalised service and exquisite cuisine will make your Nile experience on The Oberoi Philae truly memorable.
The itinerary on The Oberoi Philae is designed to allow you the opportunity to experience Egypt at a leisurely pace on board the most luxurious cruiser on the Nile. Enjoy four or six unforgettable days of unravelling centuries of Egyptian history and discover the Nile and its wonders like never before.
For More Images Visit Our Website

Monday, February 22, 2016

News: Egypt, Greece to Sign MoU on Tourism Cooperation

CAIRO: Egypt’s Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou will sign a memorandum of understanding Sunday with his Greek counterpart Elena Kountoura with the view to deepen the bilateral cooperation between Egypt and Greece in the tourism field, Youm7 reported.

The MoU involves launching tourism Investments that will create employment opportunities for the nationals in both countries in addition to collaborating and sharing expertise in the area of research, policy planning and monitoring.

Kountoura, who is currently visiting Cairo following the invitation of Zaazou, has met with the chairman of the Egyptian Tourism Promotion Authority Organization, Samy Mahmoud and the president of the Federation of Travel Agents, Elhamy al Zayat.

The minister is also scheduled to meet with representatives and members of the Greek Community in Egypt and representatives of the Patriarchate of Alexandria.

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 Hosni Mubarak.

Europe accounts for 72 percent of annual incoming tourism to Egypt, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism.
Source: Cairo Post By/ The Cairo Post

News: Antiquities Minister Honours Foreign and Egyptian Archaeologists in Luxor

Egypt's antiquities minister honoured a number of foreign and Egyptian archaeologists for their devotion to archaeological works in Egypt in 2015. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

Within the framework of the campaign launched by the Luxor Time Magazine entitled Luxor Times Egyptology Award 2016, Egypt's Antiquities Minister Mamdouh Eldamaty honoured a number of foreign and Egyptian archaeologists for their "devotion and tremendous efforts in Egypt".

The campaign was launched on social media to determine the top ten discoveries, five best restoration projects, five ongoing achievements as well as five promising archaeological projects in Egypt in 2015.

Eldamaty honouring Horig
Eldamaty honoured ten Egyptologists including the German archaeologist Horing Sourouzian who worked for more than a decade on the funerary temple of King Amenhotep III on Luxor's West Bank.

Sourouzian succeeded in discovering several elements of the temple and reconstructed it in an attempt to revive the temple to its hayday, or at least render an outline of its original design.

The temple of King Amenhotep III was completely destroyed in antiquity after a massive earthquake hit the county. All the temples were buried in sand except the two colossi of Memnons.

Elham Salah, the head of the Museums Department, said heads of the mummification museum in Luxor, the Atun Museum in Minya, the Grand Egyptian Museum overlooking the Giza plateau and the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization were also honoured.


News, Aswan: Clouds Spoil Abu Simbel Temple Solar Alignment for Thousands

CAIRO: The view of thousands of tourists of the bi-annual solar alignment over the Abu Simbel temple was spoiled by clouds Monday, reported Youm7.

The crowds reportedly arrived in the early morning to the temple, southwest of the tourist city of Aswan, to observe the phenomenon of solar alignment as they do every year, but the sun, which should have passed over the face of Ramses II, was blocked by clouds.

Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh el-Damaty, Minister of Culture Helmy el-Nemnem left the site after they waited for 20 minutes. Both ministers and Aswan Governor Magdy Hegazy participated in a celebration on Sunday, in which local and international artist teams performed. The Abu Simbel temples are among seven archaeological sites in Egypt on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.


For most of the year, the inner sanctuary of Pharaoh Ramses II’s (1279B.C.–1213 B.C.) main temple at Abu Simbel is shrouded in darkness. However, the temple was built so that a shaft of sunlight pierces the gloom and illuminates statues of God Amun Re and the Pharaoh in the temple’s inner shrine twice a year; Oct. 22, which marks the birthday of Ramses II, and Feb. 22, which marks his coronation day.
Source: Cairo Post By/ The Cairo Post

News, Giza: Japan Ambassador Pays First Visit to Khufu Boat Under Restoration at GEM

Japan's ambassador to Egypt and his wife paid their first visit to King Khufu's second solar boat. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
Zidan shows Kagawa the current restoration work on khufu's second solar boat
 (photo courtesy of Eissa Zidan)
Japanese ambassador to Egypt Takehiro Kagawa and his wife paid their first visit to King Khufu's second solar boat, now under restoration at the laboratory of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) overlooking the Giza plateau.

Eissa Zidan, director of the restoration department at the GEM, guided them through their visit to check the restoration works being carried out by the Japanese-Egyptian team in an attempt to reconstruct King Khufu's second solar boat to its original look.

Takehiro was very happy with the works achieved so far, and wrote in the visiting book of the GEM that he wishes the team the best luck in achieving their goal.

Zidan told Ahram Online that the restoration team is now working on the third phase of the five-stage project to restore Khufu's second boat.

The first phase began over 20 years ago, when in 1992 a Japanese scientific and archaeological team from Waseda University, in collaboration with the Japanese government, offered a grant of $10 million to remove the boat from its original pit, restore and reassemble it, and put it on show to the public.

The team cleaned the pit of insects and the Japanese team inserted a camera through a hole in the chamber's limestone to assess the boat's condition inside the pit and the possibility of its restoration.

Images taken show layers of wooden beams and timbers of cedar and acacia, as well as ropes, mats and remains of limestone blocks and small pieces of white plaster.

Basel Yoshimura, the director of the Japanese team, told Ahram Online that during the team’s inspection they found that the second boat was in a much better state of preservation than the first when it was discovered in 1954 by architect and archaeologist Kamal El-Malakh, together with Zaki Nour, during routine cleaning on the south side of the Great Pyramid.

Zidan,Kagawa and the Japanese Egyptian restoration team at the GEM lab
(photo courtesy of Eissa Zidan)
The first boat was removed piece by piece under the supervision of master restorer Ahmed Youssef, who spent more than 20 years restoring and reassembling the boat.

The second boat remained sealed in its pit until 1987, when it was examined by the American National Geographic Society by remote camera. After the space inside the pit was photographed and air measurements were taken, the pit was resealed.

It was thought that the pit had been so well sealed that the air inside would be as it had been since ancient Egyptian times. Sadly though, Yoshimura pointed out that this was not the case. Air had leaked into the pit from outside and mixed with the air inside. This had allowed insects to thrive and negatively affect some wooden beams.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

News: Antiquities Police Seize Illegally Excavated Artifacts in Giza’s Site

CAIRO: Six people were arrested in possession of eight ancient Egyptian artifacts, reportedly excavated illegally from an archaeological site in Giza’s southern town of Etfeeh, Youm7 reported Thursday.

Tourism and Antiquities policemen raided the house of the suspects and seized five figurines and three colossal statues date back to several eras of the ancient Egyptian history.

The seizure came hours before the artifacts were prepared for sale. The authenticity of the artifact was confirmed by a committee of specialists.

Investigations carried out by policemen from the General Administration of Tourism and Antiquities Police revealed that the suspects were planning to sell the collection obtained through illicit digging activities.

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/The Cairo Post

News: Aswan Gears Up for Abu Simbel Temple Solar Alignment Celebrations

CAIRO: Upper Egypt’s governorate of Aswan is gearing up to host a ceremony to mark the biannual phenomenon of solar alignment over the Abu Simbel temple, Youm7 reported Sunday.

For most of the year, the inner sanctuary of Pharaoh Ramses II’s (1279B.C.–1213 B.C.) main temple at Abu Simbel is shrouded in darkness. However, the temple was built so that a shaft of sunlight pierces the gloom and illuminates statues of God Amun Re and the Pharaoh in the temple’s inner shrine twice a year; Oct. 22, which marks the birthday of Ramses II, and Feb. 22, which marks his coronation day.

Thousands of tourists flock to the temple in the early morning of the said two days to observe the phenomenon every year. The Abu Simbel temples are among seven archaeological sites in Egypt on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Abu Simbel is the seat of two rock-cut temples that were built by Ramses II; the great temple which was basically dedicated to God Amun Ra and the temple of Queen Nefertari, the pharaoh’s wife, archaeologist Sherif el-Sabban previously told The Cairo Post.

“In the 1960s and during the construction of the High Dam in Aswan, UNESCO launched a universal campaign to rescue the twin temples along with other Nubian monuments to avoid their being submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser, a massive artificial water reservoir formed after the building of the dam,” said Sabban.
Source: Cairo Post– By/Rany Mostafa

Saturday, February 20, 2016

News: Investigations on in Disappearance of 157 Artifacts from Saqqara Galleries

Did a collection of 157 ancient Egyptian artefacts disappear from Saqqara archaeological gallery? If so, who is responsible?. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

A report sent to Egypt's prosecutor general accusing the minister of antiquities and the director of Saqqara archaeological galleries of responsibility for the disappearance of 157 ancient Egyptian artefacts from Saqqara archaeological storage facilities has caught today's headline.

The report was sent by Egyptian lawyer Samir Sabri, who also requested a ban on their travelling out of the country.

According to Sabri, a reliable source inside the ministry told him that the 157 objects disappeared from Saqqara storage three years ago. Interpol has seized an authentic ancient Egyptian limestone relief on auction Switzerland. Its description matches the relief of "the seven oils" stored in Saqqara gallery #1.

Interpol asked the ministry of antiquities to make an inventory of all the Saqqara galleries, in order to verify the relief. Regretfully, Sabri said, the relief in Switzerland is the authentic piece and the one in Saqqara storage is a replica.

The supervisor of the minister of antiquities' office told Ahram Online that the ministry in 2014, during the tenure of former minister Mohamed Ibrahim, sent an official letter to the Public Funds Prosecution stating that the archaeological committee formed to select artefacts from Saqqara gallery #1, to transport them to the Grand Egyptian Museum overlooking Giza plateau, was responsible for a number of irregularities.

The supervisor continued saying that the ministry also sent a request to the prosecutor general in October to give the ministry a green light to make a comprehensive inventory of Saqqara storehouses, as well as undertake legal procedures, if required, but that no approval was given to the ministry, and that the case remains in the hands of the general prosecution. Investigations are currently underway to clarify the situation.

Back Home, Germany: Egypt to Recover Two Stolen Artifacts from Germany

Two stolen and illegally smuggled Egyptian artifacts are to come back soon to their homeland from Germany. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.
Freiburg Court in Germany has affirmed Egypt's rightful possession of a pre-dynastic Egyptian stony pot and ruled it be returned to its homeland.

The verdict came after the Egyptian antiquities ministry provided evidence of possession and that the pot was illegally smuggled out of the country during the security vacuum that followed the January 2011 revolution.

Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty explained that the story of the pot started when Stuttgart Customs Authority seized a collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts. A court ruled that the artefacts all be sent back to Egypt, except the pot, which bears elements of Levantine civilisation.

"The court today approved the pot's return to Egypt. The pot was brought to Egypt through commercial trading between the ancient Egyptian and Levantine civilisations," Eldamaty added.

General supervisor of the Antiquities Repatriation Department, Shaaban Abdel Gawad, told Ahram Online that the pot is to be handed over to the Egyptian embassy in Berlin soon.

"The embassy also received an ivory statue that was illegally smuggled out of the country in 2013. The statue was stolen from the storehouses of Aswan inspectorate and was put on sale at an auction hall in Germany," Abdel Gawad said.

"The Ministry of Antiquities succeeded in stopping the sale and having it ordered to be returned to Egypt."

The statue is carved in ivory at 4.8 centimetres tall and depict a man standing holding a gazelle on his shoulders. The statue is dated to the late 7th century or early 8th century AD.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

News: Egypt Celebrates Golden Jubilee of Abu Simbel Temple Salvage Operation

The whole world will celebrate the golden jubilee of Abu Simbel temple salvage operation at its footsteps next week. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

On Monday 22 February, tourists and top officials from the Aswan governorate, the antiquities and tourism ministries, as well as Egyptian and foreign journalists, photographers and TV presenters, will flock to Abu Simbel temple that overlooks Lake Nasser.

Before sunrise they will admire the equinox when a stream of light gradually sneaks through the temple's sanctuary and illuminates the faces of King Ramses II and the gods Re and Amuns’ statues.

However, the statue of the god of darkness Ptah will remain in the shade because of its connection to the underworld. This phenomenon is repeated twice every year and coincides with the king's birthday and coronation, but as there is not quite enough evidence to support this, some believe that they represent the days of cultivation and harvest.

However, this time the equinox coincides with the golden jubilee of the Abu Simbel temples salvage operation. Hamdi El-Sotouhi, the founder of Abu Simbel salvage campaign, describes this year’s celebration as unique and a message to the whole world that Egypt is a country of peace, science and great civilisation.

He told Ahram Online that the celebration is completely different than usual and includes several events. Entitled “Abu Simbel in the Eyes of Painters," a plastic art exhibition is to be organised at the footsteps of the temple where a group of Egyptian artists are to draw a collection of paintings expressing their thoughts on the temple’s salvage operation.

An imitation of the Abu Simbel salvage operation is to be shown revealing how the architects dismantled the face of King Ramses II, the head of the statue.

The jubilee celebration is to last for two days initially, said El-Sotouhi, though will continue until 2018 due to several events that will highlight the goals of the 1960s salvage operation for Abu Simbel and Nubian temples.

Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty told reporters during a press conference held on Tuesday afternoon that the launching of the Abu Simbel jubilee celebration is only connected to Abu Simbel temple and not to any other ancient Egyptian temples.

"If any equinox occurs in any other ancient Egyptian temple it is just a coincidence," Eldamaty said. He explained that the equinox used to happen on 21 February and 21 October but after the relocation it shifted one day. 

He also told reporters that the Nubian temples salvage operation is proof that Egypt is able to face all changes and cannot stand cross-armed with all of the difficulties that it has to deal with. "This celebration is a great event that will help to promote tourism to Egypt," he said.

Eldamaty also called on journalists and the media not to believe rumours and they should be sure of any information before publishing it on Facebook, Twitter, television or in print. "Publishing these rumours without being sure of their credibility would create confusion and wrongly stir public opinion," Eldamaty told Ahram Online. He added: "Publishing incorrect rumours is not only an insult to the antiquities ministry but it harms Egypt's reputation abroad."

He also told all reporters in the conference to shed more light on the positive parts and the achievement that the ministry has recently achieved in an attempt to regain its role of protecting and preserving Egypt's archaeological heritage.

He said that in 2014 and 2015 the ministry succeeded in recovering 723 artefacts that have been stolen and illegally smuggled out of the country during the security vacuum in the aftermath of January 2011 revolution when several antiquities storehouses were subjected to theft and when illicit excavation was wide spread at several sites.

In collaboration with the Tourism and Antiquities Police, the ministry, Eldamaty pointed out, also succeeded in seizing a collection of 511 stolen authentic objects in 2014 and 2015.

Abu Simbel consists of two temples: one dedicated to the New Kingdom king Ramses II and the second belongs to his beloved wife Queen Nefertari. The one dedicated to King Ramses II is described by Bruce Williams of the Oriental Institute of Chicago as one of, if not the largest, rock-cut temple in Egypt. Both temples are not sitting in their original location after being relocated in 1968 to a neighbouring location on an artificial 65-metre tall hill made from a domed structure above the High Dam.

They were relocated in order to prevent them from being submerged during the construction of the High Dam and the creation of the massive artificial Lake Nasser. Members of the United Nations Education, Science, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) orchestrated a massive construction project that moved the temple back 200 metres to its present site.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Recovered Artifacts, Damietta: Attempt to Smuggle 14 Artifacts Foiled in Damietta

CAIRO: Damietta Port security forces foiled Wednesday an attempt to smuggle 14 antiquities dating from at the turn of 19th and 20th century, according to a statement from the Ministry of Interior.

The artifacts included a pottery mural with tridimensional flowers, a candlestick of white porcelain with carved three-leg base, white-porcelain plates with colorful paintings, glassware with yellow roundels, a white-porcelain jug with drawings of colorful plants, and a jewelry in form of a small tree,  the statement added.

The artifacts were hidden in wooden furniture pieces heading to an Arab country via Damietta Port, the statement noted, continuing that they belong to a Giza-resided citizen called Heba A. S.

On Jan. 20, port security forces also foiled an attempt to smuggle 14 artifacts dating back to the Alawite dynasty. On Feb. 6, an attempt to smuggle 148 antique coins, dating back to the Mohamed Ali Dynasty (1805-1952), was foiled by the authorities at Luxor International Airport.

Similar attempts to smuggle artifacts via airports have been foiled by customs authorities over the past months. Hundreds of repatriated artifacts that were smuggled outside the country following the 2011 Revolution are currently displayed at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

News: Egyptologist Hawass Promotes Egypt in Bulgaria

Hawass promotes Egypt and receives honorary PhD during a gala ceremony marking the 90th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and Egypt. Written By/ Nevine El-Aref.

The renowned Egyptologist and former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass was invited by the Bulgarian tourism ministry and the Egyptian Embassy to take part in the celebrations on 9 and 10 February in Bulgaria marking the 90th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. 

During the celebrations Hawass will deliver a lecture about ancient Egypt in an attmept to promote tourism in Egypt.

The lecture is entitled “Pyramids, Mummies and New Discoveries,” where Hawass promised to reveal the mystery behind the early death of the boy king Tutankhamun.

On the fringe of the event, the University of New Bulgaria honoured Hawass with an honorary doctorate degree.

The president of the university, Professor Plamen Bochkov, described the event as an important moment for the university to present Hawass with an honourary degree.

Egypt's Ambassador to Bulgaria, Manal El Shinnawi, noted that the bilateral relations in 2016 will be marked by more intense cooperation in the fields of tourism and culture.

During the two day event, Bulgaria's Culture Minister Vezhdi Rashidov will meet Hawass. 

The honourary doctorate degree that Hawass received is his sixth. He has previously received honourary doctorates from Bulgaria, Thailand, the Dominican Republic, Portugal University, as well as the American University in Cairo.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Short Story: Examining Cryptic Grave Goods - What Are the Ancient Egyptian Funerary Cones?

Funerary cones are a type of funereal object from ancient Egypt. It is well known that the ancient Egyptians were extremely concerned about the afterlife, and that they did all they could to provide for the dead. Funerary goods were buried with the dead to provide protection and sustenance in the afterlife.

Amulets and magic spells, for example, protected and aided the dead in their journey through the Underworld, whilst little figurines called shabtis could be magically animated to perform tasks for the dead in the afterlife. Other common items buried with the dead include jewelry, pottery, furniture and food. Some funerary goods, including the funerary cones, are, however, less well known.

Making Funerary Cones
Funerary cones are made of fired Nile mud, and are most commonly found to be in the conical shape, hence its name. Nevertheless, there are also funerary cones of other shapes, though these are understandably less common. Other shapes include pyramidal, horn-shaped, trumpet-shapes, double-headed and triple-headed cones (only one example of each is known at present), as well as cone-imitated bricks.

By far, the area in Egypt that has yielded the most number of funerary cones is in the Theban Necropolis in Upper Egypt. Other sites where funerary cones have also been found include Abydos, Naqada, Dendera, Tod and Armant. It may be pointed out that these areas are relatively close to Thebes, and therefore may have adopted this practice from there. 
Funerary Cone, Egypt, Medina Abou, New Kingdom
 (1569-1081 BC), reign of Amenhotep III. 
On each of the funerary cones, one can find the name of its owner (usually an official serving a pharaoh) and his title. These are stamped onto the face of the cone, which has an average diameter of between 5-10 cm (2-4 inches). The presence of the names of officials and their titles provides a tantalizing ‘Who’s who’ in ancient Egypt, specifically during the 18th Dynasty, from which the majority of funerary cones are dated. Funerary cones from other dynasties have also been found, though in much smaller quantity.

Location and Purpose of Funerary Cones
Some examples of titles (found on cones in the Petrie Museum) include: “overseer of the royal harem, 'father-nurse', chamberlain, overseer of cattle”, which may belong to an official by the name of Ahmose, who served during the reign of Hatshepsut / Thutmose III, “king's messenger in all foreign lands, overseer of the hill-country on the west of Thebes, chief of the Medjay”, which belonged to someone by the name of Dedu, who served Thutmose III / Amenhotep II, and “overseer of the priests of Upper and Lower Egypt, high priest of Amun, overseer of the fields of Amun, steward of Amun, overseer of the granaries (of Amun), overseer of the treasury”, which belonged to Mery, an official of Amenhotep II.

The funerary cones were originally placed on the outer walls of tombs, above the entrance. Evidence supporting this assumption comes from the ancient Egyptians themselves. In the wall paintings of some tombs, for example, the cones are depicted as being placed in this location. Additionally, depictions can be found on certain papyri as well. This is also supported by archaeologists, who report that the funerary cones were found to be in the place shown by the ancient Egyptians.
Funerary cone from Merymose's tomb, Egypt, Thebes, baked clay. Merymose 
was the viceroy of Kush under Amenhotep III (18th dynasty).
Nonetheless, there is an instance where funerary cones were found to be located in the court of a tomb, rather than above its entrance. As these cones were found to have been placed neatly side by side, it is assumed that these were in situ . Therefore, there was more than one place for the funerary cones to be positioned.

It is not entirely clear what the funerary cones were used for, and various hypotheses have been put forward over the years. Some, such as Champollion, suggest that the cones simply served as some sort of labels for the deceased.

Others, such as Petrie, are of the opinion that the cones were symbolic offerings. Amongst others, it has been speculated that the cones were architectural ornaments, architectural material to reinforce the entrance wall, solar symbols, and even phallic symbols. No one knows for certain what the cones were used for, but they were obviously of importance to death rituals for some time.