Monday, January 15, 2018

Ancient Egypt January 15

Ancient mining ops buildings found in Egypt — ministry
(AFP photo)

The ruins of two buildings used to supervise mines in ancient Egypt more than 4,400 years ago have been discovered in the south, the antiquities ministry said on Thursday.

The find was made by a US-Egyptian mission in the Tal Edfu area north of the city of Aswan.

Ramses II stelae uncovered at San Al-Hagar site

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

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

AUC Bookstore Opens in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo

The American University in Cairo Press (AUC Press) recently opened a bookstore in The Egyptian Museum, as part of the Egyptian Heritage Exhibition, marking the 115th anniversary of the Museum. “AUC Press and Bookstores regularly take part in events and book fairs but this is a unique and excellent initiative by the Ministry of Antiquities,” said Nigel-Fletcher Jones, director of AUC Press and Bookstores. “Many visitors to Cairo are here on a short, almost whistle stop tour, so this may be one of a few rare moments when they are able to see the huge range of high quality books AUC Press has to offer.”

Will the Tanis Collection replace King Tut’s in the Tahrir Museum?
Note: I was looking for the mask to which they refer, but there are apparently several gold masks in the Tanis Collection. I chose the mask of Funeral mask of Psusennes 1 1, around 994 BCE. 48 cm high. Room 2, 1st Floor from this page.
“The Egyptian Musem in Tahrir will not die, it will continue to receive visitors all year round,” stated Khaled el-Enani, Minister of State for Antiquities, proudly, on more than one occasion. Even now that King Tutankhamun, hereafter referred to as Tut, has been transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum, the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir still has the Yuya and Tjuyu collection, in addition to the Tanis gold collection which includes a gold mask that could potentially replace King Tut’s mask in the exhibition.

The Victorian female collectors captivated by Ancient Egypt
Thomas Rowlandson Modern Antiquities (hand coloured engraving, c. 1800). Nelson and Lady Hamilton canoodle in an Egyptian coffin, hungrily watched by her antiquarian husband Sir William Hamilton.

In Victorian Britain’s overwhelmingly masculine society, intelligent, driven and often moneyed women were obliged to restrict their energies to acceptable “feminine” activities; like travelling, writing, fund-raising – and amassing impressive collections of Egyptian antiquities.

The results of this male-sanctioned pursuit are said to have greatly helped to establish British Egyptology and boosted the Victorian interest in all things Pharaonic.

Fragment of Black granite statue of King Amenhotep III discovered in Sohag parking lot

The Ministry of Antiquities announced the discovery of an artifact in a parking lot in Akhmim, Sohag governorate, during a drilling operation to develop the site.

The Walmart Book of the Dead

As for who reads this book
And who follows its spells
I know your name
You will not die after your death
In Walmart
You will not perish forever
For I know your name

So begins this darkly comic incantation on the gods and scourges of the 21st century. The Walmart Book of the Dead was inspired by the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, funerary texts with accompanying illustrations containing spells to preserve the spirit of the deceased in the afterlife. In Lucy Biederman’s version, shoplifters, grifters, drifters, and hustlers, desirous children, greeters, would-be Marxists, wolves, and circuit court judges, wander Walmart unknowingly consigned to their afterlives.

“This BOOK is for the dark hours, the seam that ties the end of the evening to sunrise, when the bad, wrong things people do in and around Walmart are a hospital infection, red Rit dye in a load of whites, a gun in a classroom: by the time the problem is identified, it’s already ruined everything.”

 So, of course, you'll want to read ‘The Walmart Book of the Dead’‘The Walmart Book of the Dead’ review.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Ancient Egypt January 8

Egypt recovers 3 ancient mummies from US
PROMario Sánchez Prada/Flickr

The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities announced on Wednesday that it has recovered parts of three ancient mummies from the United States, which had been stolen and smuggled out of Egypt in the early 20th century.

The supervisor-general of the ministry’s repatriation department, Shaaban Abdel Gawad, said in a statement that “the ministry had succeeded following several diplomatic negotiations to recover three pieces of various ancient mummies.”

For more on this topic:

Ancient Egypt VIII: Ancient Egyptians initiate world literature
‘Sinuhe’ story papyrus – Wikimedia Commons

January 2018: Prominent archaeologist and author, Enas El Shafie, traced the origins of Ancient Egyptian history in a TV interview with Ibrahim Hegazy, aired on state-owned TV.

El Shafie has introduced evidence to illustrate how world literature was inspired by Ancient Egyptian heritage, including the stories of Snow White and Cinderella, and narrative poems, like Divine Comedy and Iliad.

Dawn of Egyptian Writing
(Alberto Urcia, Elkab Desert Survey Project)

Archaeologists have discovered an oversized inscription that offers a new glimpse into the early development of the Egyptian writing system. A team led by Yale University Egyptologist John Darnell found the hieroglyphs on a cliff face within view of a desert road north of the ancient city of Elkab. Dating to around 3250 B.C., they were carved during Dynasty 0, a period when the Nile Valley was divided into competing kingdoms and scribes were just beginning to master writing.


Ring with portrait of a Ptolemy wearing the Egyptian double crown, about 186 - 145 B.C., gold.
Musée du Louvre. © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY. Photo: Hervé Lewandowski.

“Beyond the Nile is the first exhibition to provide a comprehensive overview – spanning more than two thousand years – of Egypt’s interactions with the classical world. It is an unprecedented compilation of works of art from the Bronze Age to the late Roman Empire, drawn from the major museums of Europe and America, as well as the Getty’s own collection,” said Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum and one of the curators of the exhibition. “From trade, exchange, and artistic borrowings to diplomacy, immigration, and warfare, the cultures and histories of these two civilizations were intimately intertwined for millennia. The monuments and art that resulted provide spectacular evidence of how profoundly these so different cultures affected each other, and indeed the global culture we share today.”

Remains of royal ancient Egyptian artefacts uncovered in Tel Al-Pharaeen

At least one of the pieces uncovered in Kafr El-Sheikh dates to the reign of King Psamtik I.

An Egyptian excavation mission has discovered remains of mud-brick walls and several artefacts that can be dated to different periods of the ancient Egyptian era as well as four furnaces from the Late Period (664-332 BCE) during excavation work carried out in Tel Al-Pharaeen archeological site known as “ancient Buto” in the Kafr Al-Sheikh Governorate.

Scan technique reveals secret writing in mummy cases

Researchers in London have developed scanning techniques that show what is written on the papyrus that mummy cases are made from.

These are the decorated boxes into which the wrapped body of the deceased was placed before it was put in a tomb.

See also Egypt mummy can ‘LIVE FOREVER’ after breakthrough discovery

Verdi’s Ode to Ancient Egypt, ‘Aida’
(Credit: Metropolitan Opera)

Premiering on December 24, 1871, at the Khedivial Opera House in Cairo, Egypt, Giuseppe Verdi’s “Aida” is one of opera’s best-loved and most enduring works. Verdi was commissioned by Isma’il Pasha, who was governor of Egypt, in celebration of the opening of Egypt’s Khedivial Opera House, although the premiere was delayed due to complications from the temporary capture of Paris by Prussian forces.

9 Photos of Extraordinary Mummies, Ancient and Modern

From thousand-year-old crocodiles to a 20th-century pneumonia victim, these preserved remains tell remarkable stories about life and death.

“There was something strangely touching about her fingertips,” author Chip Brown noted in his impression of the 2,500-year-old mummy of Hatshepsut in our 2009 article on the ancient Egyptian queen. “Everywhere else about her person all human grace had vanished."

View of the Great Pyramid from Mena House © Michalea Moore 2017

In November, researchers announced they had used cosmic rays to discover (or maybe more like rediscover) a big, empty space inside the largest of the pyramids located in Giza, Egypt. A team of French robotics researchers is building a tiny blimp that could let scientists peer inside the void and other spaces that are difficult to access.

Picture of the week

Modernized versions of ancient Egyptian art created by Anton Batov, an illustrator based in Moscow, Russia. Thanks to Lyn Green and Pharonoic Phunnies.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Ancient Egypt January 1, 2018

Giza 2000 BC

Celebrating the Seasons: the Ancient Egyptian Calendar

In the spirit of the holidays, the Nile Scribes have teamed up with The Dead Speak Online to bring you a double feature on the celebration of holidays, or festivals, in ancient Egypt and their place in the Egyptian calendar.

A year of many discoveries

Coincidence has always played a major role in making new discoveries. Among the most famous examples are the uncovering of the tomb of the boy-king Tutankhamun on the west bank of the Nile at Luxor, the funerary collection of the Pharaoh Khufu’s mother Hetepheres, the Pyramids Builders’ Cemetery on the Giza Plateau, and the Valley of the Golden Mummies in the Bahareya Oasis.

This year, coincidence led to the discovery of more than 30 treasures, something which made the Ministry of Antiquities describe 2017 as “the year of discoveries”.

Today’s archaeologists are putting down shovels and turning to tech

In 1817, the Italian archaeology pioneer Captain Giovanni Battista Caviglia set out to explore the Great Pyramid of Giza, a.k.a. Cheops’ Pyramid: the oldest of the three three Giza pyramids and the most ancient of the Seven Wonders of the World. Like a lot of Egyptologists of his age, Caviglia’s pioneering work led to some profound insights into Ancient Egyptian civilization — but at a cost. Believing there was treasure located in an undiscovered hidden chamber in the pyramid, he used dynamite to blast several holes, causing significant damage.

Jump forward 200 years to 2017.

Mummies take centre stage in British Museum shake-up

The British Museum’s famous Egyptian mummies are to be moved as part of a historic overhaul of the institution’s permanent collection.  The mummies are set to be lowered to the museum’s ground floor — reuniting them with other Egyptian treasures, including the Rosetta Stone — under plans to display exhibits in chronological order for the first time.

Egypt's Heliopolis: Archaeologists face modern problems at ancient site

Excavating the ancient city of Egypt's Heliopolis is not your stereotypical dig. At one archaeological site, workers had to remove trash that had been 13-metres deep before they could start on the dirt. For the archaeologists and antiquities officials, the most pressing challenges are modern, not ancient.

Copper Content of Ancient Egyptian Ink May Help Us (Literally) Piece Together Egyptian History

Modern pen and paper has an ancient ancestor – ink and papyrus. Around 5,000 years ago, ancient Egyptians invented arguably one of the most important tools of civilized life, and their technology allowed people to communicate across vast distances for the first time. They cleverly harnessed the soot produced from the manufacturing of copper-containing ores to create the black ink color. Naturally, this idea quickly spread around the world to places like ancient Greece and Rome, which changed the world forever.

Ancient Deir el-Medina artworks exhibited in Cairo

A temporary exhibition showing artworks from the ancient Deir el-Medina kicked off here on Thursday. Deir el-Medina was home to a community of workers and artisans in charge of digging and decorating the tombs of Pharaohs in the ancient Egyptian New Kingdom period (16th century BC-11th century BC). (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)

The Alchemy and Artistry of Ancient Egypt’s Funerary Portraits

HER RAPT, BLACK EYES GAZE out, as if she’s waiting for you to ask her a question. Her hairstyle—a braid twirled and tucked at the crown of her head—hints at a noble rank, as does her purple tunic, dangling earrings, and stack of necklaces dappled with pearls and gemstones. It’s been a few millennia, so flecks of paint have sloughed off of the lifelike portrait, which was fastened to her mummified body during Egypt’s Coptic period, nearly 2,000 years ago.

Cleopatra Biopic Will Be a ‘Dirty, Bloody’ Political Thriller

Screenwriter David Scarpa says Sony’s in-the-works Cleopatra will be a “dirty, bloody” political thriller. Denis Villeneuve is in talks to direct the historical biopic based on Stacy Schiff’s 2010 book Cleopatra: A Life. Angelina Jolie has long been attached to the project, but it’s unknown whether she remains on-board.

For more info, see Villeneuve’s “Cleopatra” Has Swearing & Sex.

The Cleopatras

The Cleopatras was a 1983 BBC Television eight-part historical drama serial. Written by Philip Mackie, it is set in Ancient Egypt during the latter part of the Ptolemaic Dynasty with an emphasis on the Cleopatras. Intended to be the I, Claudius of the 1980s, The Cleopatras met with a decidedly mixed critical reaction. It was regarded and portrayed as a gaudy farce.

The 10 Biggest Archaeology Discoveries of 2017
Photo Credit: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities

Of particular note to Egyptophiles, Slides 6 & 7, although to be perfectly clear, these are all pretty cool.

Archaeologists were digging up plenty of fascinating bones and other ancient remains throughout 2017, revealing more intriguing information about humans' past. From hundreds of mysterious stone structures in Saudi Arabia called gates, to a previously undiscovered cave that held Dead Sea Scrolls, to a woman who was literally buried with her husband's heart, Live Science takes a look at 10 of the coolest archaeological and historical finds of the year.


A pristine, white sarcophagus once held the mummy of the Egyptian Pharoah Seti I, whose father, Ramses, was the revered ruler of the ancient Egyptian kingdom for more than a decade sometime in the 1200s B.C. The sarcophagus located in a tomb chamber decorated with some of the most well-preserved hieroglyphs and paintings of Egyptian mythology known to man. After centuries of mass pillaging—and the mass tourism of more recent years—the tomb has been irreversibly destroyed.

But the Egyptian artifact has been granted a second life at the Antikenmuseum in Basel, Switzerland, as a 3-D printed copy.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Ancient Egypt December 26

4 Child Graves Discovered at Ancient Egyptian Site
The Gebel el Silsila Project 2017

The intact graves of four children, the youngest just 2 or 3, have been discovered at an ancient quarry site in Egypt.

Gebel el Silsila was a source of stone for temples and tombs in Upper Egypt during the Thutmosid period, which ran from the beginning of Thutmose II's reign in about 1493 B.C. to the end of Amenhotep II's reign in about 1401 B.C. Since 2015, 69 tombs have been discovered at the site, though most are empty, having been looted in antiquity. The newly discovered children's tombs are different. The burials are intact, and some of the graves

The Tomb: Ancient Egyptian Burial

Although this exhibition is now closed, the slide show and video are still available.

The Tomb was constructed in the great city of Thebes shortly after the reign of Tutankhamun for the Chief of Police and his wife. It was looted and reused several times, leaving behind a collection of beautiful objects from various eras. These are displayed alongside objects found in nearby tombs, giving a sense of how burial in ancient Egypt changed over time.

Italian archaeologists discover pharaohs' fortress

The discovery makes the site one of the largest fortresses on the Nile Delta and the most well-preserved from before the era of ancient Rome.

The discovery was recently made public by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities.

Tell el-Maskhuta is situated northeast of Cairo, along the Ismailia Canal.

Three artifacts displayed for first time at Egyptian Museum

The Egyptian Museum began showcasing a new display on Thursday evening of three artifacts, available for the public to see for the first time, as part of celebrations of the 115th anniversary of the Egyptian Museum.

Pictures of Tutankhamun

This winter, Christina Riggs is curating an exhibition of Photographs of the excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb in Lincoln. It goes along with her book, Photographing Tutankhamun (coming out next year) and her blog of the same name.

Trailer of the exhibition Missione Egitto 1903-1920

Missione Egitto 1903-1920. A mesmerizing travel to the early 1900s, when visionary and courageous men decided to leave for Egypt with the aim to enrich the collections of the Museo Egizio.
A narration through images, objects, documents and voices to live the greatest archaeological adventure.


Alaa revealed his neo-pharaonic style on Mohamed Mahmoud Street near Tahrir Square in Cairo in 2012. Over the years, he has participated in a number of exhibitions and auctions locally and internationally, and has gained wide recognition for his symbolism and bold colours. His murals and paintings reflect a great love of the past and, at the same time, make an attempt to speak to trends in contemporary society. Elongated figures straight out of a pharaoh’s tomb merge with mythical and folkloric creatures and elements of Sufism to create a grand visual vocabulary that looks both familiar and fresh.

Video tour of Abydos

The video is fantastic. Abydos is one of my favorite places in Egypt. Here I am at the beginning of 2017.
 © Michalea Moore 2017

Picture of the week

Relief of Nun from the burial chamber of Ramses VI.

No automatic alt text available.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Ancient Egypt December 18

Assassin’s Creed Origins: Gamescom 2017 Cinematic Trailer | Ubisoft [US]
What a great use of Leonard Cohen's Song!

Tutankhamun archaeologist's London flat on sale for £9.75m

The house that King Tut bought... and now it's up for a pharaoh price tag! Lavish five-bedroom apartment archaeologist Howard Carter lived in after discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb goes on sale for £9.75million.

The Greatest Clash in Egyptian Archaeology May Be Fading, But Anger Lives On

After 200 years, the sad story of Qurna, a so-called ‘village of looters’, is coming to a close,

Om Ahmed has a lovely view, but no one to share it with.

All of her neighbors have gone, their houses slowly crumbling in the stiff Nile breeze. Most of the surrounding buildings have already been destroyed. Except for the workers excavating a tomb beneath her and the occasional lost tourist or nosy desert fox, this talkative old lady seldom sees another soul. “It’s very lonely,” she says. “You can’t imagine how lonely.”

Cazenovia mummy makes hospital visit to undergo medical testing
photo by Jason Emerson

On a cold, snowy Sunday night, when the Cazenovia Public Library was closed and silent as a tomb, members of the library staff opened the glass case containing Hen, the library’s Egyptian mummy. Standing silently by was an official from the Onondaga County Coroner’s Office, who carefully placed this 2,000-year-old relic onto a stretcher, covered it with a sheet and deposited the body into the office “bus” for a ride to Crouse Hinds Hospital in the city.

 For more, Watch: 2000-Year-Old Egyptian Mummy Goes Under CT Scanner At New York Hospital

Egypt uncovers ancient tombs at Luxor

Archaeologists in Egypt have displayed items, including a mummy, from one of two previously unexplored tombs in the ancient Nile city of Luxor.

For more information and other stunning photos, see