Sunday 5 January 2020

Mohammed Ismail

My good friend Michael #motr just sent me this from Luxor

his son has just phoned me to tell me that mohamed has died. I had coffèe with him four days ago here so I can't imagine what has happened.
please can you spread the word.

Thursday 13 September 2018

So long and thanks for all the fish

I left Luxor 25th June every year I do the visa run to the uk. If you have to leave you might as well see family. And every year my daughter nags me about my health. I haven't had an annual diabetic check for years. My back problems have not even been diagnosed. I went deaf in one ear. I have had cellulitis. My medication (high blood pressure, cholesterol) has not reviewed since I came to Egypt 15 years ago etc etc etc.

So this year I agree to see a Dr. Well that was an eye opener. The Dr was horrified(really sweet though) and has insisted I stay in the UK and get all these issues properly looked at and resolved. This could take months. I am apparently a medical emergency. FML

I havent been able to report from the field because my health issues stoped me getting out and about so I have just been recycling news reports.

Also Blogger no longer supports OpenID. Existing OpenID comments and your OpenID settings may have changed. You cant auto publish to other social media.

So this would seem a good time to take a break which maybe permanent or temporary. Thank you all for all the feedback over the years. It has been much appreciate

Monday 18 June 2018

Zahi supports my campaign for disabled access

I have to admit I am over the moon, just got this email

Dear Jane,
I am so sorry that I have not answered your email. I do not know why that happened as I always answer all my emails.
I do hope that you will accept my apologies.
I am going to do the following.
1) First, I will talk to dr. Khaled El-Enany and see how we can push to make this project work because it is a great idea and I do thank you for all your efforts.
2) I am finishing a guidebook called "Zahi Hawass' Secret Egypt" and Noreen Doyle is the one editing it, so she will contact you for details about your project.
I am also going to write about your project in El Masry Al Youm newspaper.
I am going to be in Luxor most of the time because I am going to start the new season of my excavations in the Valley of the Kings starting September 1st. Hope to see you there.

Back in the day when I could walk I met Zahi and Noreen has stayed at Flats in Luxor. 
Me, #motr, Noreen

Me and Zahi

Sunday 27 May 2018

Update from the South Asasif Project

Figure 1
After last year's hassle it is so good to see them getting on with "stuff" and I have the pleasure of hosting Marion, Francesca and Annie at Flats in Luxor

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Top Tips for Toilets in Luxor and Egypt

Top Tips for Toilets

A point was just made to me which I had not considered. Loos (UK expression) the John (American expression I believe). I would really appreciate any comments about good and bad and I will update this post

First point, most toilets have internal bidets which wash your bum so toilet paper is only used to dry yourself hence the request to place it in the bin. Reach down right hand side and you will find a tap. I love it, so fresh and clean and miss the system when I go back to the UK. Sometimes there is a hose instead. Sometimes both. The water comes from the mains.

Second, various experiences but I would like more. I don’t often go while I am out, especially on the west bank, so have little experience. Please email me jane.akshar @

The toilets just before the Open Air Museum at Karnak are ground floor but not wheelchair accessible
Valley of the Kings accessible and great
Kitchener island toilets well signposted “WC” signs
Suhail Nubian Village near Aswan dam excellent

Nobody seems to mind/notice tourists using hotels and restaurants so ones I have snuck in and used in Luxor
•    Nile Palace Hotel ground floor, in the lobby to your right as you enter.
•    Snack time overlooking Luxor temple has a lift, toilets are 1st floor
•    Ramasseum café, ground floor, very basic
•    Fayrouz Hotel ground floor but steps involved, basic
•    Winter Palace Hotel, 1st floor but you can get the lift by going in the luggage entrance under the stairs

Monday 14 May 2018

Temple in the Tomb - Tuthmosis I temple by Jadwiga Iwaszczuk

Temple in the Tomb : Progress of work on the reconstruction of the temple of Tuthmosis I – Jadwiga Iwaszczuk

Fragments of the temple were found in MMA 826 and by comparing the cleaned fragments with a photo in the 1981 publication by Abu el-Ayun Barakat they knew what they had found. One fragment was left in situ as it could not be moved. An architrave gave the name of the temple. He had published a small plan but they found pillars not mentioned on the plan. The most important elements were sandstaone and they used limestone on the door jambs. There appear to be lots of niches similar to Harshepsut. One block had 2 faces indicating reuse

The offering chapel had a design similar to that of Hatshepsut of a unification of the two lands with rekhyets. It was painted to look like granite.

The battle scene had chariots with 4 spoke wheels and is the first battle scene representation.

·         Unknown who started the temple
·         Not finished
·         Not mentioned by Inneni but on Djeuhty
·         Lots of architectural changes
·         No Amarna erasure
·         First festival calendar
·         Patched false doors
·         Early use of sandstone
·         Dark backgrouns
·         Polychrome sunk relief

There is an absolutely brilliant news article that is much better than my notes

Polish Egyptologist identified fragments of a lost Egyptian temple... in a storage 

The base of the statue, which allowed to identify the remains the building discovered by Dr. Abu el-Ayun Barakat. Photo by J. Iwaszczuk

The base of the statue, which allowed to identify the remains the building discovered by Dr. Abu el-Ayun Barakat. Photo by J. Iwaszczuk
Thousands of stone blocks lying for years in a storage near Luxor turned out to be the remains of the temple of Thutmose I, long sought after by archaeologists. Fragments of the temple were identified by a Polish Egyptologist, Jadwiga Iwaszczuk.
The Temple of Thutmose I (1504-1492 BC), in times of splendour, was comparable to the temples built by Hatshepsut in Deir el-Bahari or by Ramesses II - the Ramesseum.
Jadwiga Iwaszczuk, Egyptologist from the Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures of the Polish Academy of Sciences, made an accidental discovery. Beautifully decorated fragments of blocks from which the temple was built, were located in the storage of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities (now Egyptian Ministry of State for Antiquities), in a tomb adapted for this purpose in Theban Necropolis near Luxor.
Right next to this place is the house Polish archaeologists use during research at the temple of Hatshepsut under the supervision of Dr. Zbigniew E. Szafranski from the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology UW. Polish Egyptologists visited the storage in search of possible blocks from the pharaoh woman\'s temple.
Historical fragments in storage came from excavations conducted by one of the Egyptian scientists in the 1970s. Iwaszczuk explained that the archaeologist described his discovery as the temple of Cha-achet from the times of the reign of Hatshepsut. In fact, the remains of that temple were discovered only a few years ago by French archaeologists in the temple of Ramesses II - the Ramesseum.
"My research had unexpected results. It turned out that all of the discovered fragments came from the temple of Thutmose I. The location of the temple - in the vicinity of the temple Thutmose of Thutmose III - had been known for more than half a century. Until now researchers misidentified it" - she said.
The main proof of the new discovery is the name of the temple of Thutmose I - Khenemet-ankh (The one that unites with life), known from written sources, and preserved on architectural fragments deposited in the storage.
Epigraphic analyses done in recent years by the Polish Egyptologist allowed to recognize further information. While the temple was erected for Thutmose I, it was commissioned by his daughter Hatshepsut. Two types of stone - limestone and sandstone - were used in construction. It is unusual, argues Jadwiga Iwaszczuk, because in the times of Hatshepsut limestone was mainly used. Her entire temple in Deir el-Bahari was built from this material. However, according to the Egyptologist, this was not a coincidence. Architects used sandstone because they knew its properties as a hard but easy to carve stone. All the supporting elements of the walls were made of sandstone, and the filling and walls were made of limestone, the researcher said.
Among the curiosities of the temple, according to its discoverer, is one of the first battle scenes with chariots known from the area of ancient Egypt.
On the basis of fine fragments, the researchers also determined that the temple had been renovated. The deceased ruler was worshiped in the temple for several hundred years after his death, certainly until the reign of Ramesses IX (XII BC), but it is possible that the temple existed until the turn of the era.
Until now, Iwaszczuk\'s team has drawn about 5 thousand stone blocks and photographed 7.5 thousand of them. Now, tedious work is being performed to recreate the entire scenes that adorned the huge temple.
"Finally, it reached its sad end: like many other Theban temples, it served as a quarry for the material for stone bowls. Only unused post-production waste was left, including the fragmented decorative reliefs, which today we use to try to recreate the full shape of the temple" - concluded Iwaszczuk.

Tomb Robbery – Nigel Strudwick

Tomb Robbery – Nigel Strudwick

Nigel’s lecture covered robbery in ancient times although you could say that recent ‘exports’ like those of of the 18th and 19th century were a form of robbery. He showed an example of an export certificate.

In fact there are very few totally intact tombs examples are
·         Khai 1906
·         Ramoses and Hatnofer 1936
Tomb robbery started 3500BC in fact almost as soon as the occupant was buried. In TT253 why are there so many mummies not in their original resting place. TT99 was rob twice and there are many Third Intermediate Period burials in existing ‘holy’ places.

The tomb robbery papyri EA10221 talks about robberies and it would appear everyone on the west bank was in on it which is why it was reported to an east bank official.

Butehamun, one of the scribes who recorded events currently has his house at Medinet Habu restored. The book Affairs and Scandals in Ancient Egypt by Pascal Vernus talks about “The first chapter deals with the tomb robberies in the Theban necropolis during the Twentieth Dynasty. The second outlines the economic context and events associated with strikes carried out by the workmen of the royal necropolis. The third chapter uses a certain Paneb as an exemplar of corruption in the area of Thebes. Chapter 4 considers the theft of government property and attempted cover-ups in the Aswan region.”

The robberies of Tutankhamun has opportunistic robberies in the late 18/19 dynasty where objects easily disposed of and carried were taken.

The video on YouTube Tomb Robberys in Ancient Egypt is surprisingly accurate

In the Valley of Kings Nigel believes the existing burials were dismantled by the priests Butehamun to raise money. The hacking off of the gold from coffins was probably stolen by funeral directors.

Popular items that were stolen Glass vessels, copper and linen. When you compare the quantities in unspoiled tombs with those in partial rob ones you can see the quantities of those goods are strikingly different.

55-70% of coffins were recycled, tombs were more accessible post Amarna

There were various groups responsible
·         Amenpanefer
·         Priest
·         Penwenheb
·         Amenwa-Pentaweret

And the wives seem to have acted as fences with lots of bribes given to senior officials. The mayor of the east bank knew the mayor of the west bank was covering things up

How long was your eternity?
Nigel talked about although the texts tell us millions of years the reality was totally different and nobody worried about robbing a tomb almost before the body was cold

Friday 11 May 2018

Carter House visit on the mobility scooter

As this is quite a recent addition to the sites on the west bank it was a bit disappointing that access was so tricky but with the help of the guardian we did get round. The big problems were getting from the car park to the walkway (step), entrance into the Carter House itself (several steps), a bad ramp on the way from the Carter House to the replica tomb and the entrance into the tomb itself(step). I would say the grounds and replica tomb are 80% accessible but forget the Carter House

Steps meant the scooter could not travel along and the guardian had to lift the scooter (he was strong) but he was very willing. The ramp(?) was awful, I couldnt use it.

There were so many steps into the Carter House we had to leave the scooter in the hall. I made Marion pose at Carters desk

Actually inside the replica tomb was great once we were in. Nice wooden flooring and ramp. The pictures and story boards are excellent and you do wonder how on earth everything was put inside the tomb. I love the replica done from the Harry Burton pictures of part of the decoration that had to be destroyed. We wondered where those bits are now

Sunday 6 May 2018

KV62 - nothing there

MOA Press Release 6/5/2018

High-level geophysics research provides conclusive evidence on the non-existence of hidden chambers adjacent to or inside Tutankhamun’s tomb (KV62).

Dr. Mostaf Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities announced adding that the Head of the Italian scientific team Dr. Francesco Porcelli of the Polytechnic University of Turin is to provide all details of the Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) studies and analysis during a speech he would deliver today at 5:30 pm at the current Fourth Tutankhamun International Conference.

The team also include experts from the nearby University of Turin and from two private geophysics companies, Geostudi Astier (Leghorn) and 3DGeoimaging (Turin), who have completed the analysis of the GPR data collected from the inside of Tutankhamun’s tomb (code name KV62) last February 2018.

Dr. Waziri pointed out that Dr. Porcelli has submitted a scientific report to the Permanent Committee for Ancient Egyptian Antiquities at the Ministry of Antiquities with all the results of the GPR data analyses, revealing that the GPR scans were performed along vertical and horizontal directions with very dense spatial sampling. Double antenna polarizations where also employed, with transmitting and receiving dipoles both orthogonal and parallel to the scanning direction.

Dr. Porcelli asserted that the main findings are as follows:
No marked discontinuities due to the passage from natural rock to man-made blocking walls are evidenced by the GPR radargrams, nor there is any evidence of the jambs or the lintel of a doorway. Similarly, the radargrams do not show any indication of plane reflectors, which could be interpreted as chamber walls or void areas behind the paintings of KV62 funerary chamber.

It is concluded, with a very high degree of confidence, said Dr. Porcelli, the hypothesis concerning the existence of hidden chambers or corridors adjacent to Tutankhamun’s tomb is not supported by the GPR data.

This is the third GPR survey to be conducted. It was designed to stop the controversy aroused after the contradictive results of two previous radar surveys carried out by a scientific Japanese and American teams, to inspect the accuracy of a theory launched in 2015 by British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves who suggested the existence of queen Nefertiti’s tomb concealed behind the north and west wall paintings of king Tutankhamun’s burial chamber.

To solve the difficulties encountered by the two preceding surveys and provide a conclusive response, the Ministry of Antiquities in early 2016, decided to discuss the matter in the second International Tutankhamun Conference held in May 2016 and attended by a group of pioneer scholars, archaeologists and Egyptologists who on their turn asserted to conduct a third GPR systems with different technology to put an end to such debate.