Saturday, 28 February 2009

Mummfication Museum lecture - Osiris Chapels Karnak

Excavations and Epigraphic work in the Osiris chapels to the North of the great hypostyle hall at Karnak Dr Laurent Coulon

He wishes to propose a new interpretation that after the New Kingdom Osiris became more important and there were specific chapels for specific functions of Osiris. From 21st dynasty to early Roman times. Every sanctuary claimed that they were the tomb of Osiris. Osiris of Koptos has a chapel at the back of the Amun temple. The temple of Opet celebrates the birth and rebirth of Osiris built in 25 dynasty by Taharka and Ptolemy VIII. A papyrus in the Louvre mentions various festivals.

During the 25th 26th dynasty there was another processional way from the Amun temple to the Ptah temple and these chapels are along this way. There are 3 chapels named Osiris Master of Life, Osiris Maters of Food and Osiris Master of Eternity. They were erected by the God’s wives of Amun in 1570-1526. There is evidence of Ankhnesneferbre see sarcophagus British Museum EA32 and JE36907 a stele. Her official Sheshonk has tomb TT27 which is a big tomb as he is a big man. Like Senemut is to Hatshepsut.

Wennefer Master of Food was partial excavated by Antony Harris and le Grand. They started in 2000. There is a ramp to the first door, then a hypostyle hall, second door and finally the Naos. Excavation of the surrounding mudbrick walls has given them a plan of 95% of the structure. In 2005 the found a service room dating 4th century BC which they are trying to clarify the function of. They also found inscribed blocks of Ammenemes offering Maat in the foundations which indicate that this was a religious site in the early New Kingdom. There is evidence that the structure was destroyed by fire in 25th dynasty and this could possibly be the Persian invasion. Also remains of copper and coins indicate there was possibly a Ptolemaic mint.

The chapel was rebuilt with 26 dynasty blocks. They have being trying to reconstruct the chapel with the scattered blocks in the area. Foundation blocks have a star pattern indicating clearance of the chapel in 30th dynasty, There is use to a very unusual title Amun p3 nfr shr the one whose places are perfect. In the chapel there are the same scenes in Seti I temple at Abydos showing the fetish of Abydos. This was a reliquary of the head of Osiris but not throughout history and is frequently pictured in temples at Abydos. There is a 3rd Intermediate Period private statue JE 36967 which shows Ptah Sokar onside and the fetish of Abydos on the other. In TT158 there is the same scene. Surrounded by 4 spitting fire cobras. Also see BM808. In the Salt Papyrus it mentions 4 flame goddesses.

There is no trace of the fetish and it was probably destroyed by Persians in 525 BC. However the cache of bronze objects JE35107 which he believes decorated this chapel. They found 5 Osiris statues in the foundations.

Louvre object N3958 shows the process of the fetish UC14409 the Ear Stele also shows fetish.

Friday, 27 February 2009


Dear members and supporting institutions,

As you may know the Association SAVE THE HERITAGE OF HASSAN FATHY has been created a year ago. Since then, a lot of work has been done to safeguard the village of New Gourna. The association put all its efforts in alerting the Egyptian authorities, writing scientific and press articles, submitting demands for classification as protected heritage.
The main events that are carried out in 2009 are the international expertise mission that took place on 22-27 January 2009 and the international symposium that will be held on 30-31 May at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
All our actions necessitate means and SAVE THE HERITAGE OF HASSAN FATHY is a non-profit organization and the membership is free of charge. This is the reason why we making an appeal for your spontaneous contribution which can be donated to the following account:
Postfinance Switzerland
Account: 10-790917-0
IBAN: CH53090000001079
We warmly thank you for your supporting our endeavours and for spreading this message.
You shall receive the program of the international symposium very soon and we are looking forward to seeing you in Alexandria.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Cairo bombings

I am sure we all read of the sad tidings in Cairo. But let us all take heart, this is an international problem, all the governments of the world take it seriously and respond quickly.

I was asked today and said the safest place to come is the one just targeted as the police are so hard and protective.

HAMDUALLAH today I got 4 bookings, people know that these incidents are minority acts of idiots and not the genuine loving attitude of the Egyptian through the ages who loves (and protects) his tourist

Lets all promote Egyptian tourism and confound the terrorists.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Finnish researchers dig through millennia in the Valley of the Kings

I was given this link by some Finnish friends who visit Egypt regularly. I have a big soft spot for Finns since knowing them and was really interested to learn of some Finnish excavations.

Finnish researchers dig through millennia in the Valley of the Kings

The first field season is now over at the hut village of the workmen who built the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. However, the archaeologists working on the excavation have found that they still have a great deal to do. The sun, the wind and tourists have left their mark on the village, originally discovered by Bernard Bruyère in 1935.

“From our modern perspective, it is upsetting to see how the village was first excavated and then left to be destroyed. Passers-by have used the huts as dumps and restrooms,” says Jaana Toivari-Viitala, Docent of Egyptology at the University of Helsinki. “Fortunately, while we still have some surface cleaning to do, documentation and conservation are off to a good start.”

The hut village offers rare insight into everyday life in ancient Egypt.

“In the early twentieth century, archaeologists were only interested in the tombs of kings. The workmen’s huts they discovered were seen as a necessary evil in the quest for the real treasures.”

“Now several international research groups on different excavations are delving into everyday life and work in the Valley of the Kings. This seems to be a trend in archaeology right now,” Toivari-Viitala says.

Her research group wants to find out why the hut village was built on the slope of a mountain, halfway between the construction site and Deir-el-Medina. They are also interested in how many workers lived in the village at a time, when they lived there, and what their role was in the construction work.

“Comparing the names found in the village and in Deir-el-Medina provides useful information. Judging from the construction methods, settlement in the village can be divided into two separate periods: the initial settlement and a later one.”

For the time being, much is up to speculation, but Toivari-Viitala believes that the coming four field seasons, three months each, will see results.

“The working conditions are not nearly as difficult as I thought they would be. The cool winds in the mountains nicely alleviate the heat.”

The research group working on the “Workmen’s huts in the Theban mountains” project is planning to return to the Valley of the Kings in October.

Dr Hourig discovers statues!!!

Mansour Boraik kindly corrected the story I had got from the Chinese newspaper about the statue discovery. When I saw him last night he told me it was Dr Hourig that has made the discovery and to correct my blog. Which I have done.

Please if you see any mistakes, email me and I will willingly correct them, any new information is very welcome as well.

And of course you can put a comment on the blog, I do moderate them but only to avoid spam. I love comments, it means there is someone out there actually reading the blog

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Mummfication Museum lecture - Search for the 3rd cache – Prof, dr hab. Andrezej Niwinski

There are some lecturers that leave the audience in stunned silence because they have been so interesting and this was one of those. Actually it could have been a boring lecture because they have not yet found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and the clues are sparse but it was riveting. In fact he gave a lecture a while ago and although I remembered it I don’t seem to have any notes or a write up. I think it must have been in 2004 before I started blogging them. There have been follow ups which was one of first blogs Sadly this might be the last we here a friend of mine bumped into him after the lecture and was told that work has to stop as it is getting too dangerous for the temples underneath. Keep an eye on the website as well although only in Polish at the moment an English version is coming out in a few weeks. I used Goggle translator to have a look at it and wasn’t bad

Search for the 3rd cache – Prof, dr hab. Andrezej Niwinski

A mysterious tomb at Deir el Bahri – Revelations of the excavations of the Polish Egyptian Cliff Mission above the temple of Hatshepsut and Tuthmosis III

For the 30 years he has been pursuing this subject, in fact his PHD dissertation was on 21st dynasty coffins. The period 1800-1000 BC is poorly represented by coffins, from the Late Period we have 400 coffins but missing is the 21st dynasty High priest King Herihor who was almost a king. It is quite possible that his burial is also a royal cache and might be the location of the burial of Amenhotep I. Dr Andrzej believes that they are still to be found at or near Deir el Bahri. It is the centre of the whole necropolis and although the temple and courtyard are well researched there is little that has been done in the cliffs above the temple.

In 1891 the royal cache was discovered TT320 but largely the cliffs are unknown. In 1972 as a member of the polish team he concentrated on the upper floor which is on a centre line with Karnak. The Ancient Egyptians would not have ignored this as it was an important area. In 1991 a joint polish and Egyptian team started the cliff mission of which he is co director. Their aim was 1) to check there is no danger to the Hatshepsut temple and 2) to see if there is anything there.

Human Evidence
1) Graffiti of Butehamun the Elder
There are 250 pieces of graffiti and 7 of these are important, 5 of Butehamun are around the cliff edge 150m above the temple of Hatshepsut. Dr Andrzej believes that these are actually 2 person Butehamun the Elder was from the time of Herihor 21st dynasty and 60 years later there was a namesake probably from the same family perhaps even a grandson. He was the royal scribe of the necropolis, a real VIP who reported directly to the High Priest of Amun, like a Prime Minister yet he visits this remote location in the cliffs 5 times. In a 10m high chimney that needed ropes to get to he spent Dr Andrzej has spent 400 days there and it is tough. Not a place for a sedentary fat high official. Butehamun was not a tourist; this was an official visit, an inspection of something important

2) Tunnels, there are 10 tunnels made by ancient robbers, there has to be a reason

3) The ‘alpha’ boulder
At around 100 tons this massive boulder did not get there accidently, it is protecting something. It was a massive logistical problem to excavate 4m x 5m x 3m. It posed a danger for the Hatshepsut temple and could have caused an avalanche. Rain water had brought debris down. Another storm like the 1994 storm could easily have caused this boulder to roll down and land on the chapel of Hathor. The workman had to build a great platform and at the same time excavate on the other side of the boulder to make it go horizontally and then they could crush it. The debris up there contains old chips, naturally it should not go above 2m and yet they had 6m of debris containing old chips. It must have been brought there. The Ancient Egyptians made a big stone platform joined by mortar, a 3m high pillow of soft debris and then big rocks on top. There were 1000’s of old chips that had been brought 100 m up the cliffs on the shoulders of workmen. Traces of chiselling. They were deliberately trying to conceal something.

The ‘pillar’
The Ancient Egyptian invented a very hard mortar that looks like real stone but it is actually artificial, powdered limestone with a binder which looks identical to the original. They made a false bedrock with a 20cm layer of ‘cement’ and under that 2m debris. They also covered over tectonic fissures but only 2 out of several with the aim of protecting something underneath from rain water.

There is also a system of drains which also where there to protect and stop water penetration. The used natural drain way with artificial heads. They found an old wasp nest in the head of drain 1 so the drains must have been exposed at some times. The 2 m of debris must have come after that. There appears to have been 2 phases of debris, the second in 21st dynasty.

Detached part of the pillar (portcullis) and small cliff

The so called portcullis stone was excavated behind filled with cement containing faience pieces. They thought they would find tomb entrance under this. It was a huge logistical problem to excavate but they found a room ‘the cave’ 7m x 3 ½ m x 3m. Why, what was the purpose of this, why so much work when it was not a tomb entrance. Excavating the East wall they found another hole which led to the main entrance. The lower one was used by workmen to remove chips. Before the entrance there was a large cut in rock, some kind of protective device.

Is a blind alley with manmade walls and used to dump chips, here they found old chips. It has to date before the Tuthmosis II temple otherwise it would have put that structure into danger. The tomb of Amenhotep I is missing and the location fits the Abbot papyrus 57.3m or 120 cubits down north of the temple of Amenhotep I. The distance from the top of the cliff to the cave plus the 6 m inside is right. There w sonly 1 temple at that time Montuhotep, it had a real garden and was the temple of Amenhotep I as well the BM690 stele is evidence for this. The garden is indicated by the rock cut planters.

In their second season they found part of a dagger similar to that of king Kamose with parts of 3 faience beads, could this be the necklace of another king

The temples associated with the tomb before Tuthmosis III were from north to south
Amenhotep I
Tuthmosis I
Tuthmosis III

The Hatshepsut temple destroyed the Amenhotep I temple but the cult continued and the statue was moved to Montuhotep. Merytamun was the wife and her tomb could have also been a temple for her
The Tuthmosis I chapel, where was the first burial place, we only know the second. Could this be the location of the first burial?
Amenemhat was possible the son of Amenhotep I

When Ineni speaks of constructing the tomb no one hearing no one seeing was he talking about Amenhotep I or Tuthmosis III as he made tombs for both

Could Herihor have reused Amenhotep I tomb?

At this point there was a very interesting slide showing the various structures and their relationship and how they all seemed to be protecting an area further down the slope Geophysics suggest that at this point there is a void 11-12m down, under the area of investigation which may lead to a chamber which is located under the two protected fissure

It was totally fascinating and enthralling. I do hope we hear more

Friday, 20 February 2009

News from

Dear all,

Following the international expertise mission organized by the Association in New Gourna
from 22 to 27 January 2009 an article entitled "Disaster in New Gourna" was published in the
Magazine Akher Saa. You can view this article in the "News" page of our blog

The participants of the mission (International and Egyptian experts) observed a number of preoccupying problems in the village but were particularly alarmed by the construction of two administrative buildings which has begun two months ago just behind the Theatre. Egyptian authorities have been alerted and urged to implement conservatory measures.

An international Symposium organized by the Association will be held at the Bibliotheca
Alexandrina (Alexandria, Egypt) on 30-31 May 2009. The Symposium will bring together Egyptian and international experts to discuss the future of the village of New Gourna and define
the different possible scenarios for a sustainable conservation and restoration program.

Prior to the symposium, the issue of New Gourna will also be presented by Dr Leïla
el-Wakil, President of the Association, during the first Mediterranean Conference on Earth architecture, Mediterra 2009, held in Cagliari (Sardinia, Italy) on 13-16 March 2009.

The Association thanks you once again for supporting and encouraging its endeavours

The founder members:

Leïla el-Wakil, President Rachida Teymour, Vice-President Nadia Radwan, Secretary

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Certificate in Continuing Education in Egyptology

Apologies but this link should work

There is a new flyer for my course Certificate of Continuing Education in Egyptology and the contact email address

Egyptian archaeologists uncover ancient statues in Luxor_English_Xinhua

I got some more information on this. Firstly an email
Hello Jane,

regarding the news "Egyptian archaeologists uncover ancient statues in Luxor" I was told that the finds were done at the temple of Amenhotep III and "belong" to Dr. Hourig, not to Mostafa Waziri.

Furthermore, I have gotten the information that another sphinx has been found there, but nothing about a bust of Hatshepsut. Do you have more information about the bust.

Best regards,

Dr. Karl H. Leser,

and secondly Mansour Boraik told me at the lecture last night it was definately Dr Hourig that has made the discovery. Many thanks to both of them for this update. If anyone else can give me more information on this story I would be very grateful

Egyptian archaeologists uncover ancient statues in Luxor_English_Xinhua

No more details than this at the moment but how exciting

Monday, 16 February 2009

Taking photos in tombs

Recently that has been a big crack down on people who disobey the rules and take photos in the tombs. Especially in the valley of kings where culprits are being taken to the inspectors office, having to delete their entire memory card and pay a substantial fine. I am not saying that some people are not still getting away with it, especially in the valley of nobles but you have been warned.

Permission can be arranged, I know people studying here who have got it. It is expensive and you have to be accompanied by an inspector

Saturday, 14 February 2009

The Undesired Tomb Dwellers in Egypt

documentography: "The Undesired Tomb Dwellers in Egypt
by Eduardo Martino

The Undesired Tomb Dwellers in Egypt
by Eduardo Martino

Original text by Nigel Richardson © 2007
We are standing in the interconnecting tombs beneath Mohammed Ismail’s house .......

This is the latest photo of the front of Karnak shown the Roman baths and the recent restoration. It is the NW corner of the complex.

Mummfication Museum lecture -Tuthmosis III funerary temple

Egyptian Spanish Funerary Temple Tuthmosis III – Dr Miriam Seco Alvazez

The dig started in Sept 2008 for 6 weeks. It was originally excavated by Devesy 1888 and 1906 by Vigel. It is a terraced temple which is actually dug into the bedrock at the back (west). There are 2 parts one dedicated to Amun and the other dedicated to Hathor. The first court has never been excavated as it is under the road.

The team firstly looked at the storehouse built by Vigel at the west edge of the temple. It contained lots of fragments many with colour. They show nice decoration and Amarna damage. There are pictures of Tuthmosis as a young prince with a forelock of youth. Some is unfinished and was just painted and not sculptured. They are concentrating of epigraphic work of these blocks and preservation by putting them on blocks of wood to keep them away from the ground. Outside the store house they classified 4,000 fragments. They had to draw some in situ and then they removed then to allow for further excavation. . Colour fragments are in the store house but the others are stored on matting and sailcloth in the temple area. Excavation of the Hathor temple revealed the lines of the walls on the floor.

They also cleared the Eastern part of temple near the road and the area around the first pylon on the other side of the road. The first pylon was in great danger from the debris from the alabaster factory next to it. They removed 40 trucks of this debris. The factory itself is actually built on part of the pylon. There is also potential damage from the humidity from the house next door. It was very difficult to work here and constant conflicts with the locals however they succeeded and the area is now fenced off. Part of the pylon needs urgent work as there is unsupported mudbrick and eventually they need to remove the house and the road. The road is 2 meters above the base of the pylon. They need to protect it before any further excavation.

In the West they found under the blocks placed on the bedrock several shafts, one of which they excavated but only found ceramics from the 18th dynasty up until the Coptic era.. The excavated shaft was 3m deep with a side room to the south which was empty. They could see alluvium from different inundations. Within this they found wooden objects and more fragments. In the south wall there is a tomb in the bedrock, they are monitoring the cracks there and hope to excavate next year.

They excavated the ramp to the main temple which has bulwarks to strengthen the ramp. In the ramp they could see 2 facades of the temple showing where it had been enlarged. They have filled excavated areas with sand to protect them.

In the south east corner near the road they found sandstone blocks from the portico. There was a trench cut into the bedrock which was used to build the wall. They found bricks with cartouches. There were cartouches of Tuthmosis II perhaps a commemoration of his father. They also found a working area in front of the wall below the level of the floor. On the fragments sometimes the colour is perfect and they are both limestone and sandstone the limestone is larger. There are some slat problems but small ones. They have put new mud brick on top to protect the plastered walls and stop the disintegration.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Mummfication Museum lecture - TT11 TT12

Spanish Egyptian Mission TT11 TT12 at Dra Abu el Naga – Dr Jose Galan

This was an excellent lecture but my notes were done under challenging conditions. They turned off ALL the lights so I was trying to right by the light of the slides. Dr Jose gave an excellent lecture and it was really interesting. They have got a website

They have been at the site for 8 years and have 2 goals TT11 the tomb of Djehuty in the time of Hatshepsut and TT12 the tomb of Hery from the time of Ahmose. In between these two tombs is TT399 and to the north there is a new tomb Baki. All these tombs are interconnected by a transverse series of holes. At first these are thought to be created in the Ptolemaic period when there was a large burial of mummified Ibis and Flacons with demotic graffiti. However it is now believed these were done 100 years after the burials.

There is a central pillar and the inner chamber was filled with debris so initially they were not sure whether the decoration had been damaged. It is one of the few early 18th dynasty tombs and has parallels with Teti and Ahmose at El Kab. There are few tombs of this period in Thebes. The NE wall has hunting scenes with greyhounds like 12th dynasty figures with stiff figures and well defined muscles. There is a funerary procession and the owner died under Amenhotep I. The quality is outstanding. The owner was an overseer of the granaries of kings with Ahotep but the tomb is of such high quality. His wife is Herunesu and she has connections with the royal family. The artist used mortar on the scenes and these are ancient repairs and it was then moulded. Ahmose was the elder son and this was a popular name given to two brothers and mother. It has demotic graffiti. There is a depiction of Tahenet the evil one an amulet against potential damage

TT11 is from the early part of Hatshepsut and has unique features as do lots of other courtiers of hers and there might have been competition between them to have the most unusual feature. It has a decorated façade which is unusual at this period. One side has a long biographical text and the other side a hymn to Amun. He was overseer of the treasury and workmen and recounts the marvels of Punt and deals with tax collection in year 9. It might be his figure at Deir el Bahri. He was in charge of covering the obelisks with gold. There are lots of other events at Thebes mentioned. His tomb suffered the “second death” and his face and name and his father and mother were all erased.

The team faced technical problems as debris kept filling from a shaft so this had to cleared before they went further in. But the team were hopeful the debris would have protected the reliefs of the inner chamber. Reliefs showed strangling the enemy which is a very unusual scene, within the inner chamber they unexpectedly found a shaft 8 ½ meters. They have started excavating this, this season. The tomb was reused in the Third Intermediate and Saite Period judging by the pottery and the results of this shaft will be the subject of next year’s lecture!

In their first season they excavated 5m of debris and found objects such including linen cloth dated Year 2 Amenhotep II and the most important object the apprentice board. This showed a frontal view of a pharaoh which is most unusual and must have been for a sculpture. The shoulder width is 5 squares not the 6 which is usual for a man which probably indicates it is Hatshepsut.

The courtyard is 34 meters which is the longest but few courtyards have been excavated for example Rekhmire. It is half limestone and half painted white. In one corner they found a wooden coffin 1m down, it was not decorated. Also a vase and some pottery from 11th dynasty. The debris was stratified and various flood levels could be identified, there were 4 big floods between 11 dynasty and Hatshepsut. The coffin contained a body they nicknamed Valentino, she had a necklace of finance beads and was 50 years old

In 2007 they found XII and XI coffin similar to that in the Metropolitan Museum and the back of the façade. A trench was dug in the court yard and their Reis Ali found a bowl 11th Dynasty and 5 untouched pottery vessels which probably contained the last offering. The was a clay offering tray found 2 meters higher so there were different burials.

It was an excavation challenge as they were digging under the courtyard wall. They found the burial associated with the clay tray and it was a painted wooden coffin that was just pushed inside and sand was pushed in on top. Near the head of the coffin they found 5 broken arrows. The arrows were rude made of reeds with ebony points. Normally weighted with a piece of limestone or copper but this is missing. It was a rude mediocre burial. The other side of the coffin was broken, there was a XI pot made of marl clay which is a good quality.

The name seems to be Iker which means the excellent one and they are not sure if it is a real name or an epitaph as there is no determinative. The coffin needed consolidating as it had been affected by floods and termites. There were also 2 bows and 4 sticks that resemble weapons similar to those found at Deir el Bahri which are now in the Met. The cartonage mask was badly damaged it had a painted beard. Salim Ikram investigated the body; it was a male in 40’s who had a damaged cheekbone in his youth. He was possible a Nubian mercenary like those shown in the Mekhet Ra models. The coffin inscription had a style of hieroglyphics whose only parallel is a coffin in Boston museum 013 163 which was bought so has no provenance. It has Hathor as a deity in a funeral context which is very unusual. Anubis was shown normally on the lid and Wes t face had a royal determative rather than a God determative. The horned viper glyph was cut. When two of the same glyphs are next to each other the colour changes e.g. the plural for Gods shows different colours on each identical glyph

I really would welcome any corrections on this as my notes are poor due to lighting so please do email or put up a comment.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Helping Mohammed Ismail at Gurna

More chances to help the people of Gurna who have no way of selling their goods these days. The Ebay seller is Michael on the roof who you all know and he is doing this just to help and is taking no share of the sales.

Links to new items on ebay. The winner of the last vase saw it on your blog, and decided to "help the cause." Michael

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Farewell Abu Hassan

My neighbour Hassan just lost his father and the turn out for the funeral was tremendous. The women were a sea of black but the men wore their normal clothes. They walk the body to grave. It is dignified and moving.

Dear friends
The news for January have been released. The items are numerous, and some
are particularly interesting.

The header of the site has changed. We hope you like it. We shall write a
short word about its symbolic meaning a little bit later.
The home page has also changed. It is supposed to be clearer, and better