Thursday, 30 April 2009

I am going to the UK for dinner

I have been invited as the honorary guest at this do I was the founder members, on the first board as PR Director and Chairman for 2 years, elected unopposed 12,000 members 97% male. Yes I am very proud of my time at PCG and it is a great accolade to be rewarded like this. Bit expensive to go to London for dinner but hey!!!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Update from Osirisnet

Dear friends,
We are especially happy and proud to announce to you that the mastaba
of Watetkhethor, which is part of the fascinating complex of Mereruka,
is now online.
With this third section, the mastaba is now covered entirely, since it
specifically adds to the pages dedicated to Mereruka, as well as to
those concerning their son (and for a time, heir to the throne), Meryteti.

Hassan Fathy

Please sign the international petition for the safeguarding of Hassan Fathy's New Gourna village and transfer the message to all concerned individuals or institutions.


Thanks again for your support and Best Regards!


Sunday, 26 April 2009

Tour operator helps donkeys go AWOL in Egypt

Tour operator helps donkeys go AWOL in Egypt

This article alerted me to a charity I knew about but had not realised how much it had moved on. As they state there is little on the West Bank both for animals and for children and being as that is where I live I am delighted to give them a bit of publicity.

The actual charity link is here

Thursday, 23 April 2009

KV63 Mummification Bed in it's new home, Luxor's Mummification Museum

A big thank you to Mr Mansour Boraik for suggesting I write about this. This photo of Mansour was taken on the day of the announcement in the Valley of Kings. Mr Mansour is very supportive of my blog Luxor News and I really appreciate his help and ideas.

Thanks also to Mr Mohammed Shet the Director of the Mummification museum for letting me take photos. I wish I had a better camera but I do hope you get an idea of the quality of display in the museum.

It was only fitting that something so unique coming out of KV63 should remain in Luxor. KV63 is the most recent tomb discovered in the Valley of Kings and the team have been busy last season 2008/2009 investigating the many huge storage jars. There have been all sorts of things found within these and I am sure we will see some great analysis coming out deciding how, why and where these various articles were used.

One object, actually it was lots of bits, was found with these storage jars, is the Mummification Bed.

It has been put on display with 2 pillows also found in the tomb, it is interesting to speculate just what part they played.

There is no evidence of any embalming materials on the bed so we do not believe it was used during the gory bits of mummification but that was only part of the process, evisceration, desiccation with natron and partial rehydration with oils. There was also bandaging and of course the religious ceremonies and it is suspected that this is where this bed was used.

From its size it would appear to be for the youth coffin, so not a full adult nor a child.

It is made of wood, with a foot board and two lovely lions heads at the head.

The KV63 team reassembled it with suggestions from Dr Zahi Hawass and it is now on display in Luxor’s Mummification Museum. A most suitable place as this is a modern museum with good display cabinets, labelling, lighting and humidity controls.

Edited here is a link to Dr Zahi Hawass's press release on the bed

Local Luxor Wedding

Tonight Sayeed got married, he is one of our regular drivers and Mahmoud's uncle. He is actually younger than Mahmoud. They have been engaged 2 years, last week the contract was signed, yesterday they had the henna party and today the wedding party. Interestingly there is not going to be a morning after party. Times are changing. It used to be for the display of proof that the girl was a virgin and the bloody sheet would actually be on display. The stopped ages ago but they still had a party. This is the first wedding I have been to where not even the party will happen.

The girl gets picked up by the groom from the coiffeur, she has been painted, pampered and lacquered into a total doll with a huge wedding dress, western style. Our bride was on the East bank so we meet them at the bridge. We then drive round and round, horns blaring and people singing, it is such fun. (I actually like how we drive past all the flood lit monuments)

Then we arrive at the party and they are processed in. They had a torch light procession which I had never seen before.

Then they sit on thrones while every dances and has a good time.

Eventually they go to the new flat he has prepared for her.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009


I have received this

Dear members,

SAVE THE HERITAGE OF HASSAN FATHY would like to inform you that the international symposium on the Safeguarding of Hassan Fathy's Heritage which was announced for 30-31 May 2009 at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina has been postponed to September 2009.

Moreover, the question of the safeguarding of New Gourna was addressed by our president, Dr Leïla el-Wakil, during the International Conference on Earth Architecture "Mediterra 2009" held in Cagliari (Italy) on 13-16 March 2009. At this occasion an international petition was signed by its participants (view petition text on:

We thank you for your support and shall keep you informed shortly of the dates and program of the symposium.

Best Regards,


Thursday, 16 April 2009

Train travel

According to the excellent train website

Latest report: New restrictions on train travel from March 2009...

It's now reported that from 1 March 2009 tourists are no longer allowed to use on the 22:00 overnight non-sleeper (in other words, seats) express train from Cairo to Luxor & Aswan, or the 07:30 daytime express train from Cairo to Luxor & Aswan. As of March 2009, the ONLY train which tourists are legally allowed to use between Cairo, Luxor & Aswan is the overnight Abela sleeper trains. It's reported that these trains now have seats cars as well as sleepers, albeit at a more expensive fare than the original non-Abela express (LE170 instead of LE90). If you have more information, please email me.

I know some of my guests have hit these restrictions so please bear this mind when planing your journey

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

KV-63 Latest Update on the website


A nice long end of season update on the website with details of the coffin of the royal nurse Iny. Also details of some forth coming publications

Mummfication Museum lecture - Chicago House

Chicago House report 2007-2009 Ray Johnson

Sadly the last lecture in this season, what am I going to do on Saturday nights now. Nice to finish with Ray, as one person commented they had no idea just how much Chicago House does in Luxor. He has such a love for the work he does, it just shines through.

They have been working at 3 antiquities sites for 6 months Medinet Habu, Khonsu Temple and Luxor Temple.

Medinet Habu
30 years ago they did the big temple of Ramses III and now they are doing the 18 dynasty temple. The 1st volume of the publication will be the 6 painted sanctuaries of Hatshepsut and Tutmosis III. There will be 30 colour plates produced digitally as well as drawings. The Gods apart from Re-Horakhty and Atum have been attacked by Akhenaton. Drawings can show these various changes which cannot be shown by scans and photographs. Rooftop graffiti has been done by digital drawings. In the small Amun temple there has been conservation. There is stone decay in higher monuments on the west bank. A trench is being proposed which would be 100 meters into the cultivation. A huge amount of the decay has occurred in the last 10 years. They are using an infill of breathable lime mortar but in some places the stone has to be replaced. This stone has come from the same quarry at Gebel Silsila. The have put in 18 patch stones but these are already been attacked by the rising water.

The southern well of Ramesses III needed a girder to support the roof as the decayed foundation blocks have collapsed. It was documented 12 years ago and now has to consolidate it before they dismantle it. There was 2 courses, roof and lintel are all dismantled and on platforms. The dewatering has to happen before the decayed foundations can be removed and replaced.

A new block yard has been created to hold all the old block yard and blocks scattered all over the temple. There is 5 centuries of objects as Habu was the site of a Christian centaury.

There was a wharf in front of the temple like Karnak which led either to a canal or to Birket Habu. It is under the security area. Some parts of it have actually collapsed and have been removed in future after the dewatering it could be replaced.

This temple was published in the 50 and 60s. Because it was converted into a church and there were rumours of crypts with treasure the floor was ripped up. Before the floor was restored they had to document the foundations which consist of reused blocks. This was a huge challenge as in some cases there are very small gaps. Ramesses II had punched his cartouche over Horemheb which was over Ay. The 18 dynasty structure was modified by Ramses II not only cartouches but the actual figure of the king had recarved. Magically it should have been enough to replace the cartouches but Ramesses also changes the reliefs. He does this also at the Ramasseum where the head was originally Amenhotep.

Luxor Temple
Chicago has been there since the 70s and they are really getting into a lot of Roman stuff. The actual Roman town is still awaiting excavation. The frescos are unique and few examples survive and there are none in Italy. Ray thinks this a picture of the first tetrarch and interestingly Maximillian has been erased in antiquity. The heads have been removed but there is still evidence of halos which confuses the guides who think it is Christian. The roman gateway in front of Snacktime. The publication will include before, after and the 18 centaury artists and essays, so all aspects of Roman Luxor.

In the block yard there are Nectenebo sphinxes which will hopefully go into the reconstructed sphinx road. Medieval foundations were revealed by the dewatering project and they are leaving them in situ as these are the last vestiges of the medieval town.

Ray started work in the 70s and has been obsessed by the block yard. There are hospital mastabas in the block yard. The point of preserving is to consolidate and replace. Some excavators kept excavated blocks but other let them be used in the rebuilding of the Corniche. It is hoped some of those might come to light later.

In the NE corner of the Amenhotep II sun court a fragment group is being replaced similar to that of the Khonsu barque on the corridor.

The block yard is being made accessible and part of the tourist route to reduce congestion at the apse; this will be finished next season. You will go out from the barque sanctuary and they are putting lights so you can see properly. It will follow chronologically, middle kingdom, Hatshepsut, Tuthmosis III, Tuthmosis IV, Amenhotep III, Amenhotep IV Re Horakhty temple etc. Not all the blocks in the block yard belong to Luxor temple and some have come from Karnak. Some went into the rubble infill of the 9th and 10th pylons and then moved from there to Luxor. There is also a lot of talatat. Tutankhamen, Ay, Horemheb, Seti I, Ramses II, Ramses II, and animal display then 25th dynasty, Nectanebo, 30th dynasty and finally Ptolemy. Almost all of the later probably from the Mut temple.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Al-Ahram Weekly | Sports | Lucky Luxor

Al-Ahram Weekly | Sports | Lucky Luxor Football mad Luxor is all abuzz with this event tomorrow. What an prestigious venue to have the draw right in the middle of Luxor temple. and the prospect of weeks and weeks of football is really cheering the local men, my husband included. However I confess it bores me rigid lol now rugby, well that is another story

Mummfication Museum lecture - Khasekhemwy by Mathew Adams

Khasekhemwy Cultic enclosure at Abydos – Mathew Adams

This was the last of a long series of similar structures. King Aha was discovered 2 years ago. They all rectangular, enclosing a ritual space, surrounded by sacrificial courtiers Aha had 6 graves Djer 269 graves around his enclosure and another 300 round his tomb. The so called Western Mastaba which possibly belonged to Deb had 14 boat graves 75m long. Another had seal impressions of dynasty 0 /1 so earlier than Djen or Aha and it could be Narmer. It was surrounded by 10 donkey burials.

Dynasty 1 were buried at Abydos
Early Dynasty 2 at Sakkara
Late Dynasty 2 at Abydos
Khasekhemwy was the last king to be buried at Abydos

All the enclosures were deliberately demolished 10-20 years after the monument was built. The floors were covered with 50cm of clean sand and there is evidence that libations were poured on this sand. The monuments have not fallen down through natural erosion. It seems that only one grand monument was allowed to dominate the landscape. After Khasekhemwy Abydos was abandoned by kings but the area was still treated with enormous respect, although there are 700 graves the site was left alone. During the Middle Kingdom the Osiris cult was established and the tomb of Djer was identified as the tomb of Osiris. The myth or passion play was enacted here. At this point tombs do start encroaching on the site but not in the interior of enclosure.

It was not until 100BC there was the first activity in the interior and it was used as a necropolis for sacred animals. During the late Roman times it was a monastery and cells were cut into the walls.

There was a small chapel in the south and possible wooden shrines in the north. The façade was painted bright white at the bottom and possible had red paint higher from the drips (similar to Peribsen). They found the original floor and plaster mixing basins. Other enclosures were nicely finished but this one was like a construction site. In the northern gateway there was a huge deposit of offering pottery.

The enclosure has suffered over the years especially the construction and subsequent collapse of the monastic cells. So it needed conservation, in some places 5 meter thick walls were thinned to 1 meter at the base with huge overhangs in danger of collapse. Damage was also caused by foxes, the oriental hornet and other wildlife. They have made bricks stamped with PYIP of mud and sand, no straw as this attracts insect damage. They documented the cells, covered them with sand and then filled with these new bricks; the sides of the cells were also protected by sand as the cells filled up so their reconstruction is technically reversible.

All four gateways collapsed in ancient times and they have used cast concrete to look like palm trees, similar to Djoser’s complex. The original was 5m think and 11m high and the enclosure at Hierakonpolis was 1/3 size and not part of funerary complex.

Friday, 3 April 2009

El Kab and Esna

Had a day out to Moalla, El Kab and Esna today. I can't begin to describe how great it is to visit these sites now the convoy system has finished. At El Kab it would appear that they are developing the site with the erection of a wall and possible plaza. I was quite surprised to see two coaches leaving as we arrived however they only visited the tombs. So perhaps this redevelopment will mean big groups will visit the temples as well.

At Esna they are cleaning the temple and you can see from these two columns the right hand one is much sharper and the background whiter. I think it will be great once it is finished.

I did like this trapping scene, when you looked at various fish and birds there were loads of varieties. Not a great fan of Ptolemaic temples but I did like this.

Development on the West Bank

This is a view from the roof of Nile Valley Hotel showing the changes going on.

Karnak from the river

Although I don't the landing strip in front of Karnak temple there is no denying the views from the river are gorgeous

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Update from osirisnet

Dear friends
The News page for March has just been released.
There are many interesting items this month.