Saturday, 30 April 2011

Luxor Temple at night

Next time take a tripod! Luxor temple at night is truly magically. I have been telling other people to go there for years and finally did it myself. I did most of my photos resting the camera on a handy nearby stone, pillar or pole.

The first photo was taken on the road a little way from the temple, the angle was dictated by the wall I rested the camera on. You can also get a good shot from MacDonald’s or Snack time.

The beginning of the avenue of sphinxes.

Ramses II look particularly magnificent

A completely different perspective in the dark.

The peristyle hall was wonderful for photos.

To the side of the sanctuary there is the birth room. Now normally the inscriptions are quite tricky to see in daylight but at night-time they were perfectly clear and even a photo was possible.

Exit the temple at the sanctuaries and walk back along the block yard, wonderful in the dark, here are the lady apes, see their skirts : )

The restored mosque is lovely and even the door shows without flash.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Ancient DNA: Curse of the Pharaoh's DNA : Nature News

Did Zahi realy get Tutankamen's DNA or was it contaminated? Seeing Zahi never wears white gloves I have my doubts. Good article though. Ancient DNA: Curse of the Pharaoh's DNA : Nature News: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

YouTube - JamesHenryBreasted's Channel

This is a great video Günter Dreyer on his excavations at the royal tombs of Abydos but there are others on this You Tube Chanel that are of interest to Egyptologists. YouTube - JamesHenryBreasted's Channel: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Colossal statue of Amenhotep III discovered

MSAA press release d.d. April 26, 2011
"A colossal statue of Amenhotep III was uncovered during the Ministry of State for Antiquities' (MSA) excavation in the area of the funerary temple of King Amenhotep III on the West Bank of Luxor. The mission, led by Dr. Zahi Hawass, Minister of State for Antiquities, unearthed a statue 13 meters tall that consists of seven large quartzite blocks.
The statue is one of a pair that once flanked the northern entrance to the temple, Dr. Hawass said, which was damaged by a severe earthquake in 27 BC. The blocks are currently undergoing restoration in an attempt to re-erect the statue in its original position.
The head of this statue has not been found yet, but the mission is continuing to excavate and hopes to discover it. Dr. Hawass stated that the pair were previously discovered by Egyptian Egyptologist, Labib Habachi, and German Egyptologist, Gerhard Haeny, in the 1970's.
These Egyptologists documented both statues and left them on site, hidden in the sand.
Archaeologist, Abdel Ghaffar Wagdi, the supervisor of the excavation, stated that the new mission has also discovered two other statues, one depicting the god Thoth as a baboon and one of the lion-headed goddess, Sekhmet. The Sekhmet statue is formed of black granite,
185 cm tall and 74 cm wide. Sekhmet statues have been found in large numbers at this temple, and one theory for this is that Amenhotep III suffered from an illness near the end of his reign and made offerings to this goddess for protection against it."
Courtesy of EEF

Monday, 25 April 2011

Is Egypt safe?

I often get asked this question and it is a puzzle how to reply. What does the questionnaire mean by safe?
Can you go out late at night take a wrong turning and end up dead like in America? No
Do people get gunned down in shopping malls like Holland? No
Is there danger from nuclear fallout like Japan? No
Have any children been bitten by adders like in the UK? No
Has anyone been killed by an earthquake like New Zealand? No
Has there been an armed raid on a Casino like France? No
Was there a cyclone in Egypt like in Australia? No
Have any tourists been hurt or injured during the whole period of the Egyptian revolution? No
Have thousands tourists had a good time, seen the sites empty, enjoyed Egypt since January 25th Yes
Do I personally feel safe living here for over 8 years? Yes
Should you come to Egypt? YES

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Egypt to cancel daylight saving time | Al-Masry Al-Youm: Today's News from Egypt

Hurrah Egypt leads the way, now come on the rest of the world. No more clock changes!!!

Notice they found out it didn't save any money. Actually I am sure it costs money fiddling around twice a year.

Egypt to cancel daylight saving time | Al-Masry Al-Youm: Today's News from Egypt: "that daylight saving time brought no economic benefit.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

My first e-book - 6 Egyptology Essays

My very good friend and internet marketing guru Colette Mason has persuaded me to do an e-book. It is my first go and the link is here It is 6 essays on a variety of subject written over three years. Full details are on the site.

The essay titles are

* Trace the evolution of funerary architecture from the predynastic pit grave through the development of the mastaba tomb, to the pyramid complexes of the 4th Dynasty.
* Describe the conventions of representation used in Egyptian two-dimensional art. Demonstrate this with reference to the wall scenes in ONE non-royal tomb of the later Old Kingdom.
* Was Hatshepsut a successful king of Egypt?
* Describe the major differences and similarities between a cult temple and a royal mortuary temple of the New Kingdom, giving a detailed description of at least one of each.
* Consider Egypt’s relationships with Libya and the “Sea Peoples” during the New Kingdom and assess their possible contribution to the decline of Egypt’s empire and international standing.
* To what extent does the ‘archaising tendency” of the Saites represent a true revival of Egyptian culture?

We came up with the idea for an e-book as holiday bookings are way down in Egypt and I was looking around for ideas to make money. If we sell a few it means we can keep our staff on until business does pick up. So if you buy you are supporting Egypt as all the money will be spent here. Colette has donated her time and the techy bits that collect the money, for free.

BTW I am not saying these are brilliant essays, I did get high scores but there are other students on the course who have done much better than me. But the essays were sitting there on my computer doing nothing so why not, at least it is not clothing. I have really enjoyed writing them and being on the Manchester course and if you are into Egyptology I reckon you will enjoy getting a bit more in depth Egyptology reading them. The big thing is the book lists which give you the opportunity to read more background. They are in chronological order and you can see the improvements over time as I get more confidence, more knowledge and feedback from the tutors. So to answer your question do I recommend the Manchester course, absolutely I do, it has been fantastic.

If you have any comments after reading them I would love to hear them, please share them, it is good to learn and pass your knowledge on.

I have made some sales already and got some feedback

“Looking good. I bought it and I will be posting around too.”

“I'll order one right now. All the best”

A warning to all students everywhere, don’t copy them. You will be found out and done for plagiarism. They now have electronic checkers that go through essays and if they find a quote from someone else that is not acknowledged you are in big, big trouble. It is just not worth it and anyway part of the fun is finding out for yourself and broadening your own knowledge. Also if you are thinking about doing an e-book yourself, do what I did and check with your university what their rules on copyright are.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Zahi Hawass Clothing Line | - Zahi Hawass

Zahi now tells his side of the story on the clothing line. Zahi Hawass Clothing Line | - Zahi Hawass: "Zahi Hawass Clothing Line

I was so happy a few days ago to announce that my clothing line is going to be sold, as it will represent my adventures in archaeology. The profits from the sale will go to benefit the 57357 Children’s Cancer Hospital here in Cairo.

This story begins in June 2010, when Lora Flaugh, the CEO of Art Zulu, a clothing company in New York City, approached me about starting a clothing line. I felt honored by this suggestion, because I don’t think any company would invest the time and money to do this unless they thought it would be a success. I wrote back to Lora in June 2010 to thank her and tell her how privileged I felt by her idea. I accepted her business proposal on the condition that the profits be donated to the Children’s Cancer Hospital in Cairo. I told her about how I sell my replica hats in order to benefit the Children’s Museum in Cairo. I am glad that the sales from these business ventures are going to benefit the children of Egypt.

I called Dr. Sharif Abul Naga, the Director of the Children’s Cancer Hospital, to tell him the good news. Two years ago, he asked me to help the hospital, and I am glad that I am now able to participate in fundraising for it. I told Dr. Naga to be in contact with Lora in order to find out when this line of clothing will make a profit and fund the hospital, and he informed me that a foundation has also been established in the States to raise funds for it as well. He asked me to become a member of the board, and I accepted with pleasure. I also asked Lora to put an advertisement next to where the clothing will be sold explaining how the profits will go to fund the hospital. I am very happy that my hat and clothing line will be able to help the children of Egypt and make them happy.

Unfortunately, stories and rumors have recently been going around about this project. In October of last year, the design company had a photo shoot in the King Tut exhibit in New York City to create advertisements. Now, months later, stories about this photo shoot are circulating, claiming that it happened in the Egyptian Museum, and that they had a model sit on actual antiquities. I can say firmly that of course none of this is true. It was, in fact, shot in New York City, at the King Tut exhibit there and nowhere near Cairo, and the photographer and crew showed the utmost respect for the antiquities there. I have never been in contact with this photographer or his crew; they were hired by the design company, but I know they at no time touched any of the artifacts or used flash photography. They used replicas for some shots and also used Photoshop in some images. The museum’s security was with them at all times to ensure the safety of the objects. It makes me sad that people are willing to believe such rumors, and I hope that the clothing line’s critics will understand that the intention of this project is for the good of the children.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Tutankamuns Mask - lecture by Nicholas Reeves

Found this on Katies excellent site. Nick Reeves talking about the mask of Tutankamun.

Explanation of the Court Trial Against Me | - Zahi Hawass

Zahi's side of the story. Explanation of the Court Trial Against Me | - Zahi Hawass: "Explanation of the Court Trial Against Me

I have to tell the world right now, there is a story going around that I am going to be in jail, which is a complete misunderstanding.

Last year, we were taking bids from different companies to run a book store inside the Egyptian Museum. There is a person, who was renting a bookstore inside the Museum. He wanted to stop the bidding process, because he thought he should keep his contract. This person filed a case with the Misdemeanor Court in Agouza, Cairo, in order to stop the bidding process. This case was filed against the Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), not against me personally, but against the role I was holding at that time.

However, before the case came to trial, the bidding process ended at the end of May 2010, and the Supreme Council of Antiquities (now the Ministry of State for Antiquities) chose a company, the Egyptian Sound and Light Company, to run the bookstore. Shortly after this decision was made, the court trial happened, at the beginning of June, so the SCA representatives did not have time to present evidence that the bidding had finished. Therefore, the court made a ruling that the bidding should stop. However, it was too late to do anything.

He still wanted to get his way, so this person continued to bring action against me in the court. In November 2010, the court made a ruling, that I was innocent, because as the Secretary General of the SCA, I was not in charge of legal affairs at the SCA, this was under the control of the Ministry of Culture at that time. But this was not enough for this person, he brought the case to the court again, claiming he had evidence that I was in fact in charge of legal affairs, and this time, the SCA did not have a legal representative present at the court. The court made the current ruling that I, as head of the SCA, was sentenced to a year in jail. This is how the court in Egypt works, and this is not an uncommon thing that the head of an organization gets sentenced like this. When a ruling like this is made, the defendant (in this case myself as Secretary General of the SCA at that time) has a certain amount of time to appeal the decision of the court.

Tomorrow, the head of the Legal Affairs Department at the Ministry of Antiquities will go to the court to file our appeal. He will present evidence that the bid for the bookstore contract was finished before the original court ruling, so therefore we could not follow the ruling to stop the bidding. We already had completed the bidding! I have every confidence that this matter will be cleared up very soon, so I want to tell everyone not to worry. I respect the laws of my country very highly, and the rulings of our courts. I intend to handle this matter entirely within our legal system. Nothing will cause me to lose focus from my goal of protecting the sites of Egypt.

* Zahi Hawass's blog

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Zahi imprisoned for one year?

I have now heard from three (now four source) sources that Dr Zahi Hawass has been imprisoned for one year today. If anyone has any further information or corroboration please post it.

Bassam Ahmed posted on Luxor News's Wall.

‎Bassam wrote‎
"العربية - عاجل...مصر: حكم بسجن وزير الآثار زاهي حواس سنة وعزله من وظيفته"

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Understanding Karnak

Great video which explains what it looked like under the various kings, makes sense of a lot of stuff in the Open Air Museum as well

YouTube - Bob Brier, "Mummification: Resurrection of a Lost Art"

Very interesting lecture by Bob Brier about mummifying a human body, experimental archeology at its best. Fits in very nicely with Salima Ikram's work which was shown online from Swansea University at their conference. One thing that really struck me is that he states categorically you can not retrieve DNA from an Ancient Egyptian mummy. YouTube - Bob Brier, "Mummification: Resurrection of a Lost Art": "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

KV35 Pictures from Richard Sellicks

Richard has spoiled us with over 30 pictures of the tomb, for more details of the tomb I recommend the Theban Mapping Project website. Richard is a friend and guest at Flats in Luxor who has been coming to Luxor for decades. His photos were taken in the days when this was allowed, you can't even take your camera in the Valley these days.

Happy Birthday

Dear friends of OsirisNet,
April 2001 - April 2011... OsirisNet is already ten years old. Thank you to all for your loyalty.

To celebrate the event, we worked to offer you an unpublished tomb, that of Senemiah. The tomb TT127 is, at first sight, only a little inviting, blackened by human occupation. However, it includes decoration in relief of a remarkable level. Created by Senemiah, at the time of Hatshepsut-Thutmosis III, it would be reused (but non usurped) during the Ramesside period by Piay and Pairy, who completed and added decor without altering what had already been produced.
Even though the photographic coverage is far from being complete, this tomb is a good example of the help which OsirisNet can bring, even when nothing or nearly nothing exists for a monument. We do this in the hope, on the one hand, to provide an attractive visit, on the other hand to attract to it the attention of the professionals, and finally to modestly contribute to its preservation.

Roland Tefnin (in the publication "La peinture égyptienne, un monde de signes à préserver") estimated (in 1994), that about only 3% of the Theban tombs had made the object of true scientific publication, the others having to be content with old monographs or quotes, and that 1/3 were completely unpublished.
It is very probable that these numbers have not changed much since that time, and it is obvious that the traditional system of publication of the tombs showed its limits, while the deterioration of the monuments, themselves, doesn't slow down.
The solution exists nevertheless, which is simple and less expensive: to photograph correctly all these monuments and to put the images (free) on the Internet, so that the scientists use them for study, and everyone can admire them.

Yours sincerely
Thierry Benderitter

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Shopping in Luxor.

Went out with a guest shopping. Caravanserai is by Medinet Habu, the pictures speak for themselves. I adore this place, so much better than the souk. Even the entrance is interesting.

As for the inside, so many lovely things. Hand woven scarves, pottery, glass, little dolls.

These were a couple of pieces at Selket alabaster that I liked.