Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Update at Kom el-Hettan Amenhotep III temple at Luxor

Press Release - The results of fieldwork at Kom el-Hettan | drhawass.com - Zahi Hawass: "Press Release - The results of fieldwork at Kom el-Hettan

During their excavation at the funerary temple of the 18th Dynasty king, Amenhotep III (c. 1390-1352 BC), at Kom el-Hettan on the west bank of Luxor, the mission of the Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project unearthed an alabaster colossus of the great king. The team has also discovered the head of a deity, as well as restoring a stele and a head of the same king.

[The face of a colossal alabaster statue of Amenhotep III recently found near the third pylon of his funerary temple at Kom el-Hettan. (Photo: MSA image bank.)]
The face of a colossal alabaster statue of Amenhotep III recently found near the third pylon of his funerary temple at Kom el-Hettan. (Photo: MSA image bank.)
Dr. Zahi Hawass, Minister of State for Antiquities (MSA), has announced that the colossal statue shows Amenhotep III seated, and wearing the Nemes headdress, a pleated shendjyt kilt and a royal beard. It was found in the passageway leading to the third pylon (gate) of the funerary temple, 200 m behind the Colossi of Memnon, which guarded the first pylon.

“The statue is the northern one of a pair of colossi that were once placed at the gate of the third pylon,” reported Hawass. It is likely that both statues collapsed during an earthquake that took place in antiquity, but parts of them were still visible in a layer of Nile alluvium. The back of one of the two statues’ thrones had already been discovered in a previous excavation and its fragmentary text published. The other parts will be gradually uncovered for conservation and the statue restored in its original location in the near future.

Hawass has described the face of Amenhotep III on this colossus as a masterpiece of royal portraiture. It has almond shaped eyes outlined with cosmetic bands, a short nose and a large mouth with wide lips, delimited with a sharp ridge. It is very well preserved and measures 1.20 m in height. In spite of its large scale, the face is extremely well carved and well proportioned.

Dr. Hourig Sourouzian, the head of the mission, has also described the discovery as very important for the history of Egyptian art and sculpture, as well as for the story of the temple. The colossus is unique because it is exceptionally well carved in alabaster, a stone hewn in the quarries of Hatnub in Middle Egypt. This material, she explained, is rarely used for colossal statuary, and the pair of statues from Kom el-Hettan are the only preserved examples of their size, an estimated c. 18 m in height.

[Head of a deity in granodiorite from the great court of Amenhotep III’s funerary temple at Kom el-Hettan. (Photo: MSA Image Bank.)]
Head of a deity in granodiorite from the great court of Amenhotep III’s funerary temple at Kom el-Hettan. (Photo: MSA Image Bank.)
During clearance and mapping work on the central part of the temple’s great court, where more parts of the original pavement were uncovered, Dr. Sourouzian’s mission has further discovered the head of a deity carved in granodiorite. The head is 28.5 cm high and represents a male god wearing a striated wig. Part of his plaited divine beard is preserved under the chin.

Also discovered in the great court was a red quartzite stele of Amenhotep III, which Mohamed Abdel Fatah, Head of the Pharaonic Sector of the MSA, reports as having been restored by the mission. Dr. Sourouzian described how the stone conservators and specialists of the team gradually reconstructed the stele from 27 large pieces and several smaller ones, up to a height of 7.40 m (4/5 of its original height).

[The re-erected stele from the great court of Amenhotep III’s funerary temple at Kom el-Hettan. (Photo: MSA Image Bank.)]
The re-erected stele from the great court of Amenhotep III’s funerary temple at Kom el-Hettan. (Photo: MSA Image Bank.)
The stele was originally 9 m tall and its restoration will be completed next season when its round top will be put back in place. This part of the stele bears two scenes representing Amenhotep III and his queen consort, Tiye, bringing offerings to the gods, Amun-Re and Sokar. The rest of the stele is decorated with 25 lines of sunken hieroglyphic inscriptions, which list the temples Amenhotep III dedicated to the great gods of Thebes.

The mission also reattached the beard of a red granite head of this king, currently being exhibited at Luxor Museum on the east bank. According to documents and photos taken at the time of its discovery, the head and the beard were found together by Dr. Labib Habachi in 1957, but until now the head was exhibited beardless. After searching inside the storerooms of Luxor, Dr. Sourouzian found the missing piece, and a team of restorers reattached it to the head and put it back on display.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Monday, 30 May 2011

Getting good quality guides

Currently there a big clamp down on the use of foreign guides include so called silent guides. This is where an Egyptian guide will accompany the group but the foreign tour leader will give the talk. With English speaking tour groups this often happens because some Egyptian guides can be dated in their knowledge and a tour leader wants to make sure the most accurate information is given.
I do understand but I think there is another solution, by having high quality lectures outside the sites with the guides in attendance. So the Egyptian guides learn more and the guests get great Egyptology. Everyone wins and this is the holiday I am offering.

Jane's Egyptology Course in Luxor


I have been using a very out of date website for Waseda University and Kento Zenihiro very kindly sent me the correct one. I do encourage you to have a look, there is much of interest especially their work in Luxor. INSTITUTE OF EGYPTOLOGY: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Saturday, 28 May 2011

NASAcronyms: How OSIRIS-REx Got Its Name | OSIRIS-REx the Spacecraft vs.Osiris the Egyptian God | Space.com

NASAcronyms: How OSIRIS-REx Got Its Name | OSIRIS-REx the Spacecraft vs.Osiris the Egyptian God | Space.com: "The story of Osiris (the Egyptian) loosely parallels that of OSIRIS-REx (the asteroid mission). As a result of a mean trick involving a bejeweled coffin, Osiris was killed by his evil twin brother. His body was cut up into pieces and dumped in the Nile, and the pieces traveled down the river and spread agriculture all over Egypt.

OSIRIS-REx, Drake explained, will collect samples of regolith that, once brought back to Earth, will be distributed all over the world for scientists to analyze. Those samples may help the world understand the origins of organic materials.

'We were taken by it because it was a nifty name, because it matched what we wanted to do, but also because it matched the mythology a little bit,' Drake said.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

thanks to Stephen McLaughlin

Friday, 27 May 2011

Update on the Tuthmosis III temple excavations

Third archaeological campaign 2010: "Third archaeological campaign 2010

The third consecutive season of archaeological investigations at the funerary temple of Thutmosis III , on the west bank at Luxor, started on October 2nd, until December 17th. The season of excavations and work was made possible by the continued support of CEPSA, with further support by the Marcelino Botin Foundations enabling the season to be prolonged. This led to a marked increase in the amount of work that the joint Spanish-Egyptian team was able to achieve.

The team was further reinforced this season by the addition of several members of the Department of Fine art and Archaeology at the University of Granada, along with several graduate students in order to gain valuable field experience with specialists in Egyptology, Archaeology and Restoration.

Restoration works continued at the enclosure wall and the work on the area of the main ramp was completed. Excavations on the upper terrace, which is dedicated to Amon, and in the area dedicated to Hathor continued.

One of the most interesting discoveries this season was a tomb with a corridor, shaft, and a sealed funerary chamber. Several burial jars and plates were found inside the chamber in a good state of preservation, allowing the tomb to be dated to the Second Intermediate Period.

Geophysical investigations were also undertaken in the area of the Pylon, with the aim of locating a possible slipway and understanding the temples relationship to the waters of the Nile.

Documentation and epigraphic works continued on the thousands of decorated mural fragments belonging to the temple, with the aim of reconstructing a large portion of them.

Finally, fragments from different statues continued to be unearthed as well as other fragments belonging to several stella.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Sunday, 22 May 2011

El Kab pictures from Richard Sellicks

This is an interesting set of photos as although I have been to El Kab several times I have never been able to get inside the walled part. Richard says
Here a more unusual set for you the walled city at El Kab, there are two temples here I believe one dedicated to Nekhbet the other Sobek and Thoth.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Lights are back on the hills

Actually I was really pleased they were turned off. We had less power cuts and they are a complete waste of money, not ecologically friendly and nobody asked for them but sadly they are back

a trailer from Osirisnet

Very soon, we shall release “the mastaba of Nikauisesi” (Saqqara), written under the supervision of Pr Naguib Kanawati and fully illustrated. A must. Some times later, it will be followed by another must “the mastaba of Nyankhnefertum”, written under the supervision of Pr Karol Misliwiec.

Member of the International Association of Egyptologists (IAE)
Tombs of Egypt

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Another update for South Assasif via EEF

A positive update on conditions in Luxor. The joint Egyptian America mission to South Asasif (Tomb T223) started work on Monday. The mission is led by Dr Elena Pishikova, the team includes John Billman, Birgit Schoer, a Spanish epigraphic team and others from the UK and USA. This is the first mission to start this season and a sign that things are returning to normal.

Generally things are a little quieter for the time of year but there are signs that tourists are taking advantage of excellent deals and returning.
Other than fewer tourists things for visitors are much as normal and now is an excellent time to visit to see the uncrowded monuments.

Best regards

Albert Prince

Update from Otto Schaden, KV63, Valley of Kings

Just got a great email from Dr Otto Schaden give a brief update.

Dear Jane,
I have some reports done, one just out is "KV63 Update: The 2011 Season,"
KMT 22 (No. 2, Summer 2011), pp. 33-41, which covers some of the work on KV-63's Coffins A and C, the ceramics, some of the seal impressions and some comments on Coffin E's garland (E.4).

Another paper will be submitted to the ASAE shortly, plus a brief summary for Orientalia.

When the political problems arose last January, we just kept working. The closure of banks and the halting of internet access proved to be only temporary inconveniences. While some missions shut down, we continued working to the scheduled end (early March). Due to the political situation and some
travel restrictions, it did cause some of our staff members to cancel their participation. Because of various factors, we had to alter and adapt our initial plans, but we did manage to advance our studies.

Still a bit early for the plans for 2012, but we are nearing the end of work on KV-63 materials and we hope it possible to get back to completing the clearance of KV-10 pillared hall descent during the second half of next season.

Otto Schaden

"Zahi Hawass seeks secret chambers in the Pyramid of Cheops"

I got this email and I am sharing it but with reservations. Comments welcome.

"Zahi Hawass seeks secret chambers in the Pyramid of Cheops! (May 2011 – 2 Pages!)

(Word exclusive, Free Press Release by www.mysteries-magazin.com, Basel, Switzerland)

Top secret mission on the Giza Plateau: Under the strictest of secrecy and on instruction of the controversial Egyptian minister for antiquities, Zahi Hawass, a new mini robot crept through the passageways of the Pyramid of Cheops on the 29th May 2010. Its aim: To search for previously undiscovered secret chambers of the Pharaoh. For this purpose the extremely narrow, previously poorly understood southern shaft in the Queen’s Chamber including its mysterious capstone was more thoroughly measured, photographed and researched than ever before - with the help of a new «snake camera».

To this day, the Egyptian authorities do not wish to inform the public of the latest discoveries of their «Djedi Project» under the leadership of mission manager Shaun Whitehead (UK) - although the results of its research are set to be published officially in the upcoming weeks. The Swiss journal MYSTERIES (www.mysteries-magazin.com) therefore unveils some of the most significant news and findings of the secret robot expedition in its latest May/June 2011 issue - world exclusive!

Further research is set to take place soon including the possibility of drilling into any concealed cavities at the end of the southern and the northern shaft in the Queen's Chambre. Or as Zahi Hawass put it personally on the 9th April 2011, when asked by MYSTERIES chief editor Luc Bürgin: «The Djedi Project will continue, but the date for this has not yet been set. We need to discuss how the work will move forward again in the future. I will be contacting the team at the University of Leeds in the UK to agree a time for the project to begin again, so it may be later this year.»

Luc Bürgin (chief editor)
Postfach, CH 4002 Basel, Switzerland
E-Mail: mysteries@bluewin.ch
FAX: +41 - 61 - 681 85 62

About Luc Bürgin:

Luc Bürgin was born in Basle, Switzerland in 1970 where he was awarded his Matura secondary school leaving certificate in 1989 and then went on to study German Studies, European Ethnology, Music Science, Media Science and Sociology at the University of Basle. In 1993 he embarked on a career as an author and freelance journalist and was Editor of a weekly newspaper from 1996 to 1998. He became Deputy Editor in Chief of a weekly newspaper from 1998 to 2000 and Editor in Chief of a Basle daily newspaper from 2000 to 2002.

Since then Luc Bürgin has been one of the most successful journalists and publicists in Switzerland. The 12 popular science books he has written to date on controversial phenomena and disputed scientific discoveries have been translated into more than 12 languages worldwide. In 2000 he was awarded the «Exopsychology Prize» by the Swiss Dr.-A.-Hedri Foundation for his journalistic work.

Since 2003 Luc Bürgin acts as as publisher and Editor in Chief of the bi-monthly magazine MYSTERIES (www.mysteries-magazin.com), which currently has a total circulation of 35,000 in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Spring Newsletter from Flats in Luxor

Lots of news from Flats in Luxor
- Photo by Richard I'Anson
- Internet Marketing Event
- Tahrir Villa Completed
- Tahrir Villa Website
- Six Egyptology Essays exceed expectations
- Hidden Luxor e-book launched

Photo by Richard I'Anson
Someone showed me the new colour Lonely Planet Discover Egypt book as it contains an article by me but imagine my surprise to see a lovely photo of the Nile, cruise boats, Theban Hills and hot air balloons with the Goubli flats slap bang in the middle. The orange building. So I contacted the photographer and he kindly gave me permission to use it. So if you have ever wondered just how close Flats in Luxor was to the Nile now you can see.

Internet Marketing Event

My very good friend Colette Mason gave a free Internet Marketing Workshop, the very first in Luxor. This was an imitative to give a boost to tourism in Luxor post revolution. The audience was totally enthralled and she has some 6 follow up appointments before she leaves. A huge success. There is already talk of another one. For those of you that missed the presentation I have got copies of the DVD she handed out so please get in touch.

Tahrir Villa Completed
Mahmoud has completed Tahrir Villa. Our top spec, luxury villa with 4 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. The bedrooms are downstairs to take advantage of the cool and upstairs is a totally open plan living area. All furniture is top quality from Cairo. The roof can contain hot tub, gym, barbecue, bar, there is plenty of room for lots of options. Colette and another friend Steve Mitchell have helped us with photos and these are currently being put up on a new website.

Tahrir Villa Website
Big thanks to Colette and Steve for setting this up. http://tahrirvilla.com/ There are lots photos and we will be adding more.

Six Egyptology Essays exceed expectations

I am so pleased my first e-book has sold so well and I truly appreciate your support buying it. Whilst tourism is so low it is a way of us keeping the business going until numbers pick up. If you want to buy it go HERE

Hidden Luxor e-book launched

On that same note I have launched my second book, this will be available on Amazon as a Kinde book or you can buy direct HERE. There is also going to be a video version. Lots of you know how much I love to guide and this is all my knowledge in book form.

Here is a video about it

I hope you enjoy all our spring news and we hope to see you soon.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

More from the Valley of Kings KV47 - photos from Richard Sellicks

Such a dazzling array of photos this time, it was Richard's birthday this week and I am sure you all join me is saying Happy Birthday and thanks for all your lovely photos.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Egypt travel advice

Updated Travel Advice from the British Embassy. (Actually Luxor is so quiet it is boring apart form the sites but they say calm lol.) Egypt travel advice: "According to latest information, Luxor, Aswan and the Red Sea Resorts, including Sharm el Sheikh, are calm. However, the situation across Egypt is unpredictable and may change quickly. You should stay in touch with your tour operator.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Luxor's First Internet Marketing Event

Luxor is hosting it's first Internet Marketing Event 9th May. An initiative Of Colette Mason who is an international specialist in this area. She visited us at Flats in Luxor in January and was so impressed by the history, tourism and people of Luxor. However there was a lack of internet marketing e.g Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Four Square Goggle places. All free and they allow you to connect to the tourism market. As a helping hand to the newly fledged democratic Egypt she has come back to Luxor at her own expense and is holding a free workshop to explain how the people of Luxor can take advantage of the internet. This event is being held at Nile Valley Hotel just by the ferry and is aimed at Luxor locals not big international companies.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Thoughts on the Sothic Cycle - Jean Greyling

Slightly unusual content for my blog but why not. One of my colleagues from Manchester University has some thoughts on the Sothic Cycle she wanted to share. Not having a blog herself I offered the services of mine, but these are her own thoughts. Feed back is especially welcome. Copyright Jean Greyling


For thousands of years the Egyptians used two calendars for record-keeping. One was an official calendar used by the civil service, and the other was a temple calendar used by the priesthood.

The official or civil calendar was a solar one with 365 days, in 12 months of 30 days each with an extra 5 days added on. It did not have the additional quarter of a day which we regulate by having a leap year every 4 years.

The religious or temple calendar was not solar but Sothic, that is a calendar governed by the star Sirius. (To the Egyptians Sirius was Sorpet or Sopdet and hence to the Greeks Sothis.) It did include the extra quarter day, and its year was 365 : 25 days.

The marker for the Sothic calendar was the heliacal – just before dawn – rising of Sirius. At one point in each cycle, just before dawn Sirius rose above the horizon in a direct line with the sun and the two calendars, solar and Sothic, synchronised.

For reasons that are clear to astronomers but not to many who try to explain them, and highly complex, to do with the different lengths of time of the earth’s rotation on its axis, its orbit round the sun, the precession of the equinoxes, and the apparent orbit of Sirius, Sothis rises above the horizon a little under four minutes earlier each day.

The result is that the two calendars drift apart by 6 hours, a quarter of a day, each year. They are thus apart by 1 day every 4 years, so 5 days after 20 years, 25 days in a century, 250 days in a millennium, and a year apart after 1460/61 years.

So the Sothic (or Siriac) calendar of the priesthood and the solar calendar of the civil bureaucracy coincide only once in every 1460 Sothic and 1461 solar years.

But they can APPEAR to be only one year apart.

* * *

Scope for confusing historians now?

All civil service, that is official and Pharaonic, records were dated by the solar calendar, and all temple ones by the Sothic calendar.

Not for nothing is the civil or solar year also known as the ‘vague’ year. (From ‘annus vagus’ or ‘wandering year’.*)

Where an event is recorded in both civil and temple records, it may appear to be only, tiresomely, a few months apart. (Ohhhh .. . . careless clerks.) BUT the records may actually be of two events hundreds of years apart.

An example in our own era – postulating that Britain’s Prince William becomes King William V – might be a reference in two sets of records, one dated by a solar calendar and the other by a Sothic one, to ‘the coronation of King William’.

William l became king of England in 1066 CE, William V is likely to be crowned nearly 1000 years – or a mere eight months of ‘calendar drift’? – later.


Most coherent
Lucie Lamy, Egyptian Mysteries pub. Thames and Hudson 1981
pp 74-5

Background information
E.G. Richards, Mapping Time pub Oxford Univ. Press 1998
pp 152-6

David Ewing Duncan, The Calendar, Fourth Estate 1998
pp 22- 3

George Hart, Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, Routledge 1986
P 207

For the scope for confusion and scholarly debate arising:
David Rohl, A Test of Time, pub Arrow/Century 1995
pp 146-53, 157, 492

• Richards, op cit p 153

I’ve two questions arising –
Have I understood the Sothic Cycle correctly? and
Is my example in the last two paragraphs a valid way to interpret and apply the Sothic calendar?

There may be other questions I don’t know to ask – all comments very welcome.

Jean Greyling.