Thursday, 24 July 2008

Previous Posts

KV63 Update
Got an email from the KV63 team todays with the following update
Otto’s Dig Diary
September 12, 2007
It has been some time since my last update as many administrative issues necessitated my attention this summer.
As of June 30th, our contractual agreement with the University of Memphis (UM) expired hence requiring a search for a new affiliate.
Therefore, it gives me great pleasure to announce that the Amenmesse Project [KV-10 and KV-63] is now affiliated with the prestigious, Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) ~ The Egyptian Ministry of Culture.
The SCA, as ‘Guardians of the Monuments’ in Egypt require all missions to report directly to them for their approval and sanction. This amiable relationship has been the case during past seasons with KV-10 and during the clearance of KV-63, so this closer affiliation with the SCA should be beneficial to all concerned.

With the exception of transferring the name of our affiliation, no other changes are expected. I will continue as Director of the mission and Earl Ertman as Associate Director.
Our mission will now be identified as:

Amenmesse Project [KV-10 and KV-63]
A Supreme Council of Antiquities Mission

A few issues still remain unresolved but we are planning to resume our work in the King’s Valley this coming winter.
Mudir Schaden

I bet the team are glad to be returning in winter rather than the heat of the summer and I hope to get together with them for a beer as soon as they get here and here all the news and if there is anything I can report I will pass it on.

Posted by Administrator: - 1:37 am - Edit| No Comments »
September 10th, 2007
Update on the American School
Got a phone call from Doris today give an update on the plans to have a school here. They were hoping that with co-operation form one of the existing schools here they could start this school year. This has not been possible. So she is looking for premises, if any one can help please get in touch with her.
She is very interested in hearing from people who wish to teach or enrol children in the school. Her website should be up and running within a week and you can contact her through that or email me and I will pass on her email address

Posted by Administrator: - 8:34 pm - Edit| No Comments »
September 7th, 2007
Meena Closed for Restoration
At the ticket office today there was a sign up saying the tomb was closed for restoration. I did ask when this would be finished but they had no idea. Although the ticket used to be for Meema and Nakht and now there is only one tomb open they have not reduced the price it is still 20LE
Posted by Administrator: - 9:20 pm - Edit| No Comments »
September 7th, 2007
ACE hits the streets!
ACE Animal Care in Egypt have just published a leaflet on caleche horse and carriages. With safety tips and how you should select your animal. Tonight staff were handing out leaflets to the tourists and getting a great response. indeed one lady was planning to visit them tomorrow with items from their wish list. The website for ACE is here

The rules being handed out tonight were

1) Please chose your carriage carefully. Always remember it is YOUR choice which carriage you use so do not be bullied.
2) Do not overload the carriage - maximum of 3 people and the driver
3) Walk or trot only - galloping will damage the horses legs and can lead to serious injury.
4) Do not accept ANY EXCUSES for thin, lame or obviously badly kept horses
5) Do not let the carriage driver use his whip at all. Tell him you will not pay him if he uses his whip!
6) Never under any circumstances take a carriage from Luxor to the West Bank it is too far.
7) Ask your driver to stand his horse in the shade when waiting
8) Try not to use carriages in the heat of the midday sun
9) Agree the price before you start the trip
10) You the visitor to Luxor can directly affect the welfare of Luxor’s horses.

Posted by Administrator: - 8:45 pm - Edit| No Comments »
September 7th, 2007
Ticket Office at Medinet Habu
Although unmanned at the moment there is a new ticket office building at Medinet Habu. Currently you have to go to the main ticket office so this should save some people time. Apparently it will be opening after Ramadam
Posted by Administrator: - 8:08 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
September 6th, 2007
Progress at Karnak
I haven’t visited Karnak for a while and yesterday Mr Mansour Boraik was telling me about the fantastic discoveries they have been making there so I decided to visit. I was shown round the site by one of the inspectors, Momen, and he could hardly contain his excitement. You may have heard reported in the press that they have found an embankment and Nile silt indicating that the lake mentioned in the tomb of Neferhotep TT39 was in the area of the second pylon not in front of the current temple. Subsequent excavations have revealed 1 large and 1 small ramp and a second small ramp.

They are speculating that the second small ramp having the identical dimensions of the first small ramp indicate that there is a second large ramp. I was shown some of the artifacts found and there were some lovely pieces of pottery together with fragments of stone. One bearing the name of Horemheb. All these discoveries may well change the entire front entrance of karnak. The part the Ministry of Tourism controls is being developed into a plaza and car park but where the SCA are how discovering this embankment will alter how the land they will control is presented to the public.

I want to thank Mansour Boraik, Shayma’at and Momen for letting me look at this and sharing the exciting discoveries there.

Posted by Administrator: - 7:30 pm - Edit| No Comments »
September 1st, 2007
Timings for the Sound and Light Show at Karnak during Ramadam
The offiical site has been updated and shows the current and Ramadam timings Karnak Sound and Light. I also find it a good idea to phone to check and the number is +20 95 2372241
BTW the price went up recently and it is now 75LE per person

Posted by Administrator: - 1:53 pm - Edit| No Comments »
September 1st, 2007
Visiting the Tomb of Nefertari
Previously I reported on this blog that you could visit for 20,000Le, judging by this article the price had now gone up to 25,000LE that is $4650 USD or £2200 GBP
Posted by Administrator: - 12:37 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
August 24th, 2007
Report on the meeting about the proposed American School in Luxor
Education meeting Emilio hotel Luxor 24/8/7
Held by Doris Fayek an education consultant from Cairo

Firstly she apologised for the timing of the meeting and the short notice which probably contributed to so few attendees. Personally I was extremely encouraged by the number of Egyptian people that was there and their level of interest. Hamida who runs the nursery on the West Bank had read about it and was there as well as another Egyptian lady teacher and some men teachers. There were 2 Brits there, myself and Dr Ron and my daughter. So no parents or potential teachers. Obviously she would love to hear from people who wish to place their children there or who would like to teach. You do not have to be a teachers (more about that later)..

Doris has is employed to help schools obtain American standards; she has established several schools and manages several schools. She saw that was no British or American school in Upper Egypt.

During her time in Luxor she is investigating if it is possible to start a program this school year. In order to do this she needs to make use of an existing school and use them, once established she will hope to have her own school.

The aims are this year
1) using foreign people who speak English and give them appropriate support that they can start teaching children in the areas of English, Maths, Science etc
2) train Egyptian teachers so that next year they have both the English and the teaching methodology to teach the Arabic subject
3) start attracting students

The American system of SATS is different from the Egyptian as children have 12 chances 6 per school year between 11 and 12 years old to obtain their SATS, they can keep repeating it until they are satisfied with the results. American SATS are accepted by both foreign and Egyptian school systems. Only in the Egyptian areas of Medicine and engineering do you need further testing in the Egyptian system.

Another difference between American and Egyptian teaching methods. In Egypt you focus on a book and once you have taught the contents of that book you have finished. In the American system you have a certain benchmark to reach and you can use different resources to obtain that benchmark.

There is a requirement for Egyptians to teach certain subjects such as Arabic, Social Studies, Religion etc and of course support staff but all must have a certain level of English in order to communicate with foreign students. Native English speakers are preferred where the subject is taught in English (Science and Maths) and for English itself.

The very good news is that she already has approval from the Egyptian Education Ministry for Conversation Courses and Teaching methodology course

1) the conversation course will be for Egyptians to learn enough English to be able communicated clearly and easily
2) Teaching methodology course which will support those people whose level of English is high enough or that are native English speakers in teaching

Both these courses will result in International Education Research Centre certificates accepted by the Egyptian Education ministry and abroad. Those people undertaking the second course would be supported on a week by week basis with lessons planning, resource acquisition and reviewed. So on a 2 week basis she would come to Luxor and go through what the teacher will teach and how, then next week she would come back and review how they were doing and give them additional support. People who were English speakers would need more help in lesson content and teaching methodology where as Egyptian teachers don’t need so much help in content as they already have that but need more help in methodology and of course English.

By using St Joseph to start at they are doing a ministry approved course, they are ministry approved and the school is ministry approved. This means that the child will be in the Egyptian Education system and can take exams in that system and transfer between schools.

The would take children form KG1 to grade 9, they can not take children in past grade 9 as for a child to be able to take the American sats and get accepted at university they have to have done 3 years of the America SATs system.

Religious education would follow the guidelines of the Egyptian ministry of Education.

Up until 2 years ago there was no framework for a school to apply to be an international school in Egypt which made it very difficult this is starting to change and also by working with an existing school, the school has ministry approval. And is within the education framework. This will just be a different division of the school. She is already working with her course within the framework of the Ministry of education so this makes is possible to avoid the problems that other people have had trying to set up a school here.

Conversation course
Applicants for the conversation course would be interviewed and then assigned a course appropriate to their existing English language skills Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. The aim is to get the Egyptian staff up to a certain level so they can communicate well enough in English to communicate with non Arabic speaking pupils and parents

How she operates
She works a 2 weeks cycle with a school and visits once a week. In the first week she visits for 1 – 2 days. She does no admin her work is all academic about teachers and resources. She goes through what you will teach, how you will teach it and where you will get the resources. The following week her visit is seeing what the teacher is doing and offering support to the teacher. After a year of this kind of training the teachers are able to work on their own.

The pans is this year to training a small number of teachers and to recruit foreign teachers, to give them full support as they work within the St Joseph’s school but academic control rests with her not with the management of St Josephs. This would mean that the standards at St Josephs would improve. At some point in the future this might mean a complete American school. Currently it will be a second division within St Josephs and the fees would be different but not outrageously so

She would welcome foreigners with no teaching experience as with her level support they will be ale to manage. She is looking for foreign people for English, Science and Maths. She is looking for Egyptians for PE, Music, Arabic, Religion, Social sciences and managerial, admin and support functions. At other schools she is involved in there are often 2 headmasters or equivalent one foreigner for the parents and one Egyptian for the Ministry of education.

One of the questions that came up was that parents that send their children to private nurseries often have difficulty in placing the children in another follow on school. Doris said she had no problem in accepting children from another nursery and would even help the nursery make sure the children reached the acceptable level.

Posted by Administrator: - 8:04 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
August 20th, 2007
Teachers and Teaching
I got this from another site luxor4U but being as I know there are people out there who are desperate for info about this I am passing it on. If you want to be kept uptodate about this I suggest you monitor this forum.

Teaching and Teachers in Luxor

I have been asked to bring to the attention of those living in, or planning to live in, Luxor about a meeting that is to take place at the Emilio Hotel on Friday 24th August at 12 noon.

During a recent visit to Cairo, Mr. Emile’s daughter met with an American lady, Doris ?. She is responsible for the Diploma in English in all Egypt. The education in Luxor has been brought to her attention and she is looking at ways to improve this, possibly with a view to setting up a school in Luxor. Before this can be done she would like to meet with British Ex Pats & other English speaking people, including Egyptians, who have educational/teaching qualifications or interested in training for a diploma, from classroom assistant up to highly qualified teachers. Before she can do anything in regards setting up a school she needs to be able to assess the interest, qualifications and abilities available. If you are not qualified she would be able to arrange the training for you.

I believe she would also be interested in hearing from parents about their hopes and concerns regarding schools and educational facilities in Luxor.

I am hoping to have an email address for this lady shortly which I will post. If I do not get it today I am happy to act as go between, and if you are interested in knowing more, but unable to attend, please pm me your email address and I will pass it on.

I am sorry if this all sounds a bit vague but I am not directly involved in this venture. I am sure that all your queries will be addressed at the meeting or by email response from Doris.

Posted by Administrator: - 10:38 pm - Edit| No Comments »
August 8th, 2007
Desert Safaris
Desert Safaris

Our great friend and regular driver Rageeb has just acquired a flashy new jeep for desert tours, with air conditioning. He has been doing desert tours for us for some time but having only a minibus has had to keep to the regular roads. Now with this, the latest model in land cruisers, he can go any where. So if you want a trip in the Western Deserts please contact us and we can arrange Rageeb for you.

Oasis, Great Sand Sea, Uwaynat Desert, Gilf el Keber, Kharga, Dakhla, Farafra, Bahariya, Siwa, Areg, Qara, Baris, Dush, Darb al Arbain Desert, Forty Days Road, Wadiryyan (Fayoum) are all places you can visit by desert safari. You can experience everything from a one day tour to 2 weeks or more depending on your desires. Below is an example of a 1 day and 5 day tour. Trips can be arranged from Alexandria to Abu Simbel through the desert.

One Day Luxor – Baris - Dush – Kharga - Luxor

The tour starts in the early morning from the new road and takes the ancient caravan tracks. This is a short cut between Luxor and Kharga where you are free to wander in desert, see a real oasis, met local people and see places of beauty. The route takes you via the Black Valley, Crystal Quarry, Deers Valley, Alabaster Valley, sand dunes and the Temple of Isis at Duch.

Visit one of the oldest Christian necropolises in the world at Bagawat home of the oldest Basilisk church, the Exodus Chapel and Peace Chapel. Then onto the Temple of Hibis built by the Persian king Darius in the 26th Dynasty. The best preserved temple in the Western Desert built for the God Amun Ra.

You will see many different types of sand and rock formations with plenty of wild life birds and reptiles together with a hit spring swim.

Five Day Tour Kharga, Dakhla, Qasir, Sand Sea, Farafra, White Desert, Bahariya, Black Desert, Valley of the Golden Mummies

Day 1 Depart Luxor for Kharga, Visit Bagawat the oldest Christian necropolis and Ptolemaic temple of Hibis. Camp beyond the Roman fortress under the desert sky

Day 2 Drive to Dakhla where you will experience traditional Bedouin hospitality and have a hot spring swim.

Day 3 Experience the beauty of Qasir, the oldest inhabited Islamic town, just outside Dakhla. Visit the old city of Mut and Balalt, one of the earliest Pharaonic sites. Our drive takes us deep into the Western Desert and close to the great Sand Sea. Visit Farafra Oasis for lunch and head into the magical White Desert to look for fossils and black pyrites. . The White Desert is the largest I the world, there are beautiful formations such as mushrooms and ice cream cones!!! The to the chalk and limestone formations in the desert for dinner and an overnight camp sleeping under the stars.

Day 4 – On to Bahariya oasis via the Crystal Mountain where you can hunt for quartz. Take a hot spring swim close to the black desert and its pyramid shaped mountain of Visit the Valley of the golden mummies

Day 5 Leave for Cairo, se the pyramids, sphinx and Egyptian museum

Posted by Administrator: - 2:55 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
August 1st, 2007
Malqata Art Palace is dead
I have just heard from Antje that she will not be reopening.. I know lots of you will be disappointed, finding it a haven of peace and tranquility in Al Gezira village.
Posted by Administrator: - 3:50 pm - Edit| No Comments »
July 16th, 2007
Analysis of the Hatshepsut Discovery program
Picked this up from EEF, q detailed analysis of the program
Posted by Administrator: - 4:40 pm - Edit| No Comments »
June 29th, 2007
Off on Hols
For the next two weeks there will be no updates to LuxorNews. I am off on holiday on a trip of a lifetime to Japan, courtsey of Legal and General. Who said endowment policies were a bad idea
See you again mid July, hopefull there will be some news to report as things have been very quiet here lately.

Posted by Jane: - 1:01 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
June 27th, 2007
Loads of specualtion about Dr Zahi Hawass’s forth coming annoucement all over the internet and news sites. It all seems to hinge on a tooth found at TT320, the royal cache. anyone that gets to watch the program please send me details as I off on hols and won’t be able to
Posted by Jane: - 5:39 pm - Edit| No Comments »
June 24th, 2007
Shopping Mall to be built in Luxor
According to my teenage daughter who reads Arabic there is a sign at the back of the Winter Palace annoucing the building of a shopping mall. Talk about excited, she is over the moon.
Posted by Jane: - 11:25 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
June 23rd, 2007
Three thousand year-old mummy discovered in Egypt
I got this story from Goggle alerts and there are some obvious errors in it, like there aren’t 99 tombs in the Valley of kings. However TT99 is indentified here as the tomb of Sennefer Can anyone give me any more details? Three_thousand_year_old_mummy_disco_06222007.html

Archaeologists have discovered the 3,000-year-old mummy of a high priest to the god Amun in the southern city of Luxor, antiquities supremo Zahi Hawass told the official MENA news agency on Saturday.

The 18th Dynasty mummy of Sennefer was unearthed in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings — one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world — by a team from Britain’s Cambridge University.

“The mummy was found in tomb 99 in the Valley of the Kings on the west bank of Luxor,” Hawass said.

A high priest was considered to be the most important man after the king, performing duties, religious rituals and offerings on his behalf.

Other mummies were found during the excavation, including one with a brain tumour, a foetus, a female mummy wrapped in plaster and others which appeared to have suffered from arthritis, Hawass said.

The Valley of the Kings was used as a burial site for royalty and nobles to the west of present day Luxor, some 700 kilometres (450 miles) south of Cairo.

Millions of foreign tourists come to see Egypt’s pharaonic treasures each year, including hundreds of thousands making the long journey south from the capital to the Valley of the Kings.

Hawass said a report on the findings would be presented to Culture Minister Faruq Hosni, in order to allocate resources for continued excavations in the area.

From the EEF
[TT99 in Sheikh Abd el-Qurna is the tomb of Sennefer(i).
A very detailed website dedicated to this tomb:

The news is confusing. Sennefer of TT99 was an Overseer of Sealbearers, I think, not High Priest? So is this nót the mummy of the tomb owner? Is it rather an ‘usurper’ like the priests of Amun, Wedjahor and Horenpe, of dyn 25 date? If I glance correctly, no dyn 18 mummies (except for a head) had been found earlier:
The (quote) “other mummies” are probably of dyn 21, 22 or 25 date, and perhaps found during earlier seasons? The find is not yet announced on the above site, nor on the Cambridge site, nor on Dr. Strudwick’s personal site, so until then some reserve is due. AKE

Posted by Jane: - 12:47 pm - Edit| 3 Comments »
June 19th, 2007
Foreigner’s Cemetery
Just opposite the new Heritage centre behind a mosaic patterned wall is the Foreigners Cemetery. The day I went I could only get access to the French side but I know people who have been in the British side. It was a very peaceful little place.

Posted by Jane: - 12:58 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
June 18th, 2007
Luxor Heritage Centre

This recently building was recently opened by Susan Mubarak and is situated at the junction between the airport road and sphinx avenue. If fact it actually overlooks the Sphinx Avenue which was an added bonus when visiting.

Over three floors and built with a mixture of donations and government funding it is a very impressive building. I was shown round by a member of the staff Mona, she spoke excellent English, and she and the rest of the staff could not do too much to show off their new building.

The Egyptology Library on the first floor is decorated with photos donated by Mr Gaddis showing Luxor as it used to be but the books inside are up to date modern editions. Although there are some classics as well. They are in a variety of languages and cover all aspects of Egypt’s history pharaonic of course but including its Islamic past as well. There is computer access all over the building where people can research, catch up with current affairs or play as the example of the children.

Also on this floor is a large map room where both historic and current maps are stored. It was quite fun finding my own house. This room also has facilities for video conferencing

The Arabic library on this floor seemed to have a large range of reference books, videos and tapes. I could see the Dummies Guide books in Arabic, Guinness World Records and was told there were also books on law, religion, and physiology.

The top floor had lots of children’s facilities, a well stocked lending library and reading hall. There was a great children’s activity area with wall displays and bright colours. And lots and lots of kids having fun. Computers, a green corner for environmental studies and internet access at 1LE per hour. There was a second adult Arabic library with Agriculture, Business studies, Chemistry and Geography. I also saw a complete range of Naguib Mahfouz books so there must be fiction in there as well. Also a computer teaching room and language hall. Not all these facilities were in operation yet but judging by the children’s area when they are they will be well used and fully equipped.

Downstairs in the basement there was a Star Riders exhibition where some of the compasses, time keeping devices and other wonderful devices from the past were displayed. There is an area with a huge screen where you can explore to Eternal Egypt Website, Animation halls are planned and there will an interactive Culturama.

With disabled access, clean toilets and coffee shop this is a centre to be proud of.

Posted by Jane: - 12:53 pm - Edit| No Comments »
June 18th, 2007
Happy 2nd Birthday Luxor News
I can not believe I have been doing this blog for 2 years today. A big thank you to all my readers and there are a lot of you. Some days I get 2500 unique visitors. My English teacher would die laughing that any one wanted to read my grammar and spelling.
I do love hearing from you so please keep the comments coming.

Posted by Jane: - 12:01 am - Edit| 1 Comment »
June 6th, 2007
Nubian Cultural Village
I had noticed this centre on the East Bank by the bridge for a few months now and decided to take a look around. I was greeted by Gamal who explained the place to me. There is a Nubian village on the outskirts of Luxor and it was felt by the authorities that they should have a place where the Nubian life could be preserved, enjoyed and celebrated. This cultural center is not finished but he was quite happy to show me round and see how they were getting on and what was planned.

On the left as you go in there is a large workshop area, the bottom floor is workshops and the first floor will be shopping outlets. One shopping outlet was finished and had carpets, wall hangings, cushion covers and bags. It looked very interesting and the articles on show were lovely.

The ground floor is dedicated to the production of the goods. The people could work there or in some circumstances be trained and them take work home. I was particularly pleased to see many women there and on questioning found they were both married and unmarried ladies. Some Egyptian ladies are not allowed out of the family homes by their husbands and fathers but these were obviously quite liberated ladies.

The first workshop was dedicated to products made of palm leaves. These are plaited together in long strips and then sewn to make useful articles. Bags, hats, document wallets etc.

There was also a wood turning lathe that produce the turned rods to make tissue box holders. They call this work Arabesque, I must admit I was pleased to see it being used by a lady, although there were men there as well. Apparently in July some Japanese trainers are coming to the workshops and a great deal of support has come from the Japanese for this village. Dr Samir Farag is also extremely supportive of the endeavour and they were very conscious of the opportunity he was giving them. As I understand it there is a general who has made a large donation to get it going and the Social Development Fund are also heavily involved.

The next workshop was where they are taught to weave carpets, at the moment the training only takes place 3 times a week but I was able to see work in progress. the designs are traditional ones and there was a great variety.

There was an alabaster workshop but I guess most visitors to luxor have seen enough of these so I won’t bother with the photo. there are 8 workshops in total. At another workshop looms were set up for the production of scarves and the colours were so pretty. There are 15 girls being trained in this workshop 3 days a week.

What interested me is that apparently they will assist the workers in putting looms in the homes once they are trained as well as having looms at the centre. This means economic independence for the workers. the conditions they were working under were excellent and I even checked out the toilets and they were working and clean!!!

This workshop was a fun one, the ladies were chattering and gossiping, it was great to see. They were making various articles by beaded crochet, this again is something that can be done in the home.

The pottery workshop was the biggest one with both men and women working. First of all they knead the clay and it was the messiest thing you ever saw, they offered to get me have a go but I declined.

The clay is then molded and the range of styles and articles was huge.

They have a very sophisticated kiln and it is fully automatic. As you can the finished product is lovely, ashtray, tealight holders, jars and they all told a story or linked to the Nubian culture is some way. One that Gamal showed me was the story of Ali Baba and the 40 thieves.

Outside there is an example of a Nubian house, a restaurant with attached oriental bakery with traditional ovens, coffee shop and shish, Nubian tattoos and a dressing up area where you will be able to wear the traditional clothes and be photographed and take it away on CD. These areas are in the early stages but you can see a great deal of thought has been put in and it looks as though it will be a popular place for tourists.

Posted by Jane: - 5:01 pm - Edit| 3 Comments »
June 4th, 2007
All nationalities are welcome !!
Free Coffee, Tea, Cake and snacks
No membership
We will meet at the:
Nile Valley Hotel & Restaurant, Luxor west bank
2 minutes walk from the local ferry,
Orange building on the left

Free crossing from Luxor with motorboat be at Metropolitan terrace at 19:00 hrs.

We are looking forward meeting you - and please bring your children along!!

Posted by Jane: - 9:57 pm - Edit| No Comments »
June 2nd, 2007
Toutankhamon Magazine
Since few days, the new issue of Toutankhamon Magazine is available.

Contents of this issue include :
- build the pyramid: the latests theories
- egyptian’ astronomy
- charriot of war
- Tanis : history of a discovery
- Thutmosis IV and the god Aten
- Seth : understanding an secret god
- the birth of egyptology in 19th century
- the tomb of the kheruef
- the way of life of the ancient egypt
- royal museum of Mariemont
- cruiser : travel with an feluqa

and also in our web site :
- podcasts and forum

best regards,

francois tonic
redactor of chief

Posted by Jane: - 9:01 pm - Edit| No Comments »
May 30th, 2007
Luxor Egyptology Group & KV63
I am so pleased to announce that although news here might be thin on the ground it doesn’t mean we have gone to sleep for the summer. Stan Kurowski one of the ex pats here has decided to start an Egyptology group in Luxor. Something we truly need and I am sure having seen the interest at the Mummification Museum lectures it will be very popular.
The website is here and although it is early days you are most welcome to sign up and be kept informed of about the progress of the group.

First bit of exciting news is that the team from KV63 led by Dr Otto Schaden will be at the first meeting. Not sure when that is going to be as we have to wait on Otto getting here. Hopefully we will also have other members of the team like Earl Ertman, Roxanne Wilson and Betty Schneider in attendance. So quite an auspicious start for Luxor Egyptology Group.

Posted by Jane: - 8:59 pm - Edit| No Comments »
May 30th, 2007
Excavations at the Madrasa area near Karnak
If you remember Mansour Boraiks lecture about the SCA excavations he talked about the Madrassa area and that has also been in the news recently as they have found an embankment there.
Here are some photos from there showing the extent of the structures that have been found.

Here a small kiln has been have excavated

Here is a large flight of stairs

and finally in this arch way you can the plaster layer he talked about

they have found lots of objects as well

Posted by Jane: - 8:56 pm - Edit| No Comments »
May 30th, 2007

Suzanne Mubarak to visit Luxor on Saturday
The men are painting the kerbstones and the gardeners are tidying the shrubs. Yes Mrs Mubarak is coming to town to open the new Heritage Centre on Saturday. I have heard their will be books in English in the new library so I for one am looking forward to it.
Sorry for the lack of news otherwise. Luxor is in summer mode, all the archaeologists are going home for the summer and the heat is rising.

Posted by Jane: - 9:57 pm - Edit| No Comments »
May 14th, 2007
Nile Cruises by Sailing Boat
I reported on my very successful birthday cruise seeing Gebel Silsila, at that time the website wasn’t ready but is is now It was a fabulous way to see the sites so much better than in a huge group and I really felt like a pharaoh the way they looked after you.
Posted by Jane: - 8:39 pm - Edit| No Comments »
May 12th, 2007
Balloon flight and a chance to help disadvantaged children
I have been asked to publicise this EBay auction of a baloon flight for 2 over Luxor in aid of the children of Luxor
Posted by Jane: - 10:58 pm - Edit| No Comments »
May 12th, 2007
More Information on Luxor
I have been getting a few emails recently from people wanting to settle in Luxor and wondering where they could get more information about doctors, dentists, prices etc. There is a local forum which could answer most of those questions.
Posted by Jane: - 8:47 pm - Edit| No Comments »
May 9th, 2007
The Assasif Tombs
Whilst buying tickets to Hatshepsut’s temple at Deir el Bahri you may have noticed the sign giving ticket prices for the Assasif Tombs. Next time don’t ignore them they are well worth a visit. The Assasif is a very rich area for archaeologists and there are teams working at Petamenophis, Harwa and Puimra. The tombs that are open are Kheruef which is fully described here and Ankh Hor, which are on the same ticket and finally Pabasa, which is a separate ticket.
If you do decide to visit I suggest Ankh Hor first, this is not the best of the three but still very interesting. It is well documented inside as you can see from this picture. There are scenes of bee keeping and a very lively bull, together with subterranean corridors to explore.

Pabasa is from the same time period and quite beautiful with lots of colour and some unique relief’s such as bee keeping and fish scaling. Not normally a fan of the late period I was totally impressed by this tomb. During his lectures on Harwa, Francesco stated that the tomb of Pabasa had give them lots of clues to the decoration of Harwa.

However Kheruef is definitely the best for me, an 18th dynasty tomb and very high quality. It shows the jubilees of Amenhotep III which this individual seems to have been very involved with. These pictures of foreign captives were the highlight of the tomb for me. There were pictures of dancing girls with their hair hanging down and the quality of the carving was exactly like Ramose. As well as the dancing girls there were female musicians. And some male dancers, there was also some graffiti there that looked Pharaonic.

All these tombs are totally unvisited and it is almost spooky to emerge from one of them and see the hordes going to Hatshepsut who never cast an eye in your direction.

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May 7th, 2007
Safety in Luxor
Just like to reassure anyone the bomb in Luxor is the Luxor Hotel Las Vegas, nothing to do with Egypt. We are perfectly safe here. Our condolences to those affected.
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May 7th, 2007
Mummification Museum Lecture - Chicago House Report - Ray Johnson
Chicago House Report
The last lecture of the season took place 15th April; I was very surprised that it was so poorly attended especially as Ray Johnson was speaking. I do want to thank the SCA and Mr Mansour Boraik for putting on these lectures, I thoroughly enjoy them and I know my readers do as well. We look forward to them resuming in the autumn, probably after Ramadam.
Founded in 1924, to continue Napoleons work of documenting, by James Henry Breasted. Dr Johnson then went to explain the methods used today

1) They start with large format photography which is then scanned. Some pictures can be published straight away but with others further work is needed called the Chicago House method.
2) Create a drawing of the enlargement
3) Use pencils on the drawing using raking sunlight with mirrors
4) Ink in the 3d – for raised relief a thin sun line followed by a thick shadow line, incised is the opposite. The sun is assumed to be top left.
5) Bleach the photograph away
6) Create a blue print, this is part of the correction process
7) Go back to the wall with collation sheets
8) Review
9) Decide what is acceptable
10) I seem to have missed step 10, can anyone tell me what it was
11) Collation Transfer
12) Directors Review

Progress Report on Medinet Habu
The temple of Ramses III is finished and they are now working on the 18th Dynasty Temple and the God’s Wives chapels
1st publication will be of the 6 painted sanctuaries at the back due this summer then the plan is
Volume 2 Ambulatory
Volume 3 Bark shrine
Volume 4 Kushite Pylon
Volume 5 Roman/Ptolemaic gateway

The sanctuary was for Hatshepsut and Thothmosis III. At a point in its history Habu was the centre of Christianity and had a cathedral, other temples in the complex were used as residences which preserved them better.

Ptolemy VIII put up the lintel which gave the temple a more impressive entrance. The temple is covered with ancient and modern graffiti. There are minor officials and priests who carved their names on the roof. Everything from Ramses III to the modern day. There is even one saying Flo Nightingale. All this has to be documented

Additionally there is a great need for preservation and conservation. When the temples were built Egypt had a dry climate and a low population, now it has a wet climate and a much higher population. In the mid 90’s there were a series of torrential rainstorms that aged the sites by centenaries in a single day. They were able to get a grant from the US government for conservation which ends now and they used this to seal the roof against rain. In doing this conservation work on the roof they activated the Ptolemaic roof drains. Then they started desalination and cleaning. There was lots of soot, these have cleaned up well and they will have some colour plates in the publications showing these.

Inside the sanctuary they replaced the floor (see my photo ) and replaced the granodiorite dyad of Thothmosis II and Amun. This was in a bad state as Christians would often pull statues over looking for crypts, then they would fill in holes with the broken statues. The team found lots of pieces of the statues. Akhenaton probably attacked the Amun part of the statues, perhaps the head is in the scared lake. The granite naos was inserted into the sanctuary through the back wall in the time of Ptolemy IX. There was considerable effort to put it in but then they decide not to finish it. It was so heavy the floor could not take it and sunk between ¼ and ½ a metre. So the team decide to move it out record the walls and then put it back. They created a new footing at the right level. And put it back properly. At one pint in its life it had been tipped on its side and used as an oven. The walls of the sanctuary were in a terrible state and the team had to clean, strengthen and infill with lime mortar.

Adel Azziz from the SCA is heavily involved in this work.

Outside the lower courses of blocks had crumbled to such an extent they had to get new blocks from Silsila in some cases. Some were redeemable and they were treated with poultices to remove the salt. Sepiolile clay removes the salts but this is only a temporary solution as it needs doing every year. A dewatering project is needed for the entire West Bank. They are also trying to train others in these techniques.

The granite offering block of Shepenwepet II was put back in its proper place in the side sanctuaries of the God’s wives.

There are wells both sides of the temple with unique representations of Nile God’s. The southern well is in the worst state with foundation blocks that have completely turned to sand. They have to take it to pieces and rebuild it up again. The process is
1) take loads of photos
2) consolidate using gauze and chemicals
3) build scaffolding and mastabas to house the blocks
4) dismantle
5) put into protective storage

They are moving the storage away from the temple palace are and sorting the blocks as they go.

Progress Report on Luxor Temple
Publication of the Opet procession by Tutankamun where Amun travelled from Karnak to Luxor.

In 1958 modern Luxor was right up to the walls of the pylons and when the houses were removed from the temple are many blocks were found that had been incorporated into the house structure. In the 19th centenary these were not considered that important and blocks were piled on the ground where they are now decaying as a result of contact with the damp ground and it is quite possible that the corniche is built of left overs.. So the team is building mastabas with damp proofing so these can be stored properly. This has enabled them to sort the pieces. There is a hospital platform as contact with a decaying block can damage a healthy block like a virus so they must be kept apart. There are some oddities like blocks found at Luxor of Ptolemy XII who did not build at Luxor but at Karnak. All these blocks need conservation and eventual restoration. There are plans for an open air museum. There is a block of Thothmosis IV who also did not build at Luxor temple. It is important to identify the blocks that came from the East Garden which are in the block yard and Ted Brock is working on that.

The Eastern spur wall was like the leaning tower of Piza so they decide to buttress it with a brick core which would stabilise it but be very ugly although light. So they decide the make a façade of sand stone and put a fragment group back which is how the Khonsu wall came about.

With the provision of constant water as a result of the building of the Aswan dam and the over irrigation of the sugar cane fields plus the fact the Luxor is on ancient seabed’s water and salts are a huge problem. Salts used to be washed down to the Med at inundation but no longer. The destruction and wear that used to take 1000 years now only takes 5. The groundwater is only 3 meters below the surface. Money has been allocated to monitor the effects of the conservation.

Diocletian built a huge defensive wall around Luxor temple and the great Eastern gateway is part of this. Some of it is of stone but unusually some is only brick and mud brick. The northern bastion is not as good quality. The old park wall was built on the medieval wall and clipping the bastions. Dr Samir Farag kindly agreed to move it. They have found blocks of Nectanebo and thousands of pieces of sphinx.


The American Research Centre started this project which is a joint venture with Chicago House. Because of them it was started now as Chicago house had it planned for about 10 years time. It commemorates a state visit of Diocletian. During the 19th century it was thought to be a church. Nothing like these frescos survives not even in Italy. Next season the rest of wall will be cleaned.

thanks to chuck Jones for the comment which I have added in here

Your readers may be interested to know that the Oriental Institute has published - online free-of-charge - the first set of publications of the Epigraphic Survey, as a part of its committment to full open access publication of all the published results of its research. The first group includes the following four volumes. These are very large pdf files - so be prepared with a fast connection and patience to download them.
-Chuck Jones-

OIP 21: The Excavation of Medinet Habu, Volume 1: General Plans and Views. Uvo Hölscher, with Foreword by J. H. Breasted.

OIP 102: The Tomb of Kheruef: Theban Tomb 192, The Epigraphic Survey, The Oriental Institute Of The University of Chicago

OIP 118. Scarabs, Scaraboids, Seals, and Seal Impressions from Medinet Habu Emily Teeter

OIP 123. Temple of Khonsu, Volume 3. The Graffiti on the Khonsu Temple Roof at Karnak: A Manifestation of Personal Piety Helen Jacquet-Gordon

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May 5th, 2007
Short Break in Hurghada
As you know from my description of the bus journey back I just had a short break in Hurghada. Now being as I don’t dive or snorkel you may wonder what on earth I do there. Well this time we went out in a big group of 6 on a chartered boat. The weather was much cooler than Luxor (we have had 44 recently) and being on the sea was really refreshing. We started at 9 and went fishing, didn’t catch anything, changed spots and tried again. We did this about three times and eventually one of the crew caught a small fish. Then a big one. then I caught one, the only person in our group to do so. I was so chuffed. I do like Hurghada, not for long, a couple of days is fine for me as I am not a beach or water sports person. The seafood is wonderful, we ate at El Mina twice and at Shahrazad near our apartments.

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May 5th, 2007
Mummification Museum Lecture - TT39 Puimra - Dr Gabirela Arrache
TT39 Puimra – Dr Gabirela Arrache
Dr Gabirela is from the Mexico mission and brought so much excitement and enthusiasm to the lecture. Puimra was a second prophet of Amun and his tomb is located in the Assasif area. Theirs is the first mission from Mexico in Egypt and she felt there was a lot of similarity in cultures.

The team started by using Goggle Earth to view the area of the Assasif and they also had a 1923 publication to compare with. They are using the very latest technology in their work,

Puimra had a lot of titles Inspector of the Cattle of Amun, Inspector of the Fields of Amun, One who the king has confidence in. Howard Carter found some statues of his and from these we know he was involved in the construction of Deir el Bahri and also served under Thothmosis III. He shows an obelisk with cartouches. Puimra had two wives; his principle wife was Senseneb a daughter of the 1st prophet of Amun and divine Adorotrix. His son Smenkephrera was also another import priest of Amun.

Dr Gabirela showed a slide of the tomb with the Gurna houses above it and commented that she was glad these houses had now gone as they had lost objects to tomb robbers while they were there.

There was a 17 sqm courtyard in front of the tomb and they are still excavating looking for the edges of this courtyard. There are 3 walls, the original one, one from 1920’s and lastly their own wall. There was graffiti from Norman Davies 1920.

There were 18 shafts in the area and a big 26th dynasty sarcophagus. The outside of the tomb had a complex exterior of a false door, Steele, entrance, Steele, false door with palace façade niches. Subsequent reuse of the tomb had changed these and one was cut out. The carving is of high quality into limestone. In front of the façade there was a 4 column porch in sandstone with relief’s coloured in yellow.

Inside there was a pillared hall with 3 chapels. There is good colour on the reliefs. Relief’s are usually plaster on limestone but in this tomb the painting is direct on to the limestone which is poor quality with a lot of cracks. There is evidence of different artists at work. The depiction of foreign people is the most popular relief from this tomb; it also shows gold being counted. The three chapels are the 1south pr-wr, 2 centre sh-ntr and 3 north pr-nsr/pw.

Northern Chapel
They found pieces of the door jamb. Scenes show a funerary procession, travel to Abydos, lots of offerings and a barrel vaulted ceiling. The false door from this chapel is in the Cairo museum and Dr Gabirela hopes that the restoration of the tomb will include putting this back in situ. They are extremely concerned about the cracks in the tomb, they are trying to consolidate them and also hope the removal of the houses will help.

Central Chamber
They found 400 stones, perhaps put there by Davies, that are not documented. Lots have colour and hieroglyphics. These pieces are now safe in a storage area. There are lots of poor people in the area and these stones mean money so they have to be stored carefully. The team is planning to publish the graffiti and exterior hieroglyphics. They also did some tests to see what cleaning would do. This season the first thing to do was to safe guard the roof as the fallen houses had put weight on the chambers. Previously they found that the iron beams supporting the roof had moved by 7cm in 2005. They tried to support them. The quality of the concrete on the roof was awful with no structural steel inside. They were able to put a boot through so had to remove and replace. While this work was going on the protected the walls with wood. They also raised the height of the protective wall. They have found more parts of the courtyard and expect to take another 5 – 6 years to complete their work.

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May 4th, 2007
Bus from Hurghada to Luxor - Don’t do it!!!
I just went on a 2 day trip to Hurghada, yes I am having a lot of time off recently We went with my normal mini bus driver Rageeb but new restrictions mean only tour companies can bring people from Hurghada to Luxor so he was unable to bring us back. So we decided to take the scheduled bus.
Firstly we were given wrong information about departure time so got to the station at 3pm only to be told by one person that the next bus was at 5 and another it was at 7. We returned at 5 and yes there was a bus at that time but it was going to Cairo!!!! So we had to wait until 7. So we went into the rather grotty cafe there. It was swarming with flies and I did cause a sensation by getting a can of fly spray out and spraying the cafe. That made our stay a lot more pleasant.

So at 7 we exit cafe and go outside to wait for bus. Lots of buses arrived but none of them were going to Luxor. Eventually at 8:20 the Luxor bus arrived, no air con, dirty but at least it arrived and there were seats. The price is good 30LE but it takes for ever. We eventually got to Luxor at 1:30am. The bus does not go into Luxor so then you have to find a taxi or service car to get you into Luxor proper and that can cost as much as the ticket did. We were met by Rageeb who I had phoned along the road, which was a total relief. There were also lots of touts try to get people to go to hotels. So great for the backpackers.

My personal recommendation, don’t do it. Fly, pay a hotel to take you but unless you like endless, dirty, hot travel don’t take the bus

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April 28th, 2007
Restoration at the temple of Seti I
Something appears to have resulted from the publicity I have been giving to the deterioration at the temple of Seti I at Gurna. This lovely temple has been suffering badly from the the rising water table and I reported and photographed massive pieces of decoration falling of the pedestals located by the first pylon.
Today I went there and I was the happiest Egyptologist in Luxor as I walked in to see a team at work. Working under the direction of Rainer Stadelmann, Elena (sorry I didnt get her surname) from Madrid University was directing workman to remove the pedestal blocks. She very kindly explained what was going on. They arrived there 10th April and are due to leave 10th May. The idea is to put all the endangered blocks away from the water table. First they are doing emergency stabilization work, then the blocks are being moved onto wooden rails to keep them out of contact with the ground. During the summer then will dry out and when the team returns in October they will do more long term restorations and eventual reassembly. Elena had recently been working at the Amenhotep III temple and her team of Egyptian workman also. As a result she told us thye need little supervision and were totally familiar with the kind of work they had to do. Whilst we were there they were removing one block and she pointed out the totally saturate soil around the block.

this is an old photo of the condition of these pedestals followed by a load of photos taken today.

This is the same view today and you can see how much work the team have done remove the crumbling blocks

This is elena in front of one of the pedestal blocks, you can see how fragile it is, some of the blocks had lost decoration before she arrived (as I have reported) but where ever possible she has retrieved these fragments and hopes to piece them together.

Some of the team are working on piece these pieces together and here is one member mixing material to the right colour

some other team members are removing salts from the blocks

here are the team removing the blocks from the second pedestal, I hope you can see how wet the earth is surronding the block

Back in March 2004 there was a lecture about this temple and although not written for publication (this was pre my blog) here are my notes from the lecture.

Seti I by Rainer Stadelmann

The mortuary temple of Seti I is a direct line from Karnak and the 1st station on the road to Del el Bahri as used by the Feast of the Valley. Mortuary temples, in order to ensure worship continued at that them, became station temples in this feast. They wanted to be temples of millions of years and have endless offerings. By using the Feast of the Valley they did ensure worship fir 1 ½ thousand years. The barques of the Gods would stay at Del el Bahri for a few days. The feast took place in the second month of summer (approx May). The king had to attend this feast or at least the first part. It dates from the Middle kingdom as there was graffiti at Mentuhotep about it.

The Karnak relief’s show the barque of Amun coming out of his sanctuary and being carried around the open parts of Karnak. Then the barque of the God was transferred by Royal barge to the West Bank. It went along a canal until it got to the first station Seti I temple. The main part of the temple is for this feast. The king desired endless offerings and this was his way of getting them. Not only Amun was carried in procession but also Mut and Khonsu. At Seti’s temple there are also chapels to Ptah and Osiris. Seti went back to 4/5 dynasty to try and consolidate things after the chaos of Akhenaton.

When the procession got to the temple it would be taken to the barque room and from there to a shrine. The God is shown standing before the King with Thoth and Horus purifying. The dead king them became identified with Amun in this temple and sort of transfigured into the God. The king is shown sitting receiving offerings and holding the sign of life indicating that he had become a God. There is a goddess with a temple on her head called Merien Ptah and besides her it says I am the temple mother, you are reborn as Amun. Each side of the steps there is a chapel to Hathor and to Put. These are divine chapels where you enter the world of the Gods.

The temple of Seti I has been rather neglected by modern scholars. Napoleon’s expedition visited it. Wilkinson and Hayes were there. In 1842 the Prussian expedition of Richard Lepsius drew up plans and showed the sphinxes of the first pylon. A plan of 1932 showed the extensive magazines and very houses in the area. Petrie excavated for 3 days and found jars and sealings.

In 1970 it became part of the German excavation work in Egypt and Willy Brandt even came to visit and see progress.

In 1994 a huge thunderstorm hit the site and destroyed half the temple area including the first pylon and place area. Fortunately enough of the foundations remained for the team to reconstruct.

There is a tremendous problem with salt destroying the temple (like so much of Egyptian antiquities) and although they have cleaned a lot it comes back very quickly and the temple is in danger like every where else.

The problem is exasperated by the fact the land has chemicals on it since the Nile no longer fertilises the land and this is seeping into the water table. At the excavations at Amenhotep III temple the water came into a hole they excavated like a shower.

In the West of the temple there is false door which they also had in palaces. This enables the spirit of the dead king to enter and leave. Amun could also use it in order to do his night journey before getting up in the morning.

The Seti I temple at Abydos was like a mortuary temple for all the Gods of Egypt. Including Seti himself. Abydos had been used for Old Kingdom burials and cenotaphs in the Middle Kingdom. Ahmoses of the New Kingdom was buried there.

We don’t how the temple functioned in the late period but certainly in Greco Roman times there was a big revival and the 1st pylon was reinforced and a pavement created. This proved to be of Steele from Seti and Ramses laid face down. So the team have been able to recover these and put them on display.

In S/E corner there was a very small church, probably only held 20 people. And in late Roman times it was used by a rich person we know this as not only ceramic but glass has been recovered. It was in use until 6/7th century.

After it stopped being used as a mortuary temple it was quickly inhabited by the priest that worked there. Hence the number of magazines used to store offerings.

Medinet Habu was unique because the high secondary walls protected a large population.

There would have been a peristyle court at Seti I. The first court is not like Ram III it might have been an open court

The architraves of the first door are displayed along the processional way. The pylon gate could not be saved

Inside there is a scene of the goddess Seshat writing the names of Seti

At the Ramesseum and Medinet Habu there is a temple place to the south but Dr Stadelmann does not believe it was inhabited because there were no kitchens.

Seti I temple place had the same dimensions with a 12 pillared hall, steps leading to a window of appearances, a throne room, bathroom and a false door. The statue of the King would appear at the window of appearances.

Before Seti all the temples were supplied by Karnak but from him onwards all temples have their own magazines to store offerings.

In front of the pylon there are pedestals for sphinxes, these must have been huge. The south gate leads to a small mortuary temple for Ramses I Seti’s father who had no time to build a mortuary temple due to the shortness of his reign.

There are scenes of the feast of the valley on the walls, the barque being carried by priests using 6 poles. Also the barque of Amens Nefertari. The barques are shown inside a shrine on the royal barge. The ram’s heads are symbols of Amun.

There was a wide open court with an altar. The niches were thought to be late additions but they have been found to have royal cartouches so are contemporary. The kings offers flowers (a big part of the feast). Ordinary people would also bring flowers and then have taken them to their family tombs. There is s sacred lake with 2 staircases and a room so it would have been used for Nile offerings.

In the S/w corner foundation deposits were found of faïence animals with the name of Seti. Also found were bricks of Ram I the head of Queen Tuya wife of Seti and mother of Ram II

The team have planted the holy tree persea. This species had dies out in Egypt but now there are 2 in the garden of the Cairo museum. The Seti tree came from Abyssinia.

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April 24th, 2007

I am back
after my visit to the UK. I have 2 sets of lectures to write up for you and some emails to catch up on.
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April 18th, 2007
Sorry no updates
I am in the UK with lousy internet access but to Egypt next week
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April 11th, 2007
Restrictions at the Valley of Kings
News Story here (btw the story is a little inaccurate as the visitor centre is already open and I have reported that on my blog)

April 6, 2007 — The Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt, will soon be granted new protection in an attempt to control tourism, traffic and vandalism, Zahi Hawass, chief of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Discovery News.

At the same time, Egyptian authorities are encouraging tourists to educate themselves about the tombs, and experience the art within them, without visiting the fragile sites in person.

A new visitor center opening later this month will feature a large plastic model of the valley, showing the location of each of its 63 tombs. Computers and large visual displays will also be available.

Offering tourists detailed reproductions of the tombs’ paintings as an alternative to claustrophobic visits is another option favored by tourism officials.

Italian publisher De Agostini is working on a project which aims to produce the most complete digital archive of Egypt’s ancient art and architecture.

New imaging technology can detect and even revive faded paintings. The technology has yielded, for the first time, accurate reproductions of the tombs’ scenes that were supposed to guide dead pharaohs through the afterlife.

“Corridor paintings on 10-meter-large, 4-meter-high (33 by 13 feet) walls can’t be photographed with conventional techniques,” Sandro Vannini, the photographer who devised the technology, told Discovery News.

“First of all, you need safe, ‘cold’ light-emitting diodes to light up the tombs,” Vannini explained.

Each photograph consists of four shots clarified by special noise-eliminating software. They can then be combined into a single image with “patient post-production work,” Vannini said.

The result is what Vannini calls “impossible visions:” room-sized wall paintings perfectly portrayed in a single picture.

The pictures are published by De Agostini in Hawass’s new book, “The Royal Tombs of Thebes: A Gateway Through Eternity.”

The first of a series of three books on the Egyptian heritage, the book tells various versions of the most popular story in ancient Egypt: the quest for immortality and the journey into the afterlife.

“We can see details impossible to detect during a visit to the tombs,” Antonio Scuderi, director of editorial services at De Agostini, told Discovery News. “We discover gates guarded by snakes, deserts and lakes of fire, damned sinners, demons, rivers filled with drowned ones, mummies waiting for resurrection. It is really an amazing journey.”

Located in a rocky valley on the western bank of the Nile River near Luxor — the ancient Thebes — the Valley of the Kings was supposed to be the ultimate hidden burial.

For a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century B.C., mummies of kings and nobles were buried there into tombs cut from limestone.

Ironically, the sacred burial site has become one of the world most popular tourist attractions, visited on most days by an average of 5,000 people, with peaks of nearly 10,000 a day. That figure is expected to rise to 25,000 per day by 2015.

“Massive tourism is a danger,” Hawass explained. “Even the most respectful tourists can damage these monuments, as their breath and sweat leave behind a lot of water. This moisture becomes salt, which erodes the plaster and paint of the murals.”

At present, a ticket to the Valley of the Kings allows only three tombs to be toured out of nine tombs that open to visitors every six months on a rotating system.

The number of visitors to King Tut’s tomb, which once saw an average of 6,000 tourists a day, is now limited to 1,000.

According to Hawass, such restrictions are not enough. Crowds need to be diverted to less popular sites, he said, unless they are willing to pay more.

Indeed, the currently closed tomb of Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens, where fragile paintings cover a surface of over 1,600 square feet, can be visited by private parties willing to pay $5,000 for a group of 20 and a maximum visit time of 20 minutes.

Posted by Jane: - 9:19 am - Edit| 2 Comments »
April 7th, 2007
Rare Pictures of Hassan Fathy Prototype
Fans of Hassan Fathy will find these photos a real treat. Taken in 1945 in a private garden in Ma’adi, Cairo belonging to George and Mildred Beaver. (Thanks to the Normand family for letting me have them.) My guest Heather actually lived in Cairo in her childhood and in correspondence said that Hassan Fathy had made a prototype for the New Gurna houses in their garden and it had been used as a Wendy House when she was a child !!! There was a canal(now filled in) at the back of the house and the bricks were made on the banks. When they left it was pulled down so I begged for any photos they might have and they brought them to me today. Those of you that have been to the village in Gurna will recognise many features. I thought they deserved a wider audience so decided to publish them on the blog although they are not exactly Luxor News. I shall be framing my copies and putting them on display.

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April 7th, 2007
Mohammed’s house went today
My good friend Mohammed Ismail phoned me tonight to tell me his 200 year old house was torn down today. I know many of you know him D, Richard, Marty and others and were waiting to here this news. Marty wrote a great obituary to the house here and it comes with a video
Posted by Jane: - 8:07 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
April 5th, 2007
Restoration at Habu
This photo was taken a few months ago and showed the poor condition of the ‘harem’ area of the temple palace. The sandstone door way was crumbling, the floor was covered in weeds.

Now as you can see the doorway has been stablised with concrete, the weed cleared.

The floor covered with non moisture retaining pebbles. I presume this has been done by Chicago House as they are working in the temple.

Posted by Jane: - 2:13 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
April 4th, 2007
Mummification Museum Lecture - Nefermenu TT184 Dr Zoltan Fabian
Nefermenu TT 184 and the southern slope of El Khokha – Dr Zoltan Fabian Hungarian Mission
Dr Zoltan concentrated on TT184 but mentioned in passing a number of other tombs to save typing I will just refer to them by their TT number in the text. They were
• TT23 Tjay
• TT264 Ipiy
• TT412 Unisankh
• TT32 Djeutimes
• TT263 Piay

TT184 is a 19th dynasty tomb in the Khokha area which is between Deir el Bahri and the Ramasseum, the other side of the Assasif. It is 46m wide site and there is a modern building built on the courtyard. TT412 was known in the 60’s and the whole hillside is very crowded to 6 levels or stories. There are 19th, 18th, Middle Kingdom and Old kingdom remains.

In Dr Zoltan’s opinion TT32 is at the end of a canonising process which has impact of the architectural and decorative styles. There are 6 tombs that are very similar where everyday topics disappear from the rock cut parts of the tomb to the open courtyard. Three of the sanctuaries have religious scenes only. It used to be that the first transverse room was where the ceremony of the opening of the mouth took place but this has now moved to the open courtyard. Chapter 145 of the Book of the dead appears, known as proceeding to the underworld where small genies ask the deceased if he is purified and has his equipment. Usually the lower register shows offering scenes. The pleats of the garment are in light grey and over the body in pink. Dr Zoltan has identified one of the artists Zerkespie( can anyone help with spelling) and similarly although he does not know this artists name he thinks he is also responsible for some scenes in Merenptah when he was younger but by this time he had more experience and was responsible for the entire tomb. The dado line had 3 black, 1 red and 1 yellow line and these are all the same width, usually the black line is thinner. Sitaph and Tawert also have thick lines and these are characteristic of late 19th dynasty. The background is light grey at the bottom and white at the top. Other important features are the short wall of the transverse wall has a double false door with a figure of the deceased holding a djed pillar. Another feature is that at the entrance of the second sanctuary flanked by statues of the deceased. Harpers songs usually by the doorways.

Dr Zoltan then went on to explain the methodology he uses to record the scenes.

• Traces everything
• Identify individual elements
• Make photocopies and colour these
• Redraw on computer (he has a computer program that allows him to have up to 63 layers so he can separate hieroglyphics, sculptured elements, borders, damage, painted only

The side walls of the 2nd chapel have corvette cornices turned inside out. First appearance of the litany of Sokaris which is shorter than the one at Deir el Medina. There are 3 subsequent chambers. Above this monument was another from the time of Hatshepsut/ Thothmosis III. At the end there was a doorway that had been blocked around the time of World War I. In the time of Nefermenu this tomb was under debris which is why they had to construct an artificial ceiling on the third room. The burial chamber had an unfinished granite sarcophagus and masses of debris with loads of object in it e.g., shabties from 19 dynasty and cartonage from the 22nd dynasty. Behind the blocked entrance they found a naos in the post Amarna period these cease to be those of the deceased and his family and become various gods. So the tomb stops being a mortuary temple for the deceased but rather a divine temple for the gods. In TT32 they found an Osirus triad. TT263 has a Hathor and TT38 meryptah.

Dr Zoltan speculated that often tombs show a special connection with Amenhotep I and in Nefermenu’s case this is true. In another side chamber there is evidence of a change of statue, maybe they started to do a family member but that was dismissed (old fashioned) and replaced with a divine statue.

TT32 had a mud brick superstructure and he looked for one above Nefermenu. There is evidence of pyramids of the Luxor hills from the 17th dynasty discovered by Daniel Poults and the high priest pyramids. Deir el Medina had little pyramids. There was no epigraphic evidence so he had to find the context of the remains.

They found a saif tomb from the Middle kingdom and another Middle kingdom monument standing on a 15 cm high podium. There was evidence of 18th dynasty objects reused and a Middle Kingdom side wall. There was a ramp. There more finds in their debris
• Letter to Harry Burton
• Ring
• Pots
• Shabties
• Shabty box
• Ear plugs

Some walls indicate a shaft tomb from the III Intermediate period and in another 3rd Intermediate period shaft tomb they found 2 out of the 4 canopic jars. Shabty boxes.

He has also discovered that the current TT206 is not correctly identified and will attempt to find the correct tomb

He is looking forward to the removal of the house above the tomb as there are cracks inside that might be relived once it was gone.

I am sorry about the quality of these notes Dr Zoltan was a little challenging to take notes from and as ever I would appreciate any corrections.

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April 3rd, 2007
Christian leBlanc
This photo is easier to under stand. Christian le Blanc being interviewed at Hatshepsut’s temple by French television.

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April 2nd, 2007
What was that about?
At the temple of Hatshepsut the other day this band was playing. Nobody I spoke to had any idea why? Nobody important was expected, nothing was going on. I didnt even know Luxor had a brass band, where to they perform, where do they practice. A mystery even better than the curse of Tutankhamun

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April 1st, 2007
the sugar cane train
You may have wondered what the narrow gauge railway lines on the West Bank were used for. well at this time of year they harvest the sugar cane fields and the crop is taken away on by trains running on these tracks.

As you can see the grip needs adjusting and the man on the front of the train is pouring sand on the track so the wheels will grip properly.

As the train goes along both adults and children sneak sticks of cane to munch on. I love it but it is dangerous and expensive, the last time I tried it I broke a crown!!!!!

It is really long and goes all the way to Esna where the cane is processed

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March 31st, 2007
Sanctuary of Thothmosis III chapel at Medinet Habu
I maanged to get this photo during a visit to Habu. The Chicago House team are working there recording the temple and you don’t often get an opportunity to see this.

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March 30th, 2007
Mummification Museum Lecture - North karnak survey - Dr Sally Ann Ashton
North Karnak survey – Dr Sally Ann Ashton
This survey has been conducted over 2 years and is in the general are of the Montu temple. The site was first excavated in 1949 when the gateway of Hatshepsut was discovered. The aim of this survey was threefold
• Investigate the chronology
• Function of the site
• Recording techniques

Firstly they did a contour survey using satellite technology; this was needed in order to record the site properly for the magnetometer work. They discovered more in the West than the North. After one year on checking the various features and objects they discovered little change apart from on column base that had been moved up near the police hut.

Features Discovered
• Standing mud brick structures
• Broken column bases
• Column drums (sometimes cut into 2 during Roman times, Romans were reusing a lot of material
• Remains of mud brick found on columns with a central stone shaft surrounded by mud brick

The result of the survey was not much different from aerial recordings of the site but much more accurate.

Dr Ashton went into quite a lot of detail but you could tell there was a lot more scientific methodology behind her remarks. For example she mentioned in passing the difficulties of deciding what was on the surface. What exactly that tern meant. She described the technique that they had used of marking 1 meter circles every 20 meters and thoroughly investigating that circle. They had to clear the areas of thorns. Objects within the circle were brought to her for identification. They looked at pottery on the surface only no digging. They found many rims and were able to date these from the fabric in the pottery. This has all been recorded in a database.

They found mainly domestic ware and ceramic wasters. After these were recorded the team put them back in the circles so that any subsequent team could pick up from where they left off. After one year these piles had not been disturbed. The pottery was from the 3rd Intermediate Period, late Ptolemaic, Roman with minority being New Kingdom. There were a few fine wear pieces, some brick wasters but mainly domestic wear. There were Aswan, oasis and Canaanite amphora. Nile silt predominates in Roman areas.

This year the methodology went further using 1 meter circles but the results show that the 20m circles were representative. They also did a complete clearance of one area and the methodology held up.

There was a 25th dynasty structure of Osirus with 18th dynasty origins and portrayals of the #God’s wife Amun. There was not enough time to investigate properly.
Magnotometer (for those of you unfamiliar with this technique I found this explanation on the web It tests the earth’s magnetic signature and it varies right across the earth. So our big green ball has a background magnetic signature and if a ship or a lump of iron goes down within that main magnetic signature it causes what we call an ‘anomaly’. And then, once you bring a magnotometer into play, you’re then able to see whether there’s an object there.) This was used all over the site except certain points like the police hut and from these they were unable to locate various structures of the New Kingdom, 3rd Intermediate Period, Ptolemaic and Roman periods.

Area A
Largest structures had mud brick walls; from the magnotmeter results it looked possible it was a kiln area.

Area C
Had mud brick near the gateway of Hatshepsut

In areas L and M there was a substantial stone wall, 15 sandstone blocks indicating a large stone structure and explains why there is no pottery or mud brick in that area.

Evidence of early enclosure wall, an auger went 3.6 meters and at 3 meters there was early material from late Middle kingdom and New kingdom.

The area that showed as a possible kiln was cleared down to 30 cm and sieved using a 5mm sieve. Looking for beads and faience which are very helpful with dating. Initially it looked quite promising and found at a lower level evidence of living but 30 cm down they found a mud brick wall with 2 stones. They did find kiln associated material cones, saggers, wasters, types of pottery reused and dumped. So kiln material but not a kiln, it looks like holes were dug and stuffed dumped in it.

The alignment fits with the revechan trench, there were 7 dumps within the 30 cms with large quantities of materials. They only recorded material bigger than 2 cm. They found mud seals, a Ptolemaic terracotta face, 1 Greek fragment, tripod from a kiln, a very little amount of Middle Kingdom debris and some New kingdom at the lower levels most stuff is late period and Ptolemaic

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March 29th, 2007
Hadana Ibn Rushd - nursery school El Gezera, West Bank Luxor part 4
Hi Jane
Hope you are well. I have an update for you on Hamidas nursery.

I began a sponsored diet in January and it is my final weigh-in this Friday. I have lost 2 stone exactly so far and have hopefully raised enough money to buy 2 new computers for Hamidas nursery!!! The children will benefit so much. When we visited in January we were astonished at how well the children have progressed. Yes, there has been problems - mainly with the transport to get the kiddies to and from the nursery, but Hamida has overcome these and is going from strength to strength.

My son Sam and his mate Josh are doing a 100 mile walk over Easter weekend and hope to raise more money for more equipment. We are actively looking for a new property to rent with a garden for the children to play in, so if anyone has any leads we would be really grateful.

We also have a local newspaper in the UK doing an article on the nursery next week and hope to involve tv etc!!! I am so pleased I found your article - thank you so much.


there are lots more details here

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March 26th, 2007
Toutankhamon Magazine
Since few days, the new issue of Toutankhamon Magazine is available.

Contents of this issue include :
- Egypte of the oases : and if the civilization comes from de west,
the 7th oases of Edfou, archeaological sites, oases and egyptian history
- the mysteries of Osiris
- the two Horus
- Kiya : the another queen of Akhenaten
- the death of Bay chancellor
- Belzoni
- alabaster boat of toutankhamon
- tomb of Ramose at Gurnah
- predynastic collection at Musée d’Archéologie Nationale (près de
- the egyptian temple
- divine birth
- hommage at Agnes Cabrol

and also in our web site :
- podcasts and forum

best regards,

francois tonic
redactor of chief

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March 25th, 2007
A Visit to Gebel Silsila
Gebel Silsila is located between Edfu and Ko Ombo and currently is accessible only on a Nile cruise by a private sailing vessel. Judging by the guide books no travel writer has ever been there because only a paragraph or two is written about the place and yet there is so much of interest there.
We used to get there in a 4 cabin 2 bathroom lateen rigged sailing boat that can sleep up to 8 although there were only 4 of us. We drove to Edfu to pick up the boat and start our Nile cruise. As this is a sailing boat and we had opted not to be accompanied by a tug we were reliant on the wind to get us to our destination. It is interesting that in ancient times the hieroglyph for south was a ship in full sail. To go north the Ancient Egyptians used the river current. In fact there was no wind so we hitched a ride of a passing barge who took us all the way from Edfu to Gebel Silsila. We arrived there at night and to our pleasant surprise the site is floodlit and accessible. The actual Speos of Horemheb is closed at night but as it was protected by metal grills it was easy to see in. The area around it was also floodlit and ancient quarry work and rock cut tombs and chapels litter the site.

In the morning we awoke to a direct view as we were moored right outside the chapel. So we breakfasted with the speos as a backdrop. On land the ticket cost 20LE and according to the ticket number over 2000 people had been here since they had been issuing tickets. So although not a popular site by any means, the Valley of the Kings for example can get 9,000 in a day, it is not totally unvisited. We had the place to ourselves and the guardians and policeman took great pleasure in showing us round, especially when they could see we were really interested. In fact the policeman seemed to know quite a lot about the site and was a very helpful guide.

The speos of Horemheb is a rock cut chapel in the side of the mountain, t shaped with the top of the T facing the river. It has 5 openings and all wall surfaces are decorated. The end of the down stroke of the T has statues of Amun and five other Gods at the end and according to the guardian it gets lit up by the sun, similar to Abu Simbel, at certain dates in the year. The policeman related a story of a traveller or archaeologist named Castex discovered this phenomena and that is why there is graffiti there with this name on.

One of the pillars had also been excavated and had statues inside them. On the walls Horemheb is seen making offerings to various Gods, Ptah, Sehkmet, Amun, Mut, Khonsu, Thoth, Hathor, sucking from Tawsert. In many of the offering scenes Horemheb seemed to be followed by his wife or members of his court. He had two wives but Amenia died before his accession as pharaoh so his queen was Mutnodjmet (possible sister of Nefertiti).

We found a hieroglyph new to me, which seems to shown foreigners similar to that depicted on the temple of Medinet Habu, with hair sticking straight up from their head and a head band. Maybe an early punk rocker.

There was a scene of Horemheb being carried along in a on the shoulders of his servants who were wearing feathers in their hair like Ma’at. In front another servant was busy waving a large fan.

There were servants preparing the offerings and the relief work although often damaged showed this presentation of legs of beef clearly.

There was a large inscription which looked like hieratic high up on one of the walls. Next to it was a scene of a court official offering to Pharaoh.

Graffiti on the outside included a mention of the British Army and Egyptian Camel Corp; Winston Churchill actually served in this corp.

Leaving the speos and going along the path we came across many inscriptions carved into the rock by later pharaohs. The area is very clean and the sand is like beach sand.

There were beautifully preserved stele carved into the side of the hill along the path.

Also there was lots of evidence of ancient quarry which was awe inspiring, the clean sharp lines left by the removal of the stone, dwarfed you.

There were other chapels cut into the rock with paint remaining and the men helped us clamber through into the chapel where you had a lovely view of the Nile. There were 9 statues in this chapel.

Further long we came to yet another chapel that had lost its top but the feet and legs of the statues remained together with two rectangular holes which looked like graves. The policeman told us they were tombs.

There was one place which had a number of large holes cut into the rock and we were told this was where the ancient boats used to tie up.

We did not go over to the other side of the Nile but apparently there is more to see there as well. We shall certainly be going back and sailing the Nile on a traditional sailing boat, is the ideal way to enjoy both the Nile and this site. And these larger vessels with proper facilites are perfect.

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March 21st, 2007
Short Break
Well I am off on a short Nile cruise on a traditional sailing boat, my birthday treat and i hope to stop at Gebel Silsila and get some photos of chapel of Haremheb to share with you
Posted by Jane: - 4:31 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
March 14th, 2007
Roman Frescoes at Luxor Temple

I haven’t visited Luxor Temple for quite some time so was pleasantly surprised to see that the scaffolding has been removed the the restored frescoes are on display. They look wonderful and all credit to the Chicago House team pictured below for a superb job.

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March 11th, 2007
Sir Derek Plumbly, the British Ambassador holds reception in Luxor
Following the Consular roadshow the British ambassador Sir Derek Plumby held a reception at the Winter Palace Hotel. There were many people there from tourism, government, local residents and consular officials. Dr Samir Farag the governor of luxor was there together with his press secretary Rania, who has been featured on this blog. the Curator of the Luxor museum, members of the SCA, Kim Taylor from Animal Care in Egypt, Mohammed Ezz from Hod Hod Soliman and many many others.

Sir Derek spoke in both Arabic and English of his thanks to the Egyptian authorities for their services to the many British tourists that come to Luxor. Over 1 million Britains visit Egypt and 1 million tourists provides 200,000 jobs for Egypt. He also spoke of Ehab Gaddis the Honorary Consul in Luxor and how the Gaddis name had been famous in Luxor for over 100 years. Many old photos of the town were taken by Mr Gaddis senior.

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March 10th, 2007
British Embassy Roadshow in Luxor - Today
Went this morning to this excellent event and met the Ambassador and his staff. I even met the Visa officer that gave my husband his visitors visa to the UK last year which was most amusing. They are really making an effort to help the residents of Luxor and this road show was the first in a series of initiatives. I had all sorts of suggestions for them and who knows they might even take notice of some of them. They had loads of leaflets, advice sheets and even some goodies. I can now drink my tea out of a mug saying Consular Section
The event is still going on until 5 o’clock and it is at the Sonesta so make an effort and attend.

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March 9th, 2007
An American eye view of WaMu
Remember my lovely American family and their fabulous blog, well they had their credit cards stolen and the card company WaMu have behaved appalingly towards them. Read the whole story here and the moral of the story is don’t travel abroad with WaMu.
Apart from that catch up with their final view of Luxor

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March 9th, 2007
British Embassy roadshow tomorrow at the Sonesta
Don’t forget to attend if you live here or deal with tourists
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March 5th, 2007
Mummification Museum Lecture - Recent Excavations by the SCA - Mansour Boraik
Recent Excavations by the SCA (Supreme Council of Antiquities – Mansour Boraik
It is a great pity that I can not include the slides of this presentation as they were some of slickest I have seen at one of these lectures and illustrated the lecture extremely well. Mr Mansour was also a very good lecturer, speaking without notes, and I hope we see him on stage again (hint, hint).

Mansour Boraik was introduced (extremely wittily) by one of his colleagues. He started his career as an Inspector on the Giza Plateau and was the right hand man of Zahi Hawass for many years. He found the Valley of the Workers where the pyramid builders lived. He moved from Giza to Aswan to Sohag and came to Luxor 15 months ago.

He explained that when he arrived here there were many national projects going on and it was a challenge for the Inspectorate to manage all of then. At that time these were mainly on the East Bank but recently they have had the added challenge of the removal of Gurna Village on the West Bank. There is a budget of 600 million pounds for these projects.

He arranged for Mark Lehner to come to Luxor and to train the Inspectors. Also Ray Johnson of Chicago House has contributed in to professional development of the Inspectorate.

Mansour gave a big thanks to all his colleagues in the inspectorate and foreign missions and it is was worthwhile noting the respect shown to Mansour by the extremely high turnout. I have not seen so many people at a lecture since Otto Schaden gave his talk

The lecture was divided into the 4 areas currently under excavation
Sphinx Avenue
Behind Mubarak Library
El Madrassa

The Sphinx Avenue at Luxor temple
This was originally excavated in the 1950’s and although it was thought to run all the way to Karnak temple this was not proved at that time. The first place they excavated was the public gardens that were next in the line of the avenue after the police station. As this was SCA land that had been loaned to the government for a garden this area was politically easy to excavate. They found that the sphinxes were mostly destroyed, partly by inhabitations that go back to Roman times and also by tree and vegetation damage. They found sphinxes of Nectanebo and a lovely block carrying Cleopatra’s name which was used in the construction of the houses.

The East side of the avenue had a canal dug next to it probably in the medieval period which had pushed over many of the sphinxes. They found lots of pottery dating to the Roman period.

Eventually the police station will be demolished to make way for the connection between this area and the end of the Luxor temple sphinxes.

Behind the Mubarak Library
Excavating this land was much more problematic as it belonged to local farmers and they attacked the SCA. The plan was to do some transverse sections and then to use machines to remove the highest level of the site. Unfortunately some work by machines started before the trans-sections were done and the SCA rushed to the site and fortunately only 2 hours of work had been done and they were able to stop it. It did damage some Roman remains.

There is a layer of alluvial silt on the pavement and this indicates that there was a big flood which affected the pavement and sphinxes. The slides showed the wheel ruts of Roman vehicles which had dug into this pavement. Nectenebo had constructed this area and used sand with the pavement laid on top. In medieval times they decided to reuse the pedestals which were of a convenient size and structure and pushed the sphinxes of the pedestals. The area was then flooded and the silt built up around the fallen sphinxes, pedestals and pavement. A slide was shown of a reconstructed sphinx and its missing pedestal.

Mansour referred to the work of William Y Adam who studied the production of wine in Nubian and continually commented about the relationship between what they had found and the descriptions of Adams in his work.

They found a water wheel from medieval times and lots and lots of Roman structures including wine presses. There appears to have been a wine ‘factory’ in this area. There was evidence of 2 huge pots which would have been used for fermentation. Next to the cistern used for storing the wine they found amphora. There were three areas that had immense amounts of pottery and they found evidence of a pottery kiln. This fits with Adam’s studies where he said that around a wine producing area there would be pottery kilns. This area was just behind the East side of the Avenue of Sphinxes.

There was a slide of an old 19th centenary photo graph shown of a kiln surrounded by pots which fits perfectly with the evidence they have found.

There is no evidence of settlements and this fits with the supposition of a canal alongside the avenue.

Just 3 days ago they found a cistern and Mansour is convinced that this is an area of Roman wine production or ‘factory’.

They have found 2 stele one of Tiberius in a traditional Egyptian pose wearing the double crown and offering to Amun, Mut and Khonsu. It was perhaps taken from the Mut temple.

There was also one of Bakenkhonsou shown Sektnakht kneeling in front of Amun. From its location found underneath a palm tree and nowhere near any other remains they believe that it could have been stolen and hid with its location marked by the palm tree and never recovered by the thieves. This steel mentions Year 4 of Sektnakht and this is the first mention of such a high reignal year. It says how he did work to the termous wall, rebuilt the hyperstyle hall and replaced many statues. It is an extremely important piece expanding our knowledge of this time. There is quite an interesting article about this work here

This was the time of the beginning of the rule of the priests of Amun and we have 4 statues of Bakenkhonsou in the Cairo museum but this stele has told us much more about him.

The army have built some retaining walls but before they go any further Mansour wants to excavate further away from the actual sphinxes as he believes there may be more behind them. He intends to reveal the entire route of the sphinx avenue as they can see there is much to find by their current excavations but there will be problems removing the houses and sadly they will have to destroy some medieval houses.

In Front of Karnak
From the tomb of Neferhotep we know that there was a large basin in front of Karnak temple but this was in the time of Amenhotep III. And not in front of the Karnak we see today. Before the area in front of the temple is tiled they want to do much more excavation. Shama’at of the SCA has been excavating just under the exit area of Karnak and has found a kitchen with 5 round pits or furnaces from the late Roman period. They want to re-excavate the area of the wall where they think the Nile came to, there being no basin at this time. The wall is probably from the 21/22 dynasty time.

Madrassa Area
This was the area used by the SCA to park their cars after the school was removed. The contractors were digging in this area and were allowed to go down 1 ½ meters but actually went down 2 ½ meters and found some blocks and mud brick; this actually follows the wall line from Shama’at’s excavation. They found an arch and at first thought it was a kiln but subsequently found it had been plastered. So this was possible a basement which had been subsequently filled with pots. They found 5 phases of occupation which the foundations of the old school had cut through. Just one month ago they found a 29th dynasty block of King Basamates (I think I must have got this name down wrong and it should be Psammuthis, if anyone could correct me I would appreciate it) the name was defaced but the Horus name left intact.

They also found lots of Roman houses and stairs similar to those found by Shama’at. They dug until they reached the water table and found an embankment wall (25/26th dynasty), bore holes taken by the side show sand and silt indicating the progression of the Nile to the West. In order to make this area part of Karnak they have had the asphalt road moved so it goes around the outside edge

Posted by Jane: - 11:57 am - Edit| 1 Comment »
March 5th, 2007
Visiting the Mut Temple - Special Permission Required
I was lucky enough to go to the Mut temple the other day, my third visit but I was met by an extremelly frazzled Mary McKercher. She had to fend off a group of unauthorised tourists who would not take no for answer when she explained they could not visit the temple. You must get permission from the SCA. In our case we were given our written permission and a guardian from the SCA accompained us. So please do not give the archeologists a hard time when they say they can not let you in. Apply to the SCA for permission in the proper manner.
Anyway here are a few photos for the unlucky people.

This is an overview of the main temple taken from temple D with temple B, Ramses III in the background. followed by a nice shot of temple A showing colour

Here is a Horemheb sphinx from in front of 10th pylon

The pedestal in front of 10th pylon shown some lovely animals by the foot of Hapy followed by the cross roads of the Spinx avenue between Khonso to Luxor and Mut

Posted by Jane: - 10:17 am - Edit| 2 Comments »
March 5th, 2007
El Basha gets right
El Basha did a second party night and it was so much better than the first. He took a lot of advice from my penthouse resident and that made the whole thing so much better. This time you could hear to place an order, there were two set menus so food came on time and there were enough glasses As you can see some of my guests really enjoyed the night and entered into the spirit of the thing.

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February 27th, 2007
Richard and Mary have left the temple
Yes the Mut temple team have now closed their work down and after tidying and a brief visit to Cairo will be winging their way back home. Catch their website for that latest situation before they go.
Posted by Jane: - 9:40 pm - Edit| No Comments »
February 27th, 2007
Mummification Museum Lecture - David Roberts - William Peck
This was a very interesting lecture where we were shown a critical analysis by use of photos and reproductions of David Roberts pictures. Sadly not a good lecture to document without the slides. However William Peck told me that he an article published in Kemet 5 or 6 years ago on the subject with every picture he sent them so that would be good to get hold of if you are interested in the subject.
Roberts often used people is his pictures but the scale was incorrect, perphaps this was done in order to make the picture even more monumental and this more saleable.

Peck suggested that he might have made use of a ‘camera lucida’ which enables a skilled artist to quickly reproduce an accurate copy of a place. As Roberts only spent 2 1/2 months in Egypt a device like this might explain the huge numbers of pictures he drew in a very short time.

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February 27th, 2007
Taxi drivers honesty
My guests have demanded that I record this in my blog as they were so impressed. One lady had left her handbag behind whilst visiting the East Bank. Actually she thought she had left it in a restaurant. On returning to the East Bank 2 days later the driver of the taxi they had used spotted them and come running up with her bag. He had been looking for her all that time.
I often hear stories like this and whilst some people are light fingered a surprising number are honest to the point of sainthood.

Posted by Jane: - 9:17 pm - Edit| No Comments »
February 27th, 2007
Mummification Museum Lecture - Forgotton Tombs of the Southern Assasif - Dr Elena Pischikova
Forgotten Tombs of the Southern Assasif - Dr Elena Pischikova
The idea of excavating the Southern Assasif came because the work the team did at Tomb of Nespakashuty (TT 312). After spending 6 years reconstructing the sandstone entrance which was a 6 m high structure. They felt their next task should be to find his mother. This tomb was known to be in the area known as Southern Assasif. This area is nowhere near the Assasif tombs at Deir el Bahri, but that is the name it is known by. It is actually just across the road from the Ramasseum, in southern Gurna and in the village of Abed Rassoul. There are 3 tombs near each other.

TT390 Irtieru or Irtyru, female scribe and attendant of the god’s priestess Nitiqret, Late Period
TT391 Karabasken or Kerebesken, mayor of Thebes, Dynasty 25
TT223 Karakhamun, first priest with entry, Late Period

There were many problems excavating in this area as the villagers felt these tombs were part of their houses. Indeed TT391 was used as the summer house when the family slept outside due to the extreme heat. It was a very complicated situation. The tombs were being used for the housing of donkeys and dogs. The team felt the removal of the village was good news but wanted to be around when the houses were demolished as they could see fragments being used in the construction of these houses.

Lexius recorded that there 2 door frames but 150 years later these were hard to see. The last person to see them was Dieter Arnold. Even finding where they were in the village was difficult but eventual in 2001 they were traced to the home of Ahmed Mahmoud Abdul Rassoul. The team were not welcome and they could not excavate as the family were there. Eventually Ahmed did let them in, it should be noted that he died 2 weeks ago.

There was a 4 story house on top of the tomb and the family were using the open courtyard. The tomb was covered in soot but although the ceiling was black they could see colour through it and it was a challenge to remove this soot without damaging the colour and pattern underneath. Lots of fragments had also been cut out. Prelimary cleaning revealed the colour, the whole tomb was painted and the Divine Adoratrice Nitocris (Neitiqert) was present in many scenes.

The old kingdom style papyrus columns were revealed to be painted in yellow. The offering inscription was dedicated to her father. There are 4 sections to the vaulted ceiling which have different patterns. The team found that the soot had actually preserved the colours. There was a prelimary drawing of the kepher frieze. All the tombs were left unfinished and Dr Elena knows that there is a related tomb at Abydos and wants to see if that is unfinished to. There is an offering scene of the owner and father.

The second door frame was covered in mud and had to be recorded before cleaning. In 2nd pillared hall the pillars are not in good condition, it is not finished and just has prelimary lines. There was a niche with lost bits. The carving is so shallow that without the painting you can not see it. It has never been excavated and the burial chamber has not been found by archaeologists. But they don’t expect to find anything as after this time the chamber has probably been cleared but they may find relief

TT391 was the house used during the summer by the family and in the courtyard there were 6 layers of flood debris. It was full of graffiti and the architectural elements had been destroyed. They thought there was nothing there but after digging down 2 meters they found images. The ground is very wet. The images were in the style of the Old Kingdom. There was an undecorated pillared hall and a 6 niched chamber. It is being left for the future.

TT223 there is relief of Karakhamun, known in the Berlin museum. At the 4 meter level they found carving including a figurine. This tomb will take at least 10 years but the pillars might be able to be reconstructed at the end. A 4 by 9 meter area was cleared. There was a good example of Kushite carving including a hunting dog, priest with a sash and an image of the owner. They found lots of fragments. The name of the owner had gone but no new name had replaced it. At least 2 pillars were decorated with offerings. There is a painted procession of the Gods. Dr Elena would love to try and reconstruct the ceiling from the fragments found but that is for the future.

They expect that these three tombs will take a long time to excavate properly; even the rest of their lives but the priority is TT390

In the question and answer session Mansour Boraik talked about the demolition of the houses. Apparently 72 houses were chosen from old photos and were not going to be demolished. They have found that the people are not cop-operative. With regard to Ahmed Rassoul the SCA had got an agreement with him but now he has died they will have to get an agreement with his 2 wives and 10 children which complicates things. They now intend to keep 65 houses.

Posted by Jane: - 9:13 pm - Edit| No Comments »
February 18th, 2007
The Consular & Visa Sections of the British Embassy in Cairo will be making a visit to Luxor on Saturday 10 March.

We hope to be able to offer the following formal services at the temporary office in Luxor:

• Legalisation
• Notarial Services
• Passport Services (Fully completed applications will be accepted, then processed in Cairo and delivered by TNT)
• Visa services (Fully completed applications will be accepted, then processed in Cairo and delivered by TNT)

The Consular and Visa teams will be on hand to answer your queries. We would like to encourage holiday company representatives and British Citizens, especially those resident in Luxor, to visit the temporary office at the Conference facilities of the Sonesta St. George hotel from 09:00hrs to 17:00 hrs on Saturday 10 March.

Consular & Visa Sections
British Embassy
March 2007
Delivering a modern
visa service

Posted by Jane: - 9:33 am - Edit| No Comments »
February 16th, 2007
Mummification Museum Lecture - Amenhotep III temple Dr Hourig Sourouzian
The Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation project.
DR Hourig Sourouzian

The aim of the project is to preserve and eventually present these areas to the public. The team is a huge one 230 workman and 28 team members.

2002 season they were working on the 2nd and 3rd pylons and peristyle hall

2003 cleaned the colossus and studied the cracks; the northern colossus is the real ‘Memnon’ and has huge cracks in the roman restoration. There is a 40 degree difference between day and night and together with the vibrations from the car park and earthquake potential put a lot of pressure on the monument. The team undertake regular soundings underneath the plinths and during this saw a protruding foot, a Greek inscription was found. The bases have been left uncleaned for study purposes. The team needed to know what was happening underground. There has also been a study of the polychrome on the colossus.

The study of the torso of the northern colossus:- the original upper part fell in 27 BC, it was 700 tons, restored in Roman times with layers of blocks, some of which were reused stones. A report on this will appear soon.

We were shown some slides one of which was taken from Goggle earth showing the temple and are therefore available. The temple was on the top 100 endangered list in 1998/99 and 2004

At the gate of the second pylon there was a fallen colossus, possibly fallen at the time of Rameses II, this has been eaten by salts and plants. During 2003 they managed to open it up and joined two parts of the nemes head cloth. It was in a better state of preservation under the Nile silt. They hope they find the face.

In 2004/5 they lifted the torso after removing the head, it was 450 tons and they lifted it 1m 90 using air cushions. This process was very complicated technically. Part of the foot remained underneath. By 2005/6 they lifted it 3m 20 and after removing the foot found a lovely queen. This has now been moved 11m 50 to the north leaving behind a mound of gravel and you could even see the negatives of the air cushions. They need an aerial view of the site and to investigate why and when it collapsed.

The team have found literally thousands of fragments; they are going to leave the undecorated ones and will work on the decorated ones.

The brick pylon does exist and had 2 niches with granite foundation blocks for flag poles.

They have tried using various geo techniques but this has not proved useful.

There was a colonnade leading to a peristyle hall (similar to Luxor temple).
They have a regular problem with water; the site is underneath the level of the surrounding fields. There was 1 ½ steps up to the court which had many bases of colossus statues and columns. !00,000 new fragments have been discovered but it is impossible to reconstruct with the current water problem.

They have a dewatering project for the peristyle and hypostyle halls using porous pipes and the water being pumped out into the nearby carnal. In some cases because of the condition of the limestone blocks the trench line had to be moved. In other the blocks could be removed and restored and then replaced. They also removed the storage Mastaba and found artefacts underneath. A brick wall was found near the peristyle hall similar to that between the temple and magazines at the Ramasseum and Merenptah indicating that there must have been magazines.

Last season the water level had reduced 3 meters revealing foundations and walls, There was a statue between each pillar, which were bunched papyrus bundles. More foundations might be revealed as the water level drops further.

This temple has been neglected for 30 years but the current work is revealing more and more, things which had been lost are being returned including the eyes of a large head which had been taken out of the country.

Decided to re-erect the Northern Steele in the Eastern side of the peristyle hall. It is possible that after the foundations are sorted this season this stele could be re-erected. There is a ramp going from the portico and it is possible that this lead to the stele.

Last year 62 Sekmet statues were found and they are still finding more, during the Ramaside period they took walls, foundations and pylons but not statues. This removal left trenches and it is possible that the statues then fell in these.

They have removed architectural parts onto benches and covered with sand awaiting further funding.

I asked a question about the possibility of there been part of the temple under the road and if there was what would they do.

Dr Hourig confirmed that the road actually went through part of the peristyle hall and pylon.

Mr Mansour Boraik announced that the SCA had acquired 85 acres of land to the north of the colossus and there was now a chance to investigate further. The road could be moved next to the Rameses canal, although there would still be problems getting to Habu. This acquisition is very exciting and could mean a lot of changes in the infrastructure of the roads on the West Bank.

BTW apologies for the rather disjointed notes, this lecturer spoke so quickly I had real difficultly and I was not able to cheat and gets her notes as she didn’t have any

I do think the SCA is to be congratulated on this seasons lectures they have been really interesting.

Posted by Jane: - 7:14 pm - Edit| No Comments »
February 16th, 2007
Reference Library at the Mummification Museum
I have been told by the staff at the museum that they have a reference library which is open from 9 -1 every day except Friday and public holidays. The books were donated by Dr Zaki Iskander and of course they would welcome more.
Posted by Jane: - 5:38 pm - Edit| No Comments »
February 16th, 2007
Egyptian Marathon 2007
Today was the Egyptian Marathon and all round the sites of the West Bank you could see runners and skaters. Apparently there was only one entrant for the wheelchair event which was probably just as well as the roads aren’t that smooth. The children were fascinated by these mad foreigners and kept on running along with them, sometimes holding hands. Just as well there weren’t any fun runners, I can’t imagine what they would have made of that.

Posted by Jane: - 5:31 pm - Edit| No Comments »
February 11th, 2007
Hadana Ibn Rushd - nursery school El Gezera, West Bank Luxor part 3
Do you remember my story about the nursery school well one english lady was totally touched by the story and has made it her business to help Hamida as much as she can. there are restrictions on sending money here and initially they fell foul of these but have had a meeting with the Mayor of Luxor and it is all systems go.
Hi Jane

Just an update for you. We visited Samir Farag and he would not allow us a licence for Hamida to accept money from abroad due to extreme fundamentalists and terrorism etc. However he gave us permission to give or buy Hamida anything that we want - from a Pen to a new Nursery. We were really pleased as this means we can raise money and then either buy things here or in Egypt. We need to keep a list and then the Mayor will just sign it off for us if there are any problems. My husband and I didn’t realise just how important meeting the Mayor of Luxor was and when we were waiting to go into his office I was absolutely terrified!! We were really pleased with the result and so was Hamida. At least she doesn’t have to worry about getting into trouble.

So on we go with our money raising. I started a sponsored diet on 5 Jan and that should raise about £400 at the end of March. I have lost 18 pounds already!! Other events are being arranged as we speak. I have nearly finished my new website but would it be at all possible for you to put my email address ( on your website? Then anyone can contact me as Hamida hardly ever goes on hers as she doesn’t have a computer at home.

The children made us a lovely poster and sang us a welcome song and they have improved so much in 3 months. It is obvious that they all love being there and they have learnt so much. We joined them at their end of term party and we were all dancing and it was absolutely wonderful.

Hamida has achieved so much and she has had a really positive feedback from the childrens parents. We really want to help her and hopefully my new website and your articles will encourage more people to support her and her wonderful teachers.

Please feel free to put any of this on your site - we would really appreciate it.


So please get in touch with Sharon if you want to help the nursery.

Posted by Jane: - 3:10 pm - Edit| No Comments »
February 9th, 2007
Mummification Museum Lecture - TT11 TT12- Dr Jose Galan
TT11 & TT12 Dr Jose Galan
The Spanish Egyptian mission is now in its 6th season and continues to make discoveries about private funerary monuments.

They appear to have both horizontal and vertical elements, the vertical comprise the burial shaft and chambers, where there were coffins and offerings of food, unguents, cosmetics etc. The horizontal went into the hill and resembled the layout of a temple.

Djehuty TT11, who lived under Hatshepsut, has statues of himself and his mother and father, an inner chamber found in the 6th season was decorated with rituals that would take place in the sanctuary.

The horizontal comprised elements that were covered and exposed to light. The second element was where the opening of the mouth ceremony was performed in the open courtyard. It was an area of transition, purification and consecration by incense and water. The dressing of the mummy in front of Re. The exposed courtyard contained rows of clay funerary cones, a statue in a niche and a mud brick pyramid. Nature and human activity have destroyed them.

Early Egyptologists didn’t pay any attention to the courtyards so they are not documented. Dr Jose then gave a list of various tombs that had not had their courtyards investigated. Sometimes because the excavators did not consider that the expense and difficulty made it not worth it (I didn’t get all the names but did get the tomb numbers and then used this list to get names )

TT39 Puyemra, second priest of Amun, mid Dynasty 18 (said to be to difficult and expensive)
TT20 Mentuherkhepshef, mayor of Qusiya, mid Dynasty 18 (never excavated)
TT100 Rekhmira, vizier, mid Dynasty 18 (where the excavator said there was no pylon even though he never excavated the extent of the courtyard)
TT21 User, steward of king Thutmose I, mid Dynasty 18
TT104 Thutnefer, overseer of the treasury, mid Dynasty 18
TT86 Menkheperraseneb, high priest of Amun, mid Dynasty 18
TT81 Ineni, overseer of the granary in the Amun domain, mid Dynasty 18
TT39 Puyemra, second priest of Amun, mid Dynasty 18 (modern house in the way)

It is only recently that courtyards have received the attention they deserved. Kampp in his 1996 documented courtyards and external elements, there is a great scarcity of reliable data. The external features depend on whether a tomb is in the valley floor or in the mountain or gebel. Those at ground level suffer a lot

TT67 Hepuseneb, high priest of Amun, mid Dynasty 18
TT71 Senenmut, high steward, mid Dynasty 18
TT131 User/Useramen, vizier, mid Dynasty 18

The aim of the Spanish mission was to excavate the courtyards of TT11 and TT12; there was original 4 meters of rubble covering this area. During their 4th season the courtyard of Bakil was discovered 2 meters up the hill but connected with Hery. It was painted not carved as it was not good stone. There was a mud brick outer wall 1 ½ meters high with a 1 meter wide entrance. There was a step to climb into the court.

During the 5th season they found the entrance of Djehuty. There were 2 stele, one was autobiographical telling of the tasks her carried out under Hatshepsut and the second a hymn to Amun Re. there were cryptographically texts which are not coming on facades. The courtyard was 34 meters long which was outstanding especially if you compare it with Rekhmire which was 19 m long. The side walls were artificially extended with masonry, the mud brick was 3m high and 1 m wide, the team have covered the new wall to the same height as the façade. The floor was carefully cut, filled and levelled with limestone chips and stones. There area outside the pylon was at a lower level so a step was needed to get through the pylon. The courtyards were obviously differentiated from the ‘street’. There was a slight deviation to the East to take account of an older monument. There did a test trench to see what the filling and found funerary deposits, some pottery and 41 bouquets,

There was a discovery in the shaft of TT399 which it is next to TT12. It was 7m deep with 4 chambers (usually 2).
1) face of a wooden coffin
2) male coffin face
3) female wooden face (These had been attacked by termites so only the faces have survived
4) lower part of the coffin with a red Isis and another in yellow,
5) 2 jars,
6) 4 pottery canopic lids that look early 18th dynasty, there is a different look on the 4 faces (they look a little like Prince Charles!!!!)
7) remains of 2 jars
8) large jar and other pots
9) Egyptian blue jar
10) Unguent pots
11) 2 ushabities in poor condition
12) scarabs
13) a copper arrow
14) baskets
15) bag
16) fragment of papyrus
17) senet board game and pieces

The website for the team is

Posted by Jane: - 9:10 pm - Edit| No Comments »
February 9th, 2007
Toutankhamon Magazine new issue
Since few days, the new issue of Toutankhamon Magazine is available.

Contents of this issue include :
- pyramides and the false stones
- Egyptian Museum of Torino
- Ramesses II : the architect of Nubia (by Benoit Lurson), Ramesses
and his family, Ramesses chief of war
- Ramesses XI : the last ramesses
- Stelae of 400th year
- Abydos : the temple of Ramesses II
- God Bebon
- Haou Nebout : understerding the problem of this term
- The first egyptian’s temples
- The noas of Decades
- Canada and the Ancient Egypt
- White Desert : the beautiful landscape of Egypt !

and also in our web site :
- podcasts and forum

best regards,

francois tonic
redactor of chief

Posted by Jane: - 12:01 pm - Edit| No Comments »
February 7th, 2007
Karnak sound and light now in Russian
At Karnak yesterday I noticed they had a new show in Russian. I found it really interesting that Luxor now has enough Russian tourists to make it worth their while.
There was a lot of excavation going on in the area of the Ptah temple and the boundary wall at the front. Still lots more to discover at Karnak

Posted by Jane: - 2:32 pm - Edit| No Comments »
February 5th, 2007
Update from Dr Otto Schaden
I got this email from Dr Otto Schaden who had heard that I informed people about their late season on my blog. As some of you may know Otto has not been well which has contributed to the delay. there are also other issues including funding.

Dear Jane —-

Figured it might be best to give you an update directly.

Had a heart attack in late November. Had several previous attacks in 1984
and 1996. As before, the doctors will treat the damage with medications, no
surgery. In the past, about three months was needed to get back to
“normal,” so I expect to be at that stage soon.

A variety of issues led to a delays in planning for 2007. The very long
season of 2005-2006 alone moved our normal schedule back by many months.
Then I had to complete required reports, then I got sick, and now we finally
have our paperwork underway so that we might be able to make some start by
May. And the need for some serious fund-raising is also a major concern at
this time.

We have tried to work mostly in Jan., Feb. and March for some recent
seasons, but last year everything was changed by necessities. The late
start for 2007 means we will have to work during the hot months, but to our
advantage, the bulk of the tasks awaiting us can be carried out INSIDE the
relatively cool back rooms of the tomb of Amenmesse (KV-10).

The coming season will emphasize restrictions and conservation work, plus
the examination of the remaining 16 unopened storage jars. We figure
several more seasons will ultimately be needed due to the variety and
quantity of the materials.

An article “KV63 Update” will be in the next issue of KMT.

Trust all is well with you and your work!

Otto Schaden

I am sure we all wish Otto good health.
As you can see they need money. This would be a great time to get them some sponsorship so for those of you that would like to contribute towards the fund raising please see KV63 donations

Checks may be sent to the University of Memphis Foundation Account 695.
*Please make a notation of either “Amenmesse Project” or “KV-10/KV-63″ on your check to ensure the funds are allocated properly to Dr. Schaden mission.
Mailed to: Prof. Mariam Ayad, Institute of Art and Archaeology, at University of Memphis, Jones Hall 201, Memphis, Tennessee 38152.

Posted by Jane: - 9:25 pm - Edit| No Comments »
February 4th, 2007
News from KV63
I have heard from Roxanne Wilson of the KV63 team that because of lecture commitments they will be having a late season this year. Pity the poor team working in the heat but it would be nice to see them back in Luxor
Posted by Jane: - 8:28 pm - Edit| No Comments »
February 2nd, 2007
Thank you
Visitors to this site are increasing all the time and for the last two days they have been over 2000 per day, I want to thank you all for your support. It is much appreciated
Posted by Jane: - 11:54 pm - Edit| 4 Comments »
January 30th, 2007
It has gone - decoration lost for ever at Seti I temple
These photos show the most recent picture, as you can see the decoration has be lost for all time

this was the situation back in Nov

you can see my other reports on this and

This decoration has been lost in 3 months and is currently lying in the bottom of the trench

so what is the future for this

Posted by Jane: - 10:26 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
January 30th, 2007
Mummification Museum Lecture - Fragments from KV17 - Dr Florance Mauric-Barberio
Studies about the fragments of decoration of Seti I KV17 – Dr Florance Mauric-Barberio.
During the excavation of Ramses X lots of fragments from the tomb of Seti I were found. Seti I is an important tomb, discovered by Belzoni in 1817, because it is entirely decorated in all areas. It was done in painted raised relief which takes a long time and maybe the reason why this method is rarely used. Like the tomb of Horemheb some sections of Seti’s relief’s are done in outline only and have not been completed.

When finding a fragment it is possible to identify which part of the tomb it comes from because different background colours are used. The shaft has a blue background, the sarcophagus chamber yellow and the other parts of the tom white (apart from the uncompleted outline areas).

At the time of discovery it was in very good condition as drawings done at the time show. Some of this decoration has now been lost for a variety of reasons

1) the tomb was flooded a short time after Belzoni opened it
2) pieces were cut and removed, examples being scenes of the king before Hathor which are respectively in Paris and Florence. Other pieces are in private collections and museums
3) collapse of parts of the tomb, Howard Carter was involved in the restoration following the collapse. The areas that have bricks are the result of his work and were done in 1905. Carter attempted to replace some parts but moved a lot of bit into the ‘tunnel’. Sheik Abu Rassoul excavated this tunnel attempting to find the end and it is possible that these pieces Carter had placed inside the tunnel got moved outside during this excavation.

Ted Brock discovered 100 pieces and Otto Schaden found more during his excavations. There are 4800 numbered pieces and these are two types. 2550 are fragments of walls and pillars in painted raised relief and 2250 are from the ceiling and are painted only. Of the ceiling pieces some are from an astrological ceiling and some are stars.

Some fragments were found inside the chamber known as O on the old maps and GD in Kent Weeks plan. These might have been put there by Carter. The SCA let the team in to clear the room in 2005. These fragments are now all stored in the tomb of Ram X.

There are some big pieces and Dr Florance did a great job of showing us how they worked out what they were and where they belonged.

Cartouches of Seti could be placed in an area by their background colour. For example a cartouche on a yellow wall would have a white background.

Some of the fragments described

- part of a cartouche of Seti I with yellow background
- part of a cartouche from the sarcophagus chamber with a white back ground
- formula to a deity
- part of the royal kilt
- kings necklace
- deity clothing the feathered corselet
- feet standing on standards
- standard
- corner piece from junction with the sarcophagus chamber and side room GA
- fragment from the cornice of the ‘bench’
- part of the moulding above the ‘bench’ cornice
- there was an attempt to cut away one pillar which had the king running with a rudder in his hand, the fragment showed the cuts as well as the lower part of rudder itself
- a Nubian from the 5th division of the Book of the Gates often in the first pillared hall. This scene shows the Nubian not as an enemy but as the 4 kinds of human kind Egyptian, Asiatic, Nubian and Libyan. This piece show the clothes of the Nubian
- similar to above but an Asiatic this time
- figure in a kilt standing in the middle of a twisted rope. This is from the 6th division of the book of the gates and the rope represents the process of time. Each twist of the rope and the person in it is an hour. The person has a 5 pointed star next to them and the rope gives; birth’ every hour and the 5 pointed star indicates it is an hour. This was from above the door and was missing at the time of Belzoni
- a piece in outline only showing a line of water and foot next to it of a figure lying on its side. From the Imy duat the 10th division. It represents the drowned people and was missing at the time of Belzoni
- water lines in outline possible coming form the same scene
- 4 fragments with lovely colour showing a winged disk flanked by 2 cobras which can from the 5th corridor (antechamber)
- imy duat means what is in the underworld and is the night journey of the sun god in 12 hours. Fragments relate to the end of the 1st division (9 columns) and beginning of the 2nd division (2 columns). There were approx 20 fragments reconstructed from GD together with some very small pieces found outside. From the rear wall of the sarcophagus chamber. Already missing at the time of Belzoni
- set of fragments with another version of the same text including the biggest in the collection. On the edge there were chisel marks so this was intentional removed from the rear wall to make the entrance for chamber GD. This was done by the Egyptians

There were 1000 fragments not belonging to the curved ceiling
- 2 feet with red disks on the ankle which can only come from place but there is nothing missing there
- part of a crocodile but neither of the two crocodiles on the ceiling was damaged

These fragments indicate that there 2 different decorated ceilings, with stars and frames for astrological figures. The solution is that there was a flat ceiling (like Horemheb) which was removed when they decided to vault the ceiling. So they do belong to Seti. So fragments come from 2 sources earlier stages in the decoration and cutting done during the 19th centaury.

Q & A
Has there been any movement of the geological fault since the 1980’s?
The team has only been there 5 years and there has been no movement in that time

Has the end of the tunnel been found?
One member of the team did go as far as he could, the tunnel goes into some very soft debris (the shale layer) and is difficult and unsafe to explore further

Posted by Jane: - 10:05 pm - Edit| No Comments »
January 28th, 2007
An American eye view of Egypt
We have have just had a most interesting family arrive at my flats and I thought readers of the blog, especially Americans might be interested to see what they have thought of Egypt so far.

Posted by Jane: - 4:46 pm - Edit| 3 Comments »
January 27th, 2007
New proposal from Samir Farag
Apparently it has been reported (on Arabic TV News) that there are lots of new changes
1) From 2008 all taxis will have to be modern a/c ones and they are not allowed to travel outside Luxor, existing taxis will not be allowed to any more. This means existing taxi owners will have to sell their vehicles (who to?) and buy brand new ones.
2) The ferry will be moved
3) A new hotel is being built in the location of the old ferry, 2 stories high
4) All cruise boats will have to moor south of the bridge

Posted by Jane: - 8:41 pm - Edit| 8 Comments »
January 24th, 2007
Atlas Egypt - new Discovery series
At the tomb of Ay yesterday there was a TV crew filming and one might be forgiven for thinking yet another program on Ancient Egypt. Chatting to the crew it transpires this is a totally different type of program. The series is called Atlas and they will be filming all over the world. In Egypt they are following the footsteps of 8 Egyptian people as they go about their daily lives. The subject in Luxor was Mr Mansour Boraik who is head of the SCA here in luxor. I suspect this will be a most interesting program, worth looking out for. apparently publication is due in September.
On another note Mr Mansour asked me about the reports in the press about the use of bulldozers being used round the tombs at Gourna. As readers of this site know I have reported this myself but the earliest reports on the net back in Dec are on sites like the International Herald Tribune and Egypt Today. Mr Mansour was at pains to state there was no danger to the monuments so I have offered Mr Mansour and opportunity to put the SCA side of the story and explain this odd choice of excavation tool. Watch this space

Posted by Jane: - 3:54 pm - Edit| No Comments »
January 22nd, 2007
Mummification Museum Lecture - TT34 Monthemhat - Dr Farouk Goman
Monthemhat TT34
I was lucky enough to be given Dr Farouk’s notes at the end of the lecture and ditched my own reporting

Report on the work down at the tomb Monthemhat No 34 is Assasif Necropolis by Dr Farouk Goman

The tomb of Monthemhat no TT34, is one of the great tombs in the part of the necropolis of Thebes, which is known under the name el-Assasif near the temple of the Queen Hatshepsut at el Deir el Bahri

Monthemhat, the owner of the tomb, belonged to a well known family in the region of Thebes. Its members were known since the 22nd dynasty, between 946 and 720 BC. Some of these were viziers, priests or prophets of the God Amun and month, also mayor of Thebes.

The father of Monthemhat, named New-Ptah, was the prophet of the God Month and also the mayor of Thebes.

Monthemhat himself has many titles, the most important one of them are; “the fourth prophet of Amun”, “the mayor of Thebes” and “the governor of Upper Egypt from Hermopolis in the north to Elephantine in the south”.

He lived during a period of the Egyptian history, which is known as the ‘Third intermediate Period”. He also played a very important game in the politics of the time, for example during the reign of the Nubian king Taharqa of the 25th Dynasty (690-664 BC) and also during the invasion of Egypt by the King Assurbanipal about 664/663 BC. In the so called Razam Cylinder he is mentioned as king of Thebes. He is still alive during the reign of King Psametik I of the 26th Dynasty (664-610 BC). He died about 648 BC after 30 years as a very important person of his time; one can say he was the real ruler of Upper Egypt.

As I said before, the tomb of Monthemhat is one of the great tombs in the West Bank of Luxor. It has more than 55 rooms, 2 open courts and 2 pylons one to the East and one to the North. It also has an enclosure wall of more than 177 m long

There is a ramp from the North pylon to an entrance hall with 2 pillars is about 70m long. To the south of it is a hall with 4 pillars and 3 side rooms. Every room has a shaft which ended in a burial chamber. From the west of the hall one can reach the first open court and also the other parts of the tomb.

The excavation works done at the tomb

The tomb has been known about for 200 years and has been seen and visited by many people.

The excavation works at the tomb were started by Eisenlohr in the year 1855. In 1888 Krall had written some subscriptions from the underground rooms. In 1890 Scheil had published some chapels at the south side of the first open court. Also it may be Lepsius and Champollian have visited the tomb.

The real work at the tomb began between 1949 and 1951 by Mohammed Zakaria Gomen, the chief inspector of the Antiquities department.

He excavated parts of the first hall and may be the side rooms off it and may be also parts of the first open court but I can not say exactly what he did because he died before the publication of the tomb, together with Leclant and Bargeut.

The Antiquities Department started its work again at the tomb between 1984 and 1986 with excavation and restoration of some parts of the tomb. In 1988 the sarcophagus of Nes ptah, the oldest son of Monthemhat was found.

Till now I can not get any information about the works of the antiquities department done between 1984 and 1988 and what things were found there. I know only that many mummies were found in the found in the tomb. They are now in one of magazines. Also there are no reports on the works done at that time, only one register volume about some objects like funerary cones, ushabities and offering tables.

On 3rd Jan 2006 the German – Spanish – Egyptian mission started work on the first season at the tomb. During the campaign the work was limited to the entrance of the tomb to the end of the first court with its 10 side chapels. All the fragments found in this part have been documented and photographed.

Also all the wall inscriptions were documented and photographed. Most of them are in a bad condition but there are some exceptions.

Most inscriptions are biographically ones. Some of them mention the name of king Psametik I 26th dynasty. On the south wall of the first hall we can also read the name of King Tanwatamun, the last king of 25th dynasty. The text mentions the name of Harsiese, the brother of Monthemhat and other members of the family.

One fragment found this year gives us more information about the family of Monthemhat and his Nubian wife Wda-rn.s

Three shafts with their burial chambers were cleared from the debris still inside. Some parts of the walls of the rooms and the open court are restored and cleaned.

At the same time we have removed the debris beside a great part of the enclosure wall. This part was also restored; some places of the wall had been rebuilt again.

During the second campaign, which started 5th Dec 2006 we continued to remove the debris around the other inside walls between the enclosure wall.

Also during the work of this season we have till now made the same thing in the part of the tomb from the first open court to end of the last room at the same level of this court. This means that we have finished a great part of the tomb. This part is now excavated, documented and photographed, all fragments and the inscriptions, including the Karishe ones have been documented and photographed.

The only thing that has not been completed in these 2 seasons is the restoration.

In the two seasons of the work five shafts of the tomb were also cleared from the debris still inside. In this debris we found some small objects.

Also during this season we cleared the tomb between rooms 40 and 43. The burial chamber no 42 unknown until now is completely decorated.

The last thing to be mentioned is the documentation of some important objects found by the inspectors of the Antiquities Department between 1984 and 1988, which left by them at one side chamber of the tomb used as a magazine

There is a fragment of a wooden sarcophagus with the name of Monthemhat II, the grandson of Monthemhat and his Nubian wife and the son of Pa hrd n Mut

At the end of the lecture Dr Richard Fanzzini commented that the work being done by Dr Farouq was the most inportant in Egyptology at this time. Mr Mansour Boraik agrreed with this statement

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January 18th, 2007
El Basha Restaurant Re-opens under new management
The management of the defunct Casablanca have taken over el Basha restaurant on the West Bank. They have changed the menu to feature Red Sea fish and other specialties. I have so far tried the Shrimp Curry and some grilled Hairy (a white fish), both were delicious. Ahmed the owner is keen to get his old customers back as he knows they loved his fresh fish and he expects to get a alcohol license any day
Posted by Jane: - 11:44 am - Edit| 1 Comment »
January 17th, 2007
Gourna Updates
This photo was taken just before the presidents visit to Luxor and shows the removal of one of the old houses. It is very worrying to see bulldozers being used for this work as we had been told that the removal of the houses was because there were important archaeological remains under them. I have not seen many archologists working with bulldozers as a preferred tool. Most disturbing.

I also revisited New Gourna to find out how the lady I had seen just after she moved in was getting on. She was still happy in the place but the other things she had been promised had not materialised. It would seem only 4 houses are being provided with all the contents and these were being showcased to the media. The rest are empty. Houses are still being allocated on what seems to be a completely random basis. In her family of 5 sisters, all alone through death or divorce 2 got houses and one got some land, the others nothing and are sharing.

We met her son and he told us that although he liked the house it was far from the alabaster factories where he sold his work. He could not afford the service car so walked there, approx 3 kilometers. I think they would feel a lot happier if they knew what was going on and if the allocation of the houses had followed some rules they could understand. They also were concerned that after the president had visited all the contents would be taken away and I have heard this from other sources. I shall continue to visit this lady and let you know what happens with her.

However the children seemed happy with their new playground.

I really hope that this move is positive for these people and that the governement provides some work in the area.

Posted by Jane: - 12:18 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
January 16th, 2007
Ramesseum Updates
The lecture scheduled by Christen le Blanc at the Mummification Museum on Sunday 14th was cancelled due to events surronding president Mubarak’s visit to Luxor. It was rescheduled for the following night but I was unable to attend. However I do have lots of interesting updates gained a visit there on 13th.
There were several different mini projects going on in the Ramesseum that day all associated with Christen le Blanc but sourced from different places like Berkley and Texas.

Firstly there is a aerial team. Using the model aeroplane shown in the picture they are photographing the site from the air. The plane flies in highly controlled strips. A hot air balloon is unsuitable for this work as it can not be controlled and is weather dependent but this little plane can do the job perfectly.

Then there is another team using a highly specialised piece of equipment that costs over $100,000 which is scanning the temple in 3-d. In fact this temple is currently the best documented temple in 3d there is and a lot of new techniques and equipment are being used. They demonstrated the results on a laptop and they were spectacular.

Finally using a special light source that gives 3-d photographs the team is taking pictures which will further reveal the origins of the temple. This light replaces the old fashioned way of waiting until the sun is in the right position and using a mirror to reflect the sunlight and give shadows. A much better way of working.

It was all very interesting and I appreciate the time they took out to give me details. They told me there was more detail on the website but I can’t seem to get into this website. If anyone can advise I would be grateful.

Also I saw some lovely blue glazed pottery that had been found, it looked just like Malqata wear, really beautiful.

There has been masses of work done on restoration and many areas have been dug round so wet earth is no longer touching the structures. Many mastabas have been built and large blocks are displayed on they and again away from contact with the wet earth. The paintwork in the hyperstyle hall has bee restored and there is still excavation going on to the right of temple palace.

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January 15th, 2007
Dr. Sabry Abd El Aziz is in town
Dr Sabry was at the temple of Merenptah today checking on the storage shed at the back. He had been in Luxor during the Presidents visit making sure everything went well.

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January 13th, 2007
Tomorrow nights lecture is in French
I spoke to Christen leBlanc who confirmed he was giving the lecture tomorrow 14th Sunday but that it would be in French. He did say he would try and do little bits in English and I begged for as much as possible. But as my French doesn’t stretch much beyond ‘ma plume de ma tante’ I afraid lecture notes will be sparse. I did have a really interesting chat with many team members at the Ramaseum and will post these and loads of photos of the work when I get a moment.
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January 13th, 2007
President Mubarak in Luxor
The rumours have been going backwards and forwards but it looks like it is tomorrow. I know this mainly because we have 4 policemen camped out in our flats. There is only one house between us and the main road and our building is taller. Last time the president was in town they stationed a policeman on the roof. A few weeks ago we had some secret service people come by and record details about us. and now like I say there are 4 policemen at the house.
Every where in Luxor you can smell new paint, road kerbs are being painted black and white. Houses having brick wall covered in rendering but only on the side that can be seen from the road, by courtesy of the government. Flowers are planted, lights are blazing and Luxor is looking trim and smart. Sites are being landscaped. Houses in Old Gurna torn down. I hope he enjoys it.

Personally I don’t, I think the heart has been ripped out of my Luxor, but that is a personal view. Lets hope the people of Luxor benefit from all this, not just the tourists.

Posted by Jane: - 11:00 pm - Edit| 3 Comments »
January 6th, 2007
Mummification Museum Lecture - Marriage Stele of Ramses II - Charles van Siclen
The Marriage Stele of Ramses II from the Mut Temple – Charles Van Siclen
In the 1920’s Marice Perries found the Calcite shrine of Amenhotep II which had been reused by Ramses II. The stele had bee erected in front of the pylon in front of the first courtyard of temple A.

In the 1980’s Richard Fazzini undertook to restore it on paper. There were 2 steles and the rest was found in pylon 3.

It has been reconstructed in the open Air Museum, practically the first structure you see. The stele now comprises the side walls of the chapel and the obelisks were needed for its integral support. It was a compromise between the two structures should, which one should be on display and the shrine got the vote. Doing this means you view the stele on its side. You can see shadows of the previous inscription.

The stele was 4 m wide and 5 m high and had 18 lines of text; it is an abridged version of 5 other stele regarding the marriage which took place in year 34. There is another version at Abu Simbel and the 9th pylon at Karnak. It probably had a winged sun disk at the top making the entire structure about 7 meters high. There was a lot of damage and the text is not terribly interesting as there were 13 lines about how wonderful Ramses was and 4 about the princess who had changed her name on marriage and it was now safe for Egyptians to travel to Syria as a result of the treaty entered into the god Ptah Temen was on the left and Amun was on the right. The names of Ramses II were placed in a very deliberate pattern within the text, a sort of zig zag. The Egyptian name of the princess was Hor Maat Nefer Ra.

There is possibly a link with the location of the inscription on the left and the position of the Hittites. The Horemheb pylon was usurped by Ramses II. Temple A was an early type of Mamisia or birth house so it was appropriate to have a marriage put there. Temple A was probably rebuilt during Year 34. It is a minor historical document.

The original shrine was a rectangle with an open front but it would have been the back of the shrine that was facing the main axis of Karnak temple and possible a false door on it, whilst the open rectangle would have aced away from the front of Karnak.

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January 6th, 2007
Mummification Museum Lecture - TT148 TT233 Dr Boyo Ockinga
The Use, Reuse and Abuse of Sacred Space – Evidence from TT148 and TT233 at Dra Abu el Naga Dr Boyo Ockinga of Macquarie University Sydney
The tomb in Ancient Egypt can be classified as ‘sacred space’. This is particularly true of the tombs of the late 18th dynasty and the Ramesside Period when tombs take on the characteristics of temples and as well as being the place where the memory of the deceased person was preserved and the funerary cult practised, it was a place where the deceased could worship the gods of eternity.

Dra Abu el Naga is an important site as it is directly opposite Karnak and on the path to Deir el Bahri which was the route taken by the Beautiful Feast of the Valley. You can actually see Karnak from TT148 and it is probably the reason why so many of Amen’s important officials were buried here for example the first High priest of Amun, Minmonth (TT232) and the first post Amarna High priest of Amun, Parennefer.

Amenemope the owner of TT148 was the third prophet of Amun, son of Tjanefer, and served under Rameses III – Ramses V. the decoration of the tomb was not completed before the reign of Ramses V

The courtyard shows evidence of the reuse of temple blocks and whilst it was common for kings to do this it was unusual for a private individual. The tomb of Tjanefer TT158 has pylons to the front with a large courtyard behind and TT148 would have had the same. The foundations had limestone blocks as well as making use of the natural rock. One can get a better impression of what they looked like from the tomb of Tjanefer which is a little further South than TT148 where they are better preserved.

The limestone decorated blocks were

1) Hatshepsut is identified by her Horus name which enables us to read the nesu bity.
2) with a feminine pronoun in the glyphs so was also probably a Hatshepsut block, these blocks were from the temple she built at the head of the valley, not the Deir el Bahri temple itself. Ramses IV built a colonnaded temple and probably another second temple and reused blocks from this temple. Amenemope was the Third prophet of Amun under Rameses V and may well have been involved in the construction of these and would have had the opportunity to use the material for his own tomb structure.
3) With a masculine pronoun so is not possible to identify
4) Had the name of Thothmosis on it but not possible to identify if it was I or II

Sandstone blocks were even more widely used, for the facing of the courtyard walls and portico as well as to patch up the many areas of poor quality rock in the interior of the tomb. Some of this sandstone was reused.

1) with the name of Thothmosis again not possible to identify I or II
2) with the name of Tutankamun
3) with a fragment of horses and a chariot scene but we don’t know where it came from
4) blocks with decoration including erased decoration of figures of deities which suggest pre Amarna material
5) ink drawing of Amun with a sword typical God sending king of into battle scene

The use of 18 dynasty blocks in a mid 20th dynasty site is not surprising but what was surprising were reused blocks from Ramses II, III, IV and Merenptah. It doesn’t seem to be a problem taking blocks

The excavation of the tomb and its large courtyard must have had an effect on the earlier tombs in the area. If nothing else, the cast amount of spoil from the excavations buried and blocked access to earlier 18th dynasty tombs that were situated at a lower level.

A saff tomb from 21/22 dynasty was found in the courtyard. It would seem that modern tomb robbers broke through from the tomb.

Use of the Tomb in the pharaonic Period
The use and reuse of the tomb over time by its builder and his descendents can be identified. Architectural changes point in this direction.

The tomb is large and complex; it has a T shaped chapel and below there are a large number of burial chambers with three large granite and two sandstone outer sarcophagi. The layout and cutting of these suggest it underwent modifications in design that reflect changes in usage over time, which involved making provision for additional burials not catered for in the original layout.

The main burial chamber is at the end of tunnel. Inside they found the sarcophagus of Ta Mend daughter of Ram Nakht wife of Amenemope. Amenemope’s sarcophagus had been moved. The addition of a subsidiary chamber, gives the impression of being a later development. The entrance is located right up against the right wall of the main chamber, which suggests that when it was being cut the large granite and sandstone sarcophagi for Amenemope and his chief wife respectively had already been placed in the main burial chamber. What was the purpose of this burial chamber? Could it have been for Amenemope’s second wife, Tamit, daughter of another high priest?

The emplacement for a large granite sarcophagus at the bend in the axis of the sloping passage also seems to be an after thought. This is located in such a way that it hinders access into the main burial chamber and certainly would have made it very difficult to negotiate the large granite outer sarcophagus of Amenemope around the corner. It seems most probable that the pit was cut after the sarcophagus in the main burial chamber had been put into position.

The small chamber containing a sandstone sarcophagus to the left of the pit is probably also another later addition. Paralleling the situation in the main burial chamber it is possibly the wife of the granite sarcophagus man. There a re remains of plaster layer that covered the sealed off entrance.

The unusual position, so close to the entrance of the sloping passage, of yet another burial chamber at the top left side of the sloping passage, which contains the remains of a large uninscribed granite sarcophagus, suggests that it too is a later addition and not part of the original plan of the tomb.

So there are 4 chambers, the main burial and the southern passage.

The northern burial passage is also puzzling feature of the tomb, Could it also have been an after thought. It certainly breaks the wall decoration which seems that covered the full height of the wall.

The general impression one gets is that, over time, provision was made for the subterranean burial complex of Amenemope to receive additional high status burials over and above that of Amenemope and his wives, for who the tomb was originally built.

The conclusions drawn for the modifications observed to the architectural plan of the burial complex are supported by some of the small finds made.

A large number of shabities was recovered, both worker and overseer type inscribed for Tjanefer, Amenemope’s father. In additional, a fragment of wood inlaid with coloured paste hieroglyphics giving his name was also recovered (although this may of course be part of any object inscribed for Amenemope but including his affiliation)

Shabitis inscribed for a woman Adjedet-aa were also found – could they have been for his mother in law Adjedet.

There is a possible link between the evidence found and with the tomb robbery papyrus written in Year 13 of Ramses XI, in this the robbers describe how they desecrated the tomb of Tjanefer and his body.

“We….. went to the tomb of Tjanefer, who was third prophet of Amun. We opened it and brought out his inner coffins and we took his mummy and left it there in the corner of his tomb. We took his inner coffins to this boat, along with the rest, to the island (?) of Amenemope. We set fire to them in the night and we made away with the gold we found on them”

The fate of Tjanefer’s original burial may help to explain the extensions made to TT148’s burial complex and the presence of so many shabitis of Tjanefer in the tomb. It is possible that after the calamity of the desecration of Tjanefer’s tomb the family decided to concentrate the burials of the ancestors in one location

The outer granite sarcophagus of Tjanefer was left in TT158 and one can see evidence of damage at the head end. Perhaps this and because it had been desecrated was the reason it was not taken to TT148

The decoration in the southern half shows many members of the family (grandparents, parents, brothers, brothers in law, parents in law of both wives and it would make sense that those tombs that were in danger, the occupants would be moved.

The parents of Tamit the second wife were Siese and Tawenesh and the northern side has the last text.

The robberies were in Y13 of Ram XI and Amenemope died during the reign of Rameses V but his son and daughter would have still been alive and important enough to insist that these desecrated family members were properly reburied in the family tomb of their father. Also, at this time the first prophet of Amun was a member of the family of Ramessesnakhy with whom Amenemope was related. The High priest of Amun Amenhotep was a son of Ramessesnakht and thus a brother in law of Amenemope. These people would have had an interest in securing the burials of their family

The importance the family attached to its ancestors is illustrated by the emphasis on the theme in the decoration of TT 148, which includes Usermont who was a vizier of Tutankamun and 200 years earlier but one suspects a distant and honourable relative.
How compelling is this? It is true shabitis are often found in places other than the tombs of their owners but usually these are individual pieces and not, as in the case of Tjanefer, a large number, including different types, workers and those wearing the dress of the living. The quantity found suggests they were part of a full set.

But even if the additional burial chambers were not rebuilt for the reinterment of Tjanefer we can be fairly certain they are a modification to the original plan of the tomb and took place in the late Ramaside period. The occupants of these chambers will have been members of Amenemope’s family, for example Usermerenakht his son who would succeed his father as High priest of Mut…

TT233 was used from 18th dynasty to late roman. Originally for Saroy the father, the Scribe of the offering Table of the Lord of the Two Lands and Amenhotep the son and assistant, called Huy. It is very complex burial which incorporates the 18th dynasty tomb. It has decoration from the Book of the Dead and not being exciting it was ignored and neglected. The Northern door has biographical details and talks about his different appointments and finishes with Confident, Beloved of his lord. These titles also made it possible to identify him with the owner of two statues found in the Karnak cachette.

Abuse of the sacred space
There was much evidence of the robberies in the courtyards behind the mud brick pylons underneath an old Coptic oven around the time of 3rd Intermediate period there was a site of a fire, hidden behind the mud brick pylon. They found remains of the funerary equipment, the wood charred and blackened and even some remains of gold leaf. Robbers commonly burned furniture with gold leaf to easily get the gold off.

Reuse of the sacred space
There were mummy straps from 21st dynasty, Coptic texts on the walls, together with papyrus and ostraca. Textiles with embroidery. There was a Coptic monastery nearby at Deir el Shebeef. More modern activity was old cigarette packets, matchsticks, match boxes and a cigarette holder. A cope of the Spectator dated 17th Feb 1912 and addressed to Howard Carter.

More information on the website

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January 6th, 2007
Snack Time - Fast Food in Luxor
Just along from MacDonalds this Egyptian fast food restaurant recently opened. Try it much cheaper than it’s imported rival, tasty varied menu and the big secret a British guest relations manager making sure everything runs smoothly and the customers get what they think they have ordered. Mandy makes sure everything is what a Western customer is used to. I had the Chicken Panini Cordon Bleu 13.50 LE and you could tell it was freshly made as the salad was cold. My daughter the cheese burger 12.99 LE which was a good size and even filled her up.I must admit to weakening to the Deep Fried ice Cream 5.75 LE with a Caramel sauce (yummy) and she had a Carmelita. 9.50LE Having a teenager who loves burgers means I often have to eat fast food but at least here there was food other than burgers.
They do pizza, burgers, panini, sandwiches, salads and lots of different kinds of hot drinks like at Starbucks. I shall be back

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January 2nd, 2007
Kids Tours
I know that most guides tend to talk over the heads of children, especially if they are young but kids can enjoy Ancient Egypt to. I first brought my daughter here when she was 8 and by doing our tours on donkey rather than in a boring old taxi she found it a fun holiday.
I try and make my children’s tours fun by dressing up and take advantage of the quietness of the temple of Seti I by acting out Pharaoh at the window of appearances. The guards are very good natured about helping me and joining in and the faces of the local children watching us had to be seen to believe.

Posted by Jane: - 5:17 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
January 2nd, 2007
Gala Evenings
This year I went to Al Gezira Gardens for Christmas Eve and El Nakhil for New Years Eve. The food was about the same in both places but the quality of the entertainment at El Nakhil was streets ahead. The belly dancer was actually German and a friend of the owner, she was fantastic and to see her husband and little daughter clapping along made it a much more family friendly entertainment than normal. The band they had playing was an old one that used to very famous in Luxor, in fact my husband could remember it from his childhood. To see the dancer and drummer working in harmony rivalled the best Cairo had to offer. There was also a whirling dervish, promised at Al Gezira but never materialised. We found it much more enjoyable and wish we had gone to Nakhil both evenings.
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January 2nd, 2007
At last a British Hairdresser
A welcome addition to Luxor’s ex-pat scene, a properly trained hairdresser. Helen Bailey will come speeding on her bike all over Luxor. For us ladies with shorter hair cuts unfamiliar to Egyptian lady hairdressers she is a God send. contact her 0100526147
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January 2nd, 2007
Amenhotep II Temple

Looks like the Italian Mission lead by Dr Angelo have found some lovely canopic jars
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January 1st, 2007
More Botanical walks and talks
The next botanical walk organised by Claude Chauvineau will be Thursday 4th January at 9 am in front of Malkata Cafe, Al Gezera Village, West Bank Luxor.
He is also giving a talk on the trees of Egypt 13th Jan at 16:00 at Malqata Cafe

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December 27th, 2006
Karnak discoveries
As we were exiting Karnak today we had to detour as they are actually digging there. Apparently they have found this wall extending from the pier and have no idea how far it goes. It appears to have been reused in Roman times but for what exact purpose it is unclear. There are some flights of steps and a round cooking area sunk into the stone wall. She promised a lecture at the MM when she finishes.
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December 24th, 2006
photos from the new Valley of Kings visitors centre
Here are a few photos from the new visitors centre taken yesterday. Presented by the Japanese it is a really good overview before you go into the valley. Dominating the room is a large model of the valley where the contours have been made of glass.

This enables you to see the tombs modelled in 3d and their relationship to each other under the ground. The new tomb KV63 is not there I guess because it was found after this model was made. Around the walls are various display boards in English, Japanese and Arabic telling visitors about the valley, who discovered it and the threats it faces and requests to do your bit to maintain the heritage by not touching taking photos or smoking. KV63 is mentioned on these. There are also 2 film displays of a short film taken at the time of the discovery of Tutankhamun, 1922, by Harry Burton. Additional there are numerous laptops where you can explore the Theban Mapping project website and explore individual tombs in detail. There are toilets inside, including a disabled one. Once you exit the centre you buy your tickets.

I think the plan is for visitors to enter the centre have a look round then buy their tickets. On the way back they go past the various stalls.

I think it would have been good if the ticket system had been explained in here. e.g. A single ticket of 70Le entitles you to visit up to 3 tombs if you want to visit more you should buy more than one ticket. the ticket booth is outside the centre. If you want to ride the train to the valley you need to buy another ticket 2LE from the train ticket booth and if you want to visit Tutankhamun you need to buy that ticket on the way into the Valley. As unless you are with a guide or have a guide book there is no explanation of this. But apart from that I liked it.

Posted by Jane: - 12:11 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
December 23rd, 2006
Art Exhibition next Jan at Hotel Marsam
Please allow me to inform you about a small art exhibition that will take place next January in hotel Marsam, the reputed Sheikh Aly.
Last July, the director of the Belgian mission Professor Roland Tefnin untimely passed away. Despite this irreplaceable loss, the work of our team in the tombs of Sennefer TT96 and Amenemope TT 29 has to continue. The next season will take place from January 11 to February 16, 2007. Our team whished to commemorate on this occasion the memory of Professor Tefnin. Therefore, we felt that the most fruitful and positive way would be to present an art exhibition, since Roland Tefnin was, among many other fields of interest, an enthusiastic art-lover.

The exhibition will take place from January 27 to February 9, 2007 at the Sheikh Aly hotel in Qurna. It is organised jointly by the Belgian mission, the owner of the hotel Mr Saïd abd el-Rassoul, and the manager, Mrs Natasha Baron. It will exhibit about 20 paintings by Mr Lotfi Abou Sariya, who is an artist of Egyptian origin, living in Brussels for many years. Mr Abou Sariya exhibits regularly in Belgium and Egypt, as well as in Paris and Switzerland. Next March, he will also be exhibiting in Cairo.

I enclose as attachment two photographs of paintings which will be exhibited in Qurna.

The opening of the exhibition will take place on Friday 26 January, and you are of course cordially invited. On this occasion, a small speech will be read, that was written by Professor Tefnin for the opening of another exhibition of Mr Abou Sariya in Brussels, last year.

Wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year,

Best regards,

Laurent Bavay
Director of the University of Brussels mission in the Theban necropolis

Here is the two photos

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December 22nd, 2006
Visitor Centre at the Valley of Kings opened today
Yes that is right after months and months the new centre has opened. As you go in in the centre there is a perspex model of the valley showing in 3d the location of all the tombs, there are wall displays and short film. It looks really nice and tomorrow i will explore it properly.
You go through there and outside again to buy the tickets which if you are visiting the tomb of ay like I was is not very well organised. Because my guests were waiting in the van outside and I had to go back through again and meet them. However if you are going to the main valley it makes perfect sense.

Tomorrow I am taking some people to the main valley so will have time to look at it properly and will report back.

Also apologies to those of you waiting for my lecture notes I just haven’t had a chance to finish them. They are half written and the lecturer did give me his notes so they will be fine when I finished but I just haven’t had the time. This weeks lecture is on Saturday and then there will be a break until 14th January.

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December 20th, 2006
Discoveries in Avenue of Spinxes
the following information came from the EEF list
Egyptian archeologists unearth carving for god Amoun’s high priest. “The carving was on a large quartzite stone with 17 lines of hieroglyphs and it dated back to King Setnekht.”

“The tablet was found yesterday 17/12/2006 during excavations
of the avenue of ram-headed sphinxes that linked the Karnak
and Luxor temples.”(…)
“The hieroglyphic text on the tablet says that the head priest supervised the construction of the main hall of the Karnak Temple.”

Mr Mansour Boraic said that the SCA would give a lecture on the discoveries they have made along the avenue which should be excellent.

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December 20th, 2006
HSBC in Luxor
A little off topic for this blog but I thought it might be of interest HSBC have opened a branch in Luxor. Now as I have a HSBC account in the UK I was very interested in this. Transfers of cash between the UK and Luxor have cost me £21 GBP going from HSBC to Banque de Cairo but HSBC to HSBC is only £10 GBP, so I went along to open an account.
At first it looked like a disaster as I was told you have to keep a balance of $1,000 USD or the equivalent other wise you are charged 21 LE a month. I was not impressed and asked to speak to the manager. After a bit of to and fro, me asking for a simple account link my Banque de Cairo one where I have no minimum balance and pay no charges and them saying they could not do this. The manager was confirming the same information until he caught site of my existing HSBC cards and said as I was already an HSBC account holder it would cost nothing. So I got my simple account and it comes with Internet banking. Not the same as the UK system but at least you can monitor your own account and track transfers.

So if you want a bank account in Luxor this is an option, you need a long term tourist visa as well but an ordinary year visa was fine.

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December 19th, 2006
Cruises to go from Cairo to Luxor
Caught this on Nigel Hetherington blog apparently the Nile is being opened up between Cairo and Luxor. That will bring more visitors to places like Tel Amarna and Beni Hassan and hopefully reduce the numbers doing Luxor to Aswan which make Edfu seem like a boatyard at times.
Posted by Jane: - 11:22 am - Edit| 1 Comment »
December 18th, 2006
Channel 4 filming at Karnak.
This week saw the UK TV station, Channel 4 filming at Karnak Temple. It is going to be a program about how the temples were built, which should prove interesting.
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December 14th, 2006
Botanical Walks in Luxor
Something new for Luxor. I have just met the most delightful plant enthusiast, Claude is an retired expert on plants and now comes to Egypt during the winter months. He loves to design and build new gardens and chooses exotic varieties that do well in the climate.
He is also an expert on the Stevia plant which is an alternative to sugar cane and would also grow well here. He tells me that it requires much less water and fertiliser so could be something that might help in the battle to save the monuments. the heavy water demands of sugar cane have contributed to the rise in the water table by flood irrigation of this crop. His website in French is here

However all that aside he is offering escorted Botanical Walks in Luxor starting from Malkata Art Palace at 9 am this Monday morning 17th Dec. The walk caters for German, French and English speakers. There will be a hand out detailing the trees you will see and he will give advice on its suitability for your garden be it in Egypt or Europe. In fact he can answer any question on tropical plants.

A welcome addition to the alternatives for tourists who are interested in something more than the history and for residents who want to brighten up their gardens.

Just turn up, the cost is 20LE, or you can contact Claude 0129084032 for more details. His email is

Posted by Jane: - 5:19 pm - Edit| 4 Comments »
December 12th, 2006
Tomb of Senenmut
I was privileged enough to go to this tomb yesterday and be shown round by Francisco Martin Valentine. He showed us all the things he mentioned in his lecture and it was an amazing experience. But sadly the special lightening they had installed had been blown up by Egyptian electricians working to open the new cafe at Hatshepsut’s temple. Over 8000 Euros worth of lightening will have to be replaced. So our journey down was lit by a single bulb and particular points of interest lit using the displays of mobile phones. A bit primitive but it worked.
The corridor is amazingly steep and even with the excellent new wooden hand rail and ramp a bit tricky to negotiate. It was a killer to get back out again and Theresa Bedman shared how she had lost over 20 kilos since they had been working there. However it was totally worth it and my guests and I enjoyed nearly two hours of being shown round and having aspects explained to us.

At the end Francisco asked us what we thought was it a tomb or a cenotaph and I agreed it was a cenotaph. Actually think about it afterwards it wasn’t so much all the unusual aspects of the tomb that make one think that, it is the complete absence of the normal attributes and decoration which make one realise it is nothing like any other nobles tomb I have ever been in.

But what a shame the electricians hadn’t taken more care and had blown all the transformers

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December 12th, 2006
Mummification Museum Lecture - KV55 - Lyla Pinch Brock
KV55 – 100 years later Lyla Pinch Brock of Royal Ontario Museum

This January will see the 100 year anniversary of the discovery of KV55, it is located next to the new rest house and the tomb plan can be found on the Theban Mapping Project website. It is below KV5 and 6


The tomb was found under the auspicious of Theodore Davies by Edward Aryton and the Inspector from the Antiquities service was Arthur Weigall. (More details here

Prior to the finding of KV55 notes sent to Davies aboard his dahabiyya tell of a discovery of a tomb that was not a tomb containing a set of storage jars of which only 2 are left.

Aryton was alone at the time of discovery, he found a gilded shrine in a poor state of preservation which was filled in at the time of Maya (Tutankamun’s official), in the niche a set of canopic jars and a poor condition gilded coffin. The gilding and plaster on the shrine had ‘slid’ down the wood.

The photographs taken of the site were not taken till 4 days later and there is a lot of controversy as a result. Davies believed it was Queen Tiye and never gave up on that belief even though the bones were that of a male.

Harold Jones did many drawings of the shrine which shows Akhenaton with Tiye. He drew many other discoveries, while he was working in the gold tomb he died shortly afterwards and is buried in the foreigners graveyard in Luxor. He had come to Egypt as he had TB

Round the head of the mummy was a gold Mut necklace which was an odd thing to have in the reign of Akhenaton, it was wrapped around the skull. There were also 4 magic bricks and a gold necklace which was found by scrabbling around in the water under the mummy. The coffin lost some of its features during cleaning and restoration and recently Kemet has published some gold foil from the tomb.

Lyla Pinch Brock stated that everyone believes this is the mummy of Akhenaton and it is 26 years old with 2 molars unerupted.

A gold cobra was found which was possibly part of a crown but in her opinion was from the top of a shrine.

4 canopic jars were found 3 of which are in the Cairo museum and 1 is in the Met having been given to Theodore Davies who passed it to them firstly the body and kept the head as a paper weight for many years then passed it as well to the museum.

There are articles from the tomb in the Cairo, Met, Swansea and Chicago. Those in the Swansea were given by Harold Jones. Carter found a few fragments of jewellery also Mrs Emma Andrews kept a diary in which she drew a diagram of the tomb which is very valuable today.


Entering the tomb at this time she was surprised to find a lot of material still inside the tomb and as a consequence she applied for and got the concession to do a final clearance. There was rubble inside as although Davies had installed iron doors these had long gone. In the entrance you could still see signs of the blocking. Inside there was pottery and lots of packing debris from Harry Burtons use of the tomb as a photographic studio during the clearance of Tutankamun. There were plaster jar sealings and mud sealings, various kinds of jars, ostrachon and a wine jar. There was an object from the estates of Sitamun. The contents of one jar appeared to be wine residue and the pottery was similar to that in the royal tomb at Amarna. The ostrachon showed part of a tomb plan with a descending corridor. Additionally there was a door sealing and part of the sarcophagus of Merenptah. Lots of these royal sarcophagi get broken up into many pieces and these get scattered. Work was done by Earl Ertman, Ted Brock and herself. They found gold foil and gold beads, the later might be original or could have fallen of jewellery of Tutankamun when Burton was photographing.

There were masons marks on the West wall about a cubit apart possible indicating that a pillared hall had been planned. Also water marks showing the height of the debris and marks of the shrine which left gesso and gold. These answered the question about whether the shrine was gilded on both sides and it was. She showed a detailed drawing of the West Wall. There were possible gang marks graffiti. There was also evidence of an attempt to remove the shrine which left marks


The team received a conservation grant which enabled them to preserve the plaster which has the history of the tomb written all over it with things like the hand prints of the original workers. The tomb has moved since it was plastered resulting in a considerable gap between plaster and stone some times as much as 3-4 inches. The stairs were also repaired.


The team were allowed to investigate the canopic jars in the Cairo museum. These jars were cobbled together and the heads would have normally have been part of a box arrangement rather than jar tops. Similar to that of Tutankamun. They had marks on the rim indicating number and they contained material. Maybe in the future DNA could be extracted from this. The heads had been extensively recarved and the cartouches shaved off.

In 1998 the old rest house was removed and at that time a hole was seen that could be KVC, this was the tomb that was not a tomb and Aryton had discovered it and sent a note to Davies dahabiyya say he had found a tomb but 2 hours later sent another note saying it was not a tomb. It is now covered by the rest house.

Jars were found above with double nefer signs and she thinks they are 18th dynasty while others think 20th. They were imported and there are 3 other examples Seti I and Ram I, Tel Borg insignia and one at the temple of Merenptah. They are much later than KV55 so might have been for Rameses IX

The necklace found in tomb 93, Enkonmi, Cyprus in 1800’s if reconstructed accurately then it gives us more clues about the necklace found in KV55.

The bottom of the coffin found its way into the hands of a dealer and was restored and repatriated to Egypt in the 1980’s

Recently another photo of the tomb has been located from a different angle and taken at a different time possible by Linden Smith who mentions that he had a box camera. This photo shows material on the ledge of the niche where later photos showed a notebook and helps identify other objects more clearly. He left a lot of letters in which he obliquely refers to KV55 but there is more in his biography.

A TV program with Josh Bernstein and Narri Iskinder called Digging for the Truth told of the skull being large and heavy with a frail skeleton. It also talks about this being a cache tomb. In Year 5 Tutankamun brought burials from Amarna and these were put in the valley like KV63. In KV36 there is another cache with 3 bodies an old woman, a young man and a boy. It is possible that these were the bodies taken out of the coffins found in KV63 so as to obscure their identity.

Q and A

There was a question asked about Tutankamun and didn’t he leave Amarna in Year 2

Ray Johnson asked her thoughts on whether the shrine had actually been set up in the tomb which was previous thoughts but she thinks not. There was not stone sarcophagus as this was left at Amarna.

There was comment about the coffin being made for a 5’ 3” person but the body was 5’ 6” and as many theories as there are Egyptologists.

In response to a question she restated the skeleton was 26 years old and she is adamant it is Akhenaton. When quizzed could it have been Smenkare she stated that Smenkare was just another name for Nefertiti

This lecture was interesting but I am honoured bound to point out that this is not the only view about this tomb and a search on the internet using the keyword KV55 brings up over 12,000 web pages; there are almost that many theories about various aspects of KV55 including who was buried there. See also

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December 8th, 2006
News from the German Culture Club and Malqata Art Palalce
At the last minute we found somebody who will give us a lecture tomorrow

9.12., 4.30 p.m. German language lecture by Lutz Franke (Berlin), amateur egyptologist, about the life of Queen Nefertiti, wife of King Akhenaton, Malqata Art Palace, El Gezira

And don’t miss the opening of “Malqata’s” next exhibition “Farewell Qurna” with photographs of the Egyptian artist Maryam Abdelwahab, Tuesday, 12th of December, at 7 p.m.. This exhibition runs until 31st of December.

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December 7th, 2006
Hassan Fathy Village
I promised more on this village following my visit to New Gourna and it has been published on the main Tour Egypt site together with my photos. Enjoy

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December 7th, 2006
More great women from Luxor
I love finding these examples of great role models of Egyptian womanhood.
Here is another heart warming story from Karnak. It seems that more Egyptian women are seeing the need for nursery education for children of pre-school age (in other words the 3 to 6 age group) and having the drive to start small schools.

This one at Karnak opened this autumn with 4 teachers. Both the manager Rowya and the main teacher Sara are fully qualified, and have attended college away from home (in fact the main teacher is also a qualified social worker for the area). The school is situated at Zenya, about half a mile past the Sofotel Hotel if heading out of Karnak.

To make it viable and keep the cost per child down as much as possible they needed to have an attendance of 50 children. They have advertised in local shops and various public places and have had a very good response. They are also offering 10 free places to children of very poor families and orphans. The curriculum will include some very simple Arabic, some English and some Islam. Nothing to heavy, and combined with play although this at the moment is a very small school they have ambitions to grow over the next few years.

I am sure this venture will pay dividends for the children of Luxor and their future. If you would like to visit the school or find out any more please contact Tony

So well done Rowya and Sara

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December 5th, 2006
New Gurna/Qurna
Today I went to the new development to have a look for myself and I must admit I have been unjust to the authorities. It was nothing like I had been led to believe and I think it is lovely.
Ok from a distance it does not look very prepossessing as it is far into the desert and the houses are very regimented and box like. It is still very much a construction site. However that said it reminded me of Milton Keynes when that was first built. It needs time to mature and I think it will eventually be a very pleasant place. Obviously everything is going to have to come from outside as you can see the landscaping is supplied with water by truck.

We were invited into a house where the lady had moved in 4 days ago. she was as pleased as punch and loved her new place. She showed us into every corner and was very happy with it. Everything has been provided by the government. she made us tea and the glasses, the tray, the kettle were all brand new and government provided. All the furniture beds, chairs everything was there. There were some things she said they had been promised which she hadn’t got yet like a washing machine, TV and fans, she hoped these would come later, but on the whole she had no complaints and was really happy. She was a widow with two sons neither of whom were married. Her eldest son has been promised his own place so at the moment is still back at Gurna. So it would seem even modest sized families are getting more than one house. The houses are all identical and have 3 bedrooms, a seating area, kitchen and bathroom. outside there is a small yard at the back and at the front a porchway and little mastaba in front of the main bedroom which has a door leading outside.

Before we went there we had gone to the Hassan Fathy village (which I will write about later) this was the failed attempt to move the villages back in the 1940’s.They soon gave up on it and moved back to the hillside where they happier and where they could make business. This move is being enforced and they will not be allowed to move back and that would be my only criticism location, location, location. How are the men going to find work in this new area. They will have to commute. If only employment had been provided as well. But the women and the children are going to love it. It is clean, easy to keep that way, water is on tap, it has everything. They only need to bring their clothes. After a while when it gets landscape and a bit more individualised like the new towns in the UK it will be a very pleasant place to live. Certainly the lady we spoke to was a success. I plan to go back regularly and see how she feels after a longer time there but I have a feeling she is going to continue to be well content.

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December 4th, 2006
Update on Seti I temple
Well it would seem my complaints did some good and the vegetation has been cleared but the water is still attacking the temple

Before After

and look what the vegetation did to the fabric of the building.

And as you can see from these 2 photos within a month we have lost this decoration from the base of the pedestal.




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December 4th, 2006
Senenmut Lecture at the Mummification Museum by Francisco Martin Valentin
Lecture at the Mummification Museum 3/12/6 by Francisco J Martin Valentin on the Senenmut Project
Firstly there is a good website in Spanish and English where you can read more.The team consists of Teresa Bedman his wife and the name of the architects of his equipment(team) is: Juan Martín Rojo and Luis Abad . Dr. Ayman is the geologist of the equipment(team) TT353, the tomb of Senenmut was discovered by Herbert Winlock in Jan 1927 and its most unique and special feature is the astronomical ceiling, the oldest in the world and in the opinion of Martin Valentin as special as the Sistine chapel. Some slides were shown showing the site in 1926/27 and Martin Valentin explained how some broken statues had led the way to the discovery. Behind the bricked up entrance was a strange monument. The tomb is 41.93 metres down and 97.36 metres long through complex stone of quartz, calcite, gypsum and other stone. The tomb was published in 1991 by Peter Dormar the ceiling shows the Great Bear, Sirius and 4 of the 5 planets known to the Ancient Egyptians. According to the website and touched upon during the lecture a deep study of the astronomical ceiling allowed the setting of the position of Jupiter and Mars in that time, and through impressive and complex astronomical and mathematical calculations, the ending of the works of the ceiling could be dated in the year 1465 B.C., i.e., the 17th year of the reign of Hatshepsut.There are chamber has Pyramid Texts, Coffin Texts and chapters from the Book of the Dead. In fact it has the first example of Chapter 110 of the Book of the Dead. The first problem facing the team was how to protect the tomb from the damage of the environmental and human contact. They made a proposal to the SCA in 1999 and in April 2003 the project was started. The issues covered were documentation, protection from flood water, study of the site and the provision of a replica within the confines of the temple of Hatshepsut.2004Humidity was noted on the ceiling with subsequent problems with saline. The solution is not universally agreed upon. But now they have stopped the cause of the water it is appears that it has resolved itself. The old toilet block had a huge water tank supplying it and this was always parked in a certain place and leaked. These toilets were closed and the water stopped. Every time he sees the new toilet portacabins he is thankful. Slides showing the extent of the problem in 2004 were shown and the problem looked massive at that time. As long as there is no water there again it should never arise again.The team cleared the first part of tomb from the entrance to the first chamber, working in very cramped conditions. The tunnel entrance gives little room for them to hold their instruments. When cleared the steps showed themselves to be crisply cut and well defined.2005The second part of the tomb was cleared; slides were shown picturing mud from the severe floods in 1994. The existing flood protection did not work and part of the teams work was to provide protection for the future. A stone wall was put round the tomb to protect against further damage.The room was 3 m by 3m. The team have installed a wooden staircase with lights in the risers which gives the tomb a very sympathetic lighting system and greatly adds to ambience. A safety rail was made on the landing and a roof put over the entrance of the tomb. In fact all the wooden installations looked to be of high quality. The floor of the tomb needs protecting as the stone is very soft. Inside the tomb various objects were found; a mud brick stamped showing it was from the temple of Ahmose Nefertari and some early 18th Dynasty pottery.2006 This year will see the completion of the first part of the project and then they have to look to the future. Currently because of the small size of the tomb and its entrance ways only up to chamber A can be viewed so the team is proposing to have a museum area with a visitor’s centre and a reproduction of the tomb. The proposed structure would be under the eye line so hidden from a panoramic view of the temple. The engineer involved Dr Ahmed Mohammed produced a design that would not contaminate the vista of the temple. The idea would be to have a reproduction of the decorated chamber. There would be use of local materials such as strengthened mud brick to house it. The various methods of producing a reproduction were briefly touched upon but not gone into any detail. (Think about the repro of the tomb of Thothmosis III and this gives you an idea of what they are thinking along the lines of). Apparently they can go to a resolution of 100 microns. They see the need for a slip road, protection against flooding and provision of light. This is their dream. Martin Valentin then went into a very complex presentation of why Senenmut built this monument. For example why did he choose chapter CXLVIII of the Book of the Dead. TT353 is a special design and did not follow the standard beginning to end route. Although the tomb is unfinished it has a special place in front of the false door for some kind of function. There are also some odd inscriptions; one said funeral offering by his brother Amenemhet priest of the bark of Amun. ( I didn’t get exactly what the significance of this was and would be grateful for any amplification) there was also a changed inscription which should Hatshepsut and Senenmut in the same positions as Tawosert and Chancellor Bay were shown, kneeling in front of each other which indicates something but truly we do not know what.They found what looks like the head of a canopic jar which was found with seals of Hatshepsut. There was some hastily done graffiti by the stone mason Tuy in chamber C. the vaulted ceiling is the first example others being KV19 and KV20 and shows the same architectural characteristic as that of KV17 and KV9 with the Nut ceilingWas this Senenmut’s second tomb, the team came to no definite conclusion.TT71 his previous tomb was also unfinished but his parents Ramose the respectable and Hatnofer the Lady of the House were found underneath it, in the cliff. There was a destroyed sarcophagus found which has been restored and is on display in the Metropolitan museum. At 88 cm wide it was too big for the tomb which is irregular but in some places only 99cm wide and it would have been very difficult to it inside Winlock found deposit foundations which are not normal for Nobles tombs.There appears to be a possible relationship between this monument and the Mentuhotep temple. If you take a line from the middle of the wadjet eye in the false door this connects on an axis to the Hathor chapel and although it is 255 metres apart the line is only a few centimetres out. Perhaps this is a secret part of Deir el Bahri being indicated inside. There is another possible connection with Mentuhotep that the statue found inside the temple by Carter shows the king wearing the Red Crown, was this his desire to be the wearer of the red crown, is the temple a cenotaph indicating this desire. There is a connection with the pyramid text 220-222 to be the owner of the Red Crown, did he want to be shown forever wanting to be the owner of the crown. Did Senenmut, in secret, want to be the owner of the Red Crown? The central strip of hieroglyphics in the ceiling mentions him as seal bearer of the King of lower Egypt, why did he chose that of all his titles, His name is in the same place and the same size as that of Hatshepsut which indicated some kind of special relationship.The conclusion of the team was thatTT353 was not for a mummyThere are no parallels with other private tombsIt is ritually linked with the temple

There is a link with Mentuhotep

It is a place of funeral worship with a special motive

It is a chapel or cenotaph

There followed a rather robust Q and A session between Francesco Tiradritti and Francisco Martin Valentin Francesco stated that the Red Crown is also connected with the underworld not just Lower Egypt. The Narmer Palette supports this. He did not agree with the idea of secrets of Senenmut and perhaps Mentuhotep’s desire was to be Osirus rather than the White crown. He did not agree with the idea of a museum because there is not enough room for everyone to have a museum for their work. He also disagreed with the idea of a replicaMr Mansour Boraik broke in the middle of this heated debate stating that this was a proposal only and lots had to be discussed.Actually on a personal note I like the idea of replicas. I think the vast majority of tourists who come to Egypt would be quite happy to see replicas like those caves in France and it would leave to tombs not having to cope with the hordes of visitors and the damage they do. I would like then for the real thing to be available only to accredited scholars and not just to people with money. But that is my view. Any comments?

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December 4th, 2006
Ongoing work at the Ramaseum
Well aparently they are having a very successful season and work continues on improvements. A lovely photo of men at work

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December 2nd, 2006
Today’s move at Qurna/Gurna
With the eyes of the worlds press on them thankfully there was no repeat of last time when people were injured and killed. However I have been told only 20% of the people are happy with the move and today was only part one in a month long program. The BBC report is here�
Posted by Jane: - 9:17 pm - Edit| 3 Comments »
December 1st, 2006
All Move
Rumours are increasingly growing that Saturday is going to see the move of villagers from Gurna. The Governor of Luxor, Dr Samir Farag, has said that no one is going to be forcible moved. I pray to God this is true as last time they tried this people lost their lives when they refused to move.
Personally I wish they could have resolved this in a way that everyone was happier and the people allowed to stay. I find my guests enjoy seeing the glimpses of local life just as much as the tombs and as long as the tombs are protected why not let the people live there if they want.

What ever happens Inshahallah nobody gets hurt this time.

I have had lots of emails as a result of this entry and not one supportive of the move. Thanks to Andie Bryan for sending me this link which confirms the rumours�

Posted by Jane: - 11:22 am - Edit| 2 Comments »
December 1st, 2006
All Change
Today the guardians change their sites and find out which is going to be their new place of work for the next year. Some of these changes can be unfortunate like last year a terrific guardian at the tomb of Ay who had really studied it and had even photocopied a good description was moved to be the night guard at the tomb of Hatshepsut!!! If pickings were slim at the tomb of Ay they are non existent if you are a night guard and what a waste of knowledge. Also the first time I went up to the tomb after the change had been made the new guardian did not know how to switch off the generator. Everyone tried to help him, my driver, the policeman even my male guest but nobody could work it out. So they had to leave it running.
Guardians do very a lot but one thing is true of all of them, they are very badly paid. They need those tips to pay for essentials like school uniforms so children can go to school and medicines when a family member is ill. I know it can be annoying for Westerners who are not used to the tipping culture but please try and put yourself in their shoes. It can also be a nightmare to get hold of small bills in Egypt and many European currencies do not have a sufficient small denomination bill. Coins are often given as tips and that is why you will be approached by a guardian trying to swap coins for notes, either big domination foreign notes or Egyptian currency. It does help them if you can do this swap. US tourists are luckier as they can bring a big wad of single dollar bills.

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November 30th, 2006
Conference on the Contribution of Heritage to Sustainable Urban development
More details here lol from my daughters blog. Actually this is a very interesting conference and pertient for the future of Luxor. they have visited the Hassan Fathy village and the New Gurna as well as the monuments and today is the first day of the conference proper. There is a big international one next May
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November 27th, 2006
Updates on the KV63 Website
Thanks to Roxanne for informing me that there are loads of updates on the official KV63 website.

A new page called ‘Staff Gallery’

New photos of the Floral Collars on ‘Photo~Page Two’


‘Otto’s Dig Diary’

‘Publications’ page


‘Donations and Links’ page

Roaxanne also informed me that the team expect to come back to the Valley Feb/Mar next year. It will be good to see them again and to leanr more about this interesting tomb

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November 27th, 2006
Mummification Museum Lecture on Undecorated Tombs in the Valley of Kings
Dr Donald P Ryan of Pacific Lutheran University on the Undecorated Tombs KV21, KV27, KV28, KV44, KV45 and KV60 in the Valley of Kings 26th November 2006


The aim of tonight’s lecture was to show that the undecorated tombs in the Valley of Kings are interesting and important.

Scattered among the magnificent and beautiful tombs of the Pharaohs in the Valley of Kings there are a number of much smaller undecorated tombs. Although discovered at the turn of the centaury they have been virtually ignored both by those discovering them and by subsequent scholars and visitors. When Dr Ryan was a student back in 1983 he noticed them in the valley and pondered the archaeological problems they posed. These tombs must have belonged to some very important people in Egyptian society but we don’t know exactly who they are. Being undecorated there are no names preserved and the merger finds inside, due to a twist of fate, have not preserved the names of the occupants.

Dr Ryan has been working in the small wadi that leads to Thothmosis IV and he started there in 1989.


This tomb was known to be in front of KV19 but essentially it was lost. Carter had discovered it and found 2 mummies, remains of a gilded coffin and some other bits and pieces. 3 years later Edward Ayrton removed the coffin and one mummy. The tomb belonged to SeptRe the Royal Nurse of Queen Hatshepsut. The archaeologist Elizabeth Thomas suggested including this tomb to the team. The first day they arrived just having a look around and armed with few tools and a broom they decided the have a quick look and see what they could find. Half an hours work and they had found a cut edge and then the steps. Dr Ryan joked with the audience you didn’t need GPS to find a tomb ½ an hour with a broom was enough.

The stairs are very steep and when the team uncovered them they were gleaming white. The first room has a very low ceiling with 2 niches and had never been flooded. They found lots of gold flakes and a copper chisel suggesting that possibly the robbers had brought the objects to the daylight while they were hacking off the gold from them. They found a large pile of wrapped mummy bundles of food, a large piece of coffin and a well preserved female mummy. The left arm was bent across the body and had a clenched fist and the right arm was straight down the side. This is considered to be the pose of a royal female by many Egyptologist and is Dr Ryan’s opinion. The mummy was stripped and the wood had been stripped of gold and there is speculation that it is Hatshepsut. The tomb of Hatshepsut is just above this are and it is entirely possible it was cached in the tomb of her nurse. The coffin has notches for a beard suggest that it was a male coffin.

In 1990/91 there was intense speculation in the papers that this was the body of Hatshepsut, Dr Ryan was never actually contacted and this caused him some embarrassment as all sorts of quotes were attributed to him. If he had been he would have stated that the speculation was just that speculation, it is possible but there is no proof what so ever so nothing could be proved. The papers got there facts so wrong he even had a copy of a news paper with a photo of Howard Carter which had his name underneath.

Both this mummy and the one removed in 1906 are now being studied by Dr Zahi Hawass using all the latest technology including CAT scans and it is hoped that something will be found that would clear up this mystery for ever.


This tomb was discovered by Belzoni in 1817 but was subsequently flooded and disappeared. This tomb also had to be found and likewise the team did so very easily. Within 10-15 minutes of starting their search they found the start of the tomb and almost immediately the number 21 was found painted on the surface. This is from the early numbering of the tombs in the valley and confirmed that they had located the right spot. It took another month to excavate the entire entrance. When Belzoni found it he said there were 2 mummies and some pots and the team wondered if these would still be there. The layout of the tomb is quite like that of the tomb of Ay with the exception of the chamber having a central column.

Before Belzoni found it, it had not been flooded but unfortunately now it had except for on side room whose threshold was sufficiently high to protect it. The tomb has some unique rectangular niches. In the side room there were lots of big white pots that had been broken. There were some large rocks inside and it is possible that some early vandal from the 19th centaury had used them to break the pots. Inside the side room there is graffiti from 1826. The pieces that were found are from around the time of Thothmosis IV and are bags of natron, mummy rags and several clay seals showing the necropolis seal of the 9 captives.

The mummies were in pieces but enough remained to show that there were left hands with clenched fists and bent arms. It is possible that these were two queens after all we are missing a lot of 18th Dynasty queens and other royal women. It may be they are right under our feet in these undecorated tombs. In Dr Ryan’s opinion the fact that the names are missing is bad luck rather an intentional act to leave these mummies unidentified.

4 other tombs

The other 4 tombs are shaft tombs, KV44 and KV45 were excavated by Carter and under the primitive archaeology of the time Carter didn’t find gold so basically left them unexcavated by modern standards. On top of the 18th Dynasty burials there is a small amount of evidence of 22nd Dynasty burials. The team found coffin fragments and numerous crude ushabtis.

Dr Ryan showed a very technical slide just to demonstrate the conservation work of the team. This included a survey of the natural hazards facing the tombs. It is hard for tourists to believe it but the biggest danger facing the tombs is flooding.

On a personal note Dr Ryan explained what he had done during the years 1989-1993 when he left the Valley. He worked with Thor Heyerdahl for the last 7 years of his life and there is quite a lot about this on the website. Thos Heyerdahl died 4 years ago and Dr Ryan decided it was time to come back to the Valley. He commented rather humorously on the changes he noticed over the years some not so nice like MacDonald’s overlooking Luxor Temple and the volume of visitors in the Valley.

After his return the firs thing they did was to go round their tombs and see what the passage of time had done. At KV60 they brought in Dr Larry Berman the curator of Boston Fine Arts to look at some of the object. The wrapped mummy bundles were x-rayed by Selim Hassan. Investigation showed ribs, large joints, birds and a large piece of meat which might be liver.

They also investigated to see what damage the flood of 1994 had done to the tombs. At KV21 although it had a diversion wall water had entered the tomb and a thin layer of silt was on the floor. On the walls there was also a mark showing the height the water had reached. In 1993 the team had installed crack monitors and they were keen to inspect these. Contrary to some well publicised views by the author of ‘the Rape of Tutankamun’ (John Rommer) who accused archaeologists working in the valley of exposing the tombs to destruction, the crack monitors should no movement. However this does not mean that anyone should be complaisant.

Last year had been a study season and this year they decided to pay attention to KV27 again. The shaft leads to a chamber followed by another and 2 small rooms. In the early 1990’s this tomb was used as a shelter by the souvenir sellers and at one time a bog was using it for nursing her puppies. It shows evidence of fires that had been lit. They had cleared the shaft 12 years ago and this year they finished the tomb chambers. One wall shows the various flood debris levels reaching almost to the ceiling. There are at least 7 levels although opinion differs on exactly how many there are. There is one very clear deep level.

At the back of the room there was an alcove which is most unusual. Inside they have found lots of pottery (organics and wood don’t tend to survive as well). There are the mud stoppers of the pots and counting these gives about 40 pots. Barbara Aston, the pottery expert has been working on these trying to put some back together.

But in all this we have no names for these tombs. The team did come across a canopic jar and the first piece they found did not have a name but later they found a piece with a name Userhet, but this confused rather than resolved the issue because it was the third jar and the other 2 were found in KV45. So does Userhet belong in KV45 or KV27?

There are 4 more days left in their season and Inshahallah they intend to publish soon, maybe next year.

Posted by Jane: - 1:12 pm - Edit| No Comments »
November 21st, 2006
Restoration at Luxor temple
The team expect to finish the current work on 16th December and that will be the complete cleaning of the left hand side of the roman fresco’s. Then they will have a go at the right hand side. The middle will have to wait until next year. The colours look wonderful.
Posted by Jane: - 2:35 pm - Edit| No Comments »
November 21st, 2006
Finds at the Ramaseum
This is not something I have been able to verify but one of my cleaners also works helping at the digs and he has been at the Ramaseum. He tells me they have found some very beautiful coffin remains and some had gold on them. As I say I have not been able to verify this but it does sound like Christian le Blanc is having good season. If anyone is able to get me some more information I would be grateful

Many thanks to Carolin Johansson who spotted this link which appears to confirm my story.

The Egyptian-French archeological mission has discovered a Pharaohnic cemetery inside the ancient Ramsis Temple in Luxor.

The cemetery contains kitchens, ovens and a school for children. Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Antiquities (SCA) Zahi Hawwas said the grand cemetery was not royal but rather public.

Posted by Jane: - 12:13 pm - Edit| No Comments »
November 20th, 2006
News from the German Culture Club
We’re Anne and Joe who, when in Luxor last winter wrote and directed the Play ” True love never dies ” . The Play was performed in the Fayrouz Hotel, on 10 th of March 2006 with an overwhelming outcome.

Joe and I were expecting to be returning this month, but Joe has just recently gone through heart surgery, operation went well and he’s now on the mend. We are still intending coming to Luxor this winter cannot say at the moment when, will have to wait for an okay from the doc.

We have written our second Play, which we shall be delighted to perform once again on Luxor Westbank. Location and date when we arrive, of course we’ll need a few weeks for actors,rehearsals, costumes etc.

Thought we’d inform you, kindly asking for a mention on your Luxornews Website.

We’d also like to thank everyone for the lots of telephone calls and e-mails wishing Joe the best of health and a rapid recovery.

Thanking you in anticipation, looking forward to meeting you when we’re in Luxor.

best wishes, Anne & Joe

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November 20th, 2006
Al Jezeera International - Temples of Doom
Just watched this really good program about the damage being done to the temples in Egypt by rising water, tourist numbers and other factors. Apparently it is going to be repeated this week several times. You may remember me blogging about being filmed by them last March. I was just a bit excited seeing myself on screen with Zahi Hawass, Kent Weeks, Ray Johnston, Mansour Boraik and Nigel Hetherington. We were all singing from the same hymm sheet, the temples need urgent attention to preserve them.

It is being repeated Tuesday 21st 14:30 GMT, Wednesday 20:30 GMT, Thursday 04:30 GMT . Al Jezeera International is the new English version of the famous Arabic TV station

Posted by Jane: - 1:00 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
November 20th, 2006
Mummification Museum Lecture - Francesco Tiradritti - Luigi Vassalli
Luigi Vassalli
His archaeological season at Dra Abu el Naga 1862 -1863 – Francesco Tiradritti 19/11/6Before Francesco started digging at Harwa he was conservator at Milan Museum and whilst he was there he was shown the manuscripts of Luigi Vassalli. Although largely forgotten these days he was a significant figure in Egyptian archaeology.

He was born 8th January 1812. He took a drawing course in Milan but when he was 18 years old he joined the revolution and was subsequently exiled. He earned a living as a painter. He came back in 1848 to take part in another revolution but that also failed so he was forced into exile again. He went to Turkey and married a beautiful wife but after she died he went travelling again and ended up in Egypt. He earned a living as a painter, tour guide to the wealthy and dealer.

The papyrus of the robber’s trial was one of his deals. In 1856 he met Mariette when he sold him the coffin of Intef V. When Marriette’s assistant (Bonfar?) who was working at Medinet Habu died Mariette asked Vassalli to become his assistant. He worked from 1859 – 1881 in the antiquities department. In 1887 he committed suicide as he did not want to live any longer.

During his career he was under the shadow of Mariette and besides him when he died. However he was personally responsible for many things, the costumes for Aida were under his control. The façade of the Egyptian Museum has his name, the only Italian to appear. He spotted the sarcophagus of Khufu and it was his decision to cut the Medium geese and the way they were cut betrays his artistic eye.

In the summer of 1860 he asked for leave and joined Garabaldi’s Thousand. He was a first class curator at Naples Museum but eventually was forced to return to Egypt.

In 1861 he explored Tanis and found the so called ‘400 year’ stele from the court of Seti. Vassalli wrote a history of the stele.

In 1863 Mariette sent Vassalli to Dra Abu el Naga to draw the coffins of the high priests of Montu, these have now been lost. He found the coffins of Yahotep and Kahmose and the golden fly’s necklace of Ahmose Nefertari. He would continue to excavate in that area and personally supervised the excavation. His manuscripts are not complete but he recorded tombs like 104 Amenemhet I of XII dynasty. There are many coffins which re now lost which were recorded by Vassalli. One inscription says ‘the man with the wig’ which would be a special title like a man with big nose. Another strange name sounded like Misship North Syrian. There were 4 coffins in the tomb 2 anthropoid and 2 rectangular. Tombs could have been used for more than one centaury.

Vassalli also record another tomb and set of lost coffins from tomb 155 from the time of Thothmosis III. Francesco thinks that he has located the area of the tombs near tomb 155. Near the plain where the coffin of the tombs of Intef were found.

Another tomb had 3 rectangular coffins one with the inscription ‘she is not our daughter’ !!! There were bronze mirrors and the mummy of a woman and child suggesting a possible death in childbirth.

In tomb 100 coffin 2 the most interesting inscription was on the lid which seem to show a king list of sorts

Sened Unidentified Antef XI Mentuhotep II


Sesosteris II Sesosteris III Sekhaenre Ahmose


It is a coffin of a woman and Francesco proposed that the top line was her mythical ancestors and the bottom line her actual ancestors. The juxtaposition of the supposed hated Hyskos Sekhaenre and Ahmose is interesting. Sened is connected with the south and the founder of the second dynasty. Ahmose also has a Thebes connection. The hypothesis is that this inscription was a genealogy

Tomb 67 had 2 rectangular coffins. In 1994 Francesco had to put together an exhibition at the Cairo museum and for that he tried to pull together all the contents that were found. Inscriptions from these contents revealed various titles and personalities like ‘acquainted of the king’, Hornakht ‘the one who has access to the king’ which is a middle kingdom title. The king’s son Tjwiv, follower of the Lord in his movement’ the son of Re To who lives. Francesco left the title kings son and did not change it to prince as sometimes this can mean bodyguard.There was a senet board which was of Hyskos production, a box with Min Lord of Koptos Minemhat, A vase and a cosmetic spoon with Sobeknakht Governor.

So 4 objects

Tjuiu kings son ThebesSobeknakht Governor Hierokompolis

Minenhat Governor Koptos

Idi Governor Also a vase of Sobeknakht found in a tomb.

All these items taken together show that the start of the war it was Nubians that attacked not Hyskos and there was actually a good relationship between the Hyskos and Ahmose s demonstrated by the ladies coffin. In addition the wounds on the face of SekennreTao II look like arrow wounds and arrows were favoured by the Nubians.

Around the area are many tombs of the late XVII dynasty concubine, ambassador, artist and priest. The hillside is pyramid like and Kamoses was found on the plteau below. Mariette may have ‘planted’ it so it could be ‘discovered’. There are also two other Intefs buried in the same area.

Francesco’s proposal is that this was a XVII dynasty necropolis with the possible tomb of Amenhotep I nearby with the path to the West and the Valley of the Kings.

He will be publishing this; British Museum publications on II Intermediate period, together with all the drawings.

Many apologies for the poor quality of the notes his accent is a little hard to understand especially when he is excited and speaking fast, as ever I welcome corrections and amplifications.

BTW my guest Richard Sellicks and his party were up in that area today and took some photos of the very area under discussion. Many thanks for these

Posted by Jane: - 12:17 pm - Edit| No Comments »
November 12th, 2006
Mummification Museum Lecture - Silvia Einaudi Harwa and Pabasa
Harwa & Pabasa

Dr Silvia Einaudi – Researches in the tombs of Harwa TT37 and Pabasa TT279 12/11/06

Dr Silvia opened the lecture by dedicating it to Dr Mohammed El Soghair (There is more about him and his work with the team on their excellent website

Harwa lived around 700-680 BC in the reign of Shabita and Tarhaqa 25th Dynasty. There are 8 statues of Harwa known 3 cubic or block statues, one of him with his parents, one with 2 goddesses and three Old Kingdom seated scribe styles, only one of which has a head but this is quite clearly a portrait. His title was Great Steward (Butler) of the Divine Adoritist. His tomb is situated in the middle of the Assasaif area, built on the processional way of Mentuhotep, with an entrance at the south. At the time his tomb was built the processional way of Hatshepsut’s temple was still being used for the Beautiful Feast of the Valley. It is between the tombs of Montumonet and petamenophis.

The tomb is divided into an entrance, vestibule, courtyard; it then goes underground with 2 pillared halls and a shrine to Osirus. There is a very long corridor (NB you might want to look at the plan on the website when reading this) which goes around and this is thought to replicate how Osiris was buried on an island. This corridor deviates at various points to avoid older tombs. The shape is reminiscent of the contemporary pyramid of Tarhaqa.

The tomb can read as a path or journey going through life (1st hall), death (2nd hall) and then rebirth (Osiris shrine).


Part of the text reads ‘I gave bread to the hungry and clothes to the naked’ and this is a Renaissance of a 1st Intermediate Period inscription


Anubis is shown grasping the hand of Harwa who is obviously alive at this point and has a big belly and pendulous breasts.


This also has a picture of Anubis grasping his hand but now he is a slim young man. The partially complete inscription shows Anubis with what seems like two faces, one carved the other drawn and it seems like the artist changed his mind and had Anubis facing the same way as in the previous ‘Death’ area. The redundant part should have been covered with stucco or similar if it had been finished. Pabasa who copies much of Hawra’s tomb copies this mistake exactly.

The shrine has an image of Osiris in front of a staircase and there is a small statue of Harwa looking at it for eternity.

Slides were shown of the condition of the tomb in 1995 with the 1st hall piled with debris; the team has rebuilt the pillars with plywood. The blocks are copied onto clear sheets and these can be laid next to one another. As the text is the same as Pabasa it is easy to identify. The team have copied all the pillars of Pabasa which are in much better condition and these help tremendously with Harwa. In some cases digital photographs are taken of interesting pieces and those with joins (so two different scenes) and these have been pieced together in some cases. The pillars have Rituals of the Hours of the Night on the south side and the Day on the north side which represent the eternal journey of the sun.

In the 2nd hall the pillars were in much better condition and 3 of them remain, they were very dirty (a slide was shown that looked totally black on one side and with inscriptions on the other). The inscriptions are from chapter 15 of the book of the dead and the ritual of the opening of the mouth.

The tomb then divides into 2 at this point with the soul carrying on its journey at the existing level into the Osiris shrine and the body descending into another subterranean level. At the lowest point on this level Chamber 9 is thought to be the burial chamber but there was no sarcophagus or coffin so it is not clear if he was buried here.


This contain scenes of daily life, on one wall there are representations of fisherman preparing to catch fish from a pool and from the pillar facing this the same (?) fisherman is shown preparing the fish, cutting and drying.. These were also copied in Pabasa but only on the pillars not on the wall. There were also pieces found with bees on them and these were similar to scenes in Angkor(?spelling) which show bees and honey


A 2nd century AD portrait mask and a biscuit tin from a company whose name translates as ‘I don’t care’!!!

The other side of the courtyard was not complete but had some graffiti of an arms dealer R Gimbal left there.

The north wall had offering bearers, the top levels being carved and the lower registers drawn only. There was nothing on the =pillars

The style of the relief’s is that of the Old Kingdom mastabas at Sakkara and Memphis and it is possible that artists from Memphis travelled to Kawa where Tarhaqa built and decorated a temple and then travelled back via Luxor decorating the tomb of Harwa. There are similarities in design between the temple and the tomb design (difficult to describe without the plans shown on the slides).

There are other Memphite connections

The ‘death’ area has the Aphis Bull, Harwa and Anubis and the Rebirth area Imertet, Harwa and Anubis. It is possible there was a connection between Thebes and Memphis through the Apis and Imertet. Possibly the journey of the Memphite artists was also metaphysical and Thebes became the place of rebirth. There is an inscription of Chapter 106 of the Book of the Dead ‘Giving Joy in Memphis’ and Pabasa has the same chapter.

There is another connection of a scene of the tjeref dance and Mastaba 6020 has the same dance.

One of the most interesting finds is an ushabti of Harwa which instead of carrying the normal hoes has a crook and flail indicating the connection with royalty and the very high position that Harwa held.

Next week Francesco is going to talk more about the work of the Italians in Thebes. Again as always I welcome corrections or amplifications especially of my spelling!!

Posted by Jane: - 10:47 pm - Edit| No Comments »
November 8th, 2006
Operation Smile comes to Luxor
The team from Operation Smile arrived at Luxor airport tonight for an intensive few days repairing cleft palates. Lots of details here They will be doing assessments Thursday and Friday and next week they expect to do 125 operations. Many thanks to the team for their excellent work helpings Egypt’s children, we had two of them staying at our flats this week and it was so interesting hearing the impact this simple operation can make on children’s lives
Posted by Jane: - 8:28 pm - Edit| No Comments »
November 6th, 2006
Mummification Museum Lecture - Ted Brock Karnak and Luxor
Dewatering project at Karnak and Luxor TemplesDr Edwin Brock 5th November 2006
The project was inaugurated in January last year by Dr Zahi Hawass and specialist form the US and Sweden. It is expected to finish at the end of this month.

The reason it was needed was that Karnak and Luxor temples, (in fact all temples in Egypt) were at risk from the rising water table.

This has been caused by irrigation especially of water hungry crops like sugar cane. This means the foundations of the temples are constantly in contact with water. The capillary action within the stone draws the water up and natural evaporation causes slats to be deposited on the surface or just underneath he surface of the stone. This then crystallises below the surface of the stone and forces the stone o separate. The surface is pushed out and this causes the loss of decoration. Additionally the constant moisture itself makes the stone to revert to its original state of sand. Eventually the block itself disintegrates. This affects limestone at well as sandstone.

A consortium of Egyptian, US and Swedish companies and people is addressing the problem. The Supreme Council of Antiquities is the client, it is financed by US and Sweden; SWECO project manage with the work actually being done by EGYCO.

At 10 metres below the surface they are using perforated collection pipes with gravity flow to a pumping station. Also 20 metres they have deep well drainage to deal with artesian water. The plan is to lower the water table by 2 meters.

The Chevrier ditch was an early 1920’s attempt to deal with the problem but it was not successful because the design was poor using an open ditch which rapidly filled with debris, plant life and the sides crumbled. However as it was already there the team decided to make use of it. The old pumping station form that attempt may be converted into an industrial museum.

Firstly a level 73 metres above sea level was identified and the pipes were laid 10 -12 metres below that. There are man holes for inspections. Temporary dewatering wells were needed in order to clear the sites for excavation. There are 2 pump stations with cement caissons, 12 metres high.

At Luxor the pumping station is situated in the S/E corner and when it is finished the area will be landscaped. The discharge pipe goes through an old tunnel under the Corniche. As at Luxor there was no existing trench they had dig from fresh and although there was a plan this was changed when antiquities were found laying in the path of the trench.

At Karnak it was anticipated there would be little problems with the antiquities as the excavation of the Chevrier ditch had already uncovered them. However there were two areas which they anticipated might be a problem. One, where the trench cut across the avenue of sphinxes, and the other, in the area of the Aten Temple.

A part of the project was the need to monitor the impact of the dewatering both during the excavation and ongoing through the life of the project. This was achieved with a mixture of Tilt Beam and Crack sensors. The readings are taken 2 -3 times a week and so far there has been no significant movement. Slides were shown of the various sensors in situ one crack beam sensor at Luxor temple at the mosque and another at Karnak on top of a pillar. Care had been taken that the cables did not obscure the reliefs. At Karnak there is one architrave that is partially support which is being carefully monitored. There is a tilt beam monitor at the 10th pylon and crack monitor at the 2nd pylon. The gateway of Ptolemy III at the Khonsu temple is another critical area.

The team has the responsibility of noticing antiquities, removing them from the route of the trenches if possible or moving the line of the trench if not. Test pits are dug before excavation takes place in order to establish the presence of antiquities. At Luxor temple test pits were dug in the proposed area of the pumping station and antiquities of late Roman and medieval times were found. House foundations with reused pharaonic blocks. There are a lot Roman remains at Luxor temple because it was converted into a Roman fortress around the 3rd centenary AD. The site of the pump station was altered because of the remains of Roman fortifications. Brick channels both red brick and mud brick were found. Frustratingly further excavation of the area had to be stopped because of the water table. There is great excitement that once the water table is lowered further excavation would be possible and many more things may be uncovered. The purpose of this project is not excavation so what they are trying to do is establish a map of signposts so that future excavations know where to start.

They have found lots of pottery from the Late Roman and Christian times. As well as coins, one from the time of Diocletian post 294 AD and many others from 379 AD.

The route of the discharge pipe also had to be changed because of the discovery of antiquities and Dr Brock noted the cooperation of the engineers when this happened.

Some discoveries posed question about the origin of the site as blocks of Thothmosis IV were found. Where did these come from? Was there a previous structure or were these brought here.

An example of a late Ptolemaic statue with an odd fringed robe was found. Various architectural elements column bases etc. Decorated blocks. An interesting limestone block with 3 images of the pharaoh whose origin was not known. A rare statue of the king in a smiting pose.

A partial block statue of Akhameneru was found with its head missing. His tomb is located near Harwa and he is known from several sculptures. There was a God’s wife of Amun but missing the names from the Late Period.

The trench was parallel to the Roman wall so they were concerned it would cut across the Eastern Gateway. It was made of reused blocks. A tower was found with 7 or 8 courses of bricks, there could have been more but the excavation time was limited. There were decorated clocks of Amenhotep III, Rameses III reused in the tower. Also medieval house foundations reused various blocks such as a solar court block, talatat with the names of the Aten, Nefertiti, and Akhenaton in a sed garment. 25th dynasty blocks. The walls of the old church also incorporated blocks. The trench crosses the avenue of sphinxes with their circular planters the trench line was moved to be between two sphinxes.

At Karnak the area of El Baharwah revealed sandstone blocks of Ptolemy XII dedicated to Khonsu Neferhotep and this was another shrine that has to be left for future excavation but at least they know where to start.

Investigations where the trench crossed the avenue of sphinxes were made but no sphinxes were found in the area of the trench. The pavement was removed and will be restored when the project is finished.

The sacred lake was dredged so that as the water level is reduced it remains a lake of water. The material from the dredging was captured and investigated; the slides showed a picture of when the lake had been drained before and most material removed however some things were found this time.

In the area of the Aton temple where Chevrier found the Akhenaton Colossus the team found a middle kingdom structure so the trench was shifted to the west. Ceramic material was recovered; it appears that there was a settlement to the East, south and North of Karnak.

The testing and installation should be finished in a month’s time and the results should start to appear a month after that.

In the question and answer session

The area of the Presidium (Luxor temple) which was a cult place dedicated to the deified emperor, holding the treasury and standards of the imperial army was discussed. Although many of the frescos had been removed lots remained and these were being restored by Chicago house. It was clarified that this was not a church but the art is related to early Coptic art.

The team is assigned to monitor movement for one year. If anything significant happens then the dewatering will stop until the change can be assessed, a reason ascertained and stabilised. An area of concern is the obelisk at Luxor temple which has a tilt to the Est.

The next lecture will be by the Italian team led by Francesco Tiradritti talking about 100 years of Italian excavations and after that Ray Johnson might talk about the work of Chicago House.

Please forgive any inaccuracies in my notes, it is challenging taking them in the dark and I admit to a fairly tiring week so welcome any corrections or amplifications.

BTW thought you might like these photos taken today at Luxor showing the project in action.

Posted by Jane: - 9:27 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
November 4th, 2006
Winter Season at Malkata Art Palace
Forthcoming activities in “Malqata Art Palace”, El Gezira - Luxor Westbank:
7.11. 10.12.2006

“Faces and Places” - Individual exhibition with paintings of the Egyptian artist Ammar Abo Bakr

11.11.2006, 4.30 p.m.

Meeting of the German speakers: Lecture about the Egyptian writer Salwa Bakr, presented in German language by Dr. Hans Mauritz (Switzerland)

12. 31.12.2006 (Opening 12.12., 7 p.m.)

“Qurna” - Individual exhibition with photographs of the Egyptian Artist Maryam Abdel Wahab

Situated in the centre of Al Gezera viallage 5 minutes from the ferry

Posted by Jane: - 9:28 pm - Edit| No Comments »
November 1st, 2006
Christian leBlanc at the Ramaseum
Had a brief chat with Christian at the Ramaseum today, he and his team returned to the site 2 days ago and will be there for 4 months. He is giving a lecture at the Mummification Museum on 18th November on the History of Thebes. This will be in French so as my French is non existent no lecture notes from me.
Posted by Jane: - 3:05 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
November 1st, 2006
New Price List Adults and Students
BTW the train at the Valley of Kings is 2LE now, an adult ticket 70 and a student 35.
these are the prices for the rest adults and students

Posted by Jane: - 3:02 pm - Edit| No Comments »
October 31st, 2006
New Series of lectures at the Mummification Museum
I have just had a phone call from Mr Mansour Boraik of the SCA telling me that the new series of lectures starts this Sunday. It appears Sunday is an easier day. The time remains the same 7pm and the first lecture is Edwin Brock - Final report on the dewatering project at Karnak and Luxor Temples.
Posted by Jane: - 8:05 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
October 31st, 2006
Chicago House at the Temple of Luxor
I caught the team from Chicago House in a group photo today. They were posing in the roman fresco area and setting up for some more work there.

previously they have been restoring the barque of Khonsu in the colonade and have left some great descriptions of their work

as the finished result shows the work has not only preserved the fragile blocks but also made the scene accessible to tourists with clear lines showing the missing parts.

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October 31st, 2006
A new Imax film - filming today at Karnak
At Karnak today the production company were filming for a new up and coming Imax film. I spoke briefly to the team and it is the same people that filmed the First Descent of the Nile. Two years ago I was privileged to host the explorers as they did the descent and subsequently heard good things about the film when it came out. So I would look out for this one two when it arrives on your screens.
Posted by Jane: - 7:28 pm - Edit| No Comments »
October 31st, 2006
Update Hadana Ibn Rushd - nursery school El Gezera, West Bank Luxor
A big thank you to every one that has supported our local nursery. The response to my story here has been amazing. I think I can safely say that Hamida has been touched by the offers of equipment and materials but mostly she feels supported by your good wishes. This is an extract from an email sent to me.

Hi Jane
Just thought I’d drop you a line now that we are back home in England. I emailed you 2 weeks or so ago about Hamida and her nursery school and what we could take her. My husband Derek and I went to visit Hamida and her nursery last week and would like to say what a wonderful experience we had.
She is an amazing young lady and a very lovely person to meet. After she met us she invited us to meet her family and have dinner and also helped us get the best out of our time in Luxor. We met her several times over the week and really enjoyed her company.
We would like to thank you because if you had never written the article we would never have known about her and had the opportunity to help her.
Now we are home and we hope to visit her again in January with some more goodies for the kiddies.
Sharon and Derek - UK

Posted by Jane: - 7:21 pm - Edit| No Comments »
October 28th, 2006
Disaster at the Temple of Seti I

I am sorry there is no other word, the rising water damage has always been an issue there and has scared the living daylights out of me but look at this photo. The entire piece is about to fall of and disappear into the trench surrounding it.

but it gets worse, the shameful neglect of this site is appalling. there is vegetation growing everywhere and damaging both restoration and pharonic stone. This is the picture of the temple palace, it looks more like a garden than a palace.

and this is the condition of the late Roman house.

It is absolutely appalling that this fine temple is being left to rot like this. Yes I am angry, the Egyptian government is putting the prices of the monuments up by some 25% and they better spend some of that money quickly while there are still some monuments to spend it on.

Posted by Jane: - 8:22 pm - Edit| 8 Comments »
October 23rd, 2006
Answer to Homework
There is not two vast legs only the feet and one knee
The torso is not buried in the sand

Nothing remians of the visage to say what the look was

It is not in the middle of the desert but a massive temple complex

Posted by Jane: - 8:02 pm - Edit| No Comments »
October 21st, 2006
New Ticket Prices
Many thanks to Gerard of who has informed me that the ticket prices are going up. He has been told 1st November but when I phoned my contact at the SCA he said yes they were going up but not yet but soon. Edited 1st November is confirmed and these increases are Egypt wide These are the new prices as given to me by GerardSITES


Edfu Temple

Ko Ombo

Abu Simbel

Philae Temple

Kalabsha Temple

Unfinished obelisk

Aswan Dam

Botanic Garden

Aswan museum

Nubian Museum



Deir el Medina

Nobles Tomb Ramose

Luxor Museum

Valley of Kings

Valley of Queens


Luxor Temple

Mummification museum

Medinet Habu


Posted by Jane: - 10:30 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
October 21st, 2006
I think it is about time my readers did some work. When I guide people around the ramaseum I like to read the poem Ozymandis by Shelley and challenge them to tell me what is wrong with the poem. Here are some photos of the statue and here is the poem. So tell me what is wrong. put your answers in the comments. Answer in 2 days
More about the poem here

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said:—Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Posted by Jane: - 8:02 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
October 21st, 2006
Hatshepsut’s Temple - the quiet bits
Believe it or not you can find parts of this temple where there are few if any tourists. The bottom levels for some reason are never on the tour companies schedule so you should find these practically deserted. These photos are from the right side showing some absolutely fabulous birds, these have lost there colour but the last photo from the Anubis chapel gives you and idea what they must have looked like. My particular favourite is the heron with the fish in its mouth.

Posted by Jane: - 7:49 pm - Edit| No Comments »
October 17th, 2006
Wall Art

Anyone spending time in Egypt will notice that many of the houses are decorated with brightly coloured murals. These can be of a variety of subjects. On the outside of a private home these came be a description of the householders trip to Mecca, scenes of the journey together with the sites of Mecca commemorate their Hajji or pilgrimage. On business premises these are more often scenes of Ancient Egypt done to entice passers by to the premises. Well we are as guilty as the next and recently had one of our walls decorated. Actually to be strictly accurate it wasn’t our wall at all but our neighbours. He had built his house and the back wall of it faced our property and was directly over our swimming pool. A view of mud bricks and concrete pillars is not very aesthetically please when you are lying by the pool so my husband approached him and proposed we render and paint it. of course he was delighted that we wanted to improve his building and agreed at once.

Firstly of all we wanted a slightly different picture from the normal Hatshepsut’s temple or Tutankhamun’s mask so delving into my books i came across the scene from Pashedus tomb at Deir el Medina. It shows Pashedu drinking form the river in the after world under a date palm tree. Well being as it was goign above the swimming pool and there was a date palm in front of the building it was perfect.

I gave the painter a line drawing and a coloured picture and from that he created our picture some 2 stories high. He drew grid lines on the paper and then using masking tape and huge sheets of paper he made a full size girded paper. On this he reproduced square by square the design on the A4 sheet. Then he went over every line with a toothpick making holes. He then hung the paper up against the wall and using a bag of powdered blue dye he puffed over all the tiny holes leaving small dots behind the paper. He them removed the paper and joined up the dots and then started painting. It was fascinating watching him at work and I think you will agree the finished article looks great.

Posted by Jane: - 10:15 am - Edit| 2 Comments »
October 13th, 2006
Distances in Egypt
I have seen quite a lot of enquiries about distances and timings in Egypt so here you go

Cairo to Luxor train 10 hours

Luxor to Aswan train 3 1/2 hours

Luxor to Hurghada tourist convoy 3 1/2 hours

Luxor to Hurghada local bus 5 -6 hours


Edited, how embarrassing the distances I have been using for 3 years are all wrong. thanks to Richard Sellicks for correcting me

Alex to Cairo 120 miles 190k

Cairo to Luxor 400 miles 640k

Luxor to Hurghada 130 miles 210k

Luxor to Aswan 120 miles 190k

Aswan to Abu Simbel 160 miles 260k

Posted by Jane: - 9:49 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
October 13th, 2006
What tombs are open in the Valley of Kings
The SCA (Supreme Council of Antiquities) rotates the tombs that are open in the valley for conservation reasons so at any time you might find your favourite tomb open or closed. At present Nefertari in the Valley of Queens is only open to groups who make a personal deal with the SCA and pay 20,000LE. Other tombs like Seti I and the sons of Ramses II are also open by special arrangement and at special prices.

But for us more ordinary mortals the list is as follows. This sign is just inside the security gate as you enter the Valley and it is worth while checking it and planning your visit. Currently I would recommend Thothmosis III, Ramses I and Tawsert as these give you a range of dynasties, sizes and styles

Posted by Jane: - 12:27 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
October 4th, 2006
No entry at Medinet Habu
Going round the temple of Ramses III at Medinet Habu I was somewhat dismayed to find loads of places have been sealed off. The ‘harem’ quarters of the temple palace, the side chamber where pharaoh is ploughing and reaping and the opposite side chamber seen here.
This is going to disappoint a lot of visitors I know, I suggest you get ready with baksheesh and try for a quiet time to be there. I did manage to get into the pharaoh ploughing area but not the others.

There is some excavations going on just besides the temple palace and there was a whole heap of pottery waiting to be sorted, no photos were allowed. They were also clearing the area of plants.

Posted by Jane: - 5:58 pm - Edit| No Comments »
October 3rd, 2006
New Season of Lectures at the Mummification Museum
In response to several emails about this I phone Mr Mansour Boraik tonight and asked him about the lectures. The plan is to start the first Thursday after Eid which should be 26th October. It will either be the French team talking about the discoveries at Karnak this summer or the SCA and their work in the Sphinx Avenue. the lectures will be on Thursday nights at the Mummification Museum lecture theatre.
My personal thank you to the SCA in Luxor for organising these. They are so enjoyable and informative and a welcome to the Luxor scene.

AS I get more details I will let you know and of course I will be there and taking notes to share with you.

Posted by Jane: - 8:33 pm - Edit| No Comments »
October 3rd, 2006
the archaeologists are back in town
I must admit I didnt expect the season to start until Ramadan was over but Daniel Poults and his team were back in action just by the tomb’s of Roy and Shu Roy today. Which is good news for your humble reporter who has struggled to find news during the summer.

Posted by Jane: - 6:15 pm - Edit| No Comments »
October 2nd, 2006
More Improvements
Karnak and Luxor temples continue to be in chaos as work proceeds on the new improvements. They are in the procee of decorating to two old colonial buildings in front of Luxor temple and they look fantastic. The exit has reverted to the side as the area at the end of the avenue of the sphixes is being dug up. At Karnak new buildings are being built near the Nile and major work is in progress on the dewatering project.
Posted by Jane: - 9:12 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
October 2nd, 2006
Karnak Sound and Light on Ramadan Timings
During the month of Ramadan the Sound and Light is starting at 7:00, 8:12 and 9:30, check the website for details of the languages shown at the various times.
Posted by Jane: - 9:08 pm - Edit| No Comments »
October 2nd, 2006
Warning - Egyptian Visa doubled in price by Thompsons
A friend of mine just flew in from the UK on a Thompson’s flight. The passengers were told by the rep that the visa cost £20 GBP and duly handed over the money. The true price of a visa is £10 GBP
Posted by Jane: - 9:05 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
September 28th, 2006
Hadana Ibn Rushd - nursery school El Gezera, West Bank Luxor
Do you remember me reporting about Rania the go getting girl in Dr Samir Farag’s office who was a great role model for an Egyptian young women? Well I have found another one. Hamida is 25 and from the West Bank in Luxor. Thos of you that have been to Luxor will know there is a world of difference and then some between the West and East Banks of Luxor city. They are separated by more than the Nile and women on the West Bank are more usually married early and immediately start a family. Their lives are quite restricted and rarely do they get a chance to show what abilities they have.
Well Hamida is a lucky one, firstly she has been out of Luxor, and in fact she lived in Cairo for 4 years. She has also gone abroad and visited England extensively. Now she wants to give something back and the best place to start is with the young. She decided to start a nursery school or Hadana, this despite to opposition of her family. As in Luxor family and conformity are all this was a very brave step. She rented a flat and opened the school to children between 2 ½ and 6 years old to be taught simple subjects like Arabic, French, English, Maths, Koran and computer. In this tiny flat she has 65 children and she has hired three professional nursery teachers. Hamida has done all this be herself with no guidance, no support and with the resistance of her family and neighbours. The classrooms are poorly equipped with just posters, tables and chairs. There are none of the educational toys Western children take for granted. Recently she has received the help of Irene Steininger, a Montessori Nursery teacher from Germany. Irene has contrived some teaching aids and resources but they don’t even have shelves or racks to put them on. They still owe money for the tables and chairs.

They are desperate for everything from pens and paper, educational games and books, toys, learning materials, computer games and furniture. They also dream of having their own school bus as many of the children live far from the school and the current arrangements are unsatisfactory and expensive. I visited the school today and as you can see from my photos the kids are lively and aware, they deserve a chance. So if you are visiting Luxor please squeeze into your suitcases anything you can. After all you need room for all your souvenirs coming back. The school would welcome it and you are most welcome to have a look around, but please by appointment with Hamida +20 95 2060 233 or Irene +20 107 628 543. Unfortunately because of high customs duty they can not accept parcels sent to them and funds coming from abroad require permission so please check with Hamida first. Irene also has some positive plans for Luxor’s young; she would like to set up a Montessori training centre so that not only this nursery but all over Luxor children could benefit from this system. She wants to use local workers to produce equipment thereby giving them work and benefiting young children. There are hardly any educational toys in Southern Egypt, indeed toys full stop are thin on the ground and tend to last only slightly longer than the bags they come in. So quality toys would be a most welcome addition. Again this project needs money.

Maybe there are some nursery schools out there who would like to correspond with the children in Egypt and make a small donation. We need to encourage young women like Hamida, who are such a positive role model

Posted by Jane: - 5:41 pm - Edit| No Comments »
September 27th, 2006
Getting the train to Cairo
I had to make a quick trip down to Cairo and for reasons of cost chose the day train. The return is 144LE (about £13 GBP or $25 USD) for a seat in first class that reclines. These are actually quite comfortable and if you are luck and the train is quiet and the seat next to empty you can get it turned round so you can put your feet up. I was meeting someone in Cairo near Giza so travelled to Giza station instead of the big central station at Rameses Square. This is so much easier as there are only two platforms at Luxor and ditto as Giza so you find your train easily. The bad thing was that my train down was delayed by two hours. Sadly this is quite common on Egyptian railways so I would never recommend the train if you have a flight to catch and timing is tight. Fortunately I did not have that problem. I had taken a cardigan with me as the air conditioning on these trains can be really cold and uncomfortable but as luck would have it my carriage it had broken down so when I arrived I was a hot sticky mess. Although it is Ramadan the buffet was still open on the train and I had lunch which was breaded chicken, courgettes, potatoes, a meat pasta dish, grapes, yoghurt, cake and 2 rolls all for 21LE which was very reasonable. It was actually really tasty but that might have been because I was massively hungry anyway I polished of the lot except for the 2nd bread roll.

I knew we were late when we got to the station for Abydos, Balyana and it was 1:45 where as last time I went there we arrived at 12:30. Still I had a good book. The toilets on these trains can be a bit iffy to say the least but when you are travelling for 12 hours needs must where the devil drives so some wipes or tissues are a good idea to clean up the facilities!!

Because it was Ramadan there was a big flurry to serve food at sunset and the guard came along offering dates so people could break their fast.

Eventually we arrived at Giza, I had never been there before and it was dark so instead of exiting the station by the main exit which is on the opposite southbound platform I managed to find my way out down the side. Not a good idea actually as the only taxi driver that came along had no idea where I wanted to go which was a major hotel. This was despite 4 phone calls to the Egyptian I was meeting to give him directions so eventually we stopped and my friend came and found me. You have to negotiate the price before you get in as few taxis have meters and even fewer work. But I had been advised what to pay.

Eventually once I had finished my business I went to the hotel I was staying at was the St George which is down the side of Cairo Zoo. We use this hotel quite a lot for our guests but it was the first time I stayed there. They were so helpful providing food out hours both on my arrival at 11pm and an early breakfast. The views of Cairo Zoo from the restaurant were lovely.

Waiting at Giza station the next morning for the train I noted the diversity of the people catching the train from posh men in business suits to a wonderful old man in traditional dress and using a staff. He looked completely Biblical. Like I said catching the train here is so much easier than at Cairo, only one platform and showing your ticket as you got on the train ensured you were on the right one.

Posted by Jane: - 12:54 pm - Edit| No Comments »
September 24th, 2006
ADSL is here
BTW that last post was on my new super fast connection. Yes finally I have ADSL and I am really pleased, able to listen to the radio and view video clips online and my email zips through. The men were really good as they had to install it in every flat in my building which took a bit of time but means my guests will be able to use it when they are here. The controls are by my desk so I can keep an eye on things.

Speed matters!!!!!

Posted by Jane: - 9:24 pm - Edit| No Comments »
September 24th, 2006
Archaeological Diggings
A big plug for this magazine deserved because they have plugged my blog. I was sent a complimentary copy and was most impressed, loads of interesting articles. Although aimed at an Australian audinece it does sell widely abroad. Try the website
Posted by Jane: - 9:21 pm - Edit| No Comments »
September 22nd, 2006
Clocks went back last night
Normally the clocks go back the last Thursday in Sept but because of Ramadan they went back early.
One of the results is that ACE moves on to their Winter Schedule opening from 9 until 4.

Posted by Jane: - 11:28 am - Edit| No Comments »
September 14th, 2006
Sofra Resturant

This restaurant is a great find in Luxor, apparently it has been open since Dec but I had not heard of it before. It is in a quiet street, Mohammed Farid Street, just of the main shopping road, Al Manshiya Str that goes from the centre of town to the station with Twinkies at the end. As you go into the main street you take the first right hand road.

It has two floors and as you enter you feel you have walk into a scene from Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz. It reeks atmosphere, full of antique furniture, oriental screens and geometric patterned wall hangings. Even the floor tiles are totally in character. The house is an old fashioned one from Luxor’s past and they have retained many original features. Downstairs there is a main dinning room but also many private dinning rooms, ideal for a family party or group. Upstairs where we went was a roof terrace with lovely old style tables, more antique furniture and the kitchen and bar area.

Immediately I was completely impressed, this was such a lovely place but would the rest be like. I asked for a business card, not only did they have one but they also have a flyer that was professionally produced and with one the best maps I have seen of Luxor. When I got home I checked the website it too is completely professional and gives a really good picture of what is on offer. Have a look through the menu, as we were a big group we had most of the hot and cold mezze dishes and they were delicious, especially the liver. The main course were equally as good, I had fish and the most delicious rice with nuts, liver and raisons in it. I finished of with mint tea and they served this in the proper little glass and this dinky teapot. Yes I did try out the toilets, and they were totally Western style and scrupulously clean. This restaurant is what Luxor has been crying out for with ambience and good Egyptian cuisine. I hope they become an example to others.

Posted by Jane: - 8:32 pm - Edit| No Comments »
September 11th, 2006
ASDL on the West Bank - part 2
I am so excited, yesterday my husband signed the contract for us to get ASDL. Any kind of fast connection was a dream over here on the west bank until very recently. The first people to get it were our local internet Cafe but when I enquired about the price I was horrified. Obviously taking advantage, so I decided to wait. Prices have now got realistic and in line with the government guidelines so we have gone ahead. I expect to have some trouble as we will be one of the first but the prospect of ASDL after over 3 years of dial up has me all a quiver. Firstly it is going to save us loads of money I reckon our quarterly bills will halve. But I will be able to watch things like videos, listen to the radio, access Goggle Earth and other bandwidth hungry programs.

If anyone else is interested in the company I have used and wants details please email me


To answer your question Dick, we are getting installed in every flat in the building, so my guests that bring their laptops with them will be able to use it.

Posted by Jane: - 8:20 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
September 9th, 2006
ACE Celebrates
Last night the friends and staff of ACE, Animal Care in Egypt celebrated the purchase of the land for the new clinic. This land is situated not far from the current clinic which is rented and represents a significant step for ACE. Their approach of preventative medicine and education in animal husbandry has made a significant difference to the working animals of Luxor. The original intention was to limit themselves to that but as they will never turn away a sick animal they rapidly expanded. Their current facilities had no space for the proper treatment of injured or ailing animals. They had to conduct large animal operations in the open and small animals were done on the desk of the practise manager!! This new facility will allow them to treat all the animals in the proper environment. that is the good news but the they have used all their money buying land and urgently need funds for the next stage the actual construction of the clinic. please go to their website if you want to make a donation and help this vital work continue.
My picture shows, from left to right Dr Hassan, Ayman, Dr David, Kim Taylor, the practise manager, Amira Akshar, Dr Esma, Dr Gi Gi Kay, Jean and Julie Waltenberg the founder of ACE

Posted by Jane: - 1:21 pm - Edit| No Comments »
September 8th, 2006
Who is this Goddess?
Please help, this is driving me completely nuts. At Deir El Medina there is a Ptolymeic temple. On the right hand wall just before the shrine there is this wall. From right to left it is Amun, Mut, Khonsu, Montu and ? Who is this Goddess. I have spent ages trying to find out searching various dictionaries of the Gods and I can not identify her. Can some please take pity on me and tell me who the heck she is


I am begining to think it might be Tyenenet, consort of Montu, the heirogylphics look sort of right and she is standing next to Montu but I would really love some confirmation.

Many thanks to the members of who gave the answer and here she is in legend 17 Tanenet-Rait-Taoui

Posted by Jane: - 3:12 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
September 5th, 2006
Malqata Art palace has re-opened after a summer break
“Malqata Art Palace” is back from its summer break including a brand new roof terrace! If you have time pls have a look. This pleasant cafe is located on the West Bank of Luxor just a stones throw from the ferry and motor boats. There is a road junction 5 minutes from the Nile where the ferry road joins the main road and Malqata Art palace is on that junction, on your left if you have your back to the Nile. It is on the first floor and as well as displaying local art talent it also serves excellent food.
Posted by Jane: - 9:26 pm - Edit| No Comments »
September 5th, 2006
More Discoveries on the avenue of Sphinxes

Archaeologists have discovered five complete Pharaonic statues and four statue heads in the Avenue of the Ram-Headed Sphinxes in Karnak in Egypt’s Luxor, MENA news agency reported Monday.

The statues were in an astonishingly very good shape and had hieroglyphic inscriptions on them, MENA said, adding the new finding proved the importance of excavations at the site.

It, however, didn’t give more details about the newly- discovered statues.

The avenue of ram-headed sphinxes led the visitor to the massive front of the first pylon of the Karnak Temple in the ancient city of Luxor, some 690 km away from the capital Cairo.

The huge Karnak Temple, covering an area of 1.2 square kilometers, has sanctuaries, huge columns, obelisks and even a sacred lake. Its main entrance is lined by the ram-headed sphinxes.

Built 3,000 years ago, the Karnak Temple is a vast open-air museum and the largest ancient religious site in the world, and is probably the second most visited ancient sites in Egypt, second only to the Giza Pyramids in western Cairo.

Posted by Jane: - 9:11 am - Edit| No Comments »
September 3rd, 2006
Naguib Mahfouz
Talking about books a reader reminded me of the Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz. You may have caught his recent death on the news.

He was the first Arab to win the Nobel prize for literature. And his Cairo trilogy is a fantastic insight on traditional Egyptian views and values. As well as that I also have Akhenaten, this book takes a the story from the view of all the major characters in Akhenatons life and gives all their varying views. It is fiction not history but well worth a read. As a lot of Egyptology is unknown and therefore speculative I feel that there is room for fictional books like these that might err in accuracy or been overtaken by events but give you a feel for the times/places/people that an more scholarly work can not.

He wrote a lot of books but those are the only ones I have read/own. Has anyone else read more of stuff. I would love to have some recommendations.

Posted by Jane: - 5:29 pm - Edit| No Comments »
September 2nd, 2006
Books by Joyce Tyldesley
While I was on holiday in the UK I treated myself to some more books by Joyce Tyldesley. If asked for a recommendation for one author I would have to select her. (Although I am a great fan of the ‘Complete’ series as well.) I enjoy her style which is full of facts and knowledge but eminently readable. I reread her books just for enjoyment as well as brushing up things I have forgotten. I have Daughters of Isis, Hatchepsut, Nefertiti, Ramesses, Judgement of the Pharaoh and am now reading Egypt.
Other favourites of mine are the Atlas of Egypt by Baines & Malek which is excellent at describing the more remote and unvisited sites of Egypt, Reflections of Osirus which I picked up at a duty free shop some years ago. Rosalie David also appears on my shelves a number of times. And the Tomb Builders by Morris Beirbeir is great about the Workman’s village.

The first book I ever read was Christine Desrouche Noblecourt on Tutankamun, I was 9 years old and found it so interesting that when given book tokens for my 10th birthday I used them to by my own copy. I find it interesting to see how fashions and knowledge have changed over the years and mt best example is a book I bought in a second hand book shop published in 1908. 14 years before the discovery of Tutankamuns tomb. It is called Egypt, Story of the Nations and my copy was awarded the London County Council Evening School to Ethel Hayman for Typewriting. You can just imagine this little typist think what on earth do I do with this. This is the quote from the book that I love.

The peculiar views of Khuen-Aten or Amenhotep IV, were maintained by the two or three succeeding kings, who had short and disturbed reigns. After them arose a King called Horus or Har-em-hebi

So that is how important Tutankamun was before his tomb was discovered, he doesn’t even get mentioned by name!!! It just shows you how much Egyptology has changed in 100 years.

Posted by Jane: - 12:10 pm - Edit| No Comments »
August 29th, 2006
An Egyptian view of the UK.
We have just returned from a holiday in the UK and it was my Egyptian husband’s first trip out of Egypt so a lot of new things to absorbed. I thought you might be interested (and it gets me out of finding something new in Luxor for another day.)
1) So many black and Asian faces. He was surprised but how multicultural the Uk is, especially the area around Heathrow; Hounslow, Southall etc
2) You have to pay to park, £3.50 the same money that would pay for the food for a week for a farming family. and what is with these yellow and red lines
3) The horses and goats (we went to a farm) were so much bigger
4) UK houses are so small. I had been telling him for ages that our holiday flats were much larger than most people’s ordinary homes but he didn’t believe me.
5) The Uk is so green from all from that rain but no irrigation
6) Where are the rivers, as Egypt is so dominated by the Nile he found it strange to see no river when we landed
7) The views are beautiful (A50 through the Peak District)
8) Halal meat is available but hasn’t the taste of Egyptian meat. This is probably because animals don’t roam free like they do in Egypt
9) Fruit and veg is so tasteless, no sun ripened tomatoes in the UK
10) Does it ever stop raining, well not while we were there
11) The shops are so big and so expensive but good quality
12) It was so cold we had to buy coats but good old Tesco’s had them for cheaper than Cairo. He was wearing a jumper/sweatshirt and a puffy jacket
13) He thought the Ferry across the Mersey could benefit from an alabaster shop and a donkey ride!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

14) Do the car horns work in the UK, we never seem to use them

At the end of the day he was surprised that Egyptians chose to live there. Lots do. He liked coming for a holiday and buying good clothes but felt that it was to rushed, busy and expensive to enjoy living there. I agree

Posted by Jane: - 10:23 pm - Edit| 3 Comments »
August 13th, 2006
Using Goggle Earth in Luxor
I have just had a large family group of intrepid cyclists from Belgium staying at my flats and wanted to pass on a tip from them. They printed out loads of pictures from Goggle Earth and used them to explore the lanes and dirt tracks around Luxor. They found all sorts of unexplored gems and never got lost. I understand you can get hand held GPS so you could use that as well but it seems a lovely way to explore the area.

I am now off on a 2 week holiday to the UK and hopefully when I get back there will be more news I can pass on.

Posted by Jane: - 11:03 pm - Edit| No Comments »
August 9th, 2006
Theban Maping Project August 2006 Progress Report

Dear Friends,

The past year has been a busy one for the Theban Mapping Project. We worked for about two months in the spring of this year, continuing to clear KV 5, and, as usual, continued to find more chambers. I think the total number of rooms has now reached about 128, and there is no sign that we’ve yet reached the end. Future seasons will undoubtedly turn up even more parts of this most perplexing tomb.

We have published a new edition of “KV 5: A Preliminary Report,” adding sixteen pages of photographs, drawings, plans, and text that update our work in this fascinating mausoleum since the first publication in 2000. A third edition may well prove necessary in a few more years, as KV 5 continues to grow. A new edition of the “Atlas of the Valley of the Kings” has also appeared, updating the plans and sections of KV 5. (Most of the new material in these updates is also available here on our website, so you aren’t obligated to buy second copies of the books to keep abreast of new discoveries.)

Valley of the Kings Site Management

We have also been working closely with the Supreme Council of Antiquities to develop a management plan for the Valley of the Kings, a project that has been supported by the World Monuments Fund, the American Research Center in Egypt, and several of the TMP’s loyal friends. That report, I am pleased to say, is now accessible here on the website, and we would very much appreciate your comments. Some of you already contributed to our stakeholders survey, upon which parts of the management plan were based, and here is an opportunity to review the draft report in its entirety and offer any further thoughts. The report is the result of two years’ of work, and it is the first such management plan to be prepared for any Egyptian archaeological site. Covering everything from suggestions for temperature and humidity controls in the royal tombs to the proper selection of rubbish bins, security measures, and traffic control, we believe that it will help to ensure that the Valley of the Kings will survive with its monuments protected from ever-increasing numbers of visitors for centuries more.

Because of the report’s size, we have put only the draft of the management plan itself on the website, not the hundreds of pages of appendices that accompany it. (These may be added to the website at a later date.) To minimize download time, we have created multiple files that correspond to the various subjects discussed in the report. The document is now being translated into Arabic, to serve as a handbook for those responsible for protecting the Valley of the Kings, and as a replicable model that can be applied to other Egyptian archaeological sites. The Arabic and English texts will be published in book form by the Supreme Council of Antiquities later this year. If you’ve not yet seen the management plan or taken part in our on-line stakeholder surveys, I would encourage you to look it over and send us any comments or suggestions. It is imperative that all interested parties work together to help safeguard the Valley of the Kings, enhancing visitor experience without threatening the fabric of the site. I want to extend thanks to Nigel Hetherington, the TMP’s conservation manager, who oversaw the organization of the plan and undertook the stakeholder surveys, and Lucy Jones, also on the TMP staff, who edited the CD and hard copy versions.

Valley of the Kings Visitors Center

In 2005, the Government of Japan constructed a new Visitors Center on the site of the old Valley of the Kings cafeteria, and the TMP was given the job of designing its exhibits. This was an exciting project, one that we think will be of considerable value to KV visitors. Large full-color display panels (in English, Arabic, Japanese, and, in some cases, hieroglyphics), deal with New Kingdom chronology, religion, the history of KV exploration, techniques of tomb digging and decoration, iconography, and ten other subjects that help put the contents of the Valley of the Kings in their cultural context. The Metropolitan Museum of Art generously contributed a five-minute film made in the 1920s by Howard Carter’s photographer, Harry Burton, and the National Geographic Society prepared a short film on the Valley’s history and importance. Both will run continuously on large-screen HDTV monitors. Ten computer monitors will allow visitors to access parts of the TMP website and read about individual tombs and their contents. A 3 by 3 meter transparent plastic, 3-dimensional model of the Valley of the Kings, showing its topography and all of its known tombs, is a centerpiece of the exhibit, which will be visited by the 6,000 to 8,000 tourists who come to the Valley of the Kings each day. Plans are now being made to redesign the parking area, sales kiosks, and tram lines that surround the Visitors Center, making it a more attractive and appropriate start to a visitor’s KV experience.

Digital Imagery

The TMP’s photographers, Francis Dzikowski and Matjaz Kacicnic, have completed taking comprehensive digital photographs of the walls of KV tombs currently open to the public (or likely to be opened soon). This photographic survey will soon be added to the website, and users will be able to call up both general photographs of tomb walls, details of scenes, and even individual hieroglyphs for study. Four tombs were not included in the survey because of technical problems, but the following tombs were completely photographed:

• KV 1 Rameses VII

• KV 2 Rameses IV

• KV 6 Rameses IX

• KV 8 Merenptah

• KV 9 Rameses VI

• KV 11 Rameses III

• KV 14 Twosret/Setnakhte

• KV 15 Seti II

• KV 16 Rameses I

• KV 34 Thutmes III

• KV 35 Amenhetep II

• KV 43 Thutmes IV

• KV 47 Siptah

• KV 57 Horemhab

• KV 52 Tutankhamen

• WV 23 Ay

The photographic survey was part of a detailed conservation report on each tomb that notes current conditions and potential problems, and includes historical data that allows one to trace the changing state of KV tomb decoration and structural conditions. We believe that it is absolutely essential to have such a survey before any work (such as new tourist facilities, new lighting, or cleaning) is conducted in the tombs. These photographic surveys and conservation reports form two of the appendices to the KV management plan. The work was conducted for the TMP by Lotfi Khaled, Lamia el-Hadidi, and Dina Bakhoum. Together with the geological and engineering surveys prepared by the TMP a few years ago, and published in “KV 5: A Preliminary Report,” and the now completed KV management plan, these reports provide a detailed, substantive survey of all aspects of the Valley of the Kings affecting its future well-being.

We want to extend our congratulations and best wishes to the University of Memphis team that has discovered and is now clearing KV 63, the newest addition to the Valley of the Kings tomb list. Good job, people.

I hope that those of you who follow the work of the Theban Mapping Project will consider supporting it by making a tax-deductible contribution. You can do so directly through the American University in Cairo web site. Just fill out this secure web form and be sure to choose “Theban Mapping Project” in the drop-down menu of choices.

We look forward to hearing your views on the management plans, and on our website.

Posted by Jane: - 7:45 pm - Edit| No Comments »
August 4th, 2006
More on KV64
Another New Tomb in the Valley of the Kings? August 3, 2006

A radar survey in 2000 had pinpointed KV63, the tomb excavated earlier this year. It has now been announced that this same radar survey may have revealed another tomb.

Radar image shows the presumed shaft of what may be a tomb (”KV64″) near the tomb of Tutankhamun and the recently excavated KV63. (Copyright © Amarna Royal Tombs Project 2006) [LARGER IMAGE]
From 1998 to 2002, the Amarna Royal Tombs Project (ARTP), led by Nicholas Reeves, undertook controlled stratigraphic excavation and geophysical surveying in the central area of the supposedly worked-out Valley of the Kings. Its impetus was both theoretical and practical, according to the project’s website ( It was influenced by a study of the immediate post-Amarna burials Tomb KV55 and Tomb KV62 (Tutankhamun) and what these two tombs seemed to reveal about other possible burials of the period in the immediate vicinity. And it was driven by a physical threat that the rubble fill of the Valley, and along with it most of the archaeology, might be removed wholesale to combat the seriously damaging effects of flash-flooding on the open tombs. “My particular quarry was the burial place of Nefertiti, Akhenaten’s wife and coregent (who, I concluded, had been buried in the Valley as and when she died),” says Reeves. Also of interest were the “whereabouts of Akhenaten’s secondary consort Kiya, his second daughter Meketaten and other lesser members of the royal family who had originally been interred at El-Amarna.” As the work progressed, however, Reeves discovered that extensive key areas in the Valley were archaeologically intact, and priorities necessarily changed.

But the project was brought to a halt in 2002. Reeves was falsely accused of involvement in antiquities smuggling and his permit was revoked. In August 2005, he was officially cleared of any wrongdoing by Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), though not allowed to return to his work in the Valley. In the interim, the area under investigation by ARTP had begun to be excavated by Otto Schaden and a team from the University of Memphis, which had been at work on KV10, the nearby tomb of Amenmesse. In 2005, Schaden found the top of the shaft leading to KV63, not knowing that it had been detected during geophysical prospecting by ARTP in 2000. While admitting an understandable “obvious disappointment,” Reeves states that it was “Otto Schaden who physically uncovered it and confirmed its character. Under those circumstances there can be no question that the credit for actual discovery should go to him and to the University of Memphis.” Reeves immediately shared his geophysical evidence for the existence of KV63 with Dr. Zahi Hawass and the SCA and with Schaden and his colleagues. (For KV63, see the the excavation web site and our coverage, with links at

What Reeves did not reveal at this stage–because ARTP’s survey data was still under review–was that the radar had revealed what appears to be yet another tomb some 15 meters due north of KV63. Reeves spoke to ARCHAEOLOGY about what this feature might represent and what the implications might be for future research in the Valley of the Kings.

This certainly looks similar to the radar images of what proved to be the shaft of KV63. You’ve labeled it “KV64″ on your website, but do we know it’s a tomb?

You never know anything for certain until a feature is excavated–and the tentative nature of the find is reflected in the use of quotation marks: “KV64.” Radar is a less than straightforward technology to interpret, as you know. But I have every faith in the skills of our radar specialist, Hirokatsu Watanabe, one of the best in the world, with wide experience both in Japan itself and in Peru. He’s confident that what we have here is the same as we had with KV63–a significant void, a tomb.

When did you detect “KV64″?

The anomaly first showed up in the autumn of 2000 during Watanabe’s radar survey of our concession, and was necessarily shelved pending a negotiation of our return to the site–a return which of course never happened. The discovery of KV63 by Otto Schaden prompted us to look again at our radar data–now helpfully “calibrated,” so to speak, by the physical uncovering of that find.

How do you and your radar specialist Hirokatsu Watanabe interpret the new radar images?

Radar is a tricky technology, but well-suited, it seems, to the Valley of the Kings terrain. The radar signal is emitted as a pulse, with the time and the force of the reflection echo measured and appearing on screen as real-time data. It’s important to note that these data are mere patterns and do not represent the actual form or dimension of the object detected. These patterns have to be analyzed as aggregates of arcs, with the display colors varying according to the force and velocity of the various reflection echoes. Different types of underground features nevertheless produce distinctive screen patterns: a pipe, for example, will generate a couple of nested arcs; a ditch a cross-pattern above a couple of nested arcs; and a void or underground chamber–which is the intriguing prospect we seem to have here–a distinctive pattern of radiating arcs: “KV64.” Located at some considerable depth, in a part of the Valley which has been out of bounds to most historical excavators, it’s a feature which I guess hasn’t seen the light of day for several millennia.

The valley of the Kings near the tomb of Tutankhamun (KV62). Red dots mark the approximate positions of KV63 and “KV64″ as established by ARTP radar survey in 2000 (copyright © Amarna Royal Tombs Project 2006) [LARGER IMAGE]
Excitement was high with the opening of KV63, and people were tallying which pharaohs and queens were unaccounted for. Are there any clues as to what–or who–KV64 might hold?

It’s been evident since 1997 that towards the end of Tutankhamun’s reign the royal tomb at el-Amarna was evacuated and its occupants and the lighter tomb equipment transferred to Thebes for safety (the heavy stuff seems to have been left in situ at el-Amarna and smashed to prevent inappropriate reuse).

A close study of the tombs KV55 (see “Who’s in Tomb 55″) and KV62 (Tutankhamun) reveals how the process actually worked. Brought to the Valley of the Kings en masse, the Amarna burial furniture seems to have been dipped into first by the necropolis administration to help prepare a funerary equipment for Tutankhamun himself. What was left over was then redivided out among its original owners who were assigned fresh tombs in the Valley of the Kings. That’s the reason Tutankhamun’s core burial equipment is essentially made up of reused, secondhand stuff. And that’s the explanation for KV55–why the tomb is such a hotch-potch of altered and adapted Amarna material.

Who else from this group is left to find? Well, several women–Akhenaten’s secondary wife Kiya, for one; pharaoh’s second daughter, Meketaten, for another. But there’s Nefertiti also to consider–the great royal wife who in later years functioned as Akhenaten’s co-regent. Her regal burial equipment–wholly Osirian in character and most likely prepared for a Theban interment–was also drawn upon to prepare a burial for Tutankhamun. The likelihood is that the lady herself was buried in the Valley of the Kings, too. Within “KV64″? I don’t know. We shall just have to wait and see.

Why did you release this data now?

Because of the discovery and nature of KV63. It was clearly only a matter of time before the hunt was on in earnest for the further tomb which that deposit evidently signaled. It was becoming apparent to several observers that KV63 is to the Valley’s next undiscovered tomb what the KV54 embalming cache was to the tomb of Tutankhamun. My principal fear was the impact that realization would have on the surrounding, less glamorous and certainly more vulnerable archaeology of the site: I don’t want to see it damaged in a random, aimless hunt for more tombs. Of course I’m not against finding new tombs–how could I be?–but the work has to be done in a controlled fashion. I want to remove the element of chance, to focus any search. Public disclosure will hopefully do just that–point the way and reduce the danger and amount of collateral damage. I hope, too, it will provide a breathing space for archaeology, time for some sort of considered excavation procedure to be formulated for dealing with such a tomb by the wider international archaeological community–this is after all a World Heritage Site–and set in place by the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Can you expand on what you mean by “less glamorous and certainly more vulnerable archaeology of the site”?

My aim in posting our data was not to claim a prize for discovering the next Tutankhamun. It was to alert people to the immense potential the Valley of the Kings still holds, despite two centuries of serious archaeological abuse. As we’ve demonstrated, there are indeed new tombs to be found; as important, though, is our discovery of extensive areas of intact stratigraphy which have by a miracle survived beneath the tourist paths. This stratigraphy is immensely significant for the history of the Valley and, properly treated, capable of providing a context for much of what has been dug up so badly in the past. The emphasis here is on the words properly treated. The legacy is a fragile one. If not excavated systematically and with care, by specialist archaeologists, if allowed simply to be dug through in a manic search for more tombs, then this contextualizing data will be lost for good–a unique chance missed for ever. What I want from the announcement of “KV64″ is for the treasure potential of the site to focus attention on the less spectacular though just as important aspects of work in the Valley of the Kings. We need to rein in our natural desire for more tombs, for the quick fix, to systematize our efforts and put a lot more emphasis, while we can, on every aspect of the Valley’s miraculously preserved record.

What steps do you think should be taken–or not taken–next?

Archaeology in the Valley of the Kings is in many ways at a crossroads. The perceived lack of potential which since Tutankhamun had kept it safe is now gone for good. Do we forge ahead as in the old days, ripping through the ground, blinded to context like Loret, Davis, Carnarvon by the prospect of more tombs and the glint of gold? Or do we stop and reassess–formulate a systematic program of work; establish and publish a formal protocol for excavators on how to deal with what might turn up? I think the answer is obvious.

Posted by Jane: - 12:56 pm - Edit| No Comments »
July 31st, 2006
KV64 - Another new tomb in the Valley of kings
Just spotted Andie Brynes blog entry on this with a link to what is being said is that modern technology not only identified KV-63 (although the team found it by the good old fashioned way of digging) but there is another site that looks as though it is a tomb and probably connected. I won’t precis the entry as it deserves reading in its entirety. Stirring stuff
Posted by Jane: - 4:50 pm - Edit| No Comments »
July 29th, 2006
New TT320 Website
Spotted on the Tour Egypt forums

We invite you to visit our new site,, where we are continually posting scientific information and images (free download) concerning our work in this famous tomb, its contents, and the history of the 21a Dynasty of the High Priests of Amun in Thebes (1070-945 BCE). The site is linked to our larger egyptological network,

Edward Loring
Russian Academy of Sciences
Centre for Egyptological Studies (CESRAS)
and Russian Institute of Egyptology in Cairo (RIEC)

Posted by Jane: - 10:34 pm - Edit| No Comments »
July 27th, 2006
Summer Shutdown of KV63
Yes even KV63 has finally closed down for the summer. Dr Otto Schaden finally left Luxor a few days ago on his way home via Cairo. It has been a long and intense season for them and of course expensive financially. I know many of the team have used their own money to keep things going and without the generous support of the public they would not have been able to continue. Some of their funding is released immediately upon receipt and other they have to wait for so without the immediate release funding they would have had to stop. If you would like to contribute please go here Now they have cleared and secured the tomb and finally going back home. We look forward to seeing them again next year and of course to the eventual publication of their findings.
Posted by Jane: - 5:08 pm - Edit| No Comments »
July 16th, 2006
ASDL on the West Bank
Going down the village I saw our local internet cafe Tebah had a sign up saying ASDL. On the West Bank we have had to rely on dial up as there was nothing else so I was so pleased to see this sign. Now my guests won’t have to go over to Luxor city when they want to use the internet.
I will be waiitng a while before I get it though as the company supplying the service is being very checky with its prices, 2000LE for installation!!!! They are not going to get many people signing up at that price. But now we have one company others will follow and a bit of competion should bring prices down.

Posted by Jane: - 8:38 am - Edit| No Comments »
July 12th, 2006
Rageeb - a great driver
An independent holiday in Egypt generally means finding some kind of road transport. Of course your can drive, if you have a death wish. But with road signs in Arabic, few decent maps and the convoy system in middle and upper Egypt it is much easier to hire a driver and car and the price is little different from just hiring a car. Finding a good driver is tricky and word of mouth is always best. Some people do get lucky with a driver of the street but that can be taking risk to far for your wallet. Much better to have a decent driver recommended to you.

The cheapest price is not always the best, you do want a vehicle that is maintained properly and if you are being charged a price that covers the petrol and driver but not brake fluid you might want to think again. Much better to pay the medium price and have a safe vehicle.

With the wide spread use of mobile phones it is so easy to meet up at a hotel and then go to a sight and phone your driver when you have finished rather than having to keep to a schedule. So you can be truly independent but still not have to negotiate every single journey.

Meet Rageeb, I have been using him as a driver for 6 years both before I moved to Egypt and since for both me and my guests. He has an A/C mini bus which seats 14 and is perfect for a family, giving you lots of space to spread out and for bags etc. He is so flexible and knows his way over most of Egypt. We had one set of guests that wanted to be picked up in Assuit, now this is tricky and how on earth he managed it I don’t know but he did and the guests loved him for it. He has taken people in the desert camping under the stars, to a war grave site at the Suez canal, from Luxor to Cairo via all the sites, to obscure sites like Beni Hassan and Tel Amarna, from Luxor to Aswan and of course round the Luxor sites. He finds hotels and bargains for good rates. He will go and get you falafel sandwiches while you are going round the sights and will wait for hours as you soak in the history.

The only problem I have with him is he is too shy to eat with you and you have to force him otherwise he starves. A good driver, I should say so, Rageeb 0123694074

Posted by Jane: - 10:22 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
July 12th, 2006
Changes at the Valley of Kings
The ticket office and bazaars have been moved, I am guessing in preparation for the eventual opening of the visitors centre. The old area of the bazzars is being ripped down probably to extend the car park which gets massively congested some days. The ticket office is now just passed the turn off to the tomb of Ay so don’t miss buying your tickets if you are going there.
Posted by Jane: - 8:45 am - Edit| No Comments »
July 7th, 2006
Cairo with kids
Firstly don’t tell Jimmy that I have been writing about Cairo, I will get my knuckles rapped but I thought I would share our recent trip to Cairo. My daughter is 14 and of course living here is completely bored with the history etc. So when we recently went to Cairo it had to be on her terms.
Firstly it was cinema and although we were only there 3 days we saw 2 films. There is loads to see and a wonderful website it means ‘lets go’ and it has listings of all the fun things you can do in Cairo which are nothing to do with history. It is a good idea to double check the information as sometimes films can be listed and aren’t playing. We had that experience so it was worth it to check. There are all the latest films, normally with Arabic subtitles and English sound track. We saw Pride and Prejudice and the new Wallace and Grommit. We had some wonderful pastries and coffee at the Maadi mall and got loads of lovely food in Carrefour (ginger biscuits yummy). We had ice cream at Genena Mall, and shopped until we dropped at City Stars. I did persuade her to go for a quick visit to Cairo museum and she had to admit she loved the jewellery of the princesses of Dashur, next to the Tut room there are these wonderful little crowns. One in particular is my favourite and is gold wire with little flowers soldered on. It is exquisite.

Another place we like in Cairo is the Pharaonic Village, great for seeing it like it was, tomb paintings come alive.

Remember don’t tell Jimmy I posted about Cairo, it is our secret.

Posted by Jane: - 1:26 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
July 4th, 2006
Fayrouz Hotel/Resturant
For some reason I had not tried this resturant until recently. I think it was because it said roof top and I just didin’t ancy climbing that high. However I didn’t realise there is also a very nice garden resturant with unusual paths made out of various cermaic tiles broken up. A sort of upper class crazy paving. The food was nice and different from a lot of the other resturants around. I particularly like the meze with lots of different Egyptian specialities but there was no way I could finish it. It is located to the southern edge of al Gezera village. Take the alley that goes down beside the mosque and go right to the end. It is a large pink building, quite clean and very welcoming.

Apologies for the lack of blog entries at the moment. In the summer everything runs down as the heat is so great so there is very little happening, especially new things and everyone stays in doors during the day if they can. If there is anything you would like to know more about please email me, I could do with some fresh inspiration

Posted by Jane: - 11:17 am - Edit| No Comments »
June 30th, 2006
….and more flowers
Interesting article here sent to me by Wassa with some good comments by Dr Otto Schaden. there is loads of articles all over the web and spend time reading them all and you get little bits of new info.
It would appear that the baby coffin was empty so this is the final coffin to be looked into and there are several of these floral necklaces, hence Schadens remark about there being no room for a body. Some of these have gold on them inter-weaved between the flowers and of course there may be other things under these. The discovery film should tell us more.

Basically I think everyone is disappointed that there was no body found as this would have been spectacular but what has been found is pretty amazing and is in no way a disappointment especially to the specialists in those field. Things that we had few, if any examples of before are now available for study. Cushions, floral and gold necklaces, pink gold coffinets, embalming materials, 19th dynasty coffins all these will greatly increase our knowledge and the debate about Egyptology. I would expect when the tomb is fully published and studied a wealth of new information will emerge.

The implications also of the Valley of the Kings still holding more secrets should not be ignored. there are many areas that have not been properly excavated partly because it would interfere with current visitors. Really until everywhere has been dug to bed rock we can not say the valley is empty.

Posted by Jane: - 9:53 am - Edit| 1 Comment »
June 29th, 2006
Flowers in KV63
The final coffin has been opened in the presence of Dr Hawass and has revealed some wonderful floral necklaces. No body so it look like this was never a tomb but it has some interesting things to tell us about funeral practises. article
Posted by Jane: - 4:41 pm - Edit| No Comments »
June 28th, 2006
More News on KV63
Thanks to Roxanne Wilson for the heads up on another Discovery Special and an article in KMT
Just wanted to let you know that the Second Discovery Special airs July 9th here in the US And will feature the opening on the last coffin—the exciting climax of KV-63!!!

Also, look for the August (Fall) issue of KMT magazine for an article entitled “Unraveling the Mysteries of KV-63″ by Otto Schaden, Earl Ertman, and Roxanne Wilson.

Posted by Jane: - 5:34 pm - Edit| No Comments »
June 28th, 2006
Coptic Texts Found
Really interesting story here about some coptic writings that have been found in Luxor. It is easy to forget sometimes that we don’t just have pharonic treasures in Egypt.
Posted by Jane: - 5:31 pm - Edit| No Comments »
June 20th, 2006
Redford’s are in town
Up on the hillside opposite the Ramasseum you can see a dig in progress. I have made enquiries and it seems the Redford’s are in town. Susan Redford, Donald’s wife and a Ph.D. candidate at Penn State, is leading a study of the tomb of Akhenaton’s butler, the chief official of his household. Whilst Donald Redford is at Karnak, haven’t had it confirmed but I believe him to be at East Karnak in the area of the Akhenaton temple.
Apart from that and the KV63 most teams have left Luxor for the summer, the heat this year is extraordinary, 56 degrees in the Valley and we haven’t hit July yet. You have to admire the teams who are still continuing in this heat.

Posted by Jane: - 7:59 pm - Edit| No Comments »
June 15th, 2006
The first International Discovery Camp in Luxor
From the press Office of Dr Samar Farag

The first International Discovery Camp in Luxor

On his recent visit to Luxor Dr Karposh, the head of the National Youth Supreme decided to continue building work on the new International Youth House. This is located at Twat village and had been put on hold for three years.

The new house will also be enlarged and have capacity for 510 girls and boys, together with a theatre and cinema. This new building will be an opportunity to show people from all over the world Egyptian Art.

Dr Samir Farag, the Governor of Luxor, announced that next winter will also see the first International Discovery Camp, which will be a short distance from the youth house in the same village.

Dr Farag added that the youth of the country was of enormous importance in Luxor and they wished to act as ambassadors, conveying the message of Egyptian culture and civilization all over the world.

Posted by Jane: - 12:12 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
June 14th, 2006
The Lantern
I went to lunch at the Lantern the other day and had a great meal. This is an english resturant on the East Bank at the bottom of St Joseph St. +20 95 2361451 I must admit I don’t normally bother with resturants on the East Bank prefering the West Bank prices and more Egyptian food but I will definately be going back there. I only had lunch but I was taken there by someone who had the evening meal and he was raving about the Roast Beef and Yorkshire pudding. We had cheese burgers, home made burgers that were realy tasty and so filling. I only had some fruit in the evening I had eaten so much. The chips were proper home made ones and the coleslaw was to die for. And for only 30LE about £3 GBP or $6 USD.
It is run by an Anglo/Egyptian couple just like me and my husband and the owner and I were swapping photos of our daughters. So if you want a good British meal (they also do some Egyptian food) try them out.

Posted by Jane: - 12:04 pm - Edit| No Comments »
June 14th, 2006
Hot, hot, hot
I think it is safe to say summer has arrived and a little earlier than normal. We have been having day after day of high 40’s tempretures (100-120f) and the A/C is on full blast. In Luxor I think is much easier to tolerate high tempretures because there is little humidity. The trick is with sightseeing start early. the sites open at 6am and you should be on the door knocking. ideally then you can finish midmorning before it gets really hot and have a much needed siesta and a lazy by the pool. The tempretures between 6 and 12 can vary by as much as 20 degrees.
Posted by Jane: - 11:54 am - Edit| No Comments »
June 8th, 2006
Views over Luxor
One of the attractions in Luxor is to go on a hot air balloon ride over the West Bank. This enables you to get some great views over the temples and to see the villages waking up. These rides are often at sunrise and it can be an amazing site to see a flotilla of balloons just as the sun is rising. Personally this is something I have never done as I am not very good with heights. Although have been told that it is not scary at all and it feels like the land is dropping away rather than you are rising. I would stress that it is not a good idea to pick your balloon company on price alone you should check the safety record and the insurance certificate. The tour companies are often tied into one company so your tour rep won’t be giving you unbiased advice. The flights are of course dependent on the conditions and sometimes balloons are blown of course but the companies always seem to get their clients back to their respective hotels. The length of flight is also dependent on the whether so sometimes people feel that for a 40 minute light they have paid a lot while other s are really happy with their 90 minutes. The view can be affected by the weather and sometimes there is a haze that obscures the sites. Below if a photo taken of my flats by one of my guests on their flight and you can see the haze. Luxor temple is top right and my flats dead centre.

An alternative is the donkey ride over the ridge and I have written about this as a feature article for tour Egypt here I call this the poor mans hot air balloon as you get some wonderful views of a lot of the sites and the trip is a lot longer. You can walk this route rather than going by donkey but you ought to be careful. It is quite a climb and you do need to be a bit fit. Make sure to take plenty of water with you. Kent Weeks describes it in his excellent guide book to Luxor and has an Arial shot of the route. You get good close up views of the workman’s village, the valley of the nobles, the valley of kings and Hatshepsut’s temple. You also can see most of the mortuary temples specifically the Ramasseum, Medinet Habu, the valley of queens from a distance.

We have a guide we use called Mohammed Ahmed Ismail, he is a resident of Gurna village and has been walking the hills since he was a boy. He takes people to remote tombs like Meket Re and TT320 which are unticketed and mostly unvisited. He also has a great eye for fossils and when we had a geologist staying with us he made his day by finding loads of rare and interesting fossils while they were climbing the hills. There is also a valley called the Valley of the Colours where there are naturally occurring stones that when broken open contain many of the colours used in the tomb paintings. This geologist guest was likewise entranced by this valley and felt it was worth the climb. As they were going along Mohammed pointed out pieces of pharaonic pottery and artefacts, just little bits lying on the ground.

So if you want a great view of Luxor you have three choices

Hot air balloon, expensive, unpredictable and but fantastic when it goes well
Donkey ride great views, not too strenuous, cheap and fun
Walking, strenuous, great views very very cheap and unique �

There are many hot air companies in Luxor , Jimmy has done an article here, donkey rides can be arranged easily on the West Bank, i can help with that and also put people in touch with Mohammed

Posted by Jane: - 12:34 pm - Edit| 6 Comments »
June 3rd, 2006
One Year on Luxor News
It is one year since I have been operating my news blog and so much has changed in that time. That first month I had 1,700 visitors and now I get upwards of 28,000 a month. Sometimes I find it easy to find things to talk about but in the quiet months like now I scramble around looking for topics. I love any help, links you have found or things you would like to talk me to talk about. Please email me with anything.
It has been interesting to go over the statistics and find the things that have interested people.

KV63 has led the pack and has proved of enormous interest, especially my lecture notes which have been linked to by both the official website and the online encyclopaedia Other posts on Kv63 have also been in the top 20.

More controversial topics have also reached the top and my post on the removal of the village at Gurna attracted a lot of interest. It also had some effect on the governors thinking and we have heard rumours that there will be no forcible removal of the villagers due to the publicity and pressure. I hope this true and the governor doesn’t change his mind again.

There was also a lot of comment about Luxor’s pyramids and thank to Richard Sellicks for providing the photos and proving I was right.

You also seem to love the stories of the local people like Captain Omar and his boat Cataract. Weddings, housing and food all seem to have their subscribers.

One of the biggest topics has of course been safety and I can only reiterate that I feel safer here than I ever did in London, UK and trust both the Egyptian government and the locals to keep me as safe as possible.

My lecture notes from the Mummification Museum have consistent proved popular and I really hope the SCA does another season next year. Your favourite was the Abydos Lecture by Dr Mathew Adams

So thanks to everyone for making the site so popular and for your comments. Keep them coming

Posted by Jane: - 7:15 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
May 31st, 2006
Breaking News on KV63
Just came back from a visit to Cairo to the wonderful news from KV-63 that they have found gold!!! pink gold in fact. One of the coffins contained a little ‘coffinette’ which is truly exquisite. there are loads of photos on the site
I travelled to Cairo by plane and there was an interview in the Horus Egypt Air magazine by Hawass regarding dynamics in the team. It would seem all is not happy and egos are in collision. Dr Otto Schaden is the director of the team on the ground in Egypt but Lorelei Corcoran is head of the Institute in the University of Memphis. The SCA and Hawass consider Otto Schaden the fieldwork expert and ‘finder’ of the tomb but as the article says Corcoran is arguing about who should make announcements and who is in charge.

I did read on one internet forum that donations being made to the University of Memphis are not actually reaching the team and it was better to make donations via the website. So it would seem that KV63’s discovery is going to be as much a modern story as it is an historical one. Which is exactly how it should be. After all part of the story of the discovery of Tutankhamun was Howard Carter himself.

Posted by Jane: - 9:19 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
May 25th, 2006
Lonely Planet Guide Book
The new guide book was published today and although I haven’t got my hands on a copy I have been informed by a friend who has read it that Flats in Luxor my business is in it. We all really excited and looking forward to lots of new guests.
Posted by Jane: - 5:30 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
May 24th, 2006
Valley of Kings Visitor Centre
I bumped into Nigel Hetherington of the Theban Mapping project whilst going round Hatshepsut. He was there with the History Channel doing a program. We chatted about the new visitor centre and apparently it is nearing completion. He sound very enthusiastic about it. It is going to have interactive display, the Theban Mapping project website (a static display not on line as there is only dial up on the West Bank).

They are also going to be getting rid of asphalt road and using a polymer on the natural surface. This will give a strong surface but be more aesthetically pleasing. There are plans to upgrade the little train and have an electric more modern one. Finally the Western Valley is safe. I had been hearing rumours about them tarmacking the road and having a train up there but he confirmed there are no plans to commercialise the Western Valley. They are going to put this polymer down to reduce dust and strengthen the road but that is all. One reason is the money the Egyptian government makes out of using the Valley for filming.

Posted by Jane: - 3:52 pm - Edit| 5 Comments »
May 19th, 2006
Karnak - Neferhotep Update
Apparently the Neferhotep statue is not under the obelisk foundations making it’s recovery a real possibility. It would mean dismantling the doorway by the side of the standing Hatshepsut obelisk but as they have just reconstructed the opposite door way that would not be a big deal
Posted by Jane: - 10:46 am - Edit| No Comments »
May 18th, 2006
Visiting Nefertari’s tomb - clarification from Dr Hawass
A really interesting interview by Hawass about what he thinks the tourist should visit and a clarification of the Nefertari situation.

I am closing Nefertari’s tomb because if you open Nefertari to the public, it will be damaged. If you need to see it, pay LE 20,000! One person or 20, it doesn’t matter. That is a way to let the tourists really see what they want but at the same time help us preserve the monuments, and we need a lot of money to do that.

Posted by Jane: - 8:12 am - Edit| 1 Comment »
May 17th, 2006
Refurbishment at the Sheraton
All change at the Sheraton this week, a program of refurbishment is underway and my favourite resturant Agra, the Indian is closed. But Le Mamma the italian is still open and i must admit it was nice last night eating under the stars.
Posted by Jane: - 7:33 pm - Edit| No Comments »
May 10th, 2006
Animal Care in Egypt ACE has dog and cat food
For those of you living in Luxor and having difficulty getting good animal food I have good news. Generally when ever people hear there are cat biscuits in the supermarkets everyone rushes to get them and they are only on the shelves a couple of hours. Well ACE have a solution for you they have cat, kitten and dog biscuits Cat 16LE per kilo, Kitten 18 and Dog 12. We went up there today and got a supply for our cat Mac.
It was great to see all the horses coming in for their check up and clean at ACE. They do great work for the animals in Luxor and deserve support. They always welcome donations and of course buying your small animal feed from them helps their funds as well. If you want to find out more about them here or use the link on the side of the page to go to their website.

Posted by Jane: - 8:22 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
May 8th, 2006
Mut Temple photos
some rare photos from the Mut temple at Karnak taken today]
this is a detail in temple A. Hapi and what is the name of the female gooddess with him

An overview of temple A Amenhotep III

Either side of the gateway in the main temple there were 2 fine reliefs of Bes

The large Sekhmet in the main temple, this is the area Dr Betsy Bryan is working

Recent Excavation by Dr Richard Fanzzini’s team

Overview of temple C Ramases III (many thanks to Richard Sellicks for correcting my numerals)

Sphinx by the main entrance

As we left the complex we saw a villager coming up the avenue of sphinxes between the Amun and Mut temple riding a donkey and herding a rather large buffalo!!!

Posted by Jane: - 3:50 pm - Edit| 6 Comments »
May 5th, 2006
Art Exhibition Extended
Received an email from the owner of Malkata Art Palace
I just want to let you know that Ammar Abo Bakr and I decided to extend his individual exhibition in the “Malqata Art Palace” in El Gezira until end of May.

Posted by Jane: - 10:09 am - Edit| 1 Comment »
May 1st, 2006
Egypt abroad
My neighbour Ibrahim Soliman has just returned for a one month trip to the US where he was in charge of a large exhibt over there. He loved the US and said the people were so warm and friendly. He couldn’t get over how interested the children were in Egyptology and in him.
There is a short TV interview of him here but it won’t be there for long I understand.

Posted by Jane: - 9:27 pm - Edit| No Comments »
May 1st, 2006
Luxor Temple
One of the many new improvements being done to Luxor at the moment is a new exit from the temple. Now you enter from the Corniche but exit via the spinx avenue to a parking area at the back of Luxor police station. that is actually quite nice as looking back along the avenue is a lovely sight.
There is loads of work going on at the moment and although one might wish they would finish one project before starting another I am sure the end result will be worth it. You only have to look at Luxor airport as an example, we waited a long time for it and there was a lot of disruption but the new airport is lovely. Inshahallah the railway station, roads, souk etc will be the same

Posted by Jane: - 4:50 pm - Edit| 3 Comments »
April 28th, 2006
Summer is a comming in
not quite Chaucer but still …..
temperatures are starting to rise and the clocks have sprung forward so get up early and avoid the high temps. I know it sounds cruel but this is now the time of year to hit the sites at 6am. Temps start rising early and even at 9 am it can reach 30 C plus. Most hotels will provide breakfast boxes and if you are canny you can even get breakfast on return to your hotel lol. If in a flat like ours then guests often start light on fruit/yogurt or some have had big meals. Others have breakfasted on felafel or foul sandwiches and often I take them to Ibrahim’s just across the main cross roads and the best breakfast in town.

and remember to keep drinking water especially in the Valley of Kings. The KV63 team were telling me it was 44C in the Valley the other day.

Posted by Jane: - 8:29 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
April 25th, 2006
Safety in Luxor
I am sure lots of you planning to go to Egypt on holiday are worried about the implication of the bombings in Dahab. Firstly I wish to express my sympathy to the relatives of the dead and wounded and all the victims.
Dahab is popular with a lot of low budget travellers and Israelis but of the people killed only 3 were foreigners. The others were all Egyptians so it would seem that the targets are not specifically foreigners but more of an anti government group. The reaction of the Egyptians I know has been shock and horror and a desire to ‘get’ the people responsible. They do not support this action in any way shape or form. Sadly terrorism is a world problem these days and you can not avoid it where ever you live.

Personally I have not changed my pattern of life and have no intention of doing so. Luxor is well protected and guarded and I know the government do all they can to prevent these kind of actions and protect the tourists. So please don’t hesitate to come to Egypt and enjoy the beauty of the country, the wealth of the history and the warm welcome of the people.

Posted by Jane: - 11:25 am - Edit| 5 Comments »
April 24th, 2006
Visit to Moses von Theben

After seeing the lovely work of this group some guests and I decided to pay a visit to the school. After checking with the organisers we visited on a Saturday morning class. Although me and my guests were very welcome our driver was not. So if you visit do explain to your taxi driver that Egyptian men are not allowed in the school. It is very difficult to persuade the conservative Egyptians to let their young girls to attend the school and precautions like this make it much more acceptable. they also make sure that anything they do is with permission of the local sheik, these sorts of politics are very important if the girls are to be able to attend in complete security.

The school is located at the main cross roads from the ferry/bridge/valley of kings. There is a small road that goes along side the canal and about 200 metes further down there us a small sign saying Moses above a blue door. It is next to the home of Hoda who teaches at the school. Actually to my surprise she is a member of my very extended family, her husbands father being my husbands uncle!!

Apologies for the quality of the map it was the only one I could find that showed the area.

The class we saw was just starting to learn and they were firstly taught basic stitches like chain stitch, hemming, use of sewing machine etc. They make things for sale and one outlet is the Fair trade centre but of course buying direct is even better. My guests bought cushion covers and a bag and were very pleased both with the goods and with the chance to contribute to the local economy.

The school does work for commission so if you have a special project you would like them to do get in contact. Where ever possible they like to use local materials. You can contact them by email or phone +20 (0) 105381602 the website is

Posted by Jane: - 11:52 am - Edit| No Comments »
April 22nd, 2006
Gold Cartouches
The recent news about gold cartouches being found with the joint names of Hatshepsut and Tutmosis III Yahoo News says that the find is in her temple but near her obelisk. Being as we already have evidence of this relationship from previous discoveries at Karnak near her obelisk I suspect this is really the location. A previous lecture at the mummification museum mentioned that they were finding evidence in the foundation deposits.
BTW no lectures for the last 3 weeks. We are at the end of the digging season and most of the teams have gone home for the summer so the SCA has had difficulty getting lecturers. I spoke to My Mansour and he is hoping to get some come from Cairo next week. Lets cross fingers as Thursday nights are now really boring ; (

Posted by Jane: - 5:58 pm - Edit| No Comments »
April 19th, 2006
Convoy Travel
I am sure many people have worried exactly what convoy travelling means to them and their holiday. Tourists have to travel in a police escorted convoy when going by road in south Egypt. So if you are going to Aswan from Luxor then this means a convoy. Any tour company/hotel/taxi driver knows exactly what to do and it will make no difference to you at all. If your driver says pick up at x then he will have taken into account the time to get to the convoy meet place and obtained any necessary permits. Most convoys you just turn up but some the police will insist on registration the night before. This registration consists of the driver informing them of the number of passengers and their nationalities.
The convoys set of at certain times and there will be an armed police escort. Some convoys will allow stops at temples on route, some go direct, and others are for visits to certain temples.

Having said all this, the reality is very low key.

For example going to Aswan from Luxor. The driver turns up at Convoy Street tells the police man 4 English. The convoy sets off at 7am, within about 5 miles it is strung out so far that you have completely lost site of any other vehicles and as for the solitary police car it could be anywhere. Your vehicle is now charging along at break neck speeds to catch up. Make sure if hiring a vehicle independently that you don’t go for the cheapest rather pay more and get one with good brakes!!!! At the various checkpoints the convoy then bunches together again and the police make a note of the vehicles. What happens to all these reports is anyone’s guess. On the outskirts of your destination you can break away but being as you haven’t seen any other members of the convoy since the last check point it is a bit academic.

If you try and travel by yourself without using the convoy system then your driver gets into big trouble. If you are driving yourself they will just keep you there at the first checkpoint until the next convoy comes along or send you back. When travelling in Middle Egypt at Beni Hassan we were the only vehicles and at the first checkpoint came across this Italian cyclist who had been held there. He and his bike were bundled into the back of the police vehicle and that was the end of his independent travelling.

Sometimes you have to travel in convoy one way but not the other. For example going from Luxor to Assuit you have to go by convoy but coming back you can go off into the desert. I know it doesn’t make sense but this is Egypt. Your driver will know the rules.

Some places like leaving Luxor for the desert, yours might be the only vehicle. The security services are more worried about some nationalities than others and so sometimes the drivers will tell the police they have Canadians instead of Americans. Sometimes you might get a vehicle accompany you others they will just put a policeman in your car. If you are travelling a long way and staying overnight please make sure the poor man gets some food and a place to sleep as he is never given anything by his boss and relies on you the tourist for food and drink.

So don’t worry about travelling in convoy, relax let your driver sort it out while you enjoy the drive.

Posted by Jane: - 3:58 pm - Edit| 6 Comments »
April 18th, 2006
KV63 latest news
I was lucky enough to speak to Dr Schaden in the Valley of the Kings on Sunday and got an update on progress. Conservation is on hold while their conservator Nadia Lukma is in China. There are still two coffins that are closed and the contents unknown. 16 storage jars have still to be opened and fingers crossed there will be a name as they still do not have one.
Dr Schaden was describing the method of sealing the storage jars and how how it had been very deliberate and sure. There was a mud plug, then a seal and then the large plaster seal. The people doing it had obviously thought it of prime importance that it should be done is this very precis manner. This leads one to think that there was a solid reason behind the placing of the artifacts and not merely a dumping ground. So not a rubbish heap left behind but a careful and thought out placing of the artifacts. Could it be that 18th dynasty burials had a tomb and an associated official storage area for the equipment associated with the burial - my speculation

BTW those of you puzzled about the location of coffin D I asked Dr Schaden about this. The diagram on the website should have had a small arrow pointing to it but that must have got lost when it went on the website. It is under the head of coffin G (the youth coffin) you can just see it on the diagram on the official KV-63 website. This is the very small baby coffin.

Since I posted this the official website has been updated with lots more information about the baby coffin.

As I believe the time is right, I would like to make mention of the small infant coffin, labeled ‘D’ that some of you previously ‘picked-up’ on from the (revised) tomb diagram. The tiny wood coffin is situated under the head of Coffin ’G’. The superior section of the coffin is barely visible but the foot of the coffin juts out near the left ear of Coffin ’G’. In the near future, we will post a few images of the infant coffin on the KV-63 website. Filming the small coffin has posed some difficulties due to the tight arrangement of the larger coffins and the difficulty in photographing over the storage jars. It will most likely be June before we are able to make contact with the baby coffin and examine its contents. At this point, we are not certain if the coffin and/or face is painted, decorated or covered in black resin, since it lays flat on the floor, tucked in the shadow of Coffin ‘G’.

Posted by Jane: - 11:14 am - Edit| 1 Comment »
April 14th, 2006
Day trip to Aswan road/train
Yesterday I took a group to Aswan and as they wanted to see Edfu. Ko ombo and Philae and the man was a train enthusiast so I suggest a combination of road and train travel. Because of the convoy system you have to leave Aswan at 14;00 which means you can’t see temples on the way and on arrival unless you are staying overnight. So what we did was catch the train back while our poor driver raced the train and picked us up on arrival at Luxor station. It was so funny as he asked me to phone him at Esna so we could see where we both were and he could actually see the train in the station as he was driving through the town. He had dropped us at the station for the 16:00 train about 30 minutes early which was just enough to give him time to get ahead of us.
Officially the 16:00 train is not for tourists but there was no problem getting on. We didn’t buy tickets but just got on and paid our fare as the conductor came round. There is another train at 18:00 which is officially for tourists but we had enough and wanted to get home. We had left our flats at 06:15 to get the convoy at 07:00 you get about an hour at Edfu and 30 minutes at ko ombo. Not long but enough for a first visit. When we got to Aswan we could then take our time visiting. We went to the High Dam and Philae.

I am not a great fan of late period temples but the setting at Philae is so beautiful. I remember when the Tut exhibition came to London in the 70’s and my Dad and I queued for 5 hours to visit it. The money raised was used for the rescue of this temple. I first went there in 1979 when it was just opened and have been back twice since then.

The train back took 3 hours and we went second class which was 27.50LE, they served refreshments and it was nice to realax in the recliner seats.

BTW I now can explain to all about the signal boxes, train station design, signals, engines, this guest was a serious anorak

Posted by Jane: - 11:22 am - Edit| 5 Comments »
April 12th, 2006
Moses von Theban Sewing School
I recently was shown work from this school which aims to help the poor women of Luxor to eanr money from craftwork. As you can see from the photo there are some lovely pieces. If you want to find out more the website is You can view the work of the school by contacting +20 (0)105381602 and they operate Mon, Wed and Sat. This lovely cushion cover is 70LE when you buy direct at the school.
Sorry about the incorrect link, now corrected

Posted by Jane: - 5:39 pm - Edit| 4 Comments »
April 12th, 2006
Ammar Abo Bakr
There was a very interesting art exhibition at Malkata Art Palace on Tuesday night. Although they normally have several artists on display this was a one man show. The artist is question was Ammar Abo Bakr, 26 years old and an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Fine Art in Luxor. He is an established artist whose works have been on sale both at the Fair Trade Centre and at the Gallery besides the Chinese Restaurant by the Meridian Hotel. The exhibition was a range of pastel oils of characters form Egyptian life and village housing. I especially liked the character studies. The prices ranged from 1800LE to 3000LE and the exhibition will run until the end of April. The exhibition attracted a lot of interest and there were also many members of the Faculty there to support their Professor.

Malkata Art Palace is a pleasant place to have a meal and drink and is located on the West Bank of Luxor. It is on the first floor at the junction of the road from the ferry/the motor boats and Al Gezera Hotel.

Posted by Jane: - 5:31 pm - Edit| No Comments »
April 11th, 2006
The American Ambassador visits Luxor.
On a recent visit to Luxor the American Ambassador; Francis J. Ricciardone Jr. invited all world to visit Egypt at least once in their lifetime
Mr. Ricciardone was paying a visit to Luxor, Egypt “The City of History”. During his meeting with Dr Samir Farag, the Governor of Luxor, he declared an American grant of 50 million dollars for the area.

This will be used for the drainage of underground water from Karnak and Luxor temples a US Aid/Sweco project. . The grant will also be used for supporting the Luxor Project, especially in the field of education and health. In addition they will also build a branch of the American English Language center to serve the citizens of Luxor, especially the young people. There will be a training program which will teach the youth of Luxor new jobs; helping them to obtain work in the field of tourism.

During his visit, the American Ambassador visited Luxor and Karnak temples on the East Bank. As well the temples at Medinet Habu, the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens on the West Bank. A highlight of the visit was the new tomb, KV-63, which discovered by the University Of Memphis Mission from America.

Mr. Ricciardone stated that he expects there to be an increase in tourists from America in the future and he urged his fellow Americans not to miss the holiday of a lifetime in this wonderful country.

From the press office of Dr Samir Farag

Posted by Jane: - 5:39 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
April 9th, 2006
Tutmosis Temple at Medinet Habu
It would seem Sunday is a good day to visit the temple of Tutmosis III. Normally the Chicago House team are working there and you can’t get access but when I went there today it was empty and there were no barriers so we were able to have a good look round. I love the scenes of Tutmosis excavating the temple foundations and a the mass of graffiti in the side chapel. There is a lot of colour left and the quality is high. On the outside, which is normally all you can see, Ramses has carved all over the place in huge incised relief but the interior with the lovely raised relief is much more beautiful.
They have also been cleaning one of the side chapels of the hyperstyle hall and this work is going well. The reliefs are really beautiful under all the dirt and to see the black deposits being removed and the colours singing out is really remarkable. Every time I go to Habu they have done a little more and it is so rewarding. It takes time because the wall surface is cleaned using tiny cotton wool buds.

Posted by Jane: - 12:02 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
April 7th, 2006
Art Exhibition starts 11th April
I have been asked to let people know about the forthcoming art exhibition at Malqata Art Palace in El Gezira (corner building main road and small street to Gezira Hotel, first floor) . The first individual exhibition of paintings of the young Egyptian artist Ammar. the exhibition will open on Tuesday, 11th of April, 2006, at 7 p.m. Duration of the exhibition until 30th of April.
Great to see these cultural events happening in Luxor, please let me know if you want anything like this publicised

Posted by Jane: - 1:22 pm - Edit| No Comments »
April 6th, 2006
No lecture tonight
Really sorry about this but on arrival tonight there was an annoucement that the lecture had been cancelled.
Posted by Jane: - 10:31 pm - Edit| No Comments »
April 3rd, 2006
Response to your comments
If you want to know more about train travel in Egypt try here
Captain Omar can be contacted or +20 (0) 106927110

More details about Miriam the massage lady can be found here

Posted by Jane: - 6:05 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
April 2nd, 2006
Train Travel to Abydos
Visiting the temple at Abydos is normally a rushed affair where you have to race around in 90 minutes as you are dictated to by the convoy system. Now for a lot of visitors that is exactly what they want and being as you get to see Dendera as well it makes for a good day out. However if you want to spend more time there, how do you do it?
Well I have just tried out the train and I can recommend it. We paid 21LE for first class seats, these were supposed to be allocated but not true in our case. However the man in charge of the car sorted us out. We caught the 9:30 Cairo train from Luxor and it stops at quite a few stations. Mostly it is labelled in Arabic but each station does have at least one English sign. We went through Qfet, Qena, Dishna, Nag Hammidi, Farshut and finally Balyana our destination. We were advised to move forward from car 1 where we were sitting to car 3 as the platform is short. But the staff on the train seemed to be on the ball and made sure we were in the right place and gave us plenty of warning before our stop. It took about 3 hours to get there and we arrived at 12:30.

As we got of the train a security man came up to us and inquired if we were going to Abydos. He took us to the taxi rank and we got a taxi for 20LE. We were escorted by the police but it was no problem at all. We arrived just as the convoy was leaving so we had the temple to ourselves. As I had seen the Seti I temple several times I treated myself to a good look round the temple of Ramses II. I am not a fan of his, especially his decoration style but this temple is lovely. The colour is fantastic and the relief work is quality stuff. I spent several hours there which was such a treat and left my companions to go round Seti I while I went to the café.

The owner offered us sandwiches so I needn’t have taken a picnic lunch. Whilst I was there I got talking to Ann (don’t know her second name). She has lived there for nearly 5 years and has taken over a lot of the legacy of Om Seti. She actually offers bed and breakfast to people and has promised me to send me full details by email which I will pass on. According to the guide books the hotel there is not very good so this is a great alternative.

The trains back went at 3, 5 and 6 pm and we had elected to go back by the 6pm one but as it happened we finished a little early and were in time for the 5pm train. When we went to get the tickets we were told that there were no first class tickets on the 5pm train and the 6pm train was late 1 hour. So we decided to take 3rd class tickets instead and get back early. Well that was a great decision because the train journey back was so much fun. For a start the price was so cheap, under 25LE for all 6 of us. It might have been cheaper than that as the ticket said 13, 50 but when we hand over 50LE we only got 26LE change. But it seemed silly to quibble at that low price. It works out at $4 USD or £2.5 each!!

The train was crowded and initially there were no seats but after the first stop we all managed to get a seat scattered through the car. The Egyptians were fascinated by us and we were fascinated by them. I was taking notes and they thought I was a journalist; my daughter was being wicked and telling them in Arabic that I worked for the BBC. There was a constant stream of vendors going through the cars. One man had a jug of fresh lemon juice and another, a huge kettle of tea. I had some of that. There was one man selling sandwiches and he had half a kitchen on his head as he carried fresh salad, bread, cheese and eggs. I also saw water, scissors, bread, tissues, sugar cane cones, chick pea snacks, biscuits, sandals, cigarettes, children’s clothes and key rings. Some young men were attracted to my daughter and when they got off the train they tried to take a photo of her but a lovely old man slammed the window down and wouldn’t let them.

I normally don’t recommend the train as a way of seeing the life 10 minutes of sugar cane, donkeys and palm trees is enough for anyone but if you get in a third class train then you really will see the life. But inside the car. The sun was setting as we came along and the view through the open window was wonderful. Normally you can’t see a thing as the windows are pretty dirty but we had a bird’s eye view of a blood red sun setting across the fields. The bullet holes in the windows were a little disconcerting until you noticed from the grime they had to be decades old. The passengers were a mixed bunch and apart from the cardboard boxes instead of suitcases some of them could have been in first class. The amount some of them were travelling with was amazing; one man had 7 huge boxes which he carried to the door before he got to his stop. When we were standing up everyone was so nice about telling us when a seat became free and as the crowd cleared when we stopped at various stations they made room so we could sit together. The journey back was actually quicker, we didn’t stop so long at the stations and we were back in Luxor by 7;30 pm A wonderfully experience both Abydos and the train and one I would recommend

Posted by Jane: - 1:24 pm - Edit| 6 Comments »
April 1st, 2006
Update to the KV63 website
Lots of new information and diagrams and the promise of a new improved website
Posted by Jane: - 9:39 pm - Edit| No Comments »
April 1st, 2006
Captain Omar and Catarct
A few days ago I got a call from my favourite boat captain. He was having the boat repainted and wanted to know the correct English to put on it. Would I text him. I was only to happy as the previous message ‘Captain Omar wish to you a nice trip in the Nile’ I had told him wasn’t correct. So I text him the correct sentence and spelling. Tonight it was back in service after its annual repaint and it looked great. The new message ‘Captain Omar wishes you a nice trip on the Nile’ was clear. Welcome was also there spelt correctly but imagine my amusement and his chagrin as I spotted the name of the boat was spelt incorrectly. Catarct!!!!!!
Poor man is so upset, he had tried his best but of the 6 places where the name had been painted only one had the right spelling.

Actually it is a bit of a joke asking me about speling as regular readers know mine is not the best

Posted by Jane: - 9:37 pm - Edit| 4 Comments »
April 1st, 2006
Abydos Lecture Dr Mathew Adams
Monuments of Egypt’s Early Kings at Abydos –Dr Mathew Adams
The team have been at Abydos since 1991 and it is a joint University of Pennsylvania, New York Fine arts and Yale venture. They have been excavating in the area of Um el Qa’eb (Arabic for mother of pots) where there are a number of 1st and 2nd dynasty graves. This site was excavated many years ago and is now being re-excavated.

King Den has a central underground burial surrounded by magazines and subsidiary burials. There is very little above ground evidence and it is possible that all there was, was a stele. We were shown an old reconstruction of the tumulus and this was compared to the monuments found at Sakkara. However Dr Adams feels Emery confused the issue and the Abydos monuments were grander and his work has shown there was much more to them.

They had a mud brick enclosure wall and Khasekhemwy’s was a niched palace façade which was painted white. The enclosure was 10,000 sq meters and the wall was 11 metres high and 5 meters thick. Palace facades are known from both buildings and objects. The entrance was a monumental gateway which had a room filled with beer jars. There was a convoluted interior and one room had brown stains which Dr Adams is convinced is evidence of libations being poured. This room was the furthest from the doorway and he believes it was the centre of the cult worship. Because f the evidence of cultic ritual Dr Adams believes that Abydos was the main place. But what was the rest of the enclosure for and what function did it fulfil.

The details are under the sand and there is considerable ancient damage. A lot is due the vast cemetery of mummified Ibis that were found here. There are thousands of vessels and each of them was dug into the ground damaging the older edifices underneath. Each vessel contained several Ibis and Dr Adams commented it was no wonder there were none left in Egypt today. Additional Marriet had dug trenches that cut through the ancient remains but the team still found plenty of evidence. They fully expected to find a finished monument but instead it appears to have been left as a construction site with piles of bricks, sand and plaster left around. There are many years of work here for the team.

Peribsen also had a monumental gateway but only 1 meter height is preserved. In the S/E corner outside the chamber there are a huge amount of beer jars. The tomb is surrounded by subsidiary burials.

Petrie missed finding one structure by 25 cms.

The Djer burial has a palace façade with a blocked gateway. There was a cult chapel and subsidiary burials (the slide showed the skeletons in a foetal position. There is debate about whether these people were buried as they died or whether they were sacrificed. As the roof construction is in one piece this would indicate a single episode of burial and the number 269 at Abydos 319 at El Gab would argue that these were sacrifices.

The so called Western Mastaba is also 1st dynasty with a blocked gateway and a palace façade. There were 14 boat burials between Khasekhemwy’s burial and the Western Mastaba which indicates they were probably associated with the Western Mastaba. You can see the wood eroding through the sand and get an idea of the hull. The team have excavated No 10 and confirm these were real wooden boats although heavily damages. The planks have parallel holes through which ropes went through. Emery also found boat graves at Sakkara but it is different at Abydos as these are bigger, 25m in length, and there are lots of them. So the boats at the pyramid of Khufu are an idea that went back to the 1st dynasty.

With Djer, Djet, Peribsen and Merit Neith we have more tombs than enclosures but the team undertook a magnetic survey north of Khasekhemwy. Over 15 hectares were surveyed and this showed the Peribsen enclosure surrounded by Middle Kingdom and late Period burials. They then found another enclosure which had monumental gateways, a cult chapel with an interior chamber like Djer. The cult building had 3 rooms and the 2 front rooms were painted white. The small room had red decoration and a bench like structure covered in brown stains. Dr Adams thinks that there was a statue or stele of the Pharaoh here. This enclosure was surrounded by 6 large graves which had been robbed in antiquity but only the precious stuff was taken so the team still found objects. At first all the pottery was broken just where the name should be. They found alabaster vases and a bowl filled with ground malachite, as this was a female body we can speculate that this lady took her makeup with her! In one grave there were only legs of a 4 year old child. It had 25 bangles and amulets of lapis lazuli so a high status grave. This complex was found to belong to Aha. The burials had a roof construction 30 cms underneath a floor so it would seem all the graves were hidden. The floor had been laid as a single event again suggesting the people were buried at the same time and they were sacrificed.

North of Aha they found more, a 3 chamber vaulted tomb which had been cut through by late period work. There was another bench, it had the same configuration and was covered with brown stains. Here there was more evidence about what the large open space might have contained. The team found the remains of wooden poles. This would suggest that there were other cult structures around the chapel which were made of organic materials. Both the 2 new enclosures had subsidiary graves. There was one intact burial and although it was a poor burial having only one wine jar and three vessels it did name the king as Aha. So two enclosures for the same king. The team then found a third enclosure and that was also Aha. Why he had three graves is unknown. It could be because things were in transmission, or because he had three burial chambers, possible for queens. It is possible his northern monument expanded like his tomb.

Another enclosure was surrounded by 10 donkey burials as well as subsidiary graves. These must have been very special donkeys. There were no horses at this time so if the king rode at all it would have been on donkey. Outside the gateway there was a big limestone basin which must have had some purpose connected with the enclosure. There were 200 seal impressions found but none with the kings name so this enclosure could have been for Djer, Aha or Narmer. Narmer’s tomb is quite modest. If Narmer is represented at Abydos could this mystery enclosure be his. The position and style does support that.

So it appears that the kings had two parts an underground tomb and an enclosure. And it was the later that was the primary architectural statement. At Sakkara there are too many tombs and these are smaller sizes. So where did these kings get buried. Dr Adams argued that it was much more likely to be at Abydos as there is a single tomb and it is much grander with an enclosure.

The wall height indicates that it had fallen down and it appears to have been deliberately demolished ancient times except Khasekhemwy. They seem to have been prepared for demolition, rituals cleansed, the floors were covered with pure sand and gravel and then the walls were brought down. It happened at the end of a period but not 200 years later. You should never see more than one royal monument, the living king. There had to be a ritualistic burial of the enclosures themselves.

So kings had enclosures, people, donkeys and boats which says a lot about the status of an Egyptian king that he could command this. And what you had depended on your particular whim.

Khasekhemwy is the only one left standing why? As Djoser was his successor and he had his complex down at Sakkara there was no conflict between the living king and his predecessor. Why did the kings who were based at Memphis get buried here? Actually the question should be why did they stop being buried here. This was the place to get buried, the ancestral fathers were buried here, Osirus was buried here (allegedly), and it was the proper place for a king to be buried. They might not remember all the names but everyone knew this is where the early kings were buried. The cult place of Osirus and the point of origin of the early kings.

BTW at present the team do not have a website but Dr Adams hopes to get one sorted out this year. However I did find this link which seems to be quite up-to-date.

Posted by Jane: - 12:16 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
April 1st, 2006
Another New Tomb at Luxor
the Spanish working in Luxor have discovered another tomb HERE . Thanks to Sara for alerting me to this and giving me a nudge updating the blog. Sometimes it is difficult to find stories and I aprrciate assitance, although sometimes it is because I am busy
Posted by Jane: - 11:01 am - Edit| No Comments »
April 1st, 2006
John Hopkins Magazine
There is a nice write up of the discovery of the Queen of Amenhotep III HERE
Posted by Jane: - 10:58 am - Edit| No Comments »
March 26th, 2006
Al Jezera International visit Luxor
Last week a TV crew from Al Jezera International visited luxor. They were doing a program about tourism and water damage to the monuments and i was lucky enough to be interviewed.
This is a new TV station that will be launched soon and is the English version of Al Jezeera TV. They seem to have gone for some serious talent as both the presentor and camera man were from very respected TV programs back in the UK. They wanted shots of me taking guests around and did the interview on the top of the hill at Sennefers tomb looking down on the Ramaseum. I am not sure of the actual launch date of the new station but when it comes on you will have to look out for it and tell me how it comes across.

I was especially pleased that the water damage topic was getting more publicity as this is something that especially worries me.

Posted by Jane: - 12:02 am - Edit| 1 Comment »
March 25th, 2006
Hatshepsut Found!!!!!!!!
According to this story the mummy of Hatshepsut has been found
Does any one have any further details?

This is an astonding find and I would love to know more.

Posted by Jane: - 6:21 pm - Edit| 10 Comments »
March 23rd, 2006
It’s My Birthday
So don’t expect any posts today
Posted by Jane: - 2:41 pm - Edit| 15 Comments »
March 20th, 2006
Japanese House at Luxor
I have had a wonderful father and daughter Japanese visitors to my flats. As a guide I do get some unusual requests but this was the strangest. Could they visit the Japanese House. Well I didn’t even know there was a Japanese House until that moment but fortunately my regular taxi driver had heard of it.
As you go to the Valley of Kings you reach a cross roads. To the left is the Valley, to the right the temple of Seti I and straight ahead is the road to new Gurna. It was this road we had to take. Off road and up a dirt track we came upon Waseda House. The dig house for the Japanese team from Waseda University.

The Japanese father had remembered while preparing for the trip to Luxor that the his old friend , the late Mr Kawamura’s brother was a professor of Egyptology at Waseda University, who taught Prof Yoshimura the long time leader of the team. Since he had graduated from the same university, he felt ok about contacting them for permission to visit the house. Unfortunately he found out that the house would be empty during his visit, but none the less wanted to go there.

When we arrived a guardian or bowab popped up from nowhere and escorted us round. He could not let us in to the house but took us round. There really was nothing to see but my guest was fascinated by everything, especially the old engineering of the pump that supplied the house with water. But as we went round the third side of the house he had his reward. There in the garden was a memorial for Prof Kawamura built in December 1979, apparently shortly after his premature death. It was laid out as a traditional Japanese tomb and inscribed in Japanese ‘the tomb of Kiichi Kawamura’

To say my guest was delighted is to understate the case. In fact I am not sure the tombs of the pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings where I took him next lived up to his pleasure about being able to show his respects at this memorial. It just shows you that is a lot more to Luxor than you think.

Posted by Jane: - 2:21 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
March 19th, 2006
TT320 Lecture
TT320 a Re-examination by Prof. Dr. Erhart Graefe In 1891 one of the saddest events in Egyptology happened when the cache tomb of TT320 was cleared in 48 hours. No photos were taken, no notes and as a consequence much knowledge has been lost. The purpose of the German/Russian Mission was to try and get a clearer plan of the tomb.
The entrance to the tomb is a chimney in the gebel with three sides about 13 metres deep. There is a plan on the team website here . In 1874 it was discovered by the Abdul Rassul family.

Prof Graefe then outlined the reasons why he believes it is not an earlier date. Prof Graefe doesn’t think the Royal Mummy in the Luxor museum is Rameses I because if it is from the cache then it was acquired 1858 -1860 before the cache was discovered. There is no evidence that the Abdul Rassul were selling stuff that early. Also the royal mummy is in excellent condition in contrast to the mummies in the cache which have separated arms, legs and heads were the robbers pulled them apart looking for gold. Maspero identified another mummy as that of Rameses I which was near the coffin of Tutmosis II, this coffin was usurped by Pinodjem. Also the mummy identified as Tutmosis hasn’t got its arms in the so called royal position so that makes the royal position a dubious means of identification. Carbon 14 dating of the royal mummy gives 22nd dynasty, Sheshonk but this might be caused by contamination when the mummies were rewrapped.

The tomb was filled to about 50% with debris, the photos showing before and after were astonishing, they made use of a massive winch to move things up and down the shaft. The condition of the rock is very fragile and it had to be removed as it was dangerous. In corridor B they discovered some steps which had not bee documented by Maspero. The entrance was left open in 1881 so it filled with rocks and the side walls gave way. The only place Brugsch had drawn a plan of the tomb was in a letter. In 1938 Bruger the Director of the French Institute was given permission to copy the inscriptions and after he did this he blocked the entrance. Prof Graefe does not believe Niche E contained a coffin because of the size of the niche compared to the size of the coffins. They just would not have fitted. The niche is 2.16 – 2.33 in height and a width of 1.60 and the coffin of Ahotep is 3.80. In stairwell D they had to put up a protective roof as the ceiling blocks had fallen down. The rock was of better quality so there was less debris. When they got to burial chamber G they didn’t dare speak in case something fell down. Some of the blocks were huge 500 kilos. They puzzled how to remove them, the Egyptian expert advice was to pulverise them and this was successful. In the chamber the water reached a height of 50 cms there was graffiti of Pinodjem. The graffiti had been noted previously but was not found in 1938 however the team found it.

They have found 500 objects which have been numbered and another 500 which haven’t as they are pieces of wood. When the coffins were removed they were hauled up without any protection so bits were knocked off and the team has found loads of these fragments which could be reconstructed on the coffins in the Cairo museum.

They found a fragment of the hieratic docket of Ram I parts of the leather tent of Isimkheb and another leather piece which is a riddle as to purpose. They have found 50% of an ushabti box but the pieces are in varying condition depending on whether they were found in a dry or wet place.

Prof Graefe mentioned a picture of Anubis on top of an obelisk that had been found on this box and appealed to the audience if they were aware of a another example.

There is a piece of this box in New York There were also fragments of a stool and a chair as well as about 200 fragments of quality wood stuck on poor quality which is a riddle to the team. Neshkhons glass beaker pieces like in the Cairo and Luxor museum. The ones is Cairo have lost their quality surface. Lots of knobs from boxes including a 6.6 cm bone handle that doesn’t appear to fit on any known piece. They are reconstructing a number of vessels which were in one piece in the 19th century and were not considered of any importance and have know been destroyed by the rock falls. Also found was wood and linen, 15 wicks for oil lamps and an empty box for candles dated 1878. Some ostracha including what looked like a games board. Prof Graefe is making a database of objects coming from TT320 and would welcome additions to it if these were known. BTW this link doesn’t work so I have emailed the professor asking for a correction if anyone else knows what it should be please email me. Thanks to Gitta for providing a correct link

Prof Graefe also made an Appeal about this picture

has anyone seen these markers in a tomb before. They seemed to have been left by the workman of the tomb but their purpose is unknown.

If anyone has any answers to the questions raised by Prof Graefe please email him.

Posted by Jane: - 9:19 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
March 14th, 2006
Ace : a new kitten
We are thinking about getting a horse and today went to ACE for advice and help. ACE is a preventative animal welfare organisation that has ended up get involved in everything with the closure of the Brook clinic. Kim the British boss was happy to help and lent us a great book. But knowing our weakness for cats told us of the lovely kittens out back. Yes you guessed it we ended up with one. do not take a 14 year old daughter to any animal charity. When we return this book I am phoning first and checking if there are any kittens on the premises. and if there are we are not going back!!!! Joe our resident cat has not taken to this new comer and is ready to kill. but we caught then while he was napping.
We have decide to call the newcomer Mac as Kim gave him to us in a MacDonald’s box!!!

Posted by Jane: - 8:35 pm - Edit| 8 Comments »
March 14th, 2006
KV63 - Mummy Workroom says Hawass
See the story here .
After the lecture on Thursday this was the inescapable conclusion of the early findings. Of course we all hold out hope of what may be in the unexcavated coffins but Otto’s comparisons with Kv54 were pretty clear. I find it amazing that such a quality shaft should have been dug for this purpose. the sides are so straight.

Posted by Jane: - 9:35 am - Edit| 1 Comment »
March 13th, 2006
The next lecture on TT320
Becasue of the excitement of last week i completely forgot to publish the subject of this weeks lecture. TT320.
At the end Ibrahim Soliman was bemoaning the fact he had forgotten to tell people the subject and I asked him what it was and he sad TT320. It wasn’t till today that I remembered and went on the net to get a few details. Well don’t try “TT320″ unless you want a toaster from Kenwood try “TT320 tomb”. I suspect it is the later

I found this site which has some excellent information.

Posted by Jane: - 12:15 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
March 12th, 2006
Review of the German Cultural Evening
I was unable to be there myself but did get the following review sent to me, many thanks
The Play “Alte Liebe rostet nicht” engl. version ” True love never dies” written by Anne & Joe Hamid
directed by Joe Hamid

The performance took place on Friday, 10 March’ 06 in Hotel Fayrouz at 8pm. It was a great success, the turnout was overwhelming. By 7.45 pm there were no more seats available, some people even sat on the stairs. The Play was in German, translations in English and Arabic were available. Everybody enjoyed the evening, there were requests for a repeat in the near future, which Anne and Joe will oblige ( Autumn 2006 ) They would like to thank all that took part in the Play, also the fantastic audience, for making the evening so worth while. Anne and Joe Hamid are looking forward to seeing you all again soon.

Posted by Jane: - 7:46 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
March 11th, 2006
Dr Zahi Hawass visits Luxor
Yesterday Dr Zahi Hawass visited several places in Luxor to observe progress. One of which of course was KV63. He started at Karnak and spent about an hour there and then came over to the West Bank.
Whilst we were waiting for his arrival I snapped Dr Otto Schaden doing a Mary Poppins impression feeding the birds. You can see the attempt to keep the general public away from the working area with the yellow tape and hand written no entry sign.

Also while we were waiting we could see some objects being removed from the tomb. I believe these are parts of the coffins that the conservators are stabilising and then taking out of the tomb.

When Dr Hawass arrived he was given a progress report by Dr Schaden with Mr Mansour Boraik. Dr Hawass also spoke to the conservators working in the tomb and got an update from them.

I spoke to Dr Hawass later, there was little media presence this time and it was great to be able to put questions to him. He said how they had not found mummies in the first 2 coffins which were the most badly damaged ones. The conservation work was going well. And it would take time before we knew the contents of the other coffins.

Posted by Jane: - 9:00 am - Edit| 3 Comments »
March 10th, 2006
KV63 lecture by Otto Schaden
KV63 lecture by otto Schaden
9th March 2006
The lecture was great and there was a capacity crowd. In fact I don’t think there was a seat spare. He divided the talk into 2 parts. The preceding 2005 season where they discovered the top of the shaft and this season where they had discovered the actual tomb,

Although some people might think they had stumbled across the tomb it was actually the result of deliberate and serious excavation. The first slide showed the hillside in 1995 when there was a huge amount of rubble on the hill next to KV10; this rubble had built up over 67 years. In 1994 more rubble had accumulated when there was serious flooding n the valley.

The team had begun looking for foundation deposits in order to resolve the problem of succession around Amememese. KV10 was decorated by Amenemese but never used. Unfortunately no foundation deposits were found but lots of ostraca and tools were.

By 2004 they had excavated and found next to KV10 there was a man made chunk dug out of the hillside and they excavated it and stopped at the workman’s huts they found. Some of the huts were disturbed right down to the gebel (mountain) and Otto related how one tour guide told his group that this was the burial of the high priest!!! They dug the hut right down but did not follow the wall of the hut as this led into the floor of the valley under the roadway. However some of the floors of the huts had never been disturbed and therefore what was underneath them was not known. The last person to excavate in that area was Theodore Davies and they found a New York Times of 1907.

They then got to the Howard Carter 1 layer where he dug between KV10 and KV9. The Howard Carter 3 level actually rests on the gebel (mountain). The workman huts were late 19th dynasty and the walls of the intact floor went into the valley. So they asked the SCA for permission to extend the field of operations just a bit so they could look under this floor. The inspector drew a line with his feet on the floor and said they could work up to that line.

The floors of the huts showed evidence of dumped chippings on one side of the floor thus giving the floors a flat floor surface in a building on the side of the hill. They found a few pots but it was rapidly approaching the tine when they would have to stop digging and start to fill it in order to leave it safe for next season (the season for digging is approx Oct – Mar).

On March 9th 2005 as they dug into the dark Howard Carter 3 level white chips appeared so they knew there was something there. Then they saw one side of the shaft.

The shaft was filled with white chips and larger stones, at this point they called the inspector and reported the find as significant, really big. The shaft has an over hang very similar to that of Yuya and Thuya and KV55 so that was one clue that it was 18th dynasty. It is almost possible that this was the signature of the architect. We know a lot about the workman of the 19th dynasty but little about those of earlier times. A workman could be operational for 40-50 years.

At this point the huts still remained and the area was refilled and covered with sand bags and a retaining wall built.

That is how it was left at the end of the 2005 season.

(At this point the slides switched to power point on the PC)

At the beginning of this season they spent a month digging out the area and getting back to the shaft. They had no idea what they were dealing with.

Otto showed a slide of the tomb area which is quite large and goes back from the shaft towards the hillside. The shaft dimensions are 1.95 by 1.53.

At 2 metres down they were still finding rock chips and the occasional stone. They found rocks that were almost like those used to block a robber’s tunnel and fragments encased in plaster and these were a good sign that they were dealing with something. But sadly they also found evidence of termites however termites would not be going down there unless there was something there, so that was both a good and bad sign.

The termites were actually dated to the 19th dynasty as they start at the huts. Further down the shaft they found ostraca, one piece was a man with long straggly hair and bald top of the head with a carrying pole over his shoulder with bags hanging from it. The piece was very approx 10 by 40 cm

On the 10th February Dr Zahi Hawass made the official announcement and came to the tomb. At that stage the doorway was still blocked on the lower third and all the photos were taken through the top 1/3 of the doorway.

Otto mentioned the marvellous cooperation he has had from the SCA and thanked them profusely.

The team then had to completely clear the shaft and then the doorway. The blocking stones in the doorway were not original suggesting that the doorway had been opened and closed a few times. The original blocking stones were inside the tomb. So someone had re-entered and sealed the tomb in antiquity. It should be made clear that although sealing is mentioned there were no identify marks at all just white plaster. The tomb shaft was then filled and then eventually covered and the workman’s huts built on top.

The reason for the confusion over the number of coffins was because 5 were all they could see from the doorway but once they got inside they saw 2 more. So there are 7 coffins, 4 are in a really bad state of repair. Most are covered in black resin and there are no inscriptions visible. There is significant termite damage. The first 2 coffins are open and there are no signs of mummies, they appear to be filled with odds and ends, natron and bandages, however some of the other coffins are closed and their contents are unknown at present.

The identity of the coffins is totally unknown, it is possible they were added to over a series of time, it might be an embalmers cache or an important family all options are open at this time.

The conservators are at work trying to stabilise the first 2 coffins and as yet the team can not look at the others until these are out of the way. They are getting great cooperation from other archaeologists in the area. Chicago House was mentioned specifically.

There is a child coffin with a lovely yellow face. Speculation that this might be female is just that at this point, speculation. Inside the child coffin it looks like there is some kind of stuffing leaking out between lid and bottom. The termite damage is extensive and the result is like black tooth paste.

The coffins are surrounded by pots which are both leaning on it and the pots are approximately 75 cm high and there are loads of them. There is one alabaster pot next to a coffin. The top is sealed with plaster and underneath there is a layer of mud. Inside one they have found loads of little pots. There is natron everywhere, some inside little sacks. One coffin has glass inlaid eyes. There is one with crossed arms and a black face. The ones that have the resin on them might have to have this cleaned off to identify them, It is possible that this obscures the identify marks. The pots have been whitewashed while standing in sand and the bottoms show the original clay,

The first pots have been removed and have been wrapped in bubble wrap and hoisted to the surface. (Part of the hoist is the old pipe that Howard Carter laid the electricity through when there was a generator in Rameses X tomb).

They have opened 4 or 5 jars so far and found 40 miniature vessels, natron and scraps of material. It is a long drawn out process and they only get one shot so they have to take it bit by bit. They do not want to draw premature conclusions as this might close their mind to other possibilities. Otto doesn’t even want to guess how long it will take. They are using KV10 as a store room but this might prove too small. They are very anxious to find names. He has no idea when the season will end.

There was then a question and answer session.

Mention was made of Geoffrey Martin but Otto stressed that they did not find the tomb from his evidence. They found the tomb because when they excavated the workman’s hits there was one section with undisturbed flooring and they needed to find out what was under it.

They have not followed the wall of the huts and there may well be something to find in the centre of the Valley, The area underneath the old rest house has never been excavated and there is a water course between KV10 and KV6 that has never been followed through. Theodore Davies missed KV63 by a few meters.

A cache can mean many things, this does not look like a royal cache because there are no names or insignia. Also this was a much earlier period before the need for royal caches. It could be family vault but with no names this is just speculation. It would help the team tremendously if there were mummies. They can’t get to the closed coffins yet so do not know if there is anything inside them or not. The open ones are full of rubbish

The storage jars are almost identical to those in KV54

If this is a burial it is a very incomplete one as there are no canopics or ushabits, unusual not to have basic funeral provisions.

It is incorrect to identify gender on the basis of face colour; at this stage we have not idea of the gender. There are no specific signs of royalty.

There were other pieces of ostracha found as well as a scrap of papyrus with a lotus flower drawn on it.
1) a head rest drawn in charcoal
2) what looks like a cut out biscuit tray
3) part of a leg with the bottom carved

They found a free hand lotus drawn in the middle of stylised flowers

The miniature vessels are mainly simple cups and some bowls

They have opened 5 jars 23 to go and they weigh about 40-45 kilos

The termite damage is huge but they hope to save at least the faces and collars.

Many apologies for any errors, I know everyone wants to read this so I have done it as quickly as possible, please email me if I need to make any corrections

Posted by Jane: - 12:07 am - Edit| 43 Comments »
March 9th, 2006
German Culture Club Play Tomorrow
The German Culture Club is holding a Comedy play at the Farouz Hotel tomorrow 10th March. The entrance is free and the performance starts at 19:30. The play is Alte Liebe Ristet Nicht (True love Never Dies) written by Anne and Joe Hamid, there will be translation available for non German speakers.
For further details please phone Anne Hamid 0104414705

the club meets on the second Saturday of every month at Malkata Art palace at 16:30

Posted by Jane: - 8:04 am - Edit| No Comments »
March 8th, 2006
Getty conservation Institute to renovate Valley of Queens
Seems like the Valley of Queens is going to get a make over. a story here.
One hopes that it is not going to be like Nefertari, do a great conservation job and then don’t let anyone in any more.

Posted by Jane: - 1:45 pm - Edit| 4 Comments »
March 7th, 2006
KV63 New Interview with Roxanne Wilson
Thanks to Roxanne for letting me know she has done a new interview with even more detail RW Interview
Posted by Jane: - 5:47 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
March 6th, 2006
Sekhmet statues found
what a season this is turning out to be for newsworthy discoveries. story. According to the press 6 statues have been found under a temple wall.
I said newsworthy stories because as one archaeologist said to me ‘We find things all the time that are important to Egyptology but news reporters don’t get excited about mud brick”. Fair comment

Posted by Jane: - 8:07 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
March 6th, 2006
Recent work in the Mut Temple Precinct – Richard Fazzini
Last Thursdays lecture at the Mummification Museum was a rerun of the one that was cancelled because there was no data projector. Ibrahim Soliman annouced that there should be no problems like that again as now they had access to two.
Again these notes are difficult without the slides but I suspect that people interested in this level of detial know the various naming of the temples and the layout. There is more information on the Mut temple on the main Tour Egypt website.

The Brooklyn team have been working on the history of the site as a whole and the work is divided between two teams Brooklyn at the front and John Hopkins at the back. The current boundary wall is a 15th dynasty one and does not reflect the size of the temple in the 18th dynasty when it was much smaller.

Temple A is to the left of the main temple was built by Amenhotep III; it has scenes of the royal circumcision and was converted into a Mamisi or birth house. Temple B is on the same side but further south. Temple C is the temple built by Rameses III

There was an alabaster shrine built by Amenhotep II which was reused by Ramses to make stele in front of the mud brick pylon at the Mut temple. It was broken in 3 parts and weighed 44 metric tons. This has now been reconstructed and is the first shrine inside the Open Air Museum at Karnak between two reconstructed obelisks. Before it was moved the team tunnelled underneath in order to record the inscription. It talks about a Temple of Millions of Years and I made great the temple of my father, the name comes from this inscription

The temple built by Ramses II (and possible Amenhotep III) shows a Year 37 and designation Millions of Years, so it seems to have been a popular spot for a temple of Millions of Years.

There is a lot of roman period pottery. They have found 3 rooms with vaulted roof similar to those at the Ramasseum. There is debris containing stele, late Ptolemaic or poss. early Roman (Tiberius). A mud brick and baked brick ‘bath tub’ but with no bottom. Some large pots which contain …….. other pots!! 52 coins Ptolemaic/early Roman up until 4th century late Roman. They also found some leaf shaped bowls which were really pretty.

William peck is a member of the teams and has been heavily involved in mapping the various levels. (Dr Fazzini also expressed a huge debt of gratitude to the Egyptian members of the team). There is a raised area for the barque of the King.

The plan is to raise the Sekemet statues on pedestals, out of the dirt and to protect them from debris falling of the mud brick pylon by building a retaining wall. The want to remove the existing mastabas which are being used for storage in order to make the temple more accessible.

There are masses of Sekemet statues there are both Sekemet united with Mut and Sekemet linked with Mut statues and belong to Amenhotep III. There is a statue inscribed with a very strong ‘Keep out message’ and also a standing Sekemet which was restored this year.

They have also worked on the restoration of the so called Lepius gateway. The foundations were rotten and have been replaced and then it has been rebuilt. The have found loads of inscribed blocks which have been reused and where ever possible have replaced these so the inscription shows.

There a variety of sphinxes at the temple and they have managed to restore many of these. Including very recently one that was buried on its side and in poor condition. This had to be drilled and bolts put through with epoxy to stabilise the statue. A new base has been built and this was completed just last week. The statue is covered with what look lappets and are actually representations of the ‘rasta like locks that these rams’ coats develop into. One the reasons for moving this statue was that 20 years ago Richard found pieces of limestone under the statue and wanted to see if there were more. (Fancy having to wait 20 years).

The SCA have dug up blocks from chapel D and this has started to be put together. There are some relief’s of what look like Mut and Sekemet but are actually Mut and Neferru a goddess of nubile women in temple A. and as this became a Mamisi it makes sense to have her here as well as a chapel for women.

There is also a block of Hathor on two opposing faces and the other sides being lotus and papyrus plants.

Next week Dr Otto Schaden talking about KV63 which is going to be a sell out, so get there early for that one. Lectures are at 7pm in the lecture hall next to the Mummification Museum. They are free and on average last about 1 hour.

Posted by Jane: - 9:56 am - Edit| No Comments »
March 5th, 2006
From Francesco Tiradritti
A full report here part 1 and here part 2 from Francesco regarding the irresponsible reporting by an Italian journalist of his work at Harwa.
The gist of the the article is while they were clearing Harwa they also very briefly entered another well known tomb and this got reported as a new discovery. With the SCA being sensitive about the release of news this could have caused problems. So Francesco has had to take time out to clarify things.

That aside it is very interesting to read what they have been working on and how complex that whole area is with tombs running into other tombs. You can visit certain tombs in this area, called the Assassif, which is just by Hatshepsuts temple. Tickets are obtainable at the Hatshepsut ticket office. You do need a torch though as they do not have any facilities.

Posted by Jane: - 3:49 pm - Edit| No Comments »
March 4th, 2006
Going to the Dentist
Today I noticed that I had a hole in a tooth so phoned up and arrange an appointment. Same day I visit and get a filling. Tourists coming here might be relieved to know that there is excellent dental care and it is a lot cheaper than back home. I got my filling for 80LE which is about £8 GBP or $14 USD. Not even worth claiming on insurance. A lot of medical personnel are trained in Europe and mine has loads of qualifications from Italy of all places. He seems to speak about every European language fluently and has a wide expat clientele.
Also doctors here are excellent and speak English, again I have an excellent local man and he comes out to my house if requested.

Medicines can also be a big saving, make sure you know the generic name of your medicine and see what the prices are here. you can everything over the counter and the instructions are in English and in Arabic. The local pharmacies can do a lot for you advice wise and see tourist complaints all the time.

Posted by Jane: - 8:44 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
March 2nd, 2006
Further KV63 Updates
I was not going to post anything more on this as many of the stories are repeats and specualtion but this link Q & A KV63 is new information. It is a question and answer session with Roxanne Wilson authorised by Dr Otto Schaden and is an uptodate picture of where the team is at.
Posted by Jane: - 12:27 pm - Edit| No Comments »
March 2nd, 2006
Big correction to previous incorrect reports of new discovery in Assassif
Like many others I reported an Italian news report which said that Francesco Tiradritti had made a discovery in the Assassif. I was unable to find any other information and email Francesco for details I received this email this morning.
you are unable to find any news of our new discovery for the simply fact that we did not make any new discovery. On December 1st we entered the tomb of Uahibre-nebpehty (TT 191) and I reported it in the day by day journal I am keeping on the Italian site. An Italian journalist, always looking for scoops, transformed that routine work in a sensational discovery.

Many apologies for embarrassing the Italian team

Posted by Jane: - 10:46 am - Edit| No Comments »
March 1st, 2006
Winter has finished
We seem to have left the cool of winter behind now and day time tempretures have been 30C (86F) but fortunately there is little humidity so it is easy to cope with. I must admit I am a weakling and have had my A/C on last night. I just can’t sleep if I am hot. But to be this hot in March could mean we have a really hot summer. Last year we did get 50 and 51 (about 125 F). Then you have to be like and Egyptian and try and sleep during the day. Start your sight seeing at 6am when they open and try and be finished by 9. October to April are the best months weather wise and in Dec/Jan is is quite chilly at night, I wear thermals and have a hot water bottle!!!!
Posted by Jane: - 12:58 pm - Edit| 3 Comments »
March 1st, 2006
KV63 Update
The official website has been updated with lots of photos (including some of mine) and 2 entries in a dig diary by Dr Schaden. Still no news on who they are but confirmation they think 18th dynasty. My fingers are nearly down to the bone waiting to know the names
Posted by Jane: - 9:40 am - Edit| No Comments »
February 28th, 2006
Laser Scanning
I has a fascinating chat with a guest who used to work at Liverpool Conservation Centre. Apparently laser scanning is so good nowadays that they can use it to make 3-d records of objects and then reproduce them. a while ago the Polish team at the temple of Hatshepsut asked for a plaster copy of a piece of Hatshepsuts temple that was in the museum. Rather than do this they were able reproduce in limestone a perfect copy of the piece in question.
The possibilites of this are endless here in Luxor.

Also they could scan all the pieces currently on mastabas scattered all over Luxor and put them on comuputer where they could be matched together. the cost of this equipment is not cheap but when you think of how quickly it could record scenes, especially those in danger from water damage it seems it would be worth while. There is also software available that removes damage and makes the surface look like new so reconstructions of the original could be made.

Does anyone know why the missions out here don’t use this. Could someone like the Getty institute fund this and all the missions have access. I know a lot of the treams read my blog so I would love some comments on this.

Posted by Jane: - 4:55 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
February 26th, 2006
Excavations in the court of 9th Pylon Prof Charles Van Siclen
Last Thursdays lecture was one of the most complex ones I have attended and I am not sure I can give it justice without the excellent slides.
Prof Siclen had been working on the Temple Amenhotep II and his aim was to reproduce where it was originally. However this excavation uncovered a bag of worms as the court of the 9th pylon was about the most complex and reproduces the whole history of Karnak. With the aid of line drawings Prof. Siclen showed us the development of the area from Middle Kingdom until late Byzantine times and the presence of Coptic buildings.

In his description of the Middle Kingdom view of this area he placed for us several reconstructed edifices from the open air museum such the bark shrine and the lintel of Senusert I. The Nile was much closer at those times as well as the ground being much lower. This Middle kingdom area was damaged in Ancient Times and as a consequence a later tower was put at an oblique angle. As Prof. Siclen went through his slides he showed his line drawings and then pictures of the actual mud brick that proved his superstition. This area of the temple was outside the main Amun temple for the early part of its life. The complexity of the various eras was shown in mud brick and stone foundations and it was impressive how he made sense of the maze of remnants. I would like to give you more but honestly notes without the slides do not make sense. I did ask him but he doesn’t have a web site so anyone wanting more detail is going to have to wait until he publishes.

Next Thursday Richard Fazzini is resceduled to give his lecture

Posted by Jane: - 11:22 am - Edit| No Comments »
February 26th, 2006
New Tomb at the Assassif part 2
Well Done Andie for getting the actual translation of the original article Andie’s Egyptology Blog however I would still love to hear from anyone with any more details. I have emailed the team via the website but haven’t heard anything.
Now heard from the team and it was a case of the newspaper getting it wrong. there was no new discovery, they just entered an existing tomb

Posted by Jane: - 10:27 am - Edit| No Comments »
February 23rd, 2006
German Culture Club Meetings
I got told about this today and if there is anyone else with anything similar going on please email me.
the German culture Club meets on the 2nd Saturday of the month at Malkata Art palace in Al Gezera Village. This is on the corner of the main street and the alleyway that Al Gezera Hotel is in and on the first floor. The meeting is at 4:30 and can consist of lectures, talks and music. Afterwards there is a discussion where everyone shares their experiences of living in luxor and useful local knowledge. Followed by food and drink.

On Friday 10th March they are holding a Comedy play at the Farouz Hotel. The entrance is free and the performance starts at 19:30. The play is Alte Liebe Ristet Nicht (True love Never Dies) written by Anne and Joe Hamid, there will be translation available for non German speakers.

For further details please phone Anne Hamid 0104414705

Posted by Jane: - 9:01 pm - Edit| No Comments »
February 21st, 2006
KV63 Blog
Just found this on the net and for all of us dying to know what they have found so far this is great. KV63 Blog
Posted by Jane: - 9:13 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
February 21st, 2006
Mut Temple
I was privileged enough to be allowed in the Mut temple today. I had to get special permission from the SCA and felt a bit like Prime Minister Chamberlin with my bit of paper in my hand. It certainly worked it’s magic. The dig inspector was expecting me and conducted me round the site. There are two teams working there at the moment Dr Betsy Bryan in the back part of the temple and Dr’s Fazzini in the front. There is masses of work for them to do and the place is littered with pieces waiting to be put back together again. Obviously as this an ongoing dig you will have to wait for the teams to publish and announce what they are finding. Thank you so much to Mary Fazzini for sparing me some time to show me round. And best wishes to Richard Fazzini hope he gets well soon.
The documented parts of the temple have always said about the proliferation of Sekmet states but until you are there surrounded by them you just can’t imagine how many there are. The unusual shape of the sacred lake is also well know but I loved the way the dig inspector described it like a mother cuddling her child. The royal circumcision scene is another well known item in this temple and very interesting. It is exactly like the one in the nobles tomb that appears on so many postcards and papyrus. The man is actually shown standing having it done and appears to be totally awake. I should imagine all my male readers are wincing at this point and really glad they were not born in ancient Egypt.

At the lecture previously and the dig inspector today said that it is hoped to open the temple to tourists at some point in the not to distant future. I look forward to that. BTW there is a nice write up of the site with some photos on the main Tour Egypt site Mut Temple

Posted by Jane: - 2:14 pm - Edit| No Comments »
February 19th, 2006
Lecture by Jose M Galan
TT11/TT12 and the Apprentice board Jose M Galan
Last Thursday’s Lecture was given by Dr Jose Galan who heads the Spanish/Egyptian team. They have been excavating TT11 the tomb of Djehuty and TT 12 the tomb of Hery. These two tombs are connected at the transverse rooms yet at the front are separated by TT399. The tomb was recorded by Champollian in 1829 and shows whippet like dogs hunting in the desert and a superb funnery scene where the mummy of the deceased is being transported across the Nile by boat.

The next person to record the tomb was Lepius in 1884 although this information comes from his diary rather than a proper publication. He mentions Djehuty for the first time.

In 1898/99 the 5th Marquise of Northampton sponsored an expedition which uncovered the tombs and exposed their facades to the light. This unfortunately resulted in the best scenes being hacked out and robbed from the tomb. The fashion of squeeze however has recorded many of these scenes and is enabling the team to reconstruct the walls using some 150 fragments they have found.

The tomb was subsequently protected but a wall and roof however when the team started work this was piled up with rubbish. Excavations have revealed a huge open courtyard in front, 40 metres and indeed when you drive past you can see it very clearly. There is a hymn to Amun Re on the left and he presents his biography on the right. This is unusual as facades are not normally decorated like this. Prof. Galan then went into some detail about the way the hieroglyphics were presented which is impossible to explain properly without the slides but involved the use of a vertical column to avoid repetition.

Djehuty talks about his role in overlaying the obelisks at Karnak with electrum and an account of the marvels brought from punt so he was a top dog in Hatshepsut’s court. The hieroglyphics were painted yellow to reflect the sun rising over Karnak to the West.

We were also shown how they resolved the problems of an 8 metre shaft that allowed debris to get into the tomb.

The second half of the lecture went on to tell of the so called ‘Apprentice Board’. Now previous excavations had totally neglected the areas around the tomb just concentrating on the tomb itself so the team was very lucky to find pieces of a wooden board overlaid with stucco. The total dimensions of the piece were 31 by 45.8 cm and there were drawings both back and front. The pieces were found above TT11 and 399. After cleaning which the slides showed to make a dramatic improvement the drawing was revealed to be a frontal portrait of a pharaoh on a red ink grid. Frontal portraits are of course extremely rare and this looks like a standing statue of a pharaoh.

There are two pictures and the one to left is not as steady and as sure, the ink is thicker and less confident. So it looks like the master has drawn the figure on the right and the student, or apprentice, the figure on the left. There is a parallel in ostrica found at Deir el Bahri which is now in the Brooklyn museum no 58.28.2. On that piece to it looks like the master on the right and the student on the left and the writing is from right to left as well.

Frontal portraits, whilst rare are not unknown, there is the hieroglyphic symbol, in some smiting of the enemy’s scenes the ones in the middle face front, there is the portrait of the three girl musicians and of course many Hathor headed columns and statues of Bes.

The team then worked on identifying which pharaoh was being shown. They dismissed Tutmosis III because although it was close it did not have a beard, there were some differences around the eyes and there was a recessing chin. Also Tutmosis III usually shows a small smile which thins the upper lip but the top lip in our drawing was full. There was a much better match with Hatshepsut statues and the clincher was the grid lines. Convention made people 18 squares high but men were 6 squares to women 5 squares and this picture the shoulders were 5 squares.

The writing was the first paragraph of kemet which can be regarded as a unit in it self. It uses old fashioned language of the old kingdom/1st intermediate period and was often used as an exercise. The reverse of the board has a king fowling in the marshes and the closest parallel to that is the tomb of Ay.

The board has been restored and mounted and is now on display in the Luxor museum.

Posted by Jane: - 1:56 pm - Edit| No Comments »
February 17th, 2006
Railway Station and Massage
Pity any tourists arriving at Luxor railway station at the moment it is an incredible mess. Almost completely filled by scaffolding and with rubble and brick dust everywhere. The good news is that the platforms have been finished and are much easier to negotiate but it will be a relief once the work is finished.
An unusually offering in the realm of massage and therapy. Miriam Herickx, a Belgium lady living on the West Bank of Luxor, offers massage and reflexology but also uses the desert around Malkata for mature walks, breathing exercises and increasing your overall health. She can be reached and is a welcome change for ladies wanting massage without any strings attached 

Posted by Jane: - 6:57 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
February 16th, 2006
Official KV63 website
Nothing much there yet, the team are busy digging out tombs rather than building websites but should be very interesting when it is ready also the teams original website
Posted by Jane: - 10:10 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
February 15th, 2006
Reconstruction at Karnak
Those of you visiting Karnak’s open air museum may have been puzzled like me about the newest reconstruction just at the front of the area between the reconstructed obelisks. It looks as though the team have done it wrong as some of the scenes are on their side and seem to end incorrectly. I have finally found out what is going on. Francois Laroche was in the museum when I went in the other day and explained what had happened. The shrine itself had been reused by Rameses II for a stele in front of the mud brick pylon at the temple of Mut and that is how it comes to be inscribed in this way.
Posted by Jane: - 6:52 pm - Edit| No Comments »
February 14th, 2006
Richard Fazzini Lecture (part 1)
Full marks to Richard Fazzini at last weeks lecture with over 100 people present the poor man found out with no warning that the data streamer was not arriving so he could not show his slides. Despite this he attempted to give us some information and it was actually very interesting. But after struggling for a few minutes the lecture was abandoned to be rescheduled this Thursday. One of the most interesting facts to emerge is that they are working to make the Mut temple accessible to tourists. I will not bother with the rest of what he said because although I took notes I can not explain it properly without having seen the pictures myself. I will wait until the rescheduled lecture happens and then tell you what is going on.
Posted by Jane: - 6:54 pm - Edit| No Comments »
February 14th, 2006
New Tomb at the Assassif
I almost feel guilty about posting anything and pushing KV63 of the top entry but life does go on in Luxor. You have to pity Francisco Tiradritti who also discovered a new tomb this week. I can’t find very much about it but Andie reported it in her blog
He is working on the tomb of Harwa which is in the area called Assassif just by Hatshepsut’s temple. There are no details on the English part of his website and I don’t read Italian. If any one comes across more information can they email me?

Correction there was no new discovery it was a case of the Italian newspaper reporting incorrectly.

Posted by Jane: - 12:46 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
February 14th, 2006
KV63 Feature Story
I have turned my blog entry into a feature story for the main site KV63 Feature
Posted by Jane: - 4:04 am - Edit| No Comments »
February 11th, 2006
KV63 the new Tomb in the Valley of Kings - Photos
This shows you where the new discovery is in relation to KV10. KV63 is to the left where the sandbags are.

This Nubi Abdul Hassal who was in charge of the workman that found the stone chippings

Just a few of the creme de la creme of Egyptology waiting at the tomb entrance. The University of Memphis team pose for a group photo.
editted thank you so much to Jennifer Bassman for identifying the people in my photo. Standing from Left to Right: The Dig Inspector (name unknown), Dr. Otto Schaden, Dr. Ted Brock (Co-Director), Sharon Nichols (grad student), (standing slightly in front of Sharon) Heather Alexander (Photographer), Betty Schneider (Artist/Recorder), George Johnson
(Photographer), Roxanne Wilson (Artist/Recorder), Lorelei Corcoran (Director of the Intstitute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology, The Universty of Memphis). Seated is Earl Ertman, (Professor Emeritius, The University of Akron, Associate Director of KV-10/KV-63 Mission).

Dr Earl Ertman, Nubi Hassal and Dr Otto Schaden

Dr Hawass arrives at the site with my neighbour and friend Ibrahim Soliman, Director of Karnak SCA in the background

Dr Hawass and Dr Schaden exchange thoughts. Could it be a gardener?

The entrance to KV63 tomb

Dr Hawass descends into KV63

The media circus at the top of KV63

Dr Zahi Hawass speaks to the media. He commented that it was amazing to find a tomb in the Valley and speculated as to the owners. At this stage we have no idea who they are apart from being very very important to have been buried in the Valley of the Kings. They could be noble, they could even be missing kings and queens like Hatshepsut, Nefertiti and Akhenaton. At this stage we have no idea

Posted by Jane: - 12:17 pm - Edit| 7 Comments »
February 10th, 2006
KV63 the new Tomb in the Valley of Kings
I heard the news first from my husband as he watched the news in Arabic, a new tomb has been found in the Valley of kings. Checking on the internet I found brief mentions but obviously the main news was under embargo until Dr Zahi Hawass came.
The Valley of Kings has been continually stated to be exhausted and yet 80 years after Tutankhamen was found we had a new discovery. I had to be there so this morning early I got a taxi to the Valley. Dr Hawass was coming from Cairo to announce the find on the early plane I was told so I would be there when it opened. It opens at 6am and apart from Japanese tourists being sheppard around at breakneck speed I was the only person there. It was bitterly cold as only the desert can be and I could scarcely feel my fingers. It was easy to identify the area. The team from the University of Memphis had been working in and around the tomb Amenemeses, KV10 for years. Indeed I had attended a lecture 2 years ago where Dr Otto Schaden had talked about the excavations. One area they were working on was some workman’s huts to the left of the tomb as you face the entrance.

Dr Schaden described the discovery. “We were digging down to what is referred to as the Howard Carter 3 level. This is dark debris and suddenly we were coming across white chips. My workman couldn’t understand why I was so excited, we were surrounded by white chips what was the big deal. But then we can upon an edge, then another and then a corner. At that point I called a halt and told my Inspector, you better call the big boys, this is something significant.”

Word quickly spread around Luxor as workman and guardians left the Valley for the day but the team had to keep quiet until today.

The crème de la crème of Egyptology was gathered around the entrance, some were teasing Dr Schaden about becoming a historic figure. I think it fair to say that they were all excited by the find and its implications.

Dr Hawass arrived around 8am and was quickly surrounded by a mass of media. It was hard not to think of the similar excitement of the last discovery in the Valley of Tutankhamen in 1922. The valley filled with TV crews and cameras and bemused tourists tried to find out what was going on. The more savvy tour guides had already updated their patter and their groups were being shown this new discovery.

The media was allowed down in small groups as there was concern about the gases inside the tomb and the shale surrounding it.

At the bottom of a 10-meter (yard)-deep pit, a narrow shaft leads down another 5 meters to the door, made of blocks of stone. A hole about 30 centimetres (one foot) wide has been cleared from the door. There is only one chamber about 4 by 5 meters and within it you could see 5 wooden sarcophagi, one definitely had a painted face and another looked as though it had been pried open. There were a number of storage pots nearby for food and drink. Some of pottery and some of alabaster. The tomb is thought to be 18th dynasty although its contents have yet to be dated.

Dr Hawass commented ‘it is amazing to find a new tomb in the Valley of the Kings when everyone thought it impossible, at this stage we can not say who we are dealing with”. Dr Schaden joked that it could be the gardener. We know that only very important people would be accorded a burial in the Valley of Kings so it could be a noble but it equally well could be someone more significant. Dr Hawass speculated ‘it could be noble, a queen or even a king, perhaps one of the lost mummies like Hatshepsut. He expected that this information would be available soon, from the evidence available at the moment it is felt we are dealing with a possible cache rather than a tomb burial.

With the departure of Dr Hawass the Valley reverted to its normal everyday self but what more secrets does it hold.

PS Those of you eager for photos are going to have to wait until tomorrow. Regular readers know my digital camera died on me. Well I got some film shots but can’t get them until tomorrow.

Posted by Jane: - 8:36 pm - Edit| 20 Comments »
February 8th, 2006
New Tomb found in Valley of Kings
This story has just appeared on Egyptian news (which was in Arabic) and the only details I can find are here. News Story .
Cairo - An American archaeological mission discovered a tomb in Luxor’s Valley of the Kings next to the burial place of King Tut, Egyptian antiquities authorities announced Wednesday.
An excavation team from the University of Memphis made the find Tuesday 5 metres from Tutankhamun’s tomb while the mission was doing routine excavation work, said Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Some three metres beneath the ground, the tomb contained five human mummies with coloured funerary masks enclosed in sarcophagi and several large storage jars. The mummies date to the 18th dynasty (circa 1539-1292 BC).

Who was it said that the valley was exhausted!!!!!!

Update on that story some news sites are reporting that the discovery was 5 kilometers from Tut’s tomb however as it was made by the University of Memphis and they have been working at KV10 the original location of 5 meters from Tut is more correct. There should be more in the news tomorrow as apparently there is going to be an official media event. I have also seen speculation that it could be another royal cache but that is not from any official source. but how exciting this all is.

This season has seen so many fabulous discoveries by so many teams. I read somewhere that 90% of the history was still underground waiting to be discovered and in weeks like these that seems to be born out

Posted by Jane: - 10:43 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
February 6th, 2006
Do Not Touch
please can I make a special plea to preserve the monuments. I have noticed recently that many visitors and I am sad to say Tour Guides touch the monuments. This leaves tiny traces of grease and acid and eventually destroys the reliefs. Down at Sakkara there used to be a hieroglyphic for 1 million which has been completely destroyed from so many people touching it. If you are visiting and you tour guide does it, please give them a hard time and tell them not to.
Posted by Jane: - 1:04 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
February 5th, 2006
Big Improvement at Hatshepsuts Temple
I haven’t visited this temple for a long time and part of the reason is the barriers that were put up on the second collonade which meant you could hardly see the reliefs. These are such fantastic low relief that unless you can get close you can hardly make them out. But that has changed they have moved the barriers forward to the second set of columns and now you can get much closer and the reliefs are much clearer.
That is on the second terrace and all the tour groups go straight there. Why the first terrace is ignored is beyond me. The left hand side has the obelisk scenes and the right hand the wonderful marsh scenes. There is a lovely detail of a heron with a fish in its beak. On this terrace there are no barriers and you can really see the detail.

If you want to get that close on the second terrace you need special permission (or and don’t tell anyone I told you) get there when it opens at 6am. The tour groups go to the Valley of Kings first so the site is normally deserted. Saturday is also a good day to go because all the cruise boats have left Luxor. Be prepared to pay the guardians some baksheesh and you can slip under the barricades.

Posted by Jane: - 12:58 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
February 4th, 2006
Dr Betsy Bryan on Mut
2006 John Hopkins Season at the Mut temple/Enlarging the view of Mut lecture at the Mummification museum - Dr Betsy Bryan
Dr Bryan gave a summary of the work of previous season in order to set the scene of the work they are doing in 2006. The earliest stone temple at the site was Tutmosis III and Hatshepsut.

They have been working on the area behind the sacred lake which is a horseshoe shape. They have found many granaries which would have been beehive shape very like the paintings at the tomb of Khety at Beni Hassan. Together with querns, bread moulds and pots it suggests that this was a big beer and bread making operation in this area of the temple.

In The far south area near the enclosure wall they were hoping to find remains of Ancient Thebes but so far the remains are 25th dynasty. Once these have been recorded it is hope they can excavate underneath and night find what they were originally hoping.

Inside the temple they are looking at 2 courtyards and the platform area. They have found remains of Hathor headed pillars. The temple was variously built by Tutmosis II, Rameses II, Seti II and Rameses IV. The platform area was Tutmosis III, the condition of the blocks is very unstable so they are trying to conserve these and remove the ones that are in danger and fragile, build better foundations then relay the blocks that are stable. There were more examples of foundation blocks with joint cartouches of Tut III and Hatshepsut. And Senumut’s name also is present. A lot of the foundation blocks are reused from other periods and should be on display. The work of the restorers was shown by a fantastic Hathor headed column that had been rescued. There was much mutilation by the atonists and then restoration by various kings like Tutankhamen, Ay and Horemheb.

One of the discoveries was a lovely statue of a queen of Amenhotep III. Although this has much been reported in the press as being Queen Tiye (Ti) it actually has no name and could be Sitamun, Mutemewa or Tiye. The modus has cartouches of Amenhotep all the way round and it would have come from the last 7 years of his reign.

The second part of the lecture was a complete revelation for me and forgive me if my notes are incomplete or inaccurate as I was trying to write in the dark and take it in.

Dr Bryan gave a fascinating insight into the Festivals of drunkenness. Now being drunk was not socially acceptable and there is wisdom literature support that moral stance. However there is much that encourages people to get drunk in order to experience God. This has links with the story of Hathor being made drunk in order to stop her destroying mankind. Mut is linked with Sekmet and Bast which is why there are so many statues of Sekmet from that temple. It seems that a part of the religious worship was to get so drunk you passed out and just before you did you experienced the divine. They even had ‘designated drivers’ who would look after you so you could lose control in a very controlled situation.

Scenes of this are in evidence at tombs like Kahri at El Kab where the deceased family talk to each other and make remarks like asking for 18 jars of wine. I Rekhmire the question is posed ‘Is it Ma’at to get drunk’ and the hieroglyphic for Ma’at is turned round indicating ‘Yes go for it’. In tt38 there are scenes of vomiting

Phrases like ‘roaming in the marshes’ indicate that sexual activity is also an important part of this and associated with the Beautiful Feast of the Valley where you communed with dead relatives. In TT82 there is a song which talks of “rejoicing in drunken women”

Mut appears to have a role to play in the Eye of Re, which is an aspect of Hathor where she takes revenge on mankind when they don’t behave. (I am not sure I got all this clearly so if anyone can give me more I would appreciate it)

In the question and answer session two other things came out. One questioner talked about the influence in Sufism of Ancient Egypt and how getting into an altered state to experience the divine was there. And another lady mentioned the princess of Mentuhotep who had scenes of granaries and might be an earlier example of this religious experience. Probably all these granaries at the Mut temple where were all this beer was coming from.

So another excellent lecture which widened my understanding. I did like the site report but this part 2 was the best bit for me.

Posted by Jane: - 8:53 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
February 4th, 2006
Icons of Egyptian goddess found in temple dig
EGYPTOLOGISTS have discovered two 3,400-year-old statues of the lion-headed goddess Sekhmet and a rare statue depicting a king with Nubian features, an archaeological conservation director said yesterday.

thanks to Mary for the link

Posted by Jane: - 6:37 pm - Edit| No Comments »
February 3rd, 2006
El Nakhil Hotel and Restaurant/ disabled travel in Luxor
My favourite hotel/restaurant has just got a new website and what a fab domain name. This has the be the cleanest place on the West Bank and I regulalry go there both for food and just for a drink. They recently had a group of disabled visitors from France and have to be the only hotel in Luxor, well at least the West Bank that can cater for the disabled in this way. This group were then going on to a catered cruise on a dahibeya, one of the big sailing boats. There are quite few sites that the disabled can visit although they would need support and the Egyptians are totally helpful about aiding them to do things. Facilities that we would take for granted in the West aren’t there but with a bit of imagination that is no obstacle to having a great holiday here if you are in a wheelchair.
Posted by Jane: - 11:45 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
February 2nd, 2006
Lecture Series
2nd Feb 2006 Season at the temple of Mut - Dr Betsy Bryan
9th Feb Recent Work in the Mut Precinct - Richard Franzini
16th Feb The Apprentice Board from Dra Abu el Naga TT11 Dr Jose M Galan
23rd Feb Excavations in the Court of 9th Pylon at Karnak Prof Van Siclen
These are all at the Mummification Museum at 7pm on Thursday nights. They are free and open to all, generally lasting about one hour but that is very variable. I really recommend you visit if you are in Luxor, the quality of lectures is excellent and you will definitely come away with something.

Posted by Jane: - 11:26 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
February 2nd, 2006
Smiting the enemy, keeping it in the family - Prof Earl Ertman
I have been really bad writing this lecture up and I shouldn’t have been because it was most instructive and certainly gave me a whole new set of ideas.
Earl Ertman and Otto Schaden have worked together for years (KV10) and Prof Ertman joked how some people even think they are related. The lecture was about the peculiar incidents of Nefertiti appearing in traditional smiting of the enemies scenes. Visitors will be familiar with these as they are common on pylon walls. The pharaoh is shown with mace in one hand and the hair of supplicating enemies in the other about the bash their brains out. This image powerful displays the pharaohs might, power and dominance. These images start on objects as early as the Narmer palette. So what is a female doing in the picture?

Nefertiti is shown sometimes behind the pharaoh and even, amazingly enough on her own. Indeed even one of the children (possibly Meritaton) is also showing making it quite a family day out. Perhaps the professor joked they couldn’t get a babysitter.

He also showed scenes of royal barges with side walls showing various smiting poses. Although some of the scenes are very fragmentary they seem to indicate some quite controversial options going on in this traditional scene.

Interestingly enough although no other queen is showing doing this there is a scene which could be Ankesamun copy her mothers stance but in a lesser way possible handing implements to her husband or possible and more controversially helping in the smiting.

It was a very thought provoking lecture and will be published in the Armana letters.

I have to say that this series of lectures has been of a much higher quality than before. The last two years we only got updated site reports but now we are getting quite a scholarly program. Thank you SCA and Mr Mansour for organising this

Posted by Jane: - 11:14 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
January 31st, 2006
Qurna Move and Sennefer Coffee House
A link to my story about the Controversy at Qurna

Posted by Jane: - 6:59 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
January 26th, 2006
Tuthmosis IV block found at Karnak
Today at Karnak I was able to see a newly discovered block. This was found by the team investigating foundation deposits of the VI pylon. The block is approx 1 metre by 1/2 meter and is covered in the most amazing hieroglyphics in amazingly well preserved colour. The white was particularly striking. The block was found face down and the team were amazed to see what was underneath. No pictures allowed obviously but for me it was enough to have seen it. I was also able to see the hieroglyphs of Senmut on a foundation block as discussed at the lecture the other week.
I understand that the newly discovered statue of Tutankamun’s grandmother Tiye or Ti has been moved to Luxor museum and the team hope that this Tuthmosis IV block will also be moved there.

Posted by Jane: - 11:08 pm - Edit| No Comments »
January 24th, 2006
Queent Tiye statue found at the temple of Mut
Great news here news story together with a photo of a lovely black granite statue of Queen Tiye mother of Amenhotep IV/Akhenaton and wife of Amenhotep III. This has been found in the Mut temple excavations currently being undertaken by the John Hopkins team
Posted by Jane: - 3:23 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
January 23rd, 2006
Egyptomani and American Architecture by Dr Mary McKercher (Fazzini)
This week’s lecture at the Mummification Museum was the one of the best ever. It was given by Dr Mary McKercher (Fazzini) who is working on the Mut Temple project for the Brooklyn Museum and it was on the influence of Egyptian art and style on America. She was a totally brilliant lecturer and had the audience in the palm of her hand. Ripples of laughter engulfed the audience as she pointed out the more humorous sides of Egyptian influence. Snoopy as a sphinx was a classic.
Egypt has certain associations in our minds which are not always accurate but are enduring. Knowledge, Wisdom, Exotic, Death, Biblical, Eternal, Stability are all icons of Egypt and have been used by companies, institutions, architects, designers wanting to portray their idea/concept as an ideal.

Free masonry also borrowed heavily from Egypt and many of its emblems and symbols have Egyptian connections. As many of the founding fathers were free masons this means that much of early American history has these symbols and of course to this day the pyramid is on the dollar bill.

But the past is often our perception of it so certain icons that are for ever Egyptian in our minds are actually rare and unique and not at all atypical of Egypt. Tutankhamen and Nefertiti being prime examples.

One lovely story Dr Fazzini told us was of some camel drivers bought to America together with their camels to do work in the desert. One of their number died and was buried with a monument of a pyramid surmounted by a camel. The name put on the monument was Hijolly which must have been the American version of Hajj Ali!!! She showed us architecture, movies, posters, books and monuments with many, many different Egyptian icons and designs, some of which seemed more Hollywood than Pharaonic. But all the way through she kept us educated, informed and above all amused.

The day of the lectures has now changed and in future it will be on Thursday nights

Posted by Jane: - 6:54 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
January 20th, 2006
Getting into Nefertari
I heard this week of a tour group that did visit Nefertari and other closed tombs like KV5 and Seti I. This was a special fund raising tour by Dr Kent Weeks for the Theban mapping project Seven Wonders Tour. Obviously a tour like this is a once in a life time experience and at that price it ought to be but for all those people asking how you can get into tombs like Nefertari this is how you do it. Pay $5,000 for a tour not including flights plus a donation of $500 to the Theban Mapping project. Ouch!!! Reading the itinerary it sound totally fabulous
Now that is a trip I would like to go on, anyone want to set up the Jane Akshar holiday fund, donations welcome.

Posted by Jane: - 2:35 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
January 18th, 2006
Egyptian Marathon next month
less than a month to go before the Egyptian Marathon, there is an excellent website which gives all the details. According to the map the route is right by our flats (we are on the main road from the ferry) so we will get a grandstand view. It actually starts and ends at the temple of Hatshepsut and goes right round the entire West Bank so if you are in Luxor at the time, 17th February, you should see the sites and the race.
Posted by Jane: - 11:25 am - Edit| 1 Comment »
January 16th, 2006
This week at the Mummification Museum lecture
The lecture this week was about Karnak, one of my favourite sites. The area under discussion was the Ipet-sout and the two young lecturers were Romain Mensa and Shaima Abo El Hajaj. The Ipet-sout is the area between the 4th pylon and Tutmosis III festival hall. This area is the earliest part of the temple and there is actually mention of some 4th dynasty kings in a king list of 61 names implying that they probably worshipped Amun. But there are no structural remains earlier than the New Kingdom.
The work at Karnak has been ongoing since the beginning of the 20th centaury when there was some 3 to 7 meters of rubble inside the temple. In 1967 the French committed themselves to Karnak and the team is currently lead by François Larché. Currently one of the projects is to try and date the structures and they are looking at the north and south chapels of Tutmosis III. The decoration shows the king receiving royal offerings and reuses blocks from Amenhotep I.

One of the ways to find out more about a structure is to find the foundation deposits; these are generally laid at the corners and the axis’s of the structure. Laid in small pits they can consist of miniature tools, pottery offerings, copper tools, finance bowls, bronze figures. The start of temple building would be the digging of foundations and the placing of clean sand at the bottom of these foundations. These foundation deposits were laid at the same time. The ones found by the team have the hieroglyphics of Tutmosis III and Hatshepsut on the same copper blade. There are also foundation blocks show Senemut hieroglyphics. There is a lot more work needed to find all the foundation deposits but the implications of these discoveries on the relationship between Tutmosis III and Hatshepsut/Senemut are tantalizing. I know many scholars dismiss the feud scenario and these latest discoveries only serve to further discredit that old idea. Obviously it was a lot more complex than that.

On another note I gave Mr Mansour the results from our Karnak survey and much to his relief (and mine) the majority of respondents (95%) were against the erection of the projector screen at Karnak and had said so in very clear terms. This will aid him immensely in his negotiations with the Sound and Light Company. Many thanks to all that contributed.

The next lecture is on 21st and is titled Egyptomania and American Architecture; it will be given by Dr Mary Fazzini who is currently working on the Mut Temple and associated with the Brooklyn Museum.

The following week 28th it will be Smiting the Enemy in the reign of Akhenaton – A family affair by Professor Earl Ertman

Posted by Jane: - 12:49 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
January 14th, 2006
Karnak Survey
thank you so much to everyone that has participated in the survey so far. I am going to give the results to Mr Mansour at the lecture tonight. I am glad to say the the consensus of opinion is against having the projector screen at Karnak and this result will help Mr Mansour in his negotiations with the Sound and Light Company. It has surprised me how many people were keen in seeing Karnak by night without the Sound and Light, nearly 80% of you wanted this. Any way please keep those responses coming
Posted by Jane: - 10:00 am - Edit| No Comments »
January 13th, 2006
Sennefer Coffee House
A special photo because if the government has it’s way this lovely coffee house will be removed.

I must admit i am in two minds about this. As an Egyptologist I agree that some of the houses in Qurna do damage to some tombs. But as a local I defend the right of the people to live where they have lived for generations. I just feel that there ought to be a better solution than moving them against their will. For many tourists the picturesque village of Qurna is part of the attraction of the tombs of the Noble. After all Egypt is not just ancient monuments but it is the warmth and friendliness of the local people. The two men in my picture are locals that make a living from tourists by living on the spot. One is Mohammed Snake who runs the Sennefer Coffee House and the other is Mohammed Ahmed Ismail who is a local guide. He shows people the way to remote locations like the tomb of MeketRe. Both need to be on the spot to earn their living. As they said to me ‘’Is the government going to bus tourists out to New Qurna?”

But then talking to Ibrahim Soliman who is the Director of Karnak and No 3 in the Supreme council of Antiquities he was describing the damage being done to a particular tomb because it was underneath one of the houses.

I can see both sides of the argument but like I said already I just feel there is a better solution that could serve both the local people and the monuments. I would be interested in any comments on this tricky subject.

Posted by Jane: - 2:49 pm - Edit| 10 Comments »
January 13th, 2006
Edfu - Water Damage
looks like our old friend water damage is having a go at Edfu as well. These photos were taken just over a week ago and you can clearly see the water rising up the wall and on the cartouche the sandstone is turning back to sand again.

This water damage is really concerning me and as I go round temples I see more and more examples and the resources to tackle it are so limited. All foundation blocks of the first pylon at the Ramaseum are all in a pitiful state. I sometimes wonder if my grandchildren will be able to see what I can see.

Sadly my camera has now died a death on me so no photos for a while. I am sending back via a friend to the UK to see if it can be repaired. Living in Luxor is not like Cairo and there are no repair places

Posted by Jane: - 2:27 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
January 9th, 2006
Karnak Survey
Please don’t forget to fill in our Karnak survey we have had a good response so far but we want more.
Posted by Jane: - 6:33 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
January 9th, 2006
New Year parties
Well it would seem that Westerners are not the only people to have drunken parties. This interesting article talks about parties Ancient Egyptian style. story /
Posted by Jane: - 6:33 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
January 9th, 2006
The Mut Temple online
Exciting news brought to me by Goggle the excavations at the Mut Temple are now being brought to us online
Posted by Jane: - 6:32 pm - Edit| No Comments »
January 9th, 2006
New Entrance to the Ramesseum
The new entrance way which leads one into the first open court has now opened. This is a huge improvement to the site as it takes visitors to the start of the temple instead of the middle. The restoration of the colours on the top of the capitals has now been completed and the scaffolding removed. The scaffolding in front of the persea wall should be removed soon as the team have nearly completed the photographic recording of the temple. One of the team from was there and explained to difficulties in taking photographic records of the temple and how these could be overcome with the aid of specialist computer programs. There is also an excellent website on the Ramesseum but frustratingly in French.
Posted by Jane: - 6:31 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
January 9th, 2006
Edwin Brock’s lecture on the Salvation of Karnak and Luxor temples Part 2.
In part 1 Edwin gave a technical description of the work being undertaken to drain the area around both Karnak and Luxor temples. At this lecture he described some of the many discoveries that the team have made whilst clearing the drainage ditch.
The team have found an unknown gateway belonging to Ptolemy XII, stele, sand stone blocks, limestone relics, Roman bronze coins, and late Roman pots.

The next lecture is due 14th January at 7pm

Posted by Jane: - 6:30 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
January 8th, 2006
Happy New Year
Just resurfacing after an extremely hectic Christmas and New Year. This is the busiest season for Luxor with the weather being particularly nice at the moment. Normally the days in winter are sunny warm with the nights being quite chilly but this year it has been balmy in the evenings. This attracts huge numbers of visitors and I was told by the Director of Karnak he had over 9,000 visitors in one day.
The Tour Egypt blogs hit the news themselves this week with this story Business Today Story

Posted by Jane: - 10:21 am - Edit| 1 Comment »
December 22nd, 2005
Survey on the Karnak Sound and Light
At last weeks lecture at the Mummification Museum Mr Mansour asked the audience what they they thought of the plan to put up a projector screen at Karnak . The audience felt that whilst the sound track and script badly needed updating and the lightening could be improved the site was so fantastic it need no flashy projectors and lazer shows to make a great sound and light. A projector screen would spoil the site. Now is your chance to also have a say. Tour Egypt have put up a survey at the request of SCA to get your views. please spare a moment to complete the form and make a difference Karnak Sound and Light Survey
This weeks lecture will be on Monday night and Edwin Brock will continue his talk on the removal of the water at Karnak and Luxor temples.

I am taking a bit of a break over Christmas and New Year and wish all my readers happy holidays and see you in the new year.

Posted by Jane: - 10:36 pm - Edit| 3 Comments »
December 18th, 2005
Lecture on removing the water at Karnak and Luxor Temples
Last nights lecture at the Mummification Museum was by Edwin Brock. He talked about the project to drain the temples of Karnak and Luxor. Because of the lack of data projector for the power point presentation he did this weeks lecture without visual aids except for some large scale maps. Next week they hope to be able to borrow one. (Hopefully they will have their own projector in a couple of weeks but if that doesn’t happen we have to do something to help them get one. )
Anyway back to the lecture, the project to drain these sites was started by Dr Hawass with the help of USAid and a Swedish company (Sveco Viac ?) at the beginning of 2005. It is surprising that the sites of Egypt are not all Unesco World Heritage sites and may be that will change one day. In the mean time these various bodies are vital to preserving Egypt’s sites. The principle problem is that the water table has risen considerable because of the increased agricultural activity and the problems with sewage and mains water. The sewage system in Luxor City has been replaced getting that out of the equation. But they still have issues because of the agricultural needs. For example sugar cane, a cash crop, needs a lot of water and this is supplied by flood irrigation. Interestingly the water table is not affected by the level of the Nile.

The work at Karnak is using the Chevrier ditch which was dug before WW II in order to help with the water problem. It was an open ditch relying on evaporation, this was not successful not least because the amount of debris that fell in it. They are using the ditch but laying porous pipes set at an incline that will allow the water run of to a pumping station and thence into the Nile.

This work has to be done in close co-operation with the SCA Supreme Council of Antiquities for several reason not least that the work itself is uncovering loads of finds as they go along. Also lowering the water table will allow further excavation of areas previous under water like the cachettes of statues at both Karnak and Luxor where the area was never fully excavated and other artifacts are believed to be at lower levels.

They also want to make sure that nothing is destabilised or spoiled by their work. For example lowering the water table will make the Sacred lake into a Sacred puddle so first they have to dreg and clear the lake so that it will still look the same .

The pumping station at Luxor uses an old tunnel and this believe it or not is lined with sandstone blocks some of which are inscribed. These are being record and noted. So the co-operation of the SCA is vital to their work.

Part 2 of this lecture will be next week when Edwin Brock will present the findings they have made so far. The exact date and time has to be confirmed because this will be Christmas Eve if they keep to schedule, so they might bring the time forward or change the date. As ever as soon as I know I will publish it.

Posted by Jane: - 3:33 pm - Edit| No Comments »
December 15th, 2005
Foundation Deposits of Hatshepsut found at Karnak
I spoke today to François Larché who head the Franco Egyptian team at Karnak. Rosemary, one of his team who is working in the area of the doorway and obelisk of Hatshepsut has found 2 new foundation deposit. Apparently they are having a very good season. These normally consit of miniture tools and when I asked about this I thought these were really tiny but he demonstrated a size of about a couple of feet.
I do find it amazing that despite the length of time that Karnak has been known to us and with all the visitors trundling in and out they are still finding new things.

Posted by Jane: - 5:34 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
December 14th, 2005
Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep II
There was furious activity at the temple of Amenhotep II the other day. This a mud brick temple situated next to the Ramasseum. According to the sign it is the Italian Archaeological Mission directed by Dr Angelo Sesana. If I find someone to talk to next time I will try and get more information about their plans. There appears to be a large number of workers there at the moment so I got the impression a substantial dig was in progress.

Posted by Jane: - 10:19 pm - Edit| 9 Comments »
December 11th, 2005
Lecture by Francisco Tiradritti
Mr Mansour a new appointee to Luxor is organising the lectures after the departure of Dr Holeil. He explained that part of the problem is that they have to borrow a projector in order to present PowerPoint slide shows. But they are working on that and hope they might be able to resolve it.
Francesco is currently working of the tomb of Harwa and has lectured on that in the past so tonight he was challenged to lecture about something else.

Ancient Egypt in the Eyes of Western Culture – Francisco Tiradritti 10th Dec

The lecture was excellent and very informative. Francesco showed us the influence of Ancient Egypt through out the ages and how it can be found in surprising places. Firstly he covered the pyramid and how the Roman’s themselves had brought it to Rome as a funeral monument. The Romans were the type of conqueror who quite easily absorbed new cultures and were in a way conquered by them.

Isis suckling the child Horus was an image that left Egypt and went to Rome, undergoing some transformation on the way. From Roman it reached all parts of the Roman Empire which meant North Africa, Near East, most of Europe including Britain and Ireland and funnily enough back to Egypt again. You actually get both pharaonic Isis and Roman Isis being worshipped in Egypt. He then went on to show the links between Isis and the Madonna and Child, evidence in Brazil in Jamanja and the links between the Apis Bull. There is also Anubis finding his way into the orthodox religion as Christopher. . The affect of the book the Golden Ass on books and paintings. How one writer thought hieroglyphics were a connection with Jesus. How free masonry had so much impact right up until the pyramid on the back of the dollar bill. In fact all the influences until we reached the scholarly age with the decipherment of the Rosette stone.

Next week is going to be Edmund Brock talking about Karnak and the drainage work going on there. So 17th Dec 7 pm at the Mummification Museum. Admittance is free and the lectures last about an hour.

Posted by Jane: - 11:03 am - Edit| 2 Comments »
December 10th, 2005
Lecture tonight at the Mummification Museum
I have just been informed that the lectures at the Mummiication Museum will start tonight at 7pm. Tonight’s lecturer will Francusco Tiradritti. I am really excited about this as the last two years have been really interesting.
Posted by Jane: - 12:09 pm - Edit| No Comments »
December 9th, 2005
New Museum on Tutankamun
During his lecture Hawass announced that Carter’s house on the Luxor West Bank would be converted into a museum to demonstrate how the great archaeologist lived while searching indefatigably for Tutankhamun’s tomb.

I have heard this rumour for years now and it will be a wonderful use for the Carter House.

Posted by Jane: - 7:55 am - Edit| 2 Comments »
December 8th, 2005
Esna and Dendera to be opened up to Luxor boat traffic
Rumour has it that any day now the authorities are going to change the rules and allow the felucca sailing boats and motor boats to go from Luxor to both Esna and Dendera. This is excellent news. As well as giving an alternative route to these locations it means you can view the sites there without limitation of time and away for convoy timings. This is going to be such a good day out along the Nile and of course if Esna is opened up then the feluccas can then go all the way to Aswan.
This rumour seems pretty wide spread and certain so watch this space and I will tell you the moment it has been confirmed.

Posted by Jane: - 1:10 pm - Edit| 3 Comments »
December 7th, 2005
Tomb of Harwa TT37 - Franciso Tiradritti
Today was the opening of TT33 – Petamenophis not for the general public to visit sadly but for the archaeologists to start re-excavating. I am hoping to get that up as a feature story on the main tour Egypt site and will give a link as soon as that is done.
One of the attendees was Franciso Tiradritti who is excavating the Tomb of Harwa TT37 at Asasif. This season they have been working on the portico and clearing the stairs. Another part of the team has been concentrating on the courtyard decoration. There is an excellent website with text in English, Arabic and Italian.

Posted by Jane: - 3:17 pm - Edit| No Comments »
December 6th, 2005
Caleche or Hantour (Horse carriages in Luxor)
One of the more atmospheric ways of travelling in Luxor is to use the horse drawn carriages. However this can be a bit challenging. For a start how do select one that is going to give you a good ride. Word of mouth is a good idea. Ask your hotel, tour guide etc for a recommendation. This is a double advantage as they will look after you better knowing you have power over their repeat business with that hotel or tour guide. These carriages all have numbers on them so you can be sure of getting the right one.
But what if you haven’t had time or you are in a different location. Well I always chose one where the horse looks good.This is really important and let the driver know that is why you are using him. Ask him if he takes his horse to ACE. Bargaining is down to you but a guide is to start of at 40% of what he quotes and go from there. But do remember the cheapest carriage whill consequently spend less on his horse.

Yesterday I used Khalid who is a friend of Captain Omar, carriage no 180 mobile 0123583060. He took me from Karnak to Luxor temple for a price of 15LE. When we got in the carriage he asked if we wanted to go via the sphinx road and when ever my guests started taking photos he stopped and waited until she finished. So I rounded it up to 20 because of this. I live here so get a lower price than a tourist would but at least it gives you a guide. If you use him tell him you got his details from Jane the wife of Mahmoud.

Posted by Jane: - 1:04 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
December 5th, 2005
Press Office of Dr Samir Farag
I spent sometime with the Governor of Luxor’s press officer today and I must say I so impressed with her enthusiasm and drive. I am going to tantalise you about their plans for the centre of Luxor, they are hoping to create something as good as Khan Khali in Cairo. But more on that later as she has promised me another press release.
The image of the women of Luxor as subservient little figures is black is certainly ripped to shreds by this dynamic young woman, Rania. She is a native of Luxor from a village near the bridge on the West Bank. A pretty girl dressed conservatively with hijab but don’t let that fool you. Her father is a doctor and she attended the El Salam school in Luxor (which is the same one my daughter attends). She went to university in Cairo and although she had outstanding grades which would have got her into the medical faculty she wanted to study journalism. Her father supported her in her decision to not study medicine. When she was in Cairo she encountered some prejudice against the country cousin from Luxor. Everyone seemed to think residents of Luxor lived in the mud huts and rode camels but she showed them what a Luxor girl is made of.

She has been at her job in Dr Samirs office since July and he has given her a free hand. She has requested an electronic office and he is making that happen for her. She says anything she wants he makes happen for her, By doing this he has given her independence and got the best out of her. She is really happy working for him. We were talking about some of things that would be good for Luxor and she laughed and said maybe she will get to speak to the Minister for Tourism and get them done. I said that maybe she would be president and tell him. It made everyone laugh but underneath there was an element of belief that she could be.

It was so interesting to see the modern Egyptian woman and talk to her about the opportunities open to her and the problems facing them juggling home and office. Although she is not married she knows when she does it is going to be tough for her but I reckon this girl has got more than what it takes to make that work. Most of the office staff were women, apparently there is only one man and lot seemed to be young graduates like her.

Posted by Jane: - 1:59 pm - Edit| No Comments »
December 4th, 2005
Roman Frescoes at Luxor Temple
I was taking some guests in Luxor temple yesterday after a gap of about 4 weeks and I had to do a really unprofessional “wow” and stop and stare. Last time I was there there was scaffolding and people working so I had no idea what the final result would be like. They have restored 3 places, about the size of A4, one is the mosaic pattern and the other two are faces. They are fantastic reminding one the the portrait masks on late period coffins. The work has been done by the Chicago House and the Antiquities department with the help of USAID. There is now a noticeboard explaining the frescoes and some line drawings of paintings done by Gardener Wilkinson show the state of them when he visited. The frescoes are in the area of the temple before the Holy of Hollies and after the Amenhotep sun court.
Also when we went in to the birth room they are redoing the floors there. Outside there was another notice explaining the ongoing work in front of the benches of stones waiting for restoration.

Chicago House have been working on the restoration of the Opet festival wall in the temple there for a long time and there are informative notices about that too. That is often missed by the tour groups but it is worth looking along both sides and seeing all the activity of the festival. The girl acrobats are especially lovely.

Posted by Jane: - 12:46 pm - Edit| No Comments »
December 2nd, 2005
Deir el Medina -workman’s village
The Antiquities department have put up some excellent noticeboards at the site explaining aspects of the village. i also spoke to a restorer there today and was informed there is going to be a big program of restoration at the village, they will be increasing the height of the walls but not roofing the houses.
BTW anyone buying books in Luxor should do so at the book stall there, the prices are the best in Egypt. A guest of mine today bought a book on birds that had been priced at 155 LE at a hotel in Aswan and was 45LE at the book stall. I get all my Egyptology books there and they are constantly tempting me whenever they get new stock.

Posted by Jane: - 3:40 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
November 30th, 2005
ACE needs your help
Animal Care in Egypt (ACE) had been wondering why numbers had been increasing at their clinics. They normally put down 10 animals a months and this month it was 30. This is very expensive for them as they have to buy the animal first.
There were rumours about the Brook Hospital closing its clinic but nobody in Luxor was able to confirm these. However ACE in the UK contacted Mike Baker of Brook in the UK to get the facts. It is true, Brook is closing their clinic in Luxor and so that explained why ACE is picking up all the extra work.

This has come about from the redevelopment of Luxor centre. Brook has had a clinic there for years at a peppercorn corn rent and knew that this facility would be withdrawn. They had proposed plans for a new clinic however the land they have been offered by the government is some 17 km out of town and they felt it would not be used and did not feel able to buy land themselves. Instead they are increase the number of their mobile clinics from 2 to 4. However what this meant is that ACE had had to pick up their work and ACE has a much smaller budget that Brook and is struggling big time to cope with this new influx of sick animals. It is to be hoped that Brook will acknowledge this and provide ACE with some funds but in the meantime ACE has to manage as best they can. Obviously donations are welcome and details of this can be found on their website ACE

Posted by Jane: - 2:46 pm - Edit| No Comments »
November 29th, 2005
More Makeovers in Luxor/Temple of Tawoset
The decision was taken today by Dr Samir Farag’s office to cancel the cleaning contract with the current cleaners in Luxor and get a new firm. Apparently the governor is determined to smarten up Luxor. Today the main road on the West Bank from the ferry to the Valley of Kings is being tarmac. The petrol station has been told to clean itself up.
I have also noticed that the temple of Tawoset is being excavated but haven’t actually seen anyone at work when ever I have gone by so haven’t any more details. edited thanks to Sennefer who provided this link about the work at the temple

on a completely separate note grapefruits are in the shops and you have no idea how sweet and delicious they are.

Posted by Jane: - 6:30 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
November 26th, 2005
Pottery of Garagos
Garagos is a small village 25 km north of Luxor. Contary to other villages in Upper Egypt that live from agriculture, Garagos lives from the pottery.
On the initiative of two French monks, the famous architect Hassan Fathi designed the pottery that was built in 1955. The nephew of one of the monks and owner of a pottery in France, Robert de Mongolfier, came to Garagos to teach the young men the new craft and to support them until they were able to function without help.

Most of the products are sold at annual exhibitions in Cairo and Alexandria. A lot of tourists used to come to Garagos to admire the work and buy the products. But after recent events, the increased security measures don’t allow this any more.

The products are produced with the same red silt that the Pharaohs used 5000 years ago for their pottery.

The work from Garagos is characterised by the brown, blue and grey glazing with slight yellow and green tones. The designs are fish, birds and the Coptic cross.

Reproduced from a leaflet at the Fair Trade Centre

Posted by Jane: - 7:03 pm - Edit| No Comments »
November 24th, 2005
Luxor the Biggest Open Air Museum in the world
From the press Office of Dr Samir Farag, Governor of Luxor
Luxor recently held a big conference to discuss the future plans for the area. The conference was attended by all the leaders in the public and security sector.

Dr Samir Farag declared at the conference he wanted everyone to understand the big picture of the master plan for the future of Luxor. There will be a number of projects that have the intention of putting Luxor in a new position on the tourism map. There are more than 25 of these projects and they cover tourism, social development, cultural works and economic development. The planning process for these projects has been finished and the money has been allocated. Some 275 billion pounds is available for 20 projects from the master plan.

Examples of these projects are:

• Relocation of the people of Qurna who currently live amongst the paranoiac Nobles tombs on the West Bank of Luxor to the new city of Tarif
• Development of Luxor railway station
• Development of the Karnak temple square
• Building new anchorages and landing places along the Nile
• Building of 4 new schools in various places in the city of Luxor

The most important project in the master plan is the opening of the El Kebas road that connects Luxor Temple to Karnak Temple. This will make Luxor the biggest open air museum in the world. The money for this project, some 240 billion pounds is coming from the Ministry of International Co-operation

Lastly there is a transport training program that will enable the youth of Luxor to find new job opportunities in the work market.

Posted by Jane: - 9:06 pm - Edit| 5 Comments »
November 22nd, 2005
Nobles Tombs at Qurna (also known as Gurna)
Well I have finally done it but it nearly killed me. As readers will know I am not the most active/fit person so my decision to see every nobles tomb at Qurna was a slightly challenging one. It was a full mornings excursion and both me and my guest were shattered afterwards. Seeing anything at Qurna is slightly challenging because of the hassle so i hired a local resident to escort us and he kept everyone at bay. I have used him several times for this purpose and it is worth paying someone.
The tickets come in 4 groups and he took us to highest first. This was the tombs of Sennofer and Rekmire. Although I need oxygen by the time we got there they were well worth it. Next we went to Mena and Nakht, these are some of the most popular. To get there we walked through the village and it was challenging seeing the lives of the women who have no piped water. Then it was all down hill to Khonsu, Userhet and Benia and then lastly Ramose, Userhet and Khaemhet.

I was trying to think which group I would recommend and that is a problem because they all had merit. I guess if you were only going to one it would have to be Ramose. After that I think I would go for Sennofer and Rekmire.

After we finished we visited the small display museum showing the Qurna heritage and their current status Qurna Discovery. I do think the lives of the people of Qurna is just as interesting as the ancient tombs.

Posted by Jane: - 9:16 pm - Edit| 3 Comments »
November 16th, 2005
Fair Trade Centre
For those shoppers that want to support local communities and get a product that is more reflective of local crafts the Fair Trade Centre is the place to go. It is situated at the back of the Emilo Hotel in the centre of Luxor and has a wide range of crafts and local products.
The ethos of the Fair Trade Centre is ‘to assist craft makers to find markets for their goods and make a decent living. For any item you buy 50% of the price before taxes goes to the producer’

Posted by Jane: - 12:16 pm - Edit| No Comments »
November 12th, 2005
New Desert Road Luxor to Hurghada
From the Press Office of Dr Samir Farag, Governor of Luxor.
Dr Samir Farag wishes to announce the imminent completion of the new Luxor/ Hurghada dessert road contract.

The contribution of this new road to the field of tourism is immense. Tourists will be able to travel directly from Hurghada to Luxor saving them time and reducing the distance. This will especially benefit them when they come from Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada to use the cruises.

This new road will improve transport links between Hurghada and Luxor for non tourist transport as well. As Hurghada depends on Luxor for many products that under go the treatment exchange process, a faster and more efficient road system will improve this process.

The road will start from the new city of Tiba going to the El-kosier road. It will intersect with the Qena to Safaga road 10 kilometres from Qena. This will give new job and other opportunities to the inhabitants of Tiba.

Dr Farag considers that this project to be one of the most important accomplishments in Upper Egypt at the current time.

Posted by Jane: - 10:17 am - Edit| No Comments »
November 11th, 2005
Colossus of Menom
Fascinating article in Al Haram about the work at the Temple of Amenhotep III
Posted by Jane: - 9:08 am - Edit| No Comments »
November 10th, 2005
Mosque of Abu al-Haggag
One of the amazing things about Luxor temple is that there is a mosque built right in the middle of it. It has to be one of the oldest sites of continuous worship in the world as there was also a church at one period in its history. The mosque is several feet above ground level which shows how high the ground level had risen during the centuries. When the temple was cleared the mosque was left in situ although there was controversy about this.
During a recent visit to the temple I decided to visit the mosque although not without concern as I didn’t want to offend. I couldn’t have been made more welcome. A gentleman with a tiny bit of English escorted myself and my guests around. He was so friendly and helpful, he showed us where to leave our shoes. fortunately we were all wearing suitable clothing for visiting a mosque.

It was so interesting to see the temple capitals incorporated into the mosque walls. There was one place where the hieroglyphics show quite clearly but the amazing thing was when he opened the door into the temple. As visitors will know this door hangs about 20 foot above the ground. To see the tourists below looking up in astonishment as the door opened and we looked down in equal astonishment at the amazing view. The views of the roof of the temple were unique.

We were shown all round the mosque, Abu al-Haggag has his tomb there as do two of sons. We were shown where the call to prayer is made, from a microphone inside the mosque with a speaker in the minaret. There was also an instruction poster of how to wash and make the prayer in French, Arabic and English which was very educational.

I truly enjoyed the visit and would recommend it to anyone, like I said we were made most welcome and felt very honoured by our hosts desire for us to enjoy the visit.

Posted by Jane: - 4:42 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
November 6th, 2005
Ramaseum Update
I was lucky enough to talk to Christian Le Blanc at the Ramaseum today and get an update from him.
Currently the tourist entrance to the Ramaseum brings you into the middle of the second court. Because of this many tourists get a totally wrong idea about the layout of the temple. The team there are going to move the side entrance so that it comes into the first court.

The water damage to the temple is mainly in the area of the first court because of the underground rock.

He would like to purchase the agricultural land in front of the temple and make it like Medinet Habu with a paved area in front of the first pylon. This is a very long term plan.

The gateway of the first pylon was bricked up in 1991, this was very lucky for the team as there was an earthquake in 1992. The first pylon is quite unstable and ruined and he would very much like to take it apart and reassemble. However this would take much work and resources. If it goes ahead to would need a separate team to work on it. Because of the nature of the gateway this could be rebuilt without affecting the pylons as it is a separate structure.

The excavations in the area around the temple has revealed a school near to the bakeries and kitchens. This is the first time a school and it’s documents have been found together and has greatly increased our knowledge about schools.

They are excavating an area near the temple palace in the hopes of find a scared well similar to the one at Merenptah.

The next door mortuary temple of Amenophis II is to be excavated by the Italians in Dec.

Posted by Jane: - 10:15 pm - Edit| No Comments »
November 2nd, 2005
Charity Event 8th November
The small Pyramid Organisation is having an event at the Mummification Museum on Tuesday 8th November. This organisation is a German/Egyptian charity which aims to help sick and poor children in the Luxor area. It was registered in Germany in 1998 and has subsequently being registered in Egypt, it is supported by UNESCO. Their website is German Version and English Version
I was given this information verbally so apologies for incorrect spelling and any misunderstanding I might have made. (The letter was in Arabic).

The event is being opened by The Director of the Mummification Museum Mohammed Yaya and the Mayor of Luxor Samir Farid. There will be lectures by Dr Abel Rani paediatrician, Dr Hassan El Azeb Orthopaedic specialist and Dr Alaa el Masri artificial limb specialist.

It is being held at the Mummification Museum at 8pm.

This worthwhile charity welcomes sponsorship and donations and can be contacted by email

Posted by Jane: - 12:53 pm - Edit| No Comments »
November 2nd, 2005
Red Wine in Egypt
The big news story at the moment is that Tutankhamun drank red wine here is the BBC version. The ancient Egyptians were certainly fond of wine as can be seen by the tomb paintings. There are many descriptions of the process and loads of the final result.
Today wine is Egypt is popular with tourists. When I first came here in 1979 the local wine was awful but that has all changed. There are several really decent wines now, Obelisk do a good dry white, rose and a full bodied red. Omar Khayan is another good red. So don’t be afraid to try a glass you will be pleasantly surprised.

The local beer, brewed since 1897 is also a great drink. A nice light lager, nothing is more refreshing on a hot day. Very different from the ancient Egyptian beer which was more like a porridge and had to be drunk through a straw.

Posted by Jane: - 10:47 am - Edit| No Comments »
October 27th, 2005
Train Travel
The train is an important method of getting around Egypt but I do think it is important to set peoples expectations correctly. There is a great site that talks about train travel and how you can book online and it uses words like first class, deluxe, Wagonlit sleeper, luxury etc etc but just remember these are Egyptian versions of these words. The toilets can be a bit iffy especially after 10 hours Cairo to Luxor, the trains are often late. I meet them and can wait an hour or two for my guests to arrive. Although you are traveling along the route of the Nile most of the views you get are of the villages and again after 10 hours these can bet a bit repetitious. Also on the sleeper trains you travel in the dark so you can see nothing.
On the plus side you often meet some great people and share the experience. The sleeper train does serve wine and beer and of course it is cheaper than flying.

Posted by Jane: - 3:35 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
October 20th, 2005
Main Ticket Office
For a few years now the way you get tickets has changed. The three most popular sites Valley of Kings, Valley of Queens and Hatshepsut have their own ticket offices but all the rest of the sites use the main ticket office. This is situated just past the Colossus of Memnon on the left at a cross roads. The main window is for adults, if you want children or student tickets you need to go to the other window. Older children need an International Student card to get reduced tickets. Sometimes they tell you children over 12 sometimes children over 14 so if your child is on the cusp be prepared to argue it out if you haven’t got the card.

Posted by Jane: - 7:07 pm - Edit| No Comments »
October 18th, 2005
Museum at the temple of Merenptah
A bit of a plug for the small museum at the temple of Merenptah. considering this site is only 10LE entrance fee it is a great place.
Firstly the Swiss have done a great job doing the restoration. The layout is quite clearly laid out and the reconstruction of the reliefs is cleverly done using engraved plaques showing the original form and the position of the block within that.

Secondly there is loads of reliefs and statues from the temple of Amenhotep III, two underground storage rooms, one huge shed and of course the museum. Although the site opens at 6 am the museum doesn’t open until 9am so don’t get caught out by that. Well worth a visit and really informative.

Posted by Jane: - 9:10 pm - Edit| 4 Comments »
October 17th, 2005
Alan Fildes

I am having a great week for speaking to various archaeologists and finding out new information. Today I had a visit from Alan Fildes and his wife Christine. Actually I am very chuffed because I gave him an idea. We were talking about the graffiti in the various tombs and temples and he mentioned the one of Champollion in Karnak temple which is spelt wrong. We were speculating on why it would have a man wouldn’t know how to spell his own name and I suggested that nobody did these them selves but paid a local Egyptian to do it for them. And a bit like getting a hieroglyphic necklace done they made the occasionally spelling mistake. Well that was a new idea for Alan and he was really taken with it so if you ever see it in one of his books you know where he got it from and you heard it here first.
Posted by Jane: - 6:32 pm - Edit| No Comments »
October 14th, 2005
Going round Karnak the other day I was lucky enough to speak to one of the senior members of the Franco Egyptian team. Well I have to be honest the guests I was taking round did most of the talking because they were an English husband and French wife with two French speaking children. So they were talking away in French to him. Apparently he is of the opinion that the technical problems involved in removing this statue are surmountable and it is just a case of getting permission from the Egyptian authorities. I must admit I was really excited by this as this is a unique piece of Middle Kingdom statuary and it would be wonderful to see it on display. He also told me guests that they were going to reconstruct on of the shrines in the centre of Karnak just to the right of the central shrine.
This set of guests were particularly surprised by the extent of excavation going on in Luxor. Their son has talked about becoming an archaeologist and they thought there was nothing left to do in Egypt. It opened their eyes going round to see the number of digs going on and also how lucky we were with people willing to spare us time an talk about the work going on. Their son has going away even more fired up about his plans and i have to admit on a personal level it is so rewarding seeing the younger generation interested in my pet subject.

This boy is only 11 but really takes things in and asks some sensible questions, he has also already read a lot and studied it at school. It just shows that young kids can really have a great time in Egypt.

Posted by Jane: - 8:50 pm - Edit| No Comments »
October 12th, 2005
Dr Daniel Poltz
Saw Daniel Poltz on site at his dig today and asked if he would be doing another lecture this winter. He told me that it was unlikely because the Mummification Museum did not have a beamer which was needed to project Powerpoint slideshows. Apparently last year they borrowed one from the Chicago House Institute and the reason he didn’t give his lecture was because they couldn’t get one for him. This is a completely different story from what I was told that he hadn’t given the lecture because his computer crashed.
He also said that they suggested he hire one to give the lecture, well I have to agree that was a bit checky. Get someone to do a free lecture and expect them to pay for the hiring of the equipment.

I told him that I really hoped he would reconsider because I had enjoyd the lecture so much. I hope the Dr Holeil Ghaly, the Director here in Luxor will consider getting one of these beamers so we can enjoy a lecture from Dr Poltz again.

Posted by Jane: - 6:14 pm - Edit| 3 Comments »
October 10th, 2005
Travel Luxor to Hurghada
I have been askd a lot about travel between these two destinations so here is my personal view.
There are currently only two methods of getting to Hurghada from Luxor flying or road. The road method has two options as well.

Leaving Hurghada you can hire a private vehicle which will join the tourist convoy at Safaga. This is about ¾ hour out of Hurghada so you need to allow that time in your calculations. The convoys leave Safaga at 7, 9 and 18 and take about 3 1/2 hours. The Luxor convoy leaves at 8, 14 and 18. The driver will have to apply for a license to take you (for some strange reason currently he doesn’t have to do this from Luxor to Hurghada only from Hurghada to Luxor) and that does cost money. The price you pay depends on your negotiating skill but remember if you have got a really cheap deal this means the driver can not afford to pay for maintenance of his vehicle out of that price. These convoys go hell for leather and you want to be in a vehicle with good brakes.

The other option is to use the bus, this is a very reasonable price and runs at various times during the day however these buses do take a long time and can be subject to huge delays so don’t use them if your arrival is time critical for a flight connection or similar. I have waited 4 hours for someone to arrive so I don’t recommend them.

Personally I would not recommend a day trip in either direction, the convoys start so late and take so long, so you arrive at the hottest time of day and get very little time at your destination before you have to leave. Far better to get an early evening convoy and spend the night in a cheap hotel so you actually get a full day.

Posted by Jane: - 6:51 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
October 10th, 2005
Winter is comming
The weather in Luxor is getting so much cooler and the evenings are now quite balmy. On Saturday night I went to El Nakhil and it was so pleasant sitting there enjoying the breeze. During Ramadan everyone becomes a night bird if they can I left quite early but my friends stayed there until 3 in the morning. This is the time the man goes through the streets waking everyone up to eat before the fast starts. He has a medium size tambourine type drum, at the end of Ramadan people club together and pay him for this service. One of the advantages of Ramadan is all the special foods that appear in the shops, a bit like Christmas for the West. I got a kilo of dried apricots which I love and there are all sorts of nuts and other dried fruit. Fruit juices are very popular and at the moment we have guava and mango. Last year there was lots of pomegranate and there is this sort of coconut tasting one as well.
Posted by Jane: - 11:16 am - Edit| No Comments »
October 5th, 2005
Possible the best cake shop in Egypt, just by Luxor railway station. We went there today to get goodies for Ramadan. The range of gateaux, cakes, Egyptian sweets and chocolates is wonderful but definitely not slimming.
Posted by Jane: - 6:54 pm - Edit| No Comments »
October 4th, 2005
today is the first day of Ramadan and it is quite an experience living here with that going on. To see most of the country united in fasting is an awe inspiring thought.
I know quite a lot of tourists wonder how Ramadan affects them. Tourism does continue pretty much as usual but some sites do close early or may close for breakfast. It is wise not to be on the roads as the sun goes down as everyone is driving hell for leather to get home to break their fast. Tempers can be shorter not really due to the lack of food or drink but cigarettes!!! If you get invited to share the iftar (breaking the fast at sunset) meal you will find a huge variety of food and drink served, all the best stuff. Lots of houses will be decorated and in the evening it is party time.

So advantages and disadvantages but certainly interesting.

Posted by Jane: - 3:51 pm - Edit| No Comments »
October 3rd, 2005
Train to Hurghada ?
Apparently it was announced in May there are plans afoot to provide a train service between Luxor and Hurghada. Now that will be a terrific boost to the area as currently there is only a rather unreliable bus system or an expensive private hire option using the tourist convoy.
Posted by Jane: - 11:46 pm - Edit| 5 Comments »
October 2nd, 2005
Nile Valley Hotel Resturant
I went to Nile Valley last night for a meal and was pleasantly surprised, I hadn’t been for ages and they have really improved. My friend and I both had mushroom pizzas and salad for under $10 including drinks. They serve beer and wine there.
Also there was a great Whirling Dervish dancer which was rather good. After the Whirling Dervish left they got some of the ladies to join in the dancing.

Nile Valley is on the West Bank main road close to the motor boats and the restaurant is on the roof.

Posted by Jane: - 11:26 am - Edit| 2 Comments »
September 30th, 2005
Clocks Go Back
Apparently last night the clocks went back one hour although my computer still shows the same time. I find it so strange living here that you can completely miss the this event. I only knew because reading a forum on Egypt someone mentioned it. I think that sums up the way of life here.
Posted by Jane: - 4:45 pm - Edit| No Comments »
September 27th, 2005
One of the more interesting souvenirs you can get in Egypt is fakes.
We all know the reproductions that museums produce and here is a photo of my little collection of reproductions from the Cairo and British Museum. But you can get more interesting items here in Luxor which look just like the real thing.

Luxor has been home to many families who have dealt in antiquities for decades. The Abdel Rassoul is probably the most famous, they had access to a cache of royal mummies and were selling pieces of bit by bit. Then one member of the family told the Antiquities Department about it and the cache was rescued and bought to Cairo. Many of the royal mummies in the Cairo museum are from that cache. Families like these then had to turn to more legitimate means of making money. They hadn’t got the originals but could the make them. So for a long time dodgy strangers would approach tourists with examples of ‘genuine’ objects for sale. Nowadays it is illegal to take antiquities out of Egypt so the fakers have had that trade died out so now they sell them as what they are fakes and very good ones at that.

I have seen all sorts of ones and they are extremely good. You would be hard put to decide that they weren’t the genuine object. Below is a photo of my fakes. The slate palette I particularly love as I like the pre dynastic period so much. These palettes were used by ladies to grind their eye makeup on and mix with oil to make eyeliner. I was so pleased when I saw the same palette in the Nubian museum at Aswan. Mine looked just like it but slightly smaller.

The two scarabs are pretty standard fare and you can get these for very little money, much less than I paid for my palette.

The eye of Horus is quite good and was given to me as a present. I think it looks really realistic.

The other two little statues or amulets are a bit more interesting as they have been in my family since 1946. My Dad was stationed in Egypt when he was in the army and he bought these then. I am sure all the locals saw the British army lads as ripe for the picking when they were selling these things.

Of course you have to be careful buying stuff like this and make sure you pay a sensible price but a good fake can give you a lot of pleasurable viewing, mine have certainly done that for me.

Posted by Jane: - 5:03 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
September 26th, 2005
Luxor Village Houses
My neighbour has started putting the roof on his house, he started building when we did butfor various reasons has stopped and then carried on. House building here is so different. A house hardly ever gets finished, one reason is that you want to leave your options open to add another floor, especially if one of the sons of the family gets married. But the other reason is money, you build when you have it, stop when you haven’t. Because of the climate here this is quite possible.

So you start with a bit of land, all you can afford is a simple mud brick room, water is pumped from a well and there is no electricity. The animals are enclosed with the wall and there is a simple shelter for them. There is a brick oven for cooking bread etc.

After a while you can build another level and get electricity in, these kind of house were built in Pharonic times and are perfect for the climate. The photo below is just like the sould houses you see in the Cairo Museum

Perphaps you have a bit of money so you build a concrete and brick structure. Only one level but you leave the reinforcing rods because maybe on day you can aford another level. In this photo you can see houses at all stages of developement. Some just with one level, another with the concrete for the second level but that is all. Another with several levels and yet another with walls but no roof.

You built your first level and now you can afford a second level. The concrete is put up by making wooden moulds of planks of wood and pouring the concrete into them. The spaces are then filled with bricks when you can afford those. But the structure can stay roofless for years.

Last thing of all you put a floor or roof on top. This is what is happening next to me. In fact all these pictures were taken of houses around mine. They will mix the concrete and bring it up to the top in rubber baskets. It is very labour intensive. Even at the moment there are 4/5 men working just making the wooden boxes or mould that will hold the concrete.

Posted by Jane: - 3:28 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
September 25th, 2005
Lectures at the Mummification Museum
I am eagerly awaiting the restart of the winter series of lectures. The last two years have been excellent. What has been organised is various digs have given a lecture on the latest discoveries that they have made in the Theban area. All have been interesting although the quality of the lecturer can vary. My personal favourite was Daniel Poltz who did a fantastic lecture the year before last telling us about the pyramids at Abu Dra Naga of the 17th Dynasty. I was so looking forward to his lecture last year but it was cancelled as he lost the entire contents of his hard drive. I am really hoping he will do one this year and we can get an update. I do wish I could understand French as some are in French and that is such a disappointment to me.
It is really hard to get information about the start date so if anyone hears please let me know. Rumour is that is will start after Ramadan (early Nov) but this is Egypt and anything can happen.

Posted by Jane: - 8:38 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
September 23rd, 2005
Farming Threatens Ancient Egypt

Egyptian reliefs dating back thousands of years could disappear within a decade, archaeologists said on Thursday. As Egypt’s population grows, agricultural land moves closer to ancient temples and funeral monuments. Water for irrigation is weakening temple foundations and eroding the carvings.

“We’ve seen it. We have photographic evidence of something we took a picture of 10 years ago and we go and take a picture of the reliefs now and they are simply not there,” said Nigel Hetherington, an archaeological conservation manager.

“What’s happened is that farming land now stretches out into the desert and into (the Nile’s west bank at) Luxor, which was once considered the realm of the dead in the pharaonic period,” he said.

The problem could also erode Egypt’s tourism industry. Millions of tourists a year visit the mortuary temple of Ramesses II and the massive temple complex of Karnak. Both are under threat.

Water not only undermines the foundations but also wipes the details off carvings. The limestone temples absorb ground water and the salts in the water crystallize on the surface, removing reliefs and drawings until the rock eventually cracks.

The government has tried to persuade farmers to use drip irrigation, a method that uses relatively little water. But farmers prefer the traditional method of flooding farmland with Nile water.

Laws are generally considered too weak to stop the land grab, but that is something officials think they can change.

Zahi Hawass, head of Egypt’s Supreme Council for Antiquities, thinks stricter legislation will protect land around the ancient sites from farmers trying to take it without permission.

“Antiquities laws do not punish anyone who takes land, this is why I’m changing the law now … so that taking antiquities land is a crime. That is the only way to stop those people from taking more land for agriculture,” he said.

He said he expected new laws to be presented to parliament in January.

Posted by Jane: - 4:30 pm - Edit| No Comments »
September 21st, 2005
Khokha Tombs
This group of Nobles tombs is seldom visited and is down from the main Gurna nobles tombs which means you don’t get hassled by all the children and you can see 3 tombs by yourself. The tombs are of Dhutmosis, Neferonpet and Nefersekeru. They have nice judgement scenes, ka statues and of particular interest is the portrayal of the Amun treasury. Get the guardians to show the mummy still in situ and the burial shaft under the floor. I have often been invited for tea when I have gone there and they are very friendly. There are no signs to these tombs so you need to find a taxi driver that knows where he is going but most of them do.
Posted by Jane: - 4:40 pm - Edit| No Comments »
September 19th, 2005
Children’s Donkey Rides
I had some guests who had booked a donkey ride, primarily for their children. My intention was that the whole family went out together but they had explained it to the kids differently. As these kids were 3 and 5 they were not happy bunnies and said they didn’t want to do it. I had explained to the grownups it wasn’t so much the ride it was the vision of their parents suffering that was the attraction. So the whole family went, the kids adored it, donkeys are so low down and very sweet looking that kids fall for them straight away. Even Dad admitted he actually quite enjoyed it
So don’t think a donkey ride is just a a jaunt round the village, it is ritual humiliation of the meanest kind for mum and dad.

Posted by Jane: - 10:18 pm - Edit| No Comments »
September 18th, 2005
Moulid of Abu Hagg
This weekend is the Moulid of Luxor’s saint, well that is the nearest thing I can think of to call him. This much venerated man has a big celebration every year, this year it is quite early because of Ramadam. It is a big excuse to have a wonderful party time for a few days. People dress up and come and watch the procession. The various trades all have a float and this can be a lorry, a sailing boat or felucca, anything really. Lots of the men on the floats dress up as women, which is really funny and even the camels get decorated. There are horse races and families come from miles around to enjoy the fun.

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September 16th, 2005
I have been playing about and finally got some pictures to work so I have gone back over some of the posts adding in some pictures.
So check Casablanca for a photo of the food, Botanical Romm for a photo inside there, Shu Roy tomb, close ups of the Luxor pyramids and of course the dreaded Molokhiyya

Here is a lovely one of sunrise and the hotair balloons taken at Deir El Medina, the workmans village.

Posted by Jane: - 6:58 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
September 15th, 2005
Isis Pyramisa
Useful tip.
I have some guests who are doing tours only with me and have booked into the Isis Pyramisa in Luxor. Tomorrow they are going to Aswan and Abu Simble with me. In order to visit Abu Simbel they have to stay overnight in Aswan, talking about this with the hotel and they have been given a free night in their sister hotel in Aswan. So if you are staying at this hotel and decide to stay in Aswan for a night or two ask about this.

My guests are quite savvy and managed to get themselves a free upgrade into a suite because they smiled sweetly and had young children. Worth a try if the hotel is empty.

Another thing, if you are starting your tours early ask about a breakfast box, most hotels do these. You tell them the night before and next morning they have a nice selection for you. Typically boiled egg, processed cheese, rolls, pastries, drinks, fruit.

Posted by Jane: - 10:45 pm - Edit| No Comments »
September 14th, 2005
No Opera in Luxor
Although the recent show scheduled for March was cancelled I was hoping that something would materialise eventually but this article doesn’t hold out hope.
Egypt Today

It was intended as the ultimate theatrical event. Taking place under a star-filled night sky, amidst the great temples of Luxor and the Pyramids in Cairo, Verdi’s Egyptian-inspired opera classic Aida should have been on its way to becoming an annual affair, a grand union of first-rate production values, performance and atmosphere.

Instead, organizers canceled the shows as accusations of broken contracts, empty promises and longstanding feuds swirled. Although the state is considering a proposal to mount a fall show at the Pyramids, doubts remain.

In May 2004, the Cairo Opera House and the Ministry of Culture inked a deal with German theater company Loreley Klassik to bring a brand-new production of Aida to Luxor this March and to the Pyramids in September. The theater company was expected to pay 430,000 to the Opera House in exchange for services including orchestra, choir, security services, technicians and engineers.

“A payment schedule was arranged which was to begin 10 days after the signing of the contract. They were expected to pay 10 percent of the total fee as well as a monthly installment of a minimum 100,000,” says Dr. Abdel Moneim Kamel, director of the Cairo Opera House. “But they did not pay any money for these services. We waited until November 15th to take action and then I decided it was too dangerous to continue,” he says.

“The concept for the production was Loreley Klassik’s,” says Elhamy El-Zayat, president of the Egyptian Tourism Federation and organizer of the current bid to bring the Opera back to the Pyramids in September. “We have nothing against those people but this was beyond their scope.”

El-Zayat was asked to become a guarantor for the Loreley Klassik when it was unable to secure a bank guarantee. “When the government investigated, [the theater company] was serious about the project, but then it became clear that they couldn’t mount a super production,” he says.

By January, the show was cancelled. Kamel remains visibly upset by the events that led to its failure.

“They wanted to use less of the Opera’s House’s services and bring the rest of the elements from outside to minimize the money they had to pay in advance,” Kamel claims. “I had to stick with the terms of the contract. If something went wrong, we would lose. These people had no money in hand and wanted to pay us when they had it. I count’t take a chance with the name of Egypt and the name of the Opera Company,” Kamel alleges, claiming Loreley Klassik is now contractually obliged to pay 1 million for failing to produce the opera.

Although rumors as to Loreley Klassik’s financial health were making the rounds of the Cairo gossip mill last month, the company released a statement to international media saying the cancellation was “unilateral” on the Opera House’s part. A company official later suggested the cancellation was related to tensions between Kamel and Samir Farag, the former Opera director who is now governor of Luxor. The company promised all those who have purchased tickets will get a full refund.

Loreley Klassik did not return repeated calls requesting an interview.

And what of the persistent rumors of the ongoing ‘tensions’ between Farag and Kamel? “I worked with him for four years. I wasn’t his best friend, but I was his best worker. He didn’t leave the Opera House because of a problem he was promoted,” Kamel says.

The event itself generated strong interest with travel and tourism companies that reportedly booked half of the 35,000 tickets available for the Luxor show. The cancellation of the Loreley Klassik version of the opera is not expected to have a major impact on the tourism industry, though.

“In some ways, the cancellation of Aida will have a negative impact, but I don’t think it will affect Egypt’s reputation, nor will it have a very serious financial effect,” says Mahmoud El-Kaissouni of the Egyptian Union of Touristic Chambers.

An Egyptian-produced version of the opera at the Pyramids is still being worked out, and El-Zayat remains confident that the show will go on. He and Kamel agree that production should become an annual event, a concept that has failed to materialize in the past. “We are looking to bring in a first-class cast and directors, but the secret to an event’s success is that it has to be respected. It has to have the same date every year, like a calendar,” he says.

Posted by Jane: - 11:21 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
September 13th, 2005
Luxor Schools
After 2 years of home schooling with a tutor my daughter has been finally enrolled in school here in Luxor. Actually we didn’t want to home school last year and tried to enroll her but we hadn’t the right paperwork and it has literally taken us this long to sort it out. If you ever come here bear this in mind. I had to get her last school report stamped by the British Embassy the actual process meant I had to use a lawyer back in England and they let me down badly. So get this paperwork sorted before you leave the country.
Anyway having finally got the magic stamps we then set about enrolling. Not so easy we had to get a letter from the education department in Luxor, they wanted all the paper work translated into Arabic. My husband was running round for days sorting this stuff out. But finally we got her papers done. So today we went to the school and talked about studies.

Luxor doesn’t have an International School or American School so we looked at private language schools. The one that seemed to get the best reputation was El Salam Language School. They do half the studies in Arabic and half in English. So science, computing and maths is taught in English and religion, social studies (history, geography, etc) are taught in Arabic. They also get taught English, French and Arabic. He also mentioned music, drama and sports. Phew

We had a look round the school and the seating arrangement are every old fashioned with pupils sitting in rows looking at a blackboard. But I have no problems with that after all it is how I learnt lol There were specialist classrooms for science, computer, home economics etc. A lot of the teaching staff are Christian and the school caters for both Muslim and Christian pupils.

This evening we went to the school uniform shop and bought her long (to the ankles) grey skirt, grey blouse and tie. This is so different from the UK where ties have long gone from most schools although I wore one when I was a kid.

Posted by Jane: - 10:25 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
September 10th, 2005
Visiting the Valley of Kings
If you are going to the Valley of the Kings independently or with a private guide it is worth planning a bit before you go. The ticket you buy entitles you to 3 tombs and you want to try and see 3 different tombs rather than three similar ones. I over heard one person saw today once you have seen one tomb you have seen them all but this is not true if you pick them properly.
As you go into the Valley of Kings there is a separate ticket office where you buy tickets for the tomb of Tutankamun. Then a security gate and then the place where you leave video cameras. Then there a small covered area like a bus shelter. Inside of that there is a board with every tomb that it is possible to visit. Besides it is whether it is open or closed, you should spend a little time selecting which of the tombs you wish to visit before you go any further. Now this list can sometimes be inaccurate so before you leave go to the guys on the gate and ask if the tombs you have selected are really open.
This is the list today but it does change

KV1 Rameses VII Open
KV2 Rameses IV Open
KV6 Rameses IX Open
KV8 Merenptah Open
KV9 Rameses V & VI Closed
KV11 Rameses III Closed
KV14 Tausert & Setnakht Open
KV15 Seti II Open
KV16 Ramses I Open
KV17 Seti I Closed
KV19 Mentuherkhepesshef Open
KV23 Ay Open
Kv34 Tutmosis III Open
KV35 Amenhotep II Closed
KV43 Tutmosis IV Open
KV47 Siptah Open
KV57 Horemheb Closed
KV62 Tutankhamen Open

Out of this list I chose Tutmosis III, Ramses I and Siptah. Tutmosis III because it is an example of early tomb construction being hidden and inaccessible (this tomb is not for the out of condition person), it is decorated in a style like sheets of papyrus painted on the walls, Ramses I shows the construction of a tomb where Pharaoh is not on the throne for very long, an abrupt end to the tomb and preparation of a hasty burial chamber, the lovely blue/grey background and vibrant colours and lastly Siptah because of its unfinished state again showing construction techniques but the beginning is a particularly fine example of carved relief’s and gaudy late 19th dynasty paintings.

No we didn’t visit Tutankhamen, the ticket is extra and I don’t think it is worth it, the tomb itself is a poor example and the treasure is in the Cairo museum so apart from the glory of the thing it is not really worth it. I actually recommend people to go to the Dr Ragab’s Pharaonic Village in Cairo which is an excellent place to visit and see the mock-up they have there. It shows all the tomb and paintings and has replicas of the treasure. It is meant to look like the day Carter discovered it. You can spend the entire day there for the same price and see everything. They have temple replicas, museums, real life scenes being acted out, mummification process, and loads of other stuff.

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September 9th, 2005
Casablanca - New Resturant
Tonight we tried a new restaurant that has opened in Luxor. It is situated on the West Bank and when exiting the ferry or motor boats turn left (south) and walk along the Nile for about 5 minutes. You go past Tutankhamun Restaurant (another good place to eat) and then you come to Casablanca.
The owner Aswad told us he chose the name because it was easy for both Egyptians and Westerners to pronounce but also because he loves the film. I have to say it has one of the widest choices of menu on the West Bank and specialises in fish. We cheated and didn’t select from the menu but asked for a variety so we could judge the food. They brought out a variety of raw fish for us to chose from and and it was all fresh and had come from Hurghada. There was also calamari, prawns, langostines and other shell fish. We asked for a little bit of everything but actually got a lot of everything. Actually there was so much left we asked for a doggy bag and Joe is one happy cat tonight.

The meal started with a calamari and chili salad and a fish soup. Both were excellent and although I only meant to try the fish soup I could resist finishing the lot. It had some small shellfish in it so it was a bit like a Moule Mariner.

The main course was two large fish, garlic prawns, grilled langoustines, fried calamari. And for some mad reason we had also ordered chips, that was a mistake as there was no way we could eat half of it.

So 10/10 Casablanca an excellent addition to West Bank restaurants. If you go there tell them Jane and Mahmoud sent you and trust me you will get an excellent meal. Obviously we were paying a special price but even at their normal prices a good meal would be less than £7 or approx $14 .

Posted by Jane: - 9:39 pm - Edit| No Comments »
September 8th, 2005
Election Day
Yesterday was the voting for the Presidential elections and I went past a poll station. It was typical Egyptian organised chaos with election officials outside with long lists and various men waiting for them to find them on the list and allow them inside. The poll station was at a school and inside there was a curtained off area where the men were going inside and voting. Their finger was inked afterwards with indelible ink so they couldn’t vote again.
I found it disturbing that there were no women that were voting, I would like to hope that I went along at a bad time but enquiries around where I live I found lots of men with pink fingers but no women. I am in a rural area and it might well be different in Cairo or other major cities but it seemed sad.

Posted by Jane: - 2:12 pm - Edit| No Comments »
September 4th, 2005
Future Plans for Luxor
My neighbour, Ibrahim who has recently been promoted to Director of Karnak was telling me of a presentation he attended given by the Mayor of Luxor 3 days ago. Apparently it is very exciting and there are many plans to improve the town which Ibrahim is veyr much in favour of. The Mayor wants to improve the look of the town and the antiquities making the whole panaroma much more attatractive. There are plans to build a purpose built market place and move the traders there so you can drive there and get everything you wnat in one place fruite, vegetables, meat etc. They want to improve the areas around Luxor temple, the colossus of Menom and the temple of Hatshepsut, landscaping and removing the tacky bazzars. Making it more like a park in front of these monuments. Masses amounts of land (85 feddans) and money have been allocated for these projects which are expected to take some time.
It all sounded very exciting and Ibrahim told me the emphasis was on making things more tasteful which is excellent news. The makeover I mentioned some time ago is still going on with roads, roundabouts and junctions being tidied, display structures built and planted with shrubs and flowers.

Ibrahim also talked about the water damage and said they felt they were turning the corner at Karnak and had arrested the damage but much work needed to be done and of course other sites work hadn’t started.

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September 3rd, 2005
Temple Palaces
Quite a few mortuary temples have temple palaces attached to them and although the local guides give touching stories about life there it is unlikely they were used to actually live in. Much more likely that when Pharaoh visited a temple for the day this is where he stayed. Some of the celebrations like the Beautiful Feast of the Valley went on for some days so he might have stayed there that long but that would be the maximum.
The temple palace at the Ramasseum is in a very bad condition and difficult to make out but the ones at the temple of Seti I at Gurna and Rameses III at Medinet Habu are both well worth a visit. They are situated to the left of the main temple as you stand between the first pylon looking into the temple.

The Seti I one has been restored by the German team working there and walls have been brought up to chest height. The stairs leading up to the window of appearances are there. Standing there puts you about 3 feet higher than ground level and it is easy to reach down to people below. You can imagine Pharaoh standing there giving rewards out to the courtiers. In the museum at Luxor in a glass case between the mummy of Ahmose and Ramses I there is a necklace with three golden flies on it. This is exactly the sort of thing that would have been given out. Behind this stairway is a columned hall which must have been a cool and shady place for pharaoh to rest. There are lots of little rooms off this.

At Medinet Habu the walls are higher and original. There are two rooms with dais and short flights of stairs leading up to them. You can actually see the toilet in the king’s suite of rooms and the walls are stone up to about head height, presumably so you could have a shower and not ruin the mud brick. There is a suite of about 5-6 rooms behind this, the so called harem. Again I don’t personally think the ladies lived here. There just would not have been enough room for them and all their attendants. And you can not convince me pharaoh’s wife could have got all her clothes in those small suites of rooms.

Behind the first pylon the wall is decorated with a lovely scene of pharaoh hunting in the marshes and some local guides will tell you that scene is there to amuse the women of the harem. Nice story but being as the rooms would have been roofed the scene would only have been visible on entering and leaving the palace not something to look at out of the windows lol

Anyway these palaces are not part of most tours so make sure you get a look at them on your own

Posted by Jane: - 11:26 am - Edit| No Comments »
September 1st, 2005
Al Gezera Resturant and Hotel
Went tonight to one of my favourite West Bank resturants. The roof top is so pleasent with soft muted lighting and a view of the Nile. They don’t have a menu but do have nice food, cold beer and a clean toilet my personal essentials for eating out. If you ever go there tell them Jane and Mahmoud sent you and you will get a royal welcome.
Posted by Jane: - 10:58 pm - Edit| No Comments »
August 31st, 2005
New Find at Edfu
Egypt discovers ancient tomb

A joint Egyptian-US archaeological team has discovered a 5,000-year-old funerary complex in Upper Egypt, the Egyptian Gazette reported Wednesday.

The tomb was found in the Kom al-Ahmer region near Edfu, some 97 km south of the famous ancient city Luxor on the west bank of the Nile, Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, was quoted as saying.

Three mummies were found inside the tomb alongside a small flint statue of a cow’s head and a ceramic funeral mask, Hawass added.

The tomb is believed to have belonged to one of the first rulers of the Greek city of Apollinopolis Magna, the ancient name of Edfu.

Edfu was the capital of the second nome (Horus) of Upper Egypt. The main attraction here is the Temple of Horus, which is widely considered to be the best preserved cult temple in Egypt.

BTW I do find it interesting that this site consistently reports breaking news about Egypt. Good for them

Posted by Jane: - 5:28 pm - Edit| No Comments »
August 31st, 2005
As I sit in sunny Egypt with temperatures starting to drop as winter approaches(only low 40’s now) I read with sadness about the events in New Orleans. When we started our flats our third guests were this lovely couple from that city, Mike and Mary Beth. We were so new at things, had yet to finish a lot of the flats and made lots of mistakes. They were so encouraging and helpful, we have kept up a correspondence on the internet ever since and they have continued to be a great support. Indeed it is their comments I use in my sales and marketing to this day.
I sent him an email last night and heard back this morning. As he is a health worker he is at the hospital doing 12 hour shifts but his wife and lots of his family have been evacuated. He hasn’t heard from them for 2 days and is worried but was remarkably upbeat under the circumstances.

Lots of people sent messages of support to Egypt in their troubles and from all of us here I send my message of support to those affected by Katrina especially Mike and Mary Beth. You are in our prayers.

Posted by Jane: - 10:05 am - Edit| No Comments »
August 30th, 2005
Ramases Revenge
Sorry for no entries for a bit I have been ill, yes even long time residents can still get upset tummies. I think my problem was caused by some food I ate at a buffet. It was kept warm by bain maries, you know those hot water food heaters. They seem to keep the food at a perfect tempreture for …………………bateria to breed.
Fortunately the chemists here, which are excellent, have loads of different medicines for this eventuality. All medicine in Egypt has instruction leaflets in English and Arabic so there is no worry about understanding anything. Actually if you are taking anything it is often worth while seeing if you can stock up here because the prices are so cheap. You don’t need a doctors pescription just the generic name of your medicine and you get it over the counter.

Posted by Jane: - 8:08 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
August 26th, 2005
Donkeys and ACE
Some visitors to Luxor fall in love with the history, some with the local culture and some with the people. I have just had a guest who has fallen in love with the donkeys of Luxor. She had the experience of riding over the mountain ridge and loved it so much she did it again and also an evening donkey ride. In fact I had to check her case just to make sure she hadn’t packed her donkey. They are endearing animals and work so hard in Luxor. I have written about the donkey ride over the ridge as a feature story so won’t repeat myself you can go look at that story yourself but what I want to do is remind you of the great work that Animal Care in Egypt (ACE) do to help the locals look after their animals. The ACE website has had a big revamp and deserves a revisit even if you have looked at in the past. They also welcome visits to the facility if you are on holiday in Egypt. So please support ACE.
Posted by Jane: - 10:13 pm - Edit| 3 Comments »
August 26th, 2005
Library opened in Hurghada
Only 3 hours away from Luxor, Hurghada is our nearest Red Sea resort with many tourists going both ways on a day trip. The President’s wife Susan Mubarak was there opening a new library which is a nice boost for the region. Library Opened
Posted by Jane: - 10:12 am - Edit| 4 Comments »
August 24th, 2005
Monumental Destruction
A quick plug for my feature story on Tour Egypt today Destruction of Monuments. Readers of the blog may remember how shocked I was by the state of Seti’s temple on a recent visit. This story is the result of that and other examples I have seen lately
Posted by Jane: - 10:14 pm - Edit| No Comments »
August 24th, 2005
How fresh is your chicken?
If you have travelled in Egypt, especially the small towns in Upper Egypt you have probably seen shops with chickens in cages outside. These are not pet shops! Today I decided it was chicken for dinner so I went along to the shop. I still can not bring myself to select my victim and just told the girl I wanted a large one. She goes outside and comes back with this squawking bird who settles quite contentedly on the scales. The price is agreed 25LE and she takes him of the scales. A quick prayer and his throat is cut and this makes the meat halal. She has a machine that plucks and takes out the entrails for me, another job I can not quite get used to. I take home my dinner but it is the weirdest thing preparing meat that is still warm, it goes against all my instincts that tell me as Westerner warm meat means off meat. Now I know all the country people reading this are laughing at me but I was a city girl until I came to Egypt.
I find it fascinating that customs that go on in Egypt now are portrayed on the temple walls. Certainly I have seen ducks and other birds on temples and walls in the same condition as my chicken but it was the cows that always fascinated me until I came here to live. In the paintings you always see them with their legs tied together and either the throat cut or the head separate. It wasn’t until I saw a cow being killed here that I realised why. Animals do thrash around a lot when you are cutting their throat as a means of slaughter and having a full grown cow doing this would be dangerous so of course it has to be tied up, not just to make it easier but to make it safer. So it all makes sense now.

Posted by Jane: - 4:15 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
August 23rd, 2005
Buying Egyptian cotton sheets
Shopping in Egypt can be a bit of a fraught affair, what with trying to haggle and making sure you have the right thing in the first place. One of the places that can make life a bit easier is the Government shops. The one I use in Luxor is on the same road as Brooke Hospitla near the ferry. If you carry along that street past the small square then on the left hand side you will see the shop. It is know as the government shop and has in English; Egyptian Products.
Inside they sell a range of household goods at standard prices that are clearly marked. The numbers are in arabic but a quick consultation with a translation and you are away. You can get sheets, pillow cases and towels here for good price approx £5 GBP or under $10 USD. We use them in our flats and after 2 years of wear and tear they are still going strong.

Posted by Jane: - 1:31 pm - Edit| 3 Comments »
August 22nd, 2005
This typical Egyptian food is one of those dishes you either love or hate. I hate it; it is green slime and makes me shiver. I don’t think I will ever adapt enough to Egypt to enjoy this. My daughter on the other hand loves it and thinks I am mad. I also notice that babies seem to adore it as well. Well they are young they will learn. The taste isn’t that bad, it is the texture, and if you like okra then you may enjoy this dish.
It is made using a stock of chicken or rabbit (you can cheat with a stock cube). You take the bunches of leaves (not unlike spinach in appearance) and pick of the leaves, making sure to wash and drain. It is then chopped finely using one of those rocker type knives. The stock is boiled with an onion and in my family they cut into the onion but leave it whole so after boiling it is removed. The leaves are then added to the stock. A lot of garlic is fried until brown in oil and added to the mixture. It is then whisked and left simmered for 20 minutes. Egyptians eat it as a dip using small pieces of bread to dunk into the bowl. Me I leave well alone!!!

Posted by Jane: - 2:02 pm - Edit| 3 Comments »
August 20th, 2005
Tomb of Roy (and Shu Roy)
Just a quick plug for my favourite noble tomb Roy at Abu Dra el-Naga. This is such a delightful tomb and the colours are so bright and crisp. It is very small but full of delightful scenes. And it poses so many questions for me
1) why does the man have the grey wig
2) why are there two hearts/figures of Ma’at.
3) what is this thing with spring onions, huge bunches of them in the funery banquet
4) why do most of the women get stools with cushions and the men chairs with backs, no cushions

There is a good description and photos on this site Tomb of Roy. Well worth a visit, nobody seems to go there. I have never seen any one there but myself and I go there at least once a week with guests.

Posted by Jane: - 7:55 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
August 20th, 2005
Mexican team to refurbish Egyptian tomb site
Chris Kraul
Los Angeles Times
Aug. 19, 2005 12:00 AM

MEXICO CITY - Mexico and Egypt share a rare historical distinction: a superabundance of monumental pyramids and other relics of ancient civilizations. But although foreign experts have helped lead the exploration of Egypt’s rich archaeology for more than a century, specialists from Mexico have never been invited. Until now.

For the first time, a Mexican archaeological team has been selected by Egypt’s top antiquities authorities to work in Egypt’s Upper Nile Valley.

The group was chosen to refurbish the so-called “Puimre Tomb,” or TT39, one of the country’s most important unrestored burial chambers. advertisement

In March, the team, selected by the Egyptian government’s Supreme Council of Antiquities and composed mainly of Universidad del Valle de Mexico scientists, will begin a five-year renovation project with the goal of making the site suitable for public visits (it has been closed since the 1920s). They will apply techniques that Mexico’s archaeologists have developed trying to preserve its 5,000 pre-Columbian sites, as well as the myriad Spanish colonial churches, convents and palaces.

The benefit for Egypt is clear: The Mexican team will restore a tomb in the so-called Theban necropolis that is in danger of collapsing and being lost forever. The restoration of the extensive tomb could shed light on the reign of one of Egypt’s few female pharaohs, Queen Hatshepsut. It was built for one of her top priests around 1450 B.C.

For Mexican archaeology, the effect will be the intangible one of adding to its prestige on the global stage, said team leader Gabriela Arrache Vertiz, an Egyptology professor.

“This project will show the relevance of Mexico’s academic excellence, that it can be applied not only in our own country but beyond our borders,” Arrache Vertiz said of her team, which visited the Luxor site in May.

The invitation resulted from a professional friendship developed over the past decade between Arrache Vertiz and Zahi Hawass, now the director of the Egyptian government’s antiquities council. Arrache Vertiz and her team discussed with Hawass the possibility of working in Egypt. Earlier this year, the council decided to ask the team to work on restoring the Puimre Tomb site.

Mexican archaeologists believe that they can bring unique expertise to the restoration project.

“The tomb has problems similar to those of our pyramids and churches in that it was made with limestone,” said Manuel Villarruel Vazquez, an architect whose specialty is structural restoration. “That rock is strong like glass, but can break as easily, and several ceilings are cracked.”

Villarruel currently is restoring a Toltec pyramid that dates from 600 in Queretaro, about 100 miles north of Mexico City.

Posted by Jane: - 5:31 am - Edit| No Comments »
August 19th, 2005
Illness Egyptian style
If you think that rest, peace and quiet are needed to recover from an illness think again. Welcome to illness Egyptian style. It is a social occasion where everyone comes and visits you. I have been in houses crowded to the gills and with a constant stream of people coming and going. The sick person is in the middle of all this; they have to suffer pain, have injections, try and sleep all with about 20 relatives crowded round. The Western need for peace and quiet is a total mystery to them.
Hospitalisation is likewise a community affair. The sick person in the hospital bed with the child she is breast feeding as well as any other children she may have. About 20 women in the room with her and at least 30 men in the corridor outside. When they arrive they pop in say a few words but then join the men outside. Close relatives will live at the hospital, maybe a mother, husband (in the corridor) and a couple of sisters and children 24/7 for the entire stay.

Even giving birth is a communal activity with the women in labour surrounded by her female relatives going through every contraction with her. The operation room having several small children running in and out while they prepare for a c-section. Again the men are outside smoking cigarettes and chatting for hours on end.

But they all seem to want it, indeed not visiting someone who is sick is considered a big insult.

Posted by Jane: - 9:31 pm - Edit| No Comments »
August 19th, 2005
Horses at Karnak
Relaxation time for the Caleche horses at Karnak

Posted by Jane: - 7:54 pm - Edit| 3 Comments »
August 19th, 2005
Making it fun for Children
If you were the two people in Seti I’s temple today apologies, you must have thought we were mad. I was taking round a father and daughter group and had roped in my daughter to help. We all had roles to play and dressed up. Dad was a general being awarded collars of gold from the window of appearances, my daughter was the high priest of Amun on processions from Karnak as part of the Feast of the Valley, I was Seti I and the little girl was Rameses II as a young boy being shown the temple by his father.
It was great fun we had processions, award ceremonies and I was illustrating our play acting by the real things on the walls. Collars of gold, forelocks of youth, priests carrying shrines. The guardian who was with us could not believe his eyes. Nor could the little girl when I showed her the carvings of Amun Min. Actually there is so much about the history that kids love and I so enjoy trying to make it come alive for them.

Now normally this temple is totally deserted and that is why I picked it, but today right in the middle of all of this, two normal tourists came in. So sorry to you whoever you were but take heart that there is one little girl out there who thinks Egyptology is the greatest fun ever.

Posted by Jane: - 3:26 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
August 18th, 2005
Tomb of Amenhotep I
There was a great lecture at the Mummification museum last year when we were told about the work going on at Dra Abu al-Naga. They have been excavating around this huge boulder way above the temple of Hatshepsut and were sure that there was something underneath and hoped it was the tomb of Amenhotep I. The lecturer was describing the various concrete like fillings that were leading them to suppose they were in a man made area not natural. I was riveted, I never knew concrete could be so interesting.
Well from this news article it looks like things are gathering momentum. Amenhotep

BTW I loved the joke that the article started with

There is a Russian joke, which is as old as mummies: a tomb-chest with a mummy was discovered during the archaeological dig in Egypt. Experts could not determine whose mummy it was and invited Soviet experts for their expertise. The latter rolled up their sleeves and asked everybody else to leave the room. Soon they came out all sweating and declared: “Amenhotep XXIII.” When asked how they managed to identify him, the experts said: “The son of a bitch confessed himself.”

Posted by Jane: - 9:36 pm - Edit| No Comments »
August 18th, 2005
Botanical Room at Karnak
I have recently been speculating about this area in Karnak and whether it was a early Natural History Museum. It is located right at the back of the temple. You go past the Middle Kingdom court through Tutmosis III festival temple and exit out the back. There is a wooden staircase that takes you out and the Botanical Room is here.
It is so unusual with descriptions of birds, plants and animals that Tutmosis III found interesting or unusual. Some of them look really weird and indeed he says himself that you might not believe your eyes. Some of the more unusual objects are probably parts of plants. The Tour Egypt site has a good description Botanial Room. Next to the main room is another one with several niches. Now whilst these could have been for statues etc I have often wondered if in fact the niches were displays for the real things. Could there have been caged birds, aquariums and planters; living examples of the pictures on the walls. There is a huge offering table in the middle and did they display these wonders on it for the delection of the God Amun.

Was the Botanical Room a real life museum? Interesting thought.

Posted by Jane: - 3:37 pm - Edit| 3 Comments »
August 18th, 2005
Priests houses at Karnak
Having attended a lecture at the Mummification Museum about the excavations at Karnak I have been making a point of taking my guests to see the priests houses at the back of the sacred lake. Yesterday when we were there we were commenting about how large they were. It is most unusual to be able to see how ancient Egyptians lived; generally this type of building was considered a temporary structure and only built of mud brick. Situated in areas which have continued to be lived in, the structures have normally long gone.
These houses are at the back of the sacred lake almost underneath the sound and light platform. They are roped off but it is not difficult to get the guardian to let you through. Having said that please be careful and not climb or otherwise damage the mud brick. My favourite house has a very distinct stone lintel and door frame. The doorway is narrow but quite high and it leads into a series of rooms. The walls are quite thick so I imagine the house would have been cool. Another house has a stone pillar so the roof is quite high, making it very pleasant to live in I should think.

I love to stand there and imagine the life of the priest that lived there and how it would have been furnished. We do know Egyptians loved bright colours and I am sure there would have been lots of brightly covered matting covering walls and floor. You can see examples of this on the painted ceilings of the noble’s tombs.

Posted by Jane: - 2:42 am - Edit| No Comments »
August 16th, 2005
Luxor Pyramid
Here is the photo of one of the pyramids I have been talking about. You can see it dead centre of the picture, proably about 50-60 foot square. There are about 3 others around it and you can quite clearly see their entrances, many thanks to Richard Sellicks for pointing it out to me.

Here are some close ups

Posted by Jane: - 12:38 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
August 14th, 2005
More Pyramids in Luxor
I have been very reliable informed about the existance of even more pyramids in Luxor. Richard Sellicks and regular visitor to Luxor and to my flats has shown me what look like three or four pyramids above the Rammeside tombs. located just above where the road doubles back going to Hatshepsut. So now I am getting curious does any one know a definative publication either hardcopy or online that identifies Luxor’s pyramids. Is there any information out there on the net, doing a search hasn’t been very productive so I would love to be sent some links.
BTW Richard is going to send me photos of these pyramids that he has taken and once Jimmy explains to me the mystery of loading pictures I will put them on the blog

Posted by Jane: - 12:12 pm - Edit| 4 Comments »
August 13th, 2005
Aida Returns to Luxor
According to this article Aida returns we will be having the pleasure of this famous opera back in Luxor soon. Excellent news
DR. SAMIR FARAG, the new governor of Luxor, recently held a press conference to announce the details of the upcoming opera Aida, scheduled to take place from March 1724. Farag also announced that the opera will be held in Luxor for the next five years.

Posted by Jane: - 10:18 am - Edit| 1 Comment »
August 12th, 2005
Glasses in Egypt
Having trod on my glasses accidentally the other day and ruined them I was trying to get a new pair. I was on holiday in the UK as you know and went along and got my eyes tested and a new prescription. Then I enquired and the price of new glasses £200 - £300 GBP. Ouch
I decided to wait until I returned to Egypt. Took the prescription along to the glasses place. 330LE (about £30 GBP $60 USD) for Reactor light glasses (they go darker in the sunshine). Gave the prescription in on Sat and picked up the new ones on Thur. The price difference is amazing. My new ones are great and really comfy. If you are coming from the UK you could pay for your holiday by just getting your new glasses. The place I went to was 44 Station Street.

Posted by Jane: - 10:07 pm - Edit| No Comments »
August 12th, 2005
Floodlighting the West Bank
Story from the Egyptian Gazette about a proposal to floodlight the West Bank sites and make them available to tourists at night. Rams Road replica for Luxor.
Hassan Saadallah
Special to the Gazette
Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni has approved a proposal to construct a 20 metre long mini-replica of the 3km long Rams Road that connects the Luxor and Karnak temples. The replica will be built in Luxor on the Nile’s eastern bank.
The Rams Road is an avenue of ram-headed sphinxes leading from the Luxor Temple to the Great Temple of Amun-Ra at Karnak. With the ram being the symbol of fertility for the ancient Egyptians, the spirit of Amun-Ra is supposed to dwell in the ram-headed sphinx.
Apart from the ram-deities Khnum, Harsaphes and Amon, actual rams were once worshipped in many cities in recognition of their strength, virility and energy.
In another development, Minister Hosni announced that a huge project would be carried out to flood el-Bar el-Gharbi (the West Bank of the Nile) with light during nighttimes. While the temples and statues of the West Bank would be illuminated, the mountain area in particular would be lit up. This would enable tourists to enjoy the sight of “an open-air antiquity panorama at night,” noted Hosni.
“The light project will open the door for more tourists to visit the site at night, many of whom will find it far too hot to visit during the burning heat of the day, especially during the summer months. This will also be important for the 2000 to 3000 people who come to Luxor daily on a one-day visit,” Hosni said.

I know from visiting Luxor temple that you get a totally different perspective going during the day and the night. The different lighting highlights things you don’t notice otherwise. It would also be nice for tourists to be able to visit these sites at night when it was cooler.

The replica of the Rams Road sounds interesting. I know that a lot of my guests enjoy a book called Egypt Then and Now which has pictures of the sites as they are now and a transparency that goes over that showing how they looked in Egyptian times. Likewise I always recommend the Pharonic Village to people going to Cairo as it shows them what things realy looked like. So I think a good reproduction/replica enhances the experience for tourists. I went to a lecture that talked about the Sphinx road and said how it had been paved and walled off from the rest of the town. In between each sphinx was a floral display as they had evidence of the planters and the irrigation. It could be great to reproduce all that next to the originals so the visitors could see a Then and Now like the book

Posted by Jane: - 12:03 pm - Edit| No Comments »
August 11th, 2005
Seti I temple at Gurna
It is with great sadness that I have to report the damage being done by the rising water table to this monumment. It is about 3 months since I was there and it was hard to beleive the state of the temple. Some parts have been dug round and there is a little moat round them where the channel has filled with water. There was one area where the sandstone blocks were reverting to the original sand. In the gateway of the first pylon the lower blocks are just falling to pieces and as you walk round the courtyard the salts crunch under your feet.
I don’t know what the solution is but it nearly broke my heart to see the destruction.

Posted by Jane: - 9:52 am - Edit| 2 Comments »
August 8th, 2005
A Guide to Eating at an Egyptian’s House
I spotted this on the net and although you might think it is a joke don’t be deceived. Most of it is true.
If you are ever dining at an Egyptian’s house, make sure you fast for 3 days prior to the event, because the minimum serving size is usually enough to feed a small country for a week.

Relatives do not take no for an answer. If you are offered an extra plate of hummos then for goodness sakes accept it, or suffer the constant nagging from your auntie who will double the serving as punishment for your insolence.

If you are ever asked the trick question “Do you like the food?” never reply with “yes” - this is an open invitation for another kilo of chicken to be loaded onto your plate. The best thing to do is to divert the focus onto an unsuspecting brother or sister by pointing at them very quickly and stating “She is too shy to ask for more.”

In the rare occasion that an Egyptian dish is not to your liking, the ONLY way to avoid eating from it is to spot it before it gets served. Quickly fill your plate with the other dishes being served so that there is no room available for the one you dislike. By the time you finish, you can quite politely state that you are full, but disappointed that you were unable to try the dish. Do not go overboard - this can be quite easily misunderstood as an invitation for another helping.

At meal times many Egyptians (and Arabs in general) prefer to wait until they have finished before washing their palette with a refreshing drink. If you are not accustomed to this tradition, then make sure you have a glass of water by your side, or you will die of dehydration before the meal has ended. Getting up DURING the meal to quench your thirst could be misinterpreted as a sign that you dislike the food.

Never be the first to declare you have finished. Doing so will allow the others to escape while you are forced to eat another rack of beef.

(If you are a big fan of tea, please skip ahead to number 8. If not, proceed to number 7).

When tea is being served, ask for a small mug or glass, or you will end up drinking 3 or 4 cups of tea, equivalent to 1-2 litres. If they do not have small cups, sip your tea slowly and keep it in your hands so as to avoid it being taken away for a refill.

Dessert is almost always popular, but after an Egyptian meal sometimes the sight of more food can make you senile. If you were able to follow the above guidelines, a piece of cake should be a piece of cake! In other words, there should be just enough room for some sweets. If you were unable to follow the guidelines, then you are probably on the verge of collapsing. The best excuse (one which can never be argued with) is, “Thank you, but I am watching my weight.” If you have a little meat on you, the host will be too embarrassed to refute this. If you are blessed with an outstanding figure, you will be able to justify your ‘diet conscious’ ways - since obviously your resistance to temptation has paid off.

After dessert, the inexperienced diner will fall into a false sense of security, foolishly thinking that the torture has ended. This, however, is when you are most vulnerable - in a relaxed and weakened state you become the perfect target for ‘post-dessert’ testing. Assorted fruits and nuts are often presented, often in the guise of table decoration. This is merely a test set up by the host to ascertain your level of satisfaction. If you have refused dessert on the basis of being on a diet, the refusal to eat the healthy alternative will be a direct insult to the host’s intelligence. If you indulge in more than one nut or piece of fruit, the host will assume you are hungry and ALSO be insulted. There is no way to avoid this lose-lose situation, except perhaps by immersing yourself in deep conversation long enough to keep the host distracted.
Hopefully this guide will have helped you survive the tragedy which befalls so many.

If you do have the luck to be invited to eat at someone’s home they will have often spent a fortune to give you a good meal. Of course as a tourist you feel bad as they can not afford it. A couple of ways to ‘pay your way’ take a box of Arabic sweets along and/or some fresh juices and give any children of the house some money.

If you are a vegatarian then this will often not be understood so tell your host that the doctor has forbidden you to eat meat and make sure you tell him way before the dinner so they will not have specially prepared meat for you. You may well find that a lot of dishes are prepared with meat or chicken stock so if this an issue for you be warned.

A popular speciality in luxor is stuffed pigeon which is totally delicious. You do get pigeon to eat in the UK but nothing like as tasty as that in Luxor. I know some people are wary of salads but a good trick is to squeeze lemon juice over the salad which acts as a dressing and kills any nasty bacteria. Nobody will minds if you drink mineral water of your own rather than the local water. There is nothing wrong with the local water I drink it all the time but a change can upset a sensitive stomach so best stick to mineral water if you are here on holiday.

Above all relax and enjoy yourself, often this invitation is the start of a life long friendship with an Egyptian family

Posted by Jane: - 6:50 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
August 7th, 2005
Winter Palace Hotel
The Winter Palace hotel was ‘the’ place to stay and all the best names have been there including Agatha Christie. It is now divided up into the Old Winter Palace and New Winter Palace. In recent years they have built an extension in the grounds called the Garden Pavillion which is part of the New Winter Palace.
The Old Winter Palace has a wonderful atmosphere, like the set of the Titanic, with an amazing stairway. You don’t have to be a resident to enjoy it though and I have often taken people around it’s public rooms. You can have tea in the Victorian Tea Rooms and dinner in the posh French resturant (I did that once in 2000 and it cost me 680LE about £100 GBP in those days, serious money but a lot of that was on wine and brandy. It was worth it to do it once). I have heard that if you are booking late deals you can get to stay there for very reasonable money so worth looking out for.

The New Winter Palace is a bit jaded, the reception areas are OK but the bedrooms could do with refurbishing and the architecture is sixties office block but the Garden Pavilion out the back is lovely. So if you are staying at the New Winter Palace insists on a room in the Garden Pavillion it is so much nice and closer to the swimming pool.

I love the way they turn down the beds and put rose petals and chocolates (wrapped lol) on the sheets. They will also take your towels and make fantastic shapes out of them. Swans are the best, it seems to be an Egyptian thing as I have come across this towel origami in other hotels in Egypt but never any where else.

The swimming pool is shared by both hotels and is in lovely grounds out the back. A real Kew Gardens of unusual plants andthe pool itself is very nicely done. Shade for those that want it, a pool bar and two pools one for serious swimmers and one for mucking around.

Posted by Jane: - 2:19 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
August 4th, 2005
Security and Cats
Having had a 2 week holiday in the UK it was with relief that I landed back in Luxor. Somehow the site of all those police and army with their sub machine guns was reassuring and not irritating as it had been for so many years. I am so proud of the Egyptians that died defending tourists in Sharm and thus prevented so many foreign deaths. Egypt has been so security aware and I have always felt so much safer here. In fact in London I did not travel into the tourist spots but had no worries going to the Valley of the Kings when I returned here. Security has been beefed up and there are more check points and searches but of course the big thing is that the locals are against any threat. They have too much to lose; literally they would starve without tourists.
Talking of locals one of the first to greet me on my return was my little cat. We have had some sad experiences with cats in Egypt and it was with some trepidation I left our latest kitten in the hands of my cleaner while I was away. He had promised to treat him like his child but whilst I was sure he would get fed I was much less confident he would get any attention. People in Luxor tolerate cats, pets as such are unknown to them but they welcome a cat around the house to get rid of pests. There is no special food, they survive on scraps and rarely are they given a name. So my love of animals is seen as very eccentric but then my love of Luxor and Egypt is seen like that too lol.

So when I arrived back ‘Joe’ came to meet me. He had grown so much in 2 weeks I was amazed. Egyptian cats are more leggy and have huge ears and of course are much more independent but Joe knew his mummy when he saw her. While we were in the UK we saw some kittens about his age and they were chocolate box fluffy cuties but Joe is “the cat that walks by himself and all places are alike to him” (Kipling)

Posted by Jane: - 10:24 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
July 31st, 2005
West Bank officially endangered
According to this article The West Bank sites are considered to be endangered. I must say when I go round and see the damage done by the rising water table it breaks my heart.
For non registered readers below is the part about the West Bank, the entire story has more information and registration is quick and easy.

Sites just clinging to existence
The World Monuments Fund, a nonprofit that works to rescue and preserve imperiled places, recently released its global watch list of its 100 most endangered sites. Places were selected by a panel of 10 experts in architecture, archeology, history, anthropology and other fields. Five highlights from the list are below. See for a complete list.

What’s at risk: West Bank of the Nile River, Luxor, Egypt. Archeological sites, including the Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, burial sites of Egypt’s New Kingdom rulers (1540-1075 BC), 40 temples and more.

Endangered by: Rising groundwater, theft, vandalism, uncontrolled tourism and development pressures.

Posted by Jane: - 9:15 pm - Edit| 1 Comment »
July 26th, 2005
BBC in Luxor
Readers may remember that one of my earliest stories was about the filming the BBC did in Luxor for a new docu/drama about famous Egyptians and their discoverors. It appears that all is not going well on the series and it is running over budget Telegraph Story.
It would seem that upset tummies are a big cause and I know this is something people visiting Egypt worry about a lot. I find by eating local freshly prepared food rather than helping your self to buffets that have been kept out for a long time or even worse kept warm in bain maries helps a lot. If it was in the ground this morning or running around alive then it hasn’t had time to go off. I always tell people to stick to bottled water not because the local water is bad (I drink it myself) but because often a change can trigger an upset. Squeezing lemon juice over salad as a dressing is also a good safety precaution. The heat can also have an affect so drink plenty of water and keep covered up.

Lets hope the BBC team recover quickly and the series comes out on time.

Posted by Jane: - 10:03 am - Edit| 1 Comment »
July 23rd, 2005
Safety in Egypt
Being on holiday in London and only 5 miles away from the scenes of one of the blasts at Sheppard’s Bush I was commenting I would be glad to get back to safe Egypt and then I heard the news about the bombs at Sharm. It is so sad that so many have died in both places but then the third lead story on the news was about an earthquake in Japan. There is no point worrying about these things and letting terrorists win, let’s just live our lives and do what we want to do. I do know the police in Luxor do all they can to keep tourists safe and that personally I feel a lot safer living in Luxor than I ever did in West London. God willing we will be safe.
Posted by Jane: - 12:36 pm - Edit| 17 Comments »
July 22nd, 2005
Oil in Upper Egypt?
Apparently there is oil in Upper Egypt but not in sufficient quantities to be viable, however that is being revisited Business Story. This would be so good if it proves true as it would provide jobs for the locals that are not tourism. Luxor has a reputation for hassle, though not thankfully on the West Bank where I live. This is because there are no other opportunities for the locals to earn money except through tourism. And with many of them not educated beyond primary level this also means for lots of them jobs on the fringes of tourism. Which means for every tourist there are a lot of locals trying to earn a living. To have an alternative, well paid job opportunities for the locals would make strolling along the Corniche a less fraught experience
Posted by Jane: - 9:04 am - Edit| No Comments »
July 21st, 2005
Returning artifacts to Egypt
There is a very interesting article about an artifact which has been returned to Egypt Artifact Returned Story Personally I am all in favour of artifacts being returned especially when they can be restored in situ. There is a block in the Red Chapel of Hatshepsut about 2 inches square of a head of Pharoah and it is right in the middle of a large block. Because of its size and appearence I am sure that it was an illict souveigner that has been returned and it is so much better that it should be back where it belongs and form part of the reconstruction.
Also in the tomb of Ay they have reconstructed the sarcophugus and there are two pieces there which have a different colouration and are also very attractive being the heads of two of the goddesess. One of them has a number on it and I am willing to bet that is a museum number and it has been returned. To see that sarcophugus standing there reconstructed with these pieces is so much better.

BTW I am in London for 2 weeks have a holiday so I am relying on internet reports for the blog so if anyone sees anything please email me and I will blog it. And thanks for all the comments

Posted by Jane: - 9:25 am - Edit| No Comments »
July 16th, 2005
Captain Omar and Cataract
One of my favourite ways to go to Karnak is by motor boat from where I live on the West Bank and the other day when I had finished going round I phoned my favourite boat Captain Omar to pick me up in his boat Cataract. As we walked to the Nile we could see the motor boat coming towards us and were looking forward to a nice sit down. As the boat came into land suddenly the boat captain took of his galabeya (the long dress like garment the men wear) and jumped into the Nile in his vest and boxer shorts. At first we thought he was trying to manoeuvre the boat closer to pick us up and then suddenly we say him pull a little boy out of the water. A police boat nearby saw what was going on and helped the boy into their boat. We weren’t sure if he was alright but then heard him cough. At one point the police were trying to take him away but his mother waded in and our boat captain spoke to them and they eventually left the scene. The mother gave the boy a good slap on the bum; mothers are the same the world over. And then he ran back up the beach to his home.
Once we got in the boat our captain explained that the boy couldn’t swimming and had got into difficulties, at this time of year the Nile has a very fast current. The police had wanted to take him in and issue him with a warning but that would have stayed on his record so Omar and the mother persuaded them to forget about it. We were very proud of our boat captain for being such a hero. Well done Omar

PS if you want to use Omar while you are in Luxor phone him, local number 0106927110 international +20106927110

Posted by Jane: - 8:29 pm - Edit| 3 Comments »
July 16th, 2005
Western Desert named World Heritage site by Unesco
BBC News item
Two natural wonders of Africa have been added to a list of protected World Heritage sites by the United Nations. and one of them is Egypt’s Wadi al-Hitan, known as Whale Valley, was listed for its amazing fossil remains of now-extinct whales. The Whale Valley fossils, in Egypt’s western desert, show the evolution of the whale as an ocean-going mammal from a previous life as a land-based animal.

An extinct whale species’ fossils are in the last stages of losing their hind limbs.

“The number, concentration and quality of such fossils here is unique, as is their accessibility and setting in an attractive and protected landscape,” Unesco says.

The Western Desert is easily reached from Luxor and is popular with tourists, off road safaris being easy to arrange.

Posted by Jane: - 6:56 am - Edit| 2 Comments »
July 15th, 2005
Luxor’s pyramids!!!
OK they are not very big, they are only of mudbrick and they are very ruined but we do have them. Up on the hillside at Abu dra Naga in between the temple of Hatshepsut and the Valley of the Kings you can see renments of 2 mud brick pyramids from the 17th Dynasty. Built by the later Intefs it is unclear whether they are centotaphs or grave markers but it seems more likely they are centotaphs. If you are standing facing the tombs of Roy and Shu Roy one is situated just slightly higher and to the left of Shu Roy and the other is situated much higher and to the right of Roy. You can see the courses of mudbrick and they are about 2/3 foot high. They were excavated by the team under Daniel Poltz and had stone pyramidians.
Posted by Jane: - 10:44 am - Edit| 1 Comment »
July 12th, 2005
Antiquity and Tourism Report from Egypt
A very detailed report on the recent finds all over Egypt Report from Egypt The statue of Neferhotep, the Roman Walls at Karnak and the big site near Edfu all get a mention.
Posted by Jane: - 2:17 pm - Edit| No Comments »
July 10th, 2005
Theban Mapping project
I heard from Nigel Hetherington Conservation Manager at the Theban Mapping Project that their survey on the Valley of the Kings is now closing. They have had over 500 responses and are very grateful to everyone that participated. The Valley of the Kings requires a lot of money and work if we are to preserve it for future generations and TMP are very active in this area. If you would like to catch up with what they are doing try the website .
Posted by Jane: - 9:39 am - Edit| 3 Comments »
July 9th, 2005
Royal Valley Golf Club - Luxor
If you are a golf player you may be interested in a round whilst on holiday in Luxor. I was given a report a while ago by a keen golfer who had a game there. The fee structure is a little complicated but basically the price then for a one round of 9 holes was $48, 18 holes $71. You can rent equipment, cars, clubs and balls. They can be reached on +20 95 2368157.
He said it was a decent little course and he really enjoyed the game.

Quoting from their brochure as the web site seems to have disappeared it is an 18 hole chammpionship course designed by the reputed American architect Arthur Davis. Par 72 measuring 6,735 yards. The front nine feature water hazards with generous fairways and well protected greens. Teh back nine however has narrow rolling firways and large waste areas. Royal Valeey offers a choice of four tee decks to suit all caliber of golfers. There is a large pitch and putting green, sand practice green and PGA qualified tution available.

Posted by Jane: - 4:32 pm - Edit| 2 Comments »
July 9th, 2005
Egyptian Ladies Squash
I had no idea until last night that Egyptian Ladies Squash is no 1 in the world. There was a discussion in one of the coffee bars so I had a search on the net this morning and found this Squashnow
Egypt Seeded To Retain World Junior Team Title

Egypt are expected to retain their title in the Women’s World Junior Team Squash Championship later this month in Belgium according to the provisional seedings announced today by the World Squash Federation.

Champions in 1999 and 2003, Egypt are seeded ahead of Hong Kong, the second seeds that have never before progressed beyond the quarter-finals. Five-times champions England are the third seeds, while USA are seeded four.

Australia, runners-up to Egypt in 2003, have been relegated to ninth seeds after the eleventh-hour withdrawals of 2003 squad members Peta Hughes and Donna Urquhart due to injury.

The 2005 Team event, from 27-31 July, will follow the World Individual Championships in Herentals.

Posted by Jane: - 10:38 am - Edit| No Comments »
July 8th, 2005
Ice Cream
A further update to the Movenpick, they have revamped their ice cream menu. Yummy Today we took a motor boat up to Crocodile Island. At this time of year when the wind can be a bit unpredictable I prefer to to get a motor boat rather than a sailing boat. At least that way you get cooled by the wind, it is such a pretty ride up the Nile from the centre of Luxor. The Movenpick is situated on the the island and you can stop and have a nice meal and fablous ice cream.
Bombay Resturant is also having an update of its menu so look out for that.

Posted by Jane: - 9:08 pm - Edit| No Comments »
July 5th, 2005
Coping with the heat in Luxor
Regular viewers of this blog will have noticed the daytime temperatures have been steadily increasing recently with highs of 45 C / 113 F, with our hottest two months coming up you must be wondering how on earth it is possible view the sites in this kind of heat. I will let you in on a few secrets.
Firstly the heat is a dry heat so it is a lot easy to cope with than if it was really humid here.

Secondly do not use a car with A/C to do your sightseeing in. What happens is that you are constantly moving from one extreme of temperature to another and it is much harder to cope with. It is actually not good for you as well. By all means use A/C transport on long journeys, say from Aswan to Abu Simbel or Luxor to Hurghada, but for simple tours around various sites in Luxor just use a local taxi with Egyptian A/C (you roll down the window) for 5/10 minute journey between sites.

Lastly start early, the sites open at 6am which means if you are based on the West Bank the main cross roads is closed to tourists until 6 am and if you are based on the East Bank the bridge is closed until 6 am but you can cross the Nile boat earlier and be at the cross roads for 6. I know getting up at 5 am doesn’t sound much like a holiday but you can always catch up on your sleep later by having a siesta when the sun is at it’s hottest. You don’t even have to miss breakfast; most hotels will do a breakfast box which you order the night before.

Or you could round of your morning sightseeing with breakfast with the locals. Just by the cross roads there is a coffee shop called Ibrahim’s he serves a traditional Egyptian breakfast mostly to locals but tourists do go in there as well. There is no menu you just go in and sit down. Any one who has watched the British comedy series Fawlty Towers will be familiar with the waiter Manuel; Ibrahim is an Egyptian version of Manuel, he is so funny and such a character. He is like a clock work dynamo as he races around serving everyone. Sometimes they have fresh orange juice and by fresh I mean one of his daughters cuts oranges in half and squeezes them.

The meal itself consist of foul, salad, pickles and falafel with copious amounts of bread. Foul is very similar to refried beans consisting of dried broad beans that are cooked slowly overnight. You should mash these with salt, it needs salt and even if you are on a salt free diet with the amount of sweating you have been doing climbing in and out of tombs you are safe for once. This is served with samna or zita (butter or oil and big apologies to all Arab speakers for my spelling). You dip your bread in this and scoop up a bit. This is eaten together with the salad and pickles to taste. The pickles consist of all sorts of vegetables but my favourite is the tiny aubergines or egg plant, there are also chilli peppers (be careful with these) and sometimes carrot or turnip. Very crunchy. The falafel is a patty of mashed chickpeas favoured with coriander which is deep fried. The whole thing generally comes to under $2 or £1

With a bit of luck you will have finished your sightseeing and had breakfast by 10 am, time to get back to your A/C hotel and have a well deserved nap. Then in the afternoon down by the pool. This is the best way to cope with the hot temperatures in Luxor.

Posted by Jane: - 5:49 pm - Edit| 3 Comments »
July 4th, 2005
President Mubarak in Luxor
President Hosni Mubarak officially opened Luxor International Airport (LXR) yesterday. The new terminal, built on an area of 50,000 square metres, can cater for 4,000 passengers per hour. Luxor International Airport, has been upgraded to receive and serve all kinds of giant aircraft. except for the Airbus 380.
Egypt is upgrading its airports, especially in tourist destinations: Luxor, Aswan, Sharm el-Sheikh, and Hurghada. Luxor International Airport’s capacity is now 7 million passengers a year.

He didn’t stay very long and didn’t leave the airport area I tried to get there and see him but unless you were some kind of official or had an airplane ticket there was no chance of getting close. He came once before when they inaugrated the Luxor Museum and reopened the tomb of Ramases I. Then he drove just outside my house and because we live there we were able to watch the cavalcade. We had to have policemen posted on our roof but they were the lucky ones as my father in law took them tea and there is a toilet on out roof terrace. The ones standing in the road must have stood there 5 or more hours in the blazing son.

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June 30th, 2005
1 week anniversary
Yesterday it was one week since my brother in law got married and guess what we had another party. He had been given a sheep as a wedding present and it had been killed and was cooked. The wedding video was back so that was playing and everyone popped in for dinner and a quick view of the video and of course to congratulate them. So what with the engagement, wedding and now this I make it 7 parties so far. They are totally different from Western ones, for a start there is no alcohol but there is a lot of dancing and fun.
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June 30th, 2005
Train to Abydos
I spoke to a couple who took the train to Abydos to see the temples there. They said it was very easy and very cheap under 100LE for 2 of them. When the train arrived at Abydos they had to get a police escort but it was simplicity itself and no one gave them a hard time. They got to spend 3 hours there instead of the normal hour and half if you go by convoy. They got a taxi from the train station to the site no problems, altogether it was a great trip and they recommended it. They felt that the tour compnaies put you off doing it independently because they make so much money out the trips and to reassure everyone that it is easy to do.
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June 29th, 2005
More discoveries
Ok not strictly Luxor but yet another discovery Statue Found. I think this and the recent discovery of Neferhotep in Karank temple give some indication of the wealthy of discoveries still to be made. Some people estimate that only 5% has been discovered and there is much more lurking under the surface. The fact that this recent discovery was in a tomb excavated in the 1980’s, that Neferhotep was found in Karnak one of the most researched sites and the fascinating story being discovered in KV5; all sites that you would have thought had been exhausted. In the hillside at Abu DraNaga they have just found their second mudbrick pyramid and who knows what else will be found.
Even Tutankamun back in the 1920’s was found in an area that previous archeologists had said was exhausted. The climate of Egypt lends itself to preserving these monuments, especially in Upper Egypt which is incredibly dry. It makes Egyptology so fascinating to know that any time you might unearth some new fascinating discovery that will enlighten us further.

I know when we were digging the foundations for our flats and excavating the swimming pool I kept hoping we would find something. when I mentioned this to my husband he pointed out how stupid I was as this would mean we would lose the land and never be able to build or do anything. But secretly I would have still liked to discover a roll of paypyrus that explained some of the unanswered questions and got known as the Akshar Paypyrus

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June 28th, 2005
Tutankamun 88 years ago
With Tutankamun very much in the news at the moment as a consequence of his American tour you might find this story interesting Al Haram Tut 88 years ago. Jil Kamil describes the sensation the discoery of the tomb caused at the time and the politics behind the scenes that prevented Carter from clearing the tomb for so many years.
A side note about Jil Kamil she has written a couple of really good guide books, I have her one on Luxor which is nice and small to carry around and has all the details you need.

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June 25th, 2005
Refurbishment at the Movenpick
The Movenpick is now full open for business having had a total refurbishment of all its common areas from last season. It was looking a little tired so this was a well needed upgrade. An additional new swimming pool area has been opened which separates families and kids from the more serious sun worshippers who want peace and quiet. The zoo has been moved to new more spacious quarters in a shady part of the garden area. The terrace restaurant has been made into one eating area but I am glad to report the ice cream is just as good. The receptions area and internal restaurant have all been redone and the toilets are sparkling clean. There is a new shop and the library has been totally reorganised. Altogether a smart and impressive refurbishment.
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June 23rd, 2005
Henna Tattoos
These are a popular thing, especially for tourists and are very decorative. One thing to make sure of is that the full process is done otherwise it fades in a couple of days.
Firstly the henna should be applied, this is done pretty much like icing a cake and the patterns are wonderful. This is allowed to dry. Now some artists stop at this point but there should be more.

The dried henna is washed off and a chemical is then applied. The woman that did me called this oxygen so sorry I don’t know the real name but this makes the light brown markings turn black. She then cleans it with lemon juice and finlaly oil is rubbed in. Doing it this way should make sure it last for at least two weeks, enough time to get back of your holiday and show it off to all your friends.

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June 21st, 2005
Luxor Village Wedding
You are going to have to forgive if my blog is a little sparse over the next few days as my brother in law is getting married and we are all frantically busy. He has been engaged for about 2 years and last week they signed the contract at the mosque. This week we have 4 days of partying. The custom is that the groom buys the flat and furniture and the bride buys the furnishings and contents.
Last night all the stuff she had bought was moved into the flat followed by a party, tonight is the henna night where all the women get together and are decorated with henna followed by another party. Tomorrow is the wedding, what we do on the West Bank is the groom goes and collects the bride and drives her to her new home. But this drive has become an edition of Wacky Races and a whole procession of cars drives wildly around the entire West Bank going past all the monuments which are floodlit at night. It is mad, crazy and totally fun. Then they arrive at the new marital home and there is another party. The next morning there is another get together, in olden days this was when evidence of the wedding night was displayed but now it is just an excuse for guess what, another party. So four days of partying and you have to have a different outfit for each one!!!!!

This is what happens in the villages and I am looking forward to read about our Cairo Wedding Blogger Diaa to find the differences there are. And if you ever get invited to a Luxor wedding make sure you go on the drive as it is a unique opportunity to see the monuments floodlit. The Ramasseum looks particularly wonderful.

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June 20th, 2005
Old Photo’s
Someone sent me the link to this site which has some wonderful old photos of Luxor.
If anyone is interested in these they might also like to visit Aboudy’s Bookshop just by the Winter Palace when they are in Luxor as they have a range of old photo’s and posters. We bought a load when we were furnishing our flats and it is very interesting to see the changes that have occured since they were taken. It is a variation on the David Robert’s prints.

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June 19th, 2005
Egyptian Marathon Feb 2006
The Egyptian Marathon is going to be staged in Luxor next year. Here is a link to the websiteEgyptian Marathon and this is an extract from the front page.
Dear visitors :
We have the pleasure of introducing the International Egyptian Marathon & the 100 km Pharaonic Race,This Year as We celebrate its 12th anniversary Marathon 4th 100km Pharaonic Race. The 13th Egyptian Marathon will be taking place at Luxor City on February 17th 2006, the 5th 100Km Pharaonic Race will be taking place at Cairo City on 18th November 2005. The Marathon is an international event with over 36 nationalities participating and it is the only A I M S (Association of international Marathons and Road Races) certified Marathon in the country

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June 18th, 2005
Discoveries at Karnak
Here is a link to great article in Al-Haram detailing all the recent discoveries at Karnak. Karnak Discoveries. Many of these have been presented in the lectures at the Mummification Museum by the Franco/Egyptian team working there.
Of particular interest is the work at the open air museum. Many visitors to Karnak do not go to this part of the temple as the tours do not give them time. So if you are going there independently make sure you visit it. If you follow the signs for the toilet in the first court and go past the toilet block you will come to a additional ticket office for the Open Air Museum. You go past a large area with various blocks laid out on stone platforms and then come to various reconstructions of chapels that have been carved up by subsequent Pharoahs and recontrusted by archeologists working in the temple.

I have been watching the work on Tutmosis IV temple over the last year and it fascinating to see it being slowly put back together. There is an old man working there and he has been given some line drawings of what the columns should look like and he goes round look for matching blocks. He seems to have an uncanny eye at spotting them. He then removes the recontrusted concrete and puts the block in place.

This area of the temple is often deserted and well worth a visit.

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June 16th, 2005
Neferhotep problems
The discovery of the statue of Neferhotep is causing big problems in the Egyptology world. The issue is that the statue is located underneath a portico and the foundations of the obelisk of Hatshepsut. Opinion is divided as to whether moving it is a good idea or not. The full story is here Al Haram Neferhotep
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June 16th, 2005
Three new balloon companies
Apparently three new balloon companies are going to be opening in Luxor and there are rumours of a price war. Whilst this might sound like good news do remember that when selecting your balloon company, quality should be a big factor. Cut price fares can mean cut price safety and this is one area you want to be really sure you are in good hands. Ask about the safety record, how long they have been operating, where are their pilots trained and what insurance the company carries. A reputable company will welcome queries like this and be glad to supply the information.
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June 15th, 2005
Ramasseum and Christian le Blanc
Going round the Ramasseum yesterday I was exploring the area of the magazines. Luxor is super quiet at the moment so the guardians are bored enough to take you round some of the cordoned of areas. In one of the magazines there was a bread baking stove. It is about 18 inches in diameter, with a flat surface and underneath is where the fire would have burned. The guardians swore it was Nefertari’s kitchen. Somehow I can not imagine her actually baking Rameses breakfast bread but it was a nice story. Nearby there was plenty of evidence of the work Christian Le Blanc’s team are doing there including various blocks being pieced together like a giant jigsaw puzzle. I had mixed feelings about this because one of the charms of the Ramasseum for me is its rather derelict condition with plants growing in the middle of the first court and pieces of masonry and statuary lying around. Still it was very interesting to see the teams work.
Christian Le Blanc did a lecture at the Mummification museum just 2 weeks ago. Sadly for me it was in French and I never really got beyond Bonjour. I was told that, to be an Egyptologist, you have to speak and read English, French, German and Arabic as so many site publications are in one of those languages. Certainly it was bitterly disappointing to not be able to understand the lecture. This was one of the final ones in a series that has been going on since Nov last year. Every Saturday night at 7pm we were treated to the latest discoveries in the field of one of the many teams working here. It was such a privilege so see so many distinguished archaeologists lecturing. This was the second series of lectures and Inshahallah (God Willing) they will carry on next season. The digging season in Luxor is autumn to spring as the summer months are too hot. So the teams leave from March onwards. I shall defiantly report on the next series of lectures as I am sure this will be of interest.

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June 13th, 2005
New Airport at Luxor
A few weeks ago the new airport opened at Luxor and it is such an improvement. I have heard from passengers that inside it is clean, bright and more organised. Certainly from my own experience meeting guests they seems to come through more quickly and some of the bottle necks that used to occur have been ironed out. The buildings themselves look really nice and the air conditioning seems efficient judging from my position outside. Yes that is still the case if you are being met by friends, relatives or small operations like myself we have stay outside. It is a good job it doesn’t rain here!!! They are now doing up the approaches to the buildings and there should be a new road soon, at the moment you go along a bumpy side road. So traveling by air to Luxor is going to be a much nicer experience.
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June 12th, 2005
Hawass and Soueif
Not strictly Luxor but I reckon I can cheat until more blogs come online. Here are a couple of news items from this weekend. An interview with Dr Hawass
Hawass Interview and a profile of Adhaf Soueif Profile of Soueif
Adhaf Soueif is one of my favourite Arabic authors and writes wonderful literature about Egypt. I find her books mixing as they do politics, history and a love story very educational about Egyptian history and attitudes. If you want to learn more about the country and like a good read she is excellent.

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June 9th, 2005
Cycle like an Egyptian
Between October 30th and Nov 6th there will be a cycle marathon, Women for Women, going on in Egypt. Starting at Esna and going along the Nile, it finishes at the Valley of Kings, Luxor. This link Welsh Local News tells how a British woman, Janet Ralph from Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan, Abergele, Wales is taking part in order to raise money to improve the health of women and babies. This is the first I have heard of it and wondered if there are any Tour Egypt ladies taking part. If so you can be sure of a royal welcome at my house when you finish as the Valley of the Kings is just up the road. And please let me know and I will put up your details to help with your sponsorship.
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June 7th, 2005
Makeover on the West Bank part 2
Here is something you might like to try in Luxor, a traditional shave. This is not merely limited to a shave but includes the removal of all the hair on your face. They do this by twisting thread and then using a sort of scissor action to capture and rip out the hairs. The actual shave is done with a cut throat razor. But still they haven’t finished as both ears and nostrils are also denuded. Finally they finish with a cooling face mask. Your skin afterwards is as smooth as can be. There is also a version for the ladies, where again the hair is removed with the thread and then the eyebrows plucked. I tried this out for the first time the other day. I have to admit that whilst it was a bit painful the results are wonderful. I am really pleased with my new look and shall be going back. You can expect to pay between 20LE and 50LE for this. You can also try the Egyptian form of waxing where they use a mixture of sugar, water and lemon juice to get a kind of toffee and use that to wax their legs. It is just as successful as wax and just as painful.
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June 7th, 2005
Makeover on the West Bank
There has been a big effort just recently to smarten up the houses and streets on the West Bank, yes we are getting pavements and the houses are being coloured a sort of reddish terracotta. The roundabouts are getting flowers and there are preparations for some big signposts. This is part of a initiative by El-Gihaz El-Qawmy lel Tanseeq El-Hadary (literally: The National Authority for Coordinating Civilization) and was inaugurated by Suzanne Mubarak.
Following on from that my useful neighbour, the Chief Inspector has been giving me some other interesting information. Apparently there was a meeting of the City Council and they are talking about doing up the West Bank along the Nile. I must admit I was horrified because I love the unspoilt nature of the West Bank but he said the idea was to do it like Qena. Now that is a lovely town, you drive through it on the way to Abydos, and it is certainly most attractive. The proposal is to make a nice area for strolling along and sitting looking at the view. Well as long as they don’t spoil the West Bank, fingers crossed.

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June 7th, 2005
Egyptian Holiday Adverts
I have heard that the emphasis on advertising is about to shift. The promotion of the Red Sea has been very successful but now the historical sites are going to get more of a plug. About time I think as loads of tourists are coming here and not bothering with the sites. That is such a shame because they are so interesting and enjoyable. So hopefully we will see more tourists in Luxor looking at mortuary temples rather than divers looking at coral
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June 6th, 2005
Sailing on the Nile
I had a lovely day out today on a dahabiyya (I think that is how you spell it). It is a sailing boat for cruising the Nile but with cabin, toilets and comfort. The deck is huge and covered with an awning; they also have side curtains that protect you from the sun. There are areas for sun worshipers but I am not one of them. Although it is very hot in Luxor at the moment it seemed quite cool as we went along the Nile. Downstairs there is a lounge area, kitchen and staff quarters. There were 6 cabins with twin beds and en-suite facilities and one large double at the front of the boat. So it comfortably sleeps 14 guests as well as the crew
Lots of people do the cruise by felucca and I must admit that has always appealed to me above the motorised cruise boats but the lack of creature comforts has put me off. But this boat was more like it. In her book Death on the Nile, Agatha Christie talks about a dahabiyya and I must admit I did feel like a 1920’s archaeologist as we drifted along. Especially when we landed at Crocodile Island for ice cream and the guests were run up to take a photo of the boat. Gosh the ice cream at the Movenpick is to die for, I just love it. I had a Carmelita but my daughter is a fan of tete a tete 9 scoops of ice-cream, fruit, cream, etc. It is one to share but today she was out of luck and had to make do with a banana split.

There is another type of sailing boat called a sandal which is smaller but also has proper cabins and toilet facilities and it sleeps 8 people. So there are three sailing alternatives when cruising the Nile; the dahabiyya, the sandal and the felucca.

Posted by Jane: - 9:41 pm - Edit| 4 Comments »
June 6th, 2005
Nefertari, Neferhotep and KFC
When Jimmy suggested this blog I was wondering if there would be enough news to fill it. Suddenly I am getting all sorts of information I can pass on. Let’s hope it will continue.
Firstly and lets get the bad news over with, Nefertari. I asked one of my neighbours who is the Chief Inspector at Karnak when Nefertari would open again. He said he did not think it would ever open to the general public again. The damage that even the limited number of visitors did was too great. Apparently you can organise groups of 20 people if they are prepared to pay and get a special permit to take the group there. But it costs, boy does it cost, 20,000 LE for the group, which is about £95 GBP per person or $180 USD.

Now some good news, the French team working at Karnak has discovered a new statue from the Middle Kingdom. It is of Neferhotep and quite rare as he is embracing a double of himself. The full story is here on Yahoo.

This is really exciting as there is little remaining from the Middle Kingdom at Karnak. Looking at the photo this looks a particularly fine example of statuary.

And lastly some non cultural news. KFC and Pizza Hut are coming to Luxor. We have MacDonald’s and this is our only fast food place. Whilst I think tourists coming to Egypt should try the local food, and there are some great restaurants, if you are living here with a teenage daughter as I am, fast food is a must. The rumours are that these two places are going to be by the Sheraton hotel and you can be sure we will be there on opening day.

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June 3rd, 2005
Al Ahram news stories
Al Ahram is a newspaper published in English which you can buy in Egypt. It often has some very interesting stories in it about the history and about local news. It also has an internet site which is nice for people outside of Egypt. Al Ahram News. This week they have published 2 stories about discoveries in Upper Egypt, one is a huge necropolis near Edfu from pre dynastic times which they are expecting to reveal all sorts of information about the period of time loosely described as Naqada era and the other is about a seaport near Hurghada which has evidence of sea trade with Punt going back to the 5th dynasty. You can read both these stories here Al Ahram Heritage News
I was especially interested in the Punt story as often guides, guide books and of course Hatshepsut herself made out that she was the only person ever to have made it to Punt. A bit like how they make out she was the only female pharaoh. With trade going on since the 5th dynasty that means there was at least 1000 years of trade before her expedition. Puts it into perspective doesn’t it.

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June 2nd, 2005
BBC in Luxor
Last month we had the BBC (British public TV) in Luxor for several weeks whilst they shot a 6 part docu/drama series. It is going to be on three Egytologists and their associated most famous Ancient Egyptian. The series is Belzonni; Howard Carter and Tutankamun; Champollian and Cleopatra. I can’t remember the Egyptian associated with Belzoni as he did so much work all over the place it might be anyone. The series is coming out on BBC TV 20th September and I am sure it will be sold on world wide.
Last year we had the First Descent of Nile team coming through Egypt and their film came out recently. I haven’t seen it but I am sure it is spectacular.

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June 2nd, 2005
Luxor News
Wlecome to the Luxor News Bog, Operated by Jane Akshar of Flats in Luxor.
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1 comment:

Unknown said...

An interesting article.