Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Conference in Luxor this weekend open to the public

In Search for New Concepts and Technologies for Conservation and Preservation of the Colossi of Memnon & The Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III

To be held at LUXOR MUSEUM.
On Saturday 3rd March the public lectures will be 10am until 5pm with a lunch break 2 - 3pm. These will be opened by HE Mohamed Ibrahim Ali, Minister of State for Antiquities (MSA)
On Sunday 4th March the public lectures will be from 3 - 5pm
On Monday 5th March the public lectures will be 10am to 5pm with a lunch break 12 - 3pm

The schedule for Saturday 3rd March may vary according to the Minister's Schedule. So watch this space for changes.

Having read the full list of speakers and topics, I think this is going to be very interesting.

via Barry Budd

Monday, 27 February 2012

EES Theban Harbours and Waterscapes Project

EES Theban Harbours and Waterscapes Project: The first season of EES Theban Harbours and Waterscapes Project (http://goo.gl/XFuBb) began in January 2011 but was cut short by the Egyptian revolution. The project director, Dr Angus Graham, and co will be returning to Luxor in mid-February 2012 and regular updates on their progress will appear on this page. To help support this project and others like it please visit http://tinyurl.com/6jwdouk

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Thursday, 23 February 2012

Egypt Property For Sale | Dahabeya for sale

Egypt Property For Sale | Dahabeya for sale: Back in 2000 Dr Kent Weeks bought a hundred year old boat wreck and lovingly restored it to become the Kingfisher dahabiya (alternative spelling dahabeya and dahabiyya).

The Kingfisher featured in the New York Times Great Homes. Now Dr Weeks is looking to scale down the amount of time he spends in Egypt and very reluctantly Kingfisher is for sale. This is a unique opportunity to buy a unique boat.
Offers in the region of £110,000 are invited.
Email info@egyptpropertyforsale.co.uk

The original dahabiyehs were modelled on Arab dhows and built between 1860 and 1905 especially for first-class sailing cruises on the Nile. The leading provider of such vessels was the Thomas Cook Company. Built for the Thomas Cook Company in about 1899, Kingfisher is one of only six original dahabiyehs , of 400 or 500 originally built, that is still sailing the Nile. She was one of the few to have her hull made of iron, not wood.

Kingfisher is 26.3 m. long, with a beam of 4.6 m. and a draft of 1.4 m. She was built to be a fast boat and a comfortable one, able to navigate in the shallow waters of the Nile shoreline and moor at off-the-beaten-path archaeological sites and traditional villages. Kingfisher was lovingly restored in 2000, and every effort was made to retain her original character and material without sacrificing modern comforts.

On the beautiful, open upper deck, a dining area can seat up to ten for dinner, and beyond an original skylight, a lounge area furnished with carpets and wicker furniture can seat up to six for drinks or relaxing and enjoying the scenery. The foredeck is large and open; originally, it provided space for six oarsmen to row the dahabiyeh should she be becalmed. Crew quarters lie below deck, and there is a crew’s toilet, electric and plumbing room and storage areas.

Steps and a double door lead to the interior. Along the boat’s center passageway, there are two single staterooms with ample storage, and a similarly-furnished, small double cabin. There is a full bathroom with tub, a fully-equipped galley, and a pantry and laundry room. Aft of these is a large saloon with six windows and the original skylight providing plentiful light and fresh air. The saloon is furnished with a dining table and chairs, wicker sofa, chairs and table, and plentiful bookcases. At the stern is a large double cabin with full en suite facilities, a large desk, closet, vanity, and lounge area.

In all, Kingfisher can sleep six, making her the perfect boat for a cruise with family or friends. Alternative you can live aboard in Luxor like Dr Weeks, using Kingfisher as a houseboat. Kingfisher is self-contained, with her own septic system, water purifying system, pumps, and 3 generators of 1kw 3kw and 6kw that provide power when not moored near city mains. Two sails, a 30m mast aft and a 20m mast forward, provide wind power, and a tug can be hired to tow the boat through the barrages along the Nile. The boat was fully inspected and re-licensed in 2012 (valid until April, 2017) and is ready to sail-away.

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The Karnak Cachette Project – Prof Laurent Coulon

If you want to look at this database online the link is http://www.ifao.egnet.net/bases/cachette/
His major work is excavating the Osiris Chapels of the 21st Dynasty but in 2008 started this project. Le Grain excavated the courtyard in from of the 7th pylon and found the first object 27th Dec 1903. They found 800 private, royal and divine statue; stele and cultic equipment and 16,000-17,000 bronze statues. Although the majority of the objects are in the Cairo museum there are one or two objects in a number of museums all over the world. Sadly the discovery was not published and the excavation poorly recorded. Le Grains diaries and the register have been lost. Only partial records exist, like other diaries, letters and the entry dockets of the Cairo Museum.
In 2009 the database was made freely available online although the inventory is still unfinished. For example Hassam Selim found some fragments in the basement whose provenance is unknown that could have been part of the Cachette. There are 8000 photos online and between 2008-2010 400 objects were photographed. A 70’s collection of Late Egyptian sculpture was scanned. All this allows people to work but still the entire cachette is unpublished.
Version 3 of the database is being prepared which will allow more searches. Then searches can be done of all priests of a certain divinity, all priests of a certain name. Some examples High Ranking Priests who assume the role of the King like SR218 and E20358 (Louvre).
There are a lot of stone statues of Osiris which fits in with his research of the importance of Osiris. A high number of priests holding Osiris, at this time there were over a dozen chapels to Osiris all over Karnak.
There are a lot of bronze statues approximately 17,000 in 1906 examples JE36751 was originally gilded JE37031 ‘master of light’ was probably in a chapel but we don’t know which one.
There are several chapels with names like Osiris the inundation, Osiris the Great Green, Osiris pa Hapy, there is a statue in Copenhagen with the same name AEIN72. Osiris the master of Life, Osiris Master of Food and Osiris Eternal. All from 25th and 26th dynasty. BM713 is a statue base that was purchased in 1906 with no provenance and could well have come from the Cachette. Osiris Pa Hapy was venerated by the 25th dynasty and the Eternity chapel was probably built on top of a previous chapel. JE36751 Wadj-wer Je37010 E3952 JE49155 E10706 established the connection between Osiris and the flood the same as Happy. The celebration of the inundation took place at Karnak. The temples and the statues together are proving very useful.

In 2004 the scarce excavation photographs were published by M. Azim et G. Réveillac, these are snapshots by tourists not proper excavation photos, mainly from the early seasons. Angela Reid is going to publish the visit of Lady William Cecil 21/1/1904. There were three statues found on this day. 9 photos were taken 29/2/1904. Using the database they hope to identify the statues in these photos. Also letters from the time tell us some of the story.
Legrain had water table problems and had to use pumps and shadufs to remove the water. 28 shadufs operated by 56 men could remove 92,000 litres of water an hour. They excavated to a depth of 15m, there is a photo from 1906 taken by Frank Baum the author of the wizard of Oz. The pit was 5 m diameter and located in the n/w corner. There was a mixture of New Kingdom and 30th dynasty objects buried together. It is believed the cachette was created at one time in the last decades of the 1st millennium to protect the treasures of Karnak and this was ritual deposit. Flat stones were put on the top of the cachette. They need to analyse all caches to understand it better.

The cachette was re-excavated in 1955-1957 and they found additional statues and there may be more fragments closer to the walls but it would be hard work to recover than for small benefit. The walls need to be protected.
The cache was made by native Egyptian priests, for a ritual purpose and the date is debated.
The fact that there were no Roman statues does not necessarily mean it was not done after this time as few Roman statues were made.

Next week is the Osiris chapels Jeremy Hourdin

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


Definately one to add to my wish list. This temple is visible from the road, next door to Merenptah. University of Arizona Bookstore : WILKINSON / THE TEMPLE OF TAUSRET: WILKINSON / THE TEMPLE OF TAUSRET

The Temple of Tausret summarizes the University of Arizona Egyptian Expedition’s excavation of the monument built by Queen Tausret, one of the few women to rule ancient Egypt as pharaoh in all the thousands of years of Egyptian history. This project, conducted between 2004-2011, not only demonstrated that the temple site was only partially excavated in the nineteenth century by the great British archaeologist, Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, but also that the belief that the temple was unfinished in ancient times is unfounded. The book looks at the often surprising evidence the Arizona excavations have recovered regarding both the history of the temple and the reign of this little known female pharaoh. Individual chapters cover all aspects of the excavation, as well as the artifacts, pottery, burials, human remains, and inscriptions discovered. The book includes over one hundred illustrations and a CD ROM with every map, plan and photograph from the book, allowing the reader to view the illustrations at a much larger size and all in full color.

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Monday, 20 February 2012

New Colossus of Memnon

Lots on the news about the new colossus being assembled at the Amenhotep III temple so as I was driving past I took some photos on my mobile.

Although almost every tourist goes to the Colossus of Memnon few notice the extensive work going on behind the two statues. So if you go past please have a look, you will be surprised.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Old Books

I was talking with Michael on the roof about old books in our collection and how at one and the same time they show how Egyptology has moved on as a science and how much we have lost.

Sir J Gardener Wilkinson – The Ancient Egyptians : Their Life and Customs 1836
There are many pictures of inscriptions and tombs that are now lost to us, some for every. Indeed this early record is sometimes the only one of significant monuments. Read what he has to say about Akhenaton, practically unknown at this time. After talking about the ‘shepard Kings’ Hyskos he says

“Towards the latter end of this dynasty, some “Stranger kings” obtained the sceptre, probably by right of marriage with the royal family of Egypt; and Egypt again groaned under a hateful tyranny. They even introduced very heretical changes into the religion, they expelled the favourite God Amun from the Pantheon, and introduced a Sun worship unknown in Egypt’ Their rule was not of very long duration; and having expelled, their monuments, as well as every record of them, were purposely defaced.” Pg 308

In 1897 if you did a package holiday with Thomas Cook you were given a beautifully bound “The Nile - Notes for Travellers in Egypt” by Wallis Budge! A fantastic snapshot of Egyptian history at that time. With king lists, history, places and Egypt of that time this is also a valuable reference both of the times but honestly with very little updating valuable for today’s travellers. According to this there are 40 tombs in the valley of kings. In the historical summary pg 14 the period gets a little more about it “Amen-hetep IV, or Chu-en-Aten (“brilliance, or glory of the solar disk”), the founder of the city of Chupaten, the ruins of which are called Tell el-Amarna, and of the heresy of the disk worshippers. He was succeeded a few kings who held the same religious opinions as himself.”

Then one of my books in 1908 Ethel Hayman was awarded a book on Egypt or Typewriting by the London County Council. The Story of the Nations – Egypt by George Rawlinson. The Amarna period gets a whole chapter by now but the successors are not even mentioned by name. “The peculiar views of Khuen-Aten, or Amenhotep IV, were maintained by the two or three succeeding kings, who had short and disturb reigns”.

So next time you are buying your umpteenth book on Tutankhamen, Ay, Horemheb, Smenkhare, Akhenaton just remember how much we have learnt about these people as Egyptology has advanced and raise a glass to the Egyptologists of the past who recorded what they knew and saw and left us with a great legacy.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

KV64 and University of Basel Kings Valley Project

University of Basel Kings Valley Project – Suzanne Bickel

As this was the very first lecture about the newly discovered tomb KV64 the room was completely full but Suzanne teased us just a little bit by putting it in context with all the work they have done.

The team are working on the undecorated non royal tombs in the wadi of KV34, originally 10 now 11 with KV64. The focal point of this valley is the tomb of Tuthmosis III KV34, he was a major pioneer of the entire area. The tombs are starting from the beginning of the wadi to KV33 and going back to the entrance again. (if you look on the Theban Mapping Project you can see the layout).
• kV61
• KV29
• KV40
• KV64
• KV26
• KV59
• KV37
• KV33
• KV32
• KV31
• KV30
The royal tombs KV42 and KV34 are in that wadi as well. They wanted to look at who had the privilege to be buried next to the king, was there any meaning in location, the architecture of the tombs etc

The team first started with KV47 Siptah and the fact it broke in to KV32. It was a building accident that occurred 200 years after KV32 had been created. KV32 is Tija the mother of Tuthmosis IV. The debris in the tomb identified her.

Their start point was the Theban Mapping Project http://www.thebanmappingproject.com on that some of their tombs are mapped and some are just indicated as holes filled with debris. However debris can be vital giving clues to the owner. KV29, 31, 40 and 59 are only indicated not mapped. Others like KV26 were mapped but have now been updated with more correct information.

This has a 6m deep shaft, corridor, chamber and contained one single anonymous burial. The pottery indicates it is from the 18th dynasty Tuthmosiside period. There were several large jars.

Architectural marks are still visible and apart from a few small fragments had been totally cleared. As part of the site management after doing their work they built a small surrounding wall and installed iron doors at both KV26 and KV30. This provides security, stops the tomb refilling with debris and protects it from flood damage.

This needed to be relocated as it had been described by Elizabeth Thomas in her book The Royal Necropoleis of Thebes, 1966. It took 2 seasons to relocate it, it is very small shaft with a single room similar to KV36 and KV64. There were several layers of water debris but not a single object was found indicating either that it was never used or had been cleared.

The TMP says it is a pit but excavating revealed a shaft tomb with a central room with 2 ancillary rooms. It had never been flooded but had been opened. It is from 18th dynasty. They found pots and seals impressions including the necropolis seal. There was an unusual seal which she would welcome information on from colleagues that had a goose, bee and god, this Geb seal is unknown and she would welcome any further information. The side chambers showed signs of severe looting with 4 mummy fragments, lots of bandages and 40 jars. As KV26 had 13 jars for one person so it seems that there were 10 per person in this tomb. From the pottery it would seem to be 18 dynasty. There seems to be lots missing as you would expect 16 canopic jars and ushabties. They did find fragments of one canopic jar but much to their disappointment the name was missing, it seems to have been a prepared jar which is new in Egyptology and the name of the person was never inserted. There were intrusive finds form 20th dynasty ostracha and linen with Ramses III name.

Was noted on the TMP as existing but with no plan, they found a shaft, corridor and a large room with 3 lateral rooms. There were traces of fire and it was looted in the 19th contrary. There was cartonage from the third intermediate period. It is a big tomb from the 18th dynasty. There were furniture tags from Tuthmosis IV and Amenhotep III.

This is up the cliff next to KV34, found in 1898 by Victor Loret. A 1902 Baedeker described it as not interesting with 2 empty rooms. It is not a shaft tomb but has 10 steps and actually 3 rooms very well carved. It was full of debris 4m depth and 5.30 width.

As they cleared the area around KV40 for the site management, wall building etc they found immediately next to the KV40 the top of a shaft. They had no idea what was at the bottom, something or nothing and it was found on 25th January 2011 so all they could do was cover it with an iron door until things stabilised. The size was only 96cm by 1.30m so it did not seem significant. However as they started excavating they found the shaft bock stones still in place. Part of the original blocking to the entrance was also there which were 18th dynasty in style but it had been rob in the 20/21 dynasty, partially filled and then used for a secondary burial. The stele was orientated to her face; she had no grave goods or pots and is 22 dynasty. It was a 3.5m deep shaft with a 4x2.30 chamber. She was a singer of Amun and her father Naktefhotep(I am not sure this is right as it wasn’t on a slide and only came up in the Q & A) was ‘opener of the sky’. She is not one of the already identified ladies with the same name but a lot more work is needed on her genealogy. The coffin has been removed and needs to be restored it is black with yellow glyphs. She was 1.55 long and nicely wrapped. She is stuck in the coffin with resin. Her name was on the back of the stele and on the front it shows her in front of a composite god Re Horakty, Atum and Sokar

Friday, 10 February 2012

Start of Season Three « iMalqata

The team at Malqata are back for a one month season with a daily blog. Start of Season Three « iMalqata: - Sent using Google Toolbar

Thursday, 9 February 2012

1st Luxor African Film Fest

1st Luxor African Film Fest: You are in : Editorial News > Africa » 1st Luxor African Film Fest

Hans-Christian Mahnke

The inaugural Luxor African Film Festival will take place from 21 to 28 February in the city of Luxor, Egypt.

Luxor is described as the "Biggest Open Museum of the World, since it contains a large share of the world's historical monuments, including the temples of Thebes, Luxor, Karnak, and lady pharaoh Hatchepsut. Luxor is also famous for the Valley of the Kings with the grave of the Boy-King Tutenchamun.

The festival’s mission is to support and encourage African film productions and partnerships between the countries of the continent through strengthening the humanitarian and political ties between the peoples of Africa in general and African artists in particular.

The Egyptian Embassy in Windhoek and AfricAvenir are proud to announce Hans-Christian Mahnke, chairperson of the Namibian section of AfricAvenir, has been invited as guest of honour to this festival. Moreover, AfricAvenir is the only non-Egyptian co-organiser of the festival.

AfricAvenir was instrumental in setting up this first edition of the festival. The contribution of AfricAvenir, an official partner to the festival, has been, amongst others, contacting filmmakers to submit their films, pre selecting of films, suggesting and making contacts to selection committees, jury members, and workshop participants. Furthermore,
AfricAvenir helped the festival organisers to establish contacts to key stakeholders within the African film industry, and the film media houses.
Besides Mahnke's attendance as special guest, Namibia will be further represented by two Namibian films from Perivi Katjavivi with his two short films "Love Is" and "Eembwiti".

Furthermore Namibia's cinematic presence will further be felt by the film "Captor and Captive", a documentary from South Africa, dealing with the story of Danger Ashipala and Johan van de Mescht.

The idea of the festival was conceived by Egyptian scriptwriter Sayed Fouad, who then associated the idea with the Independent Shabab Foundation (I-Shabab), an Egyptian NGO, which is the organiser of the festival. The team thought of Luxor to encourage decentralisation of cultural events to move a bit away from Cairo and Alexandria, which have several different festivals, and finally, to contribute to the promotion of tourism to the city of Luxor. The budget for the festival comes mostly from the Egyptian Government and the Luxor Governorate.

For further information please see the website: www.luxorafricanfilmfestival.com/

For enquiries please contact Hans-Christian Mahnke on cCell: 085-5630949 or email africavenir.whk@googlemail.com.

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Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Lost tomb of Amenhoptep - Dr Laurent Bavay

First I have some old blog posts about this and Dr Laurent did refer to his lecture of 2 years ago

Second they have a website http://crea.ulb.ac.be/Thebes.html which is in French; previously Jon Hirst of Osirisnet had translated their work so hopefully he might again. Also there are some great details on osirisnet eg http://www.osirisnet.net/tombes/nobles/sennefer/e_sennefer_03.htm

Thirdly the lecture
In 1999 the Belgium team started excavating TT29 Amenemope and TT96a Sennefer – Offering Chamber. Now 14 years later under Dr Laurent Bavay
TT29 Amenemope 1417-1401
TT96A Sennefer Prince of the City, director of the gardens and granaries of Amun. The burial chamber with the vines is the best known tomb but this is only part of the tomb. The upper chapel where the funerary cult took place was almost unknown, unpublished with no access. It was cleared in 1903 and Howard Carter made it into a magazine storage giving it a steel door. It is 4 m high T shaped with a 4 pillared chapel.

Its history
1815 Henry Salt
1818 Alessandro Rica (?) made a watercolour picture of the ‘Garden of Amun’ which is now very dusty and faded
1828/9 the Franco Tuscan expedition visited
It had been used as a stable as well as fires being lit inside. To groans from the audience he showed us the damage done by early Egyptologists who washed the walls to remove the soot and this action washed the soot into the gypsum. You can actually see the marks of the sponges.

He talked about TT29 2 years ago and now they excavated south of there. They excavated the modern house and made plans of it. It is important to document all periods of occupation. The house was built in the courtyard of an unknown tomb. T shaped and pillared, the wall painting had gone but the ceilings still exist. There has been removal or attempted removal of scenes and individual hieroglyphs. On the ceiling there are bands of text that give details of his name, family and titles although there is some Amarna damage.

Amenhotep Deputy Overseer of seals, his father was Ahmes and his wife was Renem whose father was Senneferi/Sennefer

This was not a new tomb but a lost tomb. It had been discovered in 1882-1883 by Karl Piehl, a Swede, who published it in 1886 with hand drawn inscriptions. When the inventory of tombs was made in 1905 it was already lost. But we did know about him.
He had a red granite false door which had been removed and was found at Karnak and published by Traunecker.
Funerary cones Davies & Macadam 374 had been found although previously they were thought to be fakes as the glyphs were so bad
The tomb of Seneferi TT99 excavated by Nigel Strudwick had a statue of Amenhotep in it more details http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/tt99/tomb_c3.html.

It was filled with debris and removal by dozens of basket men had been a feature of the Theban landscape recently. There is a long barrel shaped hall with an unfinished room at the end. Its decoration was probably stolen around 1850.
There are lots of mummy remains and they are getting help from a New York crime investigation team.
They have found a lintel in good condition and have nearly finished removing the debris and then will build a roof.

The courtyard
In the courtyard under the modern house they found a mud brick structure that covered a quarter of the courtyard about 8m long. I used alfalfa grass to bed down the mud brick. Another pace that used this technique is the pyramids at Dra Abu Naga so they have found a Ramaside pyramid. Evidence of gypsum plaster floor shows there was a chapel in the middle. They have found the feet of a statue and fired red bricks stamp with the name vizier Khay who was from the reign of Ramses II and is mentioned in lots of documents, in the Heb Sed and was in charge of Deir el Medina. His tomb is not known so has yet to be discovered and if in this area would be the first Ramaside tomb here but it does make sense as it overlooks the Ramasseum.

Next week was going to be Dr Laurent Coulon talking about the Karnak Cachette but is now going to be the latest from KV64!!!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Al-Ahram Weekly | Entertainment | Painting an African identity

Al-Ahram Weekly | Entertainment | Painting an African identity: Painting an African identity
The fourth Luxor International Painting Symposium brought together 10 Egyptian artists and 15 from other parts of Africa. Venus Fouad writes from Luxor

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Friday, 3 February 2012

Shame on the BBC

At the bottom of a story about the Egyptian football disaster there is a request for personal stories

“Are you in Cairo? Have you witnessed the clashes? Please send us your stories using the form below.”. Whatever happened to impartial factual reporting at the BBC. Shame on the BBC

This loaded question is more worthy of the Sun or Fox news. I would have expected the BBC to ask ‘Are you in Egypt? What are you witnessing?’ but that won’t get them the sensationalist stories they publish these days. Shame on the BBC.

It makes me weep. In the meantime in my beloved adopted city of Luxor nothing is happening, the few tourists that are here are having a fantastic time enjoying empty sites whilst Egyptians are literally starving because the huge numbers we normally have at this time of year have deserted the city leaving us without work. There is no alternative way of earning a living in Luxor. Shame on you BBC ripping the bread out of the mouths of these people with your sensational stories.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Object Biography #2: A label of King Djer (Acc. no. 6763a) « Egypt at the Manchester Museum

I am just loving this blog from the new curator at Manchester Museum. He is going through the collection object by object giving ALL the details about it. Fab Object Biography #2: A label of King Djer (Acc. no. 6763a) « Egypt at the Manchester Museum: - Sent using Google Toolbar