Sunday, 27 December 2015

Happy New Year

Just got sent the nicest New Year card from Hourig so I thought I would share it

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

King Tut's Beard Is Back, With Help From a Little Beeswax

Picture of a conservator working on the restoration of King Tutankhamun's maskKing Tut's Beard Is Back, With Help From a Little Beeswax: Concern over Tut's beard dates back to 1922, when Tutankhamun's tomb was discovered. “The study of the mask showed that its beard was detached and was not fixed back till 1946” says Christian Eckmann—the German expert who lead the mask’s restoration team—in a press conference that unveiled the mask after restoration. Eckmann is a conservator with a specialization in glass and metal, the two main components of the golden mask. He had previously restored and conserved several Egyptian artifacts, notably the two copper statues of King Pepi I, and the golden head of Horus.

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“The 2014 damage was exaggerated, since the beard was previously detached as the examination showed," says Friederike Fless, the president of the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo, one of the German and Egyptian bodies that cooperated in the restoration process.

Sun illuminates sanctuary of Egypt's ancient Karnak Temple - Politics - Egypt - Ahram Online

Sun illuminates sanctuary of Egypt's ancient Karnak Temple - Politics - Egypt - Ahram Online: A shaft of sunlight illuminated on Tuesday the usually dark sanctum of the Karnak temple, an ancient complex in the southern city of Luxor, in a rare astronomical phenomenon that happens twice a year.

Around 1500 tourists gathered to watch the spectacle that has endured for thousands of years of Egyptian history.

Photos showed a golden beam of light piercing the centre of the avenue of Sphinxes that lead to the Temple of Amun at the Karnak temple, one of the most popular sites from the Pharaonic era.

Karnak temple

Thursday, 17 December 2015

(1) Ministry of Antiquities Press Office - more on the mask plus lots of photos.

(1) Ministry of Antiquities Press Office... - Ministry of Antiquities

From Facebook

A new discovery in the Golden Mask of King Tut

A huge press conference was held yesterday at the Egyptian Museum to
announce the results of the restoration process of King Tutankhamun' s
famous Mask. Antiquities Minister Dr. Mamdouh Eldamaty who is also the
head of the scientific team responsible for restoring the Mask after a
false restoration last August declared that the Mask will be on display
starting from today 17-12-2015 in its original place in the Museum.

The restoration process revealed, added Eldamaty, a new archaeological
discovery related to the original technique used in manufacturing the
Mask; a gold tube was found inside the royal beard that was used to
install it in the Mask. Another secret was also revealed; the original
material used to fix the royal beard into the mask was the beeswax, the
same material used in this process.

Eldamaty also added that a
scientific study is being prepared now and a book will be published soon
tackling the whole restoration process and the detailed scientific
studies related to the Golden Pharaoh's masterpiece.

In his
presentation, professor Christian Ekmann, head of the scientific German
team has displayed the mechanical technique used in removing the resin
used in the false restoration saying that wooden tools were used in
order not to scratch the gold mask. He also emphasized that no chemical
solvents were used to remove the "epoxy" and separate the royal beard
from the Mask. Then the beard was refastened using beeswax, the same
material used by ancient Egyptians, so that it will be easy to remove in
the future.

© Ministry of Antiquities, Press Office
Wrote Eman Hossni

Tomb of Tutankhamun’s wet nurse to be open to public | Egypt Independent


Tomb of Tutankhamun’s wet nurse to be open to public | Egypt Independent: Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damati will open the tomb of Maya, King Tutankhamun's wet nurse, to the public for the first time on Sunday since it was discovered in 1996 at Saqqara.

“This comes in conjunction with the examination of Tutankhamun’s tomb in Luxor, which may shed more light on the king’s secrets,” the minister said, adding that more archaeological sites will be open to the public in order to encourage tourism.

Smuggled Ancient Wall Carving Returned to Egypt - Yahoo News

Smuggled Ancient Wall Carving Returned to Egypt - Yahoo News

From a Seti I temple, I wonder if it is a Luxor one

Repaired King Tut Mask Back on Display in Egypt - The New York Times

 It might have been a disaster but actually it gave an opportunity for further study.

Repaired King Tut Mask Back on Display in Egypt - The New York Times: Luckily, the damage appears to have been reversible after all.

Egypt’s antiquities minister, Mamdouh el-Damaty, told reporters on Wednesday that the mask was repaired by a joint German-Egyptian team that studied the best ways to remove the epoxy and reattach the beard.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Proyecto Djehuty . Excavación en Egipto

The official website of the Spanish Mission working at
Dra Abu el-Naga, led by Dr. Jose M. Galán (Spanish National Research Council,
Madrid), has been entirely redesigned and updated.
The new format adapts itself to different devices
(computer, tablet or cell-phone). The so-called "Djehuty Project"
shares plenty of photos, videos, articles... You can find the summary of each
campaign also in English and Arabic. We invite you to browse through it… and
don't miss the Digging-Diary.

via EEF

Proyecto Djehuty . Excavación en Egipto

Winter Solistice at Karnak 22nd Dec

Monday, 14 December 2015

Reeves-determined-to-prove-his-theory - Al-Ahram Weekly

After three days of radar investigation to test his theory locating
Queen Nefertiti’s crypt inside Tutankhamun’s tomb, Nicholas Reeves was
standing next to Tutankhamun’s mummy. He wandered over, exhausted but

Reeves-determined-to-prove-his-theory - Al-Ahram Weekly

Reeves determined to prove his theory

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Eternal Thebes part 2

From Myriam's facebook page

"Thebes eternal", An exhibition at the Luxor Museum that displays objects of great value discovered in the temple of millions of years of Thutmose III.

The inauguration ceremony has counted with the presence of dr. Elham salah el din, director of the museums department of the ministry of Egyptian Antiquities, Dr. Mahmoud Afifi, director of the department of Antiquities of the pharaohs, Dr. Sultan Eid, territorial director of Antiquities of Luxor, Dr. Sanaa Ahmed Ali, director of the museum of Luxor, and political authorities of the local level. The sample exhibits some of the most relevant special pieces until now found in the above-mentioned field.

I encourage everyone to visit this museum and enjoy the exposure to meet the discoveries of the project of excavation and restoration in the temple of Thutmose III

"Eternal Thebes"
During the 8 campaigns in the Temple of Millions of Years of Thutmosis III in the West Bank, the Spanish-Egyptian archaeological mission has undertaken important discoveries such as those of gold jewelry and other beautiful objects found in funerary assemblages, foundation deposits, parts of statues and of stelae, lintels and many fragments of sandstone and limestone which show beautiful reliefs, some of which with polychrome, and interesting inscriptions.

The exhibit, which opens to public on the 12th of December 2015 in the Luxor Museum, shows some of the most relevant masterpieces found until now.

Eternal Thebes at Luxor Museum

A new exhibition was inaugrated at Luxor mseum today. A group of artefacts from the excavations at the Tuthmosis III temple was put on temporary display. the website of  the dig is The dig director Dr Myriam Seco Alvarez explained that when they had come to the site in 2008 it was just buried under sand. Excavations revealed that the Memorial temple of Tuthmosis III was built on a large middle kingdom necropolis which had been robbed in antiquity. Part of the temple was still operational in Ramaside times under a priest called Khonsu. They had found many interesting objects and some of them were on display. We were allowed to take photos ( I did also grab some of the museum itself).

 Luxor museum is a great museum and well worth looking at, here are some shots on my way out

Even the view as you leave is wonderful

Monday, 7 December 2015

Saturday, 28 November 2015

’90 Percent Chance’ King Tutankhamun’s Tomb Holds a Hidden Chamber

’90 Percent Chance’ King Tutankhamun’s Tomb Holds a Hidden Chamber: Egypt’s Antiquities Minister | Egyptian Streets

My report from the press conference

The press conference opened with a short film showing the
radar scanning of the room with sponsorship of the National Geographic. Dr
Mandouh stressed the speed that things had happened from the announcement on
Oct 1st that an investigation would happen. The physical inspection
and presentation to Egyptian officials by Prof Reeves till today the results of
the raw data scan.

Dr Mamdouh al-Damaty, Dr Nicholas Reeves, Dr Hirokatsu

They tested the equipment inside KV5 (the sons of Ramses II)
and then in the known parts of the Tutankhamen tomb. The valley comprises of
different kind of rocks and condition of those rocks so it was important to get
a benchmark before the investigation begun. As KV5 is not open to the public
the test could be proved and the subsequent trial in Tutankhamen where the
antechamber/annex were tested. This proved the accuracy of the equipment.

Then the walls of the burial chamber of Tutankhamen were
test and  both the north and west walls showed positive results. The west results showed a void but the primary results from the north wall were so conclusive that conclusions could be drawn from the
primary raw date. More data analysis is need and that will take approximately
one month but they are 90% sure that there is a chamber behind the north wall
Dr Mamdouh

Dr Reeves

Raw data with blue area showing a chamber

Dr Wantabee

Nick Reeves answering questions

This investigation started with the scan by Factum Arte. It cannot
be stressed to highly how much we owe to their work and express our thanks for puting
the work online. This enable Nicholas Reeves to study these high resolution
scans and come to the conclusion that there was evidence of a doorway. The west
wall is X in the investigation and the north Y. The west is where a Tutankhamen
era storage room is proposed and the north where Dr Reeves proposes a tomb
within a tomb. The raw data from the west is a little inconclusive but there is
definite void however the north wall definitely shows evidence of a huge void
with straight walls. Other evidence shows chisel marks in the ceiling and even
the possible evidence of a service door.

Further investigation has to be done step by step, the tomb
has to be protested and as much non-destructive investigation done as possible.
If they go into the tomb the scenes must be protested and save. Once the raw
data is analysed then 3d images as possible. On the west wall we don’t know the
size and further analysis should give that.

A slide was shown and it was stated that this just shows raw
data but def. confirms the huge void on the north side. This void is so large
and even the raw data makes it immediately obvious. Dr Hirokatsu Watanabe said
with his 40 years’ experience he did not have to wait for the analysis to
confirm with certainty there is something there.

Dr Mamdouh said there were more secrets and he believed that
possibilities are Kiya or Meriaton, Dr Reeves believes it could be
Smenkhare/Nefertit. He also believes the valley has more tombs either royal or
more likely commoners.
Previous techniques of excavation have been to go to the
cliff edge and go down and then you hit bedrock but Carters excavation (although
he didn’t realise it) reveals the valley is stepped so things could have been

Dr Reeves stated strongly that work had to proceed slowly
and carefully. Archaeology is not a race and by its very nature it is
destructive so you only get one go. Currently even the air inside this chamber
had pollen, dust etc. to reveal so you can’t drill a hole and stick in a fibre
optic as that will contaminate it. It has to be hermetically sealed and analysed.

Salah Elmasekh, Egyptian archaeologist, made the point that this was a unique discovery as it is the very first discovered using high technology techniques and equipment and makes a case for ALL tombs to be investigated using this technique

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Death of Dr Otto Schaden

I have just had an email from Earl Ertman informing me of the sad death of Otto Schaden.  Otto was a huge figure in Egyptology excavating the tomb of Ay (about which he wrote his dissertation) and KV10, Amenmeses. It was during this excavation while searching for foundation deposits that might give more clues about the origins of Amenmeses that the tomb of KV63 was found. The first discovery in the valley for decades. It caused huge excitement. I was lucky enough to be
involved on the side lines providing a couple of photos and writing up Ottos lecture. I had a great relationship with the team and with Otto. He very kindly sent me updates and helped me with my studies. He was a kindly, teddy bear of a man, a great Egyptologist and scholar.

The team website

Otto and Earl

Otto with Zahi


Media scrum

Monday, 23 November 2015

Search for Nefertiti in Tutankhamun's tomb to start Thursday - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online

Search for Nefertiti in Tutankhamun's tomb to start Thursday - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online: Exploration work will start Thursday to test a theory that Egyptian Queen Nefertiti is buried behind a wall in the tomb of King Tutankhamun in Luxor's Valley of the Kings, according to Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Description of TT 175, an anonymous Theban Tomb, Luxor West Bank

From the wonderful osirisnet,net

Osirisnet presents to
you today an anonymous Theban Tomb, TT 175. It dates back to the middle of the
18th Dynasty (probably Thutmosis IV).This tiny Theban Tomb has the distinction
of being decorated, but not inscribed. Painters have packed as many scenes as
possible which were considered as indispensable by the owner. The owner
probably held functions connected with the manufacture, handling, and storage
... of products from the land.

Description of TT 175, an anonymous Theban Tomb, Luxor West Bank

Monday, 16 November 2015

State Information Services Luxor chosen Capital of Arab Culture 2016

State Information Services Luxor chosen Capital of Arab Culture 2016: Culture Minister Helmi El Namnam said on Saturday 14/11/2015 that Luxor has been chosen as the Capital of Arab Culture 2016.

During a visit to the Arab poetry house, scheduled to be opened on Sunday 15/11/2015 in Luxor, the minister thanked Ruler of Sharjah Sultan Al Qassimi for establishing the house.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

New tombs TT40 TT277 TT278

Qurnet Murrai: comprises of the nobles tombs of Tomb TT 40 of " Imn hotep – Hwy" Viceroy of King Tutankhamun in Kush and Governor of the South Lands, Tomb TT 277 of " Imnement" Divine Father of Imn hotep III palace, and Tomb TT 278 of " Amunemheb" Herdsman of Amun Re in the New Kingdom. The ticket is the one for Deir el Medina the workers village making that ticket VERY good value. 5 tombs, village and temple
 Qurnet Murrai is located almost directly opposite the ticket office. TT277 and TT278 are at the bottom of the hill and TT40 is near the top. It is a steepish climb but the effort is worth it.
There is a full Facebook photo album here and the other people who went with me have their albums here. All these are public so even if you are not on Facebook you will be able to view them.
Once you get to the tomb the entrance is direct into the hillside, it is a typical T shaped tomb with only the transverse corridor decorated. There is a statue group at the end.
There are some fantastic drawings on the web and I encourage you to search.

 The decoration is very connected with Huy’s role as the Viceroy of Kush.  So shows a lot of Nubian figures, tribute and boats. The cartouches of the king have been hammered out
 SE wall Huy inspects products from Nubia
SS wall has a stele
SW wall has Huy returning from Nubia, Nubian tribute including twin beds with head rests and Tutankhamen receiving the offerings seated in a pavilion
NE wall shows the appointment of Huy in front of Tutankhamen seated in a pavilion
NN wall has a stele; there is a little vignette of the KA being presented to a BA bird
NW Shows Huy adoring Osiris and tribute from Syria in front of Tutankhamen
The celling is beautiful decorated with a geometric pattern

There are some details about the owner here


Ameneminet (or Amenemonet), a priest in the service of the god Ptah-Sokar, in the Temple of Millions of Years of king Amenhotep III. He is actually alive during the Ramaside period but because of his job he shows Amenhotep III
All the detail you could possible wish for about TT277 is  here Highlights for me were Ahmose Nefertari and Amenhotep I being adored, the variety of fish in the Nile, Amenhotep III and Tiye. There is a steep step to get down and the guardians will give you a hand up and down

TT278 tomb of Amenemheb (Herdsman of Amun-Ra) There is a plan here but sadly the site is restricted.  

Highlights were Hathor emerging from the mountain and as the lady of the sycamore. Also a nice Osiris in his shrine