Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Security at Luxor airport.

Security at Luxor airport.  5th June 2017

Report from Joanne Stables

Following the implementation of the
relatively new electronics ban on all flights to the UK from Egypt, I was
happily surprised that everything at the airport was running smoothly. At the
main entrance to the airport, the underneath and boot of the car was checked
for hidden devices, and travellers are required to show their passport &
flight ticket. At the entrance to the terminal, passport and flight tickets
must be show again. Just inside the terminal, all luggage are put through a
baggage scanner whilst passengers pass through a metal detector and are 'padded
down' by a security officer. After this, passengers are then sent over to have
their luggage checked for traces of illegal substances; this seems to be part
of the normal procedure now.

Finally off to check-in! Here, staff remind
passengers of the electronic ban and answer any questions. As my laptop and
external hard drive were already in my hold luggage, the staff did not ask to
see them. As I had declared the laptop, the check-in staff secured my padlock
and zips on my case with cable ties, and a fragile label was attached.
Following check-in, the procedure through passport control remains unchanged.
The security check (involving a baggage scan and metal detector) between the
duty free and gate also remains the same.

What has changed is that before travellers
get to the gate, there are two more additional security checks before reaching
the gate; at both, travellers are required to write their name and passport
number in a book. At the first additional check, security staff hand search all
your bags. At the second additional security check, travellers are either
required to have their bags searched again or have their luggage tested for
traces of illegal substances. These last two security checks seem a little hit
and miss and at no point was I asked to show that my cameras and mobile phones
were working. I would argue, that the two additional security checks are
overkill and unnecessary.

Now back in the UK, I am happy to report my
laptop arrived in one piece despite seeing the baggage handlers at Heathrow
ignoring my suitcase was identified as fragile. For anyone else travelling back
to the UK with a restricted electronic device, I highly recommend wrapping it
in bubble wrap. I went further and placed my laptop in a sturdy cardboard box
which was placed between hardback books in the centre of my suitcase.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Hatshepsut Stairway

This is one of those little projects that comes from nowhere. When visiting the various temples as part of my disabled project I puzzled about this ramp at Deir el Bahri. It did not make logical sense to me to have the ramps at the sides and the stairs in the middle. I raised it in a great Facebook Egyptology group called the Hatshepsut Project.

This photo shows the ramp at the temple. Now the design puzzles me. Why have
a slope on the sides and steps in the middle. The gradient is not easy to walk, the steps are the wrong distance apart for an easy walking pace.

So if you were carrying a shrine along it at the beautiful feast of the valley the priests would have been walking on the slope and the shrine would have been over the steps. Doesnt make sense.

They wouldnt have been able to carry it in a smooth glide. Try walking
up that slope, it is so uncomfortable you have to stop. Surely it would
have made more sense to have a smooth central ramp with steps either
side. But even then the steps dont allow a smooth carrying pace.

Do we know if this is really the original design or an interpretation?

This provoked a great debate where we discussed it at length. Sometimes Facebook can be so interesting.

THEN Richard Sellicks shared a lecture that was being given at the Essex Egyptology group where one of the current team was talking. I begged him to bring the question up at the lecture. Which he did. Richards reply together with an early photo

My picture from the early 90s and there was no stairway then! I spoke to Sergio Alarcón Robledo today who said it was not part of the concession and installed by the ministry!!

So my proposition was correct (I feel so vindicated).Big shout out to Richard for asking the question for me