Sunday, 30 December 2012

Theban Mapping Project Library

The library that Kent Weeks has set up on the west bank is attracting some lovely donations.  This time it was Elizabeth Buckley who had taken a great deal of trouble finding some English language books suitable for Muslim children. She also brought some lollys!!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Update on the excavations at Karnak

Salah who is charge of the excavations at Karnak has sent me this great update and photos. Many months ago he showed me round the excavations and told me he was convinced there was a third set of baths there so I was very excited for him when he found them. Below he says he thinks there are even more and I bet he is right. there was a good article published in Ancient Egypt magazine July 2012

From Salah  Elmasekh

Here is the pic for the our excavation At the first we found three Baths in the front of Karnak temples
the first Bath "Ptolemaic baths "dating back to 250 BC and you this consists of two circle Rooms inside each one 16 seat and the 2nd one in the mosico floor there is beatuiful decorations with two animals from the sea and the Nile and after that you every think about this one
- the 2nd Baths is Roman one dating back to 200 AD and this Bath still work for long time more 200 year's and the article in the magazine
- the 3rd Baths "2nd Ptolemaic baths " lie out in the site between the two baths ath the North the first one by 25m and at the south of Roman baths directly and under it this baths dating back to 200 BC and the oldest one until now this Bath consists of from many Rooms 3 inside the 2nd one there is two seats bigger size for two person to have shower inside it and beside the seats there is bath tub and all the floor of these rooms covered by mosico floor and these floor have very slop shape two the west for a reason to take all the waste water out side of the baths and in west side we found two pipes the first one for waste water and the 2nd one for the Hot water and the extention of this baths extended under the 2nd Baths there is opinion talking about that baths this private baths but I think there no private in the front of Karnak it mean's in that time there a palace in Ptolemaic time but not in that site because if see all the baths we found all of them in the same area and the same direction it means also that area for the baths to reception for the visitor's before visit the temple and all the baths in the left hand for the person enter the temple , I'm so happy for all the work really especially with this baths and all of them with different design so very good for me and in my opinion I think there more Baths in the front of Karnak temples not 3 only because if we imagine about the number's of the visitor and jut we work only in the left side what about the write side .me and my team we would like to thanks for Mr Ibrahim Soliman the General director of karnak temples for his support to us really we like him so much any way thanks

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

BBC News - King Ramesses III's throat was slit, analysis reveals

BBC News - King Ramesses III's throat was slit, analysis reveals: Dr Zink said: "Before now we knew more or less nothing about the destiny of Ramesses III. People had examined his body before and had done radiographs but they didn't notice any trauma. They did not have access to the CT scans that we do.
Mummy believed to be Prince Pentawere The mummy believed to be Prince Pentawere has unusual marks around the neck

"We were very surprised by what we found. We still cannot be sure that the cut killed him, but we think it did.

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Thursday, 13 December 2012

Lecture to celebrate Luxor being a governorate - Francesco Tiradritti

Colour and Painting in Ancient Egypt 10/12/12
 To celebrate the anniversary of Luxor becoming a Governorate a series of lectures was arranged at Luxor library. The first was by Francesco and was on the subject of colours and painting in ancient Egyptian art. This lecture builds on his book published in 2007 and the lecture in 2008 at the Mummification Museum which is documented on this blog.

A lot of his argument hinges on the hieroglyph for the letter T which is a half circle with the straight side on the bottom. I have to admit i found his lecture more understandable since I have studying glyphs because of knowing T is such an important symbol being used to indicate gender of both nouns and verbs so it appears a lot. It is supposed to be the symbol for bread X1 in Gardiner’s list, however it is noting that X2 is the glyph that appears in offering formulas for bread, beer etc.

Firstly Francesco showed a slide with the T glyph cut out and asked us what is the colour of bread. Answers varied and he actually had another slide where he had recorded answers and the most common was orange with yellow and brown a close second. This glyph is always shown as black which (unless you are a bad cook) is not the normal colour of bread. This was the origin of his research. The Ancient Egyptian world was a simple one cantered on the Nile, surrounded by the inhabitated land and further surrounded by the desert and he showed a slide of a pot illustrating this in its decoration.

The next bit is hard to document without his pictures as it is all about colour, hues and colour charts. The world was divided into
Light white/yellow Black land Red desert Blue water and Green vegetation. These are called Hudj (green), Kem (black) Desher (red) Hedj (white). He was then trying to see where dark blue fitted in.
 In the Chester Beatty papyrus there is a phrase “her hair is true lapis” Xsbd mAa Snw=s this lead him to the idea that there were two opposites light = colour = hedj and darkness = no colour, absence of colour. In the 6th dynasty tombs at Saqqara the backgrounds are black, indicating empty space and black glyphs are put on this which are a different black.

 So you have a different categorisation where there is light, colours and darkness. The darkness is called Kek Hedj Hudj, Kem, Desher Kek The water glyph is shown black against this dark background as water is black because of the silt of the inundation. He believes that the half circle is not bread at all but the primordial mound (N30 Gardner). Bread in Ancient Egypt was flat or moulded (baked in a bread mould) into shapes and the bread in the offering formula is always this moulded type X2 sign. He believes that it is a preconceived idea that this is bread.

So there is another relationship of opposites between colours imagine a large X linking these four.

Darkness Kek Dry Desher

Humid Hudj Light Hedj

 During the 1st millennium blue and yellow are the most popular colours. Although the men were portrayed as red and the women yellow these colour differences could also be used to differentiate between individuals. He showed a model from the Leiden museum of bread and beer making, the yellow men are the more prominent men, the ones who spent more time indoors. In the Louvre there is a stele of the God re-Horakhty giving life and the ‘rays’ of the sun are multi coloured showing an understanding of rainbows (rainbows were rare in Ancient Egypt). It is obvious that the Ancient Egyptian artist had a much more complex view of colour than was first thought.

Lugi Vassalli was an artist and his diary has recently been found. He was protecting the monuments before Mariette. He was responsible for the removal of the Medium geese from the tomb and the slide showed where they fitted into the scene. Because Lugi was an artist he understood the artistic importance of the vignette. It was a manual of Ancient Egyptian art. Firstly when you put three of anything this is shorthand for plural or many in hieroglyphics. There are two groups and the out/exterior goose shows a different position and is larger given a sort of perspective, repetition is avoided by use of colour and position and movement is indicated by the tail position.

There are not many paintings in Old Kingdom art but he showed us some. I the mastaba of Ti there is a scenes of cattle wading through the water and the legs of the cattle show through the water. The First intermediate Period was a time of impressionistic art the tiller from Niankhpepi shows from the modelling of the legs an impression of the man being caught in a moment of time and the movement shown by the elongated legs. The three lady offering bearers in a line could be three different ladies or the same lady caught 3 times (like the pictures in a cartoon showing movement). There are two odd pictures in the tomb of Ankhtifi a cow showing a full face to the viewer and a man who looks deformed. But taken in relation to the pictures on the pillars next to them you realise the cow is looking towards another cow that is delivery a calf and the man has turned towards a festival. These pictures are catching the movement. In the Turin museum there is a picture showing the blood spurting from the neck of a cow as it is slaughtered, a man shown in a much paler colour who is a supervisor and the clever use of spots of red paint to highlight something such as the tongue of a cow illustrating its tenderness to its calf as it licks it.

He then went on to talk about the influence of Minoan paintings, when Bietek excavated at Tel el Baba he identified that there where people and bull as engaging in bull leaping like the paintings at Knossos. Actually it is not really possible to leap over a charging bull and it is quite possible that the scene was mis interrupted and it was actually an attempt at portraying perspective. He also does not believe just because there were bulls that this implies Minoan. When you look at the art and the portrayal of a man the proportions are completely different. Undoubtedly there was influence to and fro Egypt and Minoa, indeed all around the Mediterranean basin both backwards and forwards including and through Syria/Palestine area. (At this point a rather lively debate broke out with some members of the audience convinced that Egyptian sea craft had reached ocean going capabilities.) There is a story that Tuthmosis IV married a Minoan princess but no actual proof.

Thebes was the golden age of Egyptian painting and he cited some examples
• The female banquet in the tomb of Rekhmire
• The tomb of Sennefer with the grape ceiling
• In the tomb of Nakht the demonstration of personality in the man ploughing who is bald, with a bent back and red from the son
• The pile of food before the owner compared to the pile of food in front of the workers • In the Meena the vignettes should appear in the order of work but the 2 part appears first as this was the one Meena was responsible for
• The chariot, you would not use your best chariot (he used the equivalent of a Ferrari) to go to the fields
• The flight of birds at Malkata that look as though they are disturbed by the door opening
• The mourning women in the tomb of Ramose, again indicating movement

It was a fantastic lecture and really challenged you to put aside previous notions and actually look at what was in front of you. He is extending his research (e.g. does region influence colour choice) and I advise you to keep your eyes peeled for any of his publications as they are sure to be interesting. There was a very lively debate at the end. One of the members of the audience had done his dissertation on Hatshepsut and commented on the changes of her skin colour during her various incarnations, daughter, queen, regent, queen regent, king etc. Mansour did an excellent lecture the next night on the developments at Karnak but because of the revolution stopping work due to funds he had not got many updates on previous lectures at the Mummification Museum.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Piay TT344 - Zsuzsanna Vanek

I was invited to visit the tomb of Piay TT344 by Zsuzsanna Vanek. She has a paper published Excavation in the Tomb of Piay in Dra Abu el Naga (TT 344) / Zsuzsanna Vanek which was published in this book  There is a tiny bit on digital Egypt

It is a Ramasside tomb and shows the typical dress of that period, elaborate pleated  garments. There is a hymn to Re Horakhty twined with one to Amun, nice ba bird, judgement scene and a lot of scenes of him and his wife with the cult of Amenhotep I and Ahmose Nefertari. Clearing the debris from the tomb has revealed a lot of the wall paintings, shaflts and some problems. There are two openings at each end of the tomb, one is a dead end, the other is not full excavated. The burial shaft is believed to be in the east floor but has not been excavated. But there is a big problem with the fragile rock. This tomb is built in an area of poor quality limestone and the tomb has many cracks. It is difficult to ascertain exactly how problematic these are as they have not been monitored. The team has put gypsum across some cracks to monitor any movement and thankfully none has been detected yet. It is possible that it is more stable than it looks as there is a blackened niche that they have speculated is where Petrie put his candle and 1906 reports talk of the poor condition of the tomb. However some kind of re-enforcement is needed before further excavation can be done to be on the safe side. What kind is still being resolved but she only has 4 days before she leaves.

Big thanks to Zsuzsanna, Mansour Boraik, Mohammed Abd el-Aziz for arranging the visit and even bigger thanks to Reiss Omar and his men for getting me up and down the slope.:)

Monday, 10 December 2012

Lecture Tuesday 11/12/12

There is another lecture tomorrow night, please spread the word. 7pm Luxor Library MansourBoraik

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Lecture 7pm Monday Luxor Library

Just spotted on Facebook Lecture: Francesco Tiradritti the lecture will be about the Wall Painting in ancient Egypt. Monday 19:00 Luxor Public Library, please spread the word. 

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Saturday, 1 December 2012

Luxor News has been made into a book!

Blogging Books suggested making the blog into a book, it has been great fun working with them and the finished article is now available here

This is now my 4th book, I wish my English teacher could see it :)

Friday, 23 November 2012

90th Anniversary of the Opening of the Tomb of Tutankhamen

When Carter and his team found the steps on 4th of November they had no idea what they lead to and when they cleared the steps and the corridor they still had no idea if the tomb was going to be empty. That had happened before. Carter had wired his sponsor once he found the steps and said he had covered up the tomb awaiting his arrival so whatever lay behind that wall would be a surprise for both of them. On 22nd November 1922 Howard Carter pushed a light through a breech in the wall that blocked the entrance to the tomb of Tutankhamen and when asked what he saw by his sponsor Lord Carnarvon he said ‘wonderful things’. So the celebration yesterday was to commemorate that event.

We started in the Valley of Kings and all the various missions were gathered, it was great chatting with them. I was invited by the Hungarian mission to visit their dig. Much to our combined surprise photos were allowed and I had my I-phone with me so I took a few photos of the crowd. We had to wait for the guests of honour, The Minister of Tourism, Minister of Antiquities, the American Ambassador and the current Lord and Lady Carnarvon. 
Teresa Bedman, Me, Mohammed Bali, Francisco Martine Valentine

Christian Le Blanc

Hungarian Team
Lady Carnarvon

Francesco Tiradritti

Then we went into the tomb of Merenptah which had been closed for some years whilst restoration of the sarcophagi had taken place. You may remember a lecture a while ago given by Ted Brock when he talked about the work he had done inside the tomb. I really like the marking in the concrete, that holds together the restored piece of the originals, so you get a sense of what the entire piece was like. They have also placed the objects on plinths with lights so you can view the underside, nice. With the media there with all their heavy duty professional cameras the rules about no photos was also relaxed inside the tomb. No flash of course but with cameras today that is not a big issue. I was snapping away like made. I have put the entire album up on Facebook good and bad photos but just selected a few here.

Then the group moved to the tomb of Tutankhamen. I haven’t been inside since 1981 and as they may well close the tomb soon I thought I ought to as I went down they were interviewing Lord and Lady Carnarvon and I took the opportunity to say hello to her as we knew each other from when we worked together on the Carter House restoration. Imagine my pleasure when she gave me a present, she expected I would be there and had brought me some Highclere souvenirs. I was over the moon and just wished my grandmother was still alive to know about it. Imagine being given a present by Lady Carnarvon in the tomb of Tutankhamen that she had brought especially for you. I think it was fair to say it was the most special day of my Egyptology life.

I went into the tomb and can you believe it we were allowed to take photos there as well, stunning so I snapped away. There were some people working in the tomb and their lights appear in the pictures but I am sure you don’t mind.

Lord and Lady Carnarvon in the tomb of Tutankhamen


In the evening was a do at the Carter House, the first part was a slide show and speeches by the various dignitaries. Both the American Ambassador Anne Patterson and Lord and Lady Carnarvon spoke about tourism. Expressing their hope that their high profile visits showed the world that Egypt was safe for tourists and people should come and enjoy the wonders of Luxor. Then there was a 6 course gala dinner which was finished off with a cake in the shape of Tutankhamen, Lady Carnarvon cut the first slice.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Monthu Temple reveals new pharaonic secrets -Heritage - Ahram Online

New discovery at Luxor. 

Monthu Temple reveals new pharaonic secrets - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online: A French archaeological mission from the French Institute for Archaeological Studies have unearthed a yet unidentified royal statue of a New Kingdom king during routine excavations at Monthu Temple, northeast of Karnak Temple in Luxor.

The statue is 125 centimetres tall and made of black granite and depicts a standing king wearing short dress with hands aside.

Christopher Tiers, head of the archaeological mission, said that early studies of the statue suggest that the artistic features of the depicted king confirm its royalty.

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Tutankhamen's 90 birthday celebrations

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the entry into the tomb of Tutankhamen (4th November was the discovery of the steps) and there is going to be an event in the valley of kings tomorrow starting at 10:00. The tomb of Merenptah is going to be opened at 10:30 then a visit to Tutankhamen finishing off with a viewing of photos in the visitors centre. My Mansour was telling me that the reopened tomb of Merenptah is the 2nd biggest in the valley and the the restored sarcophagus and lid will be on display.

Daughters of Isis: Women in Ancient Egypt (Egyptology Online @ Manchester – The University of Manchester)

If you can get to Manchester then there is a great study day, full details on the website.   

Daughters of Isis: Women in Ancient Egypt (Egyptology Online @ Manchester – The University of Manchester): A series of presentations examining the lives, roles, health and deaths of ancient Egyptian women. Presented by Egyptology Online in association with the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology.

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Sunday, 18 November 2012

South Asasif Conservation Project Study Tour to Upper Egypt

If you liked the conference in October you will love this and I know at least one person who is extending her stay in Luxor and my flats are available to all.

Hidden Treasures – Inspiration, Renaissance and Innovation in the Late Period
This tour accompanied throughout by Dr Elena Pischikova will explore key Theban inspiration for the Late
Period in New Kingdom Thebes, and trace the emergence of the Kushites in the twenty-fifth dynasty and
their reuse and extension of past models that underlies the so-called Saite renaissance of the Late Period.
Detailed Itinerary –Easter 2013
MONDAY 25th March to MONDAY 1st April 2013
Day 1 : Direct Flight London -> Luxor (Egyptair) and transfer to the 5* Sonesta St George Hotel
(Side Nile View Rooms) for 4 nights on a Bed and Breakfast basis.
Day 2 : Today we start our exploration of New Kingdom inspirations re-experiencing the familiar
sites of the Valley of the Kings (with Special Permission to enter Seti I). In the afternoon we
have an outside view of the South Asasif necropolis before visiting the chapels of the Divine
Adorotresses of Thebes situated at Medinet Habu, the site of the Mortuary temple of Ramesses III
and the 18th Dynasty chapels of Amun. Evening Lecture
Day 3 : In the morning we visit the temple of Karnak which provides a palimpsest of building from
the Middle Kingdom to the Late Period, we focus on inspirations and Late Period building such as
the rarely visited chapels of Osiris Wennefer Neb Djefau and Osiris Heka-Djet, the Ptah Temple,
the Treasury of Shabaka and the Taharqa Edifice. In the afternoon we examine the Late Period
collection in the Luxor Museum and visit Luxor temple highlighting the Third Intermediate Period
and Late Period developments at the site.
Day 4 : We have a full and extraordinary day at Deir el-Bahri and at the North Asasif. In addition
to the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut we enjoy an unusual visit to the outside of the tomb of
Nespakashuty D (TT312) excavated by Dr. Pischikova and a very privileged visit to the tomb of
Senenmut (Special Permission to enter). Later we visit the tombs of Ankh-Hor (TT414),
Pabesa (TT279), Montuemhat (TT34 - from outside), Ibi (TT36 -Special Permission to enter)
and Basa (TT389 – from the outside). Evening Lecture.
Day 5 : Drive from Luxor to Aswan visiting the temple of Edfu and the site of el-Kab en-route.
Transfer to the 5* Movenpick, Aswan for 3 nights on a Bed and Breakfast basis.
Day 6 : Morning visit to Philae followed by an afternoon excursion to Kom Ombo
Day 7 : We start the day by exploring the fascinating multi-period site of Elephantine before our
final visit of the tour to the island of New Kalabsha which houses relocated temples from the
Ramesside and Roman periods.
Day 8 : Morning visit to the Nubian Museum before our Scheduled Flights with Egyptair from
Aswan to London via Cairo
 Core itinerary price per person on twin share basis - £1695 (including scheduled flights)
 Single Supplement - £130
 Price without flights - deduct £475.
The price includes the following:
 Scheduled Economy Class air travel using Egyptair. Flights are subject to change but the
provisional schedule is:
o 25MAR13 MS762 LHR-LXR dep :1435 arr : 2215
o 25MAR13 MS396 ASW-CAI dep : 1340 arr : 1505
o 01APR13 MS779 CAI-LHR dep : 1710 arr : 2115
 Private airport transfers in Egypt and tour transportation in an air-conditioned vehicle
 Private representative services in all airports
 Accommodation and breakfast as described in the detailed itinerary.
 All entrance fees and special permissions for sites in the detailed itinerary
 Services of Dr Elena Pischikova, John Billman and local licensed guide(s)
 Tips for drivers and porterage
 Donation to the South Asasif Conservation Trust
The Price DOES NOT include:
 Visa for Egypt
 Excess baggage charges.
 Tips for local guide(s)
 All items of a personal nature such as laundry, medical expenses, room service, and
 Meals not detailed in the itinerary
 Travel insurance
 Airport transfer in the UK
Tailored extensions and flight upgrades may be available.

Please email if you want more details

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

(1) Missione Archeologica Italiana a Luxor

(1) Missione Archeologica Italiana a Luxor: Welcome to the newly created FB page dedicated to the activities of the MAIL in the Funerary Complex of Harwa (TT 37) and Akhimenru (TT 404)

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Tutankhamun's replica tomb unveiled - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online

Tutankhamun's replica tomb unveiled - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online: In 2010 the SCA said they had selected the Carter's Rest House at the entrance of the Valley of the Kings for the permanent installation of the three replica tombs, however, the current Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim clarifies that, actually, the Permanent Committee of Ancient Egyptian Monuments will select a location and that he doesn't foresee it will be at the Valley of the Kings entrance.

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I wonder where they will put it in that case?

Monday, 12 November 2012

Ray Johnson Talks About Khonsu Temple.m4v - YouTube

Ray Johnson Talks About Khonsu Temple.m4v - YouTube: Ray Johnson, director of the Epigraphic Survey at Chicago House, talks about discoveries at Khonsu Temple that alter our understanding of its history. Khonsu Temple, located in the Karnak Temple complex, has always been known to be composed entirely of reused blocks. Now as part of ARCE's project there, an exciting new chapter is being added....

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Friday, 9 November 2012

Update from Osirisnet Nakhtamon ; TT 341 Thebes; Luxor now online

From the wonderful Thierry Benderitter at Osirisnet. 
We are presenting to you today, with a complete photographic coverage, the tomb of Nakhtamon, TT341.He was "Overseer of the altar" in the temple of millions of years of Ramesses II. Therefore he appears to have been in charge of the organisation of the procession of the priests of the daily divine ritual in the Ramesseum and of the distribution of the offerings on the altars.Other interesting representations are to be found in this tomb :
Ramesses II with a natural beard (reserved for the periods of mourning) and wearing the blue crown; a  representation, unique in all Theban tombs, of an male image equipped with wings, surrounded with small blue lines which he seems to radiate; priests with extraordinarily elongated skulls.

Nakhtamon ; TT 341 ; TT341 ; Thebes; Luxor ; west bank ; Egypt tomb (1): - Sent using Google Toolbar