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.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/hatshepsutproject



THEN Richard Sellicks shared a lecture that was being given at the Essex Egyptology group https://www.facebook.com/groups/311726865593790/ 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

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Valley of the Kings Disabled Access Part 2 Joanne Stables

Joanne kindly checked out some individual tombs



DISABLED ACCESS: Valley of the Kings.

KV 1: Ramesses VII.
On the site maps, the tomb of Ramesses VII is designated wheelchair accessible; I partly dispute this classification. To reach the tomb entrance visitors have to walk for several hundred metres up a wadi branch which has an uneven floor surface composed of loose earth and stones. There is also the added difficulty that the gradient of slope of the wadi branch increases as one progresses towards the tomb entrance. Wheelchair users will definitely need help and the mobility impaired will need to take their time. For those people who will a rest and sit down before continuing into the tomb, there is a covered concrete seating area (accessed via one step) adjacent to the tomb entrance.
The modern entrance to the tomb itself is composed of a ramp flanked by shallow steps. The ramp is quite steep, and although the steps are shallow, there is no handrail. The modern metal gate at the ancient entrance to the tomb may also be problematic due to the sills. 
The interior of the tomb has a wooden boardwalk flanked by handrails and protective glass. The gradient of the slope is fairly steep in places; a wheelchair user will definitely require assistant to avoid the slip becoming problematic. People with other mobility problems may also feel more comfortable walking with a companion. In the burial chamber, wheelchair users may need to seek help negotiating around the sarcophagus. Beyond the burial chamber there is a short corridor which is accessed by one step. The size of the corridor however, means that it can be easily viewed from the burial chamber.
When leaving the tomb, wheelchairs users will no doubt require a push! Other persons, especially those with mobility problems, may also find the uphill gradient tiring and need to take regular stops.

KV 2: Ramesses IV.
The tomb entrance of KV2 is a short distance from the paved path that is only found at the beginning of the main wadi of the Valley of the Kings. Between the path and tomb entrance, the ground is once again covered by the problematic loose earth and stones. The ground level also features a shallow slope which should be manageable for most people with impaired mobility. Wheelchair users however, will require help to negotiate the terrain.
At the entrance to the tomb, there is a concreted area with shaded seating. Unfortunately, there is one step to negotiate.
The modern entrance to the tomb is composed of a descending ramped stairway. The ramps appears to be a little steep and the frame of the metal gate that protects the tomb may be a hindrance. Wheelchair users will no doubt require assistance here. The steps on either side of the ramp are of a uniform size and are shallow, but there is no handrail. 
Once inside the tomb, things are easier. The ancient floor has been covered by wooden boardwalks with handrails on both sides. The boardwalks are relatively well-laid and follow the gentle slope of the tomb. Wheelchairs users may need a little help to control their descent. At the bottom of the tomb, wheelchair users may also find it a little difficult negotiating around the sarcophagus. Beyond the burial chamber (with the sarcophagus) there is a short corridor with three side chambers (one on either side and one at the rear). Disabled visitors, especially wheelchair users, will require assistance here as there is one step into the short corridor. The corridor may also be too narrow for wheelchairs users to turn around in.
When leaving the tomb, wheelchairs users will no doubt require a push! Persons mobilising with crutches or a stick may also need to take regular stops.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Egypt to launch 'Cairo Pass' package for unlimited access to touristic sites - Egypt Independent

Egypt to launch 'Cairo Pass' package for unlimited access to touristic sites - Egypt Independent: “Foreign tourism companies requested this permit to be implemented in Cairo and Giza after its success in Luxor last year,” an official at the Ministry of Antiquities told Al-Borsa newspaper.

Valley of the Kings Disabled Access


If you look at the section diagrams  on the Theban Mapping Project you can identify those tombs without steps or steep ramps. KV2 Ramses IV and KV6 Ramses IX are the recommend ones for wheel chair users.
A map at the beginning does recommend others but the path to them is tough to negotiate and you will need a strong pusher. KV1 Ramses VII, KV19 Montuherkhepeshef, KV47 Siptah and KV9 Ramses V

Sunday, 21 May 2017

TT315 Ipi discoveries via EEF

* MoA press release 21-05-2017:
"The Spanish- Egyptian archeological mission from University of Alcala working in the tomb of Ipi (TT 315) at Deir el-Bahari in Luxor, rediscovering 56 jars filled with embalming materials for the mummification of the vizier Ipi, overseer of Thebes and member of the elite in the reign of Amenemhat I in the early Twelfth Dynasty. Announced Dr. Mahmoud Afifi head Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector, and explained that this discovered occurred during cleaning the courtyard of the tomb of Ipi (TT 315) where the mission unearthed these Jars inside an auxiliary chamber located on its north east corner.
Dr. Afifi pointed out that the jars were previously discovered by the American Egyptologist Herbert Winlock between 1921-1922 and placed in a room on the north-eastern side of the outer courtyard without cleaning until the Spanish-Egyptian mission this year resurfaced. He continued that The identification of these materials is of great importance for understanding the mummification techniques used in the early Middle Kingdom and the assessment of the kinds of items, tools, and substances involved in the process of embalming.
Dr. Antonio Morales the Head Of Spanish Mission said that the deposit of the mummification materials used for Ipi include of inscriptions, various shrouds and linen sheets (4 m. long) shawls, and rolls of wide bandages, in addition to further types of cloths, rags, and pieces of slender wrappings destined to cover fingers, toes, and other parts of the vizier’s corpse.
Dr. Morales explained that jars contained around 300 sacks with natron salt, oils, sand, and other substances, as well as the stoppers of the jars and a scraper are also found and among the most outstanding pieces of the collection are the Nile clay and marl large jars, some with potmarks and hieratic.
Ezz al-Din al-Nubi, Director of the Central Region of Qurna said that this discovery happened during the project of the archaeological study and epigraphy of the tombs of Henenu (TT 313) and Ipi (TT 315), the funerary chamber and sarcophagus of Harhotep (CG 28023), as well as the conservation and detailed publication of these monuments and others located at Thebes. "


* Spanish press reports:



Interviews Antonio Morales, and has a video about the finds.



With slideshow and video.


* English press reports:



With MoA photos.



With MoA photos.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Making Mud Brick by Joanne Stables

Making Mud Brick 



Currently we have a project going on to make the temples more accessible to wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Part of the research we are doing is the use of mud brick as the proposed material to make the access path smooth and level. We favour this on the grounds of aesthetics, costs, use of local labour, eco friendly locally sourced, climate suitability, in fact so many factors it is hard too find any factor not to use it.

Joanne Stables went out in the field and produced this report.:-





Mudbrick Production by ARCE.







On the West Bank of Luxor at the ancient necropolis of Dra Abu el-Naga, a group of workmen employed by the American Research Centre in Egypt (ARCE) have been busily working away to produce more than 15,000 mudbricks for a number of international archaeological missions.





The production process for the mudbricks is a very simple one. The mudbricks being produced by the ARCE team are composed mainly of soil (collected from the spoil heaps of the nearby archaeological excavations). The fabrication of the mudbricks at Dra Abu el-Naga takes place at the base of the ancient necropolis adjacent to the modern road.





The soil is then mixed with straw and water in different proportions depending upon the soil type. The raw materials are then mixed until the correct texture is achieved. The mixing of the raw materials was done by foot (pigeage à pied) and shovels (Figure 1).




Figure 1: Mixing of the raw materials.







The basic proportions of each raw material for mudbrick mixture produced by the ARCE team are: 60% soil, 20% straw and 20% water. Modern materials such as cement or lime that are known to stabilise the mixture of soil and sand were not added to the mixture as the ARCE team recognises that mudbrick strengthens as it dries out.







Figure 2: The mixture after mellowing.





Figure 3: Metal mould and the process of casting mudbrick.



Figure 4: The process of casting mudbricks.





Once the mixture is ready, it is left to mellow for one or two days prior to being cast (Figure 2). Each mudbrick is produced by manually throwing the wet mixture into a dampened metal mould which is placed upon the ground (Figure 3). The wet mixture is then compressed by hand into the mould until the workman is happy the mixture is stable and free from air pockets. A finishing trowel is then used to smooth the top of the mudbrick and remove any excess mixture (Figure 4). The mudbrick is then marked by an identifying metal stamp and the mould is removed. Following the removal of the mould, the mudbrick is left on the ground to dry in the sun (Figure 5). To complete the drying process, the bricks are rotated to ensure each side is dry. Once fully dry, the mudbricks are stored onsite. To reduce the stresses upon the bricks during storage, the mudbricks are stacked and orientated as rowlock stretchers and stretchers bricks (Figure 6).



The fully dried mudbricks proved to be very hard. I jumped up and down several times upon one brick that was lying on the ground and I made no impact. Underfoot it felt as hard as any modern paving material.

The simplicity of the production process, and the relatively low costs of making the mudbricks, gives me great hopes for using mudbrick as a paving material for improving disabled access to the ancient Egyptian temples. I would even be very happy to live in a mudbrick house!

Joanne Stables







Figure 5: Mudbrick drying in the sun.



Figure 6: Fully dried mudbricks.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Luxor Museum Open Day

There was a great open night at the museum yesterday and my trusty deputy reporter Barbara Clarke took loads of photos and videos.

No automatic alt text available.

This is the link to her Facebook albulm



Barbara Clarke - Barbara Clarke added 56 photos and 2 videos to...

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Want to study Egyptology online?

I thought I would inform you that Manchester University is now recruiting for its accredited 3 year Certificate in Egyptology which is taught entirely online.

This means that you do not need to physically move to Manchester (or the United Kingdom) to study on this course. It is also sufficiently flexible to allow you to maintain your current employment.



This three year programme provides the opportunity for the serious, academic study of Egyptology at one of the leading Universities in the U.K. It is led by internationally recognised scholars and draws upon the important Egyptological collections of the University's Museum and Library. It attracts students of varying backgrounds from all over the world.

The well-established and highly regarded Certificate is taught entirely on-line via the Blackboard e-learning platform. Students are provided with stimulating and attractive learning materials (texts and recorded lectures), and enjoy the opportunity for the structured study of museum collections, tutor support and contact with other students through online discussion groups.



The course is taught by Dr Joyce Tyldesley (author of Daughters of Isis: Women of Ancient Egypt, Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt, Tutankhamun: The Search for An Egyptian King and many others) together with myself. Our former students have gone on to gain Masters or PhD qualifications in Egyptology and Archaeology, work in University administration and even publish books about ancient Egypt.



If you are interested in learning more about the possibility of studying Egyptology at the University of Manchester, please visit:

http://www.egyptologyonline.ls.manchester.ac.uk/certificateinegyptology/howtoapply/
or:
http://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/2017/07735/ugcert-egyptology/

The deadline for applications is 30th of June 2017 and the course begins on 1st of October 2017.

I hope to see many of you in the autumn.



Kind regards,
Dr Nicky Nielsen
Lecturer in Egyptology
University of Manchester

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Free entry to Egyptian museums on International Museum Day - Egypt Today

Free entry to Egyptian museums on International Museum Day - Egypt Today: CAIRO – 11 May 2017: Minister of Antiquities Khaled el-Enany, decided to provide visitors, both Egyptians and foreigners, free entry to all museums in Egypt on May 18, celebrating the International Museum Day, general supervisor of the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, Mahrous Saied said Thursday.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

International Day of Museums

via Barbara Clarke: A public invitation on May 17. Celebrating the International Day of Museums in Luxor. On the corniche in front of the Luxor Museum at 5 pm in the presence of the Minister of Antiquities Dr. Khalid Annan and the Governor Dr. Mohammed Badr and a number of guests

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

FUNERARY GARDEN ALMOST 4,000 YEARS OLD DISCOVERED BY THE SPANISH ARCHAEOLOGICAL MISSION

Image may contain: outdoor via EEF and Facebook page of

 Ministry of Antiquities وزارة الآثار - Posts









A Spanish archaeological mission working in Draa Abul
Naga necropolis on Luxor’s west bank has discovered a unique funerary garden
almost 4000 years old, Dr. Mahmoud Afifi, Head of the Ancient Egyptian
Antiquities announced.
He explains that the funerary garden has been unearthed
at the open courtyard of a rock cut-tomb of the Middle Kingdom.
The layout of the garden measures 3 x 2 m and is divided
into squares of about 30 cm. They seem to have contained different kinds of
plants and flowers. In the middle there are two elevated spots for a small tree
or bush. At one of the corners, the root and the trunk of a 4,000 year old
small tree have been preserved to a height of 30 cm. Next to it, a bowl was
found containing dates and other fruits, which could have been presented as an
offering.
“The discovery of the garden may shed light on the
environment and gardening in ancient Thebes during the Middle Kingdom, around
2000 BCE,” Dr. Afifi said.
Dr. Jose Galan, Head of the Spanish mission and Research
Professor at the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid said that on the
walls of a number of New Kingdom tombs, a small and squared garden is
represented at the entrance of the funerary monument, with a couple of trees
next to it. It probably had a symbolic meaning and must have played a role in
the funerary rites. However, the like has never been found in ancient Thebes.
The discovery offers the archaeological confirmation of an aspect of ancient
Egyptian culture and religion that was hitherto only known through iconography.
Hani Abul Azm, Head of the Central Administration for
Antiquities of upper Egypt said that the mission has also uncovers, near the
entrance of the Middle Kingdom rock‐cut tomb, a small mud-­‐ brick chapel (46 x
70 x 55 cm) was discovered attached to the façade. Inside, three stelae of the
13th Dynasty, ca. 1800 BCE, were found in situ. The owner of one of them is
called Renef‐seneb, and the owner of the other stela is “the citizen Khemenit,
son of the lady of the house, Idenu”. The latter mentions the gods Montu, Ptah,
Sokar and Osiris.
“These discoveries underscore the relevance of the
central area of Dra Abu el-­‐Naga as a sacred place for the performance of a
variety of cultic activities during the Middle Kingdom,” said Galan.
The Spanish mission has been working 16 years in Draa
Abul Naga, on the West Bank of Luxor, around the early 18th Dynasty rock‐cut
tombs of Djehuty and Hery (ca. 1500-­‐1450 BCE).A
 


Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Improving Disabled Access at Ancient Egyptian Temples Project

This project is going really well and I am feeling very optimistic that we are going to achieve something.



1) President Sisi has declared 2018 the year of the disabled which means our timing is perfect



2) Shenouda Rizkalla is the ministry person tasked with producing a proposal for Dr. Sherif Abd El Monem and he has visited the Seti I temple with me and Joanne.



3) Joanne Stables has joined me and has been researching mud brick and contacting missions about their use of mud brick



4) John Sherman of ARCE has responded very positively to an email and we are hoping to get a meeting with him to discuss further

Monday, 1 May 2017

Karnak Conference

  
Details on Facebook event page, the conference is in English and will be live broadcast



(1) Karnak Conference








Friday, 21 April 2017

Latest Newsletter

Nice to see the latest AWOL newsletter and to read about their outreach in the villages as well as at the centre



www.awol-egypt.org

UN honors Egyptologist Zahi Hawass for being appointed as ambassador for culture and antiquities | Egypt Independent



UN honors Egyptologist Zahi Hawass for being appointed as ambassador for culture and antiquities | Egypt Independent: The UN honored Egyptologist and former Egyptian Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass on Thursday for his role in protecting antiquities, on the occasion of his appointment as United Nations Ambassador for Culture and Antiquities.

The ceremony was attended by a large number of ambassadors of foreign countries, diplomats, media personalities, and over 200 public figures, including Egyptian scientist Farouk al-Baz; American actress Vanessa Williams, known to love Egypt; and businessman Amr Badr.

Video: 350 additional artifacts found in newly-excavated Luxor cemetery | Egypt Independent



Video: 350 additional artifacts found in newly-excavated Luxor cemetery | Egypt Independent

Ramses II colossus restored and re-rected at Luxor Temple - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online





ramsesRamses II colossus restored and re-rected at Luxor Temple - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Meeting arranged with the Ministry rep about disabled access at the sites

I have my meeting arranged with the Ministry rep to show him the current situation at the sites. Also Joanne Stables is helping me and has made some useful contacts re mud brick use to make sites accessible.

Shenouda sent me a copy of the paper he presented and in it he quotes me.

I have to admit to being pretty excited, this might actually happen!

Egyptian archaelogists unearth tomb of 18th Dynasty magistrate in west Luxor - Heritage - Ahram Online

Egyptian archaelogists unearth tomb of 18th Dynasty magistrate in west Luxor - Heritage - Ahram Online: The Egyptian Archaelogical Mission announced on Tuesday that it has discovered a major tomb in Luxor dating back to the18th Dynasty and containing priceless artefacts.









* MoA press release:
"Tomb of Userhat, Draa Abul Nagaa, West Bank, Luxor
The Egyptian archaeological mission working in Draa Abul Nagaa necropolis on
Luxor’s west bank unearthed the funerary collection of a New Kingdom tomb of
Userhat, the city jury.
Tomb Description: It represents a typical example of a
nobleman tomb. It is a T-shaped tomb consists of an open court leading into a
rectangular hall, a corridor and an inner chamber.
After removing almost 450 metres of debris out of the
open court, appeared the entrance of the tomb as well as two other entrances
leading to two joint tombs.
Excavation works are at its full swings to reveal the
secrets of these two tombs.
Inside the rectangular hall, a well-preserved wooden
coffin, decorated with coloured scenes, was unearthed and a nine metres deep
shaft was uncovered. Inside the shaft, the mission has located two rooms; one
on the eastern side where a collection of ushabti figurines, wooden masks and a
handle of a sarcophagus lid was unearthed. The second one is located on the western
side but did not completely excavated yet.
The corridor of the tomb leads into an inner chamber
where a cachette of sarcophagi is found. It houses a collection of sarcophagi
from the 21st Dynasty with mummies wrapped in linen.
A collection of ushabti figurines carved in faience,
terracotta and wood was also unearthed as well as another collection of clay
pots of different shapes and sizes.
Team Work: Dr. MostafaWaziri, Head of Archaeological
mission Mohamed Khalil Head of the Antiquities Inspectors Mohamed Daabish and
Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Antiquities Inspectors Ahmed Baghdady and Ramadan Salem,
Restorers "