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Due to the COVID-19 situation, the GnT Tours Egypt Experience is currently only taking provisional bookings for a tour later in 2021

A weekly round up of the Ancient Egypt News stories that made the headlines

Ancient Egypt News 31 May – 06 June 2021

Welcome to the latest Ancient Egypt stories that made the headlines over the first week of June.

Egypt will announce a huge new archaeological discovery in September, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled El-Enany revealed during a live broadcast of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt’s annual general meeting. The meeting was held at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC) in the Old Cairo district of Fustat. 

Dr. El-Enany said that Egypt was supposed to have announced a huge archaeological discovery in May. However, after the extremely positive feedback from The Pharaoh’s Golden Parade in April, the government felt it does not need to rush more promotion in the archaeological field. As a result, it was decided to postpone the announcement until after the summer, in September. 

The minister also said that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Egypt was able to announce many discoveries, two of which were extremely important. Both are located in Saqqara, in a part of the necropolis of the Ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis.

“These two discoveries that were considered among the top 10 of 2020 included the unearthing of more than 150 sealed coffins, all of them coloured and with intact mummies,” he added, “This was in addition to a lot of funerary objects and statutes, with much archaeological work still needed on the site.” El-Enany noted that the upcoming announcement of the archaeological discovery will be bigger than the discovery announced last November in Saqqara.

Before the end of the year, Egypt will also be opening the 2,700-metre-long Avenue of Sphinxes in Luxor, the road that connects the Karnak and Luxor temples, with El-Enany noting that the avenue’s opening will be Egypt’s next parade.

The minister said that he has already met with several companies aiming to organise the parade, and that two proposals have already been received. 

El-Enany declared that the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) in Giza will also be ready to open by the end of the year.

“There is a difference between the ceremony and the opening, as the ceremony will be huge and attended by Heads of State from around the world, celebrities, and the like,” El-Enany said, adding, “I have had a meeting with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who has given his directives that we have to work very fast for the museum to be ready.” 

He added that his ministry will continue moving artefacts to the GEM in preparation for its opening. A total of 95% of the Pharaoh Tutankhamen’s collection has already been moved to its new location, where a special section devoted to the Pharaoh has been created.

The remaining 5% that remains in the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square will be moved to the GEM just a few days before the new museum’s official opening. The decision will ensure that those tourists travelling to Egypt beforel the GEM opens will not miss out by not having seen any artefacts belonging to the Boy Pharaoh. “The Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square will not die, and we are keen to send and emphasise this message,” El-Enany said.

The Board of Directors of the GEM chaired by Dr. El-Enany, convened, reviewed and discussed a number of topics related to developments of work at the museum. 

Maj. Gen. Atef Moftah, General Supervisor of the project of the GEM and its surroundings, started the meeting by reviewing developments of construction works at the museum. 

He presented a pictured report about the method of transferring the first Khufu ship from its current museum in the Pyramids area in Giza Governorate to the GEM. He also affirmed that the transferring of the ships of Khufu is going according to scientific studies and that preparations have been ongoing for more than a year.

At the end of the meeting, Dr. Khalid El-Enany, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, thanked all the staff of the GEM for their effort to complete the great edifice.

The Antiquities Museum at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina has re-displayed a distinguished group of unique artifacts, after they returned safely to Egypt following an absence of nearly 5 years, during which they toured a number of European capitals and American states. 

The exhibition started its world tour with the Arab World Institute in the French capital, Paris, in 2015. The exhibition then moved to the British Museum in England, and then to Zurich. Switzerland was the last stop on its European tour.  

The exhibition began its second tour in the United States of America, where it visited four American cities, starting in 2018 with St. Louis, then the Minneapolis Museum of Art, and the Ronald Reagan Museum in the Presidential Library in California, and ending its US tour at the Virginia Museum of Art. 

The Antiquities Museum in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina has contributed a number of selected pieces from the museum’s sunken antiquities collection, including the famous statue of one of the Ptolemaic queens in the form of the goddess Isis. This unique piece was made the icon of the exhibition and topped the museum display in various international museums. 

The exhibition "Osiris-Secrets of Sunken Egypt" included 293 artifacts from various Egyptian museums: the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, the Alexandria National Museum, the Greco-Roman Museum, and the Antiquities Museum in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, as well as discoveries made by the General Administration from the Sunken Antiquities department. 

As soon as these pieces returned to the Antiquities Museum, the museum management was keen to provide all human resources and expertise, including archaeologists, restorers and workers, to display the collection again.

The Queens of Egypt are ready to rule the Canadian Museum of History. This magnificent and highly anticipated exhibition is an enthralling journey into the world of Nefertari, Nefertiti, Hatshepsut, and other women of power and influence in ancient Egypt.

Step 3,500 years back in time, into an immersive, multi-sensory experience that reveals the stories of seven fascinating female figures who played important military, political, diplomatic, and religious roles in the New Kingdom (1539-1076 BC). They ruled as the wives, mothers, sisters and daughters of Pharaohs — and, in one case, as the Pharaoh herself. 

“We are thrilled to welcome this exceptional exhibition at last,” said Caroline Dromaguet, acting president and CEO of the Canadian Museum of History. “Queens of Egypt is a rare opportunity to see treasures from one of the most important collections of ancient Egyptian objects, but above all to focus on an aspect less known and just as important: the place of women and their role within Egyptian royalty.” 

Visitors to the museum will be spellbound by more than 300 monumental statues, sarcophagi, funerary objects, jewellery and other iconic artefacts. 

One of the highlights is the “Harem Conspiracy Papyrus,” a remarkable document describing the accusations, convictions, and punishments meted out to conspirators who plotted to assassinate Pharaoh Ramses III. 

The majority of the objects on view come from Museo Egizio in Turin, Italy, which houses the largest collection of Egyptian antiquities outside of Egypt. 

“We are very glad to have the Canadian Museum of History hosting Queens of Egypt, especially in such a complex time globally,” said Christian Greco, director of Museo Egizio. “The artefacts displayed in the exhibition are much more than silent objects, but indeed a living world heritage, capable of transmitting universal stories from the past to today. We are sure that they will enthral and captivate the Canadian public.” 

Queens of Egypt is a unique and unforgettable journey into one of history’s most important ancient civilisations. Presented against a backdrop of giant screens depicting landscapes and ways of life in the New Kingdom, the exhibition culminates with an evocation of Queen Nefertari’s lavishly decorated burial chamber, and her journey into the afterlife. The tomb is considered one of the most beautiful ever uncovered in Egypt. 

The exhibition was originally due to be presented at the Canadian Museum of History in the summer of 2020, but was postponed due to the pandemic. 

Queens of Egypt also features “Mission Nefertari”, an area dedicated to family activities for visitors of all ages. In addition to on-site events and activities related to the exhibition, the museum is offering special programmes online, including a guided tour with the curator and a virtual adventure. 

The show is on until 22 August 2021. To ensure a safe and memorable experience for all, we are limiting the number of visitors inside the museum through timed admission tickets that can be purchased at historymuseum.ca.

While preparing his land for agriculture, a local farmer stumbled upon a large block of stone, so he immediately contacted the tourism and antiquities police and the ministry of tourism and Antiquities. The large block turned out to be an ancient Egyptian stela dated to the 26th dynasty.  

According to Dr. Mostafa Waziry “The stela was safely transferred to Ismailia Museum. The stela is sandstone and it measures 230 cm in length, 103 cm width and 45 cm depth. The stela depicts a winged sun disc with the cartouche of King “Wah Ib Re” of the 26th Dynasty (664 B.C- 525 B.C). 

It shows 15 lines of hieroglyphs, and it is a boundary stela which the King would erect on his military campaigns to the east.” 

For generations, visitors to the Durban Natural Science Museum have been drawn to one of its the most prized possessions – a more than 2000-year-old Egyptian Mummy that has enthralled young and old alike.

According to history, the mummy was bought by the Durban Museum sometime between 1889 and 1910 from a British army officer, Major William Joseph Myers.Myers brought the mummy from Egypt when he came to South Africa at the end of the 19th century, having served in Egypt for five years.

It is believed that Myers, who built up “the finest 19th-century private collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities which he bequeathed to his old school, Britain’s famous Eton College”, according to the Egyptian Society of South Africa, stole and smuggled the artefacts out of Egypt.

The mummy in the Durban Natural Science Museum is said to be that of a minor priest named Peten-Amun (Ptn-’Imn), thought to have died aged about 60 years. It is believed to be from Akhmim, Upper Egypt, and comes from the early Ptolemaic period, (300 BC).

Now, as Egypt and several other African countries push to have their stolen and looted artefacts returned – from mostly European museums – the Durban Natural Science Museum is offering to return the mummy under its care.

Eric Apelgren, the Head of Department of International and Governance Relations at the eThekwini Municipality, said the city was opening negotiations with the Egyptian Government through the embassy in Pretoria, to explore if the mummy in the Durban Natural Science Museum should be returned.

He said that in addition to keeping good relations with Egypt and Durban’s sister city, Alexandria, recent changes to legislation regarding how museums keep mortal remains have necessitated them to re-look at the mummy that the city had under its care.

“Secondly, globally Egypt has started a process of collecting these mummies that were taken out of the country and begun documenting them and keeping them in specialised facilities, both for their own historical record, and preservation of their culture, but also as part of the tourist offering,” Apelgren said.He said that negotiations were still at a very early stage with the Egyptian government.

Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Dr. Khaled El-Enany recently visited the Greco-Roman Museum in Alexandria to follow up on the progress of work in the renovation and restoration project of the museum.

Dr. Mostafa Waziry, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that the project of renovation and restoration of the museum started in 2018 in coordination with the Armed Forces Engineering Authority. He added that more than 86% of the project is complete. 

The Museum will display around 20 thousand artifacts from the Greek and Roman eras, and it is one of the most important and oldest tourist and archaeological landmarks specialized in the Greco-Roman civilization in the Mediterranean in Alexandria. It also includes study and conference rooms, a library, a printing workshop, multimedia rooms, and a school for museum education for Children. 

The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities organized a visit for more than 20 Ambassadors and their spouses to the antiquities replicas factory in Obour City. They included Ambassadors of Japan, Germany, Spain, France, Greece, the EU, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Columbia and Australia.

The factory employs more than 150 Egyptian artists and trained skilled workers and is equipped with the latest technology to reach the highest level of accuracy in production.

“Konouz” is the first of its kind in Egypt and the Middle East. It contributes to protecting Egyptian cultural heritage and intellectual property rights of Egyptian replicas from different eras.

It produces high quality replicas that are “Made in Egypt” with a certificate and stamp of authentication from the Supremes Council of Antiquities to ensure their quality.  

And that is it for this week.  

This weekly round-up is sourced from public sites on the internet and do not necessarily reflect the views of GnT Tours. Please feel free to contact us regarding these and any other stories posted here.