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

Ancient Egypt News 06 – 12 December 2021

Welcome to the latest Ancient Egypt stories that made the headlines over the second week of December.

 

The Minister of Tourism and Antiquities presided over a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Egyptian General Authority for Tourism Activation. Among the items discussed were:

 

The recent event in Luxor and the earlier Golden Mummies Parade as being the embodiment of the integration between tourism and Egypt’s monuments. The Luxor Event will now become the first annual event held regularly on the Avenue of the Sphinxes between Luxor and Karnak temples, and hopefully be open to tourists and locals alike.

 

2022 is going to be an exceptional and special year for Egypt and the world, especially for Egyptian tourism.

 

The twice yearly event of the sunrise at Abu Simbel will feature a big event, especially the one in February as the date will never be repeated – 22-02-2022.

 

Dr. Khaled El-Enany began the meeting with congratulating and thanking the authority and also the Supreme Council of Antiquities and all its employees for their great effort and joint work in the Luxor event of the Avenue of the Sphinxes which was witnessed by the world on Thursday, November 25th. The minister said that the next period will witness more such events, which will highlight the Egyptian tourist destination with its diverse products.

 

2022 is also the centenary of the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun, as well as the anniversary of the deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphs, and not to forget, the much anticipated opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum.

 

November witnessed the re-opening of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, which consists of two floors for the display of artefacts, where the ground floor is dedicated to display heavy and large monuments such as coffins and statues, while the upper floor is filled with lighter artefacts, including the possessions of the Silver Pharaoh and the rich treasures from the tomb of Yuya and Tjouyu, great-grandparents to Tutankhamun.

 

The museum features a vast number of monuments dating back to different eras from prehistoric to the end of the era of the Pharaonic Dynasties, as well as artefacts from the Greek and Roman times.

 

The Tahrir Complex. The mighty Mogamma building. That legendary labyrinth of offices in Downtown Cairo. Whatever you want to call it, it's about to undergo a massive transformation. As the New Administrative Capital sets itself up as the new home for ministries and government offices, the Tahrir Complex is looking for a new purpose in life.

 

After the Sovereign Fund of Egypt shook hands with a US-led consortium to revamp the Tahrir Complex, the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development released new pictures unveiling what the building will look like after its long overdue rework.

 

Led by US-based Global Ventures and Oxford Capital, alongside UAE's Al Otaiba Investment, the USD 200 million redevelopment project will turn what was once an imposing block of state bureaucracy into an apartment hotel, a lifestyle destination, a glamorous office space and a commercial centre all under one roof.

 

Israel’s Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid presented his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry with dozens of Egyptian relics that were illegally smuggled into Israel.

 

Lapid met Shoukry in Cairo after first holding talks with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

 

Eli Eskozido, Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, joined Lapid to hand over the 95 artifacts, which included two stone tablets with hieroglyphic writing, a piece of a sarcophagus with hieroglyph s, papyrus documents and dozens of small idols of Egyptian gods.

 

The items were laid out on a table covered in a green tablecloth as Eskozido and Lapid officially transferred them over to Egypt.

 

Four of the relics were nabbed by Israeli customs agents in 2013 as an Israeli antiquities dealer tried to bring them into the country through Ben Gurion Airport after purchasing them in Oxford, England. Israel alerted Egyptian authorities through Interpol, and after a legal battle, the relics were handed over to Israel in 2015.

 

The other Egyptian artifacts were found in a Jerusalem antiquities dealership in August 2013. IAA and Foreign Ministry officials met with Egypt’s ambassador in September of that year and agreed to conduct a joint investigation. The next month, 91 relics were seized from the shop. During the ensuing legal process, Egypt sent documentation of the artifacts and expert opinion from Yousef Hamed Khalifa, the director of Cairo and Giza for the Egyptian Tourism and Antiquities Ministry.

 

As a compromise, the dealer handed the items over to Israeli authorities.

 

According to an Israeli newspaper:

 

When Israel occupied Sinai for the first time in 1956, it stole antiquities from Serabit al-Khadem, where the stolen antiquities shipped to the Antiquities Department in occupied Jerusalem.

 

According to previous Hebrew reports, the Israeli museum in Tel Aviv displays Egyptian antiquities including necklaces and statues made of pure gold in a corner dedicated to Egyptian antiquities that includes 700 artifacts.

 

These antiquities are estimated at millions of dollars dating back to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries BC and others to the nineteenth century BC.

 

The newspaper pointed out that among the antiquities to be displayed in the museum is the sword of the Pharaonic King Tutankhamun, known as the “Sickle Sword”.

 

The newspaper said that the former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin gifted an exact copy of the sword, which was found in Palestine, to former President Anwar Sadat, during his first visit to Cairo, in 1979, and wrote on the sword cover: “So that war does not break out again.”

 

“The Antiquities Authority praises Foreign Minister Lapid’s initiative, and is happy it was able to help the Egyptian authorities return to the Egyptian people Egyptian cultural artifacts that were stolen from that country”, Eskozido said in a statement.

 

Authorities arrested a gang who excavated archaeological treasures and a pharaonic sarcophagus at an ancient cemetery that was found under a house in the neighbourhood of Ain Shams.

 

Investigations by the security services at the Cairo Security Directorate confirmed that a gang excavated antiquities in the Ain Shams area and was able to reach an ancient cemetery containing a pharaonic sarcophagus, and they began searching for a way to sell it and smuggle it out of the country.

 

Investigations revealed that the gang included eight people including six of whom had a criminal record.

 

All the accused bought the basement of the house and agreed to participate in excavation surreptitiously under the aforementioned property to search for antiquities.

 

The suspects confessed to committing the incident. They said during interrogations that they deliberately concealed the hole with the intention of smuggling the antiquities out of the country.

 

The area of excavation was 240 metres and consisted of several rooms. They constructed a wooden door to conceal the hole of excavation.

 

Under the wooden door, another cement cover was found. After removing the cover, a three-metre-deep hole and a ladder were found.

 

An archaeological cemetery with a huge granite coffin about three metre’s long with Pharaonic inscriptions was found down there . A large number of tools used in excavation were also found.

 

And that’s 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.