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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 26 April – 02 May 2021

Welcome to the latest Ancient Egypt stories that made the headlines over the end of April and the beginning of May.

Egypt’s most ancient and iconic commute is getting a shake up this Eid al-Fitr, when the twin ferries ‘Luxor 1’ and ‘Luxor 2’ take to the Nile waters in the historic city of Luxor. Where ancient sunboats once roamed, these modern ferries will serve tourists and residents alike, allowing them to cross from the eastern to the western side of the river and vice versa. 

Stationed just near the Luxor Museum, these ferries are meant to encourage river transport in the city. Costing EGP 8 million each, the boats have been under construction for two years, and feature two floors that can accommodate 250 people.

The Center of Documentation and Studies on Ancient Egypt celebrated its 65th anniversary recently. It is one of the most important archaeological scientific centers and archives for documents and information, recording the archaeological work done in the last and current centuries. Its work includes the registration of Egyptian antiquities throughout the country.

Dr. Hisham Al-Leithy, head of the Center, explained that the idea behind establishing the center began after the launch of the international campaign to save Nubia’s temples by keeping track of them in a scientific manner before moving them from their original place. He added that one of the center's tasks is to record and study Egyptian antiquities, and to provide scientists and researchers with the necessary material for their studies. 

In addition to using the scientific registration work of restoration and periodic inspection carried out by the Supreme Council of Antiquities, the centre also preserves documents collected and exchanged with various scientific and technical entities and universities. The Center has also digitally converted black and white images resulting from field recording work, as well as glass plate negatives and film as part of the centre’s scientific archive. 

Alexandria Governorate has officially launched the Discover Alex tourist app, which tourists can use to learn about the archaeological, tourist and religious monuments in Alexandria. The app is currently available in seven languages ​​(Arabic, English, French, Italian, Greek, Russian and Chinese).It contains all information related to Alexandria Governorate, covering its history, tourist locations, hotels, maps and drawings, famous landmarks, as well as well-known eateries and more, according to the Director General of the Regional Authority for Tourism Promotion in Alexandria, Mohamed Saad who stated ‘Discover Alexandria’ is the first comprehensive tourist electronic application to be launched in the city.

He added that it comes as a result of President al-Sisi’s orders to encourage digital transformation, and falls neatly in line with the state’s general sustainable development plans and Egypt’s Vision 2030, in addition to being a major contributor to promoting tourism in Alexandria.

Dr. Mostafa Waziry announced that the Egyptian mission working at the site of Kom el Khelgan in the Nile Delta has unearthed 110 burials dated to 3 different eras including Buto I, Buto II and Naqada III as well as the second intermediate, or Hyksos period. 

Dr. Aiman Ashmawi (Head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities sector) said “The 68 Buto burials are oval shaped and are cut in the sandy layers of the area. Placed in them are the remains of humans in the squatting position, most of them placed on the left side with the head towards the west. The remains of an embryo dated to Buto II was discovered in a spherical shaped pottery container. 

Dr. Ashmawi added “The five burials dated to Naqada III are also oval shaped ones, two of them with their insides, bottom and roof covered in mud. Funerary furniture was found, including cylinder and pear-shaped pottery jars.”

Dr. Nadia Khedr, Head of Lower Egypt Antiquities Central administration, said “Of the 37 Second intermediate period burials, 31 of them are semi-rectangular shaped holes varying in depth between 20cm to 85 cm. All of the human remains discovered lie face up with the head towards the west. A pottery coffin of a child was discovered as well as two tombs of two children built with mudbricks in a rectangular shape. The children were buried inside with funerary items including small pieces of pottery and silver earrings. There is also the remains of an embryo burial inside a large pottery jar along with small funerary items.” 

The Mission has also discovered a number of ovens and the remains of mudbrick structures as well as pottery jars, amulets, including scarabs and other items of jewelry. The mission’s work is still ongoing.

A virtual autopsy of the mummy of Osirmose, the doorkeeper of the Temple of Re, has revealed several medical interventions in the mouth area that likely took place throughout the life of Osirmose.This is the first evidence of the use of oral surgery in Ancient Egypt. The studied mummy belongs to the Royal Museum of Art and History in Belgium.

Osirmose lived during the 25th dynasty, and was a member of a prominent family of Theban priests. His mummy was among the memorabilia of the Swedish Antiquarian Giovanni Anastasi, and was sold after his death at auction to a Belgian antiquities collector, and then to the Royal Museum of Art and History in Belgium.

During the study, researchers at the Saint Luc University performed a virtual autopsy on the Egyptian mummy using a three-dimensional (3D) high-resolution computed tomography (CT) scan. The images were later examined by a multidisciplinary team composed of radiologists, archaeologists, and oral and maxillofacial surgeons.The researchers confirmed the mummy belonged to a man. They found the heart, aorta, and kidneys inside the mummy's body. Brain excerebration had been performed, and artificial eyes were added to the stuffed eye sockets.

The tooth decay was more obvious in the upper jaw, where the researchers discovered several anomalies including a rectangular hole on the palatine side of tooth no. 26. The palatine root of tooth no. 26 was missing.Based on these findings, the researchers believe that this study provides the first evidence of a tooth removal site, and of oral surgical procedures conducted in ancient Egypt.

Prime Minister, Dr. Mustafa Madbouli, witnessed at the cabinet headquarters, the signing ceremony of the agreement on providing and operating services at the Grand Egyptian Museum between both the Grand Egyptian Museum and an international coalition led by Hassan Allam Construction Company, which among five other international alliances won the provision and operation of services at the museum. The agreement was signed by Dr. Khaled el-Enany, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, and Engineer Hassan Allam, Chairman of Hassan Allam Construction Company.

The winning coalition for the provision and operation of services at the Grand Egyptian Museum also includes the Emirates MAB, a leading company in integrated facilities and services management in the Middle East and North Africa, KCA London, Avesta Group France and other international companies specializing in business administration, marketing, hospitality, promotion, quality, health and occupational safety, tourist purposes management, events and cultural and educational activities. 

The reduction on the price of Annual permit rates set for entering museums and archaeological sites open to visitors is to continue, with reduced rates for students of public, private and international schools in all educational levels, as well as a separate rate for Egyptian university students. 

These permits allow the holder to visit all museums and archaeological sites open to visit except the tombs of King Seti I, King Tutankhamun, King Ramses VI in the Valley of the Kings, Queen Nefertari in the Valley of the Queens, all in Luxor; Going inside the Pyramids of Giza, entrance to  the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, and the Grand Egyptian Museum. 

The Egyptian Embassy in Italy announced recently that two smuggled Greco-Roman artefacts were seized in the Genoa region of Italy. The first piece recovered is the upper part of a statue of a woman, while the second is a small pottery vessel. Both date back to Egypt’s historic Greco-Roman era, which immediately followed the Ancient Egyptian period.

The recently renovated Shali Fortress - a mudbrick stronghold that towers over central Siwa - may soon be the site of a new antiquities museum for the Siwa Oasis. Or at least, one of the seven buildings that will make up the museum.

The upcoming museum will be home to antiquities from ancient Egypt and the Ptolemaic era, as well as Coptic and Islamic artefacts. While construction has not begun yet, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has started to plot out where the museum will be built.

The world’s first pregnant Egyptian mummy has been discovered in Warsaw by a team of Polish scientists using radiological scanning. The mummy, which dates back to the 1st century BC, was transported to Poland in the early 1800s, and is currently in the collection of the National Museum in Warsaw. 

Recent testing by researchers working on the Warsaw Mummy Project found that the embalmed woman was around 28 weeks pregnant when she died. According to a paper published by the team in the Journal of Archaeological Science, the discovery will open up “new possibilities of researching pregnancy in ancient times”. 

The 2,000-year-old mummy was initially identified as the body of the male priest and scribe Hor-Djehuti, after hieroglyphic inscriptions on the sarcophagus were translated in the 1920s. 

However, non-invasive tomographic scans of the mummy in 2015 suggested the body was in fact that of a woman. A 3D model also showed long, curly hair flowing to the shoulders, mummified breasts, and female genitalia. The scans then revealed the presence of a foetus in the womb of the mummy. 

The sex of the foetus is unknown, and the poor state of preservation of its skeleton meant further measurements could not be taken. It is also uncertain why the foetus was left in the womb when the mummy was embalmed, although scientists believe this may have been due to difficulties in removing it from the body.

According to the paper published by the team, the discovery “sheds a light on an unresearched aspect of ancient Egyptian burial customs and interpretations of pregnancy in the context of ancient Egyptian religion.”

The team now plan to analyse tissues, which contain traces of blood, to discover how the woman died. They estimate that she was between 20 and 30 years old.  

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.