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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 10 – 16 May 2021

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


As part of the archaeological documentation and registration project of the rock-cut tombs in El-Hamdiya necropolis in the Eastern Mountain in Sohag governorate, the Archaeological Mission of the Supreme Council of Antiquities succeeded in uncovering a large number of rock-cut tombs.


Dr. Mostafa Waziry (Secretary-General of the Supreme Council) said that these tombs show different styles across approximately 250 tombs located at several levels in the mountain. They included tombs with one shaft or several burial shafts and others with a ramp that ends with a burial chamber. These tombs date back from the end of the Old Kingdom to the end of the Ptolemaic period.


He pointed out that one of the Old Kingdom tombs consists of an entrance leading to a cross-hall and a burial shaft in the south-east side, which is a sloped passage leading to a small burial chamber.


Dr. Waziry explained that this tomb has a false door bearing the remains of inscriptions, in addition to the remnants of scenes belonging to the owner of the tomb, depicting him slaughtering sacrifices, and people giving offerings for the deceased.


Dr. Mohammed Abdul Badia (head of the Central Department of Antiquities of Upper Egypt) said that the excavations in this area resulted in the uncovering of many pots, some of which were used in daily life and others as funerary ware in the form of miniature symbolic masterpieces, known as "vot" miniature" which are spherical small pots with yellowish coating residues on the outside. They also discovered many small-sized alabaster pots, remnants of a round metal mirror, human and animal bones, and the remains of limestone pieces with inscriptions that may represent funerary paintings of the tomb owners dating back to the end of the 6th dynasty.


As part of the project, more than 300 tombs in the area, which extend from The Sheikhs Nag in the North, have been registered and documented. This collection of tombs represents the rulers and staff of the 9th province of Upper Egypt, which is one of the important administrative centres in ancient Egypt due to its position between the capital Memphis, and Aswan since the time of the old kingdom, in addition to its proximity to the city of Abydos, the center of worship of the God "Osiris". It was also the main center of the city of Akhmim and the main God of the territory was "Min". 


He added that it is expected that more tombs will be uncovered.


A month after the Pharaohs’ Golden Parade, the foliage-adorned iron gate of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir has been re-erected in its original location, to once again decorate the museum’s façade.


The gate was dismantled almost three months ago and replaced with a new temporary modern one that stayed until the completion of the Golden Parade and the departure of the royal mummies to their permanent exhibition at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation.


Sabah Abdel-Razek, Director of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir explained that the original gate was dismantled to preserve it and facilitate the departure of the mummies through the new gate as previous studies had revealed that the original gate was too narrow, making it impossible for the parade to pass through. 


The outer gate of the museum had been restored last year for the first time since it was damaged in 2011.


The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) in Giza has completed installing the third shrine of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun, which was recently received by the museum in preparation for its display at its new location. Atef Muftah, General Supervisor at the GEM and the surrounding area, said that the installation of the shrine took about 14 hours.


Issa Zidan, Director General of Executive Affairs for Restoration and Antiquities Transfer at the museum, confirmed that the teams at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square and the GEM have also carried out restoration, support, and protection work for the first and second shrines of the young king.


These are still located at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square, where the scientific documentation work for them also took place. This includes X-rays, photography, and video work, and a comprehensive report was prepared on the status of each shrine, which will help in the process of dismantling and regrouping of the shrines. 


The first shrine is the largest artefact belonging to Tutankhamun, and weighs 2,600 kg. The third shrine weighs about 1,140 kg, and features a frieze, with a double door closed with a royal seal.


The shrine consists of a roof decorated with a winged sun disc and eight birds placed under the Pharaoh’s titles, whilst the ceiling contains inscriptions on the inside, as well as a door with inscriptions and texts from the Book of the Dead.


On the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr, Director General of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, Sabah Abdel Razzaq said that the museum was ready to receive visitors from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, while adhering to strict precautions to battle the global pandemic.   


Abdel Razzaq stated that emphasis is placed on the commitment of all museum employees to wear masks and gloves during daily dealings with visitors. She also noted the presence of informational panels inside the museum to educate visitors on how to confront the virus.   


And much further south, the Director General of Aswan and Nubia Antiquities Abdel Moneim al-Saeed said that the decision of the Supreme Council of Antiquities to allow entry of any Egyptian visitor at student ticket prices of L.E 5  was implemented for Eid Al-Fitr. 


The Director General of Aswan and Nubia Antiquities stated that, based on the instructions of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the archaeological sites were completely sterilized.  


Also, Al-Saeed said all devices in the museums and archaeological sites such as X-Rays, surveillance cameras and fire alarms were fully reviewed, in preparation for receiving the public during Eid al-Fitr.  


The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, represented by the Egyptian Tourism Promotion Board, participated in the UITT International Tourism Fair in Kyiv, Ukraine, from May 11 to 13, with the aim of boosting tourist traffic from Ukraine. 


Mr. Ahmed Yusuf, CEO of the Egyptian Tourism Promotion Board, explained that the UITT exhibition is one of the largest international tourism and professional events in Ukraine, stressing that the Ukrainian market is one of the most important tourist markets for Egypt, which has witnessed a great development in terms of the volume of tourism traffic and numbers coming from it during the last few years, and that it is one of the first markets that has seen a large tourist influx to Egypt since the country resumed tourism in July 2020.


Mr. Youssef, who led the Egyptian delegation at the exhibition, noted that this year the ministry participated in a 27-square-meter pavilion designed in the style of columns of ancient Egyptian temples, and was equipped with the latest technological means, from large screens to display promotional material from various Egyptian tourist destinations.


726 fixed and 86 floating hotels have received hygiene safety certificates to date. Since the beginning of this year, 29 fixed hotels in five provinces and 43 floating hotels have received the Hygiene Safety Certificate approved by the Ministries of Tourism and Antiquities, Health and Population, and the Chamber of Hotel Establishments, after ensuring that they meet all hygiene safety controls set by the Ministry in accordance with international health safety standards. 


The inspection committees are continuing to inspect the rest of the fixed and floating hotels that have applied for the certified hygiene safety certificate for operation with 50% occupancy capacity in accordance with the operating controls of fixed and floating hotels.


It is a monthly tradition performed by the Egyptian museums under the Supreme Council of Antiquities, where a distinctive display is held of an artefact chosen by the public, through voting on the Facebook page of each museum to be the "piece of the month".


The Royal Chariots Museum in Boulaq displayed in the museum's reception hall, the "Jananyar Hanem Painting", a life-size oil painting of  one of Khedive Ismail's wives. 

The Kom Aushim Museum of Fayoum chose an almond-shaped saddle with two-star decorations and figures, made of porcelain and dating back to the Fatimid era. 

Sohag Museum showed a double statue of the workers' chief who held the title of foreman, an observer of the high priests, and the sole prince of the king. 

The Luxor Mummification Museum chose a newly mummified duck artifact, which was embalmed by Dr. Zaki Iskandar in 1942.

For the Royal Jewelry Museum in Alexandria, it was the box of Nashuk Muhammad Ali Pasha from king Farouk's possessions, which is an oval-shaped box made of gold and silver, studded with diamonds.  

At the Museum of Islamic Art, the winning piece was a glass with metallic sparkle on it and an illustration of a Fatimid deer.

In Helwan at the King Farouk Corner Museum, a photograph of the wedding of King Farouk and Queen Nariman inside a gilded wood frame topped with the shape of the Royal Crown. 

Sharm el-Sheikh Museum displayed a piece dating back to the middle kingdom depicting the bread industry in ancient Egypt.

Hurghada Museum kept to that theme with a small statue depicting a man who is grinding grain, since bread was an essential food in ancient Egypt.

Beni Suef National Archaeological Museum carried a limestone statue of a bread-making maid, while for the Ismailia Museum, a funeral limestone plaque painting of a Hathor priest with the God Ozer, and the sun's winged disc. 

At the Suez Museum, a set of dried fish won.

The Coptic Museum was represented by an icon of the resurrection of Christ. 

While in the Luxor Museum, 3 pieces in one image won, illustrating the stages of metal casting in ancient Egypt and showing the God "Horus" made of bronze, the Goddess  "Maat" made of beeswax, and God "Djahoty" made of clay, and these pieces date back to the era of the new kingdom. 


Other museums across the country also selected and displayed their winning pieces. These will all be on display for the rest of the month. 


And lastly, "Around Egypt", an app which offers 360-degree virtual reality tours, has just opened the doors to Nefertari’s Tomb, adding to the long list of ancient sights you can explore on the app. Often referred to as ‘Egypt’s Sistine Chapel’, Nefertari’s Tomb was discovered in the Valley of the Queens in 1904, and features an astronomical ceiling covered in golden stars amidst a deep-blue backdrop, and walls with colourful paintings that depict everyday scenes of the queen’s life and instructions on how to proceed in the afterlife.


Visits to the tomb were often restricted throughout the past century due to the fragility of the paintings within. But through this app, you’ll be able to witness the queen’s resting place with no danger of harming its precious artefacts.


The Around Egypt app launched amidst the first wave of the pandemic in April 2020 to help promote tourism in Egypt, while giving stay-at-homers the opportunity to witness its ancient treasures. 


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.