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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 24 – 30 May 2021

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

The Board of Directors of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, headed by Dr. Khaled El-Enany, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, was held recently. 

The Board agreed to continue postponing the implementation of new prices for foreigners to archaeological sites and museums until May 2022, as a continuation of the Ministry's policy to support cultural tourism, and encourage one-day trips from Red Sea cities to the Nile Valley to promote the integration between cultural and beach tourism. 

May 26 marked the 67th anniversary of the discovery of the Khufu Solar Boats by the archaeologist and journalist Kamal el-Malakh.  

The discovery was made in 1954 inside two roofed pits at the base of the southern Pyramid of Khufu. At the bottom of one of them was a dismantled vessel beautifully carved out of cedar wood. The boat consisted of 1224 parts that were all found intact. 

Funeral boats were used to transport the king's mummy to visit the holy sites of the God Osiris, at Abydos in the south and Buto in the north. Also it is understood that this type of boat was used to transport the body of the king from his palace of residence to the cemetery where his pyramid was located. 

Egyptian myths say that the Sun rises on the far eastern shore, when Ra appears from the water and is greeted by a band of monkeys. After that, Ra, the Sun God, rides in his day ship, which sails him across the sky until evening, when he moves from his day ship to the night ship that waits for him in the underworld. 

Dr. Zahi Hawass, the world-famed Egyptian archeologist, said that he was happy to meet Dr. Jasser Al Harbesh, Head of the Heritage Authority affiliated to the Ministry of Culture in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in the capital, Riyadh. 

Hawass indicated that the meeting touched on the inauguration of the excavation project of King Ramses III, in the kingdom, scheduled for next November. 

It is written that Rameses sent missions to fetch copper from a neighbouring country, and with the discovery of the trade route between the kingdom and Egypt, that destination has now been found.

Dr. Hawass assured reporters that there are many spots on the trade route to be excavated, to find more evidence that the Egyptian kings sent missions to ancient Saudi Arabia more than three thousand years ago. 

A number of artefacts have been found in the kingdom including an important group of Egyptian scarabs.

Dr. Hawass and his guest agreed on many projects devoted to keeping the heritage within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, along with producing a series of documentary films on antiquities of the kingdom.

A Colombian Egyptologist is one of 12 people selected from the 5,000 applications received by the Institute for Ancient Egyptian Studies in Madrid, to be part of a team made up of archaeologists, anthropologists, historians and art restorers.

They will travel to Luxor, in southern Egypt, to try to solve one of the ancient riddles that science has not yet been able to answer.

Almost 3,500 years ago, Pharaoh Akhenaten decided to eliminate all the gods of Ancient Egypt and declare the Sun as the sole deity. With this decision he challenged the rules and the culture that had remained unchanged for 1,500 years. Some historians nicknamed him “The heretic pharaoh".

It was a huge change. But did it really start with Akhenaten? There is a huge gap in the knowledge and documentation of what happened in one of the most turbulent and splendid times of Egyptian civilization.

But, maybe, the story of the vizier Amenhotep-Huy, the right hand of Pharaoh Amenhotep III – Akhenaten’s father – can shed light on all this.

In an interview with BBC Mundo, the Egyptologist spoke about what the team expects to find in the tomb of a vizier.

The figure of the vizier in Ancient Egypt is equivalent to what today would be a prime minister. He was the right hand of the head of state, who at that time was Amenhotep III, Akhenaten’s father.

The mission will be led by Teresa Bedman and Francisco Martín Valentín, from the Institute of Ancient Egyptian Studies of Madrid. I am very grateful that the call was opened worldwide. That meant that it could also reach Latin America.

I know that about 5,000 people submitted, and that only 12 people were selected. And as a Colombian, as a Latin American, knowing that I can be part of such a prepared, professional team is an honor. 

The period of five to six years during which King Amenhotep IV, also known as Akhenaten, had his residence in Thebes, before moving to Armana, is today in the most complete darkness for the world of Egyptology.

What we know of the ancient world as Thebes would be Luxor today. That is why we are going there. Akhenaten, known as the “rebellious pharaoh,” changed everything when he came to power. All the traditional cult that existed in Egypt, the gods, the polytheistic cult, changed it to a single divinity, to the cult of the god Aten, the sun god.

The team will also try to reveal if this religious change that we say in history has been concentrated in Akhenaten, it could have started earlier, with his father. We believe that this vizier, who was in the last years of the reign of the father and in the first years of the reign of the son, can give us answers to a time when the empire was quite agitated.

Each person has a particular role within the team. Archaeologists are the first to give directions to begin the excavation, art restorers are in charge of repairing the pieces found and Egyptologists, like me, are in charge of investigating, analysing and locating in history everything that is discovered .

The pieces discovered in this excavation will be exhibited in the new Great Egyptian Museum in Cairo, but there will be time to study the pieces and hopefully reveal what happened in that period of history.

Director General of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir. Sabah Abdel Razek has said that there is a great demand to see the new artefacts displayed where the royal mummies used to be before they were transferred to the  National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, in a ceremony witnessed by the whole world. 

Abdel Razek added the hall in which the royal mummies were previously displayed is receiving growing attention even from first-time visitors. 

50 coloured coffins are currently displayed in the hall, including two from last year’s Saqqara archaeological discovery, and 48 coffins from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, of which 15 coffins are being displayed for the first time, the others were on display on the third floor of the museum and in the basement. 

These coffins have received a grant project that began in 2016, to include document, photograph and restore 626 coffins. 

Since its reopening in May, after a short pause due to the repercussions of the Coronavirus crisis, all tickets for the exhibition "Kings of the Sun" in the Czech capital Prague have been sold out.

This exhibition was inaugurated by Dr. Khaled El-Enany, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, and Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, in August 2020. 

Dr. Mustafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that the exhibition is witnessing a great turnout from the Czech people, as the number of visitors since its reopening on May 4 until now reached nearly 10,000 visitors.

He added that this exhibition is the first for Egyptian antiquities in the Czech Republic, and the largest external exhibition of antiquities of the old kingdom. 

Ibrahim Mustafa, the archaeologist accompanying the exhibition, said that around 400 people visit the exhibition every day, and they are divided into 6 groups and the duration of the visit of each group is about 105 minutes. He added that all hygiene safety regulations are implemented during the visits. 

The exhibition opened in conjunction with the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the archaeological work of the Czech mission in Abusir. It gives visitors from the Czech Republic and Europe a small glimpse of the ancient Egyptian civilization.  

The exhibition includes 90 artifacts from the excavations of the Czech mission in the archaeological area of ​​Abu Sir, including the head of a statue of King Ra-Nefer-Ef, a number of statues from the Old Kingdom, including a writer, senior statesmen and employees, plus a group of canopic jars, and 10 faience ushabti figurines.

Speaking on the side-lines of a tourism conference held in Saudi Arabia, about the long-awaited inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), Dr Khaled El-Enany said that the authorities expect to open the museum, which is located in Giza and is anticipated to become a major tourist attraction, this year. 

He added, however, that this may be delayed to 2022.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.