Sunday, 29 May 2016

Thebes in the First Millennium BC conference in Luxor - September

From the South Asasif Conservation Project

We are happy to announce that the program for the Thebes in the First Millennium BC conference is now available at the following link:

The list of abstracts for the conference will follow in due course. In the meantime, registration for the conference is now open and the registration form can be found here:

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us at

All the best,
Elena Pischikova (Director of the SACP)
Julia Budka (SACP)
Kenneth Griffin (SACP)
John Billman (SACP)

Shaaban Abd el-Gawad (MoA)
Nashwa Gaber (MoA)
Mohamed Mokhtar (MoA)
Essam Nagy (EES) 

Shifaa-Orman Cancer Hospital in Luxor inaugurated

Shifaa-Orman Cancer Hospital in Luxor inaugurated: Presidential aide for national and strategic projects Ibrahim Mahlab inaugurated on Friday 27/05/2016 the first phase of the Shifaa-Orman Cancer Hospital Project in Luxor.

The inauguration of the first phase that costed 200 million pounds was also attended by Mufti of Egypt Shawky Allam and the ministers of social solidarity, youths, international cooperation, expatriates affairs and tourism and the governors of Assuit, Sohag and Beni Suef.

They also laid down the foundation stone of the second phase of the project. The second phase include the establishment of a surgery department, research center and guest house.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Visiting Nubi Hussin Abd el Rasol

We had some students staying with us and they wanted to meet locals and practise their language. So we took one to meet Nubi Hussin Abd el Rasol (spellings vary). 

Of course I know the story of his family but it is much more interesting when he tells it and says my father, my grandfather and points to all these iconic pictures it really makes the history live.

 We start with DB320( aka TT320) the Royal Cache which was discovered by Ahmed and his brother Mohammed Abd el Rasul in 1871. Their sales of goods from this cache brought to the attention of the local authorities and set off an investigation by Sir Gaston Maspero, director of the Egyptian Antiquities Service, in the spring of 1881. This was Nubi’s grand grand father as he explained to us.

Jump forward to 1922 and the discovery of Tutankhamens tomb. Nubi’s grandfather is helping at the dig and there are photos to prove it. 

And Nubi’s father is the little boy who was photographed wearing Tutankhamen's pectoral. 

Listening to this story from the real life descendent is a special experience. If you want to meet any of this family  Nubi runs the Selkhet alabaster factory and one of his brother’s the Ramasseum café. We visited both places and she was able to see this living history

Sunday, 15 May 2016

What is new to see in Luxor?

Isis Temple 014 

What is new to see in Luxor?

There have been many discoveries in Luxor over the past few years but
what is there for the tourist to see? Funnily enough there is a lot
that has been opened or made accessible.

  • TT 110 of “the Chief Royal Butler of Queen Hatshepsut, Djehuty” which is located at Sheikh Abdel Qurna Area, on Luxor west bank.
  • Imn Nakht (TT 218); Nebenmaat (TT 219) and Kha’Emteri (TT 220) who
    held the same title: “Servant in the Place of Truth” during the reign of
    King Ramsess II located at Deir El-Medina.
  • TT 40 of ” Imn hotep – Hwy” Viceroy of King Tutankhamun in Kush and
    Governor of the South Lands, Tomb TT 277 of ” Imnement” Divine Father of
    Imn hotep III palace, and Tomb TT 278 of ” Amunemheb” Herdsman of Amun
    Re in the New Kingdom at Qurnet Murrai
  • Another tomb that has recently opened is TT41, this is on the Nakht and Meena ticket and costs 30LE. Amenemopet called Ipy, whose title was Chief Steward of Amun in the Southern City. He dates to the time of Ramesses I, Sethi I and Ramesses II from the Nineteenth dynasty of Egypt
  • TT148 Amenemope is added to the Roy and Shu Roy ticket which costs 20Le. There is a very full description on the Osirisnet website and you can also get the recent Australian publication.
  •  Photography is now allowed at Luxor Museum
  • Restoration of the mosque at Luxor temple exposed the old structure of the temple
  • Carter House and Tutankhamun tomb replica are available to visit
  • Mut temple at Karnak is now open a separate ticket
  • Opet temple at Karnak has been restored and can be visited
  • Deir el Shelwit, the Roman temple is also restored and open
  • Northern colossus of Amenhotep III have been restored and re-errected
  • Sphinx Alley can be viewed
  • Solar Complex at Hatshepsut Temple on the top tier is now open

Time to come back!!!

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Aswat Masriya - Entry to five Luxor tombs to be free till end of Sept - ministry

Entry to five Luxor tombs to be free till end of Sept - ministryAswat Masriya - Entry to five Luxor tombs to be free till end of Sept - ministry: CAIRO, May 13 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt's antiquities minister announced on Friday the opening of five archaeological tombs in Luxor for visitors free of charge until the end of September.

Aswat Masriya - Entry to five Luxor tombs to be free till end of Sept - ministry

Entry to five Luxor tombs to be free till end of Sept - ministryAswat Masriya - Entry to five Luxor tombs to be free till end of Sept - ministry: CAIRO, May 13 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt's antiquities minister announced on Friday the opening of five archaeological tombs in Luxor for visitors free of charge until the end of September.

Friday, 13 May 2016

The opening of Four New Kingdom Tombs in Luxor... - Ministry of Antiquities

The opening of Four New Kingdom Tombs in Luxor... - Ministry of Antiquities: The opening of Four New Kingdom Tombs in Luxor 

Minister of Antiquities Dr. Khaled El-Enany is to open today (Friday, May 13th) evening four tombs that belong to the Royal Butlers of Queen Hatshepsut from the 18th Dynasty and King Ramses II from the 19th Dynasty. The opening comes after the completion of their restoration works.

Dr. El-Enany states that the opening of the four tombs came within the framework of the Ministry of Antiquities' efforts to protect Egypt's heritage and to open new archaeological sites to promote tourism. He continued that the tombs that would be opened include tomb no. TT 110 of "the Chief Royal Butler of Queen Hatshepsut, Djehuty" which is located at Sheikh Abdel Qurna Area, on Luxor west bank.

The other three tombs are located at Deir El-Medina and belong to Imn Nakht (TT 218); Nebenmaat (TT 219) and Kha'Emteri (TT 220) who held the same title: "Servant in the Place of Truth" during the reign of King Ramsess II.

Dr. El-Enany pointed out that the restoration of Djehuty tomb was carried out in collaboration with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) while the restoration of Deir El-Medina tombs was implemented in collaboration with the French Institute for Oriental Studies (IFAO).

Dr. Mahmoud Afify, Head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector said that Djehuty tomb is a T-shaped tomb, typical of the 18th dynasty with a pillared hall and a burial shaft. As for the three tombs of Deir El Medina, he added, belong to three members of one family: (Imn Nakht, the Father) ; (Nebenmaat, the eldest son) and (Kha'Emteri, the youngest son). The tombs share the same entrance, corridor and ante-chamber which are branched out into three burial chambers with a mud brick chapel in each.

Afify pointed out that the tomb of the father followed the multicolored design prevailing most of the Deir El-Medina tombs, while the tombs of the sons followed the unicolored design.

Eng. Waadalla Abu El-Ela, Head of the Projects Sector said that the Djehuty tomb restoration project has started in October 2012 and included architectural and fine restorations because the tomb was in a poor conservation condition. He added that the project also included the consolidation of the tomb's walls, ceiling and columns as well as inserting new lighting system.

As for the restoration of the tombs of Deir El-Medina, Abu El-Ela explains that the entrance was cleaned, the iron door at the entrance was repainted and a new wooden floor was installed to protect the tomb's original floor and facilitate the visit. A guidance panel was erected in front of the tomb's entrance and a new lighting system has been also installed.

The opening ceremony will be attended by the American Ambassador in Egypt, R. Stephen Beecroft; USAID Director, Sherry Carlin; Luxor Governor Mohammed Badr; Head of Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector Dr. Mahmoud Afify and Head of the Projects Sector, Eng. Waadalla Abu El-Ella.

Ministry of Antiquities, Press Office
Asmaa Mostafa
Eman Hossni

Monday, 9 May 2016

Experts clash over theory that Tutankhamun’s tomb holds Nefertiti remains - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online


 Experts disagreed on whether ongoing radar scans would reveal the existence of a hidden burial chamber within King Tutankhamun’s tomb
Nevine El-Aref

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Personal notes from Tut conference yesterday

Many, many, many thanks to Nigel Fletcher-Jonesfor these live updates copied from his facebook timeline . Do you read them if you can, as the comments are excellent. 

... And we're off. El Damaty: recap based on Nick's paper. (September 2015) Found Plaster brushed on in parts of the burial chamber. Not the first time it was suggested that Nefertiti was buried in KV. But unlikely she was buried elsewhere than Amarna. Scan of three sides of burial chamber show something. IR thermography on north wall. Some differential but very low. New radar scan last month. Inconclusive results - too much noise. Need to continue and repeat radar scan and IR scan.

Nick: Nefertiti survived Akhenaten. Became pharaoh and buried in KV. Some Amarna evidence in KV. KV63 linked to Amarna period. Possibility of other chambers in KV62, possibly Nefertiti. Traces of precise vertical lines, not faults. Not a single tomb, like the second annex in the royal tomb at Amarna. Decoration of north wall similar to Amarna tombs. White ground on the north wall, not yellow. Female pharaonic figure? Mouth opening of Nefertiti as pharaoh by a young Tutankhamun. Second radar survey disappointing after the first survey. Further tests needed.

Dr. Watanabe: Back to my geophysical surveying roots for this one... November 2015 survey with ground penetrating radar (mounted sideways). Bit of an AV disaster, unfortunately. The first message is 'I've done this kind of thing all over the place, so...'. Uses high frequency pulse waves to detect anomalies. Images only indicate absence or presence, not actual shapes. Possible metallic compounds based on strong signals? Detected faults behind western wall. Straight lines of dots indicate something behind the West wall. Strong signals indicate metallic strips.

Dr. El Shayb: former director of CULTNAT now at Cairo University (civil engineer). Non-destructive / non-invasive techniques. Importance of calibration with regard to different types of underlying geology. Are the signals the same in sandstone, shale and limestone? We don't know. One survey says there are voids, the other says there are not. Need more scans including more IR and GPR. Plus impact echo techniques - using sound waves. Thorough 3D mapping and scanning from above the surface. Need control images from a known tomb. Possibly try it out on KV5.

Zahi: Not here to attack anyone, but this is inconclusive. The theory has become a fact. Carter didn't see anything at the time. Agreed that the tomb was planned for someone else. Nefertiti could not be buried in KV. The geological characteristics of the area around KV62 is well known and complex. The radar may be showing something else. Not possible to find tombs with radar. Need for the data to be available to the international community. Radar can't detect organic material. National Geographic survey showed no anomalies. A new chamber should be far more evident, particularly the door. Results not clear. Need more radar surveys. Need a committee to review data, and stop the media circus.

Monday, 2 May 2016

No more surveys on Tutankhamun's tomb until project discussed 8 May - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online

No more surveys on Tutankhamun's tomb until project discussed 8 May - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online: Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany did not stop a radar survey on King Tutankhamun's burial chamber, as rumoured, but rather postponed all works inside the tomb until a scientific discussion is held 8 May


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Omm Seti

Omm Seti
Recently I shared a memory on Facebook on the anniversary of  the death of this amazing lady. Glen
Morris had posted a charming picture 3 years ago and I shared it again. This time the picture stirred all sorts of interesting comments. You can read it all here (3) Jane Akshar - Jane Akshar shared a memory.

Cross Stitch
Pamela Schrom Reynolds mentioned she had a cross stitch made by her. I had been
sent a design of hers some time ago but this was a different picture. Great
cross stitch but also a hand written mini essay on Osiris.

Daniel Kolos shared a memory
"Thanks for the heads up. Prof. Donald Redford took us to see Omm Seti in May, 1977 on a day
off from the Akhenaten Temple Project East Karnak Expedition. She immediately
began to tell her stories of meeting King Sety, what she thought of `young
Ramses` and how she fell into a previously unexcavated temple room, came out of
it covered in cobwebs that the guards had to brush off her, but she could never
find that room again! She told her stories sounding genuine and authentic.
That`s just the way her life was. If ours was different, that was too bad! (-;"


If you search on her name there are loads of links

Omm Sety, Mystery Woman of Ancient Egypt - YouTube

Search for Omm Sety (9780446390408): Jonathan Cott: Book


The Search for Omm Sety - Google Books

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Barque station of Queen Hatshepsut discovered on Elephantine Island

Barque station of Queen Hatshepsut discovered on Elephantine Island
Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector Dr. Mahmoud Afify declared the discovery of a number of blocks that most probably belong to a previously unknown building of Queen Hatshepsut that was discovered this year by the German Archaeological Institute on the Island of Elephantine, Aswan.
According to Dr Felix Arnold, the field director of the mission, the building served as a waystation for the festival barque of the god Khnum. The building was later dismantled and about
30 of its blocks have now been found in the foundations of the Khnum temple of Nectanebo II. Some of the blocks were discovered in previous excavation seasons by members of the Swiss Institute, but the meaning of the blocks has only now become clear.
On several of the blocks discovered this year Queen Hatshepsut was originally represented as a woman. The building must therefore have been erected during the early years of her reign, before she began to be represented as a male king. Only very few buildings from this early stage of her career have been discovered so far. The only other examples have been found at Karnak. The newly discovered building thus adds to our knowledge of the early years of Queen Hatshepsut and her engagement in the region of Aswan. In the reign of Thutmosis III, all mentions of her name were erased and all representations of her female figure were replaced by images of a male king, her deceased husband Thutmosis II.
Based on the blocks discovered so far the original appearance of the building can be reconstructed. The building thus comprised a chamber for the barque of the god Khnum, which was surrounded on all four sides by pillars. On the pillars are representations of several versions of the god Khnum, as well as other gods, such as Imi-peref “He-who-is-in-his-house”, Nebet-menit “Lady-of-the-mooring-post” and Min-Amun of Nubia.
The building thus not only adds to our knowledge of the history of Queen Hatshepsut but also to our understanding of the religious beliefs current on the Island of Elephantine during her reign.
(c) Ministry of Antiquities, Press Office Based on the the Mission's Report.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Egypt’s 'Indiana Jones' says new theory on King Tut’s tomb is wrong - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Egypt’s 'Indiana Jones' says new theory on King Tut’s tomb is wrong - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East:

Extract from an interview with Zahi Hawass


Al-Monitor: What is your take on the recent discovery announced by the Ministry of Antiquities concerning the possibility of two additional chambers in King Tut’s tomb?

 Hawass: I have evidence to disprove British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves’ theory about a hidden chamber containing Nefertiti’s remains behind Tutankhamun’s resting place. In theory, Nefertiti could not have been buried in the Valley of Kings, as she used to worship King Tut. The High Priests of Amun would not have allowed it. The radar Reeves used to prove his theory did not offer conclusive results, and in 2009, Reeves used the same radar to prove the existence of a tomb in front of Tutankhamun’s. Later on, excavation results showed that it was only a fissure in the rock formation. In order to validate his latest theory, Reeves must dig through the northern wall of King Tut’s tomb, and this would cause the whole tomb to collapse.

Al-Monitor: If the predictions are true and there are additional chambers, what impact would this have on Egypt’s tourism sector?

Hawass: There is no way to predict the outcome of such a discovery as long as we are speaking theoretically. Once the theory is proven, we can then speak of an outcome for tourism in Egypt.

Al-Monitor: If the theory is proven false, how would this harm Egypt and Egyptian archaeologists’ reputation?

Hawass: In such case, Egypt’s credibility would be compromised around the world. In this respect, I’ve presented the minister with a proposal consisting of appointing a committee of six Egyptian and foreign archaeologists to discuss the theory with Reeves and assess the radar’s results by comparing them to another digital radar’s findings. The committee will then present its verdict on Reeves’ theory. After that, we can announce the first steps toward a scientific discovery.

Al-Monitor: Tell us more about your latest book......................

Friday, 1 April 2016

Tutankhamun KV62 scan results

Press Release via EEF and Facebook

* MSA Press Office
The 10 hours works of the Egyptian American teamwork at King
Tutankhamun’s Tomb (KV62) in Luxor have been terminated a
while ago.
The teamwork assured that the preliminary results reached so far
do not contradict with the results of the (Japanese) previous
radar scans. Radar experts added that 40 scans have been performed
on multiple levels (up to 5 levels) using two radar antennas
(400 MHZ & 900 MHZ) that allow more penetration (up to 4m.) and
higher resolution. The team also emphasized that the raw data
quality is excellent, and anomalies were detected but more
will come after a week (3D analysis).
Another radar scan will be made at the end of April from the
top of the tomb from outside and results will be announced
in an international press conference next May.
The Teamwork includes Dr. Khaled Al Anany, Minister of
Antiquities, Dr. Mamdouh Eldamaty Antiquities ex. Minister,
Nicholas Reeves Egyptologist – Egyptian Expedition – University
of Arizona, Eric Berkenpas Electrical Engineer, GPR Specialist –
National Geographic, Alan Turchik Mechanical Engineer, GPR
Specialist – National Geographic, Dr. Yasser Elshayeb Rock
Mechanics – Cairo University, Dr. Mahmoud Afify, Head of the
Ancient Egyptian Sector(MA), Eng. Wadallah Abu ELella, Head
of the Projects Sector (MA) and Dr. Abbas Mohammad member of
the Geophysical Research Center in Egypt.

* A video (35 min) of the press conference  - by Luxor Times:

< >

English speeches notably after ca. 6 min and ca. 22 min and
ca. 30 min.

The data of the new scans (3rd round of scanning)(see above)
are yet to be analyzed (will take a week); they seem more
cautious now and speak of possible "anomalies" only.
The next scans (round 4) to be done at the end of April will
be surface scans from above and should reach 40 m deep.
The final results of all the scanning rounds will be released
on a Tutankhamun conference at the NMEC on May 8.

* Press report with photos of the scanning yesterday:

< >

"(..) This radar scan this time using GSSI radar of model SIR4000
with digital antennas of 400 and 900Mhz. (..)"

Aayko Eyma

Monday, 21 March 2016

Mummification Museum Lecture TT110 Field School – JJ Shirley

Mummification Museum Lecture TT110 Field School – JJ Shirley

You have no idea how good, good, good it is to write these words. I really hope more are organised.

I only heard about it 6pm the night before Barry Budd rang me and although I blogged it and shared it everywhere I was not expecting much of a turn out. Boy was I surprised. Look at the photos, it was heaving. I think it shows how much these lectures are wanted.

First things, the field school have a website Theban Tomb 110 Epigraphy & Research Field School: Home and you can get much more information there. Dr JJ Shirley gave the lecture and there is lots of stuff about her online.

TT110 is the tomb of Djheuty who was an official under both Hatshepsut and Tuthmosis III. He is unique in having depictions and cartouches of BOTH pharaohs in his tomb and having served in a high capacity for both rulers. Other officials of this period normally choose either one or the other.

Therefore his tomb gives us important information about the dynamics of the period. ARCE have been running field schools at the tomb for some time first in excavation and conservation and now in epigraphy and research. Djheuty’s tomb was originally publish by Norman de Gare Davies with photos by Harry Burton. It is a T-shaped tomb with a pillared hall. It was originally entered from the back through the tomb of Amenemose so early publications do not detail the entrance. It used the same courtyard as Rebiu and Samut.

When ARCE first started at the tomb the walls were extremely black due to soot but once cleaned a wealth of information was seen. The cartouches of both Hatshepsut and Tuthmosis III were there together with images of both kings with Djheuty making offerings. The image of Hatshepsut had been erased. Tuthmosis is shown on the left in the transverse hall and Hat on the right.  It is extremely unusual to have both in a tomb but these are the original cartouches so it was planned that way. Djheuty was a Royal Butler (under Hatshepsut) and Royal Herald (under Tuthmosis III) and Offerer of Amun for both of them.

ARCE spent 4 years doing the excavation and conservation and have also excavated other tombs that share the same courtyard where objects were found. The new field school is training Egyptian inspectors in epigraphy and preparing a tomb report. There is a lot to epigraphy, many lectures in the classroom, learning to draw and the students get a tool kit provided. The drawings being produced are of publication quality. Students are also assigned a tomb for independent study. They have to learn drawing of objects and pottery. When you look at the website the logo is student work and used on t-shirts.

They also do walking tours were they get to understand the relation of tombs and their locations. Chicago House library also forms part of the school and they are taught to use the library, how to get the best out of books not in their own language, comparing old drawings and publications like Porter and Moss. Using different methodologies digital, scanning, drawing on film.

One of the subjects is damage, the damage in this tomb can tell a lot. Were the erasures during; the lifetime of the owner, during the proscription of Hatshepsut and during the Amarna period. Understanding all these tells the Egyptologist a lot.

They also undertake field trips to Gebel Silsila and Hierakonpolis and can see things they find. For example the drawings revealed large tambourines and on a field trip they saw the same instrument at Hierakonpolis. The recarving of the Tuthmosis III cartouche over the Hatshepsut cartouche, where you can still see traces of the original at Gebel Silsila so they can compare to the cartouches in their own tomb and assess if it is original or recarved. JJ recalled on the bus back from one of these trips how the students were so excited and discussing things Arabic.

They have been able to shed light on the career of Djheuty and their drawings are revealing. She encourages other missions to start using these motivated and skilled inspectors.


Saturday, 19 March 2016

Exhibition of Wael Nour's watercolours

Last night was the opening of Wael's exhibition Nector of the Earth. A collection of water colours of Luxor. Unusually it is not tourist Luxor but the real life of Upper Egypt. The exhibition runs until 23rd March and he is hoping to take it to Cairo and the UK after that. I picked my favourite pictures but there were many others.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Mummification Museum lecture Saturday

From Barry Budd

Short notice I know but tomorrow evening Saturday 19th March at 6:30 pm there will be a free to all lecture by JJ Shirley (The University of Pennsylvania) on Theban Tomb 110 This work is being carried out by the ARCE

Let us hope that we can kick start the annual lecture series somehow. I know many have asked that we get this lecture series reinstated. Please try to attend and show your encouragement for the lectures.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Hidden Chambers Discovered In King Tutankhamun’s Tomb By Scans | Egyptian Streets

Hidden Chambers Discovered In King Tutankhamun’s Tomb By Scans | Egyptian Streets

In a press conference, the Ministry said that the two chambers, on the
North and Eastern walls of the tomb, contain either metal or organic
as according to scans carried out by Japanese radar specialist
Hirokatsu Watanabu.

Hirokatsu Watanabe, Mamdouh Eldamaty, the Egyptian antiquities minister, and archaeologists Nicholas Reeves and Yumiko Ueno study an image of a painted wall scene. PHOTO: Brando Quilici, National Geographic