Discoveries in Egypt
Latest News from the Valley of the Kings
March 28, 2009
In November, 2007, a new chapter in the history of the Valley of the Kings began when the first all-Egyptian team ever to work at the site began excavations under the direction of Dr. Zahi Hawass. Hawass announced today that the team has recently made many important and exciting discoveries, which are revolutionizing our understanding of one of the most mysterious and fascinating places in Egypt.
Queen’s Pyramid Discovered at Saqqara
November 19, 2008 2:00am Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, announced today that he and his team have discovered the pyramid of a 6th Dynasty queen at Saqqara. Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni was present for the announcement, which took place today at the site of the discovery.
The Quest for Hatshepsut - Discovering the Mummy of Egypt's Greatest Female Pharao
June 27, 2007 When the Discovery Channel contacted me to ask if I would appear in a documentary on Queen Hatshepsut, I did not believe that it would actually lead to one of the most important Egyptological discoveries in living memory. However, through a stroke of inspiration during the production of the film, I was able with the help of my all-Egyptian team to identify the mummy of the great queen, shedding new light on one of the most remarkable women in history.
The Valley of the Golden Mummies
March 2, 1996 When people ask me which of my discoveries has meant the most to me personally, I often think first of the Valley of the Golden Mummies at Bahariya Oasis. Introducing this amazing site to the world propelled me into an international spotlight. I feel privileged to have been a part of this story, which is so much a part of my own personal history as well as the history of Egyptian archaeology.
The Mystery of the Hidden Doors Inside the Great Pyramid
March 22, 1993
The Great Pyramid of Khufu has fascinated people for millennia. It is the only one of the seven wonders of the ancient world still standing today, and its monumental size and the precision of its design astound thousands of visitors each day. I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity over the course of my career to come to know the pyramid in great depth, and to have discovered one of its greatest secrets - the hidden doors inside the shafts that lead from the so-called “Queen’s Chamber.”
Cairo Museum basement to be opened to visitors
Zahi Hawass, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, declared that a contract has been signed with a state-owned company to insure and reorganize the Egyptian Museum’s basement before making it accessible to visitors. The decision comes after several items from the basement storage area have been “lost” or stolen in the past year, to the embarrassment of those responsible.
A statue of Egypt's King Neferhotep I found in Thebes
Buried for nearly 3600 years, a rare statue of Egypt's King Neferhotep I has been brought to light in the ruins of Thebes by a team of French archaeologists.
Officials said on Saturday that the statue was unusual in that the king is depicted holding hands with a double of himself, although the second part of the carving remains under the sand and its form has been determined by the use of imaging equipment.
Archaeologists unearthed the 1.8m-tall statue as they were carrying out repairs around Karnak Temple in the southern city of Luxor, Egypt's antiquities chief Zahi Hawass said.
Francois Larche, one of the team that found the limestone statue of the king, whose name means beautiful and good, said it was lying about 1.6m below ground near an obelisk of Queen Hatshepsut, the only woman to have reigned as a pharaoh in Egypt, ruling from 1504-1484 BCE.
Karnak, now in the heart of Luxor, was built on the ruins of Thebes, the capital of ancient Egypt. The huge temple, dedicated to the god Amon, lies in the centre of a vast complex of religious buildings in the city, 700km south of Cairo.
The statue shows the king wearing a funeral mask and royal head cloth or nemes, said Larche.
The forehead bears an emblem of a cobra, which ancient Egyptians used as a symbol on the crown of the Pharaohs. They believed that the cobra would spit fire at approaching enemies.
"It's up to the Higher Council of Egyptian Antiquities to decide on the fate of the statue of Neferhotep I and whether it will be brought to light or left buried where it was found," Larche added.
Neferhotep was the 22nd king of the 13th Dynasty. The son of a temple priest in Abydos, he ruled Egypt from 1696-1686 BCE.
Experts believe his father's position helped him to ascend the throne, as there was no royal blood in his family.
Neferhotep was one of the few Pharaohs whose name did not invoke the sun god, Re. It is written on a number of stones, including a document on his reign found in Aswan.
Some of Egypt's stolen antiquities might be returned
*Some of Egypt's stolen antiquities might be returned. Switzerland has recently become party to an international agreement on the prevention of antiquity smuggling. The agreement would give the Egyptians a carte blanche to demand a return of their country's monuments which had been smuggled to Switzerland in the past. Local antiquities' experts are blithe.
"The Swiss signing the agreement would of course benefit Egypt," says Chairman of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) Dr Zahi Hawass. "There are big antiquities' smugglers in that country."
Hawass explains that in the course of the next few weeks the Egyptian government is due to take measures to retrieve Egyptian antiquities that had been smuggled to Switzerland in the past. He also refers to a problem in relation to unregistered relics. Because they are unregistered, the authorities might find it difficult to trace them.
Away from Hawass' euphoria, a question might be asked now: how exactly did the antiquities get out of Egypt in the first place? How did they reach the hands of the smugglers thousands of miles away in Switzerland and other parts of Europe? Can't we protect our own heritage regardless of whether other countries sign an agreement or not?
"An end to the smuggling of antiquities must start in Egypt itself," suggests antiquities' expert, Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Bakr. "The retribution for smugglers must be very big in a way to scare them away from such actions.
"We've been waiting for a long time for the Swiss to sign the agreement on the prevention of antiquities' smuggling," Bakr says. "The agreement would put an end to antiquities' smuggling to this country," he adds in a recent interview with Rose el-Youssef magazine.
"Switzerland is famous for smuggled antiquities auctions," says Dr Ibrahim al-Nawawi, an adviser to the SCA. "The government there has previously devised plans with the aim of legalizing this kind of activity, which turned into a huge source of national income.
"The signing of the agreement is a severe slap on the face of antiquities smugglers and money launderers in this country," al-Nawawi adds. "Egypt must act swiftly to retain its stolen monuments."
Egypt has recently decided not to cooperate with archaeological expeditions from museums or universities that have in the past smuggled antiquities from Egypt.
"It is time the government approves the new Antiquities Law," demands al- Nawawi. "We must tighten the grip on our monuments internally. Internal laws must precede the search for the stolen antiquities outside our own country."
Antiquities' expert Ibrahim Abdel Magid is overjoyed. The signing of the agreement on the prevention of the smuggling of antiquities is to him of special importance.
"Most of the big antiquities' smuggling cases are related to Switzerland," says Abdel Magid.
Abdel Magid tells that when he was in Switzerland recently, he came across a booklet for a Swiss special monument fair. Turning the pages of the booklet, which contained the photos and information about the relics displayed in the fair, he discovered that the contents included around 500 original Egyptian relics including pure gold ones.
"Egypt can recover thousands of its stolen antiquities in the light of the new agreement," says Abdel Magid.
Source: The Egyptian Gazette, Egypt,http://www.algomhuria.net.eg/gazette/2/1.asp
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