Thursday, September 29, 2016

New discovery in Matariya points to a King Ramses II temple

New discoveries at the Matariya archaeological site near Heliopolis suggest the existence of a temple from the 19th dynasty of Ramses II

By Ahram Online , Tuesday 27 Sep 2016

The Egyptian-German Archaeological Mission at Matariya archaeological site discovered new evidence that may lead to a temple of King Ramses II.

Dr Mahmoud Afifi, the head of the Ancient Egyptian Sector at the Ministry of Antiquities, stated that this evidence was found about 450 metres to the west of the obelisk of King Senusret I in Matariya. It was discovered when the mission stumbled upon a number of blocks from the temple courtyards and fragments of the temple statuary.

Afifi explained that a new group of large blocks was yielded in the southern part of the area.

They show King Ramses II anointing a divinity. His name is rendered by a rather rare variant “Paramessu.”

Dr. Aymen Ashmawi, the co-director of the mission, said that the recent find was part of the decoration of the innermost rooms of the temple. Further groups of relief fragments attest that King Ramses II was the builder of this temple.

"It confirms the hypothesis that Ramses II showed special interest in Heliopolis in the later decades of his long reign of almost 70 years," Dr Ashmawi said.

In addition, Dr. Dietrich Raue, the co-director of the mission, reported that in the second area of excavations – located in the southeast of the innermost enclosure of the temple – houses and workshops from a mid-Ptolemaic stratum are under excavation.

Other discoveries in the area include faience amulets and metals, Dr. Raue reported. 


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Games from ancient Egypt

Amira El-Noshokaty investigates the children’s games today’s Egyptians have inherited from their ancestors

It is sometimes said that if you really want to know about a nation, look at the attention it pays to its children.

As people flock to see the relics of ancient Egyptian civilisation at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square in Cairo they could do worse than look carefully at the children’s toys and board games amid all the grand statues and other objects.

These items reveal a lot about the civilisation that made them, particularly in the excellence and attention to detail shown in them.

According to a recent book, Ancient Egyptians at Play: Board Games Across Borders by Walter Crist, Anne-Elizabeth Dunn-Vaturi and Alex de Voogt, the “culture of board games in Egypt has long been a topic of interest for archaeologists, anthropologists and lay people alike, the climatic conditions of the Nile Valley allowing the preservation of perishable materials.”

On the second floor of the Egyptian Museum in the corridor that leads to the display of the funerary items found in the tomb of the boy pharaoh Tutankhamun, there are some very interesting ancient Egyptian royal toys.

There is the toy box of Tutankhamun himself, a white wooden box with a round handle so that the royal baby does not hurt himself when handling it. The box is very like those used today for children to keep their toys in while tidying up their rooms.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Boat beam lifted

The wooden beam that may once have held the oars of the Pharaoh Khufu’s second boat was lifted yesterday from its pit on the Giza Plateau, Nevine El-Aref reports

History has a special scent and taste on the Giza Plateau, where an unsurpassed assembly of soaring pyramids, the awe-inspiring Sphinx, and splendid chapels and tombs reflects the great civilisation of ancient Egypt. Although most of the plateau has been thoroughly excavated, there are still secrets to be revealed.

 The Japanese-Egyptian team as well as journalists and photographers, yesterday gathered around the pit of the Pharaoh Khufu’s second boat on the southern side of the Great Pyramid at Giza to watch minute by minute the lifting up of a boat beam that had recently been discovered, revealing a further such secret.

The beam is carved in wood with metal pieces in different shapes and sizes. The restorers had earlier removed other beams from the pit and covered them in situ with a special chemical solution to protect them from the atmosphere.

The present beam has now been taken to the laboratory on the plateau where restorers will first reduce its humidity until it has reached 55 per cent and then treat and consolidate it.

“This may be the beam that once held the oars of Khufu’s second boat,” Eissa Zidan, director of restoration at the project told Al-Ahram Weekly, adding that the beam had been found during excavations carried out inside the pit on the boat’s eighth layer.