Sunday, 21 May 2017

TT315 Ipi discoveries via EEF

* MoA press release 21-05-2017:
"The Spanish- Egyptian archeological mission from University of Alcala working in the tomb of Ipi (TT 315) at Deir el-Bahari in Luxor, rediscovering 56 jars filled with embalming materials for the mummification of the vizier Ipi, overseer of Thebes and member of the elite in the reign of Amenemhat I in the early Twelfth Dynasty. Announced Dr. Mahmoud Afifi head Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector, and explained that this discovered occurred during cleaning the courtyard of the tomb of Ipi (TT 315) where the mission unearthed these Jars inside an auxiliary chamber located on its north east corner.
Dr. Afifi pointed out that the jars were previously discovered by the American Egyptologist Herbert Winlock between 1921-1922 and placed in a room on the north-eastern side of the outer courtyard without cleaning until the Spanish-Egyptian mission this year resurfaced. He continued that The identification of these materials is of great importance for understanding the mummification techniques used in the early Middle Kingdom and the assessment of the kinds of items, tools, and substances involved in the process of embalming.
Dr. Antonio Morales the Head Of Spanish Mission said that the deposit of the mummification materials used for Ipi include of inscriptions, various shrouds and linen sheets (4 m. long) shawls, and rolls of wide bandages, in addition to further types of cloths, rags, and pieces of slender wrappings destined to cover fingers, toes, and other parts of the vizier’s corpse.
Dr. Morales explained that jars contained around 300 sacks with natron salt, oils, sand, and other substances, as well as the stoppers of the jars and a scraper are also found and among the most outstanding pieces of the collection are the Nile clay and marl large jars, some with potmarks and hieratic.
Ezz al-Din al-Nubi, Director of the Central Region of Qurna said that this discovery happened during the project of the archaeological study and epigraphy of the tombs of Henenu (TT 313) and Ipi (TT 315), the funerary chamber and sarcophagus of Harhotep (CG 28023), as well as the conservation and detailed publication of these monuments and others located at Thebes. "

* Spanish press reports:

Interviews Antonio Morales, and has a video about the finds.

With slideshow and video.

* English press reports:

With MoA photos.

With MoA photos.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Making Mud Brick by Joanne Stables

Making Mud Brick 

Currently we have a project going on to make the temples more accessible to wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Part of the research we are doing is the use of mud brick as the proposed material to make the access path smooth and level. We favour this on the grounds of aesthetics, costs, use of local labour, eco friendly locally sourced, climate suitability, in fact so many factors it is hard too find any factor not to use it.

Joanne Stables went out in the field and produced this report.:-

Mudbrick Production by ARCE.

On the West Bank of Luxor at the ancient necropolis of Dra Abu el-Naga, a group of workmen employed by the American Research Centre in Egypt (ARCE) have been busily working away to produce more than 15,000 mudbricks for a number of international archaeological missions.

The production process for the mudbricks is a very simple one. The mudbricks being produced by the ARCE team are composed mainly of soil (collected from the spoil heaps of the nearby archaeological excavations). The fabrication of the mudbricks at Dra Abu el-Naga takes place at the base of the ancient necropolis adjacent to the modern road.

The soil is then mixed with straw and water in different proportions depending upon the soil type. The raw materials are then mixed until the correct texture is achieved. The mixing of the raw materials was done by foot (pigeage à pied) and shovels (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Mixing of the raw materials.

The basic proportions of each raw material for mudbrick mixture produced by the ARCE team are: 60% soil, 20% straw and 20% water. Modern materials such as cement or lime that are known to stabilise the mixture of soil and sand were not added to the mixture as the ARCE team recognises that mudbrick strengthens as it dries out.

Figure 2: The mixture after mellowing.

Figure 3: Metal mould and the process of casting mudbrick.

Figure 4: The process of casting mudbricks.

Once the mixture is ready, it is left to mellow for one or two days prior to being cast (Figure 2). Each mudbrick is produced by manually throwing the wet mixture into a dampened metal mould which is placed upon the ground (Figure 3). The wet mixture is then compressed by hand into the mould until the workman is happy the mixture is stable and free from air pockets. A finishing trowel is then used to smooth the top of the mudbrick and remove any excess mixture (Figure 4). The mudbrick is then marked by an identifying metal stamp and the mould is removed. Following the removal of the mould, the mudbrick is left on the ground to dry in the sun (Figure 5). To complete the drying process, the bricks are rotated to ensure each side is dry. Once fully dry, the mudbricks are stored onsite. To reduce the stresses upon the bricks during storage, the mudbricks are stacked and orientated as rowlock stretchers and stretchers bricks (Figure 6).

The fully dried mudbricks proved to be very hard. I jumped up and down several times upon one brick that was lying on the ground and I made no impact. Underfoot it felt as hard as any modern paving material.

The simplicity of the production process, and the relatively low costs of making the mudbricks, gives me great hopes for using mudbrick as a paving material for improving disabled access to the ancient Egyptian temples. I would even be very happy to live in a mudbrick house!

Joanne Stables

Figure 5: Mudbrick drying in the sun.

Figure 6: Fully dried mudbricks.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Luxor Museum Open Day

There was a great open night at the museum yesterday and my trusty deputy reporter Barbara Clarke took loads of photos and videos.

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This is the link to her Facebook albulm

Barbara Clarke - Barbara Clarke added 56 photos and 2 videos to...

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Want to study Egyptology online?

I thought I would inform you that Manchester University is now recruiting for its accredited 3 year Certificate in Egyptology which is taught entirely online.

This means that you do not need to physically move to Manchester (or the United Kingdom) to study on this course. It is also sufficiently flexible to allow you to maintain your current employment.

This three year programme provides the opportunity for the serious, academic study of Egyptology at one of the leading Universities in the U.K. It is led by internationally recognised scholars and draws upon the important Egyptological collections of the University's Museum and Library. It attracts students of varying backgrounds from all over the world.

The well-established and highly regarded Certificate is taught entirely on-line via the Blackboard e-learning platform. Students are provided with stimulating and attractive learning materials (texts and recorded lectures), and enjoy the opportunity for the structured study of museum collections, tutor support and contact with other students through online discussion groups.

The course is taught by Dr Joyce Tyldesley (author of Daughters of Isis: Women of Ancient Egypt, Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt, Tutankhamun: The Search for An Egyptian King and many others) together with myself. Our former students have gone on to gain Masters or PhD qualifications in Egyptology and Archaeology, work in University administration and even publish books about ancient Egypt.

If you are interested in learning more about the possibility of studying Egyptology at the University of Manchester, please visit:

The deadline for applications is 30th of June 2017 and the course begins on 1st of October 2017.

I hope to see many of you in the autumn.

Kind regards,
Dr Nicky Nielsen
Lecturer in Egyptology
University of Manchester

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Free entry to Egyptian museums on International Museum Day - Egypt Today

Free entry to Egyptian museums on International Museum Day - Egypt Today: CAIRO – 11 May 2017: Minister of Antiquities Khaled el-Enany, decided to provide visitors, both Egyptians and foreigners, free entry to all museums in Egypt on May 18, celebrating the International Museum Day, general supervisor of the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, Mahrous Saied said Thursday.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

International Day of Museums

via Barbara Clarke: A public invitation on May 17. Celebrating the International Day of Museums in Luxor. On the corniche in front of the Luxor Museum at 5 pm in the presence of the Minister of Antiquities Dr. Khalid Annan and the Governor Dr. Mohammed Badr and a number of guests

Wednesday, 3 May 2017


Image may contain: outdoor via EEF and Facebook page of

 Ministry of Antiquities وزارة الآثار - Posts

A Spanish archaeological mission working in Draa Abul
Naga necropolis on Luxor’s west bank has discovered a unique funerary garden
almost 4000 years old, Dr. Mahmoud Afifi, Head of the Ancient Egyptian
Antiquities announced.
He explains that the funerary garden has been unearthed
at the open courtyard of a rock cut-tomb of the Middle Kingdom.
The layout of the garden measures 3 x 2 m and is divided
into squares of about 30 cm. They seem to have contained different kinds of
plants and flowers. In the middle there are two elevated spots for a small tree
or bush. At one of the corners, the root and the trunk of a 4,000 year old
small tree have been preserved to a height of 30 cm. Next to it, a bowl was
found containing dates and other fruits, which could have been presented as an
“The discovery of the garden may shed light on the
environment and gardening in ancient Thebes during the Middle Kingdom, around
2000 BCE,” Dr. Afifi said.
Dr. Jose Galan, Head of the Spanish mission and Research
Professor at the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid said that on the
walls of a number of New Kingdom tombs, a small and squared garden is
represented at the entrance of the funerary monument, with a couple of trees
next to it. It probably had a symbolic meaning and must have played a role in
the funerary rites. However, the like has never been found in ancient Thebes.
The discovery offers the archaeological confirmation of an aspect of ancient
Egyptian culture and religion that was hitherto only known through iconography.
Hani Abul Azm, Head of the Central Administration for
Antiquities of upper Egypt said that the mission has also uncovers, near the
entrance of the Middle Kingdom rock‐cut tomb, a small mud-­‐ brick chapel (46 x
70 x 55 cm) was discovered attached to the façade. Inside, three stelae of the
13th Dynasty, ca. 1800 BCE, were found in situ. The owner of one of them is
called Renef‐seneb, and the owner of the other stela is “the citizen Khemenit,
son of the lady of the house, Idenu”. The latter mentions the gods Montu, Ptah,
Sokar and Osiris.
“These discoveries underscore the relevance of the
central area of Dra Abu el-­‐Naga as a sacred place for the performance of a
variety of cultic activities during the Middle Kingdom,” said Galan.
The Spanish mission has been working 16 years in Draa
Abul Naga, on the West Bank of Luxor, around the early 18th Dynasty rock‐cut
tombs of Djehuty and Hery (ca. 1500-­‐1450 BCE).A

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Improving Disabled Access at Ancient Egyptian Temples Project

This project is going really well and I am feeling very optimistic that we are going to achieve something.

1) President Sisi has declared 2018 the year of the disabled which means our timing is perfect

2) Shenouda Rizkalla is the ministry person tasked with producing a proposal for Dr. Sherif Abd El Monem and he has visited the Seti I temple with me and Joanne.

3) Joanne Stables has joined me and has been researching mud brick and contacting missions about their use of mud brick

4) John Sherman of ARCE has responded very positively to an email and we are hoping to get a meeting with him to discuss further

Monday, 1 May 2017

Karnak Conference

Details on Facebook event page, the conference is in English and will be live broadcast

(1) Karnak Conference

Friday, 21 April 2017

Latest Newsletter

Nice to see the latest AWOL newsletter and to read about their outreach in the villages as well as at the centre

UN honors Egyptologist Zahi Hawass for being appointed as ambassador for culture and antiquities | Egypt Independent

UN honors Egyptologist Zahi Hawass for being appointed as ambassador for culture and antiquities | Egypt Independent: The UN honored Egyptologist and former Egyptian Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass on Thursday for his role in protecting antiquities, on the occasion of his appointment as United Nations Ambassador for Culture and Antiquities.

The ceremony was attended by a large number of ambassadors of foreign countries, diplomats, media personalities, and over 200 public figures, including Egyptian scientist Farouk al-Baz; American actress Vanessa Williams, known to love Egypt; and businessman Amr Badr.

Video: 350 additional artifacts found in newly-excavated Luxor cemetery | Egypt Independent

Video: 350 additional artifacts found in newly-excavated Luxor cemetery | Egypt Independent

Ramses II colossus restored and re-rected at Luxor Temple - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online

ramsesRamses II colossus restored and re-rected at Luxor Temple - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Meeting arranged with the Ministry rep about disabled access at the sites

I have my meeting arranged with the Ministry rep to show him the current situation at the sites. Also Joanne Stables is helping me and has made some useful contacts re mud brick use to make sites accessible.

Shenouda sent me a copy of the paper he presented and in it he quotes me.

I have to admit to being pretty excited, this might actually happen!

Egyptian archaelogists unearth tomb of 18th Dynasty magistrate in west Luxor - Heritage - Ahram Online

Egyptian archaelogists unearth tomb of 18th Dynasty magistrate in west Luxor - Heritage - Ahram Online: The Egyptian Archaelogical Mission announced on Tuesday that it has discovered a major tomb in Luxor dating back to the18th Dynasty and containing priceless artefacts.

* MoA press release:
"Tomb of Userhat, Draa Abul Nagaa, West Bank, Luxor
The Egyptian archaeological mission working in Draa Abul Nagaa necropolis on
Luxor’s west bank unearthed the funerary collection of a New Kingdom tomb of
Userhat, the city jury.
Tomb Description: It represents a typical example of a
nobleman tomb. It is a T-shaped tomb consists of an open court leading into a
rectangular hall, a corridor and an inner chamber.
After removing almost 450 metres of debris out of the
open court, appeared the entrance of the tomb as well as two other entrances
leading to two joint tombs.
Excavation works are at its full swings to reveal the
secrets of these two tombs.
Inside the rectangular hall, a well-preserved wooden
coffin, decorated with coloured scenes, was unearthed and a nine metres deep
shaft was uncovered. Inside the shaft, the mission has located two rooms; one
on the eastern side where a collection of ushabti figurines, wooden masks and a
handle of a sarcophagus lid was unearthed. The second one is located on the western
side but did not completely excavated yet.
The corridor of the tomb leads into an inner chamber
where a cachette of sarcophagi is found. It houses a collection of sarcophagi
from the 21st Dynasty with mummies wrapped in linen.
A collection of ushabti figurines carved in faience,
terracotta and wood was also unearthed as well as another collection of clay
pots of different shapes and sizes.
Team Work: Dr. MostafaWaziri, Head of Archaeological
mission Mohamed Khalil Head of the Antiquities Inspectors Mohamed Daabish and
Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Antiquities Inspectors Ahmed Baghdady and Ramadan Salem,
Restorers "

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Another report of travelling under the new laptop regulations from Egypt

I travelled from Luxor to Heathrow with Egyptair on Monday 10th April 2017. As a result of the latest advice issued regarding tablets/laptops, I put my Tablet (which exceeded the measurements for being allowed into the Aircraft Cabin), into my Hold Luggage which I protected, as much as I could, with bubble wrap/clothing.
The procedure inside the airport this time, as against previous visits, last November and before that date, involved the checks on Passports and Tickets was made at the entrance door of the airport and not, inside, just before the first Scanning machine. For the 10am flight I arrived early, so I had no wait but, by 8am, there was a long queue outside the door waiting for the Passport/Ticket checks. By the this the sun was well up and some were waiting in that warm sunshine.
My hold luggage was scanned and I indicated to the operator that I had a Tablet inside and he indicated that there was no problem and I then proceeded to Check-in. I later observed the first scanner from within the upstairs departures section and some passengers were taken to the right and their baggage was opened and checked.
Now this seems all quite reasonable, but when I arrived in an airport hotel in Heathrow, both of my hold suitcase ( one of which had no tablet or laptop inside ) were sealed through the lock-eyes with small almost clear coloured cable ties. Of course, any  scissors or other sharp tool I had to cut the cable-ties, was inside my suitcases. Luckily, I found a room cleaner who let me borrow her scissors from her own handbag. I am still trying for think of what I could pack in Hand Luggage which would be allowable in Hand Luggage for cutting these cable-ties on future visits.... I did think of toe nail clippers but the ones I have also have a sharp pointed nail file attached...So, no good
As I was out in Luxor when the new regulations regarding Tablets and Laptops came into force I would suggest that perhaps consideration should be given that your electronic equipment is not insured whilst in the aircraft hold and perhaps have a look at the operating temperature range because your tablet/laptop will be subjected to the hot Luxor weather and then a long flight in an unheated luggage hold with temperatures as low as -60 deg. . I have looked online and there are tablet/laptop cases available which are padded, hard cased, and waterproof ~ This might well be the way to go if you really need to have your larger 'electronics' with you. If these regulations are here to stay, then I'm sure that manufactures will soon be offering an array of suitable products to give additional protection for your tablets and laptops.#

I hope the above helps others.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Ministry response to disabled access request

I have received a follow up to my email to the Ministry about disabled access.

Dr. Sherif Abd El Monem has sent my information to Shenouda Rizkalla who is a PhD candidate in Egyptology, Helwan University.. Very interested in Disabled people, done a site management field school under the supervision of Dr. Sara Perry from York University and Workshop under title " How to deal with disabled people in the Museums" AND published a paper in the international conference of Minia University " Challenging Disability" under title " Visions for the Development of Interpretation and Facilities for the disabled People in Egyptian Archaeological Sites and Museums" in 26- 27 March 2017.

Shenouda says "I saw your project " Hidden Luxor" it is amazing, especially the Logo  as it is a social object and hot interpretation. I read the paper and articles which you sent to Dr. Shreif . When Dr. Shreif mentioned your name I said to him I know her.

I want to contact you and do proposal about Disability  then introduce this project to the MOA and also to deal with the co- operation work with us in this field."

Isnt that fabulous, my little campaign is having an effect!