New Discoveries in Egyptology (September-October 2019)

Every two months, the Nile Scribes bring you summaries of the latest research and discoveries in Egyptology, both from the field and the archives. We introduce you to the newest archaeological finds or rediscovered artefacts from museum collections, plus other new theories stirring in the Egyptological Zeitgeist. While few excavations take place in Egypt during the heat of the summer, there has nevertheless been a number of exciting discoveries announced at the outset of the cooler, post-summer months. The world’s attention was recently captured by the discovery of a new cache of Twenty-Second Dynasty mummies at Asasif in Luxor.

The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities publishes a helpful round-up of recent discoveries, events, and projects in Egypt in an accessible PDF format. The latest issue was published in October 2019 (click here for English or Arabic).

Newly restored tombs as well as four chapels will soon be open for visitors to explore (Photo: Ahram)

Ancient tombs restored, to open for visitors in Luxor’s Dra Abul-Naga necropolis (September 8 – Ahram)

“The restoration project was carried out by an Egyptian American mission from ARCE and the Ministry of Antiquities with a grant of EGP 35 million from the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The first of the restored tombs (TT159) belonged to Raya, from the 19th Dynasty. He was an official known as the fourth prophet of Amun. The second tomb (TT286) dates to the 20th Dynasty and belongs to Niay, who was the Scribe of the Table, according to wall reliefs in the tomb. In Khonsu Temple at Karnak, ARCE led restoration efforts through training 59 ministry conservators who documented, cleaned, and restored four of the temple’s chapels. The conservators also removed patches from previous restoration work in the 1960s and 1970s and replaced them using the latest technology. Necessary structural repairs on the ceilings and architraves were also conducted. The mission also installed visitor walkways to facilitate access to the temple.”

Several finds were unearthed this field season from Reisner’s fills to recent excavation (Photo: AERA)

New Findings from the Menkaure Temple (September 12 – AERA)

“During our 2019 Field Season, we returned to the Menkaure Valley Temple (MVT), an area crucial to our understanding of the overall settlement of the Giza Plateau. We believe that when people abandoned the Heit el-Ghurab (HeG) settlement (also known as the Lost City of the Pyramid Workers) they resettled near the Khentkawes Town (KKT) and MVT. The nature of these sites then changed from infrastructures for large royal works to service centers for the cults of the deceased kings. […] After we had removed Reisner’s backfill, our attention then turned to what he called the “Thieves’ Hole.” This is where Reisner discovered the Menkaure dyad, before being stopped from going further by the rising ground water. Given our limited time and resources, we focused on removing Reisner’s fill within his retaining walls to reach the bottom of the hole, which gave a valuable cross-section of the stratified architecture of the temple. ­­­­As we descended we were astounded by the great depth of this part of the temple and the massiveness of the First Temple walls. We found two large limestone “core blocks,” so-called because they were meant to form the cores of the walls, which the builders would later sheath in hard granite. This is evidence that Menkaure wanted to build a stone temple, like Khafre’s Valley Temple, but the stonework stopped, probably when he died, and the temple was completed in mudbrick.”

Rescue excavation near the village of Kom Ishqaw are being carried out there after the discovery of a limestone building (Photo: Luxor Times)
Rescue excavation near the village of Kom Ishqaw are being carried out there after the discovery of a limestone building (Photo: Luxor Times)

Rescue Excavations Begins at Sohag (September 12 – Luxor Times)

“The Ministry of Antiquities has begun the rescue excavations works at Kom Ishqaw village, Tema, northern Sohag Governorate, after founding remains of limestone building during sanitation project works in the village. Dr. Mustafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that rescue excavations will make an archaeological dig at area and conduct necessary studies to know competent what has been found of archaeological blocks. Dr. Waziri added that it was found stone wall; is northeast corner of the building, it’s walls thickness 2.30m, foundations more than five classes, also it was found on one of blocks remains of view represent regions God habi, another decorated with decorative carvings suggesting that it belonged to temple or booth.”

The name of Ptolemy IV was found inscribed within a cartouche on several walls of the temple (Photo: Ministry of Antiquities)
The name of Ptolemy IV was found inscribed within a cartouche on several walls of the temple (Photo: Ministry of Antiquities)

Remains of Ptolemaic Temple Found in Sohag (September 30 – Egyptian Streets)

“Remains of an ancient Egyptian temple belonging to a Ptolemaic ruler have been uncovered in northern Sohag, as per Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities. Unconventionally, the temple remains belonging to Ptolemy IV were found during drillings to implement a sewage drainage project in the village of Kom Shakau. As such, the drilling project has been halted and an archeological mission has been assigned to rescue the remainder of the ruins. Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziri, stated that the discovery includes limestone walls and floors as well as segments of the temple’s walls bearing the name inscriptions of Ptolemy IV.”

3D visualization of the contents of a cat mummy from Rennes (Photo: Inrap)
3D visualization of the contents of a cat mummy from Rennes (Photo: Inrap)

Journey into a cyber-mummy of a cat in the museum of Fine Arts at Rennes (October 10 – Inrap)

Original French Title: Voyage dans une cybermomie de chat au musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes

“Alors qu’il était admis que la momie présentée au musée était celle d’un seul chat, la numérisation a mis en évidence l’absence de crâne, de vertèbres et de côtes et la présence d’ossements de plusieurs félins (cinq pattes postérieures, trois queues de chats quasi complètes), ainsi que celle d’une pelote textile en lieu et place de la tête, témoignant de pratiques méconnues. Chercheur à l’Inrap impliqué dans le projet, Théophane Nicolas remarque : “Avec un scanner médical, on s’attend toujours à trouver quelque chose. En l’occurrence, on s’attendait à voir un chat et non plusieurs chats, mais ce n’est peut-être pas si exceptionnel. Les momies animales se comptent par millions, mais peu ont fait l’objet d’imagerie. Certaines sont vides, d’autres ne contiennent qu’un seul os, parfois le chat est complet. La momie de Rennes est une variante.””

Archaeologists found 30 workshops including one kiln, some of which were used to make pottery vessels (Photo: Ministry of Antiquities)
Archaeologists found 30 workshops including one kiln, some of which were used to make pottery vessels (Photo: Ministry of Antiquities)

Egyptian archeologists uncover ancient ‘industrial area’ filled with royal artifacts (October 11 – CNN)

“Archeologists have uncovered an ancient “industrial area” once used to produce decorative items, furniture and pottery for royal tombs, Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities announced Thursday. Comprised of 30 workshops and a large kiln to fire ceramics, the sprawling site was discovered in Luxor’s Valley of the Monkeys, according to an official statement. “Each workshop had a different purpose,” said archeologist Zahi Hawass, who led the excavation, in a phone interview. “Some were used to make pottery, others to produce gold artifacts and others still to manufacture furniture.” At the site, which stretches around 75 meters (246 feet) down the valley, Hawass’ team found inlay beads, silver rings and golden foil — items that were commonly used to decorate the wooden coffins of Egypt’s ancient royalty, he said. Some of the artifacts depicted the wings of Horus, a deity associated with death and resurrection, according to the statement.”

30 coffins including their mummies inside have been discovered in a cache at al-Asasif (Photo: AFP)
30 coffins including their mummies inside have been discovered in a cache at al-Asasif (Photo: AFP)

Archaeologists discover 30 ancient coffins in Luxor (October 19 – Guardian)

“Egypt has revealed details of 30 ancient wooden coffins with mummies inside, which were discovered in the southern city of Luxor in the biggest find of its kind in more than a century. A team of Egyptian archaeologists found a “distinctive group of 30 coloured wooden coffins for men, women and children” in a cache at Al-Asasif cemetery on Luxor’s west bank, the ministry of antiquities said in a statement on Saturday. “It is the first large human coffin cache ever discovered since the end of the 19th century,” the Egyptian antiquities minister, Khaled El-Enany, was quoted as saying during a ceremony in Luxor. The intricately carved and painted 3,000-year-old coffins were closed with mummies inside and were in “a good condition of preservation, colours and complete inscriptions”, the statement added. They were for male and female priests and children, said Mostafa Waziri, the excavation team leader, dating back to 1000BC under the rule of the 22nd pharaonic dynasty.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *