Category Archives: Archaeological Discoveries

A new beginning.

Last year, I slacked off with writing this blog, but I’m very happy to be back and starting afresh.

As most of you know, 2011 was an extremely eventful year for the status of Ancient Egyptian antiquities and archaeology in Egypt.

January 2011 saw the Egyptian Revolution and opportunistic looting of many of Egypt’s museums and monuments. The following months saw the departments in charge of Egyptian antiquities and the invidiuals in charge of those departments go through various iterations.

As it stands now, in January 2012, Dr. Mostafa Amin is the Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (which now reports directly to Egypt’s Cabinet and Prime Minister).

Excavations continue in Egypt and experts are also focused on repairing objects and sites that have been damaged in the past year.

2012 has already seen a mix of good and bad in the state of Egyptian antiquities.

Thousands of valuable and irreplaceable manuscripts housed in the Institut d’Egypte were badly damaged or destroyed by fire during ongoing conflicts between Egyptian demonstrators and the Egyptian army. Teams of experts and volunteers are now working on correcting the fire damage and mitigating the water damage (from putting out the fires).

Books drying

Damaged books and manuscripts drying in the sun.

From the Valley of the Kings near Luxor comes better news. The discovery of the officially designated King’s Valley 64 (KV 64) was announced just last week. The tomb itself was discovered in January 2011 on the same day as the Egyptian Revolution began, but was hastily secured and left unexcavated until this season. The current occupant of the tomb is not the original occupant, but a later burial of a female temple singer named Nehmes-Bastet. Excavations at the tomb are ongoing.

Coffin of Nehmes-Bastet

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Second Solar Barque Excavations Underway–Cartouche of Khufu Discovered

In addition to the famous pyramids and Great Sphinx, the Giza plateau is also home to an impressively large ancient boat, housed in its own museum.

Now, excavations are underway to unearth and reconstruct a second boat (or barque) from the same area.

In 1954, excavations at Giza revealed the presence of a number of large pits dug into the plateau, including two that contained disassembled boats. The first of these pits was excavated and found to be filled with 1224 pieces of a large boat (see Mark Lehner, The Complete Pyramids, p. 118-119). Over the course of 13 years, the pieces of the boat were carefully reassembled and eventually went on display in the Solar Boat Museum at Giza.

The second pit was examined (using radar) but its contents were left in-situ.

After a lot of planning and preparation, today (June 23), the first of the enormous limestone blocks that cover the pit was lifted.

The boat pit that was excavated in the 1950s is shown here, complete with some of the large limestone blocks that covered it.

When the excavation is complete, this second boat will also be reassembled and eventually go on display in the new Grand Egyptian Museum.

These boats may have been symbolic transportation to the underworld, or may have been involved in transporting the pharaoh’s body for the burial. You can read more about the preparation for the excavation of this barque at Wasaeda University’s website.

According to Dr. Hawass, the excavation has also revealed “a cartouche for King Khufu and beside it was the name of the crown prince Djedefre, without cartouche” (though it is not clear from his description where these inscriptions are located). This is an important find because it is only the second cartouche of Khufu found in association with these Giza monuments he and his descendants commissioned.

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Modern Archaeology

Hooray for modern technology applied to archaeology!

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Archaeological News

In case you hadn’t seen this yet, here’s a little article on the 42 foot (13 meter) statue of Amenhotep III currently being excavated near his mortuary temple near Luxor.

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