Monday, February 28, 2011

Old Photo of Sennefer and his Wife

Nefertiti Stays Put

A very good article on Dr. Hawass and his request for Berlin's bust of Nefertiti to visit Egypt (preferably on a permanent basis). The article claims the western media has made the doctor look bad no doubt the western media has noticed Dr. Hawass' charm.

Hard not to notice when your calling a dignitary "stupid" or telling a respected archaeologist to "shut up" in front of camera's!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Call to Tourists

This article from Art Daily is on a rally, one of many being held across Egypt to call tourists to come back to visit Egypt.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The State of Egypt

Here is an article on the state of the artifacts damaged and stolen from the Egyptian museum. The article also talks about the state of the archaeological sites around Egypt including tombs that were broken into during the recent revolution.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Excavations at Saqqara (1906-1907)

I have just found this online book by James Edward Quibell on excavations at Saqqara at the turn of the last century and thought I would pass it on. Hopefully it is a good read?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Corruption at the SCA

This interview with Dr. Zahi Hawass has the head of the antiquities service talking about allegations of corruption under Dr. Hawass' rule over at the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

The State of the Museum

This statement from Dr. Zahi Hawass is informative about the possible events relating to the robbery of the Cairo museum and the people who committed the crime. Dr. Hawass also talks about the restoration of damaged objects and the ongoing inventory of the museums collection to see what artifacts are missing?

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Fate of Dr. Hawass?

This is a good article on the present climate in which Dr. Zahi Hawass head of Egypt's antiquities finds himself particularly in relation to his connection to the deposed Mubarak regime, of which he was one of it's ministers.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Battle for Ka-nefer-nefer


The battle for the mask of Ka-nefer-nefer in the St. Louis Art Museum continues so I have collected a few articles from the past few years in hopes of explaining the situation.

The mask from the St. Louis Art Museum is from the Egypt's 19th dynasty ca. 1250bce and is its star attraction.The mask was found at Sakkara in 1952, the officials went looking for it in 1959 and found it missing from its holdings.

The Egyptian authorities have presented to the directors of the St. Louis Art Museum their evidence including photos of the mask emerging from its burial. The Slam's directors reject Egypt's claim on the mask. The documents have been presented by Egypt to the International court as well as the International Art theft registry.

It will take time pulling apart the various provenances and explanations of St Louis's nineteenth dynasty mask and a mask found in the early 1950's and called by its excavator Ka-nefer-nefer which is missing.

David Gill at Looting Matters has great information on the mask.

 St. Louis bought the mask legally and even asked Cairo if it was okay and they said okay unfortunately Cairo regrets its decision.

Photo:(St. Louis Art Museum)

Has the Statuette of Akhenaten been Found?

There are reports out today that the limestone statuette of the heretic king Akhenaten 1332-1336 bc, has been found next to a garbage can in Tahrir square unfortunately there are no photos of of it as of yet. The statuette is the most important of the objects believed stolen from the Cairo museum during the break in of the museum two weeks ago.

The condition of the fragile statuette has not been reported?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Nasty Image of Zahi Hawass

This article is very nasty and makes many serious claims of Dr. Zahi Hawass including that Dr. Hawass takes bribes and worse? I do not know what to make of the article and am not thrilled about the source but here it is anyway.

More Objects Found

Here we have a heartening report from Dr. Hawass on the recovery of more damaged artifacts found in and around the museum. Among the artifacts found is Yuya's heart scarab and one of his shabti's.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Rosetta Stone in the Cairo Museum

As the officials at the Cairo museum pick Yuya's heart scarab off the ground outside the museum the time to reflect on what has happened to the museum and to it's exhibits is here. Questionable press releases have come from Dr. Zahi Hawass' office in and under horrible circumstances and no one can envy Dr. Hawass' position now.

The center of the robbery appears to be  based on the Amarna collection with casual damage to Vitrines without any sense of the objects inside, merely vandalism including a four thousand year old boat which was damaged for no reason.

It is not unreasonable to fear that much of the vandalism in the museum might have been created in order to smoke screen a planned robbery of the Amarna collection. Objects which have no value on the open market but may well possess great value for organized crime?

The painting by Vincent Van Gogh stolen this past year from the Mouhmud Khalil museum put on display to the world that the museum was inadequitly protected and that this may be true of the rest of Egypt's museums and now Cairo.

At first we were told that a thousand people had stormed the museum next we were told that no it was probably 1, 4 or 9 amateurs including one who became injured during the break in. Certainly very early on in the immediate days after the 29th of January when Dr. Hawass was reporting that one case had been opened  he had to have known that the statue of Akhenaten was not where it was supposed to be and that objects were missing but instead of releasing this information to the public where it may have helped in their immediate recovery Dr. Hawass chose to wait two weeks for an assessment of damages.

Even with the turmoil outside the museum and the great size of the museum it could not have taken two weeks for the staff to search the museum including the rooms which were locked and not visited by the thieves! Slowly the damages come out and the pressure rises on Dr. Hawass to prove that Egypt's museums are safe enough for Berlin's bust of Nefertiti or the Rosetta stone to visit?

The slow release of information is only dragging out the damages and making the situation worse calling into question whether it is in fact time for Dr. Hawass to retire or be removed!

Dr. Hawass what of the royal mummies and how is Ramesses II?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chasing Mummies: A Review

When first I watched the new TV soap opera known as "Chasing Mummies" or as I like to call it Chasing the mummy, I had a friend over for dinner who asked if we could watch something less irritating, I agreed but sadly because I was writing this article I caught the repeat episode the following day.

In the great pyramid one sees Dr. Zahi Hawass taking his young fellowship students through to the farthest reaches of the pyramid a journey of many hours at points the fine doctor can be heard yelling and verbally deriding his young students. When illness strikes one of the film crew Dr. Hawass can be heard screaming like a madman in the background.

Who knows why a man who claims such success to his beloved science would want to come across with such anger harsh words and threats especially to his young students even if they do give the wrong answer or accidentally violate a pyramid or two. At Alexandria however the anger expressed by Dr Hawass on the dropping of a pylon being raised from the sea floor was well deserved.

At the shore the finally raised pylon is met by the former embarrassment of Egypt's Ministry of culture, it's minister who thankfully took some time out from book burning to be seen but not enough to upstage Dr. Hawass' show.

The series is tragically ongoing and if you like to be irritated or get off on watching people being told to shut up by some ill mannered bully than this may be your cup of tea. For me however I found it so far most boring, insulting and a lesson in how to turn off young future Egyptologists.

In the latter episodes thankfully Dr. Hawass is not seen telling people to shut up nor is he displayed as an angry man but instead is humanized and in the controversial cave/tomb beneath the Giza plateau the doctor is even seen as playful while making his point as to where it leads. Later on in the falcon galleries snakes including a cobra liven up the experience.

The archaeological fellows were not served in their education of archaeology by being a part of this show, there being a lot of talk about whether a space was safe or not? Naturally making new discoveries almost never comes with the reassurance of safety and immature and overly stressed fellows left the program.

Dr. Hawass is seen unconvincingly touting his vision for the avenue of rams and here attempts to show that the site is yielding archaeological value, or at least for the time period the doctor is looking for. In the tomb of Seti I  we are shown the doctor at the end of that tombs tunnel, a very interesting place to be with Dr. Hawass' hopes that he will find the secret burial chamber of that king at the end. Not to be!

 Certainly it is the last show in this series that was the most interesting with the tour of the tomb in the area of the tombs of the nobles named after Dr. Hawass,  Z-1. In the newly discovered tomb the viewer is present as the tomb yields a number of  coffin-less mummies dated to dynasties eighteen and twenty six.

Though for some reason I could not help but to remember the missing tombs in that area excavated by Alexander Rhind in the mid nineteenth century and wonder if Z-1 was actually one of them.

Without a doubt the highlight of the series was the tour of this tomb and in the end Dr. Hawass came off as a passionate man who was capable of  expressing his passion though one gets the feeling that true peace and happiness only comes to the doctor when he is in someone else's grave.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cairo's Missing Artifacts

Dr. Hawass is reporting that a number of objects are indeed missing from the Cairo museum including statuettes of Tutankhamun as well as eleven shabti's belonging to Yuya as well as Yuya's heart scarab. Also missing is the famous limestone statuette of Akhenaten with offering tray.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Liberation Day

Finally the long running dictator Hosni Mubarak has resigned and after 18 days the Egyptian people are liberated! Long may the Egyptian people live in peace and freedom!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Damaged Artifacts Repaired

This article from Al Ahram is a good overview of the condition of Egypt's archaeological sites including the Cairo Museum and the artifacts damaged and restored in that institutions laboratory.

Global Day of Action

This Saturday February 12 Amnesty International is calling for a global day of support for the Egyptian revolution. Please wear black, red or white, the colors of the Egyptian flag.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dr. Hawass and the Sphinx are Sad

Dr. Hawass thinks that the Sphinx is sad over the recent and unfinished Egyptian revolution and calls for the protesters to go home even though the protesters main demand has not been met. The article is a good overview of how events have occurred.

Unlike Dr. Hawass and the sphinx I myself feel it is a glorious day for the Egyptian people and will be even more glorious the day Dr. Hawass gets a new boss!

Chasing Hype!

This article is an overview of recent events in the Egyptian revolution including assumptions made wherein there was presented no proof.

Monday, February 7, 2011

More on Restorations

We have another article on the damage caused to artifacts in the Cairo museum though this article seems to have a little more information on the mummies damaged.

News on Detained Amnesty Workers

I am relieved to pass this message from Amnesty International on about the well being of it's workers.

"On Friday evening we asked you to call urgently on the Egyptian authorities to release two Amnesty staff members who were detained on Thursday, along with other human rights defenders and journalists. All were at risk of ill treatment. We were greatly relieved to find out that they have now been released and are safe and well.
Thank you to everyone who responded so quickly - over 11,000 emails were sent to the Egyptian authorities in just a few hours.
Meanwhile the demonstrations in Egypt continue. To show our solidarity with the peaceful protesters we have called a global day of action on Saturday 12 February.
The UK action will focus on a large public demonstration in Trafalgar Square, London from midday until 2pm. The event will feature Salil Shetty, Amnesty International Secretary General, trade unions and other partner organisations, plus youth activists from the Middle East and North Africa region.
Please come along and invite your friends - we must mobilise now so we can show the growing movement of people standing up for their rights that we are with them too.
For those of you who can't make it to London we'll keep you updated with other ways you can help.
Thank you.
Kristyan Benedict signature
Kristyan Benedict
Campaign Manager - Crisis Response & Country Priorities

Restoring Vandalism

This article from Art Daily has a couple of interesting points on the objects damaged at the Cairo museum during the break in. The article also has a picture with good detail.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Restoring Items Damaged in Cairo Museum

This is from Dr. Hawass' site on the state of the Cairo museum and other sites around Egypt he also takes the time to throw his support for president Mubarak.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cairo Museum

I picked up on this article from the Huffington post because of the nice pictures of objects from the Cairo museum included. The article is not entirely new but at the time I found posting it here was inappropriate. Love the picture of Senu's mask.

Maya's Tomb Still Sealed

This article from National Geographic is on the condition of the monuments of Saqqara which includes mention by the author that the rumors of Tutankhamun's wet nurse Maya's tomb had been damaged are untrue and the entrance to her tomb remains bricked up.

Egyptian Monarchy Averted

Gamal Mubarak who was widely believed and was being groomed to replace his father as president has among other officials of Egypt's ruling party the NDP  been forced to resign. Now the sooner that president Mubarak goes the sooner Egypt can return to prosperity and Egyptian's can get back to work.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Human Rights Workers and Journalists Detained

This email to me has clarified that at least two members of Amnesty International have been detained along with thirty human rights activists and journalists. The email reads in part :

"Yesterday we heard the shocking news that two Amnesty staff members were among 30 human rights activists, journalists and others who were detained by the Egyptian security forces. They are currently being held in an unknown location and we fear that all may be at risk of torture or other ill treatment.
Please take urgent action to insist the Egyptian authorities immediately release all those detained"

Dr. Zahi Hawass Disclaims report of Damages at Saqqara

In a press release today Dr. Zahi Hawass gives a rundown of his feelings and of the archaeological sites under his guardianship. He states that the rumours of damage at Saqqara are untrue that if there had been damage there he would know. He also talks about the Cairo museum and it's situation.

Have Looters Destroyed the Tomb of Maya?

An archaeologist present at the tomb of Tutankhamun's wet nurse Maya at Saqqara describes the tomb as being destroyed by as many as two hundred looters who were digging illegally at the site taking advantage of the chaos of the recent Egyptian revolution.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Is it Time for Mubarak to be Arrested?

President Mubarak has promised he will leave in the fall though I fear that if the crowds were to disperse that the dictator may be convinced to change his mind. Thirty years of oppression on the Egyptian people is not an acceptable means of stability and the countries monuments are secondary to the well being of the people.

Criminals always take advantage of unrest to do their deeds including damaging the artifacts which represent their forefathers achievements and worst even their forefathers earthly remains but they should not be allowed to distract the rightful course of dignity.

If Mubarak will not leave than maybe the time has come for his arrest in the name of restoring order. Reporters are being attacked and kept away from filming the battle in Tahrir square an event which no doubt Mubarak does not want the world to witness.

The international community hopefully will support the Egyptian people in their leaderless revolution regardless if they win the day or not and force Mubarak and his cronies out.

ACT NOW

Amnesty International Worker Detained

I received this Email from Larry Cox the Executive Director of Amnesty International it reads in part.

"Our hearts nearly stopped this morning when we heard the news - one of our own, a member of the Amnesty International staff, was detained by police in Cairo after the Hisham Mubarak Law Center was taken over by military police.

Our colleague was taken along with at least three others, including a delegate from Human Rights Watch. We do not know their current whereabouts.

The ongoing crackdown on civil society in the wake of the protests in Egypt is appalling. It is essential that human rights monitors be allowed the freedom to do their crucial work at this time of crisis. Egypt must release these individuals immediately.

Please, we need you to speak up with the voice of the international human rights movement:

Tell Egyptian officials to release Amnesty International's staff member and all human rights monitors."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Who Sent the Thugs?

Molotov Cocktails in Tahrir Square

Fire Grows in Tahrir Square

There are no signs of firemen present. The building on fire is across the square from the Egyptian museum.

Fire in Tahrir Square

Hard Days Ahead

The images of club wielding thugs on camels beating peaceful demonstrators in Tahrir square is a sickening reminder of what president Mubarak has in plans to do leading up to October. Mubarak must go now.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Damages

Here are a number of different sources on damage occurred to the antiquities during the recent Egyptian revolution. President Mubarak wishes to step down later in the year but one would fear if he doesn't go now he is not going anywhere in the fall.

First is Dr. Hawass who's new office is a farce and not worth dignifying a mention and some images from Art Daily of the Cairo museum under guard and a rundown of sites around Egypt and how they have fared.