Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Highlites of 2014

Though progress seems often bound by unmovable forces, and change passes by our hopes, with perseverance, we find the answer to success lye's within ourselves and our abilities to inspire others to help and push aside the once thought unmovable force.

At Abydos in January a couple of kingly burials were found including one of an unknown king of the Second Intermediate period . The appearance of a huge quartzite boulder sarcophagus alerted the mission to the presence of royal burials in the area.

As wonderful as these finds were the month ended on a tragic note when a bomb killed 4 people and destroyed the facade of the National Library and the Islamic Museum, damaging or destroying many of the contents of the Islamic museum and some fragile ancient papyrus's in the National Library.

February brought discoveries of late period mummies and shabti at Dakahliya. The month also brought at Luxor the discovery of a rare XVII Dynasty Rishi coffin found by the Spanish mission at Dra Abu El Naga in the courtyard to the tomb of Djehuty.

From the middle of March the release of "The Discovery of the Mummy of Ramses I" was well received, reviewing the finding of the royal mummy of King Ramses I, in a Niagara Falls sideshow. The month ended off with the re-erection of two colossal statues of Amenhotep III which had lain on the ground for thousands of years in his funerary temple at Luxor.

April brought an ending to the saga of six antiquities brought to sale at Christie's auction house last year, where one was recognized as being stolen from the storerooms at this same mortuary temple of Amenhotep III. The perpetrator of the fraud back in England was co operative with authorities and as a result received a slap on the wrist.

The month also contained discoveries from illicit excavations, and more results from a number of ongoing excavations accompanied by the Ministry of Antiquities, including coins in a Coptic alter at Thebes and XXVI Dynasty tombs at Al Bahnasa.

Basel Universities excavation of Valley of Kings tomb KV40 revealed dozens of mummies who may have come from the royal households of two XVIII Dynasty King's Thutmosis IV and his son Amenhotep III. The tombs destroyed and fragmented contents included mention of around a dozen royal children as well as foreign women and including a number of infants and a priestly clan from the 9th century BC.

This was the discovery of the year which grew out of proportions quickly and many of the so called royal mummies may well belong to the priests who took over the tomb four hundred years after the XVIII Dynasty. In May a number of important objects stolen during the January 2011 revolution including a badly damaged gilded statuette of Tutankhamun were recovered and put on display in the Cairo Museum, though the seated gilded figure of Tutankhamun held above the head of the Goddess Menkheret remains missing.

June brought the release of the article Was King Hatschepsut the Original Owner of Theban Tomb 358? The article was an instant success overshadowing all other articles from 2014. The month also brought a handful of discoveries as well as the return home of a number of artifacts including worthless faience beads and chips of pottery, clearly among these returns are objects of burden to the resources of Egypt's antiquities ministry.

July opened with a gotcha moment, to put it lightly, when illegal excavations were taking place inside a house at Abydos, unfortunately for the entrepreneurs the street out front of the house collapsed revealing the clandestine operation within. Inside the excavation was found the carved walls of a Mahat chapel erected by the XI Dynasty unifier of Upper and Lower Egypt King Mentuhotep II, with a rusting 20th century sewage tank above damaging the shrine.

As the summer came to an end The Great Pharaoh Ramses and his time exhibition guide was as well one of the top five for the year. For the St. Louis Art Museum the mask of Khanefernefer in a court ruling this year will likely remain in that city even with a documented process of the mask emerging from the ground in a recorded excavation by the Egyptian antiquities authority, this because a filing deadline was missed.

An Old Kingdom statue of an official from Egypt's Dynasty V, given to an English institution went on to the auction block this past summer and brought in an amazing L16 million along with some controversy over selling museum acquisitions. What appeared to be an unusually large number of people were caught smuggling coins this year which though some were ancient many were 19th and 20th century modern coins including one individual who smuggled four modern gold coins into Egypt to sell, while someone was caught smuggling common coins from the late 1930's, national treasures indeed!

The fall's big surprise was Gods and Myths of Ancient Egypt which has been particularly popular among this years book reviews. It must also be of note that The Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt review was very popular as well. The end of October brought 7 more arrests as men digging under a house in Giza found the ruins of a large temple from the reign of Thutmosis III.

As the year closes off a Middle Kingdom mummy was discovered under the temple of Thutmosis III at Luxor's west bank. A collapse in the tomb in ancient times meant the mummy of the lady was still bedecked in her jewelry, a very rare find.

I want to thank my readers for your support over the past year and I look forward to the coming year with the hope that it will bring prosperity and happiness to all of you and your loved ones.
God Bless and Happy Holidays!


Timothy Reid

Ipuy and wife recieving offerings from their children: Metropolitan Museum of Art 
Interior of Islamic Museum: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Re-erected statues of Amenhotep III: AFP Photo/ Khaled Desouki
Tomb KV40:  Matjaz Kacicnik, University of Basel/Egyptology
Photograph by Harry Burton, 1929. Archives of the Egyptian Expedition, Department of Egyptian Art. Metropolitan Museum of Art
Middle Kingdom Jewelry: Ahram Online

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