Egypt: News Briefs at June 27, 2001

Antiquity News Briefs

June 27th, 2001

By Amargi Hiller

The Egyptian Supreme Council For Antiquities (SCA) has decided upon the design of new Ramsis II Museum which is going to be built in Badra Shane, Giza. This is the original location of where the Ramsis II statue was found. The statue currently is located at Ramsis Square. The museum is designed so that visitors could easily see the statue rather than in its current location at Ramsis Square.


Dr. Zahi Hawass, Under Secretary of the State for the Giza Monuments, stated before leaving to Geneva, Switzerland he will be part of a judging committee in an international competition organized by the Institute of Aghakhan for Architecture. 8 buildings will be chosen out of 33 for this architectural competition. Dr. Hawass expects that the Nubian Museum building to win a prize for its distinguished architecture. Participating in the judging are 8 different committee members around the world.


The Kaytbay historical public water fountain building on El- Saliba St and Khalifa St in Cairo is now ready to re-open to the public by next month. The building features a unique archaeological library. It contains important rare books, writings, and historical encyclopedias which will aid in any person interested in antiquity research.


Nabil Behady, General Manager of Antiquities for Imam El- Shafae, requested that the Supreme Council for Antiquities (SCA) to interfere and stop the decision of re- locating of a busy microbus stop from the Sayeda Aisha district to an proposed area behind the ancient Magra El- Oyon Wall.


The Center of Antiquity Studies at the Citadel issued booklets today talking about the Gamal El-Eddin Mosque which is situation on El-Moez Ledeen Allah St in the Gamaylia district. The mosque, following restorations, will be open to the public in July 2001. The booklets have been printed in numerous different languages and they present a brief history about this monument, the main architectural concepts of the mosque, and how the renovations have been taking place.


Dr Mofeed Shehab, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, stated that the UNESCO organization will organize an annual international summit discussing the issue of teaching world-wide culture and antiquity awareness to students. It is expected that this first summit will be held in 2002. The main aim is to discuss the difference civilization and cultures around the world. Dr. Mofeed Shehab also stated that in preparation for this summit educational tools have to be at hand. For example, the collection of CDs and setting up of an internet site in inform the public about the nature of different antiquities around the world.


Sabry Abdel Aziz, Head of the Antiquities of Upper Egypt, announced that they found a rare statue in Sheik Labib, Luxor. The statues dates back to the 3rd Dynasty. This statue is considered a rare statue as there are not a lot of antiquities from the 3rd Dynasty.


The Egyptian antiquity expert Nasser Awad has been promoted from Head of Isna Islamic and Coptic Antiquities to a new position as Head of Islamic and Coptic Antiquities of Upper Egypt.


Notable Antiquity Events For June 27, 2001

Renovations Complete of the Tombs of Mostafa Kamal in Alexandria.

Alexandria is home to a high containment of antiquities from different times of the Egyptian civilization. One of the important eras was the Roman Empire which flourished extensively in Alexandria. The roman civilization left behind numerous antiquities. One of the most important antiquities of that time was the Roman tombs found in Mostafa Kamal. The Supreme Council for Antiquities (SCA) has completed renovations of these tombs.

Dr. Mohamed Ad-El-Maksood, Head of the Antiquities in Alexandria, stated that these tombs date back to the Ptelomic era. These tombs were carved from stone below the ground. They were originally discovered during the preparation of a construction project in 1933. Dr. Ad-El- Maksood added that most of the tombs have the same architectural design. "Each tomb is accessed by a wide staircase carved in stone which leads upwards to an open-air square clearing. In the middle of this clearing there is stone altar. Surrounding the square are ten rooms overlooking the main burial room. Inside the burial room are sarcophagi. On the entrance to the rooms are Greek carvings and embellishment which may be holding the names of the visitors to this tomb or those who have been buried in it. Also on the entrance of these rooms a two Sphinxes which are sitting guarding the entrance. A wall painting depicting two women presenting sacrifices can be seen from inside the square clearing."

Prior to restorations, the tombs suffered from serious weaknesses at many points. In addition, a lot of building stones in the tombs have been eroded away. The plaster covering the pillars had also fallen off, and colors of paintings had faded away. All these conditions resulted from high humidity levels. Restorations methods involved mechanical and chemical process including removing salts from the walls of the monument. Paths into the tomb have been made in order to make the site accessible for visitors.


A Farmer Finds an Ancient Warship With Weaponry Below His Land.

A warship which dates back to the 17th century was accidentally discovered by a farmer digging on his farm near Alexandria. The location of the farm is between Edco and Rashid, which is 3km away from the nearest site of antiquities. The farmer's land is 2km away from the shore of the sea. The presence of this ship at this spot suggests that the Mediterranean Sea had once extended to that point.

The ships hull is 35 meters long, 4 meters wide, and 3 meters high. It is made from wooden planks gathered together by steel nails. Parts of the hull has been completely destroyed. Remnants of a sail, mast, and oars were not present.

Dr. Gaballah Ali Gaballah, Head of the Supreme Council for Antiquities, has been notified of the discovery and emergency measures have been taken to protect this aquatic antiquity.

Mohammed Ab-Aziz, Head of Antiquities for the West Delta, said that the ship was from the 17th to the 18th century. He stated, "It most probably originates from Cypress, Crete or Rhodes. It is definitely a warship because we found a lot of cannons and weaponry on board. Because we didnt find any small guns or small arms, this means that the ship had come aground and either ships soldiers or possibly pirates took all the small arms with them."

Found inside the ship were various clay utensils decorated with embellishments. They also found a brown clay jugs, black clay plates and pots. Brass ornaments and utensils were also found as well as a bronze washing sink. Cannon barrels and other large weaponry were some of the first items discovered. All the antiquities discovered were carefully documented and taken to the antiquity storage houses in Rashid. As for the ancient ship, it is still in its place in the middle of this farmer's land.