Category Archives: News

Sorry folks on El Hibeh story

From Dr Carol Redmount

Please note that I have just learned that the airing has been postponed due to other breaking news . . .

how sad – this seems like a pretty important story to me… this means that the story mentioned in the previous post will NOT go to air in the US this Thursday – will let you know if I find out when it will actually air…

El Hibeh remains of a child mummy

Child’s foot. Truly outrageous. Now reburied.

Another exposed and destroyed mummy found beside path back to guard building at El Hibeh. This was reburied.

Another exposed and destroyed mummy found beside path back to guard building. This was reburied.

El Hibeh – still an issue

From Dr. Carol Redmount

I have just learned that the NBC Rock Center with Brian Williams program “on the chaotic state of Egyptian Antiquities,” in which El Hibeh plays “a prominent part in the story” is scheduled to air this Thurs 10pm on the U.S. East Coast. Filming took place while we were in Egypt. However, I was also warned that if there were any breaking news stories the segment could be postponed. If a web-link is forthcoming I will post it here . . .

TO keep up-to-date with what is still happening in regards to El Hibeh, and at times more generally the state of looting Egyptian antiquities please join the FB page Save El Hibeh Egypt at http://www.facebook.com/groups/337119989673652/

Looter pits are thick on the site at El Hibeh

Looter pits are thick on the site at El Hibeh

Reburying scattered mummy pieces at El Hibeh

Reburying scattered mummy pieces

Coptic era pottery broken at El Hibeh

Coptic era pottery broken at El Hibeh

El Hibeh mummy remains

Destroyed mummy on burial textiles a few meters south of destroyed excavation trench. Now reburied.

El Hibeh North Cemetery. Looted grave with adjacent burned material.

El Hibeh North Cemetery. Looted grave with adjacent burned material.

Looted mummy remains at El Hibeh

Looted mummy remains at El Hibeh

New tombs to open on Giza Plateau

In the Western Cemetery on the Giza Plateau are located six Old Kingdom tombs of nobles and top officials of the Fourth Dynasty, waiting for their official opening after restoration.

Although these tombs may be sparse in decoration, they are rich in architectural features. Discovered early in the last century, the tombs have impressive facades, more like temples, and large chambers with rock-hewn pillars.

The first one belongs to Princess Mersankh, the granddaughter of King Khufu. This tomb was originally built for her mother, Queen Hetepheres II, but on Mersankh’s sudden death the tomb was donated to her. The tomb was discovered in 1927 by archaeologist George Reisner where a black granite sarcophagus was found along with a set of Canopic jars, and a limestone statue depicting Queen Hetepheres II embracing her daughter. The sarcophagus is now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo while the statue is in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Tomb of Seshemnefer

View of the mastaba of Seshemnefer IV at Giza. Seshemnefer lived around the end of the 5th Dynasty, and held the title: Director of the Two Thrones in the Mansion of Life, Privy to the Secrets of the King in all his Cult Places. His importance can be attested by the size of his tomb and its location near the pyramid of Khufu. (Photo: Sandro Vannini)


The second tomb belongs to Seshem-Nefer, the overseer of the two seats of the House of Life and keeper of the king’s secrets. “It is one of the largest tombs on the Giza Plateau,” Ali El-Asfar, director general of archaeology on the plateau, told Ahram Online, adding that it contains funerary, hunting and offering scenes, as well as a depiction of the Seshem-Nefer’s daily life.

The third tomb belongs to Senefru-Kha-Ef, the king’s treasurer and priest of the god Apis. El-Asfar said that the tomb’s inner walls also reveal typical scenes of the dead official and his children.

The fourth tomb was constructed for Nefer, the overseer of the soul priests. Its walls are decorated with scenes showing the Nefer’s daily life with his family and dog.

The fifth tomb belongs to Yassen, the overseer of the king’s farms. The sixth tomb was for Ka-Em-Ankh, overseer of the royal treasury.

According to Mohamed Ibrahim, minister of state for antiquities, the walls of the tombs have been cleaned and reinforced, graffiti left by visitors removed and inscriptions and paintings conserved. The walls are now protected by wood, and lighting and ventilation systems have been installed. A path linking the tombs to the Great Pyramid of Khufu was established in order to facilitate visits.

These tombs were previously opened 25 years ago, said Ibrahim, adding that they were closed for restoration according to the rotation system introduced at the Giza Plateau in the 1990s, under which some of the noblemen’s tombs will be closed for restoration each year.

“Regretfully they were never opened again,” El-Asfar said.

As they open now, others will close for restoration and preservation.

Thanks to AlAhram http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/37069.aspx

Lots more information about these tombs can be found at http://www.gizapyramids.org/code/emuseum.asp?newpage=gizamastabas

El Hibeh – more on the looting

Below is a press release regarding the El Hibeh looting. Please support the campaign to save this valuable archaeological site and spread the word wherever and however you can. You can use the resources on the Facebook group page (http://www.facebook.com/groups/337119989673652/), including photographs and this release.

Begins…

Massive looting of archaeological sites in Egypt continues as security forces turn a blind eye to thugs plundering Egypt’s cultural heritage.

After Egypt’s revolution, priceless artifacts were stolen from the nation’s world-famous Egyptian Museum in Cairo as well as from innumerable storehouses scattered throughout the country.

Today the continued plundering of archaeological sites, which comprise Egypt’s cultural heritage in its most pristine state, presents an even more critical challenge as sites are often remote and protected by low-paid guards and state security seems unable or unwilling to halt the mayhem.

Double image showing the same part of the site as it was in 2009 (top) and today (2012)

Double image showing the same part of the site as it was in 2009 (top) and today (2012).

El Hibeh is one such site. On the east bank of the Nile in a particularly impoverished area of Egypt three hour’s drive south of Cairo, the archaeological site occupies about two square kilometers and includes cemeteries and the ruins of a walled ancient provincial town with a limestone temple, industrial facilities, houses and possible fort and governing residence. The remains date from the late Pharaonic, Graeco-Roman, Coptic and early Islamic periods (approximately 11th century BCE to eighth century CE). Hibeh is of special importance because it is one of very few relatively intact town sites remaining in Egypt and because of its extensive archaeological deposits dating to the Third Intermediate Period, Egypt’s last “Dark Age” and an era particularly poorly known archaeologically.

Eminent University of California, Berkeley archaeologist Dr. Carol Redmount arrived in Egypt in February to continue her archaeological work at the site after obtaining the proper permits from Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities which controls all excavations in the country.

Twenty-four hours before departing for the site her permits were revoked by the provincial police service with no explanation. Inquiries revealed that a mafia-like gang led by an escaped convicted criminal have been ruthlessly looting the site since at least June 2011. The Supreme Council of Antiquities has been unable to stop the pillaging despite repeated appeals to local police services. Open, systematic looting continues on a daily basis as of the writing of this press release. Dr. Redmount has not been allowed to visit the site nor do any work.

“Hibeh is vitally important to understanding the character of ancient Egypt in the Third Intermediate Period, a very confusing and confused historical era for which only limited archaeological resources exist. Archaeology is controlled destruction, but looting is obliteration. It destroys an irreplaceable, nonrenewable cultural resource that belongs to humanity,” says Dr. Redmount.

Tomb with a beautiful uraeus frieze opened by looters and all contents destroyed

Tomb with a beautiful uraeus frieze opened by looters and all contents destroyed.

Redmount’s team of six researchers from UC Berkeley is currently unable to do any of its proposed academic program at Hibeh for which they had received permission from the Egyptian authorities. This is costing the team tens of thousands of dollars in lost grants.

“Our primary concern of course is the incalculable loss of precious archaeological evidence. Archaeologists dream of excavating undistrubed or even relatively undisturbed historic sites. We are losing Hibeh for posterity as we speak,” adds Dr. Redmount.

Independent verification of the scale of the looting has been provided by visitors to the site who sent photos to Dr. Redmount, including pictures of looting in progress.

Exposed mummified child from the Coptic period.

Exposed mummified child from the Coptic period.

======================================

Photographic evidence of the looting is available.

For media inquiries, contact:
1. Dr.Carol Redmount, Egypt cell: +20-102-043-4999, redmount@berkeley.edu.

2. Dr. Heidi Saleh, Professor at St. Rosa Junior College, California, who is able to discuss importance of site and has worked at Hibeh, hsaleh@santarosa.edu, tel. +1-707-527-4578.

3. Mohamed Sherdy, prominent Egyptian politician, spearheading efforts to protect Hibeh and other sites, m.sherdy@editorpr.com, tel. +202-333-81069, mob. +20-100-559-9559.

4. For Arabic media contacts: Amir Bibawy, Egyptian-American journalist, +20-120-706-7555 or +1-202-329-9169.
More pictures and details can be found at the Save El Hibeh Egypt Facebook page and at http://neareastern.berkeley.edu/hibeh/index.htm

Ends

Page explaining the importance of El Hibeh

Page explaining the importance of El Hibeh


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Cruise news

Yesterday at ITB Berlin, Egypt’s Minster for Tourism announced that Nile cruises from Cairo to Aswan will re-commence in May. Cruises between Cairo and Luxor were stopped many years ago, allowing boats only to cruise between Luxor and Aswan and on Lake Nasser. As Egypt attempts to add new attractions to entice tourists back to this ancient and beautiful land, it has been determined that cruising will once again be available from Cairo.

I’ve not seen any other detailed news of this, such as itineraries, boats which will cruise, where the embarkation place will be or what land tours will be offered. As we know, we’ll let you know.

Sonesta Nile Goddess cruise boat

Sonesta Nile Goddess cruise boat. This elegant boat features deluxe accommodation with broad panoramic views, bathrooms with full-size bathtubs, elevator on board and all modern conveniences. Enjoy a swim in the outdoor pool, experience the exciting nightlife in the ship's discotheque or a relaxing massage treatment at the spa.