Friday, 20 April 2018

Karnak Disabled Access - Update

Accessibility Path

Mohamed A Fahmy has been keeping his Facebook friends up to date with the changes at Karnak. It looked like work had finished so we decided to do a site visit to check out the improvements. Sharon Davidson came as my personal photographer lol. She is a very good photographer with a good camera. Mohamed also met up with us with his camera.

Outside the temple there are still the same problems getting from the car park to the visitor centre. A few signs shown the best route for wheelchairs would have helped.

Inside the temple there were huge improvements, ramps and smooth flooring in the main tourist route. But the more remote places had no changes so my previous report on Karnak is still accurate. But as we were going round Mohamed heard that the Minister was coming on a visit. Dr. Khaled Anany the Egyptian Minister of Antiquities was one of the first people I approached with my ideas about improving access.

I was lucky enough to give him all our feedback from the morning visit and he told us that this was the first stage and more improvements were coming. The access is being extended and will cover more of the temple. It was a lucky coincidence to meet him and to be able to chat. I also got interviewed about the campaign I started in 2016

Access from the car park
Ramp hidden in the shop
Look out for the ramp leading to the entrance
New Ramp

Gentle Slope

New Accessible Path
Loose surface causes wheels to bog down
Some ramps are still too steep
Ramp to Festival Hall of Tuthmosis

The Minister observes the ramp in use
Being interviewed about the campaign

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

"Karnak is 80% accessible"

Mohamed A Fahmy has just posted the most exciting picture. Looks like I need to pay another visit to Karnak. Hope there is more planned at other temples.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahri – Zbigniew Szafranski

The Highlights of the Recent Results of the Polish-Egyptian Archaeological and Conservation Mission of the Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahri – Zbigniew Szafranski

The temple is a very unique site, indeed it is a UNESCO site. The Poles have been working there since 1961 following in the footsteps of the Americans who followed the British. Their work has concentrated on the upper terrace.

The main sanctuary had a name change from Neferere the daughter of Hatshepsut to Ahmose the mother of Hatshepsut when Neferere disappeared from the historical record in the 11th year.

Wooden butterfly joints joined many of the large blocks

The main shrine is important for our knowledge Amen Re

The barque shrine was destroyed by Akhenaton and restored by Horemheb who left evidence with the cryptographic version of his name.

The second room shows the purification of the statues by Tuthmosis III and Hatshepsut. Hatshepsut is show as a king in the 2nd year of the joint reign not the 7th as some scholars have said.

The depiction of Hatshepsut was destroyed but is still visible as it was done with chisels faithfully following the outline.

There was lots of black soot and when this was removed it showed Hatshepsut with a red skin. This is very significant as women were traditionally showed with a yellow skin. However Hatshepsut wanted to show herself as a king, which had to be male. (There is a paper on skin tones at Deir el Bahri Andrezi Cweik : Red, Yellow, Pink : Ideology of skin tones).

There are a lot of burial shafts from the 23rd and 25th dynasty. There was an earthquake approx. 1000 BC and lot of temples were destroyed. However these were still perceived as holy places and suitable for a necropolis.

Inside the main shrine they have done a lot of restoration in high relief , from just a few pieces because it was known exactly what they were part of the rest of the decoration can be derived. He showed an example of sema-tawy ( usually translated as "The Uniter of the Two Lands" and was depicted as a human trachea entwined with the papyrus and lily plant. The trachea stood for unification, while the papyrus and lily plant represent Lower and Upper Egypt). And another restoration was of the sister of Hatshepsut who died young Nefrubity.

The inner rooms had windows and between 28th Jan and 6th Feb the rising sun would light up the statue in the sanctuary. We do not know the exact date as we don’t have the statue to fix the date,

It was found that the limestone structure had moved by 1 mm and this is being closely monitored and replacement plaster has been used to seal the cracks..

They are using electronic/digital methods to document, hundreds of photos are taken and then these are ‘stitched; together to produce documentation of the whole

The glyphs around the niche identify the temple as the millions of years but it had many other functions. There is also a sun court and worship of the royal Ka. In the sun court three niches were originally planned with the third niche being dedicated Ahmed the mother. But this was changed to a chapel dedicated to Anubis

Much use was made of Hatshepsut’s cryptographic name and when Tuthmosis II removed her name this was left.

Queens were very important and get a lot of mention similar to Queens to the 17th dynasty like Tetishri. So Tuthmosis I is shown with his mother and Hatshepsut with her mother. Neferere was planned to be the next queen but her early disappearance (death?) meant Tuthmosis III took over. (Tuthmosis then restricted the importance of women and during his reign the Gods Wives of Amun disappeared as a title.)

In the North West corner a part of the temple looks very Greek in style with its columns. During this time there were immigration of styles, there are 280 columns and pillars in the temple a completely different style to the Old Kingdom structures

The lower Anubis chapel had a degree of movement also the Hathor chapel. Iron frame works had to be constructed to protect the structure and make it stable

Hatshepsut disappeared in the 21st year (death?)

The colossus has been incorrectly reconstructed so they are taking it apart and redoing it.

The have left the entrance to one Third Intermediate Period burial visible.

They intend to reconstruct the sphinxes avenue, after being missing for 80 years the fragments were located in the wooden boxes in the tomb of Harwa

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Coffins - Helen Strudwick

We have had a series of lectures that are very visual and hard to described with just notes.

Helen Strudwick on Coffins was a case in point. It was deeply fascinating showing inscriptions and CT scans. She works at the Fitzwilliam, Cambridge and they have been investigating the coffins in their collection to try and understand them better especially their construction. There is evidence that coffins were bought off the shelf and stored. The colours of the inscriptions is the big clue. The wood was often local wood and was made into planks like the workshop of MeketRe. Wood was scarce so often reused with joints being recarved and plaster being used to fill  the missing pieces.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

More lectures 16th and 19th Dr Szafrànski Deir el Bahri Monday and Nigel Strudwick Thursday

Ibrahim Soliman has arranged more wonderful lectures 6pm Thebes Hotel West Bank

Dr. Szafrànski director of the Polish Mission about the highlights of the last works at Hatshepsut temple in Deir el Bahari.

Nigel Strudwick will speak on Thursday about ancient Robberies in the Necropolis. 

Tuesday, 10 April 2018


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Monday, 26 March 2018

Lecture Thursday 29th on Gebelin 6pm Thebes Hotel

Ibrahim Soliman has arrange another lecture to delight us on the excavations at Gebelin and here is a picture of Wojciech Ejsmond and Daniel Takacs analysing ornaments in the rock temple of Hathor
I think it is going to be Daniel giving the lecture and here is a link I found

Monday, 19 March 2018

The Myth of Egypt in the Western world Francesco Tiradritti

I did start to take some notes but gave up because the lecture was so visual. You can tell Francesco is an art expert. He has such an eye for noticing detail. He went through how much Egyptian iconography was evidenced in the west, a lot of paintings, architecture, festivals and drawings, He noted that when a new religion comes along like Christianity they either reject pagan imagery or accept and assimilate.

After the end of the pharaohs true knowledge of what the hieroglyphs meant and what the Egyptians believed disappeared as the language changed to Coptic and then to Arabic. But that did not stop people using the images. It was fascinating to see to evidence of pyramids, Anubis sphinxes, Isis and bulls. All over the world and in the most unlikely places like Brazil.

Once the hieroglyphs were translated then the mythology ceases as the true facts were known

Next week he is going to cover the influence in Islam

Flats in Luxor is now disabled friendly

We have installed a ramp into our ground floor apartment at Al Gezera which means wheelchair users can access the flat independently. Our doors are 30 inches wide and apparently standard wheel chairs are 26 inches wide. So we are the first flats in Luxor to cater for the needs of wheelchair users. If this proves popular we will make changes at our other apartments to make them disabled friendly.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Lecture 17th March

Dr. JJ Shirley
Theban Tomb 110: New Information on the Life & Career of Djhuty
Luxor Mummification Museum
17 March 2018

PS sorry about the late notice I have only just been informed

Monday, 12 March 2018

Isis the Egyptian Goddess who conquered the Roman world. Francesco Tiradritti

Isis the Egyptian Goddess who conquered the Roman world. Francesco Tiradritti

(There is another lecture next week Sunday 18th at Thebes Hotel)

Francesco had been instrumental in producing an exhibition about Isis from Ancient Egyptian times till today. What happened to Egypt after Pharaonic times? Dan Brown doesn’t get everything wrong! There is evidence of Isis in the Islamic world. Studies in Egyptomania have increased as the influence of Egypt is discovered. The west thinks its origins are in the Greek and Roman world but there is more Egyptian influence than people realise.

The Pyramid texts have the first mention of Isis. Isis is part of the creation myth of Atum who created Geb and Nut separated by Shu. Geb and Nut produced Osirus, Isis, Seth and Nephthys. The iconography of Osirus shows him mummiform, wearing the white crown flanked by two ostrich feathers from his role in the judgement. Whereas Seth’s iconography is disputed and confusing. Francesco says that this reflects his role as the god of chaos, his very iconography is chaotic.

The story of Osirus is a Cinderella story but instead of a shoe we have a coffin. Seth held a big banquet and a gorgeous coffin was tried on but it fitted Osirus perfectly the lid was slammed shut and Seth deposed of the body, both by drowning and chopping it up. This is where Isis comes into the story. She appears as a powerful magician who reassembles Osirus and then conceives Horus.

Until the NK Isis was just a wife but from the Ramesside period she becomes more important. In the tomb of Horemheb you can see this. Hathor used to be the principle goddess for women but now Isis starts usurping her iconography, the cow horns and sun disk. Hathor becomes the goddess of the west representing dead women. In the Late period there are more examples of the horns and sun disk.

Once Isis was pregnant with Horus, Seth did not give up attacking her and trying to cause a miscarriage. The tyet (Egyptian tjt), sometimes called the knot of Isis or girdle of Isis, was what she used to protect the unborn child with magic. This knot then became used by women 1) as a sort of Tampex (this analogy caused a great deal of amusement at the lecture as Francesco searched for the right word) 2) to prevent miscarriage.

Magic was a bit part of Ancient Egyptian life; after Horus was born Seth sent scorpions and snakes to attack him. This story was carved on stele. Magic potions were created by pouring water on these texts and drinking the water. Thus protecting the drinker

Isis gains further magical powers when she gets Ra to reveal his secret name. She gathered his drool and made a snake of it. The snake attacked Ra and he begged Isis to cure him which she would only do if he revealed his secret name. This gave her the same power of Ra which made the most powerful goddess.

Isis was worshipped in various centres all over Egypt.

At Abydos Seti created various chapels and put his own in between Isis and Osirus in the Osirus mini complex to negate the effect his name which was based in Seth had on his legitimacy to rule.

There is a 22nd dynasty temple to Isis in front of the Queens pyramid at Giza that is identified as the burial place of Isis.

There is another location (I missed the name) that is supposed to be her birthplace used in Ptolemaic times.

In Coptos she is identified as the wife of Min

At Philae she was worshipped until 5th century AD

At Meroe (Sudan) she was shown winged for protection

Often she can be identified by the Isis knot at the top of her dress. In later times she is identified as the wife of Serapis a god created by Manetho, connected with the Apis bull. Serapis was a Graeco-Egyptian god. The cult of Serapis was introduced during the 3rd century BC on the orders of Ptolemy I of Egypt as a means to unify the Greeks and Egyptians in his realm. The king was associated with Serapis and his wife with Isis. This new Isis was worshipped in Alexandra and the Fayoum. The rest of Egypt still worshipped the old Isis. The religion gets VERY complicated in these times.

Another Isis is the harvest goddess connected with Renenutet and Demeter she was spread by the Roman army to Athens, Ephesus and is shown wearing Roman clothes with her Isis knot. Also associated with Sybil. Spreading to Roman

Yet another Isis Pharos from Alexandra the Pharos lighthouse and she is shown with flowing robes blown by the wind. In fact there were many variations like is Isis Pelagia, "Isis of the Sea," but there were three main versions. The Pharaonic traditional Isis, the Ptolemaic and the Roman

A book Metamorphis Apolia (not sure if I got the name right) depicted Isis but an incorrect English translations change the depiction of Isis.

The film Cleopatra shows a fairly accurate depiction of the arrival of Cleopatra in Rome. Rome and Italy has many mentions of Isis like the Plaza Isis near the Colosseum and from Rome the cult of the Roman Isis went all over the world as Serapis became the Emperor and Isis the Empress Pompeii, Hungry, Britain anywhere the Romans went she went.

There is an Isis linked to Sirus the star in fact there were so many Isis when they did the exhibition they could not find them all.

Roman Isis even went back to Luxor, at Luxor temple at the front there is a chapel to Roman Isis which was in existence at the same time as the Pharaonic Isis at Deir El Shewit.

Isis even goes into Christianity and there are depictions of the Virgin Mary with an Isis knot.