Archaeological Discoveries in Egypt

Rare Greek Scroll Found With Egyptian Mummy October 2002 - National Geographic Opening Gatenbrink's Door National Geographic - September 2002 Gatenbrink's Door River found under Sahara August 2002 - Ananova Russian satellites have discovered a river flowing 700 feet under the Sahara. Oldest bakery found July 2002 - UPI Oldest administrative building - workers who built the pyramids 4500 years ago July 2002 3700-year-old 'magical' birth brick in Egypt July 2002 - Eureka News Archaeologists Discover Ancient Tomb June 2002 - Yahoo News Archaeologists have discovered what may be the oldest intact sarcophagus ever found, belonging to an overseer of workers who built the pyramids. 4,000-year-old seal of Egyptian pharaoh found in stable ruins on Scottish estate June 2002 - UK News Archaeologists discover Byzantine gold coins in ancient Egyptian sunken city May 2002 - Reuters Ancient childbirth seat found in Egypt - May 2002 Library of Alexandria The Bibliotheca Alexandrina, partly submerged in a pool of water, tries to live up to an ancient tradition. It stands where archaeologists believe the library of the Ptolemies stood some 1,700 years ago. Antiquity's Famed Library Begins a New Chapter - May 2002 The Library of Alexandria - Then and Now 110th Pyramid Found Archaeologists Unearth Base of Egypt Queen Pyramid Reuters Archaeologists have stumbled on the 110th pyramid to be discovered in Egypt - the 4500-year-old tomb of a queen whose identity remains a mystery. Discovered while clearing sand from desert around Redjedef's unfinished pyramid just outside Cairo. Egyptian King Discovered - May 2002 - Discovery A new Egyptian king has been discovered at Luxor. Known to be a high-ranking priest in the theocratic state of Amon at Thebes, Harwa was also a king ruling southern Egypt during the obscure period of the so-called Black Pharaohs, the Nubian kings of the 25th Dynasty. Myrt � Nswt - The Overseer of the Craftsmen March 2002 - Guardians Scientists use a light touch to uncover ancient mummy mysteries. November 2001 Egypt Finds 2,500-Year-Old Tomb in Cairo November 2001 Museum says mummy is King Rameses Looking for Nefertiti's tomb Harry Burton chronicles the opening of King Tut's Tomb Egypt Opens $230 Million Library 4,000-year-old tomb found - Sakkara Ancient temple unearthed in Beheira governorate The Ruins of Memphis Khufu's name found in Saqqara necropolis for the first time Egyptian mummy unwrapped in Australia


Egyptian royal tomb discovered

June 29, 2001 - Reuters - Cairo

In a first, a joint team of German and Egyptian archaeologists has unearthed a royal tomb dating back to the 17th Dynasty which likely belonged to a king whose great-grandsons swept out foreign rulers and paved the way for the New Kingdom - Ancient Egypt's "Golden Age".

The German Institute of Archaeology in Cairo (DAI), in announcing the find, said they are convinced the 3500-year-old tomb belonged to Nub-Kheper-Ra Intef, a monarch of the late 17th Dynasty.

A time of political turmoil and confusion, the 17th Dynasty has failed to provide archaeologists with a royal tomb for study - until now.

Ironically, the timing of the discovery overlaps with one of the summer's biggest publishing successes: Wilbur Smith's bestseller Warlock, a historical novel set against the backdrop of those efforts by 17th Dynasty rulers in southern Egypt to oust the usurpers and restore unity and order.

The tomb is located across the Nile from modern-day Luxor in the northern portion of the Theban necropolis, at the entrance to the Valley of the Kings.

The area, referred to as Dra' Abu el-Naga, has long been felt to be the burial place of kings and private individuals of the 17th and early 18th dynasties.

According to archaeologists, the "remnants of the tomb consist of the lower part of a small mud-brick pyramid surrounded by an enclosure wall, also built of mud bricks."

In front of the pyramid lies a burial shaft where the toppled head of a life-size royal sandstone statue of the pharaoh was found.

The pyramid-complex and the burial shaft is unequivocally that of Nub-Kheper-Ra Intef, according to Dr Daniel Polz, the lead excavator and deputy director of DAI.

Other discoveries included "a small funerary chapel of a private individual" adjacent to the pyramid, but outside the enclosure wall.

The inner walls of the chapel were decorated with depictions of its owner, as well as his name and titles. According to these inscriptions the tomb owner, Teti, was a "treasurer" or "chancellor" of the king.

On one of the walls, there remains a large cartouche (the royal name-ring) showing the name of king Nub-Kheper-Ra Intef.

The 17th Dynasty at the end of the Second Intermediate Period - the era between the Middle and New Kingdoms - was characterised by the rule of the Hyksos, foreign invaders of an Asiatic origin who ruled in the northern part of Egypt contemporaneously with the kings of the 17th Dynasty in Thebes.

Following numerous military campaigns against them, the Hyksos rulers were eventually expelled from Egypt by Kamose, the last king of the 17th Dynasty and his brother, Ahmose, the first king of the 18th Dynasty which saw a unified Egypt rise to unprecedented wealth and power.

It is believed that Nub-Kheper-Ra Intef, one of the immediate predecessors of Kamose and Ahmose, could actually have been their great-grandfather.

Experts said the discovery of King Nub-Kheper-Ra Intef's tomb, the first find of a royal tomb from the 17th Dynasty, along with its location, architecture and contents, could shed new light on the hitherto unknown burials of those Egyptian kings who laid the foundations of Egypt's "Golden Age" - the New Kingdom.

German archaeologist Polz and his team were led to the tomb by information obtained from a 3000-year-old papyrus and the works of an American archaeologist who made reference to the tomb, but never found it himself.

The papyrus mentioned an attempt by robbers to plunder the royal tomb by digging a tunnel from another tomb belonging to a private individual. The robbers, however, failed to reach the royal tomb.

Then in the 19th Century, another group of robbers found the royal tomb, removed the golden casket and sold it without disclosing where they found it - the casket eventually ended up in the British Museum in London.

Polz and his team also found what appeared to be evidence of the removal of two obelisks from the tomb of King Nub-Kheper-Ra Intef.

The obelisks were reportedly removed from the tomb in 1881 on orders of the then French director of the Council of Antiquities in Cairo, who wanted them transferred to old Cairo Museum.

Unfortunately, the boat with the heavy obelisks sank in the Nile, some 10 kilometres from Luxor.

Polz and his team plan to continue excavation work on the tomb in October to discover what lies in another room believed to be located below the burial shaft.


Egypt's Oldest Monastery

June 2001 - Egypt Revealed

In the middle of the fourth century A.D., a group of hermits, followers of St. Macarius, settled in the Egyptian desert west of the Nile Delta. At Wadi al-Natrun, this colony of anchorites (religious believers who choose to live in isolation) survived the harshness of the desert and the raids of nomads over the centuries and evolved into what was probably one of the first monastic communities of Egypt.

A team from Leiden University in the Netherlands has been excavating this site since 1995, and the results so far are beginning to paint a reliable image of how this evolution from hermits to monastery monks came about.

Initially, the settlement must have had a rather open, informal structure, similar to that of a village. The core of the settlement consisted of a church and a defensive tower. The remains of a church, excavated in 1999, are of a rather late date, probably the early eighth century, although an earlier church might still be found underneath it. Shortly after A.D. 700, the monasteries of Wadi al-Natrun were sacked by Bedouins, and this eighth-century church, apparently one of the first buildings to be reconstructed, is little more than a makeshift structure.

Remnants of a huge building were found immediately south of the church, in the southeast corner of the complex. It must have been a square tower about 16 meters (52 feet) on a side, with walls 2 meters (6.5 feet) thick and a height of as much as 20 meters (65 feet).

Much evidence suggests this tower existed in the fifth century and may date to the fourth century. The fact that blocks from a pharaonic temple were found in the debris of the church suggests that this tower was built to guard a settlement of workers producing salt and natron (sodium carbonate) from nearby lakes. Such a settlement would have included a temple and, if abandoned before the monks arrived, it might have served as a quarry for building materials.

The region was invaded by Bedouins over the following centuries, and the settlements were destroyed or heavily damaged several times. After the sack around 700 and the makeshift rebuilding effort, the monks apparently no longer relied on the crumbling tower for defense.

But in the ninth century, the tower�s outer walls were reinforced and the core of the settlement was surrounded by a defensive wall, giving it the appearance of a real monastery.

This new physical structure may have influenced the social structure of the community. Instead of living some distance apart in hermitages sprinkled over a wide area, many monks may have chosen to live within the safety of the enclosure wall. The result would have been a true monastery.


Fossil of Gargantuan Dinosaur Unearthed in Egypt

May 31, 2001 - Reuters

Fossilized remains of a gargantuan plant-eating dinosaur, the second most massive animal ever to walk the Earth, have been unearthed in a desert oasis in Egypt at a site that eons ago was a lush coastal paradise, researchers said on Thursday.

The discovery of a partial skeleton of Paralititan stromeri was made by 31-year-old University of Pennsylvania doctoral student Joshua Smith, who went on a dinosaur hunt at a remote site that had yielded spectacular finds in the first half of the 20th century in expeditions led by German paleontologist Ernest Stromer von Reichenbach.

But the fossils of the four new dinosaurs Stromer uncovered were lost to the world during World War Two when British warplanes bombed the Bayerische Staatssammlung museum during a raid over Munich on April 24, 1944. Stromer's excavation site remained largely ignored in the decades since then.

Paralititan (pronounced pah-ral-ih-TY-tan and meaning ''tidal giant'') lived 94 million years ago during the middle of the Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic Era. The long-necked, long-tailed quadruped looked much like the familiar Brontosaurus (formal name Apatosaurus) that lived tens of millions of years earlier, except that its back may have been studded with bony body armor as protection from predators.

The finding was published in the journal Science.

``It was an enormous dinosaur by anybody's reckoning,'' Smith, who was 29 when he found it, said in an interview.

``We think that a large individual might have massed about 70 tons, 75 tons maybe and it might have approached 100 feet in length. As far as tall, stack four African elephants on top of each other. That's about the height. It would look through a third-story window without much problem.''

FIRST RUNNER-UP IN THE WEIGHT CATEGORY

The only dinosaur known to be heavier than Paralititan is Argentinosaurus, which looked much like the new dinosaur (both are classified as titanosaurid sauropods) but is estimated to have been about 7 percent more massive. The remains of only one example of these two colossal dinosaurs exist. Smith found the partial skeleton preserved in fine-grained sediments full of plant remains and root casts in the Bahariya Oasis in the Sahara desert some 180 miles southwest of Cairo. He said the evidence suggests that the arid Bahariya site once resembled the tropical mangrove coasts of Florida, a low-energy, shallow water area of tidal flats and tidal channels. He compares it to the Everglades.

And based in part on Stromer's earlier finding of three massive carnivorous dinosaurs at the site, Smith said the area must have been teeming with life.

Smith believes the massive herbivore was standing on the edge of a tidal channel in very shallow water when it died.

His team also found evidence that the carcass had been scavenged by a flesh-eating dinosaur, including a tooth that may come from Carcharodontosaurus, whose name means ''shark-tooth lizard'' and whose size, 45 feet (13.5 meters) long, was comparable to Tyrannosaurus rex. In addition, the pelvis was ripped apart as if it had been eaten.

It's unclear whether Paralititan lost a life-or-death struggle with the predator or became a meal after dying for other reasons, Smith said. ``All we know is that the animal died and somebody came along and munched on it.''

PARTIAL REMAINS FOUND

Smith said the skeleton of Paralititan is only 20 to 25 percent complete. Most impressive is a humerus (upper forelimb bone) that measures 6 foot, 7 inches long. The remains also include several vertebrae, ribs and both shoulder blades. The Penn team also found fossils of fish, sharks, turtles, marine reptiles and other dinosaurs.

Dumb luck played a role in the discovery, Smith admits. He and University of Pennsylvania graduate student Matthew Lamanna, who at age 25 is a co-author of the study, dreamed up the idea of finding the sites that had been so productive for Stromer, who worked there extensively starting in 1911.

Smith said in 1999 he tagged along on another Penn expedition to Egypt and was given all of two days to search for dinosaurs. Another problem was finding the Stromer's exact site because he did not leave behind any maps or directions.

Scientific literature found in Cairo pointed the way, but Smith ended up in the wrong place anyway. But as luck would have it, on Feb. 23, 1999, Smith spotted from the window of his Toyota Land Cruiser three pieces of Paralititan's forelimb.


More Mummies Discovered In Egypt

March 20, 2001 - AFP - Cairo

Archaeologists working in an oasis city in Egypt's western desert have found 11 more mummies, including one of a three-year-old boy whose gold mask portrays him crying, officials said.

"It is the first time a mask was drawn with this rare expression, which indicates that his parents (who were buried with him) died before him," the excavation leader, Zahi Hawas, said yesterday.

The mummies dating back 1,800 years were discovered in tombs at the Greco-Roman-era necropolis in the Bahariya oasis city of Bawiti, where 300 mummies have been found since 1999.

The area may contain 10,000 mummies.

The newfound mummies, all belonging to one family, are more important than those found previously in Bawiti because the masks "depict the exact features of the face," Hawas said.

One mask portrayed a woman with pink flesh tones, a long nose, thin lips smacked with rouge, and wide eyes set off by mascara.

The artwork "also shows the level of wealth in the area which thrived on alcohol distilled from dates," Hawas said.

In the vicinity, they also discovered the tombs of the parents of the governor of the Bahariya oasis, who were buried around 500 years before the Christian era during the 26th Pharaonic dynasty, Hawas said.

Archeologists will open the coffin of the father of the governor in a few days and continue the search for other members of the family.

Last May, antiquities officials reported the discovery of the tomb of the governor inside a humanoid stone sarcophagus.

According to inscriptions on the coffin, the governor fulfilled several roles, including priest, for various pharaonic deities.

The vast cemetery, spreading over two square miles within the city of Bawiti, dates back to the Greco-Roman era (330 BC to 400 AD) and is situated around 375 km southwest of Cairo.

The mummies were buried when the oasis was home to 500,000 people, at a time when Egypt's population was seven million, according to Hawas, who is the director of antiquities at the Giza pyramids.

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