Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, May 22, 2009

Sometimes people capture important photos without realising it - and sometimes photos are important for what they don't show. BaMRTW took this one in the Valley of the Kings. It's worth taking a look at the high-res one on Flickr. It shows most of the Valley and how much excavation is ongoing ... which is very little in the visible areas. The Central Area has also been completely re-filled.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, May 22, 2009

Dr Hawass writing in Al-Ahram Weekly sounds a rather plaintive note:

I do not understand what else I can do. All my life I have worked very hard and have always tried to do good things for my country and for antiquities. Before I became secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, archaeology in Egypt was a bit like Raiders of the Lost Ark: there were no rules. Everyone was free to do anything they wanted. Everyone was in a position to announce their own discoveries, whether true or false. Since 2002, I have implemented a series of rules for archaeological expeditions to follow.

There's more in the full article, including a confession that he was wrong about KV63.

I have sympathy for the doctor. He is clearly genuinely baffled. On the other hand, a good press officer should avoid becoming the subject of stories themselves and when that ceases to be the case ultimately the responsibility lies with the press officer - and I don't see that Egyptology is really much different in that regard. Hopefully there is somebody close to Dr Hawass who can take him quietly to one side and suggest relatively minor changes he could make which would improve his image in the eyes of the media, they aren't that difficult.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, May 17, 2009

I regular reader contacted me at the start of the weekend. I really appreciated your email and was going to get back to you but I'm sorry I have lost your email address and feel really bad about it. I do appreciate all messages very much and if you contact me again I do promise to get back to you.


Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, May 15, 2009

Off topic for this blog, but Dr Hawass has announced that a team and robot has been selected to penerate one of the second doors in the shafts from the Queen's Chamber of the Great Pyramid at Giza. That's interesting news in itself but I'm also delighted that Dr Hawass fully credits the work of Rudolf Gantenbrink - in fact, Dr Hawass's post is a very good summary of the story so far.

Anybody new to this story may want to catch up on the history on Gantenbrink's own site. It's also be definitive site for photos of the 1992 and 1993 explorations -like the one I've shown above. As Rudolf is an engineer, there are also proper scale diagrams of the shafts. I first saw these photos (actually in the form of video footage - which so far as I am aware isn't available online) in 1998/9 and decade on and we may finally get complete answers. It shows how patient we may need to be with the developments in the Valley of the Kings.
Gantenbrink's site is not quite complete as in 2002 Fox TV / National Geographic sponsored an expedition which drilled through one of the doors Gantenbrink found - and discovered a second door behind it. There's a blurry photo of the rear door (the conditions are cleary very difficult) in Hawass's article. That's the door which they are now planning to investigate.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, May 15, 2009

The Maritime Musuem in Barcelona is hosting an exciting exhibition of replicas of 1,000 objects from tomb of Tutankhamun (KV62).

The charge of the Egyptian department of the Archaeological Museum of Madrid, Esther Pons, stressed that a "large exposure" that aims to recreate the viewer, you can see for the first time the state of the parts found in the tomb of Tutankhamon.

In the more than 800 square meters of exhibition will be shown how closely
the replicas of parts, their quality and the exact distribution in which there were 90 years ago, and we will visit the tomb - 100 square meters - - in its original state as it was copied in detail.

I may manage to get to Barcelona this summer.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, May 15, 2009

I'm a big fan of the tombs of the nobles so this new material on tomb TT192 (Kheruef) is very welcome.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, May 15, 2009

This photo by kaltal30 was taken on 4th May 2009 and shows that excavations are continuing in new areas - and frankly at the moment I have lost track of quite which areas other than by the Rest House and near tomb KV1.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, May 15, 2009

Kairionfo4you has posted several photos on Flickr. Follow the link to see the others.

They were spotted while I was travelling by Rick Menges - my thanks. Rick thinks they show that the infamous white tent has been removed and the area filled in, but I'm struggling to be certain whether this was the case because I find it hard to locate some of the photos. They also seem to show partial demolition of the Rest House. If so, then for that to have been done, then the radar survey and initial exploration must have identified a very promising target.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, May 08, 2009

It is the only railway within an Egptian Tomb and the video is wll worth watching for news on the restoration of the tunnel in KV17 (the tomb of Seti I). There is no news on what may be found at the end but Dr Hawass is still speculating that there may be a secret burial of Seti I. I suspect that he has, by now, actually reached the end of the tunnel and knows what is there ... but I suspect we will have to wait a while before we find out.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, May 08, 2009

Over the years there has been significant anti-Hawass sentiment. I first heard it from "alternative" Egytologist but recently it has spread to blogs - even the comments here demonstrate that many have quite equivolcal views about the professionalism of Dr Hawass, with particular concern about his constant campaign of self-promotion. I have tried not to get drawn in but I would be more comfortable if discoveries were announced by the SCA and with the aim of promoting the SCA as a whole and not just Dr Hawass.

In the past few weeks, things seem to have progressed to the next stage. I've read a few articles in more mainstream media which describe his style as "unique", note his self-promotion and his ability to "fill in the gaps" of stories, going beyond the facts. A good example is this article in the Middle East edition of the New York Times.

"There are scientists who say he is too concerned with self-promotion and is often loose with facts. There are Egyptian antiquities workers who complain that he takes credit for their accomplishments."

As Hawass is the gatekeper to news about Ancient Egypt the press exhibit a degree of restraint but I wonder whether, as an Egyptian, he is aware of how quickly the Western press which he has courted can turn on somebody if they feel there are scores to settle when the need for restraint is eventually removed.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, May 08, 2009

Rick spotted this one. It's a photo by Leah Ibraheem from 18th April. Rick thinks this is the front of the Rest House but I am not so sure myself ...? Sorry I'm not up to looking tonight - I've spent most of the last two days in bed with a heavy cold. Supposedly I am away for the next few days (but touch and go whether I will feel up to it), so one way or another I probably won't post again until Wednesday or Thursday next week. (If anything big breaks, I will still be on email so I'll get messages and I can post be email if necessary.)

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, May 08, 2009

There have been some recent claims that the famous bust of Nefertiti is 20th century fake. I decided not to cover the story as I think the recent CT scans showing that there are earlier layers underneath validate the authenticity, as does the story of the bust's departure from Egypt. Dietrich Wildung, director of Berlin's Egyptian Museum, where the bust is on display, has now weighed in to the arugument to defend the authenicity. The Guardian has published a balanced article on the topic.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Tim has put together an article outlining some of the background to the plague during the Amarna years. Rather than concentrate on the plague at the end of Akhenaten's reign, he looks at the plague towards the start. For those interested in this period, it may be worth a read.


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