Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, January 28, 2010

Andie Byrnes and I are pleased to announced that we will be going ahead with our plan for a free online Egyptological magazine. Progress reports will be posted on the site news blog, although anything major I'll link from here as well. 

Thank you to everybody who has offered their support.  We appreciate it and will be in touch with you but please bear with us as the next couple of weeks are hectic trying to get several different strands of the project moving all at once.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Tuesday, January 26, 2010

There is a video of the December work of the Cliff Mission team on FaceBook.  It's only short - just a couple of minutes long.  The first half shows the team working on the rocks overhanging the temples and illustrates why the work is needed.  The team then take a tea break and the second half of the video reminds me of a film I once saw called the Piano ... some people will love it but most people may be better of skipping the second half.  Still, nice to see the first half and good to get some more video of work in progress rather than a "face" talking to camera after the project is over. 

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Robert Pick took this photo on 19th January, 2010 while walking in the Theban Hills near the Valley of the Kings.  It clearly shows an excvation underway.  I'm not certain where exactly it was taken.  Robert's full set of photos is here.  If somebody thinks they can piece together where the excavations are based on the photo and the ones taken before and afterwards, then I'm sure that would interest readers.    Since cameras aren't allowed in the Valley of the Kings and guards are stopping people from taking photos, I am assuming this wasn't taken from withinthe Valley, although it could be a view looking back into the Valley of the Kings from the Theban Hills which I understand is still allowed.

I have emailed Robert as well to ask but leaving him comments on the photo in Flickr might encourage him as well, please!   There is a photo taken in the hills which is definitely looking down into the Valley of the Kings and I can't spot anything on that and there has been no other report or photo of excavations in the Valley of the Kings this year - although we all expected them.   I have just trogged through a Google search and nobody has mentioned anything so far as I can tell.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dennis spotted an update to the KV-63 site with the first of Otto Shaden's dig diary entires for 2010.  Dennis has also studied the Valley of the Kings' photos which the team have posted.  The photo of the Valley of the Kings shows no sign of any excavations.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jane Akshar has been busy on her blog and reported a number of news items:

TT96 - Sennefer - "Tomb of the Vines"

This is a famous tomb and Thierry BENDERITTER & Jon HIRST have built a nice micro-site about TT96.  In fact it's fantastic and I've put it aside to read next week when I have more time.

TT29 - The Lost Tomb of Amenhotep

TT29 is located close to TT96 and is currently being re-excavated.  Jane has posted lengthy notes of a lecture in Luxor by Dr Laurent Bavay.

Valley of the Kings' Tombs

Jane reports that Tomb KV34 (Tuthmosis III) is open but Tomb KV2 (Ramases IV) is closed

Sphinx Alley

Jane reports on this and has picked out the Washington Post story as the best - saves me time!  Sphinx Alley is the avenue of sphinxes forming a processional way between Luxor and Karnak Temples.  She also predicts that the Mut Temple could be open in a few years' time.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ken I tried to get back to you but your email address bounced - probably a typo? Please can you send it to me again.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Monday, January 18, 2010

Jane Akshar reported a few days ago that there are have been substantial finds including papyrus in Dra' Abu El-Naga on the West Bank near the Valley of the Kings.  Zahi Hawass was expected in Luxor yesterday to make an announcement, but so far I have found nothing.  However, a comment on Jane's post is even more interesting:

We were hiking near the Tombs of the Nobles yesterday and saw about 2 dozen workers removing sand and walked up the hill to near Sennefer's tomb and saw that, yes, it was an excavation. We saw pot sherds on the ground and a big yellow tape announcing that it was an archaeological excavation, please keep out. Interesting!

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Monday, January 18, 2010

My thanks to Vincent Brown for spotting this story in Spiegel.  If anybody has missed the background to the allegations of theft against Howard Carter, then it's worth reading.

There is no proof, but the circumstantial evidence that Howard Carter removed items from Tutankhamun's Valley of the Kings tomb is substantial.  Articles from King Tut's tomb are in a number of museums around the world, not just in the Egyptian Museum.  The largest and best known collection of other objects is in the Met and their existence has been in the public domain since the 70s when advertised by Thomas Hoving.  The Spiegel article also identifies an object in the Louvre which is one I hadn't heard about.

It is true that Carter had permisson to remove some items, but the number in circulation seems inconsistent with this. However the complex legal status of the tomb in the 1920s muddies the water enough that an amateur like me is unable to understand whether the allegations against Carter are well-founded; however, nor do I feel able to exonnerate him.   What is perhaps most surprising is that Egypt is not pressing for the return of these articles.  That suggests that Carter did obtain them legally.  (The conspiracy theorists have an alternative explanation which suggests that Carter removed papyrii relating to the Exodus and that there is therefore a reluctance to re-open the question of the clearance of KV62.  The story was covered by Andrew Collins in his book, Tutankhamun - The Exodus Conspiracy.)

If Carter did illegally obtain items from KV62, and enter the tomb in advance of the offical opening, then we no longer know the state of the tomb at discovery.  Archaeologically that may be more important than the removal of a small number of items.  Read the article and make your own mind up.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Monday, January 18, 2010

Dr Hawass has published a photo showing some of the finds from the Tomb of Seti I in the Valley of the Kings, tomb KV17.  The size of one of the statues is surprising (even if it doesn't look to be a premier piece).  If these articles were carried into the tunnel by water then the force of water must have been considerable, although the tomb doesn't seem to show flood damage consistent with a large torrent of moving water.  It does make it seem as though the tunnel had a purpose as Dr Hawass himself has said he believes.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Monday, January 18, 2010

If like me find it hard to spot what's new on Dr Hawass site, you might wish to bookmark Hawass - What's New.  It's not the most attractive page (it's actually the newsfeed), but at it lists all the new content with the most recent at the top. 

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, January 14, 2010

Somehow I missed this - thanks to Andie for spotting it.  I posted a video recently about TT34, the 25th Dynasty tomb of Montuemhat but Heritage Key have now posted five photos by the wonderful Sandro Vannini.

The page is very confusing,  If you click on Play Slides on the big image, it doesn't work. Instead it links to an anchor further down the page.  It's tempting to go back and try again.  There's no need.  Ignore the big picture and go down to any of the thumbnails lower down.  Click on any of these and the photo gallery will open up for you.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, January 14, 2010

I won't make a habbit of advertising lectures but since I'm going I will as it might be nice to meet anybody who comes along. The lecture is by Joyce Filer and is in London, UK on 20th February. Details on the flier.  (My thanks to Worthing Archaeological Society for posting the flyer online and saving me the trouble!)

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, January 14, 2010

Firstly a warning to news followers that sploggers are repeating Ancient Egypt stories to provide text for their splogs. A splog is a spam blog - or fake blog which recycles true copy written by an author like me, without permission, to promote totally unrelated affiliate links. We legitimate authors hate the practice with a passion.

It's also a problem as what can look in search results like a new story isn't. That's how I found this CNN article from 2007 by Paul Sussman.

The article describes his work in KV56 between 1998 and 2002 as part of the Amarna Royal Tombs Project. During clearance they found items of jewellery from the reign of Seti II. Paul observes it's the only jewellery found in the Valley of the Kings since the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb. Although the article is two years' old, if you haven't seen it before, it's worth reading.

The article is noteworthy because it mentions the "KV64" radar anomaly. The definitive coverage is on Nicholas Reeves' site and I've written about that in the past, but I always feel happier with two sources. As we know Dr Hawass insists this radar anomaly isn't a tomb. In 2007 Peter Sussman shared Reeves' view that it was a tomb. That interests me but somehow I've overlooked this article until now.

Peter is however more interested in the workmen's huts they were investigating and a painted limestone slab he found himself.

A thoroughly good read.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, January 14, 2010

Just a reminder that Dr Otto Schaden should be back in Luxor and the Valley of the Kings for the 2010 season. His last update suggested he expected to be back in Luxor around 7th January 2010 and re-open KV10 shortly afterwards.

As excavation of KV63 is now complete, I'm not sure how often we'll receive news this season. There's no newsfeed on the site, so updates are easily missed. If anybody spots one could you please add a comment to this post or contact me. (A comment will alert readers quickest as it'll appear in the sidebar.) I'll then post fully as soon as I can. As a week has passed, I've just checked now.

Work for the 2010 season includes removing more resin from the coffins. It's possible of course that there are unexpected marks preserved beneath the resin which could give further clues to the original intended owners, so 2010 is still a season which could bring new discoveries.

PS a reminder to any visitors to Luxor (including ordinary tourists) - any news of any goings-on in the Valley of the Kings is really appreciated.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Blain Hunt has picked up that “The Pharaoh Who Conquered the Sea” is probably on NOVA as “Building Pharaoh’s Ship”. Thanks Blain and well done. This may help those outside the UK to see this documentary. Blain writes.

I tried to find “The Pharaoh Who Conquered the Sea” by typing in the UK BBCTV, but either the UK BBCTV wouldn’t download or I didn’t know how to do it.  But I just got through watching the excellent American science program, Nova, and they had “Building Pharaoh’s Ship” which was about some archeologists attempting to reconstruct one of Queen Hatshepsut's ocean going vessels.  I bet it is the same program under a different name, and Nova eventually re-shows everything.  They said next week on Nova will be a story about the Sphinx. 

One thing I forgot to mention, which the movie makers also failed to mention, was the inclusion of what’s called a Hogging Truss on their ship.  You may have noticed two thick posts on the front and rear of the ship about seven feet high.  The builders attach a thick rope to the front and rear of their ship, run it across the tops of those posts, and then tighten it like turning a tourniquet.  It keeps the ship rigid, otherwise when the ship sits atop a big wave, it might break in half.  It was an important part of early ocen going ship building, and that rope can be clearly seen on the builder’s finished product.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Tuesday, January 12, 2010

There's now a FaceBook group for the Cliff Mission.  Thanks Kamil for updating me.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, January 10, 2010

I've been saving this photo from David Hay for a quiet period - which we seem to have at present!.

Thanks again to David for his photos.  This one was taken in the Western Valley of the Kings in November and shows the date of the 2009 excavations there. Unlike the excavations in the main valley, the trenches were not back-filled which makes one wonder whether there is an intention for excavations to continue this winter. Sadly, as few people visit the Western Valley, reports are even harder to come by than reports from the main Valley of the Kings.

A reminder that even if photos are banned in the main Valley of the Kings, reports of any acitivity from any tourists who visist would be very welcome.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, January 10, 2010

John Patterson has spotted that this documentary on Nubia is being repeated - it's the first of a four part series.  I saw it last week and would recommend it.  It's probably on iPlayer too but I haven't looked.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Wednesday, January 06, 2010

making of a reconstruction.  This is an OK BBC documentary about Hatshepsut's expedition to the Land of Punt, as depicted in the bas-reliefs at Deir el-Bahri, although too long is spent on the . It's airing now as I write but is also repeated several times over the next few days.

There's good coverage of the maritime abilities and ship building skills of the early New Kingdom.


1. Wed 6 Jan 2010 - 21:00 - BBC Four
2. Thu 7 Jan 2010 - 00:45 - BBC Four
3. Thu 7 Jan 2010 - 03:15 - BBC Four
4. Mon 11 Jan 2010 - 19:30 - BBC Four
5. Tue 12 Jan 2010 - 02:15 - BBC Four

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Wednesday, January 06, 2010

"... create an online monthly Ancient Egypt magazine ..."
It took me a while to fully appreciate Andie Byrnes' idea but, once I did, I realised it's a wonderful idea and something I have been wanting as both a reader and a writer. It can only happen though with your support:

  • Writers - a magazine can only exist if people are willing to write for it.  We'd welcome both experienced and inexperienced authors - and can provide editorial support and coaching if needed.  Please contact either Andie or me  if you are interested.

  • Readers - the bigger the likely readership, the easier it will be to attract writers, so please leave comments here or on Andies's blog if a magazine is something you would want to read.  It will also help Andie and I to plan the bandwidth we need.
Writers may be interested in some stats from this blog.  With Christmas and Thanksgiving, December was an odd month so November is a better guide.  During November, there were 2,900 unique visitors to News from the Valley of the Kings. (Thank you so very, very much.)  Many of course returned several times during the month.  My suspicion is that, once established, a magazine will attract more readers than this blog, although I cannot promise anything of course.

For those who are interested in knowing more, please click here to read on.  

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Monday, January 04, 2010

Dr Hawass has posted a photo of a statue of Hatshepsut.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Monday, January 04, 2010

The final of the four Heritage Key videos about Tutankhamun's treasures.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Monday, January 04, 2010

I recently reported that Jane Akshar had posted notes from the Mummification Museum lecture on Tomb 28, one of the Tombs of the Nobles on the West Bank near the Valley of the Kings. Andie has found an earlier announcement in Spanish of the expedition:

The Egyptian authorities have granted permission to Spain to work in a major unpublished 23rd Dynasty Theban tomb. A new Spanish archaeological project in Luxor (Egypt), in charge of the Institute of Studies of the Old Egypt of Madrid [will conduct the project].

There’s also a Web site for the project in Spanish but the front page reads like this:

Tomb No. 28 of Asasif (Friederike Kampp - Die Thebanische Nekropole catalog.) Zum Wandel des Grabgedankens von der 18th. bis zur 20th. Dynastie. (Mainz 1996) is located in the Theban necropolis in the area of Asasif South, front and on the tomb of Dyar (TT366), and adjacent to the tomb of Jeruef (TT192).

This tomb belongs to the period of the dynasty XVIII, during the reign of Amenhotep III (towards 1387 - C. 1348), and was excavated for a sombody who was vizier Amenhotep, valled Huy, whose existence is known securely from the monuments for the Jubilee prime of Amenhotep III, held during the 30th year of his reign.

Excavation of this tomb, with discoveries that could bring, requires a multi-disciplinary approach and will include the development of topographic, architectural and archaeological documentation. The excavation will identify the components that make up the tomb and their artistic and archaeological value, and will assure the architectural structures.

All this must be accompanied by consonant epigraphy, as well as the restoration and consolidation of the monument in all its parts work.

(I've had to paraphrasea bit to make sense.)

There’s more on other pages.
It's also reported Egyptologia by Francisco Martin Valentine and Teresa Bedman. They have put a copyright message on the page to prevent the copying of text so they clearly don’t want people to report even snippets to promote their site so I'll respect that and you’ll need to translate it yourself. The gist though is the that Tomb 28 is of the Amenhotep who was initially the Vizier of Amenhotep during the reign of Amenhotep III, but who later succeeded to the vizierate of Upper Egypt. (Confusingly, Wikipedia reports that his tomb was found in Saqqara.) He disappeared around the 35th year of Amenhotep’s reign and his [Theban] tomb and monuments were later defaced, the authors suppose by adherents of Akhenaten.  Their article is mostly biography of Vizier Amenhotep; there is little about the excavation of the tomb.


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