Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Jane Akshar has done one of her much appreciated write ups of a lecture at the Mummification Museum in Luxor, with Francisco Tiradritti talking about the work in the Tomb of Hawra.

The team started work at the tomb of Harwa in 1996 although a survey had been done a year earlier. Harwa was a very important official, steward of the God’s wife of Amun or Divine Votaress and there are 8 known statues of him (see the website also for a life see ) and they are in different styles the ones in the Cairo Museum and 1 in BM are Old Kingdom, the block statues are New Kingdom and there is a shrine that is Middle King. This is because the 15th Dynasty was part of the great Renaissance of Egypt. Although all periods had copied previous styles the Nubian Kings specialised in this by with a Nubian twist.

The rest of the write up is on Jane's blog.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, December 23, 2011

With family commitments I am not sure how much I will be online over the next few days, so I just wanted to say ...

Merry Christmas one at all.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, December 23, 2011

I won't be able to post it when it goes online later today, but Dr Thomas Schuler has indicated that the Blue Shield report about the library should be online today on the Blue Shield site:

I am expecting that the report will consolidate the various reports about the damage and salavge operation.  Once again, huge credit to Blue Shield, and especially to Thomas, for caring and the work put in to compile this.  As I have said before, Blue Shield's efforts in Egypt during 2011 have been remarkable.

It is also apparent from reports I am reading on various sites that once again the ordinary Egyptians, including many protestors, acted with courage and resolve to preserve their heritage, and are committed now to the salvage effort.  A huge tribute once again to the people of Egypt.

Also credit to Elena C for her efforts in promoting salvage efforts.  She has a Twitter feed (@Miss_Mymkin) at!/Miss_Mumkin if you want dynamic news.  More generally the hashtag #savethebooks is being used on Twitter if you want a wider set of sources.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, December 23, 2011

The mission is underway again and has a collection of photographs on their FaceBook page.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, December 23, 2011

On the collections side; from the first moment after burning the collections; the National Library of Egypt started to save the collections as possible as   they can. Many of Egyptian volunteers assisted in extracting the books from the fire. Dr. Zein Abdul Hadi, the head of Egyptian National Library participated himself at this process. Many trucks moved the rescued books to the National Library. According to Dr. Zein, "Around 30.000 items were rescued and stored in the National Library”. Cooperative efforts are running now to restore the saved items. American University in Cairo (AUC) and Bibliotheca Alexandrina are participating effectively. Today, 21st December, the National Library announced that same PCs were rescued and the electronic catalog of the library was found and safe.
Source and the full article from Cybrarians

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, December 23, 2011

The Blue Shield highly commends the courage demonstrated by the Egyptian population, as they braved the flames and collapsing building in order to save books and manuscripts. These acts are in following with previous actions taken during the events that threatened national museums and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, in which the citizens prevented further damage and looting from taking place. We applaud such efforts and encourage the army and fire brigades to support such protection enterprises. In times of conflict such as these, the safeguarding of heritage should be granted the highest priority.
Full text of statement here:

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, December 18, 2011

A fire yesterday damaged the entire building of the Egyptian Scientific Institute and damaged its entire collection.  There are pictures of flames coming from the windows, but the fire is now out.  It is now known what, if anything, can be salvaged.


Both sides blame the other.  The army blames the protestors for throwing a Molotov Cocktail into the building; the protestors claim that the army was using the building as a base from which to attack them and some have even suggested that the fire may have been started deliberately by the army to descredit the protests.  It all sounds chillingly familiar.

The Egyptian Museum is still safe - and was open for visitors today - but these are anxious times again and I keep checking Twitter with a degree of trepidation.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Saturday, December 10, 2011

My thanks to CJB for the link to this paper.  (He posted it in a comment, so I am promoting it so that readers don't miss it.)

It ( is in French.  Google translate isn't too awful with French but it mangles it somewhat and I can't persuade it to translate the whole article.  When I have time, I will read it in French to try to catch the full sense of what they are suggesting. 

One central theme is that Akhenaten was survived by a King (Smenkhkare) and Queen (Meritaten) who had similar throne names and therefore were easily confused so it isn't possible to say which partner outlived his/her spouse to rule alone, although they lean as usual towards the Queen.  Smenkhare is seen as the occupant of KV55 and the son of Akhenaten, which is familiar territory.  Less usual is their belief, if I am reading it correctly, that Smenkhare was the brother of Tutankhamun.  That means the Amarna reliefs fail to show two sons of Pharaoh, but six daughters. 

The Younger Lady is identified as Sitamun but they pose the question that the wife of Smenkhare might actually not have been Meritaten the daughter of Akhenaten but the daughter of Smenkhare himself.   I need to re-read that section.

There is a lot more, with a lot of discussion of implications of the Amarna letters and foreign relations.  The paper cites a lot of references.  Since Google translate won't translate the second half for me, and skim reading something in French is a real stretch for me, I can't say too much more.  I will try to spend time to read it carefully when I have time to translate it fully.

My thanks again to CJB for what is an interesting and thought-provoking paper.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, December 09, 2011

Anybody interested in photos of the Valley of the Kings and the West Bank area might wish to try Luxor Taxi's Flickr photostream:

At present there are four pages.  There are some great pictures of El Kab for instance and some good shots from TT55 (Ramose).  All very well taken.  There are also some which were taken in the Eastern Desert on the road between Luxor and Hurghada.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, December 08, 2011

Marianne Luban has posted a couple of interesting pieces in her blog.  In the first "More on Substitution Portriats", Marianne continues with her theme about the Face of Tutankhamun which has attracted quite a lot of comment on this blog.

The second piece looks at the regnal count of King Hatchepsut.  Marianne's theory is that Hatchepsut backdated the start of her reign by three years to the death of Thutmosis I, effectively obliterating the reign of Thutmosis II as well as denying the later Tutmosis III the throne. 

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Andie Byrnes and I have just published the 2nd ddition of the Egyptological Journal and the 3rd edition of our Egyptological Magazine.  The editorial has full details, but for the scope of News from the Valley of the Kings the highlights are possibly two more write ups from the AWT Conference on Amarna, including one covering Jo Marchant's talk about the DNA of Tutankhamun and the other royal mummies from the 18th Dynasty.  Hatschepsut fans will be delighted that Barbara has written a full article about Hatchepsut.

Please remember that we don't announce all the articles published in the In Brief section between editions, or the Photo Albums - look in the Colloquy section for both of those, or follow us on Twitter @egyptological for notification when something is published.  As always, we encourage comments and there are some fascinating ones. 

We are always looking for writers and photographs.  It is a good way to get exposure for a subject which interests you, and of course we can add a biography page with a link to your site.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, December 04, 2011

It is behind glass and hard to photograph.  There is however a much better image on the British in the British Museum catalogue, which also has full details. It was found in the Valley of the Kings in the tomb of Amennhotep III and is inscribed with his name.  Although we think of finds coming principally from the tombs of Tutankhamun and Yuya / Thuya, there are many broken objects like this from other tombs in the Valley of the Kings which hint at how lavishly provisioned they must once have been.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, December 02, 2011

I'm out so just a link for now - I've not yet found a photo

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, December 01, 2011

This is a wonderful article and a wonderful re-discovery.  Lying forgotten in drawers in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo was a full set of chariot leathers.  They are reportedly 90% - 95% complete.  The photos are excellent and show clearly the remarkable preservation.  The project is working to converve them.

The article highlights that they are likely to improve the understanding of Bronze Age charioteering across Europe.

Readers of this blog will be interested to learn that the Museum thinks they belonged to Akhenaten, but an ancient leather specialist thinks they belonged to one of Tutankamun's successors.  Where they came from is a big question.  As the article says, it must be from a tomb, presumably a royal or super-elite tomb.  For the period in question, that would seem to imply the Valley of the Kings, and very, very few tombs have yielded contents of that quality.  All in all that is a mystery, and a very interesting one.  The alternative might be an 18th Dynasty tomb at Saqqara, but it is equally hard to think which that might be.

What is clear is that the full inventory underway in the Egyptian Museum could be very interesting when it is published.  As well as potentially grim news of objects which cannot be located, we might also learn of other forgotten treasures.

(My thanks to Andie Byrnes for the link.)


Admin Control Panel