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Archaeology Watch
619 Ancient Artifacts Retrieved by Egypt from United Kingdom
Wednesday, December 1 (Issue 9)
by Raymon Kondos

CAIRO (youregypt.com) - 619 ancient artifacts have been recently restored back by the Egyptian authorities from Britain after their confiscation 4 years ago.
The retrieved collection includes vases, lamps, pots, amulets and scarabs made of faience. They date back to the Late Pharaonic period and the Greco-Roman era.

The Egyptian authorities showcased at a press conference two wooden sarcophagi among the most remarkable pieces of the collection. The astonishing sarcophagi, which date back to the Late Period, are covered with plaster bearing hieroglyphic text.

Wooden sarcophagus shown in press conference
Wooden sarcophagus shown in press conference

Zahi Hawas, the secretary general of Egyptian Authority of Antiquities, said the collections were confiscated while being smuggled into Heathrow airport of London in April 2000.

Hawas added that the confiscated pieces were smuggled out of Egypt on 28 February 1997, as opposed to the claim of the smuggler they were taken back in the 1950s. The suspect’s allegations were meant to prove the transportation of the antiquities was done long time before the application of a 1983 law banning thenceforth antiquities exports. A joint judicial-archeological committee that inspected the confiscated pieces in 2002, proved the illegal status of those antiquities. The smuggler initially moved the pieces from Egypt to Switzerland before attempting to transfer them inside the United Kingdom.

According to General Attorney Hisham Abdel Meguid all artifacts were among the private possession of residents in Egypt that were allowed to keep -but not export- their archeological possession upon the application of 1983 law.

Hawas said initially there was no hope to restore the stolen antiquities for lack of treaties with United Kingdom on the issue, and because the British law does not prohibit importing illegally stolen antiquities. Hawas said good bilateral relations between both countries contributed to the fruitful outcome.

he Egyptian authorities are currently studying harsher laws on smuggling and trade of ancient artifacts.


Canadian team unearthes 4200 old Sinai fortress
Wednesday, December 1 (Issue 9)
by Raymon Kondos

CAIRO (youregypt.com) - A Canadian archeological team revealed the remains of an ancient Pharanic stone fortress in Sinai Peninsula.

The fort, built around 4200 years ago, was first discovered two years ago by a University of Toronto team. The discoveries of this summer were described as amazing ones.

The fortress shed some light on the pyramid builders’ era as well as the defensive strategies of Ancient Egyptians in that era. Ancient Egyptians were very keen to protect the eastern frontier from either the invading Asiatics or Bedouins, rifts which may have been the direct cause for the fall of the Old Kingdom about 2150 BC.

Clearing the sand, the expedition has revealed the shape of the fortress. It is circular in shape with 44 meters (144 feet) in diameter and built of small limestone blocks. To the west of the fort, a 4 meter (13 feet) wide bastion was unearthed.

The excavations also revealed the fortress wall is preserved up to 3.5 meter (12 feet) in height at some areas.

The fortress, which remains not completely uncovered, was also described as a resting point for Ancient Egyptian expeditions traveling to mining fields of South Sinai.

The Canadian expedition also unearthed potsherds, copper slag and other stone tools in massive numbers.

PREVIOUS ARCHAEOLOGY WATCHES:
. 4000-year-old tomb of Egyptian official unearthed at Saqqara
(issue 1)
. Thousands of antiquities retrieved from sunken city at the Mediterranean Sea (issue 2)
. New Kalabsha Island Turns into an Open-Air Museum (issue 3)
. Website Brings Life to Egypt’s Monuments (issue 4)
. Courtiers and Donkeys Buried to Escort Pharaonic Kings in Afterlife, New Discoveries Reveal (issue 5)
. Pharaoh’s Sarcophagus Re-Assembled from 250 Fragments (issue 6)
. Pharaoh's Glories Come to Basel and Dazzle the Swiss (issue 7)
. Two Mummies Revealed in Opening of Ancient Egyptian Sarcophagi (issue 8)

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