Sunken Ship, Ancient Greek Graves Found at Underwater Ruins in Egypt
CAIRO (Reuters) – Divers uncovered the unusual remnants of a military vessel in the ancient submerged city of Thônis-Heracleion – once Egypt’s greatest Mediterranean port – as well as a funerary complex indicating the presence of Greek merchants, the country said on Monday.
The city, which controlled the entrance to Egypt at the mouth of a western branch of the Nile, dominated the area for centuries before the foundation of Alexandria nearby by Alexander the Great in 331 BC.
Destroyed and sunk along with a wide area of the Nile delta by several earthquakes and tidal waves, Thônis-Heracleion was rediscovered in 2001 in Abu Qir Bay near Alexandria, now Egypt’s second-largest city.
The military vessel, discovered by an Egyptian-French mission led by the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM), sank when the famed temple of Amun it was mooring next to collapsed in the second century BC.
A preliminary study shows the hull of the 25-metre flat-bottomed ship, with oars and a large sail, was built in the classical tradition and also had features of Ancient Egyptian construction, Egypt’s tourism and antiquities ministry said.
In another part of the city, the mission revealed the remains of a large Greek funerary area dating back to the first years of the 4th century BC, it said.
“This discovery beautifully illustrates the presence of the Greek merchants who lived in that city,” the ministry said, adding that the Greeks were allowed to settle there during the late Pharaonic dynasties.
“They built their own sanctuaries close to the huge temple of Amun. Those were destroyed, simultaneously and their remains are found mixed with those of the Egyptian temple.”
The mummified ‘giant finger’ of Egypt: Did giants once really roam on Earth?
A 15-inch long human finger has been found in Egypt and pictures of it are being released for the very first time. BILD.de broke this story, and it is spreading like fire all over the Internet.
According to BILD.de, the pictures of this finger were taken by a researcher named Gregor Spörri in Egypt in 1988. The mummified finger would be considered to be human except for the fact that it is way, way too large to have come from a human hand.
As mentioned earlier, the giant finger is 15 inches long. It is projected that the person that this finger came from would have been more than 16 feet tall! You can see more pictures of this amazing find on BILD.de.
As you can tell from the picture above, the fingernail is clearly visible. This truly is a remarkable specimen. So is this really a finger of a giant that once lived in Egypt?
Unfortunately, this finger is not housed in a museum in Egypt. The researcher that took the pictures reportedly had to pay “an old man from a grave robber dynasty” 300 dollars to see it and take pictures of it.
So unfortunately this discovery cannot be independently verified at this time. Hopefully, all of this publicity will flush this finger back out into the public so that authorities can examine it.
This is potentially an incredibly important part of our history and it would be a shame if these photos are the only evidence we ever get to see of it.
But when it comes to giants, we already know that there is so much other evidence out there. Recently I wrote about the Nephilim mummy that was found in Peru and about the giant footprints and giant skeletons that have been found all over the world.
But a mummified human finger from a giant in Egypt would be absolutely mind-blowing. It would be a direct challenge to everything that is commonly accepted about the ancient history of Egypt.
Hopefully, all of this will spur more digs and more research. The era when the Great Pyramid was constructed in an era that is shrouded in great mystery.
Humanity is only now developing technology that would allow us to construct a similar structure today. Nobody really knows for sure who built the Great Pyramid or how it was constructed.
There is just so much about ancient Egypt that we simply do not know. Hopefully, the floodgates will open and much more evidence will emerge soon.
Excavation of King Khufu’s Second Solar Boat Completed in Egypt
Ahram Online reports that the excavation of the second Khufu solar boat discovered in a pit next to the Great Pyramid of Khufu in 1954 has been completed by a joint Japanese and Egyptian team of researchers.
Issa Zidan, the director-general of executive affairs for restoration at the Grand Egyptian Museum and the supervisor of the restoration work of the second Khufu Boat, explained that nearly 1,700 wooden pieces were extracted from 13 layers inside the pit, noting that the registration and documentation of all pieces have been done, as well as the initial restoration of most of these pieces was completed.
He also added that, so far, 1,343 pieces were transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum, where preparations are underway for starting the second phase that includes the final restoration work, as well as conducting the necessary studies for assembling and re-installing the boat that will be displayed next to the first one inside the new building dedicated for King Khufu’s boats, which is now being constructed at the Grand Egyptian Museum.
Omura Yoshifumi, the chief representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Egypt Office, said that the JICA will provide a $3 million grant for completion of the final restoration work and reassembly of the boat for its display in the museum, in addition to the $2 million grant that was provided in 2013, which supported the excavation and extracting process of the wooden pieces of the boat from the pit.
The project of restoring and extracting the wooden pieces of the second Khufu Boat is one of the largest restoration projects that represent the aspects of fruitful cooperation between Egypt and Japan, with the support of the JICA.
Cooperation between Egyptians and the Japanese in the Grand Egyptian Museum project started in 2006, when the JICA provided financial support through two soft loans of official development assistance for the construction of the museum at the request of the Egyptian government.
Since 2008, the JICA has been providing technical cooperation through the Egyptian Japanese joint conservation project for the restoration, documentation, packaging, and transfer of 72 artefacts — among which were some of King Tutankhamun’s collection — from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir and other sites to the Grand Egyptian Museum.
About 90 Japanese experts participated in this project, and a number of high-tech technical equipment were provided within the project, such as a digital microscope, a portable X-ray machine, and an electric forklift to carry heavy artefacts safely.
Ambassador Noke expressed his appreciation for the fruitful cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities led by Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and the sincere efforts of Major-General Atef Moftah — the general director of the Grand Egyptian Museum project — and the surrounding area to realise all this progress, stressing that the Grand Egyptian Museum is a symbol of Egyptian Japanese friendship.
From his side, Yoshifumi expressed appreciation for the Egyptian government’s strong leadership in making such great progress in the Grand Egyptian Museum’s construction and related works towards its opening, emphasising that he is proud that the JICA takes part in preserving the world’s treasures in Egypt to the future generations through this project.
Farmer Digs Up Stone Egyptian Stele Saluting Sixth Century BC Pharaoh
A farmer living near Ismailia in Egypt has uncovered a 2,600-year-old stela erected by pharaoh Apries, who ruled from about 589 B.C. to 570 B.C., the Egyptian antiquities ministry reported.
The farmer found this ancient slab of sandstone while preparing his land for cultivation, about 62 miles (100 kilometres) northeast of Cairo; he then contacted the Tourism and Antiquities Police about the discovery, the ministry statement said.
The stela is 91 inches (230 centimetres) long, 41 inches (103 cm) wide and 18 inches (45 cm) thick.
At the top of the stela is a carving of a winged sun disk (a disk that was sometimes associated with the sun god Ra) with a cartouche of Pharaoh Apries, with 15 lines of hieroglyphic writing below that, the statement said.
Apries, also known as Wahibre Haaibre, reigned during the 26th dynasty of Egypt (688 B.C. to –525 B.C.), a time when Egypt was independent and its capital was often located at Sais in northern Egypt.
Efforts are underway to translate the stela.
Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that the stela appears to be related to a military campaign that Apries undertook east of Egypt.
The ancient Greek historian Herodotus (lived ca. 484-425 B.C.) claimed that Apries fought a losing war against the Phoenicians that left many Egyptian soldiers dead and sparked a civil war in Egypt that ultimately led to Apries being killed and replaced as pharaoh by a man named Amasis. Whether this stela will shed new light on these events is unclear.
Ancient Egyptian Head Cones Were Real, Grave Excavations Suggest
Most of the garments depicted in ancient Egyptian art are relatively straightforward to decipher, but there’s a particular wearable article that has baffled archaeologists. In statuary, murals, funerary stelae, coffins and relief sculptures dating between 3,570 and 2,000 years ago, people repeatedly appeared wearing cones on their heads, a bit like party hats.
Now, for the first time, archaeologists have actually identified two such cones, crafted out of wax and adorning the heads of skeletons dating back some 3,300 years. The finds were excavated from the cemeteries of the city of Akhetaten, also known as Amarna.
This discovery may finally help to resolve several hypotheses over the meaning of these head cones, and what their function may have been back in the day.
“The excavation of two cones from the Amarna cemeteries confirms that three-dimensional, wax-based head cones were sometimes worn by the dead in ancient Egypt, and that access to these objects was not restricted to the upper elite,” the researchers wrote in their paper.
“The Amarna discovery supports the idea that head cones were also worn by the living, although it remains difficult to ascertain how often and why.”
Akhetaten itself is a curiosity. The city was set up by the Pharaoh Akhenaten, who famously went religiously rogue, setting up his own cult to the sun-god Aten. He established Akhetaten as his capital city in around 1346 BCE, but his attempt to steer Egypt to a new religion was not popular, and Akhetaten was abandoned not long after the Pharaoh’s death in 1332 BCE.
In art discovered in the city, as well as Egypt at large, the head cone makes a not-infrequent appearance. It’s often depicted on the heads of guests at a banquet, or tomb owners participating in funerary rituals or being rewarded by a king.
The cones are also found in depictions of people fishing and hunting in the afterlife and playing music. And the somewhat unusual headgear seems to have a particular association with childbirth, fertility and healing.
The two skeletons found wearing the cones at Akhetaten belonged to a woman around 29 years of age, and an individual whose sex has not been determined, aged between 15 and 20 years.
The woman, excavated in 2010, was in good condition, still intact as she had been laid to rest. She still retained her hair; tangled up in it was the cone, broken apart and burrowed through by insects, but recognisable.
Interestingly, a pattern imprinted on the inside of the cone seemed consistent with fabric weave, as though the interior of the wax structure had been lined.
The grave of the second individual, excavated in 2015, had been robbed, leaving the skeleton jumbled together at the foot of the grave. However, it too had retained hair; and in this hair, the researchers identified a second cone.
Although these discoveries don’t reveal the purpose of the cones, they do narrow things down a bit. For instance, both burials were simple and uninscribed, from a cemetery interpreted as belonging primarily to labourers.
This could mean that either the head cones were not just for high-status members of society but for everyone; or, as also inferred from a recently discovered burial, that the workers copied what they saw the nobility doing.
It also casts some light on hypotheses regarding the purpose of these cones. One idea suggests that the cones were symbolic – like the halos that appear around the heads of Western saints – and not actually a real object. Obviously, this discovery of two actual cones puts that one to bed.
Another hypothesis considered the cones to be solid lumps of scented unguent, or filled with scented fat, which would melt and leak down out of the cone, scenting the wearer’s hair and body in a ritual purification practice. Careful analysis of the cones, however, found no traces of either fat or perfume, nor was there any melted stuff in the wearers’ hair.
Rather, the cones seemed to have been a hollow shell, shaped around or reinforced by fabric. It is possible that they were “dummy” cones created just for burial purposes, and that hats worn by the living were constructed differently, but it also seems possible that the cones could have been a type of formal ritual hat.
“There is no reason to assume .. that hollow – or perhaps textile-lined/-stuffed – cones of wax were not also worn in life. Even if scented, they may not have been intended to melt en masse and moisturise, serving more to mark the wearer as someone who was in a purified, protected or otherwise ‘special’ state,” the researchers write.
“In the case of ancient Akhetaten, we can probably interpret head cones as part of a suite of personal accoutrements deemed appropriate for use in a range of celebrations and rituals for, and involving, the living, the dead, the Aten and other deities.”
Italian hospital uses CT scan to unveil secrets of an Egyptian mummy
Researchers believe they can reconstruct the life and death of the Egyptian priest and understand which kinds of products were used to mummify the body.
Ancient Egypt met modern medical technology when a mummy underwent a CT scan at an Italian hospital as part of a research project to discover its secrets.
The mummy of Ankhekhonsu, an ancient Egyptian priest, was transferred from Bergamo’s Civic Archaeological Museum to Milan’s Policlinico hospital, where experts will shed light on his life and the burial customs of almost 3,000 years ago.
“The mummies are practically a biological museum, they are like a time capsule,” said Sabina Malgora, the director of the Mummy Project Research.
Malgora said information on the mummy’s name comes from the sarcophagus dated between 900 and 800 BC, where Ankhekhonsu – which means ‘the god Khonsu is alive’ – is written five times.
Researchers believe they can reconstruct the life and death of the Egyptian priest and understand which kinds of products were used to mummify the body.
“Studying ancient diseases and wounds is important for modern medical research … we can study cancer or the arteriosclerosis of the past and this can be useful for modern research,” she said.
Remains of a 7,000-Year-Old Lost City Discovered in Egypt
Egypt has announced the discovery of the ruins of a long-lost city in the Upper Egypt province of Sohag, which are believed to be over 7,000 years old.
The 5,316 BC residential city, discovered alongside a nearby cemetery, is being hailed as a major archaeological find that predates ancient Egypt’s Early Dynastic Period, which lasted about 5 millennia.
During a dig 400 meters south of the mortuary temple of Seti I, a pharaoh who ruled thousands of years later from 1290 to 1279 BC, archaeologists from the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities discovered the remains of ancient huts and graves.
Seti I’s temple is located in Abydos – one of the oldest known cities of ancient Egypt and the historic capital of Upper Egypt – and the newly found dwellings and graves could be parts of the long-gone capital now resurfaced, or a separate village that was swallowed by it.
“This discovery can shed light on a lot of information on the history of Abydos,” antiquities minister Mahmoud Afifi said in a press statement.
The recently unearthed structures are thought to have been home to high-ranking officials and grave builders.
In addition to the foundations of ancient huts, the archaeologists found iron tools and pottery, plus 15 giant tombs – the capacious size of which means their intended inhabitants must have been well-established individuals.
“The size of the graves discovered in the cemetery is larger in some instances than royal graves in Abydos dating back to the first dynasty, which proves the importance of the people buried there and their high social standing during this early era of ancient Egyptian history,” the ministry said.
It’s possible that these officials oversaw the construction of royal tombs in nearby Abydos, but the size of their own resting places outside the capital suggests they didn’t want to slum it in eternity either.
“About a mile behind where this material is said to be we have the necropolis with royal tombs going from before history to the period where we start getting royal names, we start getting identifiable kings,” Egyptologist Chris Eyre from the University of Liverpool in the UK, who wasn’t involved with the excavation, told the BBC.
“So, this appears to be the town, the capital at the very beginning of Egyptian history.”
According to the researchers, the ancient tools and pottery are the leftover traces of a once giant labour force that was engaged in the considerable feat of constructing these royal tombs – and if you’ve seen the kinds of structures we’re talking about, you’ll understand they had a pretty epic responsibility:
The nearby cemetery is made up of 15 mastabas, an ancient Egyptian tomb that takes a rectangular shape, made with sloping walls and a flat roof.
According to lead researcher Yasser Mahmoud Hussein, these mastabas are now the oldest such tombs we know about, pre-dating the previous record holders in Saqqara, which served as the necropolis for another ancient Egyptian city, Memphis.
We’ll have to wait for these new findings to be verified by other scientists, but we’re excited to see what new insights further excavations will bring.
13-foot-long ‘Book of the Dead’ scroll found in burial shaft in Egypt
Archaeologists in Egypt have unearthed a cache of treasures—including more than 50 wooden sarcophagi, a funerary temple dedicated to an Old Kingdom queen and a 13-foot-long Book of the Dead scroll—at the Saqqara necropolis, a vast burial ground south of Cairo, according to a statement from the country’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiques.
As first reported by Al-Ahram, Egyptologist Zahi Hawass and his colleagues discovered the coffins, which appear to date back to the New Kingdom era (1570–1069 B.C.), in 52 burial shafts measuring 33 to 40 feet deep. Paintings of ancient gods and excerpts from the Book of the Dead, which was thought to help the deceased navigate the afterlife, adorn the sarcophagi.
Hawass tells CBS News’ Ahmed Shawkat that researchers first started excavating the site, which stands next to the pyramid of King Teti, first of the Sixth Dynasty rulers of the Old Kingdom (2680–2180 B.C.), in 2010.
“[B]ut we didn’t find a name inside the pyramid to tell us who the pyramid belonged to,” he adds.
Now, reports Agence France-Presse, experts have finally identified the complex—which boasts a stone temple and three mud-brick warehouses that housed offerings and tools—as the tomb of Teti’s wife, Queen Naert.
Around a month ago, the team found Naert’s name etched onto a wall in the temple and written on a felled obelisk near the entrance of the burial, per CBS News.
“I’d never heard of this queen before,” Hawass says to CBS News. “Therefore, we add an important piece to Egyptian history, about this queen.”
According to the statement, this is the first time archaeologists have unearthed 3,000-year-old coffins at Saqqara—one of Egypt’s “richest archaeological sites,” as Jo Marchant wrote for Smithsonian magazine last year. In recent months, excavations at the necropolis have yielded an array of exciting, albeit newer, finds, from sealed sarcophagi to ancient statues.
“Actually, this morning we found another shaft,” Hawass told CBS News on Monday. “Inside the shaft, we found a large limestone sarcophagus. This is the first time we’ve discovered a limestone sarcophagus inside the shafts. We found another one that we’re going to open a week from now.”
The coffins found in the burial shafts probably hold the remains of followers of a Teti-worshipping cult formed after the pharaoh’s death writes Owen Jarus for Live Science.
Experts think that the cult operated for more than 1,000 years; members would have considered it an honour to be entombed near the king.
Other highlights of the discovery include a set of wooden masks; a shrine to the god Anubis; bird-shaped artefacts; games including Senet, which was believed to offer players a glimpse into the afterlife; a bronze axe; paintings; hieroglyphic writings; and fragments of a 13-foot-long, 3-foot-wide papyrus containing Chapter 17 of the Book of the Dead.
The name of the scroll’s owner, Pwkhaef, is inscribed on the papyrus, as well as on one sarcophagus and four sculptures, according to Live Science.
These finds, notes the statement, as translated by CNN’s Amy Woodyatt, “will rewrite the history of this region, especially during the 18th and 19th dynasties of the New Kingdom, during which King Teti was worshipped, and the citizens at that time were buried around his pyramid.”