Category Archives: EGYPT

What is this bizarre structure found in the Egyptian desert?

What is this Bizarre structure found in the Egyptian desert?

To some viewers, it looks like a landing strip for extraterrestrial spacecraft — or perhaps the portal to a parallel universe, if not an ancient monument to a benevolent deity who had a keen eye for design and symmetry.

But what people are actually seeing in the desolate reaches of the Egyptian desert, just a short distance from the shores of the Red Sea is in fact an environmental art installation. And it’s been baffling tourists and armchair travelers since it was constructed in March 1997.

Danae Stratou, Alexandra Stratou, and Stella Constantinides worked as a team to design and build the enormous 1 million square foot (100,000 square meters) piece of artwork — called Desert Breath — to celebrate “the desert as a state of mind, a landscape of the mind,” as stated on the artists’ website.

What is this Bizarre structure found in the Egyptian desert?
Desert Breath, as seen on Google Maps.

Constructed as two interlocking spirals — one with vertical cones, the other with conical depressions in the desert floor — Desert Breath was originally designed with a small lake at its center, but recent images on Google Maps show that the lake has emptied.

The entire structure, in fact, is slowly disintegrating as the sand that forms the art piece slowly blows off its cone-shaped hills and fills in its depressions, making it “an instrument to measure the passage of time.”

The art piece joins other mysterious images and environmental artworks that fascinate viewers on Google Earth, Google Maps, and other online platforms.

For example, the wind-blown steppes of Kazakhstan are home to a large pentagram etched into the Earth’s surface on the shores of a desolate lake.

The five-pointed figure bedeviled viewers’ imaginations until it was revealed to be the outline of the roads in a Soviet-era park.

The star was a popular symbol in the U.S.S.R., and Kazakhstan was part of the former Soviet Union until that union dissolved in 1991.

And etched onto the desert floor of New Mexico are two large diamonds surrounded by a pair of overlapping circles.

This is reportedly the site of a hidden bunker belonging to the Church of Scientology, according to the author of a book on the religious group.

The creators of Desert Breath have no political or cult-like aspirations, however: “Located … at the point where the immensity of the sea meets the immensity of the desert, the work functions on two different levels in terms of viewpoint: from above as a visual image, and from the ground, walking the spiral pathway, a physical experience.”

Egyptian mummy believed to be of a male priest turns out to be a pregnant woman

Egyptian mummy believed to be of a male priest turns out to be a pregnant woman

According to the AFP, X-rays of a 2,000-year-old Egyptian mummy kept at Poland’s National Museum since 1917 showed the remains of a woman with long, curly hair who died between 26 and 30 weeks pregnant.

Marzena Ozarek-Szilke, an anthropologist at the Warsaw Mummy Project, was examining a CT scan of a mummy at the National Museum in the Polish capital when she spotted something peculiar.

“When I looked at the lesser pelvis of our mummy I was interested in what was inside… I thought I saw a tiny foot,” Ozarek-Szilke said.

Egyptian mummy believed to be of a male priest turns out to be a pregnant woman
X-ray images showed a little foot in the belly of the world’s first pregnant Egyptian mummy

She asked her husband, an archaeologist who also worked on the project, to take a look.

“My husband looked at the picture and as a father of three, he said: ‘Well, that’s a foot’. At that moment … the whole picture started to come together,” Ozarek-Szilke told Reuters.

The mummy came to Poland in the 19th century when the nascent University of Warsaw was creating an antiquities collection. For decades, it was thought the mummy belonged to an ancient Egyptian priest named Hor-Dehuti.

However, in discovery revealed in the Journal of Archaeological Science on Thursday, scientists at the Warsaw Mummy Project said the mummy was in fact a woman in her twenties who was between 26 and 28 weeks pregnant.

The cause of death is not clear, but Ozarek-Szilke said the pregnancy may have had something to do with it.

“It is possible that the pregnancy itself contributed to the death of this woman. Now we have modern medicine, women who are between 20 and 30 weeks pregnant and something happens to the pregnancy, they have a chance to be rescued. It used to be impossible,” she said.

The discovery sheds some light on the little-known role of children in ancient Egypt and the religious beliefs of the time, but also raises many questions, according to Wojciech Ejsmond, co-director of the Warsaw Mummy Project.

“What was the status of this child in the Egyptian religion? Did it have a soul, could it go to the afterlife on its own, could it be reborn in the afterlife… if it was not yet born?”

Ejsmond said scientists would study the mummy further to determine the cause of death and establish why the foetus was left in the body.

More Than 100 Burials Uncovered in Egypt’s Nile Delta

More Than 100 Burials Uncovered in Egypt’s Nile Delta

According to an Ahram Online report, 110 burials containing the remains of adults and children have been found at the Koum el-Khulgan archaeological site in the Nile Delta region of northern Egypt. 

Some of the graves discovered at the Koum el-Khulgan archaeological site in Dakahlia province were found still carrying the human remains inside.

The tombs were located approximately 150 kilometres northeast of Cairo, the ministry said, adding that at least 68 of these oval-shaped tombs belonged from the Predynastic Period that spanned between 6000-3150BC. 

Ancient burial tomb unearthed recently with human remains

As many as 37 rectangular-shaped tombs from an ancient era known as the Second Intermediate Period (1782-1570BC) were also unearthed. This dated back to the period when the Semitic of Hyksos ruled ancient Egypt, the ministry informed.

The remaining graves were found to belong to the Naqada III period that thrived between 3200BC to 3000BC.

Inside these ancient mystical tombs, archaeologists found human remains of adults and children as well as the funerary equipment and pottery objects, the Tourism and Antiquities Ministry said.

Artefacts found at the site include pottery, scarab amulets and jewelry.

Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Dr Mustafa Waziri said in a Facebook post that this discovery is an important historical and archaeological addition to the site, where among the tombs found are 68, dating back to the period of the civilization of Lower Egypt.

And as many as five tombs from the era of Naqada III and 37 tombs from the era of Hyksos were dugout. “The excavations will continue to reveal more secrets from this region,” he said.

An ancient burial tomb unearthed recently with human remains and and pottery

Uncovered remains of a baby

Meanwhile, the head of the Egyptian antiquities sector at the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Dr. Ayman Ashmawi, said that tombs are oval-shaped pits cut in the island’s sandy layer and contain people buried in a squatting position, most of whom lay on their left side with their head pointing westward.

Archaeologists uncovered the remains of a baby buried inside a pottery vase from the Bhutto 2 period, a small pot of spherical pottery was placed with it.

A pottery coffin was found inside a burial ground for a child, two brick tombs in the form of a rectangular building with the children’s burials and some funeral furniture, including a small pottery vase and silver rings, as well as the remains of a baby buried inside a large pottery pot were also excavated.

The funerary furniture was placed inside the pot, which was represented in a small black pottery vase. 

More Than 100 Burials Uncovered in Egypt’s Nile Delta
The graves were found at the Koum el-Khulgan archaeological site in Dakahlia province.

Mysterious Giant Objects Discovered Near The Egyptian Pyramids On The Giza Plateau

Mysterious Giant Objects Discovered Near The Egyptian Pyramids On The Giza Plateau

It would seem that near the famous pyramids in Egypt, everything has long been known. But, thanks to new technologies and clear high-quality images from space, new details began to be discovered.

Mysterious Giant Objects Discovered Near The Egyptian Pyramids On The Giza Plateau

At first glance, it seems to be nothing ordinary – pyramids, like pyramids…

But this is only at first glance. If you enlarge the details of this image, then you can find the barely guessed outlines of giant, clearly artificial rectangular formations that are located opposite the famous pyramids.

For example, at the pyramid of Mikerinos:

At the pyramid of Khafre:

What are these incomprehensible huge geometric objects protruding through the sand dunes?

It may well be that in the thickness of the limestone plateau, ancient artificial underground structures of the disappeared Egyptian civilization of the pharaohs are hidden from prying eyes.

We are sure that the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt is well aware of these objects. 

Therefore, permits for archaeological work are issued only in strictly designated places and not at all free of charge, and the more promising such a site is in terms of finds, the larger the contributions (and the contributions, judging by a number of publications, are not at all weak). 

In addition, excavations at a number of sites are generally prohibited.

So the Egyptian land will keep its secrets and mysteries for a long time from ordinary inhabitants – you and us.

Egypt breakthrough: How 2,000-year-old mystery was solved after ‘lost labyrinth’ discovery

Egypt breakthrough: How 2,000-year-old mystery was solved after ‘lost labyrinth’ discovery

The discovery was made in Dahshur, an archaeological site 90km south of Cairo, where the tattered remains of Pharaoh Amenemhat III’s Black Pyramid can be seen today. The huge mortuary temple that originally stood adjacent to this pyramid is believed to have formed the basis of the complex of buildings with galleries and courtyards called a “labyrinth” by famed ancient Greek historian Herodotus.

With no visible remains, the story was thought to simply be a legend passed down by generations until Egyptologist Flinders Petrie uncovered its “foundations” in the 1800s, leading experts to theories the labyrinth was demolished under the reign of Ptolemy II and used to build the nearby city of Shedyt to honour his wife Arsinoe. But, in 2008, archaeologists working on the Mataha Expedition made a stunning find below the sands, researcher Ben Van Kerkwyk revealed on his YouTube channel ‘UnchartedX’ earlier this year.

He said in January: “It is a rare thing for ancient historical mysteries to ever be fully resolved.

“Great enigmas like the pyramids of Egypt seem to somehow resist the passage of time, unchanging as it flows around them like boulders in the river of history.

“Occasionally our civilisation makes some small incremental progress, a new tomb is found or some object discovered destined to become yet another piece in a museum.

The Black Pyramid is located in Dashu

“12 years ago, in 2008, a momentous discovery was made beneath the sands of Egypt, this wasn’t some small incremental step, but represented rather a huge leap forward – an opportunity for historical exploration and learning – the likes of which we have not witnessed in a century.

“The great lost labyrinth of ancient Egypt had been found.”

Mr Van Kerkwyk went on to detail what the area may have looked like some 2,000 years ago.

He added: “This was a gigantic and mythical structure, said by some to have surpassed the achievements of the pyramids, a huge array of thousands of underground halls, temples and chambers, dwarfing all known Egyptian temple sites several times over.

“This structure was visited and witnessed first-hand by the great historians of millennia past, yet ultimately, was lost to the sands of the desert and its physical presence remained unknown for more than 2,000 years.

A huge labyrinth is believed to be below the sand

“Unknown until 12 years ago, the discovery was suppressed and today the incredible potential of this site is being slowly and irrevocably destroyed by both inaction by authorities and by the water table in the area that’s rising.

“Compared with Giza or any of the other well-known ancient Egyptian sites, there really isn’t a lot to immediately take in.”

Mr Van Kerkwyk detailed how Mr Petrie first stumbled across the find.

He added: “Some fragments of once-mighty granite columns carved in palm or lotus shapes along with other small fragments of ancient stonework are left lying in a small, open-air museum.

“The site is dominated by the remains of the pyramid of Amenemhat III with only the mud-brick internal structure remaining to see.

Possible location of the tunnels

“The remains of the labyrinth have been discovered in the sandy areas to the south of the pyramid.

“The first to find any real evidence of this was the great Flinders Petrie, who, in the late 1800s, discovered the remains of a huge stone foundation, more than 300 metres broad around four metres beneath the sand.

“He concluded that this was the remnants of the foundations for the labyrinth, with the structure itself being long since quarried and destroyed.”

Archaeologists found evidence of a huge structure hiding below the sand in 2008, but Mr Van Kerkwyk said the area has never been excavated.

The monuments cannot be seen today
There are few ancient remains visible

He continued: “However, new evidence collected in modern times is challenging his conclusion and it now seems likely that what Petrie found was not the foundation, but instead was part of the ceiling or roof.

“These same areas were scanned in 2008, using ground-penetrating radar, by the Mataha Expedition, a collaboration between Egyptian authorities, the Ghent University of Belgium and funded by contemporary artist Louis De Cordier.

“The results of this expedition clearly indicate the presence of grid-like and ordered structures deep beneath the sand in levels much deeper than Petrie ever excavated.

“Although this expedition was conducted with the full cooperation and permission of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, the official results and conclusion of this legitimate scientific study have never been released.”

Over 300 mummified crocodiles were found at the temple of Kom Ombo in Egypt

Over 300 mummified crocodiles were found at the temple of Kom Ombo in Egypt

Kom Ombo is one of the more unusual temples in Egypt. Due to the conflict between Sobek and Horus, the ancient Egyptians felt it necessary to separate their temple spaces within one temple. The Kom Ombo temple has two entrances, two courts, two colonnades, two Hypostyle halls and two sanctuaries, one side for each god.

Location

Built to overlook the Nile, the temple is located in the city of Kom Ombo, about 30 miles north of Aswan. Its dual design is dedicated to Sobek and Horus and is perfectly symmetrical along its main axis.

Kom Ombo History

The Kom Ombo Temple was built between 332 BC and 395 AD, during the Ptolemaic period, by Ptolemy VI Philometer.

Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos continued the work and built the exterior and interior Hypostyle halls. The temple was built with local limestone by men who rode on elephants, considered to be a Ptolemaic innovation.

Little remains of the original structure. Unfortunately, a good portion of the temple has been destroyed over the millennia by earthquakes, erosion by the Nile River and builders who stole stone for unrelated projects. In 1893, a French archaeologist by the name of Jacques de Morgan cleared the Southern portion (the half dedicated to Sobek) of debris and restored it.

The Kom Ombo Temple

During the Roman period, additions to the temple were made in the form of decorations in the main court. At this time, an outer corridor was also added.

Augustus built an outer enclosure wall and a portion of the court, but those structures have since been lost. The Coptic Church took over the temple and converted it into its own place of worship. It was at this time that many of the ancient reliefs were defaced and removed.

Relief at Kom Ombo

Kom Ombo Temple Dedications

Kom Ombo was dedicated mainly to Sobek and Horus; however, some of their family members were part of the temple’s dedication as well.

The Southern portion of the temple was not just dedicated to Sobek, the god of fertility, but also to Hathor, the goddess of love and joy, and Khonsu, the god of the moon.

In this portion of the temple, there are many crocodile representations to pay homage to Sobek. This part of the temple is also called “House of the Crocodile.”

Depiction of Horus and Sobek

The Northern portion of the temple was dedicated mainly to Horus, god of the sun, and also Tasenetnofret, meaning “the good sister,” and a manifestation of Hathor, and Panebtaway, meaning “the Lord of two lands” which represented Egyptian kingship. In this part of the temple, there are many representations of falcons to pay homage to the falcon-headed god, Horus. This part of the temple is also called “Castle of the Falcon.”

Relief of Horus

Kom Ombo Temple Layout

Just after crossing the gate inside the temple, there is a small room dedicated to Hathor. Today, it is used to display the many mummified crocodiles that were found in the temple’s vicinity.

A well in front of the main entrance was once used as a Nilometer. The first pylon, which has since been destroyed, now consists only of foundation stones and a portion of a wall.

Over 300 mummified crocodiles were found at the temple of Kom Ombo in Egypt
– Mummified Crocodiles at Kom Ombo

Entering into the main court, there are 16 painted columns, eight on each side of the court. A granite altar sits in the centre of the main court, likely where the sacred boat was placed.

On the rear wall of the main court are five lotus-shaped columns along with a screen wall. Two entrances, one for each deity, open up here. Through both entrances lies the first Hypostyle hall.

There are ten lotus-shaped columns here with the middle two separating the two halves of the hall.

Columns at Kom Ombo

Separate entrances guide visitors into the second Hypostyle hall known as “The Hall of Offering”. Beyond this Hall of Offering are three antechambers, now all nearly destroyed.

Curiously, the twin sanctuaries which are found beyond the antechambers are separated by a hidden chamber.

A dual passageway runs the perimeter of the entire temple and there are seven additional rooms along the interior passage. A staircase leads to the roof.

2,000-Year-Old Ancient Egyptian Child Mummy Revealed in Incredible Detail Through 3D Scanning Technology

2,000-Year-Old Ancient Egyptian Child Mummy Revealed in Incredible Detail Through 3D Scanning Technology

The remains of a little child, about 5 years old, was mummified and buried in Egypt about 2,000 years ago. She was dressed in fine linen with circular earrings, a belt, and an amulet, and all of her internal organs were removed.

2,000-Year-Old Ancient Egyptian Child Mummy Revealed in Incredible Detail Through 3D Scanning Technology
The CT scans were merged with 3D scans of the child mummy’s surface to create a single 3D model.

Now, a new technique that merges colorful 3D scans of the mummy’s surface with CT scans that look beneath the mummy’s wrappings will allow people to examine the mummy in amazing detail.

Though the new technique is being used to help tell this mummy’s story, researchers believe it will have many applications in archaeology, biology, geology, paleontology, and manufacturing.

Peering inside a mummy

Scientists peered beneath the mummy’s wrappings using CT scans in 2005. And more recently, they complemented that imaging with an Artec Eva handheld 3D scanner, which could take images of parts of the mummy that could be scanned without touching the mummy.

While a CT scanner is better at penetrating beneath the surface of the mummy wrappings, the handheld 3D scanner is able to scan in color, capturing details that a CT scanner cannot detect. Both scans were then combined into a single 3D model using software developed by Volume Graphics.

An Artec Eva handheld 3D scanner was used to scan the mummy’s surface.

The model will allow visitors to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, California, where the mummy is now located, to see the mummy in exceptional detail simply by using an iPad.

“Guests will be able to move an iPad over the mummy case, in order to see the associated scans,” Julie Scott, executive director of the museum, said in a statement.

“Our hope is that this new technology will help inspire guests to deeply relate to this little girl who lived so many years ago,” said Scott, noting that the girl’s real name is unknown, though scientists today call her “Sherit,” which is an ancient Egyptian name for “little one.”

Sherit, who may have died of dysentery and lived at a time when the Roman Empire ruled Egypt, is one of the first people/artifacts to be analyzed with the new technique.

Beyond mummies

The new technique will have many applications, the researchers said. It “allows for a more life-like, accurate representation of all kinds of objects and thus improves our understanding of these scanned objects,” Christof Reinhart, CEO of Volume Graphics, told Live Science.

“We can only imagine how this function will be used. Obvious applications in science would be archaeology, biology, geology, or paleontology.

“Industrial applications could arise in quality assurance — [for example], when optical features on the surface of an object are to be associated with features inside the object,” Reinhart added.

Egyptian Pompeii: 3,000-year-old ‘lost golden city’ discovered in Egypt

Egyptian Pompeii: 3,000-year-old ‘lost golden city’ discovered in Egypt

A team has discovered the country’s largest known ancient site, So’oud Atun, or the “Rise of Aten,” in what experts are lauding as one of the most important Egyptian archaeological finds of the past century.

Egyptian Pompeii: 3,000-year-old 'lost golden city' discovered in Egypt
A team uncovered the lost city while searching for a mortuary temple last September.

Zahi Hawass, a famous—and controversial—Egyptian scholar, announced the discovery of the “lost golden city” near Luxor, site of the ancient city of Thebes, on Thursday. As BBC News reports, the city was established during the reign of Amenhotep III, between roughly 1391 and 1353 B.C.

Many of the Rise of Aten’s walls are well preserved. So far, the research team has identified a bakery, an administrative district, and a residential area, as well as scarab beetle amulets, pottery, and other everyday items.

Betsy M. Bryan, an Egyptian art specialist at Johns Hopkins University who visited the site but was not involved in the excavation, says in a statement that the find is “the second most important archeological discovery since the tomb of Tutankhamun.” (Through his father, Akhenaten, Tut is actually the grandson of Amenhotep.)

Archaeologists discovered the city in September while searching for a mortuary temple. It’s located close to a number of important ancient Egyptian monuments, including the Colossi of Memnon, the Madinat Habu Temple, and the Ramesseum.

Amenhotep, the ninth king of the 18th Dynasty, ruled during the second half of the New Kingdom period. He sponsored the construction of a number of huge temples and public buildings. Toward the end of his reign, he shared power with his eldest son, the soon-to-be Amenhotep IV.

Per National Geographic’s Erin Blakemore, the younger Amenhotep dramatically changed the country’s direction following his father’s death.

He abandoned all the Egyptian gods except the sun god Aten; changed his name from Amenhotep IV to Akhenaten, meaning “devoted to Aten”; and oversaw the rise of a new artistic movement. He and his wife, Nefertiti, also moved Egypt’s royal seat from Thebes to a new city called Akhetaten (now known as Amarna).

The city’s walls are well preserved, allowing archaeologists to see where its different districts were located.

The city’s walls are well preserved, allowing archaeologists to see where its different districts were located. (Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities)

As Mia Alberti and Jack Guy report for CNN, the team found an inscription in So’oud Atun dated to 1337 B.C., just one year before Akhenaten established his capital at Amarna.

In the statement, Bryan notes that the newly discovered city offers a “rare glimpse into the life of the ancient Egyptians” at the height of the empire, in addition to shedding light on the mystery of why the pharaoh and his queen moved to Amarna.

After Akhenaten’s death, his son Tutankhamun’s government reversed his transformation of the country. Tutankhamen and his successor, Ay, continued to use the Rise of Aten, notes BBC News.

Egypt Today’s Mustafa Marie reports that the archaeologists examined hieroglyphic inscriptions on the lids of wine vessels and other containers for clues to the city’s history.

One vase containing dried or boiled meat was inscribed with the names of two people from the city and information showing that Amenhotep and Akhenaten ruled the city jointly at the time it was made.

The team also found a production area for mud bricks used to build temples and other structures. The bricks bear Amenhotep’s seal. Casting molds show that workers in the city produced amulets and decorations for temples and tombs; evidence of spinning and weaving exists at the site, too.

A zig-zag wall with just one entry point encloses an administrative and residential area, suggesting that authorities maintained security by limiting movement in and out.

One room within the city contains the burial of two cows or bulls—an unusual find that researchers are still investigating. In another odd discovery, the team found a human burial with the remains of a rope wrapped around the knees.

The team has not yet been able to fully explore a group of rock-cut tombs accessible through stairs carved into the rock.

“There’s no doubt about it; it really is a phenomenal find,” Salima Ikram, an archaeologist at the American University in Cairo, tells National Geographic. “It’s very much a snapshot in time—an Egyptian version of Pompeii.”