Skip to main content

In Egypt, archaeologists reopen tombs to woo tourists

  Paintings and statues of Queen Meresankh III and members of her family inside her tomb at Giza in Egypt on July 24, 2012. Egyptian authorities are opening new tombs in an attempt to woo tourists back to their country, after a slump in the industry since last yeat's revolution.

More than 4,500 years since the paint was first applied, the reds, yellows and blues still stand out on the walls of the tomb of Queen Meresankh III.
A hunter throws a net to catch water birds, craftsmen make papyrus mats while a stream of people carry baskets filled with offerings for the afterlife.
The weapon was used by the U.S. Air Force decades ago.
Decorating the walls all around are paintings, reliefs and statues of Meresankh, draped in a leopard-skin cloak, standing beside her mother in a boat, pulling papyrus stems through the water or being entertained by musicians and singers.
Egypt’s tourism industry has been battered since last year’s revolution, but here, beside the pyramids of Giza, officials are trying to attract the visitors back.
The tomb of Meresankh, whose name means lover of life, will be opened to the public for the first time in nearly 25 years later this year, while five other tombs of high priests — buried under the desert sands for decades — will be thrown open.
“We want to give people a reason to come back, to give them something new,” said Ali Asfar, director general of archaeology on the Giza plateau.
Meresankh was a woman whose life was intimately bound up in the pharaoh’s incestuous rule. Her tomb lies a stone’s throw east of the Great Pyramid of her grandfather Khufu, better known as Cheops.
Her parents were brother and sister, and she married another of Khufu’s children — her uncle, Khafre, better known as Chephren, who built the second-largest pyramid here.
But Meresankh died suddenly, before her mother, who gave her own burial chamber for her daughter’s use.
American archaeologist George Reisner wrote of his delight at the discovery in 1927 as his team poked their heads through a gap at the top of the sand-filled doorway.
“Our eyes were first startled by the vivid colors of the reliefs and inscriptions around the northern part of this large chamber. None of us had ever seen anything like it,” he wrote in the magazine of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where a statuette of Meresankh and her mother is housed.
Smaller but still interesting
On the other side of the Great Pyramid, the western cemetery houses the tombs of high priests, such as Kaemankh, the royal treasurer and keeper of the king’s secrets.
It took site inspector Ashraf Mohie El Din and a team of more than 50 people around five months to clear about three feet of sand that had blanketed the area and clean the tombs.
Mohie El Din said that climbing the ladder into Kaemankh’s burial chamber was “one of my favorite adventures.”
It is not hard to see why. On the walls, more vivid and colorful paintings show fishing on the Nile, a cow being slaughtered and another giving birth. In the cramped space around the sarcophagus, Mohie El Din shines his torch on an “ancient party” with dancers and musicians playing harp and flute. Just above, carpenters make a bed and a chair.
To the south of Cairo, authorities are also planning to reopen the famous Serapeum at Sakkara, a massive underground temple where sacred bulls were thought to have been buried in the huge granite and basalt sarcophagi — each weighing 60 to 100 tons — that sit in chambers flanking the long galleries.


Popular posts from this blog

How ancient Egyptians Were cutting the Obelisk from the Granite quarry?

Today, quarrymen cut and carve granite using saws with diamond-edged blades and steel chisels.

But ancient Egyptian quarrymen and stonemasons didn't have these modern tools. How, then, did they quarry and cut such clean lines in their obelisks and other monumental statuary?
To find out how ancient Egyptians quarried huge pieces of granite for their obelisks, i traveled to an ancient quarry in Aswan, located 500 miles south of Cairo. This is where the ancient Egyptians found many of the huge granite stones they used for their monuments and statues.

One of the most famous stones left behind is the Unfinished Obelisk, more than twice the size of any known obelisk ever raised. Quarrymen apparently abandoned the obelisk when fractures appeared in its sides. However, the stone, still attached to bedrock, gives important clues to how the ancients quarried granite.

Archeologist Mark Lehner, a key member of nova expedition, crouches in a granite trench that abuts one side of…

Hesi-re, the first Dentist, in ancient Egypt and in the world

Hesire was a high official who lived during the reign of Netjerikhet (Dosjer) 2686 BC to 2613 BC . His tutelary informs us of the many offices he had held during his life. Thus he was the 'overseer of the royal scribes', at the head of the royal administration of Djoser. His most spectacular title, however, was that of the 'greatest (or chief ?)of physicians and dentists'. It is not entirely clear whether this title infers that Hesire himself was honored as the greatest of physicians and dentists, or rather that he was merely responsible for the administration of physicians and dentists. But whatever the case, the distinction between 'physicians' and 'dentists' in his tutelary does show a high degree of medical specialization at this early stage of the history of Ancient Egypt..

Das Tal der Koenige

Die geographische Lage
Das Gebiet bei Theben lieferte ein vorzügliches Gebiet für das Anlegen einer königlichen Nekropole. Vom Westufer des Nils erstreckt sich eine flache Ebene zu einer Bergkette mit zahlreichen abgeschiedenen Tälern, die sich zwischen hohen Klippen und weichem Gestein durchschlängeln. Die Ebene eignete sich ideal für das Errichten der königlichen Totentempel. Die Täler hingegen boten genügend Platz, um viele kunstvoll in den Fels gehauene Gräber anzulegen. Auch aus symbolischen Gründen wählten die Alten Ägypter diesen Platz für das Errichten einer Nekropole. Blickt man von der Stadt Theben über den Nil auf das thebanische Bergmassiv, dann ähnelt es in der Gestalt einer riesigen Version der Hieroglyphe für "Horizont". Es ist das ägyptische Symbol für das Gebiet der auf- und untergehenden Sonne. Im Neuen…