Egypt’s Step Pyramid At Risk of ‘Catastrophic Collapse’

Activists in Egypt expressed anger after Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities assigned a company, which oversaw the collapse of a major part of the 4,600-year-old Saqqara Pyramid, to resume its restoration reported.

In statements to Al-Masry Al-Youm, Amir Gamal, representative of the ‘Non-Stop Robberies’ movement said the Minister of Antiquities gave orders to resume the restoration of the Saqqara Pyramid by the same company that had been responsible for major deterioration, incl33 Step pyramiduding the collapse of a section of the pyramid, during earlier restoration attempts.

Shurbagy, the company assigned, has been in business for nine years and has not seen much success in any of the six projects it undertook, Gamal told Al-Masry Al-Youm, adding that the company is currently under investigation.

“The company has never restored any archaeological site. All projects it had were to create modern construction at archaeological sites,” Gamal explained.

“Technically, the company and officials of the Supreme Council of Antiquities committed a full-fledged crime. New walls were built outside the pyramid as if the pyramid were a modern construction, which is opposite to international standards of restoration, which prevents adding more than 5 percent of construction to antiquities if necessary.

 

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Adding the modern construction is alarge pressure on the decaying pyramid, which threatens catastrophe.”

The Saqqara Pyramid, also known as the step pyramid, dates back to 4,600 years ago during the time of the Pharaoh Joser.

In 2011, restoration attempts commenced after fears that the Saqqara Pyramid faced ‘imminent’ collapse as a result of a 1992 earth quake. A British team deployed giant ‘air-bags’ to support the ceiling of the Pyramid as the government initiated plans for permanent repairs. However, the 2011 revolution and an economic crisis saw the restoration halted in 2012.

 

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Ancient Egypt In London: 10 Places

Ah London. Land of sphinxes, pyramids and obelisks. Home of hieroglyphics. Final resting place of great pharaohs. Nope, we haven’t gone off our rocker. Since the late 18th century London has been gaga for all things ancient Egyptian. In fact, we reckon it’s the best place to see Egypt outside of Egypt. Here’s why.

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1. Richmond Avenue

Nelson trounced Napoleon’s navy in the 1798 Battle of the Nile. This roused the first wave of Egyptmania in London, which would never truly fizzle out. Go to Richmond Avenue in Islington and you’ll find many of the villas here guarded by miniature sphinxes and obelisks. Joseph Kay — surveyor for Islington’s Thornhill Estate — had these cute Egyptian touches installed in 1841, that’s 43 years after Nelson’s victory. A certain Anthony Blair looked out on this Egyptian scene from his former home at Richmond Crescent, which is possibly what imbued him with a pharaoh-like sense of power.

2. Crystal Palace

Joseph Paxton’s glass-terpiece the Crystal Palace went and burned down in 1936. Not much survived the blaze but six sphinxes did, and they’re still standing their ground in Crystal Palace Park today. The sphinxes added extra bling to the Crystal Palace in 1854 when it relocated from Hyde Park to Sydenham. They’re full-sized copies of properly ancient sphinxes housed in the Louvre, Paris.

3. British Museum

The British Museum provides a double header of delights for aspiring Egyptologists. Firstly there’s the museum itself, laden with poems on papyrus, hefty blocks pilfered from pyramids and the wooden coffin of a priest called Nesperennub. It’s the biggest collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities outside Cairo.

The museum’s link with Egypt doesn’t stop there. The disused platform of the former British Museum Tube station is said to be haunted by a mummy sporting a headdress and a loin cloth. Allegedly, while the station was still open, a national newspaper offered a cash reward to anyone brave enough to spend a night alone there. No one was. The British Museum has popped up in many a curse-driven B-movie, including the 1935 comedy Bulldog Jack. The museum’s Egyptian heritage is now referenced inside nearby Holborn station (pic below).

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4. Carreras Cigarette Factory

The  redoubtable faux Egyptian facade of the Carreras Cigarette Factory could easily be a Bond villain’s lair. It is flanked by two jumbo black cats, which you half expect to whack you with a massive paw as you sidle past. Built in 1926, the factory is a prime example of 20th century Egyptian revival, prompted by people like Howard Carter, who was busy digging up pharaohs at the time. At the factory’s opening ceremony, heaps of sand were piled in front of the building, while actors from a production of Aida launched into song. Today, the former fag factory calls itself Greater London House and is somewhat ironically occupied by the British Heart Foundation. By the way, you can pay your tributes to Howard Carter at Putney Vale Cemetery (where there are also some Egyptian revival mausoleums).

5. Harrods

While most Art Deco architects pulled off Egyptian chic with aplomb, it’s debatable whether the same can be said for the Egyptian Hall and Escalator at Harrods. London’s notorious Egyptian Mohammed Al Fayed commissioned both these Vegasesque features complete with busts of pharaohs, some of which bear a striking resemblance to him. But who are we to scoff? Both the Egyptian Hall and the Escalator are now listed by English Heritage.

6. Petrie Museum

The Petrie Museum — named after Egyptologist extraordinaire Flinders Petrie — stockpiles 80,000 ancient artifacts. Here, and for free, you can ogle huge chunks of hieroglyphic-covered stone down to intimate personal items like combs, toys and musical instruments. The Petrie’s calendar is chocka with everything from pottery making to sand dancing classes.

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7. Cleopatra’s Needle

New York’s got one, Paris has got one, and London’s got the third. Cleopatra’s Needle is another Battle of the Nile token, gifted to England in 1819 by Muhammed Ali (nope, not that one). Unfortunately, Ali’s gift didn’t include postage, and the 21 metre high red granite stone remained in Egypt until 1878. It was eventually erected on the Victoria Embankment following a disastrous voyage in which six men drowned. When you’re next at Cleopatra’s Needle, check out the accompanying cast iron camel benches. During the London 2012 Games, an Egyptian Wenlock mascot stood close by. It was even more baffling than the normal Wenlock.

8. Magnificent Seven Cemeteries

The Egyptians knew a thing or two about shuffling off this mortal coil in style. And the Victorians knew a thing or two about copying them. In Highgate Cemetery, the column flanked Egyptian Avenue is the final resting place of the fortunate few who could afford a mausoleum at this salubrious address. Meanwhile, the Egyptian revival entrance lodges of Abney Park in Stoke Newington are decorated with the likes of lotus flower heads and sepals. And if you go to Kensal Green Cemetery, you’ll find it peppered with Egyptian style mausoleums.

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9. LMNT

Eatery decor doesn’t get much quirkier than LMNT in Hackney. It’s a screwball hodgepodge of ancient Roman, Greek and Egyptian. The latter is represented by hieroglyphic panels, fake mummy coffins nailed to the wall and sphinx shaped fireplaces. The whole lot must have been tacked together for a fraction of the price of Harrods’ Egyptian Hall, yet LMNT’s tongue in cheek touch makes it infinitely more tasteful. Whether the archaic erotica in the toilets is tasteful, we’ll leave up to you.

10. They sphinx it’s all over…

London is dripping with so much Egyptian history and influence, the final place on this list is actually another list of places. Deep breath then. The facade (and gaudy clock) of the former Daily Telegraph building on Fleet Street, the Hoover Building in Perivale, the Egyptian treasure trove at the Soane Museum (including the Sarcophagus of Seti I), the tableau above the entrance to 35 New Broad Street, Piccadilly’s Egyptian Hall (no longer with us). And let’s not forget Canary Wharf, surely London’s most famous pyramid.

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The Ancient Egyptian invention that made everything else possible

At the dawn of civilization, settlers on the Nile River made use of an everyday material to do something amazing.

 

 

The history of Egypt boggles the mind. By any standard the scale of achievement was enormous, but through it all, it seems clear that the economy remained rooted in agriculture. It was the everyday business of the ancient Egyptians to produce food. This they did using a system that was the envy of all. Sandra Postel, Director of the Global Water Policy Project, said that overall, Egypt’s system of basin irrigation proved inherently more stable from an ecological, political, social, and institutional perspective than that of any other irrigation-based society in human history, including the Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia where a fallow year had to be interposed to rest the land between harvests on land that was also subject to salinization, something that did not happen along the Nile. “Fundamentally … the system sustained an advanced civilization through numerous political upheavals and other destabilizing events over some 5,000 years. No other place on Earth has been in continuous cultivation for so long.”

 

According to Dr. Butzer, during late Paleolithic times the great bulk of early settlements were concentrated in the floodplains on the levees and the immediate riverbanks of the Nile. From 5000 BC, well before the first wooden boats, it probably occurred to most Egyptians that travel by water was a must. Today from satellite images, arable land in the Nile Valley is seen as a long green swath running the length of Egypt, with a bright blue river running down its center reminding everyone that if they intended to travel from one end of the country to the other, the message was clear: use a boat. Since boats made of wood were costly, everyday vessels—the thousands, even millions of small craft that were the work boats of ordinary souls—had to be made of cheap, reliable stuff. And that was as true in prehistoric times as it is in the 21st century.

Today it is plastic and fiberglass. Then, it was papyrus.

In building a reed boat, the trick is to tie the bundles in several places in order to trap air inside the reeds. The tighter the binding the better the buoyancy, much like the effect created by flotation tanks of modern times, another innovation that made for greater safety on the water.

 
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The Deir el-Bahri Temple Complex

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Egyptology Expert | The Deir el-Bahri Temple Complex (also spelled Deir el-Bahari) includes one of the most beautiful temples in Egypt, perhaps in the world, built by the architects of the New Kingdom Pharaoh Hatshepsut in the 15th century BC. This lovely structure is found in a steep half-circle of cliffs on the west bank of the Nile River and guarding the entrance to the great Valley of the Kings. Hatshepsut (or Hatshepsowe) ruled for 21 years [about 1473-1458 BC] during the early part of the New Kingdom, before the vastly successful imperialism of her nephew/stepson and successor Thutmose (or Thutmosis) III.
#Ancient_Egypt #Egyptology #Tombs #Pyramids #Museums #Egyptian_Art #Hatshepsut

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If I can’t enjoy this now, when do I start?

Egyptology Expert | If I can’t enjoy this now, when do I start?
#Ancient_Egypt #Egyptology #Tombs #Pyramids #Museums#Egyptian_Art
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Hair is Maternity in Ancient Egypt.

HAIR AND DEATH IN ANCIENT EGYPT

The nwn gesture has also a positive reading, because the hair sm3 has also a double value in Egyptian thinking. The hair sm3 is an element full of life force, which has to be delivered to the deceased for making easier the final resurrection.

To give the hair sm3 (rdi sm3) is a gesture that can be linked to the act of nursing; the mother’s milk is the first food, in the Egyptian funerary ambit the dead one in his rebirth is like a baby, so giving the hair sm3 contributes to this idea of the mummy as a new-born baby.

When the mourner makes the nwn gesture of throwing the hair onwards over her face she turns into the deceased’s mother, from whose belly he will be born. The mummy, assimilated to Osiris, is the Nut’s son and this goddess makes the nwn gesture inside the coffin…

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A century with the Penn Museum’s Sphinx

In 1913, a massive piece of granite arrived in Philadelphia that forever changed the scope of the Penn Museum’s collection.

This was the arrival of the Sphinx, an approximately 15-ton single piece of red granite from Memphis, Egypt. The Sphinx—the largest such stone sculpture in the Western Hemisphere and the sixth largest in the world—caused a stir when it landed in the city. According to a Philadelphia Inquirer article from October of 1913, “Its coming was unheralded and street car motorists, taxicab chauffeurs and pedestrians stopped all work to see the strange, solid sphinx, oblivious to the furor it was causing.
It also helped put the Penn Museum and its then-fledgling Egyptian collection on the map.
“It helped us begin the Egyptological program, both at the Museum and at the University itself, and established this as the center for Egyptology as it is today,” says David Silverman, curator-in-charge of the Penn Museum’s Egyptian Section and the Eckley Brinton Coxe, Jr., Professor in the Department of Eastern Languages and Civilizations. “It anchored the Museum in a fantastic place.”
In celebration of the Sphinx and its arrival in Philadelphia, the Penn Museum is hosting a series of events throughout the month of October—from lectures and Egyptomania quizzo, to kid-friendly workshops and a Tutankhamun-themed Halloween event.
All of the fuss is fitting, since Silverman says the Sphinx is an extraordinary example of ancient Egyptian life and culture.
It bears the names of the Pharaoh Ramesses II and his son and successor, the Pharaoh Merenptah, both of whom reigned in Egypt’s 19th Dynasty (1292-1190 BCE).
Its arrival at the Museum can also be credited to two prominent figures in the world of archeology: Sir William M. Flinders Petrie, the renowned archaeologist who excavated the Sphinx, and Sara Yorke Stevenson, a driving force behind the founding of the Penn Museum and curator of the Egyptian and Mediterranean sections.
“[Stevenson] was instrumental in getting some of Philadelphia’s prominent residents who had been to Egypt to make donations to Penn so that she could accumulate a collection that would provide collections for people who did not have the means [to travel to Egypt],” says Silverman. “She went off to Egypt and became a good friend of Petrie.”
Because Penn had supported some of Petrie’s expeditions, he supplied the University with some of the objects he uncovered at the site, including the Sphinx.
Sphinx 1913

Charles Sheeler
The Sphinx at the Penn Museum circa 1915.
When Petrie found the Sphinx, it had been buried in sand for much of its post-pharonic history, which preserved the body and inscriptions. The face, however, was eroded, having been exposed to centuries of windblown sand.
The Sphinx was shipped from the site in Memphis across the ocean on a German steamship, and arrived in Philadelphia in early October of 1913. It sat at the Reading freight yard until it was transported to the Museum on Oct. 18, covered in burlap, on a flat bed wagon pulled by nine horses.
Upon its arrival at the Museum, it was hoisted over the wall by a team of workmen, and then placed on the lawn.
Silverman says the Sphinx stayed outside the Museum for years and was moved inside in 1916. The Coxe Memorial Wing, the present-day home of the Sphinx and other items in the Museum’s Egyptian collection, was not constructed until 1926.
One hundred years after its arrival in Philadelphia, the Sphinx still resonates with visitors, says Silverman. It not only bears a significant resemblance to the Great Sphinx of Giza, but its massive size makes the granite statue a unique and significant object of interest. It is also displayed at the Museum in context, with columns and other architectural elements from the Palace of Merenptah, excavated by Museum scholars in the early 20th century.
Though it cuts an imposing figure, sphinxs from Egypt were almost always positive images—unlike malevolent sphinxs that appeared in Greek culture, says Silverman.
“The Sphinx relates to the sun god, and it’s during this time that the religion of the sun god is at its peak,” he notes. “[A sphinx] is a way for the king to relate to the sun god.”
To celebrate the Sphinx in all of its splendor, join the Penn Museum for quizzo on Oct. 2, a Young Professionals Event on Oct. 11, a Halloween event on Oct. 17, a sleepover on Oct. 18, and workshop on Oct. 26. On Oct. 19—almost 100 years to the day that the Sphinx arrived at Penn—the Museum will host a “Hijinks with the Sphinx” event from 1 to 4 p.m., with Egypt-related pop culture, an obstacle course, an exclusive behind-the-scenes Sphinx history tour, and a lecture at 3:30.
For details on all events, go to www.penn.museum.
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