Monthly Archives: May 2011

Head of Nefertiti emboiled in controversy over German court ruling on Egyptian artifacts

A German court ruling that the University of Leipzig must hand its ancient Egyptian artifacts to the Jewish Claims Conference triggers controversy in Germany and Egypt
the museum

A German court ruled that the University of Leipzig must hand over its 150 ancient Egyptian artefacts to the Jewish Claims Conference (JCC) as compensation for Holocaust victims and their descendants.

This collection came into the possession of the museum of the University of Leipzig in 1936 when the late Jewish professor Georg Steindorff, who held Leipzig’s Egyptology chair, sold it to the museum.  Steindorff possessed this collection since 1915 when he excavated the site located to the west of King Khufu’s necropolis in the Giza plateau in a German mission. In accordance with Egyptian law at the time, he received 50 per cent of the discovered artefacts.

The court said Steindorff had been forced to sell his collection under Nazi rule for a price far below its actual value.

Leipzig residents are angry the museum would be losing its valuable collection, and under public pressure the Leipzig University promised to appeal the court ruling.

For his part Zahi Hawass Minister of State for Antiquities sent an official letter to the JCC demanding restitution of these objects, and threatened to file a lawsuit against it before German and international courts if the JCC did not comply.

The collection spans more than five millennia, since the pre-dynastic era to the Late Intermediate period. Among the most distinguished objects in this collection are the Ebers Papyrus, a medical papyrus purchased by George Ebers, and a small limestone head of the beautiful queen Nefertiti, wife of the monotheistic king Akhnaten.


Memphis Tours Egypt since 1955.

Posted By: Mohamed Mokhtar


Categories: Ancient Egypt, Archaeology, Cairo Info, current events in egypt, Discoveries in Egypt, Egypt after the revolution, Egypt Latest news, Egypt News, Egypt Travel, Events In Egypt | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

The BBC Satellite Project

The BBC Satellite Project

I was very pleased to be involved with this project, which will be aired in a television program called Egypt’s Lost Cities. Unfortunately, however, an inaccurate article about it was prematurely released, even before the BBC’s press release was checked by my Ministry.


The pyramid of Queen Sesheshet, near that of Teti at Saqqara. (Photo: Sandro Vannini, April 2009.)

According to Ministry of State for Antiquities (MSA) regulations, it is prohibited for anyone to announce a discovery before notifying and obtaining the approval of the Ministry first. This procedure is in place to ensure that any discoveries people want to announce are real and have been officially verified. If every mission authorized to carry out work in Egypt was allowed to announce things without them being checked first, there could potentially be lots of false claims made all the time.


Sadly, this was the case with the BBC. I am disappointed that not only was the report published without the approval of the MSA, but also that its announcement was not accurate, showing how important it is to follow the proper protocol. The draft press release reported that 17 new pyramids and thousands of ancient Egyptian settlements have been discovered by the University of Alabama using infrared satellite images and that the last major pyramid find was made over 20 years ago.
Although satellite imaging is useful for discovering new sites and monuments, interpretation of the images is not straightforward. No one can say with certainty that the features displayed under the sand are actually pyramids. Such anomalies could be houses, tombs, temples, pyramids, buried cities or even geological features. The only way we can definitely identify what is there is by excavating it – by investigating it physically. This was not made clear in the article.
A few months ago, satellite images of the necropolis of Saqqara South revealed the existence of three substantial anomalies. Archaeological inspection revealed that they are the remains of three pyramids previously excavated by the French Egyptologist, Gustave Jéquier (1868-1946). Among these three pyramids is one belonging to a 13th Dynasty king, Khendjer (c. 1764-1759 BC).
In addition, over the last 20 years two new pyramids have been discovered by archaeological teams led by me in Giza and Saqqara. The first was found beside Khufu’s pyramid in Giza (c. 2551-2528 BC) and the second is next to Teti’s pyramid in Saqqara (c. 2323-2291 BC). The base of a new pyramid at Saqqara has also been found, of an unknown owner, which we are still excavating.
Both the head of the mission, Dr Sarah Parcak, and the producer of the BBC Satellite Project, Mr Harvey Lilley, have expressed their regret about the situation.
The MSA is the government department responsible for protecting the countries’ antiquities. I hope that all news agencies will remember to check the facts regarding new discoveries in Egypt with the Ministry, to ensure that they do not mislead the public.


Memphis Tours Egypt since 1955.

Posted By: Mohamed Mokhtar

Categories: Archaeology, Cairo history, Cairo Info, current events in egypt, Discoveries in Egypt, Egypt Latest news, Egypt News, Egypt Travel, Events In Egypt, Latest new in Egypt | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Egypt desperate to remind tourists what they are missing

Egypt desperate to remind tourists what they are missing

Egypt’s tourism ministry, desperate to lure back western visitors to the land of the Pharaohs, recently launched a marketing campaign using Cairo’s Tahrir Square as its theme.

Egypt desperate to remind tourists what they are missing Two new finds are at Saqqara, an older but lesser known pyramid site than Giza Photo:

Slogans such as “Tahrir: The Square that Rocked the World”, have helped to turn the site from which the revolution against President Hosni Mubarak was launched into a tourist attraction in its own right.

While the campaign is intended to signal the birth of a new, democratic Egypt, it has had, at best, mixed success.

The number of foreign visitors to Egypt in the first quarter of this year fell by 46 per cent, bad news in a country where one in eight of the working adult population is employed in the tourism industry.

Western leaders may have hailed the courage of Egypt’s people in overthrowing their latter-day pharaoh, but western tourists remain wary of returning to a country that is still suffering from instability and growing religious tension.

The discovery of previously unknown pyramids and up to 1,000 ancient tombs in a new satellite survey is unlikely to bring a rush of tourists into the country, diehard amateur archaeologists notwithstanding.


Memphis Tours Egypt since 1955.

Posted By: Mohamed Mokhtar

Categories: Adventure Tours, Archaeology, Cairo history, Cairo Info, Cultural Tourism, current events in egypt, Egypt after the revolution, Egypt Latest news, Egypt News, Egypt Travel, Events In Egypt | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Egypt finds 17 lost pyramids

A new satellite survey of Egypt reportedly found 17 lost pyramids along with more than 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements.

The survey used infra-red images to detect underground buildings, the BBC reports.

Satellites above the earth were equipped with cameras that could pin-point objects on the earth’s surface less than three-feet wide. The infra-red imaging then highlighted different materials under the surface, it states.

The work was done by a NASA-sponsored laboratory in Birmingham, Alabama.

“To excavate a pyramid is the dream of every archeologist,” Sarah Parcak who led the project told BBC.

See some of the satellite images.

Meanwhile, Egypt opened the tombs of seven men, including some who served King Tutankhamen, to tourists earlier this week after restoration, the Associated Press reports.

Egypt hopes the tombs in the New Kingdom Cemetery in South Saqqara will draw more tourists to the area.

Egypt’s tourism industry has been badly hit by the revolution that toppled the government in February and subsequent political uncertainty.


Memphis Tours Egypt since 1955.

Posted By: Mohamed Mokhtar

Categories: Ancient Egypt, Cairo Info, current events in egypt, Discoveries in Egypt, Egypt after the revolution, Egypt Latest news, Egypt News, Egypt Travel, Events In Egypt, Latest new in Egypt | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

What Does ‘Memphis’ Mean?

Memphis Was the ancient Capital of Egypt but also Memphis is the Greek for Men-Nefer, meaning, ‘beautiful monument’, which referred to the Pyramid of Pepi I from the 6th Dynasty.

Pyramid of Pepi I, South Saqqara

Pyramid of Pepi I, Egypt

Memphis Tours Egypt Since 1955
Posted by: Shaimaa Ahmed 

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What Does ‘Memphis’ Mean?

Memphis Was the ancient Capital of Egypt but also Memphis is the Greek for Men-Nefer, meaning, ‘beautiful monument’, which referred to the Pyramid of Pepi I from the 6th Dynasty.

Pyramid of Pepi I, South Saqqara

Pyramid of Pepi I, Egypt

Memphis Tours Egypt Since 1955
Posted by: Shaimaa Ahmed 

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School of Museology to open in Cairo

School of Museology to open in Cairo

Egypt’s first ever academic institute for Museology will be established in Cairo by the Ministry of State for Antiquities (MSA). The institute will be set up in Casdagli Palace in the Down Town area with an initial intake of 60 students.

The institute will train Egyptian museum curators and conservators on the recent innovations and new technology used in museums for improved displays, object restoration and general museological skills. Courses will be two years in duration and will be accredited by the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education two years after the institute’s foundation. Eventually, it will also be able to offer MA and PhD programs in Museum Studies and Heritage Management.

Dr. Zahi Hawass, Minister of State for Antiquities, has reported that the project is being made possible with a generous grant of $5 million from USAID provided through the Ministry of International Cooperation.

Dr. Ramadan Hussein, Archaeological Supervisor at the MSA, said that the institute of Museology will seek professional collaboration with international museum organizations like the American Association of Museums and the International Council of Museums’ Committee for Egyptology, in order to develop curricula and training programs modeled on international standards of museum practice. In addition, the MSA will be recruiting foreign and Egyptian professionals to assist with its teaching and training programs. The institute will admit trainees and students from amongst the MSA’s current museum staff as well as others who are seeking jobs in Egyptian museums.


Memphis Tours Egypt since 1955.

Posted By: Mohamed Mokhtar

Categories: Archaeology, Cairo Info, current events in egypt, Egypt after the revolution, Egypt Latest news, Egypt News, Egypt Travel, Events In Egypt | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Cannes honors Egypt as revolt film premieres

CANNES (AFP): The blood and teargas of Arab revolts filled the screen at Cannes on Wednesday, as the controversial film “18 Days” premiered during a day honoring Egypt and its revolution.

The film, consisting of 10 shorts by different directors, covers the popular revolt that began on January 25 and led up to the fall of president Hosni Mubarak’s regime after more than 30 years in power but left around 1,000 dead.

Some of the directors and actors involved in the shorts compilation were accused of having worked for the Mubarak regime, prompting an online petition and some to boycott the screening and the day honoring Egypt.

The films, mostly fictional and shot after the revolution but drawing on television archives and even mobile telephone footage, deal with the lives of ordinary Egyptians who are drawn into the popular uprising.

A girl from a poor neighborhood comes to downtown Cairo to sell aniseed drinks in “Creature of God.”

Police beat her after she picks up the slogans calling for Mubarak to stand down, and as she succumbs she wonders whether she will die a martyr for Egypt or go to hell for having dyed her hair.

In “19-19”, a regional manager for Intel is in the hands of the feared state security. As an alleged organizer of the revolution, he is tortured to death. His last words as recorded by his torturer are a repeated call for freedom.
Profits from the film will go towards political and public education programs in rural Egypt.

Egypt “has informed the world of its need to change the course of history and of its need for freedom, while demonstrating its collective strength and expressing its desire for democracy,” festival organizers said.


Memphis Tours Egypt since 1955

Posted By: Mohamed Mokhtar

Categories: 25th january revolution, current events in egypt, Egypt after the revolution, Egypt News, Egypt Revolution, Events In Egypt, International affairs, Latest new in Egypt, The Egyptian revolution | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

12 of the World’s Most Mysterious Monuments & Ruins


Around the world, in places as diverse as Homestead, Florida and Yonaguni, Japan stand monuments and ruins whose origins are shrouded in mystery. Nobody knows exactly why Stonehenge was built, how a set of manmade ruins came to be submerged deep in the ocean or who commissioned a giant carved granite set of post-apocalyptic instructions for rebuilding society on a remote hill in Georgia.

Monumental Instructions for the Post-Apocalypse



(images via: Wired)

On a barren knoll in northeastern Georgia stands one of the world’s most bizarre and mysterious monuments. But it wasn’t created during ancient times. Known as the ‘Georgia Guidestones’, this stone structure of five 16-feet-tall, 20-ton slabs of polished granite is inscribed in eight languages – including Egyptian Hieroglyphics, Hindi and Swahili – with instructions for dazed post-apocalyptic survivors attempting to rebuild civilization. It’s oriented to track the sun’s east-west migration year-round, and has holes that allow gazers to locate the North Star. The Georgia Guidestones were commissioned by an anonymous group, whose identity remains a mystery.

Lake Michigan Stonehenge


(image via: io9)

A group of researchers using sonar to look for shipwrecks at the bottom of Lake Michigan got quite a surprise when they found what appears to be an ancient Stonehenge-like structure 40 feet beneath the surface of the water. Some of the stones are arranged in a circle and one appears to show carvings of a mastodon. The formation could be as much as 10,000 years old, which is coincident with the post-Ice Age presence of both humans and mastodons in the area. Michigan already has petroglyph sites and standing stones.

Underwater Ruins in Japan


(images via: Hottnez)

On the southern coast of Yonaguni, Japan, lie submerged ruins estimated to be around 8,000 years old. Though some people believed that it was carved by geographic phenomena, it’s now confirmed to be man-made as the intricate stairways, carvings and right angles suggest. It was discovered in 1995 by a sport diver who strayed too far off the Okinawa shore with a camera in hand.

Submerged Wonders of Alexandria, Egypt


(images via: WebUrbanist)

From WebUrbanist: “Off the shores of Alexandria, the city of Alexander the Great, lie what are believed to be the ruins of the royal quarters of Cleopatra. It is believed that earthquakes over 1,500 years ago were responsible for casting this into the sea, along with artifacts, statues and other parts of Cleopatra’s palace. The city of Alexandria even plans to offer underwater tours of this wonder.”

The Mysterious Stones of Baalbek


(images via: National Geographic)

The largest Roman temple ever constructed stands in ruins not in Greece or Rome, but in Baalbek, Lebanon. The temple was destroyed under Byzantine Emperor Theodosius but 6 of its original 54 columns still stand. Despite their beauty, the ruins at Baalbek have rarely been visited during recent decades due to war, but luckily this majestic archeological site has escaped harm. No one knows what made this site so special to the Romans, prompting them to quarry, move and assemble so many stone blocks.

Three Buried Ancient Megalithic Stone Circles


(images via: Environmental Graffiti)

In southern Turkey, just north of the border with Syria, are three megalithic stone circles several thousand years older than the “first” stone circle built at Stonehenge. Strangely, these ancient stone circles were built by a hunter-gatherer society. It had previously been believed that the workforce required to construct a megalithic stone circle couldn’t be organized until human society reached the village stage of development. The three stone circles at Göbekli Tepe were deliberately buried for reasons unknown. Some people believe that Göbekli Tepe and the surrounding region were the historical basis behind the biblical Garden of Eden.

Easter Island


(images via: Wikipedia)

Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui or Isla de Pascua, is a Polynesian island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, most famous for its monumental statues which were created by the Rapanui people. The statues, called moai, were part of the ancestral worship of the island’s settlers and were carved between 1250 and 1500 CE. The heaviest moai erected weighs 86 tons, illustrating how great a feat it was for the Rapanui to have created and moved them. Nearly half of all remaining moai are still at Rano Raraku, the main moai quarry, but hundreds were moved to stone platforms around the island’s perimeter.



(image via:

Perhaps the world’s best known monument is Stonehenge, located in the English county of Wiltshire. It’s composed of earthworks surrounding a circular setting of large standing stones and is believed to have been built around 2500 BC but has been revised and remodeled over a period of more than 1400 years. Though theories and speculation abound, no one knows what the original purpose of the prehistoric monument was and it remains one of the earth’s greatest mysteries.

Machu Picchu


(images via: Rediscover Machu Picchu)

Machu Picchu is the most well-preserved city of the Inca empire, hidden in the Peruvian Andes high on a steep mountain with a flattened top, a location that helped it escape notice by Spanish conquistadors. It was forgotten for centuries by the outside world, and re-discovered by archeologist Hiram Bingham in 1911. The stones of this city fit together so tightly a knife blade can’t fit between them. Modern research suggests that Machu Picchu was built around 1450 CE as a retreat by and for the Inca ruler Pachacuti and that it was actually relatively small by Inca standards.

Great Zimbabwe Ruins


(images via: 10-us)

Few people know that the modern-day African country of Zimbabwe was actually named after stone ruins that lie all over the countryside. The ‘Great Zimbabwe Ruins’ are some of the oldest and largest structures located in Southern Africa and at its peak, the ruins of Great Zimbabwe are estimated to have housed as many as 18,000 inhabitants. The Great Zimbabwe ruins span 1,800 acres and were constructed starting in the 11th century without the use for mortar. No one knows for sure why the site was eventually abandoned.

Peru’s Chavín de Huantar Ruins


(images via: EcoWorldly)

While not as famous as the ruins at Machu Picchu, the Chavín de Huantar Ruins of Peru are also a fascinating World Heritage Site containing ruins and artifacts originally constructed by the Chavín, a pre-Inca culture, around 900 BC. The site served as a gathering place for people in the area to assemble and worship. It’s unclear why the Chavín culture disappeared, though some believe that the Chavín de Huantar ruins offer clues as to why some civilizations vanish. Most theories about the Chavín center on difficult environmental conditions including earthquakes, while others involve power struggles with other civilizations in the same region.

Coral Castle, Monument to Lost Love


(images via: ABC news)

How did one five-foot-tall, 100-pound man build an intricate rock garden using pieces of coral that weighed several tons each? Coral Castle, in Homestead, Florida, was Latvian immigrant Ed Leedskalnin’s monument to a lost love. He began building it in 1923 after being jilted by his fiance in Latvia just days before their wedding, and dedicated his life to completing it. Construction continued even after his death in 1951. Experts are puzzled as to how Leedskalnin, who had only a fourth-grade education, could have built Coral Castle by himself. One engineer claims that even Albert Einstein couldn’t figure it out.


Memphis Tours Egypt since 1955.

Posted By: Mohamed Mokhtar.

Categories: Archaeology, International affairs, Internternational Museums, Museums | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Egypt’s tourism to recover in 2011

Egypt’s tourism to recover in 2011

Abu Simbel temple - AP Abu Simbel temple – AP

According to the forecast prepared by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) at the beginning of the year, international tourist arrivals are projected to increase by some 4 percent to 5 percent in 2011.

The impact of recent developments in North Africa and the Middle East, as well as the tragic earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March, are not expected to substantially affect this projected growth. Results for Northeast Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East are below initial forecasts, but destinations in Europe and South America are so far performing better than anticipated.

On the whole, and as in previous similar situations, a temporary redistribution of traffic, together with an increase in intra-regional travel as opposed to interregional, is likely to occur.

UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai said“Although recent developments in North Africa and the Middle East and the terrible events in Japan will affect the results of their respective regions, overall growth in international tourism should not be significantly impacted,”

He added “Moreover, the fall in demand in Tunisia, Egypt, and Japan is expected to have bottomed out, and the recovery of these important destinations will surely be consolidated during the year.”


Memphis Tours Egypt

Posted By: Mohamed Mokhtar

Categories: Cairo Info, current events in egypt, Egypt after the revolution, Egypt Latest news, Egypt News, Egypt Travel, Events In Egypt | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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