After an embarrassingly long time, the CyberNews will start again. The appearance of these compilations will appear irregularly, as material becomes available, but I will attempt to remain timely.

Each news item will be cited with a URL address that was active at the time of compilation. If the link is no longer working, contact the CyberScribe ( and he will attempt to assist you.

For copyright purposes, each item will be introduced by title and a brief extract will be quoted to give you the sense of the article.

1.      Pharaonic Fort Discovered

2.      Mummies and Red Lead Paint

3.      Davenport, Iowa Mummies

4.      Egypt to Use Mummy DNA

5.      Finding Hatshepsut

6.      Selling Ramesses' Hair

7.      Joan of Arc's Relics

8.      Mummy Fakery

9.      Mummy Sale at Christies

10.    Mummy Head and Hand Sold

1.      Pharaonic Fort Discovered

'One of the biggest ancient Egyptian military fortresses dating back to about 3,500 years ago has been discovered in north Sinai, an Egyptian antiquities official said on Sunday.

The fort was believed to be built at the time of King Thutmos III (1504 BC-1452 BC), Mohamed Adel Maqsoud, head of the Higher Antiquities Council team that made the discovery, was quoted by the Egyptian MENA news agency as saying.

The fort was unearthed on the ancient Horus military road between Egypt and the Palestinian territory, some 3 km off the Suez Canal in the area of Qantara Sharq, he said.'

(Peoples Daily Online


"The three forts are part of a string of 11 castles that made up the Horus military road that went from Suez all the way to the city of Rafah on the Egyptian-Palestinian border and dates to the 18th and 19th dynasties (1560-1081 BC)," antiquities supreme Zahi Hawwas said in a statement.

Fort Tharo, the military headquarters for the eastern defence of Egypt, had 13-metre (42-foot) thick mud brick walls running 500 metres (1,600 feet) by 250 metres (800 feet) and punctuated by 24 huge towers, said a statement from the Supreme Council of Antiquities.'

(France 24


'Fort Tharo, the military headquarters for the eastern defence of Egypt, had 13M thick mud brick walls running 500M by 250M and punctuated by 24 huge towers, said a statement from the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

The fortress was surrounded by a water-filled moat which could only be crossed by using a removable wooden bridge, with the fort's administrative buildings, temples, storehouses and market places found nearby.'

(The Penninsula,+Middle+East+%26+Africa&month=July2007&file=World_News2007072333620.xml)


'Antiquities head Zahi Hawwas said: "The three forts are part of a string of 11 castles that made up the Horus military road that went from Suez all the way to the city of Rafah on the Egyptian-Palestinian border and dates to the 18th and 19th dynasties (1560-1081 BC)."

Teams have been digging in the area for the past decade, but the Egyptian discovery of the massive Fort Tharo and the discovery of two other fortresses by French and American teams confirmed the existence of the Horus fortifications described in ancient texts.'



'The fort is considered to be the eastern front of the ancient Egyptian city of Tharow and it was the point the Egyptian army went from to secure the eastern borders of Egypt at the time.

Ramses the second was one of the most important kings of the Middle Kingdom, which ran from the 11th dynasty to the end of the 14th dynasty (roughly between 2030 BC to 1640 BC). He brought Egypt to imperial power.'

(All Headline News


'This summer, for the second time, Qantara East was in the limelight when early last week Egyptian excavators chanced upon the fort of Tharo east. The fortress is 500 metres long, 250 metres wide and with walls 13-metre thick and a 12-metre-wide south entrance. A giant water-filled moat that once surrounded the fort was also found.

"This is the largest fortress found yet," Abdel-Maqsoud told Al-Ahram Weekly, adding that it consisted of 24 huge defence towers 20 metres in width and four metres thick. Along with Tharo West, Abde- Maqsoud said, the fort was considered to be the eastern front of the ancient Egyptian military town of Tharo and Egypt's gate to the Delta. It was also the point where the ancient Egyptian army carried out several military campaign to secure the eastern the city borders at the time. Graves of soldiers and horses were also found. "Bones of humans and horses found in the area attest dramatically to the reality of such battles," Abdel-Maqsoud said.'

(Al-Ahram Weekly Online


2.      Mummies and Red Lead Paint

'Demetrios recently underwent X-ray fluorescence, a process whereby objects and materials are exposed to short wavelength X-rays that excite atoms and cause them to release radiation. This radiation has energy characteristics of the atoms within the object, so the technique helps researchers to determine what chemicals might be present.

Bruno said the lead painted on Demetrios matches the chemical profile of lead from Spain's Rio Tinto region, which has been a site for silver and other mining operations for over 5,000 years.'

(Discovery News Online


'X-ray fluorescence will allow analysis of the painted surfaces associated with the wrapping of mummies, including painted linen bandages and shrouds. Preliminary results have shown that the red paint used on the Demetrios mummy may have been made, in part, from components imported from Spain.

The lead in the paint is suspected to have come from a Spanish silver mine, but it remains unclear whether the paint itself was manufactured there or, alternatively, whether if the lead ingredient was traded to Egypt with the paint then produced locally.'

(Brooklyn Daily Eagle


'She explained that lead is a byproduct of smelting to extract silver. It is then likely that Spain either exported raw lead at the time of Demetrios' death from around 94-100 A.D., or the lead was made into Spanish paint before making its way to Egypt.

'"At the time, Egypt was in the Roman Empire, so the finding reveals how widespread trade was throughout the empire," Bruno said. "The mix of cultures probably was not unlike what exists today in Egypt."

Imported materials would have been hard to come by and therefore probably expensive, so Bruno and her team now speculate that Demetrios was a very wealthy individual. "Red shroud mummies," of which Demetrios is an example, are exceptionally rare, with only 10 known to exist in the entire world.'



3.      Davenport, Iowa Mummies

'The mummies, described as among the Davenport museum's most prized and popular possessions, will be carefully removed from their cases on Tuesday and taken by ambulance to Genesis Medical Center's West Central Park Avenue Campus, where they will undergo CT scans.

The scans, being donated by the hospital, are expected to reveal new information about the mummies, such as their ages, genders and maybe even how they died.'

(Sci-Tech Today


'The Palmers are said to have purchased the mummy called Isis Neferit — which was later donated to the Putnam from B.J.'s estate in 1965 — on a trip to Cairo during or around the 1920s, Schlichting said.

The other mummy, believed to be that of a teenage boy, remains wrapped and covered, so the curators especially hope the CT scan will reveal new information about its origins, they said.

'Wouldn't it be wild if it turns out to be a woman?' Schlichting said, laughing.'

(Quad Cities Times, Davenport, IA


'"We hope to see the individual's face comfirm the sex of the individual confirm the date or at least the age." And she won't leave the mummies' side, "No, this is their first trip."

For the museum and the EMTs this is a first. An EMT loading one of the bodies says, "At least we don't have to work on them there's nothing we can do for them." The mummies didn't rise from the dead or curse any of the drivers. Once loaded in the ambulance and taken to the hospital the test went smoothly.'



4.      Egypt to Use Mummy DNA

'Egypt's chief archaeologist Zahi Hawass said the findings would be compared with DNA from mummies of known members of Tuthmosis's family, including Queen Hatshepsut, whose mummy was identified last week, and Kings Tuthmosis II and III, according to MENA.

Hawass said on Wednesday that he had recently concluded that a mummy once assumed to be that of Tuthmosis I was not in fact his, but belonged to a much younger man who died from an arrow wound.'

(UK Reuters


'"I am now questioning all the mummies," he told Reuters in an interview. "We have to check them all again. The new technology now will reconfirm or identify anything for us."

The Egyptian Museum has had CT scanning equipment for just two years and its first DNA laboratory was installed in April. The CT scan allows the mummies to be virtually "unwrapped" without damaging them. Teenage Pharaoh Tutankhamun was one of the first mummies to be examined with the technology in 2005.'

(AOL News


5.      Finding Hatshepsut

'Zahi Hawass, Egypt's secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, who led the one- year study that led to the identification of Hatshepsut's mummy, used CT scans to link distinct physical traits of Hatshepsut to that of her ancestors, and narrow the search for the Pharaoh to the couple of female mummies in the KV60 tomb.

Hawass said the final clue lay within a box inscribed with the female Pharaoh's name.

A scan of the box revealed a tooth, which, when measured, matched within a fraction of a millimetre to the space of the missing molar in the mouth of the mummy called KV60A. This was the unidentified female originally found by Carter next to Hatshepsut's nanny.'

(New Kerala


'The archaeologist said Hawass would present new evidence for an identification but that not all Egyptologists are convinced he will be able to prove his case.

"It's based on teeth and body parts ... It's an interesting piece of scientific deduction which might point to the truth," the archaeologist said.

Egyptologist Elizabeth Thomas speculated many years ago that one of the mummies was Hatshepsut's because the positioning of the right arm over the woman's chest suggested royalty.'



'Hawass instructed curators at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo to look for the second mummy found by Carter and moved by Ayrton in 1908. They found it on the third floor of the museum. Examinations revealed that the badly damaged coffin is typical 18th Dynasty and among the inscriptions engraved on it is " wr Sdt nfrw nswt In, [great royal nurse In]." The mummy inside is 1.5m tall while the coffin is 2.13m, suggesting that the coffin was not originally intended for the mummy it contains. "The obese mummy still in the tomb is significantly taller, and would fit much better in the coffin," says Hawass. The examination also revealed that the mummy in the Egyptian Museum has her right hand by her side and the left hand across her abdomen, with the hand closed as if it was originally holding something. She was mummified in fine linen, with the fingers wrapped individually. The toes were evidently wrapped together; this wrapping has been torn away, as if the robbers were looking for gold. The woman was eviscerated through a U-shaped incision in the abdomen. She has long curly hair remaining on her head. There is also a mass of linen at the bottom of the coffin but this is not of the same quality.'

(Al-Ahram Weekly Online


'Preliminary examination of the 3,000-year-old mummy has now revealed that Hatshepsut was obese, had decayed teeth and possibly suffered from a skin disease.

'Her mouth shows the presence of many dental cavities, periapical (root) inflammation and pockets,' said Ashraf Selim, radiologist at Cairo University, who examined the mummy.

The mummy also showed signs of a rather disgusting skin disease on the face and neck, which, Selim believes, might have added to Hatshepsut's health problems.'

(New Kerala


'Johnson, a senior application scientist who has worked with Applied Biosystems in Foster City for 21 years, found himself holding a vial of powdered bone from the body of pharaoh Hatshepsut, arguably Egypt's most powerful female leader of all time.

'I looked at the microscopic amount of fluid and thought, ÔThis is the most important piece of DNA I've ever worked with,'' Johnson said.

Scientists weren't even certain they had positively identified Hatshepsut until Wednesday, when a missing tooth confirmed they had the legendary queen's mummy.'

((Dallas) Examiner


'In the search, Dr. Hawass had radiologists make CT scans of six unidentified female mummies as well as some objects associated with them. The last of these examined objects was a wooden box bearing the name Hatshepsut. The box had been recovered from yet another tomb.

The container held some of the viscera removed from the body during embalming. Everything associated with a royal body or its mummification was carefully and ritually preserved. Late one night recently, the box was subjected to the CT scan.

'It turned out that this box held the key to the riddle,' Dr. Hawass said.'

(New York Times


'CT scanning reveals several things. The wrapped organ visible at the top of the chest is a liver, but there's more inside. There's a length of intestine and a couple of other things--they almost look like small linen rolls, not very opaque like a bone would be--but they aren't discussed (which is frustrating). Finally, there's someting small and bright in the image--it's a tooth! Dental expertise is summoned up in the form of Galal El-Beheiri, a Cairo University professor of orthodontics. He identifies it as a molar with one root preserved and the other broken off. Comparisons are then made with teeth in KV60A and B. The latter is mising incisors, so that's not a match. KV60A is missing several teeth, including a molar of which only a single root remains. The tooth and root match in terms of size, suggesting that (if the chest contents are Hatsheput's) KV60A is the queen.'



'Hawass struck a deal with Discovery Channel to establish a DNA lab in the Egyptian Museum. With a budget of $5 million, the lab serves as the backdrop for a documentary film on the search for Hatshepsut. Supervised by Yehia Zakaria Gad, professor of molecular genetics at the National Research Centre, the lab has already taken DNA samples from Hatshepsut, her grandmother Ahmose Nefertari, her father Thutmose I and the Wet-Nurse Sitre- In.'

(Al-Ahram Weekly Online


'Paleopathologists who have been trying to reconstruct the appearance of Hatshepsut — whose mummy is the subject of a Discovery Channel documentary on Sunday, July 15 — say they know that Egypt's greatest female pharaoh was obese in part because her breasts were so very large, even after 3,000 years.

"Huge and pendulous," Hatshepsut's upper girth immediately caught the attention of mummy experts, according to Zahi Hawass, Egypt's secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.'

(Discovery News


'During the embalming process, it was common to set aside spare body parts and preserve them in such a box. Orthodontics professor Yehya Zakariya checked all the mummies which might be Hatshepsut's and found that the tooth was a perfect fit in a gap in the upper jaw of the fat woman.

"The identification of the tooth with the jaw can show this is Hatshepsut," Hawass said. "A tooth is like a fingerprint."

"It is 100 per cent definitive. It is 1.80 cm (wide) and the dentist took the measurement and studied that part. He found it fitted exactly 100 per cent with this part," he said.'

(The Scotsman


6.      Selling Ramesses' Hair

'French police have arrested a man who tried to sell on the Internet strands of hair from the head of the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II, a law court official has said.

The man, who was not immediately identified, asked for between 2,000-2,500 euros ($2,639-$3,299) for each of the various hair samples as well as for tiny pieces of resin and embalmed cloth taken from the pharaoh's mummy.'

(Daily Mail


'The arrested man had said his father was a researcher on the French team that worked on the mummy.

He advertised "strands of hair from the mummy of Ramses II" for sale at 2,000 euros (£1,350), saying he could prove their authenticity with photos, certificates, embalming resin and bandages.

The head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, told AFP in Cairo that "if these elements are authentic, it would be a scandal that would risk harming relations between France and Egypt".'

(BBC News


'The seller, a 50-year-old Frenchman, claimed the lot belonged to his father who was part of a team of scientists who analysed the royal mummy when it was sent to France in 1976 for electromagnetic treatment against decay.

The mummifed body of Ramses II, who reigned from 1279 to 1213 BC, was the most important ever to leave Egyptian soil.

At the time, samples of its hair, resin and bandaging were collected from fragments that fell from its shroud in transport and sent to various laboratories around France for analysis.

French authorities recently wrapped up a judicial investigation into the case, but are not expected to press charges against the seller, according to deputy state prosecutor Luc Fontaine.'

(Yahoo News


'No one knew about the objects until early last month when Jean-Michel Diebolt, a 50-year-old postman living in the Alpine region of France, advertised the samples online. This prompted a storm of outrage from Egypt, which is particularly sensitive about any pilfering of its heritage.

Diebolt, who was briefly arrested by the French police, said the samples came into his possession via his late father, one of the team of French scientists charged with analysing the royal mummy 30 years ago. During the analysis the French physician took 41 samples from the mummies of Meneptah and Ramses II.'

(Al-Ahram Weekly Online


'The man, Jean-Michel Diebolt, said he had inherited the hair from his late father, a researcher who had been part of the team which analysed the mummy.

Police seized small plastic sachets and boxes from Mr Diebolt's home in the French Alpine town of Grenoble. He had advertised the remains for sale for a price of 2,000 euros (£1,360).'



7.      Joan of Arc's Relics

'A forensic scientist has shown that the bones and linen fragments discovered in the attic of a Paris pharmacy in 1867 were not those of a woman who had died in the 15th century.

Instead, it appears that the bones belong to a person who had died some time between the 6th and 3rd centuries BC, and had been embalmed in the manner of ancient Egypt.

After the "relics" came to light in the 19th century they were recognised as genuine by the Catholic Church and have since been held in a museum in the Loire town of Chinon.'

(The Independent


'The remains consisted of a charred-looking human rib, chunks of what appeared to be blackened wood, a 15-centimetre fragment of linen, and a cat thigh bone.

In medieval Europe it was common practice to throw black cats into the pyres of supposed witches.

Recognised as genuine and sacred by the Church, the "remains" are now housed in a museum in Chinon belonging to the Archdiocese of Tours.'

(BBC News


'The remains consisting of a rib bone, a piece of cloth and a cat femur, were said to have been recovered after Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431, aged just 19, in the town of Rouen in Normandy.

The relics were found in 1867 in a jar in the attic of a Paris pharmacy, bearing the inscription, "Remains found under the stake of Joan of Arc, Maid of Orleans."

In 1909, the year Joan of Arc was beatified, scientists declared it "highly probable" that the remains were hers.'



'The relics of St Joan of Arc are not the remains of the fifteenth-century French heroine after all, according to European experts who have analysed the sacred scraps. Instead, they say the relics are a forgery, made from the remains of an Egyptian mummy.

Joan was burned at the stake in 1431 in Rouen, Normandy. The relics were discovered in 1867 in a jar in the attic of a Paris pharmacy, with the inscription 'Remains found under the stake of Joan of Arc, virgin of Orleans'. They were recognized by the Church, and are now housed in a museum in Chinon that belongs to the Archdiocese of Tours.

Philippe Charlier, a forensic scientist at Raymond Poincar? Hospital in Garches, near Paris, obtained permission to study the relics from the French church last year. He says he was 'astonished' by the results. 'I'd never have thought that it could be from a mummy.'

(NATURE Vol 446|5 April 2007, page 593)


8.      Mummy Fakery

'As explained by Dransoff, this item, which looks like an adult holding a small child, was listed in the Fabyans' probate papers as "a mummified Native American. In 1980, there was some concern that a tribe would want to know it was here and want it returned. So the forest preserve hired an expert who took it to Dreyer Medical Clinic in Aurora to be X-rayed."

Turned out this is an ersatz mummy, crafted of common steel nails, a wood frame, straw and cloth. There is a real bone showing in part of the leg of the adult, but it is believed to be a dog bone.'

(Remodeling Online


'In fact, the Fabyan Villa mummy is a fake that contains one bone – from a dog.

'For the time period, it was certainly a good fakery,' said Lynn Dransoff, director of the Fabyan Villa Museum, in the Fabyan Forest Preserve. 'It was thought for many years to be real.'

In 1982, an expert examined the mummy, and an X-ray revealed the truth. The fake mummy originally was owned by George Fabyan, a wealthy Chicago businessman who used the villa as a summer retreat.'

(Kane County Chronicle


9.      Mummy sale at Christies

'The sarcophagus, made of fig wood, comes from a period when both the insides and outsides of these burial containers were elaborately painted or sculpted. Ancient Egyptians were known for their lavish tombs, with beautiful scenes on the walls. But grave robbing was already prevalent by 1000 BC, and so the scenes moved from the wall to the sarcophagus, which was often hidden in a cache in a temple.

The auction house has made no public estimate of how much they expect it to bring, although the last time a mummy was sold at auction was in May 2003, when Christie's in England set a record of $1.4 million. Max Bernheimer, the head of the antiquities department at Christie's, said that this sarcophagus is in better shape and that the house is confident it will go for more than $1.5 million.'



'According to the head of Christie's antiquities department, G. Max Bernheimer, Holden was taking the "obligatory trip up the Nile" in the winter of 1900, when he learned that an Egyptian dealer had discovered a cache of four mummies and was offering them for sale. He bought this sarcophagus with its mummy, shipped it to Cairo for export clearance, and, on his return to Cleveland, donated it to the Historical Society, where the sarcophagus was publicly opened and the mummy partially unwrapped.

The Historical Society is selling the mummy, Mr. Bernheimer said, because it doesn't fit their mission, which is to collect objects related to Northeast Ohio. The last mummy in its sarcophagus to go to auction was sold at Christie's in London in 2003 for $1.4 million. Christie's has entered this mummy in the catalog as "estimate on request."'

(New York Sun




The coffin comprising a lid and trough, both brightly painted with an abundance of texts and iconographic representations, the lid anthropoid, showing the deceased in the form of a mummy, wearing a striped divine wig crowned with a fillet and a plaited divine beard with chin straps, the arms crossed and covered by an immense floral collar, exposing only the hands, clenching emblematic staves, with red bands crossing the chest, imitating the straps of dyed leather, the principal scenes (excluding the many small amuletic and mythological figures) as followsÉ'

(Christies sales catalog


'While many New Yorkers were hunting for bargains in the pre-Christmas sales on Thursday, one anonymous buyer opted for a more unusual purchase, picking up a 3 000-year-old mummy at auction.

The unnamed, private collector paid $1,1-million for the ancient Egyptian sarcophagus, believed to date from 990 to 940 BC.

The mummy was brought back from Egypt by Liberty Holden, a publisher from Cleveland, Ohio, and donated to a local museum in 1901, according to Christie's auction house in New York.

Texts on the painted sarcophagus describe the occupant as Neskhons, believed to have worked in a temple performing rituals, although it is not known where he was originally buried.'



10.    Mummy Head and Hand Sold



This is an actual hand from an Egyptian mummy, not a Hollywood prop. The intrigue behind this specimen is however no less than the movie, The Mummy's Hand, made by Universal in 1940. Though, a proper Egyptological explanation is not provided herein, the good state of its mummification indicates a possible date between the New Kingdom and the Ptolemaic period. The position of the fingers is a clue to the status and age of the specimen, while the relatively unusual gesture may have resulted from a ceremonial object being placed in the hand during mummification. Although the wrappings are gone, the specimen is beautifully preserved, exhibiting no deterioration and indicating that this hand may have belonged to high status individual. Although it is unquestionably authentic, its provenance can only be traced to an antique dealer from New Jersey. This specimen was acquired by a New York Collector in the 1960's and has remained in his collection for several decades. This rare piece from Egypt's ancient past measures approximately 6 1/2 inches in length.



The Western world has been fascinated with mummies since the 16th

Century. Around this time, it became common to grind up Egyptian mummies and use the resulting powder as a medicine to cure an assortment of ills. In the late 1700's, Napoleon's army conquered Egypt and the returning soldiers plundered countless treasures from the pyramids. During the Victorian era, mummies were eagerly collected by museums and private individuals absorbed by the mystery and prestige surrounding these objects of curiosity. A significant body of folklore surrounds corporeal preservation in ancient Egypt and the reality of mummification can be witnessed in museum exhibits. This lot is indeed such an artifact -- the actual head of an Egyptian mummy (guaranteed not to revive and stalk you with dragging leg and bandages).'

(I. M. Chait Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Auction: Session II: Important Natural History Auction'