News and gossip April 95-March 96


Czech archaeologists have recently discovered the tomb of a Late Period nobleman in their work at Abusir. More details when I have the time to paraphrase a Reuter report.

Demolition of Saqqara Museum

JC Paulson has drawn our attention to the demolition of the Museum at Saqqara, built in the 60s but never used, and sometimes referred to by Egyptologists as the "White Elephant":


...An unfinished museum -- under construction within 200 meters of the 4700-year-old, west bank, Zoser Step Pyramid -- is being demolished. Egyptian Minister of Culture, Farouq Hosni, decided the project was an aesthetic threat to the area. Archaeologists had also objected to the museum on the grounds that it might hinder excavations in a potentially rich archaeological area -- the day prior to the announcement, a late Ptolemaic sarcophagus and clay coffin wth skeleton visible inside had been discovered in the area. The demolished museum was the dream of French Egyptologist, Jean-Philippe Lauer, who worked at the Zoser Pyramid on the Saqqara Plateau for 65 years. The museum would have held artifacts from, and a model of, the Zoser Pyramid. [paraphrased by JCPaulson from an article in the "New York Times," Sunday, March 10, 1996, Travel section, pg3]

Prof. Alexander Boehlig

Wolfgang Schenkel informed the ANE list of the death of the Coptologist Alexander Boehlig:

Der Koptologe Alexander Boehlig Dr.phil., Dr. theol. Professor i.R. fuer Sprachen und Kulturen des christlichen Orients an der Universitaet Tuebingen ist im Alter von 83 Jahren gestorben. Trauerfeier heute, 29. Januar 1996 in Tuebingen (Beerdigung in Muenchen).

Pharos Lighthouse

An update on finds from the Pharos lighthouse was spotted in Archaeology magazine online by Adam D. Philippidis. [I am told that this link does not work as of Sept 96]

News from the pyramids

13/11/95: The following spotted in sci.archaeology:

AN EGYPTIAN PYRAMID CLOSES FOR RESTORATION paraphrased from an article in the "NYTimes" Travel Section dated Sunday, November 12, 1995

The Chephren pyramid, one of the three famous pyramids at Giza was closed to visitors after a 3 ft. 4 in. by 8 in. section of stone ceiling fell off in the burial chamber. It will be closed for a minimum of six months. This is only the second time the pyramid has been off limits to visitors since it was first opened in 1882. The restoration work will involve the installation of sensitive devices to measure humidity, repairing surface cracks, and modernizing the lighting system. The work began October 10. Damage was attributed to poor ventilation, increased tourist traffic, and the "EXCAVATION OF MORE THAN 20 TRUCKLOADS OF FINE SAND IN SEARCH OF HIDDEN CHAMBERS."

Thanks to Judith Paulson

AND: Zahi Hawass, the director of the Giza necropolis, announced over the weekend at the conference on the Origins of the Egyptian state that the antiquities service would be attempting to get beyond the airshaft door in the great pyramid in May 1996. He also announced that the great pyramid would be closed for a period of one year to work on lowering the humidity inside and removing salts as is being done in the Khafre pyramid. He further announced that the pyramids at Abusir and Dashur would be made more accessible to tourists. Dashur is currently closed because it is in a restricted military zone.

Courtesy Al Berens (

Nefertari to reopen

1/11/95: A Reuter news article reports that that Nefertari's tomb will finally be reopened to the public on 4 November. A free mention on this page awaits the first person to report to me as having been in it.

30/11/95: And that person is: Bertha Tsang; her account of it may be read here.

7/11/95: Gordon Govier has heard that the number of visitors to the tomb is restricted to a very small number of people each day (the figure of 150 has been mentioned by Alexander Biesbroek, from Dutch radio), and that each visitor may be required to wear a mask to control the humidity in the tomb. Gordon says that the charge is in the range of $26/visit.

15/11/95: Hans van den Berg reports that the entrace fee is LE 100. One suspects that there has been a lot of dispute about the reopening, since the original idea was that it should not be publicly accessible after conservation.

Work restarting north of Luxor

It looks like expeditions are starting to work north of Luxor again. Expeditions are going back to Dendera and Abydos, but the main area to be avoided is still the central part of Middle Egypt. Further information would be welcome. This information is courtesy Steve Harvey, Gene Cruz-Euribe, and Hans van den Berg.


Abzu has now been mirrored in Cambridge. Transatlantic connection speeds were making access of this important resource from the UK less than easy, and so a duplicate is now set up on this site. The home page reflects this; it can also be accessed by clicking here. My thanks to Chuck Jones for making this possible.

The Lighthouse of Alexandria

Gareth Lloyd ( has kindly provided the following paraphrase of an article in the Daily Telegraph, Tuesday, September 26, 1995.

A team of French archaeologist divers believe they have found the remains of the former Wonder of the Ancient World, the lighthouse of Alexandria. The tower, known as Pharos, was constructed under Ptolemy I on an island of the same name adjacent to the harbour at Alexandria. It's original height has been variously estimated to be around the same as that of the Great Pyramid, but with a much narrower base of 86 feet square. This gave the structure a unique "skyscraper" like appearance. A fire beacon atop the lighthouse was magnified with mirrors or a lens and was visible from a distance of up to 40 miles away. The archaelogists have found various masonry blocks under the sea off Alexandria which they are confident come from Pharos and they are currently searching for the giant statue which once surmounted the structure.

Bauval and the Orion "Mystery"

Some very superficial material relating to this theory, worth reading for amusement value if nothing else, may be found at this URL. Originally spotted by Chuck Jones.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica

Elin Rand Nielsen has drawn my attention to a free (at present) on-line beta version of this Encyclopaedia, called Britannica Online. There are 500+ entries under egypt.

The URL is

Users have to register before using it and are asked to evaluate it. It will eventually go commercial.

Prof. Jan Quaegebeur

On 10 August, Willem Hovestreydt posted the following on the ANE list:

With deep regret we just received the news of the unexpected death of Prof. Jan Quaegebeur, who held the chair of Egyptology at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. His loss will be deeply felt by many in the Egyptological community.

The following from: (willy Clarysse):

The burial service will be on Saturday August 10, at 11 o'clock in the church of the Beguinage at Leuven. Messages can be sent to me on e-mail or to his wife Lieve Quaegebeur, Prinses Lydialaan 2, 3001 Heverlee.

New Egypt Interest group

Following message spotted on the ANE list: A group of Ancient Egypt enthusiasts based in the Portland, OR /Seattle, WA area, several of whom are ARCE, EES, and OI members, are working to form an Ancient Egypt interest group. The aim of the group would be to sponsor lectures and discussions on Egypt. Anyone in the area, and elsewehere, who would be interested in participating, either as a member or as a lecturer, is invited to contact either of us here in Portland for more information.

Thank you.

George Joseph (

John Sarr (

Discovery in Luxor?

Charles Jones notes that in a Reuters News Service story issued on June 13 1995, it is reported that the Supreme Council of Antiquities has announced the discovery of a tomb of a king of the 18th dynasty under a house in the southern province of Luxor,in the village of Kournet Marei. The report states that AbdelHalim Nourredin, director of the council, believes it could belong to a king called Tuthmosis who ruled Egypt nearly 3,500 years ago. Among objects found in the tomb is a mummified human skull.

More information about this would be welcome!

Future Egyptian Exhibitions

For a summary of a Reuter article, click here.

Unusual portrait found at Saqqara

For a Reuters article, click here.

Amusing story from the Met

Date: 30 May 1995 13:04:53 U
From: "Richard Beal" 

Jacksons couldn't swing it with museum
    NEW YORK (Reuter) - How about Grand Central Station? The
United Nations? The World Trade Centre? Macy's? Times Square? Or
maybe the Bronx Zoo?
    Michael and Lisa Marie Presley Jackson hunted for a place to
talk to the press after a museum refused to let the couple use
the only genuine Egyptian temple in Manhattan.
    A spokeswoman for ABC's ``Primetime'' television programme
said several New York locations were being considered for an
exclusive interview with the couple on June 14 after the
Metropolitan Museum of Art said they could not use its Temple of
Dendur for security reasons.
Reut01:15 05-26-95

Reuter N:Copyright 1995, Reuters News Service

News of KV5

News has surfaced in the press on 15/5/95 about the excavations in tomb KV5 in the Valley of the Kings. For reports and comments dated 16/5/95 click here. For an eyewitness account click here.

The most interesting information to appear so far is an article in the current issue of TIME magazine (23/5/95). This features on TIME's web pages; click here for the story together with downloadable movie files. Click here to go to TIME's home page. IMPORTANT NOTE: this server is very busy and connections will often not succeed.

Weeks has also apparently been interviewed on a TV programme in the USA. It lasted 15 minutes and included a diagram of the tomb and photos. For a report on a phone-in, click here.

He will also be giving two free lectures on the new finds in the Valley of the Kings at the Fowler Museum on the UCLA campus on Tuesday, May 30th and Thursday, June 1st, each time at 8 pm.

He will also present a 35 minute slide talk about recent discoveries at Tomb 5 on Monday, June 5, in Breasted Hall at noon in the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago. The lecture is free and open to the general public as well as to OI faculty and students.


New pyramid at Saqqara

A pyramid of a Queen of Pepy I has reportedly been found at Saqqara.

News from Jan-Mar 1995 can be located by clicking here.

News from 1994 can be located by clicking here.

Unless otherwise indicated, © Nigel Strudwick 1994-2016