News and gossip October 1998-March 1999

11/03/99: Restitution of Egyptian objects

A small ceremony took place in the Egyptian Embassy in the UK on 11 March to celebrate the co-operation between the UK and Egypt in retrieving objects stolen from Saqqara. These were the objects associated with the court case in 1998 after which J. Tokely-Parry received a jail sentence. The stolen objects were first recognised at the British Museum in 1994, and then this was followed up by the police force in the UK, and then co-operation with the Egyptian Antiquities police enabled their source to be found, and further thefts at Saqqara were uncovered. The objects were displayed, including reliefs, papyri and other objects, and they are to be returned to Egypt.

An address was made by Dr Gaballa, head of the SCA, in which he avowed that Egypt would do its utmost to track down such thefts, and he hoped that such international co-operations as this would continue. The head of the UK police operation, Richard Ellis, then explained how the thefts had been made, how they were tracked down, and showed a number of harrowing slides of the damage done to antiquities in the process of theft and smuggling.

28/2/99 Lectures in Britain

Glanville lecture 8 May 1999

The Glanville lecture will be given by Dr Miroslav Werner of the Czech Egyptological Institute who will talk about, 'New Pyramids, New Tombs: Recent Discoveries at Abusir' The lecture will be on Saturday 8th May 1999 at 2.30 p.m. in Mill Lane Lecture Theatre, Mill Lane, Cambridge. Entry is free and everyone is welcome, but please would you obtain a ticket by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Dr Eleni Vassilika, Department of Antiquities, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge CB2 1RB.

Sackler Lecture 22 July 1999

The 1999 Raymond and Beverley Sackler lecture will be given by Prof. Erik Hornung on 'The Egyptian Underworld' in the Brunei Gallery, School of Oriental and African Studies London on 22 July at 18:00. Admission will be by ticket only; interested persons should contact the Department of Egyptian Antiquities, The British Museum, London WC1B 3DG, phone (UK) (0)171 323 8306, email

23/2/99 Deir el-Medina database and AEB 1995

I have been reminded that I have omitted to announce that this database is now functional. My apologies to those concerned: the address is

On the same lines, the AEB for 1995 is now available online:


14/2/99 Various

British Museum: the first web pages about the new Funerary Galleries due to open in May have gone on-line. Either enter through the main Museum site, or go direct to:


The library of the late Prof. Elmar Edel is up for sale as a unit. Interested institutions should contact: Elmar W. Seibel
Ars Libri, Ltd.
560 Harrison Avenue
Boston, MA 02118 USA
Tel. (617)357-5212 Fax (617)338-5763

The price is considerable.


4/2/99 Qantir

I have heard reports circulating about a horde of gold vessels etc being found in the German excavations at Qantir, the site of the ramesside capital of Pa-Ramesse. It would appear that this is based on the fact that this excavation has discovered some floor paintings in the buildings which bear traces of having been covered partly with gold leaf.

It is interesting how rumours spread; I remember when we found a statue in TT99 5 years ago, there were rumours among the locals that we had found a gold one!!

Recent dig reports online

I am aware of:

Information about any others would be appreciated.

28/1/99 More news from Giza

Reports from Denmark indicate that Zahi Hawwass has been including in recent lectures news about his excavations in the deep shaft near the Khafre pyramid, first discovered by Selim Hassan in the 1930s. By removing more water than has been possible before, he has found that there is a sarcophagus at the bottom; stories of chambers and 'other worlds' are a complete myth. Dr Zahi considers that the tomb might have functioned as a 'tomb of Osiris'.

I don't have a WWW link to this yet, although Zahi's web site should be consulted for future developments.

For an amusing look at pyramid controversies, I suggest you take a look at and the following pages.

27/1/99: IAE web page revived

The International Association of Egyptologists web page has re-appeared in Munich, under the oversight of Guenter Burkard. The url is The page is still under re-development.

November 98-January 1999: In Egypt

I'm in Egypt for a new season at TT99 in Luxor, so I may not be responding to email and news items very readily. However, we are trying to put out news about the ongoing excavations in the tomb, so do check out our Dig Diary 1998. Final update 1/1/99.

Tourism in Luxor is much better than when I left in January, but below levels prevailing before November 1997. Comprehensive security is in place to prevent the repetition of the events of November 17 1997, a date which will stay in my memory for a very long time. There are some indications that security levels may have been increased slightly following the (in my opinion unjustifiable) bombing of Iraq.

My information in the previous update to this file about tomb openings was wrong (blame my source). While Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni did come to Luxor on 25 December, he only visited some of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings, and it seems likely that the President will come to reopen the tombs. There is yet no news of when the two private tombs of Shuroy and Roy in Dra Abul Naga are going to be opened.

There are a considerable number of foreign missions active, including two new ones in the Valley of the Kings, and another excavating in the Royal Cache at Deir el-Bahari. On a lighter note, the local West Bank festival of Abul Qumsan took place on December 11-13, and I have made a page of photos about it.

I paid two visits to Giza and can personally attest to the new tombs and pyramids which have been opened in the last year or so. These include the group of four tombs of the family of Senedjemib Inti (5th-6th dynasty), two of the queen's pyramids beside that of Khufu, and the tombs of Iunminw and Debehen in the central cemetery (late 4th dynasty). Giza is now a site with a lot to see other than the pyramids and the sphinx, and it is possible to wander around the other tombs in a manner which cannot be done e.g. in Luxor.

Those who like me aren't comfortable using Cairo taxis (i.e. never know what to pay and are paranoid of being overcharged) might like to know that there is now an air-conditioned coach service running from Heliopolis to the Pyramids via Tahrir Square and Ramses station. The fare is LE 2 each way, and the bus numbers are 355 and 357; there are differences in the routes but I am not sure what. In Tahrir they can be boarded outside the Mogamma (City Hall) at the bus stop leading south on Kasr el-Aini street. They are a good way to get to the Pyramids, but something of a well-kept secret for tourists.

Coptic tourism? It's always nice to hear news about Egypt on the BBC when you're there. On Christmas Day there was a story that Egypt intends to develop the tourism potential of the Coptic tradition of the route which the Holy Family took on the flight into Egypt, in time for the year 2000. This will involve improving facilities on the route and, most important of all, restoring the relevant churches, monasteries etc themselves. It is always good to see money being spent not just on the Pharaonic antiquities, but on Coptic and Islamic ones as well.


7 November 98: Alexandria

One of the teams excavating underwater in Alexandria has found a number of sculptures and buildings which are being claimed as associated with the residence of the Ptolemies and Cleopatra. See for example the BBC reports:

Readers should be aware that there are in fact two underwater teams working in Alexandria. The one reported above is led by Franck Goddio, and the other, which has been working there longer, is led by Jean-Yves Empereur (I hope I have spelled that correctly!).

Please note that I shall be in Egypt from approximately 23 November until 1 January, so there is likely to be a break in communication for a while.



10 October 98: News

I understand that the dates for the next International Association of Egyptologists conference are 28 March to 3 April 2000, and that it will take place in Cairo. A circular will be coming soon to all members.

Also a couple of titbits from Egypt. Thanks to Helena Jaeschke for telling me that CNN reports indicated that Lake Nasser has reached a height of within 3m of its maximum fullness of water. Quite a change from the early 90s when so much cruising was disrupted due to low water. I also spotted a story that the SCA has banned camels and horses from the Pyramids area.



News from October 1997 to July 1998 can be located by clicking here.

News from July to October 1997 can be located by clicking here.

News from January 1996 to June 1997 can be located by clicking here.

News from April-December 1996 can be located by clicking here.

News from April 1995 to March 1996 can be located by clicking here.

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