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Luxor Times: 19 Dec 2014

Luxor Times

Friday 19 December 2014

British Consul visits Amenhotep III colossi and hopes for more British tourists to come back to Luxor

On Wednesday, on his second day of an official visit to Luxor, British Consul in Egypt, John Hamilton has visited the site of the newly re-erected colossi statues of Amenhotep III at the Northern gate of the King’s funerary temple on the west bank of old Thebes.

Mr. Hamilton arrived at the site where he met with by Dr. Hourig Sourousian, the head of the European-Egyptian mission working at the site.

Dr. Hourig talked to the British Consul about the history of the temple, its enormous size, the project to save the colossi, moving the blocks and fragments from the fields nearby and re-assembling them at the current location.

Mr. Hamilton was impressed with the size and condition of the colossi after restoration and he shared Dr. Hourig’s wish to be able to see the complete site of Amenhotep III temple reconstructed where it once was standing as the biggest temple on the west bank in Luxor.

After the visit, Mr. Hamilton told Luxor Times “I was very impressed with what I have seen there, it is a great enhancement to the antiquities that are on show and a really good example of how the archaeologists working in cooperation with the local community and are able to rescue such important artefacts and display them in a good and sensitive manners so that many visiting tourists can enjoy them.”

Answering a question on what to say to British travellers, the British Consul said “There are many such great things to see here in Luxor and British tourists have been travelling here to Luxor for more than 150 years now and enjoying these sites in that time. I do hope that many more keep coming back and enjoy the many new developments from the old sites there are to see here.” 

#Egypt #Luxor #UKinEgypt #FCO #AmenhotepIII #Tourism #Travel #AncientEgypt #Antiquities

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Mummy Curse Strikes Again: MSA Stops BYU Mission

The news spread all over about a million mummies cemetery unearthed at the site of Fag El Gamous in Fayoum where the mission of “Brigham Young University” directed by Dr. Kerry Muhlestein. This led to the decision made by the Ministry of Antiquities to stop the mission from working at the site again.

 (Screen shot of the article published by the Daily Mail online)

Luxor Times has contacted Dr. Muhlestein requesting an interview concerning the discovery and we received the following reply on Wednesday night “Because there have been too many requests from media sources to answer each request individually, I am sending each request this same statement.
We continue to excavate in Egypt and to study the results of past excavation seasons. Thus, all results are preliminary.
The cemetery is largely a Roman period cemetery, located in the Fayoum area of Egypt. The burials are not in tombs, but rather in a field of sand. The people in the cemetery represent the common man. They are the average people who are usually hard to learn about because they are not very visible in written sources. They were poor, yet they put a tremendous amount of their resources into providing beautiful burials.
The cemetery is densely populated. In a square that is 5 x 5 meters across and usually just over 2 meters deep, we will typically find about 40 burials. The cemetery is very large, and so far seems to maintain that kind of burial density throughout. Thus the math suggests that there are over a million mummies in the cemetery, though we cannot be certain of this without further exploration and a thorough academic review process.”
Dr. Kerry Muhlestein (Source: Youtube)

Today (Thursday), the ministry of antiquaries denied the “discovery of a million mummies cemetery” and made an official statement describing the published news as “rumors” and decided to stop any cooperation with the mission after the press statement were published in the Daily Mail.
So Luxor Times approached Dr. Kerry Muhlestein again and asked him what does he has to say about the Ministry decision to stop the mission and the statement of Dr. Youssef Khalifa.
Dr. Muhlestein responded in almost no time saying “I believe there have been some misunderstandings. I would like to work this out with the Ministry, for whom I have the greatest respect.”

Dr. Youssef Khalifa, head of Ancient Egypt department, said to Luxor Times on phone “What was published in the newspaper is not true. There are no million mummies, a mummy definition to begin with means a complete mummified body and there is only one mummy found at the site of Fag El Gamous in 1980 which is at the Egyptian museum since then.”  Dr. Youssef added “In the past few seasons of the mission’s work at the site, only poor skeletons were found and some thousands of bone’s remains. The mission violated the rules and regulations of the agreement with the Ministry of Antiquities concerning making press statements and that’s why the committee of the ancient Egypt department took the decision to stop their permission to work at the site after 28 years of working at the site and the last season finished last March.”
When we mentioned to Dr. Youssef that the director of the mission told Luxor Times that there have been misunderstandings, Dr. Youssef said “What was published was clearly stating wrong information and I think the Permanent Committee will also approve our department’s decision to stop the mission.”
 Dr. Youssef Khalifa

What did really happen? Was this announcement a publicity stunt from the mission? or the British newspaper will be blamed for publishing wrong information? or maybe the Ministry officials did not like that the announcement of such a discovery was made away from the Minister?

More will be revealed soon and till then, we hope that any misunderstandings or mistakes to be cleared as Egypt needs the work and cooperation of different institutions at the moment.

#Egypt #FagelGamous #AncientEgypt #BYU #Muhlestein #MinistryofAntiquities #History #Discovery #DailyMail

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