Archaeological News

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The Greco-Roman museum in Alexandria, which has been hidden beneath iron scaffolding and green tarpaulin since it was closed in 2005, is to be restored.

Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh El-Damaty announced on Monday that restoration work at the museum would begin in December.

He told Ahram Online that the project had been delayed for three reasons: lack of funding, poor security and bureaucracy, but these had now been solved.

The Italian government has provided money to fund the restoration.

“The funds for the restoration come within the framework of a memorandum of understanding [MOU] signed with Egypt in 2008 to strengthen ties of friendship, cultural and scientific cooperation, and the protection of cultural heritage between Italy and Egypt,” said El-Damaty. Read more.


Russian underwater excavators working in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria have found a collection of sunken French artillery on the northern side of Pharos Island, near the city’s eastern harbour and Qaitbay Citadel.

The find includes a collection of guns, pistols and cannons that were once on board a French boat named Le Patriot, part of Napoleon Bonaparte’s fleet during the French expedition to Egypt in 1798, said Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities and Heritage Mamdouh El-Damaty.

The discovery at Alexandria’s eastern harbour sheds more light on the importance of the location in ancient times. Read more.

If the Roman Empire had entirely succeeded in its plans to rid Egypt of all things Cleopatra, the California Science Center would have an entirely different display in its third floor exhibition space.

A myth that has served as the story lines of many a film, novel, and stage production would have remained just that: a myth.

Alas, about 150 pieces of Egyptian artifacts “illuminating the life of Cleopatra VII” fill this very space of iconic museum a few miles south of the downtown Los Angeles skyline.

For the next few weeks, patrons will view large statues and little statuettes, illuminating jewelry, once-valuable coins, and elaborately handwritten notes that were once housed in Cleopatra’s lost palace in Alexandria. Read more.

Egyptian archaeologists have discovered four Greek and Byzantine-era rock tombs in a section of old Alexandria’s eastern necropolis in an area neighbouring Al-Ibrahimeya tunnel.

The site was discovered during excavations carried out by the Ministry of State for Antiquities (MSA) and stretches between the areas of Al-Shatbi and Mostafa Kamel.

Excavations uncovered four rock-hewn Greek and Byzantine tombs containing a collection of funerary pots, perfume containers and lamps.

MSA minister Mohamed Ibrahim stated that the aim of the excavations was to inspect the area for archaeological artefacts before declaring it free for residential building.

“It is a very important discovery that adds more detail to the archaeological map of Alexandria,” Ibrahim told Ahram Online. A finely decorated clay container from the second century BC was among the discoveries, he added.

Director general of Alexandria antiquities, Mohamed Mostafa, explained that the most important tomb is one dating from the Greco-Roman era which include an open courtyard with two rocky cylindrical columns in the middle. Two burial shafts filled with human skeletons and clay pots were also uncovered. Read more.

A radar survey of the temple of Taposiris Magna, west of Alexandria in Egypt, was completed last month as part of the ongoing search for the tomb of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony. The expedition excavating the temple and its surrounding area is headed by Dr. Zahi Hawass and Dr. Kathleen Martinez from the Dominican Republic.

The recent radar survey is a significant step forward and was carried out by an Egyptian team, with American expert Dr. Roger Vickers serving as a consultant. The radar revealed three possible areas of interest where a tomb may be located. These locations have been passed to the archaeological team who received the results of the survey with great interest, and will begin excavation of the targets next week.

The most important recent development at Taposiris Magna has been the discovery of a large, previously unknown cemetery outside the temple enclosure.

The expedition has found 27 tombs, twenty of them shaped like vaulted sarcophagi, partly underground and partly above ground. The remaining seven consist of staircases leading to simple burial chambers. Inside these tombs, the team has found a total of ten mummies, two of them gilded. The discovery of this cemetery indicates that an important person, likely of royal status, could be buried inside the temple. Read more.

CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian officials say archaeologists have unearthed the first basilica erected in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria.

Antiquities authorities say the basilica is dated to the Roman era and was built on the ruins of a temple from the Ptolemaic reign that ended with the death of Cleopatra.

A statement Thursday says two parallel rows of granite and limestone pillars suggest the basilica was a social site that was also used for trade and judicial matters.

It says several statues of the Ancient Egyptian goddess Isis — one showing her breast-feeding — and others of the Graeco-Egyptian god Serapis also have been unearthed during five months of excavations that ended in May when archaeologists hit underground water. (source)

Armed looters broke in to the Tel El-Dabaa antiquities warehouse on Thursday, stealing artifacts and breaking several pieces of the stored collection.

Mohamed Abdel Maqsoud, head of the Central Administration of Antiquities of Alexandria and Lower Egypt, said the warehouse was used to store artifacts found at Tel El-Dabaa’s archaelogical sites by Dutch and German excavation missions over the last 30 years. They include a collection of ancient Egyptian clay pots and amulets. Read more.

Archaeologists in Alexandria, Va., are finishing the first phase of a project to identify the location of long-forgotten African-American graves. But neighbors disagree about what should happen next.

Fifty years ago, the city of Alexandria condemned parts of an African-American neighborhood to create Fort Ward Park in time for the centennial of the Civil War, then started driving trucks over unmarked graves. Now that the sesquicentennial has started, the city has started a project to identify burials in four parts of the park.

Glenn Eugster, who lives in neighboring Marlboro Estates, says the city should spend what’s necessary to identify all the graves. Read more.