Category: Ann

Unique Iron Age Hoard goes on display at Ipswich Museum

The Iron Age gold coins discovered at Wickham Market, and their container. - Image courtesy of Suffolk Archaeological UnitFrom May 3rd until June 10th, the Ipswich Museum is hosting a free sneak preview of 2,000-year-old Iron Age gold coins once belonging to Boudicca’s Iceni tribe. The 200 coins on display are part of the Wickham Market hoard, discovered in 2008.

The Wickham Market hoard consists of 840 Iron Age gold coins which makes it the largest the largest hoard of its type found in Britain since 1849 (and is featured in our Top 10 Metal Detector Discoveries). Almost all of the coins belong to the Iceni tribe but five of them were ‘issued’ by a neighbouring tribe from Lincolnshire, the Corieltauvi. The hoard dates from between 20 BC and AD 20 about 40 years before queen Boudicca led her famous revolt against the Romans, which saw the destruction of the Roman towns of Colchester, London and St Albans.

It is thought that the coins were buried by members of the Iceni tribe whose kingdom covered Norfolk, north Suffolk and parts of Cambridgeshire. It is unknown why they buried the coins. Possibly the 840 coins were an offering to the gods, yet more likely is that the treasure was buried for safe keeping in troubled times. In that period, Cunobelin, leader of the Hertfordshire based Catuvallauni, had already taken over the Trinovantes tribe of south Suffolk and Essex and were looking to expand into Iceni territory. His attempt was unsuccessful but it may have been enough to worry people living near to the tribal borders.

Click To Watch Video
Episode 6: Boudicca, Celtic Warrior Queen
The Romans hated her, the Celts fought for her and now she is immortalised with a statue in Westminster. But who was Boudicca?

The Iron Age coins would not have been not used like money is today. The coins were a form of portable wealth, likely given to loyal warriors who served their tribal leaders. Each Iron Age tribe produced its own coins, complete with their own designs. Nowadays, archaeologists are able to plot tribal territories and understand the political landscape of Britain on the eve of the Roman invasion by tracking the spread of coin.

Caroline McDonald, Curator of Archaeology at the Ipswich Museum, is particularly excited by the ancient coins’ arrival.

Suffolk earth has revealed some of the nations most outstanding treasure finds in recent decades. The amazing Anglo-Saxon ship burial at Sutton Hoo in 1939, the stunning silver Roman dinner service found at Mildenhall during World War II and more recently the Hoxne hoard of Roman coins and artefacts found in the 1990s. All of these finds are now in London at the British Museum. The opportunity to purchase the Wickham Market coin hoard is the first time we could retain a national treasure in Suffolk, she points out.

It will be far better appreciated and understood here and gives everyone in the county something to be proud of.

The Iron Age gold coins discovered at Wickham Market, and their container. - Image courtesy of Suffolk Archaeological Unit

The Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service has until the end of June to raise 300,000 to purchase the hoard from the Crown, and began the fund-raising process by applying to the countrys major funders of heritage and the arts. However, Caroline urges everyone to come and see the coins while they are on display at the Ipswich Museum.

Colchester and Ipswich Museum has an outstanding record for fund-raising but until we raise all of the money this may be the only chance to see some of the hoard on display in Suffolk. This is our history at its finest so come and share in the excitement.

Ipswich Museum, located in High Street, is open Tuesday to Saturday 10-5pm and visiting is free of charge. Currently, the museum isn’t formally asking the public to contribute towards the purchase of the Wickham Market hoard, but if you do wish to help save this outstanding archaeological treasure for the nation and people of Suffolk, you can make a donation at the front desk.

Royal Artefacts – Including King Tut’s Golden Trumpet – Returned to Egyptian Museum Cairo

Four objects missing from the Egyptian Museum since the January Revolution have been returned, announced Dr. Zahi Hawass, Minister of State for Antiquities. Click for a slideshow showing the details of the state the Royal artefacts were returned in. - Image courtesy the Supreme Council of Antiquities.Four ancient Egyptian artefacts belonging to Tutankhamun, and missing from the Cairo Museum since the January Revolution have been returned, announced Dr. Zahi Hawass, Minister of State for Antiquities, in a statement to the press.

The objects returned include the gilded wooden statue of Tutankhamun standing on a skiff throwing a harpoon (JE 60710.1), part of King Tut’s burial treasure.

As can be seen in the photos below, the statue suffered damage; a small part of the crown is missing as well as pieces of the pharaoh’s legs.

The boat itself never left the Cairo Museum, and the artefact will now be reassembled and restored, as was previously done with the Tutankhamun Standing on a Panther statue.


Click the thumbnails to see the larger image.

The second returned object is one of the 10 missing shabtis of Yuya and Tjuya (JE 68984). It is still in very good condition; it does not require restoration and will be placed on display again immediately, stated Dr. Tarek El-Awady, Director of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

The third object is the famous gilded bronze and wooden trumpet of Tutankhamun (JE 62008).

The instrument and its wooden, painted core were both received in good condition and will be put on display immediately.

Also returned was a part of Tutankhamuns fan (JE 62006). One face is in good condition, sadly the other side has been broken into 11 pieces. Part of the royal fan – the stock itself – is still missing.

How the objects were returned to the Egyptian Museum, was not mentioned in the statement.

From the list of objects missing from the Cairo Museum, near to twenty items were retrieved in March, most of them confiscated from dealers.

Yet, some of Tutankhamun’s treasures remain lost; a gilded wood statue of Tutankhamun wearing the Red Crown, and the figurine showing a mummified King Tut being carried by Menkaret.

SCA releases full list of treasures missing from the Cairo Museum

Detail of a statue showing the goddess Menkaret supporting King Tutankhamun. - Photo copyright Sandro VanniniA month and a half after the Cairo Museum break-in, Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities has posted online a listing of sixty-three objects that were found to be missing following the looting. Amongst the missing Ancient Egyptian treasures are ritual statues and a fan belonging to King Tut, Yuya’s shabtis, amulets, as well as amulets and jewellery.

Final List of Objects Missing from the Egyptian Museum, as released by the SCA, March 15th 2011:

  • Gilded Wooden Figure of Tutankhamun on a Skiff, Throwing a Harpoon (the figure) – Carter no 275c?
  • Gilded Wood Statue of Tutankhamun Wearing the Red Crown – Carter no 296b?
  • Gilded Wooden Statue of Menkaret Carrying a Mummified Tutankhamun (the figurine of tutankhamun) Carter no 296a
  • Gilded Wood Fanstock – Carter no 600?
  • Gilded Bronze Trumpet with Painted Wooden Core –Carter no 050gg
  • Wooden Model Vase
  • Terracotta Plaque in the Form of a Bed
  • Bronze Seated Statue of Anubis
  • Bronze Seated Statue of Bastet
  • Bronze Striding Statue of the God Hapi
  • Bronze Top of a Scepter in the Shape of the Goddess Hat-Mehit Wearing a Fish Headdress (Lates Nilotica)
  • Bronze Striding Statue of Onuris
  • Bronze Seated Statue of Osiris
  • Schist Striding Statue of Neferhotep
  • Bronze Standing Statue of Osiris
  • Bronze Fish on a Stand
  • Limestone Statue of a Recumbent Bull
  • Bronze Standing Statue of Sobek in the form of a Crocodileheaded Man
  • Bronze Striding Statue of the Goddess Neith
  • Inscribed Bronze Seated Statue of a Cat (Bastet) Dedicated by Pediamen
  • Inscribed Bronze Striding Statue of Harpocrates Wearing the Andjety Diadem
  • Inscribed Bronze Sceptre of Ankhusiri
  • Bronze Statue of an Apis Bull Wearing the Sun Disk and Uraeus
  • Bronze False Beard
  • Bronze False Beard
  • Plastered Wooden Shabti of Tjuya Covered with Silver Leaf, Incised with Nine
  • Wooden Shabti of Yuya with Ten Lines of Inscription in Yellow
  • Painted and Gilded Wooden Shabti of Yuya with Seven Lines of Incised Inscription
  • Plastered and Gilded Wooden Shabti of Tjuya with Nine Lines of Incised
  • Wooden Shabti of Yuya with Eleven Lines of Inscription in Yellow
  • Wooden Shabti of Yuya with Nine Lines of Incised Inscription in Yellow
  • Wooden Shabti of Yuya with Nine Lines of Incised Inscription in Blue
  • Uninscribed Calcite Shabti of Yuya
  • Ebony Shabti of Yuya with Seven Lines of Inscription in Yellow
  • Painted Wooden Shabti of Yuya with Two Vertical Columns of Incised Blue
  • Unfinished Limestone Statue of Nefertiti as an Offering Bearer
  • Red Granite Striding Statue of an Amarna Princess
  • Quartzite Head of an Amarna Princess
  • Steatite Statue of Bes on a Calcite Base
  • Quartzite Statue of an Amarna Princess
  • Steatite Statue of a Scribe with Thoth as a Baboon on a Limestone Base
  • Painted Limestone Statue of a Seated Man
  • Bronze Statue of an Apis Bull with a Sun Disk Between its Horns
  • Striding Bronze Figure of Nakht
  • Painted Limestone Shabti of an Official
  • Faience Round Bead Bracelet
  • Gold, Stone and Faience Collar
  • Faience Bead Collar with Pendants in the Shape of Lily
  • String of 28 Coral Beads
  • String of Gold Beads and Figurines
  • Part of a Lapis Lazuli Girdle of Merytamun B
  • Necklace Composed of 44 Glass Beads Molded in Metal
  • 10 Faience Amulets and a Faience Bead
  • Painted Limestone Standing Statue of a Young Woman Wearing a Large Wig

The complete list available for download as .pdf from the SCA press site, or alternatively here contains for each of the objects the catalogue number, a short description, and where available, a low-resolution photograph or ‘sketch’ (see the Wooden Model Vase’) of the item.

No further statement regarding the ‘full list’ was given by the SCA.

Petrie Museum celebrates the extraordinary life of Amelia Edwards

On March 8th, International Woman’s Day is celebrating its centenary, and the Petrie Museum is joining in by honouring Victorian writer Amelia Edwards, for without her, there may have never have been a ‘Petrie Museum’.

Amelia Edwards was a novelist and travel writer, as well as an Egyptologist. After visiting for the first time in Egypt 1873, she wrote a vivid account of her adventure in A Thousand Miles up the Nile. She was the driving force behind the establishment of the Egypt Exploration Fund (now the EES) in 1882 to promote the scientific exploration of Egypt and its monuments.

I’m not Egyptologist, I’m not archaeologist, but I want my own bequest, my money to go somewhere, where I could have studied myself

With the help of Flinders Petrie, she started her own private Egyptology teaching collection. I’m not Egyptologist, I’m not archaeologist, but I want my own bequest, my money to go somewhere, where I could have studied myself, she said.

When she died in 1892, Amelia Edwards left her large collection to UCL, as at the time, it was the only university to award degrees to women. These items, several hundred Egyptian antiquities, as well as her library of books, photographs and other documents concerning ancient Egypt, now form the core of the Petrie Museum. She also left funds to create Britain’s first professorship in Egyptian Archaeology and Philology at UCL, held first by Flinders Petrie.

Click To Watch Video
Stephen Quirke on Amelia Edwards and The Petrie Museum
Heritage Key enters the Petrie Museum in London to talk to the curator Dr Stephen Quirke, who explains the importance of one of the co-founders of the Egypt Exploration Society – Amelia Edwards.

To honour Amelia Edwards contributions, on March 8th, the Petrie Museum will install a bust of Amelia Edwards, and an image of her study, at its entrance. This will be followed by a performance in the museum of ‘Hers was the Earth…’, a one-woman show by Kim Hicks about the extraordinary life of Amelia Edwards.

The Petrie Museum might just be London’s best concealed treasure, so why not combine celebrating women’s achievements with your own little adventure and discovering (hint!) a hidden gem?

‘International Womens Day the Petrie Museum honours Amelia Edwards’ starts at 6 pm, on Tuesday March 8th 2011. Tickets are 10 for Friends and 12 for non-Friends. To book, and for more information, see the Petrie Museum website, or mail the PMF’s secretary at

Directions: I strongly advice against starting at the UCL main entrance at Gower Street and trying to find your way through the university building(s), unless you want to ‘discover’ the two Coptos Lions brought from Egypt by Flinders Petrie. The lions can be found before the Provost’s Office at University College London, near the embalmed body of Jeremy Bentham (to then get to the Petrie museum,follow these instructions, from (5) to (7)). But the quickest way to access the museum, is definitely via Torrington Place.

New Clues to Welsh Origins of Stonehenge Bluestones

Map of the UK, showing the location of the Preseli Hills and Pont Saeson, in Wales, and Stonehenge. The source of Stonehenge’s bluestones a distinctive set of stones that form the inner circle and inner horseshoe of Stonehenge has long been a subject of fascination and considerable controversy.

In the early 1920s, one type of bluestone, the so-called spotted dolerite, was convincingly traced to the Mynydd Preseli area, in north Pembrokeshire. However, the sources of the other bluestones – chiefly rhyolites (a type of rock) and the rare sandstones remained, unknown.

Now geologists at Amgueddfa Cymru, the National Museum Wales, have further identified the sources of one of the rhyolite types.

The find also provides the opportunity for new thoughts on how the stones might have been transported to the Stonehenge area.

Dr Richard Bevins, in partnership with Dr Rob Ixer, University of Leicester and Dr Nick Pearce of Aberystwyth University, have been working on the rhyolite component of the bluestones, which leads them to believe it is of Welsh origin.

Click To Watch Video
A Druid Priest explains Stonehenge
Meet Kim Payne, a druid priest and listen to his explanations of the history of one of the world’s most enchanting and mysterious monuments. How did the stones get there? What are the issues with accessing it?

For their research, the team used standard petrographical techniques, as well as sophisticated chemical analysis using laser ablation induction coupled mass spectrometry in which the rock’s microscopic crystals are vaporised, with the chemical composition of the resulting gases unique for each form of rock.

They tested samples from Stonehenge and north Pembrokeshire, and matched one particular rhyolite to an area north of the Mynydd Preseli range, in the vicinity of Pont Saeson (ordenance survey map).

Matching up the rock from Stonehenge with a rock outcrop in Pembrokeshire has been a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack but Ive looked at many if not most outcrops in the Mynydd Preseli area, says Bevins.

We are however, confident that we have found the source of one of the rhyolites from Stonehenge because weve been able to make the match on a range of features not just a single characteristic. Now we are looking for the sources of the other Stonehenge volcanic and sandstone rocks.

Stonehenge Close Up - Ann

Much of the archaeology in recent years has been based upon the assumption that Neolithic Age man had a reason for transporting bluestones weighing up to four tonnes all the way from west Wales to Stonehenge and the technical capacity to do it.

“This recent discovery is very significant as it potentially provides us with new clues for understanding how and possibly why the Welsh bluestones were transported to the Stonehenge area, explains Dr Richard Bevins, Keeper of Geology at the National Museum Wales.

It has been argued that humans transported the spotted dolerites from the high ground of Mynydd Preseli down to the coast at Milford Haven and then rafted them up the Bristol Channel and up the River Avon to the Stonehenge area.

However, the outcome of our research questions that route, as it is unlikely that they would have transported the Pont Saeson stones up slope and over Mynydd Preseli to Milford Haven.

If humans were responsible then an alternative route might need to be considered. However, some believe that the stones were transported by the actions of glacier sheets during the last glaciation and so the Pont Season discovery will need appraising in the context of this hypothesis.

Stonehenge-researcher Mike Parker Pearson called the discovery hugely significant.

It forces us to re-think the route taken by the bluestones to Stonehenge and opens up the possibility of finding many of the quarries from which they came, added Parker Pearson, Professor of Archaeology at Sheffield University.

Its a further step towards revealing why these mysterious stones were so special to the people of the Neolithic.

The findings are published in the March 2011 edition of the Journal of Archaeological Science, as ‘Stonehenge rhyolitic bluestone sources and the application of zircon chemistry as a new tool for provenancing rhyolitic lithics‘.

Missing statue of Pharaoh Akhenaten returned to Cairo Museum

State of statue of Akhenaten after its return to the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Photo by Ahmed Amin Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities Affairs, Dr Zahi Hawass, announced today that the missing limestone statue of King Akhenaten, the likely father of Tutankhamun, has been returned to the Egyptian Museum, Cairo.

To date, four objects from the preliminary list of missing artefacts have been found; the Heart Scarab of Yuya, a shabti of Yuya, the statue of the goddess Menkaret carrying Tutankhamun, and now the statue of Akhenaten as an offering bearer.

Statue of Akhenaten returned

The statue of pharaoh Akhenaten is one of the unique statues from the Amarna Period on display at the Egyptian Museum. It is seven forty-three centimeters high and depicts the king standing, wearing a blue crown, and holding an offering table in his hands.

The statue is composed of limestone, with the exception of the calcite, or Egyptian Alabaster, base.

In a statement to the press, Dr. Hawass says that a sixteen-year-old male, one of the protestors at Tahrir Square, found the statue of Akhenaten beside a rubbish bin.

He brought the statue to his home and when his mother saw it she called her brother, Dr. Sabry Abdel Rahman, a professor at AUC. Dr. Rahman, in turn, called the Ministry of State for Antiquities Affairs to hand the statue over.

Last night, at the Antiquities and Tourism Police station at Cairo Opera House, an archaeological committee headed by Dr. Youssef Khalifa, head of a committee appointed by the Minister, accepted the returned statue of Akhenaten. The committee approved the authenticity of the statue and confirmed that it is in fact the statue of Akhenaten that was missing. The statue was returned to Dr. Khalifa intact, except for the offering table that was found separately inside the Egyptian Museum (photo showing the statue before the break-in).

Dr. Tarek El-Awady, Director General of the Egyptian Museum, said that both pieces of the statue are now in the conservation lab and would be subject to restoration before being returned to its permanent case in the Amarna Gallery.

Restorator working on the statue of Tutankhamun standing on a panther. Photo by Stephanie Sakoutis

Treasures missing from the Cairo Museum

From the preliminary list of missing objects released; four objects this includes the limestone statue of ‘heretic pharaoh’ Akhenaten as an offering bearer have been.

The missing Heart Scarab of Yuya was recovered on the west side of the Egyptian Museum’s gardens, as well as some wooden fragments belonging to the damaged New Kingdom coffin.

One of the eleven missing shabtis of Yuyawas found inside the museum, underneath a showcase, and fragments belonging to the statue of Tutankhamun being carried by the goddess Menkaret have been found as well. All the located fragments belong to the figure of Menkaret. The small figure of the boy king is still missing.

Other objects not yet retrieved are the torso and upper limbs of a gilded wood statue depicting King Tut harpooning, a statue of Nefertiti making offerings, a sandstone head of an Amarna princess, a stone statuette of an Amarna scribe and ten wooden shabtis from Yuya.

In the mean while, restoration works on the items damaged at the Cairo Museum break-inthe statue of King Tut standing on a panther, and the gilded cartonnage mummy bands of Thuya, amongst othersare ongoing.

Further break-ins and looting at Saqqara and Abusir

In a second statement to the press, Dr Hawass announced that several sites have been vandalized. Today, Dr. Sabry Abdel Aziz, head of the Pharaonic Sector of the Ministry of Statefor Antiquities Affairs, reported to the Minister that the tomb of Hetep-Ka, in Saqqara, was brokeninto, and the false door was stolen along with objects stored in the tomb.

In Abusir, a portion of the false door was stolen from the tomb of Re-Hotep. In addition, many magazines also suffered break-ins: magazines in Saqqara, including the one near the pyramid of Teti, and the magazine of Cairo University all had their seals broken.

The Egyptian Military caught, and dismissed, thieves attempting to loot the sites of Tell el Basta; the military also caught criminals trying to loot a tomb in Lischt. There have also been many reports of attacks on archaeological lands through the building of houses and illegal digging.

Egypt tourist sites set to reopen

Despite these troubles, in a bid to see tourists return to Egypt, it was announcedthat all of thePharaonic, Coptic, Islamic, and modern sites would reopen to the public on Sunday, 20 February2011.

King Tut treasures missing after Cairo Museum break-in

Tutankhamun being carried by a goddess, one of the statues missing from the Cairo Museum. Photo Griffith InstituteAn inventory check at the Cairo Museum, Egypt – two weeks after the protests at the capital lead to a break-in at the national museum – shows that not all of ancient Egyptian treasures are accounted for.

Amongst the missing antiquities – ranging from little shabtis to larger stone statues – are objects that were discovered in King Tuts tomb.

Dr. Zahi Hawass, Egypts Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs, announced today that the staff of the database department at the Egyptian Museum, Cairo have given him their report on the inventory of objects at the museum following the January break in.

Sadly, he said, they have discovered objects are missing from the museum.

Statue of Akhenaten holding an offering table. Photo by Ken GarrettObjects that were likely taken during the break-in, are a gilded wood statue of the 18th Dynasty King Tutankhamun being carried by a goddess; and one of two ritual figurines showing Tutankhamun harpooning a hippo(the damage the statue has sustained can be seen in the image in ‘Egypt Protests Sees Cairo Museum Looted as Artefacts and Mummies are Damaged‘).

From the latter, only the torso and upper limbs of the Pharaoh are missing.

Also stolen from the museum are a limestone statue of Akhenaten holding an offering table, and a statue of Nefertiti making offerings.

Further objects that were recoreded to be lost are a sandstone head of an Amarna princess; a stone statuette of a scribe from Amarna; eleven wooden shabti statuettes of Yuya; and a Heart Scarab of Yuya.

Update Feb 16 2011:Some of these objects have been found and have been returned to the Cairo museum. These are the statue of Akhenaten, one of Yuya’s shabtis, her Heart Scarab and parts of the statue of King Tut being carried by the goddess Menkaret.

Hawass asserted that an investigation has begun to search for the people who have taken these objects, and the police and army plan to follow up with the criminals already in custody.

Click To Watch Video
Tutankhamun’s Burial Treasures: The Ritual Figures
Dr Janice Kamrin continues her tour of the Egyptian Museum, Cairo with a look at the ritual figures found in the Tomb of King Tutankhamun (KV62).

Other Tutankhamun objects – such as the statue of the Pharoah standing on a black panter – damaged during the looting, are amongst seventy artefacts that will be restored.

In another terrible turn of events, on the night of 11 February, 2011 a magazine in Dahshur – called De Morgans – was broken into.

This magazine contains large blocks, as well as small artifacts.

The statement does not say if any objects were taken from the De Morgan’s magazine.

Egyptian Museum Cairo: Royal mummies unharmed & King Tut’s treasures to be restored

One of the Late Period Skulls in the storage room next to the CT scanner lab at the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. - Photo by Sandro Vannini (Exif data 31th of January 2011)During a short inspection tour of the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Dr. Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s newly appointed Minister of Antiquities, has announced that the restoration of seventy objects, damaged during the failed looting attempt on January 28, has begun and will be completed within five days. The restoration project includes the statue of Tutankhamun standing on the back of a panther and a New Kingdom wooden sarcophagus, both damaged by the criminals.

“One showcase in the Ahkenatengalleries was smashed; it contained a standing statue of the king carrying an offering tray. While the showcase is badly damaged, the statue sustained very minor damage and is repairable,” Dr Hawass explains in the statement. “Anothervirtine that was smashed contained one of King Tutankhamuns walking sticks. The gilded stick isbroken into two pieces, and can be restored. The other King Tutankhamun object that was damagedwas the wooden statue of the king standing on the back of a panther. Both objects were taken out oftheir showcase and were dropped on the floor after the thieves realized that they were not made ofgold.”

He added that the two mummies that were reported as damaged at the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, were in fact unidentified skulls dating to the Late Period; they do not belong to royal mummies. They were being temporarily housed in the storage room next to the CT scanner lab, which is in the grounds of the museum. The skulls were there to be used to test the CT scanner.

Dr. Zahi standing near the broken vitrine containing the damaged New Kingdom coffin. - Photo by Sandro Vannini

“When the crisis erupted, I took a very quick walk through the museum and thought that the two skulls thrown on the floor of one of the side rooms might belong to some of the royal mummies examined in our DNA research project on the royal mummies (the Egyptian Mummy Project), namely those found in KV55. However, I examined all of the royal mummies last week and then reexamined them again today; I am happy to report that they all are safe and untouched, including those of Akhenatens family members. As for these two skulls, they were kept in a storeroom next to the CT scanner lab, and were used for testing the machine.

Dr. Hawass further announced that steps are being taken to reopen all of the Egyptian archaeological sites to visitors. During his statements Dr. Hawass asserted that the sites of Memphis, Saqqara, and Abusir are secure and safeguarded by the army and honest Egyptian people.

So far, the SCA recognizes two incidents related to antiquities have happened:

1)The break-in at the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, resulting in 70 broken objects,all of which can and will be restored, and

2) The break-in at the storage magazine at Qantara, in the Sinai. We do not know exactly how many objects were stolen from this magazine, but a total of 6 boxes were taken. All of these objects came from excavations or were being stored there from the Port Said Museum.As of today, 288 objects have been returned, and I am sure that any other artifacts still missing from this magazine will be returned. [SCAStatement, February 3, 2011]

Despite various stories on the web that some tombs and storage magazines were indeed accessed by vandals, so far, not much about the extent of vandalism, and what exactly is – or isn’t – damaged is known. Yet, reports like this one from Saqqara, do give good hopes for the majority of archaeological treasures to be intact: “He also showed me a handful of tombs where robbers had succeeded in breaking steel padlocks on the doors. Once the robbers realized the rooms were empty, Farag says, they ignored the gorgeous reliefs on the walls and went elsewhere, presumably hoping to find gold, jewels, and other treasures they could carry away.”

Good sources to check for updates are:, Culture Grrl, KV64, the SCA website,, the, and Owen’s Unreported Heritage News.

Egypt issues official repatriation request for famous Berlin bust of Queen Nefertiti

Queen Nefertiti - Nofretete in German - was last moved in 2009, to take her place at the renovated Neues Museum, Berlin.The Supreme Council of Antiquities announced today that Secretary General Dr. Zahi Hawass has sent an official request for the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti to be returned to Egypt. This request was approved by the Prime Minister of Egypt, Dr. Ahmed Nazif, and Minister of Culture, Farouk Hosny, after four years of research by a legal committee composed of legal personnel and Egyptologists.

Update: Response from the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, which states the letter was _not_ signed by Egypt’s Prime Minister, and thus is not official, in the comments.

The request letter was send to Dr. Hermann Parzinger, president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, who previously clearly stated Nofretete bleibt in Berlin! – Nefertiti stays in Berlin. This Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in Berlin is the governing body of all state museums in Germany, including the Neues Museum, where the Nefertiti bust is currently located, accessioned as Inventory No. AM 21300. In addition, a copy of the letter has been given to the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Cultural Department to forward on to the Egyptian Ambassador to Germany who will, in turn, send it to Dr. Parzinger. The SCA has sent a third copy of the letter to the German Ambassador to Egypt.

Dr. Hawass said that this request is a natural consequence of Egypts long-standing policy of seeking the restitution of all archaeological and historical artifacts that have been taken illicitly out of the country, especially those items that are considered unique. The painted bust of Nefertiti is universally recognized as a unique and irreplaceable artifact.

The 3,400-year-oldbust is also first on the Wish List of five important objects that Egypt hopes to have returned, as announced on April 8th, 2010, at the Conference on International Cooperation for the Protection and Repatriation of Cultural Heritage.

In a statement issued by the SCA, Dr. Hawass says he and the Government of Egypt are confident that the German authorities will act in accordance with article 13(b) of the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970), which calls on all states party to the convention to ensure that their competent services cooperate in facilitating the earliest possible restitution of illicitly exported cultural property to its rightful owner.

In this context it should be pointed out that in 1978 the Director General of UNESCO issued A Plea for the Return of an Irreplaceable Cultural Heritage to those who Created it, and called upon those responsible for preserving and restoring works of art to facilitate, by their advice and actions, the return of such works to the countries where they were created.

Egypt recognizes, and appreciates, the care and effort undertaken by the Government of Germany to preserve and display the painted limestone bust of Queen Nefertiti. Inspired by the excellent relations between our two countries, the Government of Egypt is confident that the German authorities will assist in facilitating its return.

After World War II, Egypt made another formal request, this time to the Allied Control Council, who at that time was responsible for art objects in Germany. The Legation of His Majesty the King of Egypt at Prague sent a memorandum, dated April 14, 1946, to the Allied Control requesting the repatriation of the Nefertiti head, which was followed up by an official request from the Egyptian Ambassador to the US Secretary of State, dated February 21, 1947.

On March 8, 1947, the Allied Control answered that they did not feel that they had the authority to make this decision, and recommended that the request be made again after a competent German Government had been reestablished.

The statement further reads: “Egypt recognizes, and appreciates, the care and effort undertaken by the Government of Germany to preserve and display the painted limestone bust of Queen Nefertiti. Inspired by the excellent relations between our two countries, the Government of Egypt is confident that the German authorities will assist in facilitating its return. The Government and People of Egypt are eager that this unique treasure be returned to the possession of its rightful owners, the Egyptian People.”

Dr. Hawass added that the bust of Nefertiti, upon its return, will be exhibited at the Akhenaten Museum in Minya opening in early 2012.

The Bust of Nefertiti was excavated by the team of Ludwig Borchardt on December 6, 1912. It was found in the workshop of court sculptor Thutmose, at Amarna. At the time Egypt was under French control, and excavation regulations stated only that unique discoveries would become part of the Egyptian national collection and that half of what remained was to go to the excavator.

In 1923 Nefertiti went on display in Germany, and she has been hounded by controversy ever since. Not only the ownership of the limestone bust(10 reasons why she should stay in Berlin, by Bija), but also its authenticity(the only thing Dr Hawass and Berlin seem to agree upon) is often debated.

Six missing pieces of Pharaoh Amenhotep III & Queen Tiye statue found at king’s funerary temple

The pieces recovered come from Amenhotep III's chest, nemes headdress and leg, and Queen Tiye's wig, left arm, fingers and foot. A small section of the base of the double statue was also found.Egyptian Minister of Culture, Farouk Hosny announced today that six missing pieces from the colossal double statue of the 18th Dynasty King Amenhotep III and his wife Queen Tiye, have been discovered at the kings mortuary temple on Luxors west bank.

The fragments were found during excavation work by an Egyptian team under the direction of Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA).

 Cairo Museum, Egypt

The pieces from Amenhotep III‘s statue that were recovered come from the right side of his chest, nemes headdress, and leg.

Statue fragments of Queen Tiye that were uncovered include a section of her wig, and pieces from her left arm, fingers and foot.

A small section of the base of the double statue was also found.

The measurements of the six missing fragments range from 47cm to 103cm.

After French egyptologist Auguste Mariette discovered the double statue at Medinet (Thebes) in 1889, the statue was restored, and an Italian team filled in the missing pieces with modern stonework.

Today, the statue of Pharoah Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye – parents of Akhenaten – is a centerpiece of the main hall at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, which was founded by Mariette.

The newly discovered pieces are currently being held at the site of Amenhotep III s mortuary temple on the west bank, but will soon be relocated to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo for restoration and placement into the colossal statue (explore the treasures hidden in the Cairo Museum’s basement, in this video featuring Dr Zahi Hawass).

Archaeologist Abdul Ghafar Wagdy, supervisor of the excavation at the site in Luxor, said that the pieces of statuary were found as part of a project to lower the ground water on the west bank of Luxor (watch our Heritage Key video about saving Amenhotep III’s funerary temple at Thebes).

These six pieces are only a few of nearly 1,000 statuary fragments that have been found dating from the Pharonic to the Coptic era.

All the pieces that have been found to date are being stored in the west bank magazines for documentation and restoration.