Treasures Hidden in the Cairo Museum’s Basement

Cairo Museum BasementIt is not only at excavation sites that amazing artefacts can be discovered, but the archives of previous digs as well as the artefacts already in museums can still surprise us. Or what about the basement of the Cairo museum? Thousands of pieces, hidden away from both scholars and public. At least for now. Plans are under way to do a thorough ‘clean up’of the gigantic basement and who knows what will come to light when all items are eventually moved to the Grand Egyptian Museum?

In the mean while, Dr. Zahi Hawass tells us about how a recent ‘re-discovery’ of the storage boxes of the Kom Abu Billu excavation by Sabah Abed el Razek revealed his first – archaeology – love:a statue of Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love, known as Hathor to the ancient Egyptians.

This isn’t the first artefact to re-surface, sometimes literally. Renovation works in the western area of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square, Cairo has more recently brought to light a new archaeological cachette. The find included nine artefacts, among them an offering table, the upper part of a limestone stela, stones bearing hieroglyphs, and an engraved Ramesside limestone column base, with a cobra found next to it.

Video: Dr. Hawass reacquainted with First Love in Cairo Museum Basement

(Transcription of this video.)

I found my love archaeology.

Dr. Hawass then told the press that two cachettes had previously been found in the Egyptian Museums garden; before 1952, archaeologists used to bury artefacts of questionable authenticity there, but only after they had been recorded in the museums register books and scientifically published. No records, however, had yet been found concerning this latest cachette.

And the renovation works at the museum – it’s becoming a real trend – continue: in the basement there are big plans for lecture and study halls as well as a temporary exhibition hall. And of course, the new exit – at the western side, where the cachette was found – visitors will be able to find a large book store, a cafeteria and other facilities.

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