Egyptologists get back to work despite continuing tensions

Egyptologists
Egypt has been in the news again this week with more tensions between the people and the army. What has received less coverage is the fact that Egyptologists are quietly resuming their work after an unwanted vacation. You can’t keep a good Egyptologist down, and these folks are busy making discoveries and taking care of the country’s fabulous monuments. Old projects are getting back into gear, and new excavations are starting up.

An international plan to protect the fabulous temples at Luxor from ground water has resumed operations. The water is eating away at the foundations of Luxor, Karnak, and other temples and the team hopes to divert it to a nearby reservoir.

Earlier this month, construction workers stumbled upon an ancient tomb with a hieroglyphic inscription in the suburbs of Cairo. An archaeological team hurried to the site and discovered it dated to the 26th Dynasty (c.685-525 BC).

A lot of looting happened after what the Egyptian press refers to as the “events in January”. Luckily, some of it is being recovered. Egyptian Tourism and Antiquities Police recovered a painted limestone relief that had been stolen from a warehouse.

Some Egyptologists are making discoveries without even going to Egypt. Dr. Aidan Dodson of the University of Bristol, UK, walked into the Torquay Museum and realized a sarcophagus they had on display was an extremely rare one intended for royalty. Further investigation revealed that the child that had been buried with it was in fact 1,000 years younger than his casket. Elaborate coffins were expensive, so the grieving parents decided to save some money, dumped out the previous occupant, and put Junior inside.

Hopefully this field season will be a good one, and there’ll be plenty of Egyptology news to talk about here on Gadling.

[Karnak photo courtesy Sean Ellis]