Egypt: Facing the past

Archaeologists excavating an ancient Egyptian necropolis near Aswan have come face-to-face with a high-status official buried 3,500 years ago, after uncovering his finely carved wooden sarcophagus. Elephantine (modern Qubbet el-Hawa) was a prestigious burial place for Egyptian nobles from c.2250 BC, with 40 tombs cut into its rocky cliffs. The research team, led by Professor […]


Egypt: Peckish Mummies

Egyptian birds were expected to live on in the afterlife, just like their human counterparts, according to new research published in the Journal of Archaeological Science. Using computed tomography (CT) scanners to examine two mummified ibises and a hatchling, an international team of scientists discovered that embalmers had returned the adult birds’ gizzards filled with […]

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Egypt: Fit for a pharaoh

Working at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, André Veldmeijer and Salima Ikram came across an old photograph illustrating a forgotten collection of ancient Egyptian leather horse-trappings belonging to the same museum. Suddenly, they had a new and exciting challenge on their hands.

Egypt: James Henry Breasted

He founded the Oriental Institute in Chicago, was the first American to achieve a doctorate in Egyptology, and his book is an enduring classic a century later. Yet few today even know his name. Here, Andrew Robinson reviews a new biography that should bring James Henry Breasted the recognition he deserves. James Henry Breasted has […]

Luxor: Rising damp

A multi-million dollar project to help preserve Luxor’s world-famous temples has resumed after being delayed for nine months by the Egyptian revolution. Subterranean water was damaging the foundation stones of Karnak, the Ramesseum, and the temples of Seti I, Merneptah, and Haremhab. Now, the USAid-funded initiative has been channelling this water into an enormous reservoir […]


Cairo: Egyptology in crisis

As the Arab Spring flooded through Egypt’s Tahrir Square, the old political order was swept away – and with it went Egyptology’s most controversial exponent, Dr Zahi Hawass. Tom St John Gray followed events earlier this year and now considers the consequences.


Infra-red imaging used to discover thousands of ancient Egyptian sites

Archaeologist Sarah Parcak, who teaches at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, admits to being astonished by her own achievement: ‘I couldn’t believe we could locate so many sites all over Egypt,’ she told the BBC recently, ‘using the new technique of infra-red satellite imaging.’ No less than 17 lost pyramids, more than 1,000 tombs, […]


Egyptian Enigma: The Starving of Saqqara

Packed in a crate with artefacts from the Middle East, the eery figures arrived in Montreal, Canada, in the mid 1950s. A simple hand-written label read: The Starving of Saqqara. But nothing else is known of this mysterious sculpture. A rare find, or a clever fake?

Classics professor Peter van Minnen works with papyri.

Papyrus Stories

Everyday concerns in ancient Egypt still resonate today, according to the latest issue of The Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists, the journal of those who study texts on papyrus, mainly from ancient Egypt. New texts are continually being found, especially in museum and private collections, because antiquities dealers of the past would often […]


Journey through the Afterlife: Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead

In 1819, the English physician and polymath Thomas Young – best known to archaeologists for his work in deciphering the Egyptian hieroglyphs – published a pioneering article in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. It offered a tentative decipherment of the Rosetta Stone and outlined the scope of a new science, today known as Egyptology. Towards ancient Egyptian […]


Egypt: Queen of the Desert

Khentkawes is hardly a household name. The historical record passes over this elusive figure without comment, while the scraps that testify to her existence could seem worthy of no more than a stale footnote in the annals of Ancient Egypt. Yet archaeology shows otherwise. It is revealing an exceptional and powerful lady who lived during […]


Rosetta Stone

How did a slab of black granite become the key to deciphering hieroglyphs

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