Discovery of new ancient tombs in Egypt


Archaeologists from the University of Birmingham have found “compelling evidence” of new pharaonic tombs at Qubbet el-Hawa in Aswan, Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities has revealed.

A two-metre high ancient encroachment wall has been discovered below a visitors’ pathway in the northern part of the West Aswan cemetery at Qubbet el-Hawa.

It follows and archaeological mission by the University of Birmingham and the Egypt Exploration Society (EES) Qubbet el-Hawa Research Project Group (QHRP), directed by Dr Martin Bommas of the University of Birmingham.

The newly discovered wall is thought to indicate the architectural support for the known tombs of the first upper terrace, including those of Harkhuf and Heqaib, who were governors of Elephantine Island during the Old Kingdom.

Owing to the landscape of Qubbet el-Hawa, the support wall helped to secure the hillside, and thus lower lying tombs, which were accessible by a causeway leading to a second terrace.

Carl Graves, a PhD student who worked alongside Dr Bommas on the project, said: “The findings are dramatically altering our understanding of the funerary landscape in this area during the Old Kingdom and First Intermediate Period in 2278-2184BC. I don’t think anyone yet knows who the tombs might have belonged to.”

Nasr Salama, General Director of Aswan and Nubia Antiquities, describes the discovery as “stunning” telling the Egypt Independent that it is now only a matter of time until new tombs are uncovered within the important cemetery.

Eman Khalifa, director of the pottery project within the QHRP, told the paper that the stone wall was dated by the pottery shreds embedded within the mortar used to build it. She said that the crushed pieces include parts of carinated bowls, executed in a style typical of the reign of King Pepi II from the Sixth Dynasty (circa 2278-2184 BCE).

The find was part of the project’s successful first field season, which included the recent discovery of the long sought causeway of Sarenput I, thought to have been the first governor of the area at the beginning of the Middle Kingdom.

Story Source:

University of Birmingham

New excavations and new concerns


According to Farhad Zarei, the head of an archeological mission in Pasargadae (home of the Cyrus the Great mausoleum as well as Cyrus’ capital), recent archeological studies in the city have uncovered many artifacts and sites relevant to the Achaemenid and Sassanid periods, including a number of hills, dams, mines, graveyards, irrigation systems, and bridges.

Iranian and non-Iranian archeologists believe that there are numerous sections yet to be unveiled, especially near the mausoleum. Up until now, a large site of about 45 acres had been discovered, holding an irrigation system 50 kilometers long, an Achaemenid dam, a stone mine, a factory for processing grape juice to wine, a factory for melting metal ores, a few graveyards with precious tombstones, the remnants of a few castles, as well as some mills and bridges from the Achaemenid and Sassanid eras.

The head of the archaeological mission in Pasargadae has added that after studying Pasargad, other studies in adjacent regions like the Sa’adat Abad plain and the mountain ranges of Bolaghi Gorge would be carried out.

One should remember that in 2005 a vast number of ancient factories including those that made wine were destroyed in Bolaghi Gorge by the government of President Ahmadinejad, in order to pave the way for the construction of Sivand Dam, a structure which has been unused and which has simultaneously ruined agriculture fields and dried up the Bakhtegan Lake.

As a result of these incidents, there is a deep concern that studies in the region could result in the destruction of precious sites of pre-Islamic history in Iran.

For several years, non-Iranian archeologists have seldom been allowed to participate in excavations and all journalist are barred from being present in such studies. This has resulted in a complete lack of information regarding what is occurring in this ancient region of the country.

Top 10 archaeological discoveries of 2016


2016 has revealed an amazing array of archaeological discoveries, pushing the boundaries of scientific research and our understanding of the past. The following list represents 10 of the most exciting announcements across the year.

1 – Bronze Age stilt houses unearthed in East Anglian Fens

2 – Swedish Archaeologists Discover Unknown Ancient City in Greece

3 – Spectacular cargo of ancient shipwreck found in Caesarea

4 – Significant Bronze Age city discovered in Northern Iraq

5 – Archaeologists uncover massive 2500 year old Iron Age Mound

6 – Archaeologists in Norway discover church and altar of Viking King Olav Haraldsson

7 – Structures in French cave sheds new light on the Neanderthals

8 – Pharaonic boat burial uncovered in Abydos, Egypt

9 – The Roman shoe hoard of Vindolanda

10 – Mummified remains identified as Egyptian Queen Nefertari

Archaeologists Discover Unknown City in Greece


An international research team at the Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg, is exploring the remains of an ancient city in central Greece. The results can change the view of an area that traditionally has been considered a backwater of the ancient world.

Archaeologists from the University of Gothenburg have begun exploring a previously unknown ancient city at a village called Vlochós, five hours north of Athens. The archaeological remains are scattered on and around the Strongilovoúni hill on the great Thessalian plains and can be dated to several historical periods.

‘What used to be considered remains of some irrelevant settlement on a hill can now be upgraded to remains of a city of higher significance than previously thought, and this after only one season,’ says Robin Rönnlund, PhD student in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Gothenburg and leader of the fieldwork.


Yalda, Persian’s Most Beautiful Song in Praise of Light and Love – 2016


For thousands of years, Iranians have celebrated the last night of winter.  They have stayed up through the evening, waiting for the dawn, to witness the birth of the Sun; the source of life which has also been named “Mehr”.

Praising the sun, on the night of the birth of Mithra, celebrating around a cedar tree, adorned with colorful fabrics and stones, which was one of the most important rituals of the ancient Persians. At the time, there were still mysteries of the sun and moon and other natural phenomena for human exploration, and the Persians, like many other people had self-made gods who ruled over all the elements of nature. Man therefore, escaping sadness, darkness, cold, and pain (whether physical or emotional) took refuge in the gods.

Discovering the secrets of nature, and the transition from the myths of the gods did not hurt people’s relationship with the natural elements. Because Persian culture, and even religious orders of Zoroaster (the Persian prophet), were based on love and respect for the land, water, trees, rivers, mountains and their preservation was considered good will.

However, most of our habits and traditions could be updated and modified with time as well as people’s desire and wishes. Therefore, praising the sun, light, love, and life has become a part of Iranian psyche and beliefs in spite of all the objections that historically, under the pretext of religion, has considered these Persian celebrations as blasphemy.

Unfortunately, in the past thirty-four years of clerical rule in Iran, they have not accepted these celebrations. They not only do not accept these traditional festivities as part of national celebration, they are not willing to report and request UNESCO for addition to World Heritage list. The government has simply tried to force innocent people to stop holding these celebrations.

As Persian/Iranian celebrations and festivities have risen from nature and the land, with kindness and love, engraved with anti-discrimination, and interest of/for all people, irrespective of their religion, belief and opinion.

“Yalda” is one such festivity which continues to be even now more than ever, at the center of interest of Iranian people because history has shown that during dark times people have shown interest with the hope and belief that victory can be sealed and reach the world community to end all wars, suffering, discrimination and denial.

This year like many previous years, Pasargad Heritage Foundation, has asked the Iranian public to celebrate the tradition of Yalda by decorating and adorning an evergreen cedar tree and celebrate this glorious Persian feast more and more beautifully and grandly and  welcome the everlasting sun of our land in order to conqueror all perpetual darkness.

Let us not forget that the festive night of Winter Solstice, “Yalda,” is one of the few festivals compatible with the tenants of human rights, with this message that “only expressions of joy and love are symbols of light in human life”.

Saving Heritage on a Zip Drive


Morehshin Allahyari is one of the  “100 Leading Global Thinkers 2016” selected by Foreign Policy
Last year, the Islamic State released a video of militants bludgeoning a statue of King Uthal of Hatra—one example among the scores of ancient artifacts the group has destroyed in Iraq and Syria. Trying to reverse this ruin is Iranian-born artist Morehshin Allahyari, who leads Material Speculation: ISIS, a 3-D modeling and printing project that has reconstructed 12 artifacts, including the statue of King Uthal. Contained on a 570 MB Zip file are printable versions of the artworks, along with scholarly research, videos, and high-resolution images pertaining to the originals. This year, Allahyari exhibited the printed sculptures at Toronto’s Trinity Square Video; in addition, she made the King Uthal file available to the public—ensuring that the artifact, in some tangible form, isn’t lost forever. (Photo credit: GARY PAYNE/University of North Texas)
Notable Facts:
The U.S. congressional Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing has heard testimony that the Islamic State could be making up to $100 million annually from the illicit trade of artifacts.
When Allahyari was 16, she published a 400-page novel based on the life of her grandmother, who grew up in Kurdistan and suffered under various gender norms that restricted her behavior and choices.

Queen Nefertari’s Mummified Remains


By Paola Busta.

In 1904, the pioneering Italian archaeologist Ernesto Schiaparelli cracked open a tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Queens. The crypt, which had been lost for millennia, showed signs of long-ago disaster.

New research confirms the mummified fragments in a Turin museum likely belong to ancient Egypt’s beautiful and revered queen.

Nefertari was the royal wife of Pharaoh Ramses II, and her beauty was unmatched. So was her tomb—the walls are painted with beautiful images of the queen and a starry sky on the ceiling. But the contents of the cavern were in disarray when archaeologists first opened the tomb in 1904.

That’s why a team of international archaeologists decided to take a closer look, publishing their analysis in the journal PlosOne. According to Stephanie Pappas at LiveScience, the researchers examined the mummified remains currently housed at the Egyptian Museum in Turin, Italy. X-raying the three pieces of leg confirmed the presence of a pair of human knees, with pieces of a femur, a partial tibia, a fibular bone, as well as the patella. The bones corresponded to a woman who died between age 40 and 60, and there were some indication of arthritis in the legs. This corresponds with what is known about Nefertari.

Happy Human Rights Day!


human-rights2Annually on December 10, Human Rights Day is celebrated across the world.

Human Rights Day is observed by the international community every year on 10 December. It commemorates the day in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This date honors the December 10, 1948  United Nations, General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the first global enunciation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the new United Nations.


 The formal establishment of Human Rights Day occurred at the 2017th Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly when resolution 423(V) was declared, inviting all member states and any other interested organizations to celebrate the day as they saw fit. Each year a new theme is adopted by the United Nations.

The Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage Conference in Abu Dhabi


midel-east-culturalABU DHABI, 30th November 2016 (WAM) — Presidents, heads of states, formal delegations and representatives from over 40 countries have confirmed their participation at the Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage conference, taking place on 2nd and 3rd December at the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi.

The global conference, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Francois Hollande, President of France, as a global partnership between the UAE and France.

The conference aims to support the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO’s global mandate to protect cultural heritage during armed conflicts, and to safeguard historic sites and monuments that represent civilisations dating back millennia from systematic destruction or looting – like in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Mali, and throughout the world.