Thursday, December 24, 2009

Threshold to Cleopatra's mausoleum discovered off Alexandria coast

Read the Guardian article here. I love that they use a photo of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in Antony and Cleopatra to illustrate the article!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Cookies with an Egyptian Flair!

They aren't just ordinary Christmas cookies!
These mummies are all buttoned up...

Living the "sweet life"...

William (the Met's famous blue hippo) may have left the building, but there are plenty more...

I don't know what sharks have to do with Christmas or Egypt, but here they are...

These sphinxes are dressed to the nines...

Happy Holidays from Luxor!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Louvre Returns Five Fragments to Egypt

It happened today at the Élysée Palace. The article from is here.

UPDATE! Zahi Hawass has now announced what will happen to the fragments. Read about it here.

A Wedding and a Funeral...

It's hard to believe, almost surreal in fact, that just one Sunday ago we were celebrating the wedding of a CH workman and then yesterday we were at a funeral mourning the passing of dear friend Susan Weeks.

You can read the statement from AUC here.

Her body was found in the Nile late Saturday night. It appears she fell from the Kingfisher, the Weeks' dahabbiya. Jane Akshar tells the story on her blog. (N.B. Perhaps it would be more effective if those commenting on Jane's blog post directed those comments to Jane herself.) I had just been with them for drinks on the Kingfisher earlier in the evening. We shall miss her terribly. Rest in peace, Susan, in your beloved Luxor...

(Photo from the Theban Mapping Project)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Member of the Wedding

I had the opportunity to attend the wedding party of one of our workmen on Sunday evening. What a joyous occasion! Any and all relations and friends were amongst the guests....Music blared from industrial size speakers....Men, women, and children danced....The official wedding portrait was handed round....The beaming bride and groom ascended to a platform above the crowd and all guests climbed up in small groups to greet and congratulate them...Glitter and happiness filled the air! Truly heartwarming.

And I have video:

Of course, the boys all wanted to have their pictures taken!

 I think a great time was had by all!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Theban Balloons

Yesterday, as I walked to the ferry to go to the West Bank, I was greeted with a view of several balloons rising into the morning sky...

Friday, December 04, 2009

Egypte-Algérie, encore et toujours...

The saga continues... Today's entry on Egyptoblogue (Carnet de bord de Claude Guibal, correspondante de Libération au Caire) points out the absurdity in the ongoing conflict over a spot in the FIFA World Cup 2010.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Moon Over Luxor...

There's a beautiful full moon over Luxor tonight. Here's a photo which isn't the greatest even with a tripod ;[ MaAlaysh!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Back to its roots?

This article appeared in this week's English-language Al-Ahram Weekly. If you look closely at the proposed design  below you will see that the new dock is NOT in front of Luxor Temple, but in front of the convention center (the building with circular drive on the left) and Chicago House (to the right of the convention center)!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Iraq's national museum to showcase its treasures online with aid of Google

"For six years the plundered treasures of Iraq's national museum have been slowly returning, giving the once grand institution a chance to showcase its ancient wares once again.

"Now, perhaps as a safeguard against another invasion, but also in recognition of its priceless heritage, Google is to make available online 14,000 images of the museum and its artefacts." (The Guardian - 24 November 2009)

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I will not write about Dendera...I will not write about Abydos...I will not...I will not...I will least until I have written about my two walks around Luxor, the house trip to Edfu and my visit to Luxor Temple. But to whet your appetites, I will post two photos--one from Dendera and one from Abydos. They both resulted from a wonderful day-trip three of us took on Sunday to those two fascinating sites.

The first is of two Ba birds on the roof at Dendera:

And the second is of the cartouches of Seti I at Abydos:

The "prenomen" (on the right) reads "Men-Maat-Ra" or "Enduring is the Divine Order of Ra". The "nomen" (on the left) reads "Seti meryenptah" or "Seti beloved of Ptah".

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Internet in Arabic...

Check out this post ('s in French) on Egyptoblogue, the "carnet de bord" of Claude Guibal, Cairo correspondent for "Libération". Now, in addition to the Internet extensions we're used to, such as .com and .edu and .org, Egypt has established the extension .masr (Masr-or Misr-means Egypt in Arabic). And for the first time this Internet domain is not in a Latin alphabet but in Arabic characters. Egypt seems to realize the enormous potential in an Arabic market of at least 300 millions people worldwide...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Cost of Fame

Al-Ahram Weekly has just published an article about the collaboration between the Supreme Council of Antiquities and the Getty Conservation Institute for the conservation and management of the tomb of Tutankhamun.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Vanished Persian Army Said Found in Desert? UPDATE 11/30/09

Bones, jewelry and weapons found in Egyptian desert may be the remains of Cambyses' army that vanished 2,500 years ago. Read the article.

And now read a great background piece which casts significant doubt on the "discovery".  (Btw, rogueclassicism looks like a great site. I'll be following it...)

And here's the official statement found on Dr. Zahi's website.

And here is a press release about the Iranians' stake in the whole deal!

The quest to regain Egypt's antiquities

An article from BBC News on November 11, 2009:

"Later this month Egyptian archaeologists will travel to the Louvre Museum in Paris to collect five ancient fresco fragments stolen from a tomb in the Valley of the Kings in the 1980s, but there are many other "stolen" antiquities which they also want back, reports the BBC's Yolande Knell in Cairo."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Getty and Egypt to Work on Tut’s Tomb

The Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles said on Tuesday that it had entered into a five-year partnership with Egypt to help conserve and manage the tomb of Tutankhamen... From NY Times - See Arts, Briefly for the full blurb.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Luxor Details

I rambled around Luxor (east bank) today in the always-diverting company of CH photographer par excellence Yarko Kobylecky. Our mission was to do "salvage photography" in the area north of the train station, but we made a big loop which took three hours and left me quite exhausted! I will report in more detail when I am recovered, but wanted to share a few "telling" details of the afternoon.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Bon Appetit!

This the latest product in my Zazzle store. I hope you like it as much as I liked creating it ;] While you're there you might want to check out some of my other products. There are quite a few from my time in Egypt.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Cat Rescue Update

Further details have emerged concerning the daring rescue of the besieged kitten. Unnamed sources have informed this blog editor that both low- and high-tech weapons were employed to discourage the pack of temple dogs which had cornered the little fellow--ordinary rocks and a tube used for transporting drawings between CH and the work site. The tube and the kitten can be seen below.

He's settling into life at CH quite nicely, with a comfy bed for catnaps...

...pond-front property... to roam (such a loooong tail and loooong ears and what a tiny kitten in between!)...

...and many available laps upon which to "take five".

It's a cat's life!

On a Clear Day... almost can see forever!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Heroic Egyptologists Stage Daring Rescue!

Dateline Saturday, October 31--Three intrepid CH Egyptologists (who wish to remain anonymous out of extreme modesty) rescued a tiny kitten from a pack of temple dogs in a bold daylight operation. The small survivor was then brought to CH where he is recovering nicely (see photos below) from his injuries. Several individuals have expressed an interest in adopting the curious and amiable young fellow. A happy ending to a terrifying episode!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Absolutely nothing to do with Luxor...

OK everybody, pay attention now! You simply must, yes MUST, watch this video. A "delicious" interlude for pastry lovers and Paris lovers!

And as an added treat, here are some taste-bud-teasing dessert shots from my recent visit to France. The first two are the pastries Bette and I reveled in at Patisserie Buret in Blois on the last day of my visit to the Loire Valley. The third is a pastry called "Rosy" (for obvious reasons) which comes from the patisserie/viennoiserie/boulangerie/confiserie Stéphane Vandermeersch across avenue Daumesnil from the Hôtel de la Porte Dorée (where I always stay when I'm in Paris). Christina, Jodie and I had a lovely tea with this delicious treat brought fresh from across the street on the afternoon I got back to Paris before leaving for Luxor. Are we salivating yet?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

One More Time Around...

Hard to believe I've now been in Luxor for more than a week--my 6th season working at Chicago House! We've opened the library and I just made a tour of the heart of town: from CH along the Corniche to Nefertiti Street where I made a congenial first visit to "my jeweler", Ramy and then a big loop around Luxor Temple, returning via the Corniche. But I'll report on that trip in a subsequent post.

On Wednesday afternoon, our driver Omar drove three of us around to take care of various errands: Samir had to go the bank, I had to get cat food at Arkwrights Gourmet Food Shop, and Jay needed to arrange for mobile phone service at the Vodafone store on Television Street. I waited in the van during the last stop and managed to shoot several local color shots over the course of about ten minutes.

Can you find the trash collector, the school girls, the men selling lemons, the sexy lingerie shop, the super market, the phone booth?

I particularly like the juxtaposition of old and new, traditional and modern: the donkey-drawn cart and the ice cream delivery truck, the school girls in their white hijabs and the lingerie shop, the super market and the men selling lemons. It's good to be "home" again...

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Friday, January 02, 2009

Luxor Face Lift?

"Egypt has embarked on a 200 million dollar project to turn the historic Luxor into an open air museum, and better regulate the flow of tourists."

A view of the new plaza to the east of Luxor Temple:

Clearing of the Avenue of Sphinxes to the north of Luxor Temple:

This minaret to the north of Luxor Temple will remain and be restored while the rest of the mosque will be razed:

This is a view from the gate of Casa Italia (west bank) of the new housing being built for the former residents of Gurna, which is currently being demolished:

Check out what CH Field Director Dr. Ray Johnson has to say in an article titled "Luxor development program update". And here's an article by Jill Kamil from Al-Ahram Weekly.