Egypt unveils previously unopened ancient female sarcophagus in Luxor

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Egyptian workers and archaeologists standing next to an opened intact sarcophagus containing a well-preserved mummy of a woman named “Thuya” wrapped in linen, discovered by a French mission at the site of Tomb TT33 which dates to the 18th dynasty (16th-13th century BC) at Al-Assasif necropolis on the west bank of the Nile north of the southern Egyptian city of Luxor. (AFP)
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A view of an opened intact Egyptian sarcophagus containing a well-preserved mummy of a woman named “Thuya” wrapped in linen, discovered by a French mission at the site of Tomb TT33 which dates to the 18th dynasty (16th-13th century BC) at Al-Assasif necropolis on the west bank of the Nile north of the southern Egyptian city of Luxor. (AFP)
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A group of mummies stacked together at the site of Tomb TT28, which was discovered by an Egyptian archaelogical mission at Al-Assasif necropolis on the west bank of the Nile north of the southern Egyptian city of Luxor. (AFP)
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Statuettes are arranged outside a newly discovered tomb at Al-Assasif Necropolis in Luxor, Egypt November 24, 2018. (Reuters)
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An Egyptian archaeologist brushes the painted walls of Tomb TT28, which originally dated to the Middle Kingdom (21st-18th century BC) but was reused the Late period (7th-4th century BC), which was discovered by an Egyptian archaelogical mission at Al-Assasif necropolis on the west bank of the Nile north of the southern Egyptian city of Luxor. (AFP)
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Carved wooden statues and funerary figurines called “Ushabtis” made of wood, faience and clay laid out on a table, discovered by an Egyptian archaelogical mission at tomb TT28 at Al-Assasif necropolis on the west bank of the Nile north of the southern Egyptian city of Luxor. (AFP)
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A group of mummies stacked together at the site of Tomb TT28, which was discovered by an Egyptian archaelogical mission at Al-Assasif necropolis on the west bank of the Nile north of the southern Egyptian city of Luxor. (AFP)
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Egyptian workers and archaeologists standing next to an intact sarcophagus containing a well-preserved mummy of a woman named “Thuya” wrapped in linen, discovered by a French mission at the site of Tomb TT33 which dates to the 18th dynasty (16th-13th century BC) at Al-Assasif necropolis on the west bank of the Nile north of the southern Egyptian city of Luxor. (AFP)
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Egypt’s Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany (3d L), French Professor Frederic Colin (L) head of the French mission, and Mostafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (2nd L), attend the unveiling of an intact sarcophagus inside the tomb TT33 in Luxor, Egypt November 24, 2018. (Reuters)
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An Egyptian worker standing next to an opened intact sarcophagus containing a well-preserved mummy of a woman named “Thuya” wrapped in linen, discovered by a French mission at the site of Tomb TT33 which dates to the 18th dynasty (16th-13th century BC) at the site of Tomb TT33 at Al-Assasif necropolis on the west bank of the Nile north of the southern Egyptian city of Luxor. (AFP)
Updated 24 November 2018
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Egypt unveils previously unopened ancient female sarcophagus in Luxor

LUXOR, Egypt: Egyptian authorities on Saturday unveiled a well-preserved mummy of a woman inside a previously unopened coffin in Luxor in southern Egypt dating back to more than 3,000 years.
The sarcophagus, an ancient coffin, was one of two found earlier this month by a French-led mission in the northern area of El-Asasef, a necropolis on the western bank of the Nile. The first one had been opened earlier and examined by Egyptian antiquities officials.
“One sarcophagus was rishi-style, which dates back to the 17th dynasty, while the other sarcophagus was from the 18th dynasty,” Minister of Antiquities Khaled Al Anani said. “The two tombs were present with their mummies inside.”

Egypt's Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany (L), French Professor Frederic Colin (2nd L) head of the French mission, and Mostafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (C), attend the unveiling of an intact sarcophagus inside the tomb TT33 in Luxor. (Reuters)

The Eighteenth Dynasty dates back to the 13th century BC, a period noted for some of the most well known Pharaohs, including Tutankhamen and Ramses II.
It was the first known time that authorities had opened a previously unopened sarcophagus before international media.
Earlier in the day, authorities also revealed in the same area the tomb of the overseer of the mummification shrine identified as Thaw-Irkhet-if.

Artefacts laid out on a table, discovered by an Egyptian archaelogical mission at tomb TT28 at Al-Assasif necropolis on the west bank of the Nile north of the southern Egyptian city of Luxor. Located between the royal tombs at the Valley of the Queens and the Valley of the Kings, the Al-Assasif necropolis is the burial site of nobles and senior officials close to the pharaohs. (AFP)

The tomb contained five colored masks and some 1,000 Ushabti statutes — the miniature figurine of servants to serve the dead in the afterlife.
Three-hundred meters of rubble were removed over five months to uncover the tomb, which contained colored ceiling paintings depicting the owner and his family.
The tomb, which also contains mummies, skeletons and skulls, dates back to the middle-kingdom almost 4,000 years ago, but was reused during the late period.

An archaeologist works on a sarcophagus inside a tomb at Al-Assasif Necropolis in Luxor, Egypt. (Reuters)

Ancient Egyptians mummified humans to preserve their bodies for the afterlife, while animal mummies were used as religious offerings.
Egypt has revealed over a dozen ancient discoveries since the beginning of this year.
The country hopes these discoveries will brighten its image abroad and revive interest among travelers who once flocked to its iconic pharaonic temples and pyramids but who have shunned the country since its 2011 political uprising.


UAE gift helps French palace reopen ‘forgotten theater’

Updated 18 June 2019
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UAE gift helps French palace reopen ‘forgotten theater’

  • Now called the Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan Theatre, it is the latest example of the close relations between Paris and Abu Dhabi
  • The UAE capital already hosts the Louvre Abu Dhabi, opened by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and President Emmanuel Macron in 2017

FONTAINEBLEAU: An exquisite 19th-century French theater outside Paris that fell into disuse for one and half centuries has been restored with the help of a €10 million donation from oil-rich Abu Dhabi.
The Napoleon III theater at Fontainebleau Palace south of Paris was built between 1853 and 1856 under the reign of the nephew of emperor Napoleon I.
It opened in 1857 but was used only a dozen times, which has helped preserve its gilded adornments, before being abandoned in 1870 after the fall of Napoleon III.
But during a state visit to France in 2007, Sheikh Khalifa, ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the United Arab Emirates, was reportedly entranced by the abandoned theater and offered €10 million ($11.2 million) on the spot for its restoration.
After a project that has lasted 12 years the theater is now being reopened.
An official inauguration is expected soon, hosted by French Culture Minister Franck Riester and attended by UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
Now called the Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan Theatre, it is the latest example of the close relations between Paris and Abu Dhabi.
The UAE capital already hosts the Louvre Abu Dhabi, opened by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and President Emmanuel Macron in 2017, the first foreign institution to carry the name of the great Paris museum.
For all its ornate beauty, the theater has hardly ever been used for its orginal purpose, hosting only a dozen performances between 1857 and 1868, each attended by around 400 people.
“While it had been forgotten, the theater was in an almost perfect state,” said the head of the Fontainebleau Palace, Jean-Francois Hebert.
“Let us not waste this jewel, and show this extraordinary place of decorative arts,” he added.
According to the palace, the theater is “probably the last in Europe to have kept almost all its original machinery, lighting and decor.”
Having such a theater was the desire of Napoleon III’s wife Eugenie. But after the defeat, his capture in the Franco-Prussian war in 1870 and the declaration of France’s Third Republic, the theater fell into virtual oblivion.
Following the renovation, the theater will mainly be a place to visit and admire, rather than for regularly holding concerts.
“The aim is not to give the theater back to its first vocation” given its “very fragile structure,” said Hebert.
Short shows and recitals may be performed in exceptional cases, under the tightest security measures and fire regulations. But regular guided tours will allow visitors to discover the site, including the stage sets.
The restoration aimed to use as little new material as possible, with 80 percent of the original material preserved.
The opulent central chandelier — three meters high and 2.5 meters wide — has been restored to its original form.