After 3,500 years, an Egyptian goldsmith gives up his secrets

An Egyptian archaeologist restoring a wooden sacrophagus at a newly-uncovered ancient tomb in Luxor. (AFP)
Updated 09 September 2017

After 3,500 years, an Egyptian goldsmith gives up his secrets

CAIRO: Egyptian archaeologists have uncovered a tomb in the city of Luxor belonging to a royal goldsmith who lived more than 3,500 years ago.
The tomb on the West Bank of the Nile River dates from the 18th Dynasty and belongs to Amenemhat, a goldsmith dedicated to the ancient god Amun-Re.
The site consists of a courtyard and niche where archaeologists found a statue of Amenemhat, his wife and their son, as well as two burial shafts.
The first shaft contains a collection of mummies, sarcophagi and funeral masks and figurines. The second shaft contained mummies from the 21st and 22nd Dynasties, about 3,000 years ago.
The discovery was made by an Egyptian archaeological mission led by Mostafa Waziri, head of Luxor Antiquities.
“The ministry promised that 2017 would be the year of excavations, and that’s what we are doing,” he told Arab News.
The statue shows Amenemhat sitting on a high-backed chair beside his wife, who is wearing a long dress and wig. Between them is the small figure of one of their sons.
In the open courtyard, the mummies of a woman and her two children were also unearthed.
During the excavation, the archaeologists found several jewelry and funeral objects, some of which belong to the tomb owner, Waziri added.
The latest discovery came after six years of excavation, and Waziri said there was more to discover in the necropolis area on Luxor’s west bank.
Saturday’s announcement will boost Egypt’s slowly recovering tourism industry by attracting tourists to explore the newly found ancient relics.
Dr. Yousef Khalifa, Egypt’s former head of antiquities, told Arab News: “Luxor alone has one-third of the world’s ancient monuments and visitors will enjoy exploring the the newly found ancient Egyptian relics.
“The museum there works on presenting and renewing its display for visitors who appreciate such finds.”


Baghdad tunnel becomes a museum for Iraq’s protest movement

Updated 22 November 2019

Baghdad tunnel becomes a museum for Iraq’s protest movement

  • The Saadoun Tunnel has become an ad hoc museum for Iraq’s massive anti-government protest movement
  • Haydar Mohammed said, “We decided to draw simple paintings to support our protester brothers and to express our message, which is a peace message.”

BAGHDAD: The images are both haunting and inspiring, transforming a once dreary, grim underpass into a vivid, colorful wall of art.
“We want a nation, not a prison,” says one painting that depicts a man bursting free from behind bars. “Plant a revolution, and you will harvest a nation,” reads another showing a hand flashing the victory sign over protesters heads.
Some of the messages are less sentimental. “Look at us, Americans, this is all your fault,” declares one.
The Saadoun Tunnel has become an ad hoc museum for Iraq’s massive anti-government protest movement. Along its walls, young artists draw murals, portraits and graffiti that illustrate the country’s tortured past and the Iraq they aspire to.
The tunnel passes under Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the protests where thousands of people are camped out in a giant sit-in that has taken on the feel of a vibrant mini-city.
Almost daily, clashes erupt with security forces not far away firing tear gas, live rounds and stun grenades to prevent protesters from crossing bridges over the Tigris River to the Green Zone, the seat of Iraq’s government. Tuk tuks — three-wheeled motorcycle transports — often zip back and forth through the Saadoun Tunnel, rushing wounded protesters from the front lines to medical clinics.
Saadoun Tunnel, the tuk tuks, the square and a nearby 14-story Saddam Hussein-era building on the Tigris that protesters took over have all become symbols of what has become the largest grassroots protest movement Iraq has seen. The protests erupted Oct. 1 over longstanding grievances at corruption, unemployment and a lack of basic services and quickly escalated into calls to sweep aside Iraq’s sectarian system imposed after the 2003 US invasion and its entire political elite.
Young protesters, men and women, throng the tunnel — actually a long underpass, most of which is open to the air except for enclosed portions directly beneath Tahrir — and pass time there hanging out or taking selfies in front of the murals. Caricatures on the walls mock Iraqi politicians; other paintings praise the tuk tuks; a woman with an Iraqi flag on her cheek flexes her bicep, recreating the famed US “We Can Do It” poster; faces in drawings shout in anger or pain.
Haydar Mohammed said he and a group of other medical students were partly responsible for the murals. They met in Tahrir and saw the tunnels walls were a perfect medium to send a message to those who are suspicious of the protesters, he said.
“We are life-makers not death-makers,” he said. “We decided to draw simple paintings to support our protester brothers and to express our message, which is a peace message.”
Many of the murals carry calls for anti-sectarianism, peace and a free Iraq. In one painting, a little girl cries, declaring “They killed my dream,” referring to the group of men behind her, some in religious clothes.
Another shows an Iraqi protester wearing a helmet against tear gas with the Arabic words: “In the heart is something that cannot be killed by guns, which is the nation.” Nearby is scrawled, in English, “All What I want is life.”
“Sitting in front of these portraits, people and candles is better than being in any coffeeshop. Every time I look at them I am hopeful that the revolution will not end,” said Yahya Mohammed, 32, smoking a hookah in the tunnel and observing the scene.
“This tunnel gives me hope.”