Experts deny patching up Ramses III statue with black building cement

Egyptian antiquities have been in safe hands for the past 10 years, say experts. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 13 June 2019

Experts deny patching up Ramses III statue with black building cement

  • Experts have slammed the criticism, saying the restoration work had been carried out according to internationally recognized scientific standards

CAIRO: Egyptian conservation officials have hit back at claims on social media that black building cement had been used to patch up a damaged statue of Pharaoh Ramses III.

A photo showing workers repairing the face of the ancient Egyptian king on a stone statue at his Habu mortuary temple near Luxor, went viral after being published on the internet, with some posters claiming that crude construction materials had been used to fill cracks.

But experts have slammed the criticism, saying the restoration work had been carried out according to internationally recognized scientific standards.

The Ramses III temple is one of the most important buildings in the Karnak antiquities complex and dates back to the 20th dynasty in Ancient Egypt.

Dr. Ghareeb Sonbol, head of the restoration and conservation department at the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, said: “The photo on social media of (workers) repairing the face of Ramses III is true.

“But the restoration process was carried out completely scientifically according to international conventions of maintenance. The material used to restore the statue, which resembles cement, is used in the restoration of antiquities in a scientific way, not as some publishers had claimed that the image was black cement.”

Sonbol said that the Egyptian antiquities have been in safe hands for the past 10 years, with Egypt leading numerous successful restoration projects.

Dr. Mustafa Al-Saghir, director-general of Karnak Antiquities, told Arab News that the material used for the repairs was a sandstone and limestone mix that was a close match to the original color of the statue’s stone.

Workers were in the process of removing cement used for repair works in the 1920s and 1930s and replacing it with modern material that met international standards.

Officials came in for similar criticism last February with claims that concrete and iron had been used during restoration of the statue of Pharaoh Ramses II. But Ahmed Badr Al-Amari, vice director of Luxor Temple, said at the time that only authorized materials were used.

Ramses III was the most famous pharaoh of the 20th family dynasty in Ancient Egypt and also the last ruler of the modern state of Egypt (1183 BC - 1152 BC).

He was known by the Greeks as Rhampsinitus and followed his father Ramses II to embark on massive construction projects.

His temple was named after Habu city in Luxor. Some refer to Habu as a monk with the same name, who used the second courtyard of the temple as a church for Christians when Christianity came to Egypt.


Chemical weapons watchdog checking Kurdish allegations in Syria

Updated 22 October 2019

Chemical weapons watchdog checking Kurdish allegations in Syria

THE HAGUE: The UN's chemical weapons watchdog said Tuesday it was checking Kurdish allegations that Turkish forces fired non-conventional weapons in northern Syria, but emphasised it had not launched a formal investigation.
"OPCW experts are engaged in the process of assessing the credibility of allegations concerning the situation in Northern Syria," the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said in a statement.
The Hague-based body added however that "the OPCW has not launched an investigation" into charges by Kurdish authorities in northeastern Syria that Turkey has used banned weapons such as napalm and white phosphorus munitions since it launched an offensive there on October 9.
Ankara has denied the charges.
OPCW specialists continue to collect information "with regard to any alleged use of chemicals as a weapon," the watchdog group said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has a network of Syrian sources, has said it could not confirm the use of chemical weapons.
Kurdish fighters suffering from burns had reached a hospital in Tal Tamr, near the border town of Ras al-Ain that was bombarded by pro-Turkish forces,, the observatory said.
The use of chemical weapons, including substances similar to napalm and phosphorous has been alleged many times since the Syrian conflict began in 2011.
Kurdish authorities posted images on social media that showed children suffering from burns that a local doctor said might have been caused by chemical substances.
Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar has told reporters that Turkish forces have not resorted to using "chemical weapons."