Restoration Of Tutankhamun’s Golden Beard



Front view of the Golden Burial Mask (Courtesy of LiveScience & Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities).

During a regular clean of the famous golden burial mask of King Tutankhamun, a staff  member had accidentally knocked the beard off the 3,300 year old mask. This had taken place during August 2014 at the Egyptian Museum located in Tahrir.

Dr Manding El Damaty, Antiquities Minister had announced to the News Conference about the completion of the restoration of Tutankhamun’s beard at the Egyptian Museum on 17th December 2015. Once the incident occurred, staff members attempted to reattach the beard to the golden mask with the use of epoxy glue, hoping that this would resolve the issue without notice. However, in doing this in the process, they had left scratch marks on the golden artifact after they wiped off the excess glue by means of using a spatula, as reported by LiveScience back in January 2015.

In October 2015, researchers began using 3D scans on the golden mask. Once the information was gained, another four weeks consisted of heating the “metal mask” to be able to remove the epoxy glue, with the use of wooden tools in order not to cause anymore damage to the golden mask, as explained by National Geographic.

Christian Eckrmann being one of the German experts that specialised in restoring Glass and Metal artifacts, was able to assist in fixing the famous burial mask.

tutankhamuns beard

Close up of the Golden Burial Beard (Courtesy of MiddleEastEye Website).

While the restoration took place, researchers had come across a golden tube that was situated inside the beard. Dr. El Damaty explains, that this was a interesting find on how the Egyptians structured the burial masks and managing to attaching the royal beards to them. Afterwards, and nine weeks later of restoration, the golden mask had finally been put back onto display for the public at the Egyptian Museum.

According to the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and the German scientists, the beard was successfully reattached by the use of beeswax. Dr. El Damaty continues, “what’s more Ancient Egyptians also used bees wax to fasten the beard to the mask, a technique replicated by the German researchers during the restoration”.

Friederike Fless, known as the President from the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo, explains that the damaged to Tutankhamun’s beard in 2014, was exaggerated since the beard was previously detached by Carter in 1925 as per the examination on the 3D scanning showed. Friederike was also known as one of the German researchers that had partaken in the restoration process, as mentioned by National Geographic.


After the Restoration the Golden Mask is back on display. (Courtesy of AhramOnline and the Egyptian Antiquities).

As National Geographic explains, “the royal beard of Tutankhamun was detached once discovered and until 1946, where it was only re-attached by the use of a soft solder.

Christian Eckrmann, one of the German experts that specialised in restoring glass and metal artifacts, was called upon to assist in fixing the famous burial mask.

Eckrmann explained, that when Howard Carter discovered the tomb and the sarcophagus, he noticed that the golden beard of Tutankhamun’s burial mask was already loose, and in noticing this, Carter “removed it for the first time,” possibly to prevent any damaged to it while removing it from the tomb.

It has been “ninety years after Carter accomplished the first restoration of the mask in December 1925, we have the pleasure to present the  mask in its original form”, Eckrmann says.

Tutankhamun’s Golden Burial Mask weighs 11 kilos, and is embedded with precious Egyptian stones and lapis lazuli.


Copyright © 2016 Aleesha Csanki.





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Thermal Scanning Results on the Great Pyramids of Giza.

After just two weeks of the thermal scanning in the Egyptian Pyramids of Giza, amazing results of the 4,500 year old wonder has produced anomalies in the largest Giza Pyramid, according to the Antiquities Ministry on Monday 9th November 2015.

Jean-Pierre Houdin, French Architect was considered for his theory on the pyramid construction, also spoke during the press conference in front of the Giza Pyramids on Monday.

Use of infrared thermmography, muon radiography (cosmic rays),and photogrammetry scanners, helped to provide and show, that the pyramid projected higher temperatures in stone that were detected adjacent to the bottom of the pyramid. This projected was assisted by technical experts and Mamdauh el-Damaty, Antiquities Minister of Egypt.

Image courtesy of Pharaon Magazine.

The thermal scanning indicated that “a particularly impressive one (anomally) located on the Eastern side of the Khufu pyramid at ground level,” as stated by the ministry.

The scanning took place during all hours of the day and night, which included mostly of the sunrise and sunset. This is where the change in the sun’s radiant heat would affect the structures on the outside of the pyramid the most; and again, the speed of the cooling down phase for sunset, which was used also, to help discover this hypothesis that there were curious empty areas within the pyramids. This was also due to the result of recognising the difference in materials that were used for building the pyramids, and that of internal flows of air currents.

As El-Damaty points at the three stones showing higher temperatures, he explains. “The first row of the pyramids’ stones are all uniform, then we come here and find that there’s a difference in the formation.”

El-Damaty continues, ” that there is something like a small passage in the ground that you can see, leading up to the pyramids ground, reaching an area with a different temperature. What will be behind it?”

Identifying the three stones that radiate different heat levels.

Experts explain that higher heat levels were noticed in the pyramids upper half areas, and need to have more investigation  to take place.

During this project and investigation, all Egyptologists were invited by El-Damaty to help assist and join in with this research to help form ideas as to what lays behind this Egyptian architectural anomaly.

Fact The Great Pyramids were built in the fourth dynasty, between 2575 B.C. – 2465 B.C., and are located on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. Also known as one of the last surviving monuments of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Copyright © 2015 Aleesha Csanki.


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Mummified Dog contains Ancient Parasites

The first discovery of an Egyptian mummified dog that contains parasites, has been one of the most amazing finds for archaeologists within Egypt. The mummy dog seems to date back to the classical period when the Romans once ruled the Empire.

The parasites were discovered during a study that took place by a group of French archaeologists, whom were taking part in some research on mummified dogs. The research consisted of  400 dogs that came from an excavation site in Egypt, at El Deir. This research took place during 2010 and 2011 when the expedition was still operating at the site.

Picture courtesy of Parasitophilia webpage.

The parasites known as two different names, the louse fly and the brown tick, were found within the dog’s coat and inside the right ear lobe. The tick during this ancient period, was known to carrying quite a lot of diseases and has been considered an important find to learning more about Egypt’s diseases and health situation during the classical period.

Parasites were first mentioned by the ancient Romans and Greek writers such as, Aristotle, Homer and even Pliny the Elder during the early periods. Other sources, such as a depiction, of what is believed to be an illustration of a tick, was discovered in an Egyptian tomb, dating from the period of 15 Century B.C.

Picture courtesy of Parasitophilia webpage.

‘Although the presence of the parasites, as well as ecoparasite-bourne diseases, in ancient times was already suspected from the writings of the major Greek and Latin scholars, these facts were not archaeological proven until now’, stated by archeaocoentomologist Jean-Bernard Huchet from the National Museum of Natural History, in Paris.

As parasites were not really mentioned much during the ancient times, it has been very scarce in the historical and archaeological records. Only up until now, has this new find provided us with new light on these topics. According to our archaeological records, the only other source found about the tick’s history was in Arizona, when the parasite was discovered on a fossilised human feces.

Photo courtesy of Martine Fayein From Alpha Necropolis.

The mummified dog was discovered within the Roman tombs, which was near the fortress. The fortress was built in the later period of 3rd Century B.C. It is known that most of the tombs in this region date back from the 4th Century B.C.,  to the 4th Century A.D.

As such, this particular area is considered as an archeaologist’s treasure mine, regardless of the remaining conditions of the artefacts and mummies that have been discovered, and those that are yet to be found.

The following find on the dog mummy as well as the other finds, can be found on the online issue of ‘the International Journal of Paleopathology’.

Huchet along with his fellow crew, that was led by ‘Fracoise Dunand and Roger Litchenburg, from France’s University of Strasburg, were the ones that came across the parasitic pet, which was one of the 400 mummified dogs that they were researching on.

Huchet explained to LiveScience, that out of the mummies that were part of the research, most had been discovered and preserved still in tact skeletons, which consisted of wrapped bandages. Huchet continues, ‘Moreover, most of the dog remains were seriously damaged by looters’.

Out of all the mummified dogs, this particular pup contained up to 61 parasitic ticks, that were still attached to the dog’s fur coat, and nesting within the ear lobe. These ticks have been recognised worldwide as they have spread throughout the world by living and feeding as hosts on domestic dogs.

Picture courtesy of Parasitophilia webpage.

Copyright © 2013 Aleesha Csanki.


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Egyptian Slavery Contracts Discovered

Recent discovery of 2,200 year old papyrus scrolls, have been recognised as voluntary slavery contracts within the city of Tebtunis, in Egypt. Within these hand written contracts in Demotic hieroglyphic script, the slaves were entitled to a monthly fee due to their agreement with being part of the slavery act.

According to Dr. Kim Ryholt, Egyptologist from the University of Copenhagen, the text reads, ‘I am your servant from this day onwards, and I shall pay 2.5 copper pieces every month as my slave – fee before Soknebtunis, the Great God.’

Due to many of the slaves being brought up in most of the lower-class section, some what 90% of them entered the contract as those without the knowledge of their own fathers’ name, and were considered the grown children of prostitutes.
Another reason for them to sign up, was that people in the lower-classed hierarchy were controlled and ordered by the king to do the dirty work in the canals or forced labor, which led to death.
By signing the slavery contract, this provided the slaves with a sort of protection scheme from forced labor, and agreed to work in the temples instead. This was seen as the better of the two odds. It was considered the safer alternative and survival tactic from the King’s hard & deadly labor and included more money.

This particular slave agreement contract took place for only 60 years, which carried out from 190 B.C. to 130 B.C., and there has been no other findings that suggest that this scenario took place during any other time frame in Ancient Egypt. As such, this could be because the royal family in the later periods could not financially support this similar slavery deal.

Dr Ryholts has spent many years in collecting these papyrus contracts to slavery, as they have been found scattered across, not only Egypt, but also the United States and Europe.

The papyrus contracts were recently found in one of the rubbish bins within the Temple of Tebtunis.

The amount of contracts that have been also discovered in different museums such as the British Museum, and found along collections in the university museums of New Havem, Florence, Michigan, as well as this finding in Tebtunis.

Dr. Ryholt explains that, by scanning these ancient contracts have helped to piece  together the quantities that exist from all the museums combined, which makes the results of the research easier for this search.

Copyright © 2013 Aleesha Csanki.




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Hatshepsut’s Limestone Chapel Opened in Karnak.

Hatshepsut's ChapelMuch construction has taken place at Hatshepsut’s Chapel and has finally opened up to the public within the Open Air Museum at the Karnak Temples. Visitors who will be visiting the area will get to admire the Limestone Chapel of Queen Hatshepsut, who was known for her position as Ruler during the 18th Dynasty period, and wife to Thutmose II.

It has taken over four years to maintain and reconstruct the second chapel, and during the end of February this year, it has been officially announced open to the public.

The chapel itself is made from Limestone and was constructed this way to worship the Sun God Amun-Re within the Thebes area. The chapel also consists of an open court area and two walls inside the hall ways, that depict religious scenes of Hatshepsut and her husband Thutmose II who are standing before Amun-Re.

At the Karnak courtyard, the blocks discovered at the chapel contained the cartouche of Thutmose III, Hatshepsut’s predecessor, who also took the liberty of removing Hatshepsut from existence from most of the walls scenes. Other remains consisted of the colossi of Ancient Egyptian statues of people, ranging from the Egyptian noblemen and officials, up to famous Kings and Queens that existed during the New Kingdom Period. Mohammid Ibrahim, Minister of State of Antiquities points this out.Blocks on maastabas

Ibrahim continues by explaining that more blocks have been discovered during an excavation at the cachette, that was carried out during the mid – 1950’s by Farid El-Shabury and Sheata Adams.

Since the excavation, the blocks have been kept safe at the galleries of Karnak. It wasn’t up until 2005, that the blocks had then been restored, studied and then published by the CFEETK (Centre Franco-Egyptian D’Etudedes Temples de Karnak), that they were allowed to be publicised.

During 2005 – 2008, the blocks were moved to the Open Air Museum, for when Hatshepsut’s Chapel underwent reconstruction along with other chapels that were deteriated and destroyed over the years. Then finally in 2008, the blocks were then placed on mastabas in Karnak.

It is known that some of the blocks have been reused to help construct other monuments at both Luxor and Karnak. The construction work of Hatshepsut’s Chapel consisted of fixing up and maintaining the entrance court and the Red Chapel. Other constructions included the calcite shrine of Amenhotep II and King Sanusert I’s White Chapel.

Supervisor of Luxor Antiquities, Mansour Boreik spoke to Ahram Online via phone interview where he explained that the reconstruction of this new Chapel, known as the ‘Sacred Monument’ has been considered very important. As it is known to be one of the very few places that still displays and represents the powers of Hatshepsut before she descended the throne to the next Pharaoh.

Scenes of Hatshepsut have ony been witnessed in a few areas that have not been erased by Thutmose III. These areas consist of the Queen taking part in religious events that can be seen at the Hathor Chapel and the Birth Colonade, located at Hatshepsut’s Mortuary Temple. Similar to her Limestone Chapel, the scenes link her relationship to Amun-Re. For example, in the Birth Colonade, she is identified as being the daughter to Amun-Re, as he impregnated her mother, Queen Ahmose,with his divine breath, while being under disguise as her father Thutmose I. Hatshepsut is then displayed as being breast-fed by Hathor as her wet-mother which identifies her, as a born ruler by the Gods.

Along Luxor’s Eastern banks, where the Karnak Temples are located, other Egyptian Temples, shrines, pylons,chapels and other ruins can be found. The complex construction took place during the reign of King Sesostris I during the Middle Kingdom period, and continued through into the Ptolemaic period. But, according to Archaeologists, most of the buildings and ruins indicate that they were created during the New Kingdom Period.

The Karnak Complex itself is known for its name due to village at El-Karnak, which can be located north 2.5 kilometres of Luxor.

Copyright © 2013 Aleesha Csanki


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Facial Reconstruction of Egyptian Mummies.

Golden faced coffinA  2,000 year old female Egyptian mummy has been located at a burial ground near Amenemhat III’s pyramid. The discovery came about following some previously archived papers regarding its location. The striking thing about this particular mummy is that she had a highly elaborate hairstyle. According to researchers, CT scans suggest this woman, who was presumed to be aged 20 when she died, was placed in a decorated coffin displaying a golden face. The scans also present new details about how the hair was styled during her time period in Egypt, when it was controlled by the Roman Emperor Tiberius between 4 A.D. – 14 A.D.

Archaeologists explain that the female mummy was close to the site of Hawara in Egypt, which is believed to have been built over 2,000 years prior to her lifetime.

The female mummy’s hairstyle is described by the research team from RSNA Radiographic. They explain the female mummy had long curly hair strands that came from the middle of the scalp, then ran down the back, forming a type of plait. This was then wound into a seeming crown that wrapped around the back of the head. This particular hairstyle was also known as a chignon, or tutulus style.

Researchers point out that this was one of the most popular hairstyles for women and was probably displayed by the Roman Empress Faustina I during the 2nd century.

Chignon / Tutulus Hairstyle

The female mummy and the golden faced coffin can be located in Montreal at the Redpath Museum, Canada.

Apart from the 2,000 year old female mummy, another elderly woman mummy nicknamed, ‘the matron,’ was discovered with white and grey hair. According to researchers, she lived somewhere between 30 – 50 years of age. The last mummy was a male, age yet unknown, but his cause of death seems to be from a rather painful dental infection.

As a result of the CT scans and 3D printing, and with the help of Physical Anthropologist Andrew Wade from Western University (leader of the research team), archaeologists have been able to reconstruct and recreate the face of the younger female mummy, and that of two other mummies. This research can produce hair styles, hair colours, skin and even muscle tone. Wade states that, ‘The high spatial and contrast resolution of the last decade of CT studies of mummies has allowed us to examine the paleo-anatomic minutiae (of mummies).’

Three mummies recreated

This process was carefully done by Victoria Lywood, Professional in Forensics from John Abbotts College. Lywood was able to scan the mummy, then reproduce a three-dimensional model using a 3D printer. The next step in the process was using non-hardening plasticine to help recreate skin tone and fine muscle details for the 3D head. Once hardened by casting the plasticine, the model underwent final touches before being displayed in public.

‘There are three human Egyptian mummies that have been trapped in the manner they held when laid to rest nearly 2,000 years ago. And now we can reveal what they might have looked like,’ the RSNA Radiographic team say in their press release.

The advantages of CT scanning are simple. It provides superior imaging of mummies without having to physically unravel them, thereby eliminating the risk of historical damage and losing essential archaeological information such as sex, health, age, injuries and customs that may help us learn about the ancient world.

According to LiveScience, only two scientific papers have been published on mummies and their facial reconstructions in this manner, suggesting that there is still a lot to learn from 3D scanning techniques. For example, the female mummy that researchers scanned had three puncture marks located a few inches to the right of her abdominal wall. It is suggested that this may be the chief cause of death, which of course leads to the next question – how did she get them?

As CT scans are still far from exact details, researchers from the Radiographic papers state that, the wounds could have occurred prior to her death, or soon afterwards.


Copyright © 2013  Aleesha Csanki



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Mysterious ‘Winged’ Structure Discovered.

A ‘winged’ structure has been discovered in Norfolk, Eastern England, dating back to the Early Roman period (around 211 A.D.). Its mysterious shape has bewildered archaeologists, as this particular construction has no parallels.

Professor William Bowden from the University of Nottingham said, ‘Generally speaking, [during] the Roman Empire people built within a fixed repertoire of architectural forms’ (see the latest edition of the Journal of Roman Archaeology).

The curious find was created approximately 1,800 years ago and consists of two wings radiating from a ‘rectangular room’ a central room. Aerial photographs clearly show an oval/polygonal building erected.

The ‘winged’ form is quite unique within the Roman Empire, as no other buildings exist that replicate its distinctive architecture. Bowden explains to LiveScience, ‘What they were trying to achieve by using this design is really very difficult to say’. The construction has been identified as part of a facility which was believed to consist of two additional constructions – one northwest and one northeast – as well as an ancient villa due north.

Both the rectangular rooms and the two ‘wings’ appear to be made from chalk and rammed clay. Bowden continues, ‘the superstructure of much of the building was quite light, probably timber and clay-lump walls with a thatched roof’. This provides evidence for the theory that its assembly was for short-term use only.

The central room includes some hardier surfaces, with a mixture of clay, lime mortar, flint and brick. It was more than likely that this section was installed with large Roman tiles on the ceiling, as Bowden states.

During the excavation the team found ‘undisturbed layers’ but few artefacts. Bowden says, ‘This could suggest that it [the winged building] wasn’t used for a very particularly long time.’

According to Bowden, the scarce number of artefacts recovered is also probably due to a plough having previously ripping through the site, scattering debris. Another issue is the use of metal detectors throughout the Norfolk area by local ‘treasure hunters’, which may have impacted on the small return.

Sometime after the expiration of the ‘winged’ structure, another building was also built on top of it. Post holes containing painted wall plaster were discovered by archaeologists at the site.

Bowden states, ‘It’s possible that this was a temporary building constructed for a single event or ceremony, which might account for its insubstantial construction … Alternatively the building may represent a shrine or temple on a hilltop close to a Roman road, visible from the road as well as from the town’.

Archaeologists believe that descendants of the Iceni, the local population existing before the Roman conquest (between 200 – 50 BC), may have been the ones who initially built the ‘winged’ structure.

At the town of Venta Icenorum, its mysterious shape can be still seen from a distance, though the ‘wing’ details are weak.

The discovery and investigation of the ‘winged’ structure has been overseen by the Norfolk Archaeological and Historical Research Group.

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Discovered: A 2,400 year-old Ancient Egyptian Star Table

One of the latest findings of Ancient Egyptian artefacts is that of a star table. Thanks to Professor Sarah Symnons from the University of McMaster in Hamilton, Canada, who has recorded this new artefact at approximately 2,400 years old.

While the function of this table is unclear, it illustrates the asterism of the ‘Big Dipper’ and forms part of the constellation that we know as the Ursa Major. It was found inside the lid of a granite bull sarcophagus. Inside the sarcophagus, the astronomical table includes a section which consists of a diagram of a foreleg of an ox shown in different positions which is ‘quite a jumble,’ according to Professor Symnons.

The ‘Big Dipper’ is recognised today as seven stars in the northern sky shaped like a ladle. The Ancient Egyptians identified these same stars as the foreleg of an ox. This star constellation is a key navigational reference, as it never drops below the horizon and only ever moves counter-clockwise. This fact suggests that the Ancient Egyptians observed the star constellations and used their predictable movements to map progress through the three seasons.

Professor Symnons tells us of the table being “unique, though interesting, a very provocative astronomical object,” The table provides valuable information regarding the three Ancient Egyptian seasons of Aknet (wet season), Penet (harvest) and Shemu (dry season).

Due to this constellation’s prominence in the night sky, it appears frequently in cultures, according to Christian belief (Amos 5:8) the constellation represented divine leadership and was frequently used to guide people safely through the desert.

The Ancient Egyptians were very interested in the sky, as it was linked to their religious views of the Gods and how the Gods created life and separated the sky from the earth and the underworld.

According to Professor Symnons it is believed that this star table was from the 30th Dynasty. This was seen as an important time in Egypt’s history as it was known for having the last Native ruler, Nectanebo II, to sit on the throne.

It is still unclear whether the Egyptians monitored the night sky every night at the exact time, to obtain these results. But one thing that is clear, is that this star table demonstrates that the Ancient Egyptians had a strong focus on astronomy.

Copyright © 2011 Aleesha Buscombe


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