The Sphinx Sits Over A Time Bomb
[From: Egypt News; received June 14, 1999.]
Last week the Arabic daily newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat published an
article by Ahmed Osman in which the Sphinx restoration project has been severely
The article points out that the Great Sphinx of Giza is still at risk of
being damaged and a complete collapse could occur in a few years time --
despite the completion of a ten-year restoration project! Beneath the rock
of the Giza Plateau the underground water level has been rising for the last
fifty years causing salt to develop inside the stone forming the Sphinx's
body. The article cites two main causes for the rising water table: the building
of the Aswan Dam and the growth of the village of Nazlet El Samman, which
extends between the Nile and the Giza Plateau.
According to the Cairo weekly Akhbar El Adab, Dr. Mohamed Abdel Hadi,
Dean of the Luxor College for Restoration, accused the restorers of using
a chemical substance called "Nemex" in their restoration of the Sphinx's
neck and chest. This, it is claimed, produced salts on the surface of the
stone and led to the formation of a solid layer that can fall at any moment.
Dr. Ali Hassan, the former Secretary General of the S.C.A, told Ahmed Osman
that instead of treating the real problem facing the Sphinx from underground
water damage, the restorers built a layer of stone to cover the body of the
statue, thus leaving it to deteriorate from the inside away from our eyes.
Akhbar El Abad also reported Dr. Yaseen Zidan, a professor of restoration,
as saying that the international organization of UNESCO has threatened to
take the Sphinx off the list of protected world heritage monuments unless
these problems are dealt with.
Rosetta Stone Poll Results
[From: Egypt News; received June 12, 1999.]
Over the past few months EDEN -- The Andrew Collins website has been hosting
a poll focusing on whether or not the Rosetta Stone should be returned to
Egypt. The poll was set up after authors Robert Bauval and Graham Hancock
issued a plea for the return of the stone, suggesting "that the Rosetta Stone
be flown in a special British Airways flight to Alexandria on the 31 December
1999 and there taken to the newly completed Bibliotheca Alexandrina -- the
UNESCO Library Of Alexandria -- and placed in the main entrance hall."
The results of the poll indicate that 73 percent thought the Rosetta Stone
should be returned whilst the remaining 27 percent voted for it to stay in
the British Museum.
The Rosetta Stone was found in July 1799 by French soldiers during the occupation
of Egypt by Napoleon and was eventually ceded to the British after the defeat
of the French forces. It is made from a solid piece of black basalt and is
inscribed with three forms of script: Hieroglyphic, Demotic and Greek that
represent a single text honoring Ptolemy V (c.190 BCE).
Scholars were able to decipher the Hieroglyphs through its relationship to
the Greek script.
The Ptolemies were of Greek-Macedonian descent that ruled Egypt between 323
to 30 BCE. "Under the early Ptolemies, the culture was
exclusively Greek. Greek was the language of the court, the army, and the
administration. The Ptolemies founded the university, the museum, and the
library at Alexandria and built the lighthouse at Pharos."
See also "Writing
in Egypt under Greek and Roman Rule"
No doubt there are those that would argue the Rosetta Stone is more Greek
[From: Keith Grenville through Egypt News; received May 16, 1999.]
It was reported from Cairo on 13th May that " ... a network of giant catacombs
carved out of stone was unearthed beneath a block of flats in Giza."
Dr. Gaballah Ali Gaballah, secretary general of the Supreme Antiquities Council,
said in a statement, that the 17-metre long, two-metre high burial gallery
runs under a number of adjacent buildings. According to Dr. Zahi Hawass,
director of Giza monuments, the catacombs date back to ancient Roman times
as indicated by distinctive pieces of pottery found at the site. He said
the underground tombs were most likely used during early Islamic timesin
view of the presence of glazed pottery." (Source: Cairo Press review from
Egyptian Press Office South Africa.)
The Egyptian Society of South Africa
Society Web Site
[From: Egypt News; received May 31, 1999.]
According to a report by Amargi Hillier, the Great Pyramid is to be reopened
on Thursday 3 June. Amargi's update is accompanied by some nice digital images
of the Great Pyramid's interior. Other sites of interest will be opened to
the public in June. These include the Sphinx Temple and the tombs of Seshenufer,
Snefrukh'ee and Neferma'et -- high ranking officials during the Old Kingdom
period. At the Egyptian Museum in Cairo a new exhibit, "Lost and Found" is
due to open later this year. The exhibit features stolen objects that have
been recovered following investigations by Egyptian and foreign police