HP: Heritage + Main
The exhibition “Osiris, Egypt’s Sunken treasures” will open at the Reitberg Museum in the city of Zurich, Switzerland, onFriday 10 February. Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anany will be on hand to participate in the opening. The Egyptian exhibits will remain in the Rietberg until July 2017 when they are due to return home after a long journey in European cities.
The Egypt’s Sunken Treasures exhibition aims at showcasing Egyptian antiquities and promoting interest in Egypt’s history and culture, as well as enhancing cultural relations between Egypt and European countries and bringing revenue and tourism to Egypt.
The near two-year-long exhibition started its tour in Paris in September 2015 where the exhibits remained on display in the Institut du Monde Arabe for five months. It then moved to the British Museum in London where it stayed for six months.
According to Elham Salah, Head of the Ministry of Antiquities’ Museums Sector, the exhibition includes 293 artefacts that tell the myth of Osiris, the god of the after-life. The artefacts on display were carefully gathered on loan from the collections of the Egyptian Museum, the Alexandria National Museum, the Greco Roman Museum in Alexandria, the Nautical Museum in Alexandria and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Museum.
The exhibition showcases some of the latest underwater discoveries by found in the cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus, a few miles north-east Alexandria, which became submerged under the Mediterranean waters in the eighth century. These discoveries where made by French archaeologist Franck Goddio and his team of the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (EIUA).
Some of the most important antiquities on display were also found in the sunken port adjacent to the island of Pharos, where the famous lighthouse of Alexandria once stood.
The artefacts on display include colossal statues of pink granite for the Egyptian goddess Isis and Nile god Hapi, as well as a very well-preserved sphinx. There are also ceramics, jewellery, coins, and items for everyday life. But apart from ancient history, visitors will be able to see more modern pieces that go back to the 18th century: firearms that belonged to the naval fleet of Napoleon’s military campaign against Egypt in 1798-1801; Napoleon’s fleet was drowned in the Mediterranean northeast of Alexandria by Admiral Nelson.
The Osiris, Egypt’s Sunken Treasures exhibition in Zurich is organised by the Hilti Foundation and the EIUA in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. The Hilti foundation has been sponsoring the underwater excavations in Egypt’s waters for more than two decades, and has ever since been closely working with Mr Goddio and his team and with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities.