The World Bank will extend a new development loan to Egypt in order to support the second package of financial and economic reforms adopted by the Egyptian government. The package will mainly focus on promoting access to financial services and introducing further improvements to the financial brokerage activities. The first package of reforms began in 2007, and focused on the improvement of the stability of the financial system.
The tomb of an ancient royal scribe was unearthed in the village of Tell al-Maskhuta, 120 kilometres northeast of Cairo, the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) secretary-general Zahi Hawass has said. The intricately decorated tomb belongs to Ken-Amun, who was in charge of overseeing the royal records during the 19th Dynasty (1315-1201BC). Tell al-Maskhuta is a settlement containing an ancient garrison that supplied and armed the ancient Egyptian army before the troops went on military campaigns east of the border. Ken-Amun’s tomb is built from mud brick, and consists of a rectangular room with a stone-domed ceiling. Inside the tomb, the walls are decorated with reliefs of funerary scenes, including Chapter 12 of the Book of Dead and a scene of women mourning. The inscriptions tell that the scribe’s wife was called Isis and worked as a musician for the God Atum. A large limestone pillar also was discovered depicting the God Set, the god of darkness and chaos, in front of the 19th Dynasty king of the time, whose name was not written. On the same pillar, the name of the
capital of the Hyksos, an Asiatic people who invaded the eastern Nile Delta in the 12th Dynasty, was found. It is obvious the cemetery goes back to the 12th Dynasty, but people continued to use it until Roman times.
Pinched toe back
The SCA also announced that a stolen toe belonging to the Pharaoh Akhenaton, who was considered the father of monotheism, and who was the father of the famed Tutankhamun, has been returned to Egypt. The toe was stolen in 1907 during the examination of the pharaoh’s mummy, and was, according to Hawass, returned by Frank Ruehli, a Swiss DNA specialist. Hawass made the announcement earlier this month after signing an agreement with Switzerland to combat the smuggling of antiquities.
Sohag gets a museum
Culture Minister Farouk Hosni recently said that 90 per cent of the works for the establishment of a national museum in Sohag, north of Luxor, have been completed. The 8,700-square-metres, EGP41-million museum is scheduled to open by midyear. It will showcase the archaeological history of Sohag over the ancient, Coptic and Islamic eras in Egypt’s history.
The National Council for Culture and Arts (NCCA) has called for the establishment of new towns in Egypt at sites of historical or cultural heritage to attract tourism and create jobs. According to Watani’s Mervat Ayad, suggestions for such towns include one at Wadi Sebaa between Aswan and Abu-Simbel to promote desert safari and Lake Nasser tourism, New Ramses east of the Delta, and New Farma at a site visited by the Holy Family on its flight into Egypt in the first century. Other sites, such as tuna al-Gabal in Minya, the NCCA recommended, may include “guest centres” to serve the purposes of making tourist stops more comfortable and pleasant.