Wednesday,19 June, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1405, ( 9 - 15 August 2018)
Wednesday,19 June, 2019
Issue 1405, ( 9 - 15 August 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Italian exhibition in Tahrir

A temporary exhibition highlighting the work of Italian archaeological missions in Egypt has been inaugurated at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square

El-Anany and Milanesi inspect the exhibits

The Egyptian Museum in Cairo’s Tahrir Square has organised a temporary exhibition in the foyer of the museum to shed more light on the work of Italian missions at different archaeological sites in Egypt since the 19th century, reports Nevine El-Aref.

Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany and Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Enzo Moavero Milanesi paid a visit to the exhibition in their tour around the museum this week. They also visited an exhibition of recently recovered artefacts from Italy on display in the museum. 

Elham Salah, head of the Museum Sectors at the ministry, said the exhibition put on show a collection of 180 objects that had been carefully selected from Italian excavations, most of them on display for the first time. 

It includes a beautiful statue of the 19th-Dynasty king Merenptah in front of the main entrance to the museum to welcome visitors, and in the atrium there is an important papyrus from the Gebelein area found by an archaeological expedition from the Museo Egizio in Turin. 

“The papyrus dates back to the Old Kingdom and is considered one of the most ancient we know,” Salah told Al-Ahram Weekly. She explained that the papyrus was restored during the last century in Turin, and in 2005 Corrado Basile from the Museum of Papyrus in Syracuse restored it for the second time in Cairo. 

Basile established the restoration laboratory for papyri in the Egyptian Museum with a budget provided by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Another highlight of the exhibition is a hoard of 171 gold coins discovered by the G Vitelli Papyrological Institute in Florence during an archaeological expedition to Antinoupolis in the Minya governorate.

Milanesi inspect the exhibits

A rare lamp of an elegant design from the tomb of the overseer of works, the royal architect Kha and his wife Merit, was found at Deir Al-Medina on the west bank of the Nile at Luxor dating to the reign of Amenhotep III.

Sabah Abdel-Razak, director of the Museum, said that among the objects on show was a funerary shroud discovered by Edda Bresciani of the University of Pisa in Saqqara representing the god Osiris encircled by a snake and flanked by Isis and Nephtys protecting him. There was also a Coptic cloth with two hairnets from Antinoupolis discovered by the G Vitelli Papyrological Institute and a small stela found by an expedition mounted by the L’Orientale University of Naples. 

This is very important from a historical point of view and dates back to the Middle Kingdom (Amenemhat III, 1831-1786 BC) and testifies to Egyptian trips to the exotic Land of Punt. It was found in Mersa Gawasis, a Pharaonic harbour on the Red Sea, from which the expeditions sailed.

Giuseppina Caprioti, head of the Italian Archaeological Institute in Cairo, said that more than 20 Italian archaeological missions were now working in Egypt after the approval of the Ministry of Antiquities and with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The missions work in the Nile Valley, the Eastern Desert, the Western Desert, the Oases and the Delta, and from Aswan to the Mediterranean Sea.

Italian exhibition in Tahrir

Caprioti said that Italian Egyptological work had a long and prestigious tradition. The first archaeological expedition in the history of Egyptology was a joint French-Italian mission in which the Italian Ippolito Rosellini had worked side-by-side with the French Egyptologist Jean-François Champollion, the decipherer of Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Over last two centuries, Capriotti pointed out, Italian expeditions have discovered many important monuments in Egypt. Italian teams currently work with the most advanced technologies, making excavations and contributing to the conservation of the Egyptian cultural heritage, in collaboration with the Egyptian authorities and international colleagues, she said.

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