Saturday, December 1, 2018

ARCE Lecture on December 5

The New York chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt and the Egyptian Consulate in New York City will host Professoe Sahar Saleem, M. D. on December 5 at 6:00 PM. Dr. Saleem will be speaking about Ancient Egyptian Medicine and Health in the Eyes of Modern Science.

Dr. Saleem is on the faculty of the Medicine-Cairo University. She will be speaking at the Egyptian Consulate, 866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 586, NY., NY. (at 48th St and 1st Avenue).

The talk is free and open to the public. If you would like to attend, please RSVP at Due to security reasons you must RSVP in advance so that your name can be added to the list building security will have.

I hope to see you there.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Secret to Building Great Pyramid Discovered?

     The answer to one of the mysteries of how the Egyptians built the great pyramid may have been discovered. Archaeologists working in the ancient quarry at Hatnub found  a steep ramp with staircases and numerous post holes along side of it. They are specualting that a massive stone block could have been moved by placing it on a wooden sled and then using ropes attached to the sled and the posts lining the ramp. This would hve been much easier than the method of having massive numbers of men pulling the block up a steep ramp manually using only ropes to haul it.

     Apparently two inscriptions of Kufu's were found near the ramp, which would indiate that this system of moving large stone blocks was known at the time of the building of the great pyramid.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

ARCE NY Opens its 2018 - 2019 Lecture Season

     The New York chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt will have its first lecture of the new academic year on Tuesday, September 11, at 6:00 in the evening. The speaker is Dr. Tara Prakash of the Metropolitan Museum of Art who will give lecture entitled "Despicable Kings and Debased Rivals: The Enemies of Ramesses II in the Battle of Kadesh Reliefs".

     The lecture is free and open to the public. If you would like to attend, please send an email to ARCE NY at so that we can add you to the list that building security uses (if you are not on their list, they will not admit you to the building). The lecture will take place at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, 7 Times Square, NY, NY. 23rd floor (the building entrance is on Broadway at 42nd St. between The Loft and The Counter. After going through security proceed to the 5th floor and transfer for an elevator to the 23rd floor.

     Also, check our website at for the date and time of future lectures.


Monday, September 3, 2018

Brazil Museum Gutted by Fire

     The National Museum in Rio de Janeiro had a major fire on Sunday evening. The museum reportedly houses more than 20 million artifacts from around the world, including 700 from ancient Egypt. The  full extent of the damage is not yet known.

     The sarcophagus of the singer Shaamunensu was one of the more important artifacts in the museum. It was presented as a gift by the Khedive of Egypt Ismail Pasha and has never been opened. The museum also has some ushabti's from the tomb of Seti I in the Valley of the Kings.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Sarcophagus of Seti I

     I just finished reading a new book describing the sarcophagus of the Egyptian Pharaoh Seti I. The sarcophagus is an extremely beautiful object. I saw it a number of years ago and was very pleased to see this book published.

     This slim volume (96 pages) is filled with with plenty of photographs and a succinct and well written description of Seti's sarcophagus, how it was discovered and how it got to Sir John Soane's home. The majority of the book is dedicated to a description of the illustrations of the ancient Egyptian "Book of Gates" that are carved on the exterior and interior of the sarcophagus. This religious text describes the journey of the sun god Ra through the underground caverns he must cross during the night to be reborn in the eastern sky at dawn. The author, John H. Taylor, has described the carvings in detail and explained the meaning of the text in sufficient detail to enlighten those of us who are interested in Egyptian funerary writings (the "Book of the Dead", the "Book of Gates", etc.) without doing a full translation of the somewhat obscure texts themselves.

     To me, this book was absolutely fascinating and a great addition to my library, but some readers may find the description of the inscriptions to be a bit more detail than they need.

(Sorry about the white background, I am not sure why this is happening........)

Monday, July 30, 2018

Luxor in Las Vegas (Part 2)

Fig. 1 - Entranceway to the Casino
     While the outside of the Luxor hotel / Casino in Las Vegas is big and splashy, the Egyptianizing fun continues inside as well.

Fig. 2 - the heart of the deceased being weighed to see if he is free of sin
     First you enter the hotel past a statue of a Pharaoh and a couple of Egyptianizing columns (see fig. 1) as well as a copy of the scene of the heart of the deceased being weighed before Osiris (see fig. 2). I could make all sorts of comments about having your heart weighed to see if it is heavy with sin before you enter a casino (or will it be weighed when you leave the casino??), but I will refrain.

Fig. 3 - the entrance pylon that is inside the hotel
     Now you find yourself in the main lobby. There you are greeted by what looks like a copy (sort of) of the entrance pylon of an ancient temple. Statues of the king flank either side of the entrance to the casino (you can see the slot machines in the distance through the "pylon's" entrance). Also, if you look at the foot area of the statue on the right, you can see a ram-headed sphinx that looks very much like it comes from the avenue of sphinxes that connected the Karnak and Luxor temples in early times.

Fig. 4 - an obelisk with hieroglyphs that light up
Fig. 5 - a "Middle Kingdom" Sphinx
     Upstairs, where the shows and shops are located, there is still more  Egyptomania fun with an obelisk that has hieroglyphs that light up (the hieroglyphs do not really say anything, but in Las Vegas that is not really important, right?). One can only wonder what Ramesses II would have done with something like this. There is also another sphinx there that resembles the famous one from the Middle Kingdom that is now in the Louvre in Paris. My wife sat by the paws of the sphinx while I toured the nearby exhibit of artifacts brought up from the Titanic.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Luxor (in Las Vegas)

Fig. 1 - the Luxor Obelisk in Las Vegas
     OK, let's get silly for a few minutes. I recently did a trip to Las Vegas and I stopped by the Luxor Hotel to get some photos of the "Egyptianizing" decor of the place.

Fig. 2 - the Great Sphinx of Las Vegas
     The front of the hotel / casino features a giant sphinx and obelisk, while the building itself is shaped lime a giant black pyramid. The front of the building has a temple-like front where taxi cabs can drop off and pick up passengers. The walls of this "temple" are decorated with numerous, well carved, but totally meaningless "inscriptions" (see figure 3).
Fig. 3 - "inscriptions" on the exterior of the Luxor "Temple"
     On a previous trip to Vegas (many years ago) the hotel had an exhibit that was something like a reproduction of Tutankhamen's tomb. Not a real reproduction mind you, just something that looked like a small scale mock up of the tomb. This is gone now, replaced by places that can sell you something.

In the next post we can take a look inside the hotel at some of the Egyptianizing decor that can be seen there.