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Thursday, 19 September 2019

In Photos: Ancient tombs restored, to open for visitors in Luxor's Dra Abul-Naga necropolis

Nevine El-Aref , Sunday 8 Sep 2019
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The tombs of two noblemen in Dra Abul-Naga necropolis on Luxor's west bank as well as four chapels at Khonsu Temple in Karnak have been restored and will be open to visitors.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany, US Chargé d’Affaires Thomas Goldberger and Luxor Governor Mostafa Alham celebrated on Sunday the completion of conservation and training activities at Dra Abul-Naga and Khonsu Temple.

The event was attended by Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, and the American Research Centre in Egypt's (ARCE) director Louis Bertini.

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The restoration project was carried out by an Egyptian American mission from ARCE and the Ministry of Antiquities with a grant of EGP 35 million from the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

The first of the restored tombs (TT159) belonged to Raya, from the 19th Dynasty. He was an official known as the fourth prophet of Amun. The second tomb (TT286) dates to the 20th Dynasty and belongs to Niay, who was the Scribe of the Table, according to wall reliefs in the tomb.  

In Khonsu Temple at Karnak, ARCE led restoration efforts through training 59 ministry conservators who documented, cleaned, and restored four of the temple’s chapels. The conservators also removed patches from previous restoration work in the 1960s and 1970s and replaced them using the latest technology.

Necessary structural repairs on the ceilings and architraves were also conducted. The mission also installed visitor walkways to facilitate access to the temple.

Earlier work at Khonsu Temple included restoration in two other chapels, and the cleaning of columns along the south, west, and east walls and in the main court.

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To facilitate on-site conservation work and training, ARCE established and outfitted a conservation laboratory in 2008, complete with equipment, a classroom, and administrative spaces.

El-Enany said that the project is a good example of the cooperation that takes place between Egypt and the USA. Several other examples have included the groundwater lowering projects in Kom Al-Shokafa in Alexandria and Komombo Temple in Aswan.

“I am very proud of what has been done for Egypt’s heritage and humanity, especially the training of young archaeologists and conservators of the ministry who will protect and preserve Egypt’s heritage for the future generations,” he said.

El-Enany wished all success to the US chargé d’affairs in his new post and responsibilities as he is about to complete his current post in Egypt.

“The United States is committed to our partnership with the Ministry of Antiquities to conserve Egypt’s cultural heritage,” said US Chargé d’Affaires Thomas Goldberger.

“These programmes are helping create lasting jobs and prosperity in Egypt.”

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