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Saturday, 18 August 2018

Egypt to develop Alexandria's Kom El-Shoqafa archaeological site into open-air museum

Nevine El-Aref , Wednesday 17 Jan 2018
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A development project that aims to convert the Kom El-Shoqafa archaeological site in Alexandria into an open-air museum will involve the creation of a new display scheme for its artefacts.

Kom El-Shoqafa consists of a series of catacombs, statues and artefacts of the ancient Egyptian funeral cult, with Hellenistic and early imperial Roman influences.

Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the museum will be divided into four sections; the first devoted to funerary structures, the second to religious buildings; the third to civil edifices; and the fourth will serve as a temporary exhibition.

The first section will have on display a collection of 34 sarcophagi, as well as the "Abundant" tomb and the tomb of "El-Ibrahimi" after reconstruction on the tomb – which is currently dismantled and stored in the site's storehouses – is complete.

The second section will display a collection of sphinx statues and the remains of Semouha temple, which are currently in storage.

The third section will have on display remains of crowns of pillars and the remains of statues and pillars.

Aymen Ashmawi, the head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department, told Ahram Online that the fourth section will display artefacts selected to be displayed at Giza's Grand Egyptian Museum, which is set to open, and Alexandria's Greaco-Roman museum after it is restored.

"After the removal of these artefacts, this section will have on display newly discovered objects from the site," Ashmawy said.

The catacombs of Kom El-Shoqafa are the largest known Roman burial site in Egypt, with three tiers of tombs that can accommodate up to 300 corpses.

The tombs were originally dug for a single family still practicing the ancient Egyptian religion; however, the architecture of the tombs mirrors the Greco-Roman style.

This can be seen in the wall decoration, which shows a unique combination of Egyptian, Greek and Roman artistic traditions. The tomb was likely expanded later to allow for the burial of more corpses.

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