Saturday, April 15, 2006

 

Egypt's sunken treasures

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Egiptology News
By Andie Byrnes
April 11, 2006


Every bit as remarkable as the world premiere of the exhibition on Egypt Sunken Treasures, which is to be shown in Berlin, Germany from May 13 through September 4, is the manner in which the artefacts will be brought from Alexandria to Berlin. Some of them weigh several tonnes and for the journey, they are to be loaded onto the transport aircraft Airbus 300-600ST Beluga, which Airbus is lending for this special cultural undertaking.

Having spent thousands of years on the bottom of the sea, the monumental statues, fragments of ancient columns and cult objects will arrive in Germany'scapital aboard an aircraft with today's most voluminous cargo hold.

'By supporting the exhibition Airbus and its parent company EADS wish to make a contribution to cultural life and to enable the city of Berlin and its visitors from all over the world to experience Egypt's Sunken Treasures in what is on of the most famous and beautiful exhibition buildings in Germany, the Martin-Gropius-Bau', EADS and Airbus have said in a press release.

The exhibit will present 489 artefacts discovered during underwater archaeological excavations done from 1992 to 2005.Those excavations have been performed under the supervision of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt by the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM). Those excavations were performed in the Great Port of Alexandria (the Portus Magnus now submerged) as well as in the bay of Abu Qir; more particularly on the sunken city of Heracleion, discovered in 2000, and on the site of East Canopus already partially spotted in 1934 by Omar Toussoum.

Among those objects are three colossus statues of a Pharaoh, a Queen and Hapy, divinity of the flood of the Nile and of the fertility. There is also a black granite stele which has revealed the Egyptian name of this city of Heracleion, which is Thinis. A large statue head, likeness of Caesarion, son of Cleopatra and Cesar, which as retrieved in Alexandria, and a beautiful Ptolemy Queen, proceeding from East Canopus, will be also part of this trip.But the exhibits' travels are by no means over then they have completed the trip to Berlin on board the "Beluga".

At the end of their stay at the Martin-Gropius-Bau the statues will take off again, this time on a flight to France. From December 8 to March 16 Egypt's Sunken Treasures will be on show in the Grand Palais, Paris.


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