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Living in Luxor - News in and around Luxor in September 2013


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New pages in September 2013:

  • 19/09/13: New offer for your holidays: Dome Villa Africa for rent [sold]
  • 21/09/13: New offer for your holidays: Holiday Home Jasmin for rent


Luxor Message Event - Words of Welcome to the World

Just a few days ago we, the people of Luxor, got the following message:

The Governor of Luxor in partnership with the Luxor Syndication of Tour Guides invites you to attend a tourism event at the magnificent Temple of Karnak on Monday 23rd September from 4.00 to 6.00 pm.
The event, named 'LUXOR MESSAGE' has been planned to show the world that Luxor is SAFE for tourists and is 'open for business!!!
Please come along to the Forecourt of Karnak Temple and join the Governor, Tourism Workers and Luxor residents to support and celebrate our wonderful city.
We look forward to welcoming you with the warm friendship and hospitality that comes so naturally from the Egyptian people.

Today was the day. At the square in front of Karnak Temple we could enjoy several wonderful artistic presentations before the organisers and the governor of Luxor sent their words of welcome to the world. Then the famous Egyptian singer Iman El Bahr Darwish performed a song for the delighted audience and finally people of Luxor with different nationalities addressed their home countries confirming the safety of Luxor. Good news: Belgium and the Netherlands already cancelled their (partial) travel warnings!
But now some impressions of the feast that wasn't attended by tens of thousands - we have still midsummer temperatures - however, it was best-attended and everyone enjoyed the great afternoon.

Luxor Message Event on 23 September 2013
Festively decorated chairs waiting the audience...

Luxor Message Event on 23 September 2013
Performances of tanoura dancers, stick dancers and folklore dancers in front of the magnificent backdrop of Karnak Temple

Luxor Message Event on 23 September 2013

Luxor Message Event on 23 September 2013 Luxor Message Event on 23 September 2013

Luxor Message Event on 23 September 2013

Luxor Message Event on 23 September 2013

Luxor Message Event on 23 September 2013

Luxor Message Event on 23 September 2013

Luxor Message Event on 23 September 2013

Luxor Message Event on 23 September 2013 Luxor Message Event on 23 September 2013
Girls and boys demonstrated thier martial arts skills, joung men performed acrobatic stunts

Luxor Message Event on 23 September 2013
The speech of the Governor of Luxor, Tarek Saad Eddin, had been recorded by European television channels, too.

Ancient Egypt and Its (Probable) Chronology

How can we know when which Pharaoh reigned, when dynasties began and ended or when in the chronology certain events took place?
On the one hand several ancient king lists have survived on temple walls and papyri, which shed light on the succession of the Pharaohs and their rules. Furthermore, there are the works of ancient historians like the lower Egyptian priest Manetho (actually: Manethot - "Truth of Thoth") and the Greek geographer Herodot. On the other hand, in 1899, the British egyptologist Flinders Petrie developed the "Sequence Dating" for the Naqada culture (4500-3000 BC): a relative dating method that links styles of pottery with periods.
For an absolute dating with specific year dates, astronomical and scientific techniques are used, since 2000 especially radiocarbon dating (C-14 dating). Plants absorb carbon-14 as they grow, and the radioisotope decays naturally over time after they die. Measuring carbon-14 levels in artefacts made of organic material allows archaeologists to determine their age. However, there are inaccuracies caused by climate and seasons.
In 2010, a British team led by Christopher Bronk Ramsey from the University of Oxford published the results of a 3-year research project. The scientists had undertaken radiocarbon datings of 211 organic samples focusing on the Old, Middle and New Kingdom ( Ramsey et al.: Radiocarbon-Based Chronology for Dynastic Egypt, Science, 18 June 2010, doi: 10.1126/science.1189395). They had been successful to age them with a accuracy of 76 to 24 years (depending on the age of the samples - as younger as more accurate). The results confirmed the previous chronology with smaller displacements in the chronology of the Old Kingdom and a minor predating of the beginning of the New Kingdom. Albeit, for long periods of time there were no samples which could have been examined.
Recently, a team of researchers led by archaeologist Michael Dee (Christopher Bronk Ramsey participated again) undertook a new project to specify the timeline for early Egypt. Dee comes from the Research Laboratory for Archaeology & the History of Art at the University of Oxford. Not randomly, this study took place in Oxford, too. There, the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit (ORAU) is located - world's leading of absolute dating by means of radiocarbon dating (Ramsey is its incumbent director). The results of the study were published on 04/09/13 in the "Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical and Physical Sciences" under the title: An absolute chronology for early Egypt using radiocarbon dating and Bayesian statistical modelling (doi:10.1098/rspa.2013.0395).
The royal tombs of Abydos were particularly substantial for the project. Their organic materials (seeds, plants, bones, hair) had already been preserved in museum storerooms but the researchers could use tiny samples. Based on them and the earlier samples they developed mathematical models of the most probable dating. The new finding reveals a robust timeline for the first eight kings and queens of Egypt including (Hor-)Aha (probably identical with Menes), King of the 1st Dynasty. The accession of Aha to the throne is often thought to define the start of the Egyptian state. The new study suggests (with 68 percent probability) that he became king between 3111 BC and 3045 BC. Beside that, the analyses suggest the rise to statehood occurred between 200 and 300 years faster than previously thought, beginning between 3800 BC and 3700 BC rather than the past estimate of 4000 BC.
"This is not the end of the road at all, but in terms of our work, we have done most of what we can do for now," Dee said.

Necropolis of Abydos, © Michael Dee

Types of prehistoric pottery and Petrie's Sequences Dating Strips, © Petrie Museum/University College London

Shortnews from Luxor

After a short summer break we report back to you. For all those who haven't followed our news on facebook we recapitulate the most impostant events of the last weeks:

  • 12.08.13: Luxor has a new governor. Tarek Saad El-Din was army officer and graduated as an engineer. In the last two years he was the head of the Executive Office of the Tourism Development Authority (T.D.A). He strives not only for the support of the tourism but is also committed to the modernisation of Luxor's hospitals and to social housing construction.

    Tarek Saad El-Din - the new guvernor of Luxor
  • 14/08/13: Due to political turmoil interim president Adly Mansour declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew in 14 governates to last for one month. Luxor was and is not one of them! Nevertheless, there are travel warnings of several Foreign Offices for Luxor, too. Most tour operators cancelled their flights and didn't resume them until now.
  • 22/08/13: Egyptian Minister of Tourism Hisham Zazzou addressed the world with a video message, in which he asked tour operators to request their governments to cancel the travel warnings.
    By the way: With Egypt Air flights to Luxor via Cairo airport are still possible and unproblematic. In the context of the campaign “Egypt in our hearts ” Egypt Air will reduce ticket prices by 20 percent from the beginning of December until December 14, and between February and 20 March 2014.
  • 22/08/13 After a court ruling Egypt's ousted President Hosni Mubarak has been released from jail (not cleared from charge). Because he has already served the maximum pre-trial detention he will be allowed to live at home for the course of the coming trials. But first he was brought to a hospital and placed under mandatory house arrest.
  • 30.08.13: Twenty-five of the life-size fiberglass donkeys painted by Egyptian artists - we reported - arrived at St Paul's Cathedral, London and are on display now as an inter-faith peace project.

    Artistic donkeys at St. Pauls Cathedral, © AFP Photo, Leon Neill
  • 01/09/13: The date for the 3rd Luxor African Film Festival (LAFF) is fixed. It will take place from 16 to 24 March 2014. ( See our reports on the opening and prize giving ceremony of the 2nd LAFF 2013)
  • 06/09/13: New dates for the opening of the sphinx avenue go round. One source mentions December 2013, another one March 2014.
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