A wake up call at 6:30 a.m. on March 28th,
breakfast, bus ride to the airport, flight from Luxor to Cairo - all were accomplished
before noon. As we flew out of the Luxor Valley, the green patchwork fields appear to be
losing some ground to the forever-encroaching sand. There are wide aqueducts (4 roads
wide) crossed by narrow ones and roads. Midway to Cairo, I looked down on dark umber
(rock?) hills with paisley drifts of white sand swirled among their creases.
Kaled met us at the airport gate with a luggage cart and collected
us with three others and all our baggage. He took off like a
speed demon and just about wore us out dashing through the terminal
and out to our transport. Within an hour we were back at our
hotel and had our feet propped up. We sat for awhile, then took
off for the museum.
The museum was very quiet with few tour groups. We wandered through the upper gallery
(since we had covered the lower floor on our first visit). We browsed the colorful and
ornately decorated sarcophagi from the Valley of the Queens and viewed pre-dynastic
through Greco-Roman pottery and jewelry. At one point, when we had decided to sit and rest
for a few minutes, a young museum guard came over to chat with us then proudly offered to
show us a "baby" mummy. We followed him down a corridor and turned in to a room
holding several child and women mummies and their sarcophagi. We also saw samples of
mummified animals used as offerings a cat, falcon, ibis, crocodile, and even a
Nearby was a room filled with statues of all the various gods and goddesses. They ranged from
miniscule (less that an inch) to a couple of feet tall in size and were grouped by god
regardless of where they had been found. The ones of Osiris got quite elaborate a
most impressive version was done in black granite with gold inlays and alabaster/onyx
eyes. There were some intricately detailed Horus and Sekmet, some whimsical Bes and Min. Some of the statues were plain and
crude in their design while others were ornate. We found an unusual representation of Sobek from Arubis he had the
usual crocodile shaped body and a finely shaped head of Horus. The Bastet collection was well done with
materials ranging from ceramic to bronze to stone.
We re-entered the Tut area and took the time to study his funerary gear tables,
chairs and clothing boxes with elaborate inlays of gold, ivory and precious gems
his exquisitely adorned white alabaster and solid gold canopic jars a slightly
dingy but still intact ostrich feather fan with jeweled handle. As we headed towards the "Tut Room", we noticed a room with
"Ancient Egyptian Jewelry" was open. It was a new exhibit in the process of
being photographed for addition to the catalog and was not completely labeled. It had
examples of jewelry from Djeser (1st dynasty) through the New Kingdom
gold and gemstone neckpieces, rings, crowns, masks and amulets. We reviewed the "Tut
Room" and are still amazed at the beauty and wealth of the artifacts collected there.
Another new exhibit was the "Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Tanis". Aside
from the incredible jewelry collection, this room held two large silver, engraved and
bejeweled sarcophagi. Most amazing was that one of them had the face of Horus. It was labeled Chenaque and
according to the guard was from 2100-2200 BC. It was truly impressive. We found the
papyrus library with its collection of papyri from the earliest to most recent times. The
first known cartoon of cats making offerings of mice (and vice versa) was among the
As we were heading back towards the stairs, we discovered a treasure trove of every
imaginable size and shape of scarab. Each of the four displays sat upon three 24"
drawers set nine rows high we can not imagine what else is still to be seen. Think
of what remains in storage and archives in this museum! There is a plan to build a new
museum to house it all maybe it will be completed by the time we visit again.