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Cleaning the "Temple of Thoth"

Mike's paper Cleaning the 'Temple of Thoth' (an almost unknown temple on the West Bank at Luxor) was published in the Fall 2012 edition of the journal Kmt Vol. 23 Number 3.

Introduction: I was able to re-visit the site of the so-called ‘Temple of Thoth’ at Qasr el-‘Aguz (West Bank, Luxor) built under Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II (164-163 & 145-116 BCE) earlier this year and meet members of the team undertaking important work on the conservation of the temple's decorative elements. All from the Luxor region, the technical section of the conservation team comprises: Fathi Ragab; Saad Kenawy Mohammed; Joseph Harfiz; Esha El’Kady; Hoseen Mohamed Hassn; Fatmaa Khairy; Osman Ali; Bugh Dadi; Hassan Gomaah; and Beadowi Mostaffa, with Tiya Mustafa, Ahmed Deaab and Magdi Saifeldeen supporting as general labourers. The technicians have at least two years training in conservation techniques at an institute in Qena and field training in the Luxor area. Members of the current team have variously worked on the ceiling of the first court of the temple of Hathor at Dendarah and the temple at Deir el-Medina...



NEWS FROM EGYPT (Part 2) - Mike Jenkins and Patricia Kempa bring you up to date on recent news

In Archaeological Diggings magazine (Vol 19 N 4) an article by us discussed recent news from Egypt:

  • New Kingdom tombs at Saqqara
  • The Hathor Temple at Philae
  • The Stele of Merneptah at Silsila.


NEWS FROM EGYPT (Part 1) - Mike Jenkins and Patricia Kempa bring you up to date on recent news

In Archaeological Diggings magazine (Vol 19 N 3) an article by us discussed recent news from Egypt:

  • new access to areas of Ramesses III's morturay temple at Medinat Habu
  • the Crocodile Museum at Kom Ombo is opened
  • cleaning the temple of Khnum at Isna
  • a new building at the Open Air Museum, Karnak
  • newly opened tombs at Giza.


In the early 1990's Mike was invited by the National Numismatic Museum in Athens to prepare two papers on some of their most extra-ordinary pieces: a medallion of Commodus; and a niketerion.

While in Athens in 2010 we were able to see the pieces in their new cabinets and take some photos. Click on each of the images below to read more...

EGYPT: AN UPDATE - Mike Jenkins and Patricia Kempa share their experiences touring Egypt a year after the revolution began

InArchaeological Diggings magazine (Vol 19 N 2) is an article by us discusing our experiences during our 2012 Tour.

"Having left Egypt on 27th January 2011 during the revolution we were anxious to return and see the ‘new Egypt’ for ourselves. We arrived on 20th December 2011, a few weeks ahead of our tour group in order to do so..."

Our article discusses the changes we found in Egypt in the months since we had last been there, security issues, and the current state of some of the sites which suffered - or reportedly suffered - looting during 2011.

Get your copy of Archaeological Diggings and read more.

We are preparing a follow-up article for the next edition on the new experiences and sites we were able to visit.

TANKS AND TUTANKHAMUN - When present and ancient past collide

In July 2011 Mike gave a lecture at the Australian Historical Association's 2011 Regional Conference, History at the Edge and is preparing various papers on the topic: TANKS AND TUTANKHAMUN - When present and ancient past collide.

Abstract: Two days after the 2011 uprising police disappeared from their posts throughout Egypt and thieves broke into the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Soon after came reports that looters were causing general destruction at Saqqara, Giza and Abu Sir, and at various museums and archaeological storage facilities thought the country. At the same time came word that everyday Egyptians were protecting the monuments and museums from looters while awaiting the support of the armed forces. In Cairo people formed a human chain around the Egyptian Museum, at Karnak Temple men from the neighbouring village drove off would-be looters and the same happened on Elephantine Island to protect the Aswan Museum. On the West Bank at Luxor locals set up defensive barricades around the tombs and mortuary temples. What motivated these ordinary people to place the protection of ancient objects before their personal safety, and the security of their homes and families? Government sources blamed outlaws and escaped prisoners for the destruction and thefts, others blamed the site guards. Who was responsible for the damage to Egypt’s monuments and antiquities, and what were their motives? Some reports said that there was ‘vast damage’ at various archaeological sites, others denied that any harm had occurred. Was the reporting of cultural vandalism a victim of political propaganda? What has actually been lost in the ‘revolution on the Nile’? What has been won? What has been saved thanks to the courage of the everyday Egyptian?


The Temple of Thoth at Qasr el-'Aguz

Mike's paper The Temple of Thoth at Qasr el-'Aguz (an almost unknown temple on the West Bank at Luxor) was published in the Winter 2010/11 edition of the journal Kmt Vol. 21 Number 4.

Introduction: The so-called ‘Temple of Thoth’ at Qasr el-‘Aguz (West Bank, Luxor) was built under Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II (164-163 & 145-116 BCE). The temple stands only a short distance to the south-east of Medinet Habu. Unlike Ramesses III’s great complex which is visited by thousands of tourists daily, Qasr el-‘Aguz lies outside the public consciousness and imagination. Access to the temple is restricted and it is difficult to locate, being surrounded by local dwellings and a modern wall...


The Other Unfinished Obelisk

Mike's paper The Other Unfinished Obelisk was published in the Summer 2010 edition of the journal Kmt Vol. 21 Number 2.


Introduction: Aswan’s colossal granite ‘Unfinished Obelisk’ in the Northern Quarry of the East Bank is a celebrated tourist attraction protected by World Heritage status. While its fame has ensured the preservation of this obelisk, the same cannot be said of the obelisk’s smaller and less well-known cousin: an unfinished obelisk on the West Bank opposite Aswan...


Dr Mike Jenkins explains the iconography of Seti I's unfinished obelisk to members of our 2010 Tour Group


ALIENS AT THE PYRAMIDS: Western Tourists in Egypt

Ma'at Tours was invited to present a paper at the inaugural Borders & Crossings inter-disciplinary conference on travel writing and tourism studies held at the University of Melbourne in July 2008 on the topic ALIENS AT THE PYRAMIDS: Western Tourists in Egypt. We were also invited to present at the associated Melbourne Festival of Travel Writing.


Ma'at Tours organises and leads annual educational tours of Egypt. Our participants are motivated by a desire to experience first-hand the wonders of ancient Egypt. They have little or no prior knowledge or understanding of the contemporary society that surround the ruins of Pharaonic Egypt. We invite our participants to move outside an 'air-con bubble of Western-likeness' and to experience and grow in understanding of modern Egypt and its people. How do we do so, and how do our tourists react? Is present-day Egypt - a developing, Muslim country - simply the inconvenient, foreign, 'dirty' and possibly dangerous vehicle that a Western traveller must endure to access the splendours of the past? You can travel back in time thousands of years in an Egyptian pyramid, temple or tomb but once you cross the threshold of a monument you are back in the real Egypt of today. What then is Egypt? Its glorious ancient past or a place in the present inhabited by people facing real, human problems? What do our participants take away from their Egyptian experience besides gigabytes of digital images of ruins and some exotic souvenirs? What are the ethical responsibilities of those leading others into the past?