Past Press Releases

CONTENTS: The Capstone \ Millennium Celebration \ Lectures \ Upcoming Excavations \ Books
The Upcoming
8th International Congress of Egyptologists

News From The Pyramids                                                    
DEC 1999
Dr. Zahi Hawass

The Capstone

We decided to make the capstone (pyramidion) from iron frames, the height is about 8 m. It will be covered with copper. We can not put it up with a helicopter because this may hurt the pyramid. Therefore, if we find out that putting this capstone will at all hurt the pyramid, then, we will not do it.

There are some people that are trying to connect the capstone with some societies. The capstone is actually an ancient Egyptian symbol. I discovered in Abu Sir, limestone blocks in which a scene shows the workman dragging a capstone, and is written in hieroglyphics that it was encased in gold (electrum)

The other scene then shows ladies dancing. My interpretation of this is that when the king finishes building the pyramid, then they put on the capstone, this meant that the pyramid was finished, and everyone danced and sang because the great national project was finally finished.

We know that the households in the north and the south of Egypt used to participate in building the pyramid by sending food, grain and work force. Then, when they finished the pyramid it was like a feast.

Nine pyramidions were discovered around the Old Kingdom pyramids. Four only from Dynasty 4. I discovered three pyramidions of the nine.

Also, in 1936, Jequier found near the pyramid of one of the Queens of King Pepi II of Dynasty 5 an  inscription which mentions the pyramidion made from gold.

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The Millennium Celebration

The party of the Millennium will be in the desert, away from the pyramid. More than 25 tents are set in the desert, south of the third pyramid. There is no change of one piece of sand, every area was covered with wood and they put the tents above the wood. The TV will send by satellite 19 minutes of the Michael Jahr concert. All the tickets were sold, each paid about $400.

The good news is that from January 1, all the tourists will enter the pyramid from the Fayoum Road. The project for the safety of the pyramids is finished. We built a horse and camel stable in the desert. All the modern activities will be on the south area of the third pyramid.

The second pyramid will be opened in March 1, 2000 and we will then close the third pyramid for cleaning and restoration. This is part of our rotating program for the ongoing conservation of the pyramids.

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The week of DEC 5 I gave a talk at the Metropolitan Museum and two lectures at the National Geographic on the 9th, one at 5pm and the other at 7:30. Ambassador Nabriel Fahmy and his wife attended the 7:30 lecture. Ambassador Fahmy is just appointed a few months ago as the Egyptian Ambassador for the United States.

Upcoming Excavations

The excavation of the tombs of the workmen who built the pyramids will start on the 10th of December 1999. 

We will also start the excavation of the Valley of the Golden Mummies in February 2000. We will work in the tombs of the Upper Class.

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Harry Abrams is publishing my book, Silent Images: Women in Pharaonic Egypt, in March 2000. Also I am finishing now a book for the same publisher about the Mummies.

The Upcoming 8th International Congress of Egyptologists
28 March to 4 April 2000

The company that is handling the conference is Emeco Travel. They can be reached at:

Emeco Travel
Karim El Minabawy, President
Pamy El Sheribiny, Assistant Project Manager
Tel.:  202-574 93 60 / 579 95 44
Fax:  202-574 42 12 / 574 93 69`

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BACK to The Plateau Homepage

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Past Press Releases:
Opening of tombs and Queen's Pyramids in Giza (2/98)

World Celebrates Successful Restoration of the Sphinx(5/98)

Dr. Hawass Promoted (7/98)

Horse and Camel Stable at Giza/Restoration of Great Pyramid (11/98)

The Great Pyramid, Sphinx Temple, Recent Lectures and more (4/99)

The Opening of the Great Pyramid (6/99)

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