Cairo: Egyptian Antiquities Minister Mamdouh Eldamaty announced that two 4,000-year-old reliefs, belonging to Ptolemaic Queen Berenice, were found by Polish archaeologists in the temple of Serapis, on the coast of the Red Sea.
A relief sculpture is any work which projects from but which belongs to the wall or other type of background surface on which it is carved.
The pieces date to Ancient Egypt’s so-called Middle Kingdom (2050-1750 BC) and the Second Intermediate Period (1650-1550 BC), epochs long before the temple’s construction date, EFE news agency quoted Eldamaty as saying on Sunday.
The first relief has a cartouche containing the name of the Pharaoh Amenemhat IV — the seventh and next-to-last pharaoh of the 12th dynasty — whose reign was characterized by exploration expeditions for precious turquoise and amethyst, while the second relief, quite damaged, requires restoration.
The archaeologists also found a number of blocks of stone, which served as bases for the temple’s statues and are engraved with lotus and papyrus flowers as well as with writing in Greek.
The seaport of Berenice was established at the beginning of the 3rd century AD by Ptolemy II, who ordered campaigns to the East African coast to capture elephants to be used in battle.
Iraqi health officials say that a health crisis stemming from water pollution and a shortage of clean drinking water has worsened in recent days, as hospitals in the southern port city of Basra treat more than 1,000 cases of intestinal infections on a daily basis. The problem was exacerbated several months ago when Turkey cut back on water distributed to the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.
A crowd of young men took to the streets on in the southern port city of Basra Tuesday, demanding the central government and Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi increase the quantity of clean drinking water allotted to their province, otherwise it’ll lead to a health crisis. Abadi vowed to increase spending on infrastructure for the province during a visit to Basra in July.
A young man, whose friend was killed during a rally several weeks ago, broke down and sobbed over the protesters’ inability to force Iraqi leaders to improve the condition of public services in Basra, especially the region’s worn-out water infrastructure and insufficient quantities of drinking water allotted by the central government.
Some health officials in Basra warn that a cholera outbreak is possible due to water pollution and water-borne parasites that have made thousands of people sick in recent days. The director general of the Basra Health department, Riad Abdul Amir, told Al Hurra TV the situation continues to worsen.
He says more than 17,500 cases of intestinal ailments, resulting from contaminated drinking water, have been treated by Basra hospitals during the past two weeks, alone.
Abdul Amir says the problem stems from insufficient fresh water supplies coming into the city via canals and water pipes from the north.
“Salty water [which has infiltrated the water network],” he asserts, “is known to reduce the efficacy of chlorine used to treat and kill bacteria in drinking water,” he said.
Safaa Kazem, a docotor who has been treating dozens of cases of intestinal problems and diarrhea in Basra’s Sadr Teaching Hospital each day, says water from the city’s supply is not safe to drink.
She says the degree of water sterilization is minimal and that Basra’s water is very salty and has an extremely high level of microbes in it, along with a high degree of chemical pollution.
Basra Governor Assad al Edani told Al Hurra TV that his province has been suffering from numerous infrastructure problems for a long time.
He says the water network in Basra hasn’t been updated in at least 30 years and the old pipes often break, mixing drinking water with sewage.
Edani says “not enough fresh water is arriving via the region’s only canal from Thi Qar province to the north.” He thinks a “strong current of fresh water will flush out salty water seeping into the water network from the sea.”
Edani adds that the population of Basra has “more than doubled since the water network was last updated in the early 1990s.”
Iraq’s individual provinces have been fighting for water, amid a general shortage, since Turkey in early June severely curtailed the number of cubic meters of water it funnels into both the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. (VOA)