Cairo November 2007
New Egyptian Museum at the Pyramids Area
By Dr. Mohamed El Gazzar
Selection of the new Egyptian Museum location was my motive to write the following words. Since Egypt is the mother country of the Museum, I was obliged to start with a word about her. Frankly it was very difficult to express myself towards her, until I found an article written by Gamal Hamdan and translated into English through Geological Expedition conducted by Petroleum Expedition Society of Libya in 1964.
"What sort of country is Egypt? Old or new? Eastern or Western? ARAB OR AFRICAN? Mediterranean or Nilotic? Is it, as might be curiously inferred and has actually been voiced the land of Paradoxes?" Only a superficial look can lead to such a conclusion. The true and abiding personality of Egypt is a many—sided world, a multidimensional unit and such a master of comprise and the via media. The genius of Egypt is that it belongs nearly everywhere but is never entirely there. Is it geologically in Africa but belongs to Asia by history. Pharaonic by grandfather, she is decisively Arab. By father, a land power by virtue of valley base, she is necessarily Amphibious by her two sea—locations, a "River state" of the most ancient and typical kind, she is equally a "Route state" connected successfully with land and water transit. She thus draws her life blood from two arteries, fresh water and salt water, and both have been made effective by a supreme "Geological surgery", the dams and the Canal respectively. Although she gives a hand to tropical Africa, she looks forward to the Mediterranean. Again she is in the desert but not of it. She is an exotic, intrusive, anti-desert oasis. Or should we rather say semi oasis".
I have nothing to say but AMEN...
NOW, we have to discuss the location of the Museum, where it is situated in an area hosting more than 75 % of not less than 10 000 years of Ancient human civilization. Having outcrop rocks formations and structures goes back to mere than 200,000,000 years, in addition to 120 acres.
Museum for Antiquities and ancient cultures should be considered by all measures, they only one exists all over our entire globe. Despite the fact, that I am not expert in ancient civilizations or cultures, I believe that the area could speak itself, where the great Pyramids, one of the only existing seven wonders of the World, the great SPHINX, SAKKARA PYRAMIDS, MIDOM PYRAMID, ABU SEIR PYRAMID, etc., are located there and still, representing over 10,000 years of human civilization in the area.
Selecting location of the new Egyptian Antiquities museum in the area was made mainly according to the location of such old ancient Egyptian treasures and civilization in area, but fortunate enough the same area enjoy an open Geological Museum, where it contains rocks and formations that covers over 200 million years of the age of the Earth, representing more than 15 different geologic time, covering most of the QUARTERNARY and TERTIARY geological periods. Simply, the area size cover ~ 100 square km contains over 200 million years of geologic formations and several unique Geological features.
I. GEOLOGICAL FORMATIONS OUTCROPS AT THE AREA
l. Upper cretaceous 130 million the oldest exposed rocks in the area occupy the ABU—RAWASH structure ofthe ABU—RAWASH area
a) CAMPANIAN chalk
b) SENONIAN plicatula series, limestone and marls with plicatula and ostrea
c) TURONIAN chalky limestone with flintbakds
d) CENOMANIAN sandstone series and Wadi Talan
2. EOCENC (54 million years ago)
Gizahensis member, the Pyramid plateau formed of limestone with Nummulite Gizahensis and Cardinella gigantica.
3. OLIGOCENE (38 million years ago)
4. BASALTIC FLOW
5. EARLY MIOCENE. GEBEL —— EL—KHASHAB, red beds (26 Million years).
6. PLIOCENE sediments. At HEIT EL—GORAB around the Sphinx area (7 Million years)
7. EOLIAN sediments (2,5 Million years).
8. NILE deposits (2.5 Million years).
II- GEOLOGICAL FEATURES AT THE AREA ABU RAWASH
Exception t0 the flat featureless of the plain of the Northern part of Western Desert, is the ABU RAWASH Anticlinal structure which crops out 16 km west of Cairo. This is where the only CRETACEOUS (170 million years ago) outcrops. The outcrops are situated at the edge of the Desert, adjacent to the Nile Valley cultivation at the village of ABU RAWASH 8 km northwest of the GIZA PYRAMIDS. The structure has a length of 15 km, a width of 5 km and a max elevation of 197 meter above sea level. (Said /E. Martin in 1964)…
A conspicuous round dome surrounded by successive concentric gullies and edges, climb up the Dome, you shall see a wide valley named WADI EL—QARN (Said / E. Martin 1964). HASSANA DOME is now a protected AREA.
At the same area, you shall see BASALT exposure at TELL EL—ZALAT.
To southwest of ABU RAWASH structure, you will see GEBEL—·EL-KHASHAB, extremely rich with FOSSIL WOOD.
II. THE PYRAMIDS PLATEAU
Not to mention the Pyramids Plateau. The Great SPHINX and GEBEL HEIT EL-GHORAB, since they are the first features that you may see upon reaching the area to visit the great Pyramids of Giza.
Having these gigantic monuments and temples that have been there for ages, together with such unique geological features and formations in the same areas makes it a perfect huge theatre where the ANCIENT EGYPTIANS conducting a great OPERA over 150 million years stage.
So I believe that establishing THE NEW EGPTIAN ANTIQUITIES MUSEUM in the area without GEOLOGICAL MUSEUM will be INSUFFICIENT WORK. This will definitely downgrade the natural value of the country, and potential of the PROJECT.
So it is highly recommended to establish a geological section in addition to the ANCIENT EGYPTIAN section. In fact, it might be a good idea to relocate the existing Geological Museum from its location and place it at THE NEW EGYPTIAN MUSEUM.