Actually, Mit Rahina has a great significance that representing the civil life of an ancient city “Memphis”, by contrast, its other part which is represented in Saqqare necropolis.  So, if this city was vanished, we would loss the high magnitude of an ancient Egyptian history-related period that the archaeological site till now has been kept on the ruins of the 18th dynasty king Ramsses II’s palace which is considered a rare model for the palace structures during the ancient eras and besides, the layout of Akenaten palace in Tell al–Amarna, Menia governorate.

Temple of Goddess Hathor by © Mohamed Badry

Temple of Goddess Hathor by © Mohamed Badry

Temple of Goddess Hathor by © Mohamed Badry

Mit Rahina is included in the World Heritage Site “Memphis and its Necropolis – the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur” which has been inscribed in 1979 under the criteria (I), (III), and (VI) (UNESCO, Memphis and its Necropolis – the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur).  An ancient town Memphis (Mit Rahina) is considered an original unit with temples, palaces, houses and estates, industrial areas, artisan communities, army training camp and riverine port. It had religious, political and economic significances along the history (Kamel, 1985, p. 26).

Alabaster Sphinx of King Amenemhat II, Garden of Mit Rahina Museum by © Nesma Ahmed el-Ghabaty

Alabaster Sphinx of King Amenemhat II, Garden of Mit Rahina Museum by © Nesma AhAlabaster Sphinx of King Amenemhat II, Garden of Mit Rahina Museum by © Nesma Ahmed el-Ghabatym

The paper has been used archaeological and Egyptological-related libraries, internet sources and besides, oral sources that are done within a field trip interviewing the site inspector Mr. Mohamed Fathy Mansour – Mit Rahina Inspectorate register – on Tuesday, 12th August 2014 that he is informatively supported.  The visitation was evaluated the ground cover and potential for buried archaeological materials as well as noticing any standing or obtrusive archaeological and historical feature.

The Tiny Chapel of King Seti I by © Mohamed Badry

The Tiny Chapel of King Seti I by © Mohamed Badry

Location

An ancient city Memphis was originally situated on the western bank of the Nile River that the current site of Mit Rahina village where is about twenty three kilometers away south of modern Cairo (Jeffrey, 2001, p. 373)  (Malek & Baines, 2000, p. 134).

Historical Background

After the fifth century B.C, the earliest capital Memphis was mentioned by the classical writers and historians such as Herodotus and Diodorus.  Memphis was founded by King Hor-Aha (or probably King Menes (Narmer) during the first dynasty (3000 – 2920 B.C) to be the 1st political unified capital for Upper and Lower Egypt.  Ancient Memphis was distinguished through its position as trades spot that situating near the apex of the Delta controlling all major routes for internal trade as well as foreign commerce.  (Jeffrey, 2001, p. 373)

During the Middle kingdom, it was still kept on its pose as a religious and commercial center while, through the New kingdom era, it was turned for its first position to become the principal seat of the government, as well as a training camp of the Egyptian military forces and a cosmopolitan river port (Kamel, 1985, pp. 26, 27, 30).

During the Late period, Memphis was a trade center and a refuge, especially during the reign of King Apries and Amasis, for both Jewish exiles from Jerusalem and Ionian and Carian mercenaries. Then, when the Ptolemies started to found their new capital Alexandria, they kept on an earliest capital Memphis that stills as a religious capital especially the worship of Apis bull (Kamel, 1985, p. 27).

This greatest city neglected too much after the Arab conquest of Egypt.  Also, Arabs had been completed the destruction activities, after the Roman period, especially with the founding of the Fatimid capital Cairo in 969 A.D.; Memphis was used as a quarry that blocks of granite, marble and Egyptian alabaster were transferred from the remained monument (Jeffrey, 2001, p. 373).

The Embalming House of Apis httpmedia.npr.orgassetsimg20091027animal_mummies_001_slide-b8cf399d72b9a286719c91c6b5144d9abfc74b98-s6-c30.jpg)

The Embalming House of Apis httpmedia.npr.orgassetsimg20091027animal_mummies_001_slide-b8cf399d72b9a286719c91c6b5144d9abfc74b98-s6-c30.jpg)

The Archaeological Elements of the Site:

  • The museum of the colossal Statue of King Ramses II
  • In the garden of the museum compound, there are numerous masterpieces such as the uninscribed alabaster sphinx, the inscribed pedestal, granite sarcophagus, besides other vessels.
  • The Great Temple of God Ptah
  • The Temple of Sycamore goddess Hathor
  • The Tiny Chapel of King Seti I
  • The Embalming House of Apis Bull lies to the southwestern corner of the enclosure wall of the main temple of god Ptah.
  • The Palace of King Ramses II

Assessing the Site Values

  • Religious Value

Mit Rahina had a religious role which was related to worship of all the gods, Ptah, the god of creative force, the goddess Hathor, the mother goddess as she skulled all the kings, and Apis, the bull god.  (Bunson, 2002, p. 236)

  • Political Value

Memphis had a political entity that it was “the first sovereign of the unified Egyptian kingdom, Menes or Narmer, ordered the construction of a new capital in the area around the Nile Delta, the City of Menes, Mennufer” which to be considered the mark of the boundary among Upper and Lower Egypt.   (UNESCO, Memphis and its Necropolis – the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur)  (AERAGRAM, 2012, p. 2)

  • Commercial Value

During the late period, “Memphis was as a place of refuge.  It had become Egypt’s most cosmopolitan city.  It combined a strong local identity based on deep-rooted traditions with a remarkable absorptive capacity to tolerate other people’ diverse beliefs and practice“.  Mit Rahina was trades spot where was located near the apex of the Delta controlling all major routes for internal trade as well as foreign commerce.  “Memphis was visited by merchants and traders”.  (Jeffrey, 2001, p. 373) (Kamel, 1985, p. 26)

Vision

Mit Rahina becomes an actual open air museum as to be the most well-preserved ancient Egyptian site in Egypt.  Resulted in its cultural heritage significance, the site is well-known for the local community and promoted in a worldwide range.  It is a place generating revenues from gathering creative multi-purpose uses – e.g. the archaeological actions – like Field Schools and a museum in particular events.  It is considered the most important case study for scholars.

Mission

An archaeological site Mit Rahina has a strong leadership committee which guides site crew towards a controlled administration that ensuring a good visitation for tourists,moreover, raising the awareness of the local community for the site significance as able to participate – in a voluntarily way – in either formal or informal activities.

Objectives

  • Providing the tourists with a wide range of knowledge-based experiences.
  • Promoting and conserving the archaeological components.
  • Opening more Mit Rahina-related job opportunities for the local young people.
  • Matching among an education and the heritage village of Mit Rahina.
  • Maximizing the security system to mitigate the vandalism and the encroachments.
  • Communicating between the local community and the administration staff of the site.
  • Encouraging the young ones to share in leadership initiatives and planning activities.

Situation Analysis (SWOT)

Strengths

  • Historical and Heritage Significance
  • Authenticity
  • Archaeological Function
  • In-situ
  • Large Carrying Capacity
  • Owning High Information
  • Easy to access

Weaknesses

  • Lack of Maintenance and conservation
  • More deterioration
  • No-formal boundaries
  • Circulation restrictions
  • Lack of co-operation
  • Administrative conflicts
  • Limited financing
  • Tourism Facilities

Opportunities

  • Attractiveness
  • Place of activities and Cultural events
  • Picnic spot for the local community
  • Museum
  • Great Open Air exhibition

Threats

  • Intensified Irrigation Water
  • Illegal Urban Development
  • Visual Pollution
  • Illegal urban-related problem such as Rubbish and bad sewage system
  • The growth of the grasses on the archaeological components

Strategies (S.) and Action Plan (A.)

Strategic Priorities for Two Years

S 1. Enhancing tourism sector in Mit Rahina to increase the site revenue

A 1. Maximizing tourism attractions as the site becomes in the priority of tourism itineraries.

Responsibility: Ministry of Tourism, Tourism Activation Association, Tourism Companies and Mit Rahina Site Crew

A 2. Concerning on archaeological components and an intangible heritage – as a safe place – as a marketing part.

Responsibility: Mit Rahina Site Crew, Tourism Activation Association, Ministry of Tourism, Tourism Companies, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Antiquities and Heritage, and Ministry of Interior

A 3. Founding a local tourism interpretation association.

Responsibility: Mit Rahina Site Crew, Tourism Activation Association, Ministry of Tourism and Tourism Companies.

A 4. Promoting and recognizing the cultural heritage through the development of a heritage preservation and conservation.

Responsibility: Mit Rahina Site Crew, Tourism Activation Association, Ministry of Tourism, Tourism Companies and Ministry of Antiquities and Heritage

S 2. Maximizing the safety environment within Mit Rahina

A 1. Reconstructing an enclosure wall around the remained site’s attributes specifically surrounding Kom el-Arba’in and Kom el-Fakhry.

Responsibility: Mit Rahina Site Crew, the municipality of Mit Rahina village, Ministry of Antiquities and Heritage, and Ministry of Interior.

A 2. Improving the mitigation plan of vandalism.

Responsibility: Ministry of Interior

A 3. Measuring the safety percentage annually.

Responsibility: Ministry of Interior and the municipality of Mit Rahina village

A 4. Implementing an annual committee to identify the official boundaries of the archaeological site in either core zone or buffer zone regarding to new archaeological discoveries.

Responsibility: Mit Rahina Site Crew, Ministry of Antiquities and Heritage, the municipality of Mit Rahina village, and Ministry of Interior

A 5. Preparing programs that are suitable for the young ones who display the alternative options to an antisocial behavior which decreasing through more intensive symposium and practical anthropological workshops.

Responsibility: Mit Rahina Site Crew, Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Interior

S 3. Raising the awareness of the local behavior

A 1. Organizing culture workshops for the local community.

Responsibility: Mit Rahina Site Crew, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of high education, Ministry of education, and Ministry of Antiquities and Heritage.

A 2. Receipting the under-12 ages boys and besides, other young teenagers during summer vacations in the site implementing a special education program and other volunteered programs.

Responsibility: Mit Rahina Site Crew, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of high education, Ministry of education, and Ministry of Antiquities and Heritage.

A 3. Enhancing the participation of the young people in the periodic committee of the site rising up their awareness for the site value.

Responsibility: Mit Rahina Site Crew, the young people of Mit Rahina village, Ministry of high education, and Ministry of Antiquities and Heritage.

A 4. The site crew share with the Mit Rahina local community in the local events such as traditional festivals, feasts and celebrations within reactivating the methods of celebrating e.g. Sham el-Naseem.

Responsibility: Mit Rahina Site Crew, Tourism Activation Association, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture

A 5. Matching among the local people and the site through opening the tourism-related job opportunities and enhancing the handicrafts-related jobs.

Responsibility: Mit Rahina Site Crew, The municipality of Mit Rahina village, Tourism Activation Association, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Antiquities and Heritage, and Ministry of Interior

S 4. Conserving the heritage site

A 1. Using a low-flow irrigation system for the cultivated activities in Mit Rahina instead of the flood regime [1], and besides, establishing the mobile elements to prevent totally the effect of irrigation water.

Responsibility: Ministry of Irrigation, Ministry of Agriculture, the municipality of Mit Rahina village, Mit Rahina Site Director, Ministry of Environment Affairs and Ministry of Antiquities and Heritage.

A 2. Controlling the visitors’ number and timing of visitation inside the site, moreover, transferring the wooden bazaars to other appropriate locations where are near to the site that to set the site’s carrying capacity.

Responsibility: Mit Rahina Site Crew, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Antiquities and Heritage and Ministry of Interior.

A 3. Creating the reduction measures to lessen the effects of illegal urban development.

Responsibility: Mit Rahina Site Crew, the municipality of Mit Rahina village, Ministry of Housing Utilities & Urban Communities and Ministry of Interior.

A 4. Conserving the current damaged areas or the bad conserved architectural elements in an appropriate way of maintenance and conservation that using a traditional plaster instead of cement in the conservation of the archaeological elements .

Responsibility: Mit Rahina Site Crew and Ministry of Antiquities and Heritage

A 5. Controlling the growth of the grasses on the archaeological attributes

Responsibility: Mit Rahina Site Crew, Ministry of Environment Affairs, Ministry of Irrigation, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Antiquities and Heritage

A 6. Requesting the assistance of the advisor bodies – the conservation institutions and organizations – such as ICCROM, ICOMOS …etc.

Responsibility: Mit Rahina Site Crew and Ministry of Antiquities and Heritage

[1] So, the high amount of drainage water can be lessened and consequently, the percentage of salinity and humidity will be decreased, besides that; the erosion may be stopped.

Bibliography

  • (2012). Memphis, a City Unseen: Joint AERA-ARCE-EES Beginners Field School. AERAGRAM, 13(01).
  • Bunson, M. R. (2002). Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. New York.
  • Jeffrey, D. G. (2001). Memphis. In D. Redford, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt (Vol. II). Cairo.
  • Kamel, J. (1985, July/August). Archaeologists Revive Interest in a Famous Egyptian Site. Archaeology, 38(4), pp. 25-32.
  • Malek, J., & Baines, J. (2000). Cultural Atlas of Ancient Egypt. New York.
  • Mohamed Fathy Mansor (2014, August 12). Mit Rahina, Strategic Plan for an Archaeological Site. (Mohamed Badry Kamel, Interviewer)
  • Porter, B., & Moss, R. L. (1994). Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs and Paintings (Vols. III-2.2). Oxford.

Memphis and its Necropolis – the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur – Egypt

Mohamed Badry Kamel Basuny AmerWorld Heritage SitesEgypt,Memphis and its Necropolis – the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur,Mohamed Badry,travel,World Heritage Sites - Museums - Strategic Planning - Heritage Management,world heritage travel
Actually, Mit Rahina has a great significance that representing the civil life of an ancient city “Memphis”, by contrast, its other part which is represented in Saqqare necropolis.  So, if this city was vanished, we would loss the high magnitude of an ancient Egyptian history-related period that the archaeological...