Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Great Lopsided Pyramid of Giza

The Ancient Egypt Research Associates recently took measurements of the Great Pyramid on the Giza Plateau. The pyramid was built for the tyrannical King Khufu around 2560 BC and is the only surviving wonder of the ancient world.

In a report by archaeologist Glen Dash the survey found that the west side of the pyramid was off in comparison with the east face. The search continues to discover how the great pyramid was built in such a remote period of ancient history and with only the simplest of tools.


Arial photograph taken by Eduard Spelterini from a balloon November 21, 1904

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Another Skull from Valley of the Kings tomb KV55

This is a short article to announce funding for a study of hundreds of gold sheets found in this box in the storage of the Cairo Museum. The contents originally were found in Egypt's Valley of the Kings controversial tomb KV55. More remarkable are a couple of fragments of someones skull which are attributable to that burial even though the skeleton found in that tombs coffin is not missing parts of its skull.

So whose this? Could these two fragments actually be the remains of Akhenaten instead of the mummy found in the coffin of that tomb? Or could they be all that remains of the ephemeral Pharaoh Smenkhara? The pieces could also be of later intrusive material, whether in the tomb or while in museum storage.

This study has some real potential to add to the knowledge of the reign of the heretic king and the Amarna period king's that followed him from the 14th century BC.


 Article by Nevine el Aref
Image: Ministry of Antiquities

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tuesday's Egyptian: The Mummy of King Merenre I

Here we have a short but interesting video on the discovery of the Old Kingdom King Merenre I, though it is slightly inaccurate. The early explorers who found their way into the pyramids of the Old Kingdom were on every occasion late comers as visitors in ancient times before had destroyed and removed the mummies and most of the funerary material of all the pyramid king's. A century ago a morbid display in Egypt's national museum was labeled "Fragments of King Unas".

As the founder of Egypt's antiquities service Auguste Mariette lay dying in his tent at Saqqara in January of 1881 his workers were excavating a pyramid at the site when they located its burial chamber. The job to inspect the contents of the pyramid and sarcophagus was left to Mariette's assistants, the Brugsh brothers, Heinrich and his younger brother Emile.

The great discoveries included the hieroglyphs covering the burial chamber walls revealing the kings name who had built the pyramid was Merenre I who reigned from approximately 2287-2278 BCE. One of the last king's of the 6th Dynasty and the Old Kingdom. As the brothers approached the open basalt sarcophagus they found the well preserved body of a child lying next to it bearing a side lock of youth and without its mandible, but otherwise intact.1 This event has been regarded as the first time the mummy of a pyramid king had been found, if not in his own sarcophagus at least lying next to it.

From this point the discovery turns from scientific find into vaudeville act as the brothers removed the mummy and began carrying it across the hot desert sands of Saqqara. On the way to show Mr. Mariette their discovery the mummy broke into two pieces making it much more convenient for the brothers to carry.

At the time the mummy was believed to be that of Merenre himself, however at some point it was felt that the mummy was not Old Kingdom but New Kingdom in age, thus the body could not be of that king. Today the pendulum has swung back in the light of more recent discoveries. If it is the mummy of King Merenre I, than it is the oldest known example of the nearly intact mummified remains of an Egyptian king.

Last time I checked the mummy was on display in the Imhotep Museum at Saqqara covered by a sheet leaving only the mummies feet and forehead exposed.


1. Tour Egypt: Pyramid of Merenre at South Saqqara

Further Info:

LookLex Encyclopaedia