Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Meet Middlebury's Mummy

The only known mummy buried in America

Who Tamed Who

This story about the domestication of cats leaves me to wonder about tolerance rather than "taming".

The human home always had mice and I am sure that wild cats were probably tolerated long before they became pets.

When the cats around but there are no mice the home owner may just as well throw a scrap of food at the wild cat to keep him around.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Unearthing Egypt's Greatest Temple

The mortuary temple of the 18th dynasty king Amenhotep III must have been quite the most sumptuous ever created.

This kings reign was an artistic high, sadly little more than a century later an earthquake partially destroyed it and a 19th dynasty king made his funerary monument out of the older monuments blocks.

On the upside king Merenptah had the blocks turned around and re carved for himself thus the older carvings were unseen and protected.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Aswan more than meets the eye

This great old picture shows the worlds largest obelisk still half buried and of course with the crack which stopped the work on it thousands of years ago.

Today the obelisk has been cleared of the rubble and is a huge tourist attraction.

Vermont Mummy

A small story with pictures about a mummy in Vermont.

Egyptian Canal's

Part of what made ancient Egypt great was its now long forgotten transportation infrastructure. No not roads but canals everywhere all linked to the mighty highway, the Nile.

Boy King to Face Crowds

So King Tutankhamun finally looses the last of his divine coverings and will be displayed in his antechamber as a mere mortal under glass.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Hatshepsut found

Though the year is not over yet I am willing to be wrong to suggest early that this story wins the title as "Most important discovery of 2007".

Egypts top Ten Archaelogical Discoveries

This is the second installment of Dr. Zahi Hawass's series and I am in agreement that the settlement and cemetery of the builders of the great pyramid is just this important. As for the crackpots who desire alien or cavemen cultures to be responsible take that!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Narratives and operations...

This ca. 1820 book is very much the predecessor of the "Indiana Jones" genre . A classic that every historian whether Egyptologist or not must read.

Its author Giovanni Belzoni became a legend in his own time perhaps single handedly created the craze that is now Egyptology.

Unfortunately he died young in December of 1823 in the village of Gwato, Nigeria on his way to Timbuktoo.

Egypt through the Stereoscope

Egypt Through the Stereoscope

Wow! This 1908 publication has stereoscopic views of a finer time in tourism.

One of the views is titled "Magnificent desolation-the deserted temple of Luxor".

A work by the great James Breasted

Gizeh and Rifeh

This 1907 publication by Flinders Petrie is highlighted with the discovery of an intact middle kingdom tomb of two brothers named Nekht Ankh and Khnum Nekht at a site called Rifeh.

Their entire funerary ensemble including the mummies (skeletons) of the brothers is in the Manchester Museum.

The publication is a short read with good black and white excavation photos.

Manchester Museum

University College London's Digital Egypt for Universities

The Mummies Royal

I cannot believe that I have still not put this book on my blog.

If my home was burning and I could only save one book it would be this one.

A number of years ago Dr.'s Aidan Dodson and Salima Ikram found a faint inscription on the mummy of unknown women "B" this inscription gave her name as "The great kings wife" Tetishiri.

Queen Tetishiri is well known because her grandson King Ahmosis "the liberator" erected a now famous stelea as well as other monuments in her honor.

The Mummies Royal:

Illahun, Kahun and Gurob

Illahun, Kahun and Gurob

This 1889-90 archaeological report by W. M. Flinders Petrie along with the 1890 report Kahun, Gurob and Hawara document a very important season in the life of a man considered the father of modern archaeology.

When he displayed his finds in london in 1889 the mummies bearing greco roman portraits were said to have inspired Oscar Wild to write " A portrait of Dorian Grey".

Here we have the Petrie Museum

Tutankhamum: anatomy of an excavation

This is of course one of the essential egyptology sites.

This author recently found a copy of Howard Carter's "The tomb of Tutankhamen" believe me it was oddly enough a bit of a torturous read.

Well the story is perhaps best told through the pictures.

Aswan Damn Bites

Indeed yes forty years later and Egypt may now be facing an ecological catastrophe.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Threatening Speech

In a speech made by Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of Egypt's Supreme council of antiquities a few of years ago in Paris to members of UNESCO's Intergovernmental committee for the return of cultural heritage. Dr. Hawass made a fiery speech which did not help his cause and left 5 museums thinking "I lend my piece to Dr. Hawass and I will never see it again".

The biggest fight has been with the Berlin museum over a bust of Nefertiti which is the museums star. Dr. Hawass has irritated its director with repeated requests followed by Berlin's denial saying the bust is too fragile to travel.

Each of these denials has infuriated Dr. Hawass who clearly see's the bust as stolen. At this point there is a strong belief among some that Egypt's Supreme council of antiquities will just steal it back, if it ever gets its hands on it.

No moral issues here.

When we think Egyptology most people may think of the Rosetta stone like the Nefertiti bust, the museums star. The Rosetta stone is the British museums most visited object, even more so than its Elgin marbles.

As Egyptian antiquities go it is possibly the most famous object in the world and if Dr. Hawass was to get his hands on this object the President for life of Egypt would pin a medal on the doctor and the doctor would become a national hero and the stone would never see England again. Although I am sure the Cairo museum would be happy to send its copy back.

Likewise the Louvre can more than likely kiss the Dendara zodiac goodbye if they ever sent it back.

However in the last 2 cases the objects may be unique but perhaps not important enough for the Egyptian authorities to risk damaging their reputation perhaps loosing millions of dollars. I think Boston should overlook Dr. Hawass's poor diplomatic abilities and loan its bust of Ankhaf which was given through division of finds by the staff of the Cairo museum and is not seen as a stolen object.

Perhaps someday the more important of these objects will be able to be loaned back to Egypt but I don't think the director of Berlin's museum is in any rush to help the doctor get a medal pinned to his chest.

Hemiunu to Return to Egypt

Well Dr. Hawass has one of his 5 requests to open his new museum in 2011. Hopefully The Boston museum of Fine Arts will be next and allow its bust to also join the occasion.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Beggining of History

The dawn of culture is inevitably tied onto the advent of script some thousands years past and in the annals of the representation of human history must come to a surviving painted tomb at Hierakonpolis, (Nekhen) in a pair of kingdoms that would be Kemet, (Egypt).

The tomb is dated to ca. 3200 bce with its one known mural depicting 5 white boats surrounding one black boat. Surrounding the boats are various people and animal's appearing to be in battle.

The mural is unlike anything one would think of as Egyptian, rather it has the presentation as cave paintings seen all over the world, yet it speaks not of the half hazard placement of objects but to the aesthetics at the beginning of the script of recorded history.

The now lost tomb is just one example of a common heritage with goals and ideals strive for by ancient peoples belonging to the four corners. Art though powerful perhaps modern work cannot speak to us in the depth these cave murals spoke to the ancients.

Elements representing both the literal and the picturesque but also an essential spiritual sense combined with ones natural environmental heritage embraced in a single symbol.

A picture of a boat will be alien to anyone who has never seen a boat while it may bring quaint or romantic feelings for those who remember a romantic cruise. A fisherman might make his family "crest" a boat to depict his living and a fleet of boats gaining the upper hand on the enemy's great ship may well be worth commemorating in a warriors tomb.

See whats happening at the pyramids now.

Journey to Tod Temple

Anytime you find an archaeological site which is not overrun by tourists is a good place to visit.

Excavating the Nile

What should turn out to be an interesting excavation. I have long wondered when such excavations would be done. The Nile must be an absolute treasure trove of objects lost or given.

National Geographic: The Mummy Roadshow

A brief article which include x rays to examine a mummy thought to be a princess.

King Tutankhamen Revealed

The boy Pharaoh will be put in climate controlled case visible to tourists for the first time. The effects of thousands of visitor a day are taking their toll and must also be damaging his outer gilded coffin which lye's unprotected in his quartzite sarcophagus.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Yesterdays Display #1

With the arrival of the great cache of Dier el Bahari to the Boulaq museum in 1881 the directors found themselves in the presence of eleven kings of Dynasties 17 -21, ca. 1650 - 945 bce. Also accompanying the kings were seven queens and a number of prince's, princesses and courtiers plus a baboon and a gazelle.

With the faces of the "Warrior king" Thutmosis III and Rameses II "the Great"being hidden by only a few meters of cloth it was decided to unwrap the "warrior king" who curiously had a broom and a few oars tied into his wrappings. These oars would have originally been laid around that kings sarcophagus in the Valley of kings.

Instead of unrolling the king which might have subjected the body to undue handling it was decided to cut open his bandages at the end of which the great warriors pathetic smashed remains lay before those in attendance, a picture was taken and to the further horror the mummy fell to pieces.

With this disaster it was decided no more kings would be unrolled.

Yesterdays Display #2

By December of the following year it was noticed that the elderly 17th dynasty Princess Hontimehu had been damaged during her journey from the tomb to the museum and so she was examined. This examination revealed a mummy that had also been damaged by tomb robbers but that she was still in pretty good condition and very hard from the resins used in her mummification.

Among the mummies found in the cache 2 of them were found without inscriptions in the huge coffin of the Kings Wife Nofretari, one mummy was wrapped in a shroud while the second was in a small cheap coffin.

By September 1885 a putrid smell was emerging from the mummy salons, an investigation found that the shrouded mummy from the coffin of Nofretari was beginning to rot and so the decaying mummy was buried beneath the museums store rooms.

The 1885 Baedecker guide book tells us that the interior coffin and wrapped mummy of Queen Nofretari is on display next to her son Amenhotep I who was the only mummy in the cache to still have a mask, though not original to that kings burial.

By 1886 the absurdity of displaying royal mummies covered in tattered bandages when their faces and in some cases true identities from inscriptions were hidden in their wrappings.

So that on the 1rst of June 1886 a gala event was held which included the unwrapping of Rameses II. First up that evening the first Queen of the 21rst dynasty of Priest Kings, King Herihor's wife Nodjmet. Queen Nodjmet's mummy was opened and put on a good show.

Yesterdays display #3

Next up was the star of the gala event the mummy of Rameses the Great was opened to the delight of those present the great kings mummy was in beautiful conditioned and undamaged.

Unfortunately the unrolling had taken only 15 minutes and was not much of a show, this author is unaware if the coffined mummy displayed as Queen Nofretari was meant to be unrolled or whether the quick unwrapping of Rameses had left a vacuum in the evenings entertainment.

The mummy was brought out removed from its coffin and placed on the table for unwrapping, As the shroud was taken away and the bandages removed an amulet of gilded wood was revealed, this was inscribed for the last great Emperor of the New Kingdom, Rameses III.

The suspense was heightened at the thought that the museums collection may have another great king in their collection, when further unwrapping revealed another amulet this one of heavy solid gold also inscribed for the Pharaoh Rameses III.

By the end of the evening museum officials and guests found themselves in the presence of a handsome mummy of a king they did not know they possessed. The evening had ended on a high finding another king but also by the fact that all three mummies unwrapped that evening were all undamaged.

However if the person that had been on display as Queen Nofretari was actually Rameses III than where was the Queen?

So the mummy which had been buried beneath the store rooms years earlier was exhumed and found that the burial had stopped the mummy from decaying further and though the mummy bore no inscription during its unwrapping.

A female mummy from the correct period for the Queen was found , her mummy further more resembles the mummies of other women from the court of that Queens own time.

The Inventory Stelea

This stelea was found by August Mariette during his clearance around the sphinx in the little temple of Isis east of the great pyramid sometime between ca. 1853-58 ce.

He made for his mother, Isis, Divine mother; Hathor, mistress of Nun. The record was placed upon this stelea. He gave to her an offering anew and he built her temple of stone again. He found these gods in her place.

The district of the sphynx of Harmakhis is on the south of the abode of Isis, Mistress of the pyramid; on the north of Osiris Lord of Rosta. The words of the goddess of Harmakhis were brought in order to be recorded.

---may he grow; may he live forever and ever facing toward the east.

As Horus lives, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt; Khufu who is given life. He found the abode of Isis, Mistress of the pyramid, beside the house of the sphynx of Harmakhis on the north west of the house of Osiris, Lord of Rosta. He built his pyramid beside the temple of this goddess, and a pyramid for his daughter Henutsen beside the goddesses temple.

Egypt's 10 greatest Archaeological discoveries

A new series from Egypt's top gun Dr. Zahi Hawass.

Building Inscrition of Ahmose I ca 1540 bce

Now it came to pass that his majesty sat in the audience hall, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Nebpehtire the Son of Re, Ahmose I given life; while the hereditary princess were great in favor, great in amiability, kings daughter, kings sister, divine consort, great kings wife, Ahmose Nofretari who liveth, was with his majesty.

One spoke with the other seeking benefactions for the departed, to present libations of water to offer upon the alter, to enrich the offering tablet at the first of every season at the monthly feast at the first of the month, the feast of the coming forth of the sem, the feast of the night offerings on the fifth of the month, the feast of the sixth of the month, the feast of Hakro, the feast of the wag, the feast of Toth, and at the first of every season in heaven and of earth. His sister spoke and answered him; Wherefore has this been remembered? And why has this word been spoken? What has come into thy heart?

The king spoke to her; I it is who have remembered the mother of my mother, Teteshiri triumphant. She already has a tomb and a mortuary chapel on the soil of Thebes and Abydos, I have said this to thee in that my majesty has desired to have made for her a pyramid and a house in Tauzeser as a monumental donation of my majesty. Its lake shall be dug and its trees planted, its offering will be founded equipped with people endowed with lands, presented with herds, mortuary priests and ritual priests having their duties, every man knowing his stipulation.

Lo his majesty spoke this word while this was in the process of construction. His majesty did this because he so greatly loved her, beyond everything. Never did former kings the like of it for their mothers. Lo his majesty extended his arm and bent his hand, be pronounced for her a mortuary prayer...............

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Abbott Papyrus

There were sent inspectors to the great august necropolis, the scribe of the vizier and the overseer of the white house of pharaoh in order to inspect the tombs of former kings, the resting places of the nobles, located on the west of the city....

Tomb of Amenhotep I, the eternal horizon of King Zeserkare, L.P.H., the son of Re Amenhotep I L.P.H., which is a hundred and twenty cubits deep from its superstructure which is called "The high ascent, north of the house of Amenhotep LP.H, of the garden" The great nobles saying; "The thieves have broken into it." Inspected on this day; it was found uninjured by the inspectors.

Pyramid of King Intef I, The pyramid of the king, the Son of Re Intefo which is on the north of the House of Amenhotep of the court, of which the pyramid is destroyed before which its stelea still stands; the figure of the king stands upon this stelea his hound being between his feet named Behka. It was inspected on this day and found uninjured.

Pyramid of King Nubkheperre- Intef, The pyramid of the KIng Nubkheperre Son of Re Intef, it was found in the course of being tunnled into by thieves; they had tunneled 2 1/2 cubits into its masonry, 1 cubit from the outer chamber of the tomb of the chief of the oblation bearers of the house of Amen, Yuroi, which is in ruins. It was uninjured the thieves had not been able to enter.

Pyramid of Sekhemre- Intef, The pyramid of Sekhemre Upmat,Son of Re Intefo. It was in the course of being tunneled into by thieves at the place where its stelea of its pyramid is set up. Inspected on this day it was found uninjured, the thieves were unable to enter.

Pyramid of King Sobekhemsaf, The pyramid of King Sekhemre Shedtowe, Son of Re, Sobekhemsaf was found that the thieves had broken into it by mining through the base of the pyramid from the outer chamber of the tomb of the overseer of the granary of King Menkheperre, Nebamen. The burial place of the king was found void of its lord, as well as the burial place of the great kings wife, Nubkhas, his royal wife, the thieves had laid their hands upon them.

James Breasted

The Confession

...King's wife Nubkhas, his royal wife in the place of his, it being protected with blocks covered in mortar. We penetrated them all and found her resting likewise. We opened their coffins and their coverings in which they were. We found the august mummy of this king,. There was a numerous list of amulets and ornaments of gold at its throat; its head had a mask of gold upon it; the august mummy of this king was laid with gold throughout. Its coverings were wrought with gold and silver within an without; inlaid with every costly stone.

We stripped off the gold which we found on the august mummy of this god, and its amulets and ornaments which were at its throat and the coverings wherein it rested. We found the kings wife likewise; we stripped off all we found on her likewise. We set fire to their coverings. We stole their furniture which we found with them, being vases of gold, silver and bronze. We divided and made the gold which we found on these two gods, on their mummies, and the amulets and ornaments and coverings into eight parts.

Secrets of Egypt's lost Queen

Discovery channel's two hour program on finding the mummy of the female king was interesting with amazing access to the royal mummies. However for people like myself who read and watch everything I can on Egypt's mummy collection I could not help but notice a huge error.

The mummy being marketed in the show as unknown women "B" from the Deir el Bahari cache was in fact unknown women "D" from the tomb of Amenhotep II in the Valley of kings complete with her raised toe on her left foot.

The fact that Dr. Zahi Hawass was able to accept that the mummy identified as Thutmosis I was not that king is good, most people interested in this subject realised this many decades ago. However it is worrying that unknown women "D" now has ct scan records identified as belonging to unknown women "B".

With such an obvious mistake occurring it leaves me to wonder about the final sensational results of the finding of Hatshepsut, though all appears to be well.

How such a mistake could occur among all these experts from the Supreme council of antiquities, its director as well as the staff of the Cairo museum amazes me that not one of them realized the error.

Dr. Hawass needs to publicly correct this mistake before the ct scan on unknown women "D" gets filed away under the title of unknown women "B" and forgotten.

The mistake unfortunately is almost as big as the discovery.

Small and misleading was a graphic showing unknown woman "A" lying next to unknown woman "B" with the Hatshepsut box described as being between them in the last chamber of DB320. The excavator of DB320 never made any notes in regard to the position that either of these mummies or the box were found in the tomb.

All in all I was entertained partly because of the mistakes.

Revisiting the Saving of Abu Simbel: 40 years later

The saving and reconstruction of both Ramesses the greats temples at Abu Simbel required five years and $40 million.

Begun on November 16 1963 the first of the 1,041 blocks was moved on may 21, 1965 while the first block to be laid at the new site was set on January 4 of the following year.

Three weeks later engineers installed the four gods in the inner sanctuary of the temple placing beneath them a foundation deposit including among other things copies of the Koran, newspapers and some coins.

On September 14 1966 a highlight the reunification of the face with the rest of the body of the first of the three 67 foot statues of the great king, this one being the farthest to the left.

By the following fall the baboons on the cornice of the great temple were once again in place after an absence of two years.

Image from:

With the rise of lake Nasser: 40 years later

The Aswan damn of the 1960's created a new lake and drowned the original sites of more than two dozen ancient monuments while completely drowning the Nile's less impressive architectural monuments such as a number of mud brick middle kingdom forts.

The damn with its twelve generators have created massive amounts of needed electricity as well as mitigating floods and droughts since its completion in 1970. As expected however going on forty years the damn is silting up, these silts used to go down river to stabilize the coast of the Nile delta. Along with the silt came the nutrients which used to attract a now dying fishery on Egypt's Mediterranean coast.

It may now be time to undue damages before they get worse but I know that's just crazy talk.

Perhaps moving the Abu Simbel temples again to raise the damn still further higher is only as crazy as erecting the damn in the first place.

No simple solutions !

Interview with Zahi Hawass and Cartherine Roehrig

Excellent twenty six minute interview by Charlie Rose about the recent discovery of the Hatshepsut mummy.

The return to Thebes ca. 1465 bce

Look to your feet ye people! Behold the load is very heavy! Prosperity be with us for the sake of the myrrh tree in the midst of gods land for the house of Amen, there is a place it shall be made to grow for Maatkare in his temple according to his command.

The loading of the ships very heavily with the marvels of the country of Punt; all goodly fragrant woods of gods land, heaps of myrrh resin with fresh myrrh trees, with ebony and pure ivory, with green gold of Emu, with cinnamon wood, khesyt wood, with ihmut incense, sonter incense, eye cosmetic, with apes and monkeys, dogs and with skins of the southern panther, with natives and their children. Never was brought the like of for any king who has been since the beginning.

Sailing, arriving in peace, journeying to Thebes with joy of heart by the army of the Lord of the Two Lands, with the chiefs of this country behind them. They have brought that, the like of which was not brought for other kings, being marvels of Punt, because of the greatness of the fame of this revered god, Amen Re Lord of Thebes.

The Ebony Shrine of Deir El Bahari, ca. 1470 bce

Discovered in the temple of Deir el Bahari by E. Naville the surviving left side bares inscriptions that credit the shrines creation to Thutmosis II for Thutmosis I, however the the nuances of the piece suggest it was actually created on orders of Hatshepsut, this may even be the remains of the ebony shrine created by Thutiy and mentioned in his own tomb inscriptions.

The good god, Lord of the two lands, lord of offering, lord of diadems, who hath taken the crown of two lands, King of upper and lower Egypt, Aakheperenre the son of Re, Thutmosis II, he made it as his monument for his father, Amen Re, making for him an august shrine of ebony of the best of the highlands, that she might live and abide for him like Re, forever

James Breasted

The Instruction of Kagemni ca. 2613 bce

...the timid man flourishes, praised is he who is upright, open is the chamber to the silent, spacious is the seat of a man of cautious word. Sharp are the knives against the one who forces his way, that he not pass, save in his due season.

If you sit in the company of others, resist the food you desire, restrain your heart, gluttony brings disregard. A handful of water quenches the thirst, a mouthful of herbs brings strength to the heart. A good act takes place of what is good, yet just a little takes place of much.

Repulsive is the voracious, should time pass and he forget who's house he entered. If you sit with a glutton, eat when his appetite has passed. Should you drink with a drunkard, drink when his heart is glad. Do not help yourself to meat from the table of a glutton, accept his offering do not refuse it on courtesy.

He who is blameless of taking more than is his, no word can prevail against. The shy face and impassive heart, the struggle is kinder than his mother, all are beholden to him. Let your name be spoken though your lips remain closed.

When you are called forth be not great of heart because of your strength among piers lest you be denied. One sees not the future and how god punishes.

The Vizier had his children brought forth after he had acquired the knowledge of men their presence having come upon him. He said to them " All that is written in this book do as I have told you, do as has been set for you". Then they laid on their stomachs before him and recited out loud that which had been written down. Their hearts were filled with good above anything in the entire land. They rose up and sat down in accordance.

His majesty the king of upper and lower Egypt Huni came to the west and his majesty Sneferu ascended the throne of his father in all his beneficence in the entire land. Kagemni made overseer of the city and Vizier.

A letter form the King of Mitanni to the Queen Mother of Egypt

To Tiye Lady of Egypt
Thus speaks Tushratta King of the Mitanni
Approximately 1350 bc

All is well with me.
May all be well with you.
May all go well in your house, for your son, may all be perfectly well for your soldiers and for all belonging to you.

You are the one who knows that I have felt friendship for your husband, that your husband had felt friendship for me.
The things that I wrote and told your husband and things that your husband told me, were known to you. But it is to you who knows better than anyone, the things we have told each other. No one knows better than you.

You should continue sending joyous envoys, one after another. Do not stop them coming.
I shall not forget the friendship with your husband. This friendship is ten fold for your son.

You are the one who knows the words of your husband, but still I have not received your gift of homage which your husband ordered. I have asked your husband for colossal gold statues but your son sent me statues of gilded wood. As gold is like dust in your sons country, why have their been reason for such pain's that your son not to have given to me.
Neither has he given what his father gave to me?

AUTHORS NOTE: This letter was found at the Queen's son's capital and may well have never been read or responded to by the Queen mother who visited her son's capital perhaps maybe only once.
The Queen mother probably lived out her golden years at her palace at Malquatta near Thebe's.

The commander of the Egyptian army, Wendjebaendjed

His burial found intact within the tomb of the twenty first dynasty king Psusennes I ca.1039-991 bce. The Generals burial was opulent with pieces worthy of his king yet within all the objects inscribed for him we find other people mentioned including a ring of Ramses IX and a heart scarab inscribed for a king named Usermaatre.

The scarab reading "The heart of the Osiris King Usermaatre, justified, belongs to him in the house of hearts, cardiac muscle belongs to him in the house of the cardiac muscle. His heart belongs to him and stays within him. He will not eat the cakes of Osiris on the eastern bank of gay.

Your bark climbs upstream but the Osiris king Usermaatre, justified, will not descend into the bark where you are. His mouth belongs to him so that he may speak, his legs belong to him so that he may walk in order to defear his enemies..."*

A number of Egyptian kings took the name of Usermaatre however only two concern us here as almost certainly Wendjebaendjed died and was long buried before any of the other "Usermaatre's reigned.

These kings being the nineteenth dynasty Pharaoh Ramses II and the twentieth dynasty Pharaoh Ramses VII, both bearing the name Usermaatre. Ramses II's beautifully preserved mummy, the pride of Egypt and the now missing mummy of Ramses VII removed from his uncomplicated tomb.

Perhaps the body of the commander of the Egyptian army is not, and that the seventh Pharaoh named Ramses has been reburied and adorned with the generals booty leaving only the heart scarab to tell the truth?

Tomb of Amenhotep III, The Pharaoh Nebmaatre

These pictures of the tomb are unique on the web. The tomb has suffered badly and the kings head has been stolen from a number of the paintings in the tomb. These are now in the Louvre.

The Hierarchy of Salvation

Unfortunately he died a little more than a year into his reign in 1294 bc leaving his tomb only partially cut and much of his funerary equipment unfinished and unusable.

An unused wood coffin was appropriated and covered in a thick sheet of gold with facial features remodeled for it's new occupant.

Sealed in his hastily improvised sarcophagus he would remain until a graffito on the coffin informs us that by year 6 of Ramses 11(1093bc) the coffin had been stripped of its gold sheeting exposing the face carved on the lid with the high priest Herihor leaving an inscription on the coffin's bare wood .

Perhaps this date is the date in which he was moved into his sons tomb to be joined by his grandson.

The grandson was a great king and may have been buried entirely in coffins of stone and metal so he could have entered his fathers tomb in either a cheap replacement coffin or no coffin at all.

Seeing the fine coffin holding the ephemeral grandfather the priests decided the great king should have it, removing the grandfather and replacing him with his grandson and erasing the inscription.

Later inscriptions would tell of the travel the three kings would make until they were found together in 1871.

The face on the coffin remains a mystery but for in 1908 when a lid for a kings canopic jar was found in the pharaoh Horemheb's tomb which bares the same face as is on the coffin of Ramses 2.

Dating the Amarna period in Egypt: Did a solar eclipse inspire Akhenaten?

The bases for this article were fascinating indeed unfortunately as I got into the article the cracks began to appear almost immediately. In the opening line of the article the author makes the common mistake of suggesting the Aten was the only god though this king left many if not all the other solar deities in their positions. His battle was not with them it was with the national god Amen.

The suggestion that this kings love of the Aten may have been inspired by a solar eclipse which the king may have interpreted as the death and resurrection of a god is interesting. The kings reign was somewhere around ca. 1352- 1336 bce.

Early in Akhenaten's reign he began to build his Heb-Sed jubilee temple to the Aten at Karnak the " Gem-pa-Aten". Carved on its walls is the typical images of the king and his great royal wife Nefertiti visiting various shrines where they perform rituals, however in the reign of previous kings these shrines would have held a variety gods here at the Gem-pa-Aten the shrines all contain the Aten.

The author noted that an inscription in the temple partially read "millions of jubilees", a common phrase in ancient Egyptian royal inscriptions. Here however the daily rising of the sun, the Aten.

The author than goes on to mention a clay tablet found at the ancient town of Ugarit on the coast of Syria in 1948. The tablet was interpreted as being the earliest record of a total solar eclipse on May 3, 1375 bce.

A date agreed on by the NASA web page cited over and over again in the article.

Dating the Amarna period in Egypt: 2

In the northern tombs in the cliffs at Akhet-Aten stands the Tomb of "the greatest seers of the Aten" Meryre I. The tomb has a unique surviving depiction of the sun with two sets of arcs one below the other, both arcs below the orb and emerging from the arcs are the suns rays.

With no other surviving representation of this in egyptian art its meaning can only be guessed at whether to be taken literally, as a record of an actual event which had occurred during the life of Meryre or a stylistic convention of the Aten which never caught on.

In an article in KMT magazine titled "A rare solar display" Dr. Lenore O. Congdon made a well founded argument that the event depicted in the tomb may actually be solar halos, a rare event caused by ice crystals in the atmosphere. These halos can appear in the same formation and colors as in the image in the tomb.

The author of the article however disagreed with this and is in the belief that the scene represented a solar eclipse or possibly a lunar eclipse.

It is at this place all falls to pieces and the authors cited source of the Nasa web page contradicts him at every date.

Dating the Amarna period 3

ey to his argument is one particular date a solar eclipse of May 14, 1338 bce which passed through, according to the author, Akhet-Aten. According to the NASA web page this event occurred a year later on May 14, 1337 bce and did indeed cross over central Egypt.

The author brings up an eclipse he says occurred on August 15, 1352 bce, not according to NASA, yes there was an eclipse that year but on August 26, 1352bce which was only visible to the southern half of south America and the south pacific.

The author than brings up 3 more eclipses from the second half of the 14th century bce. all with wrong dates according to his source. In every case of the solar eclipses he mentions, except the Ugarit event,from the entire 14th century bce he is disagreed with by Nasa. He mentions a lunar eclipse on December 24, 1332 bce.

No such lunar eclipse occurred on this date, I was not surprised as my interest drained from his article. With this the author now began mentioning phases of the moon from the same period in relation to events in Akhenaten's reign. As a commercial from my youth said " surprise surprise surprise" none of these moon phases occurred.

A great story had gone a full 180 degrees and ended being less than factual and had me scratching my head, Why the author would quote a source which in fact disproved his theory.

Wow I didn't see that one coming!

The story:

The source:

The tomb of Meryre:

The Hammamat Inscriptions c1990 bce

Year 2, second month of the first season, day 15, Nibtowere Mentuhotep living forever.

His majesty commanded to erect this stelea to his father Min, lord of the highlands in this august primeval mountain........ order that his ka may be satisfied and that the god his desire, as does a king who is upon the great throne, first in thrones: enduring in monuments, excellent god, lord of joy, mighty in fear, great in love, heir of Horus in his two lands, whom the divine Isis, Min and Mut, the great sorceress reared for the dominion of the two regions of Horus, King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Nibtowere Mentuhotep IV, living like Re forever, he says;

My Majesty sent forth the hereditary prince, governor of the city and vizier, chief of works, favorite of the king, Amenemhet, with an army of 10 000 men from the southern nomes, and the.....of the Oxryrhyncus nome; to bring for me an august block of pure costly stone which is in the mountain, who's excellent things Min makes; for a sarcophagus, an eternal memorial, and for monuments in the temples of middle Egypt, according as a king of the two lands sends to bring for himself the desire of his heart, from the highlands of his father Min.

He made as his monument for his father Min of Koptos, lord of the highlands, head of the Troglodytes, in order that he might celebrate very many Sed Jubilees, living like Re forever.

The First Wonder

First occurrence of Sed jubilee

Year 2 second month of the first season, day 3

This wonder which happened to his majesty : that the beasts of the highlands came down to him; there came a gazelle great with young, going with the face of the people before her, while her eyes looked backward; she did not turn back until she arrived at this august mountain, at this block, it still being in place, for this lid of this sarcophagus. She dropped her young upon it while the army of the king was looking. Then they cut off her neck before it and brought fire. It descended in safety.

Now, it was the majesty of this august god, lord of the highlands, who gave the offering to his son, Nibtowere, Mentuhotep IV, living forever, in order that his heart might be joyful, that he might live upon his throne forever and ever, that he might celebrate millions of Sed Jubilees.

The hereditary prince, count, governor of the city and vizier, chief of all nobles of judicial office, supervisor of everything in this whole land, the vizier Amenemhet

The Second Wonder

One set to work on this day on the block of the sarcophagus. The wonder was repeated. rain was made, the forms of this god appeared, his fame was shown to men and the highland was made a lake, the water went to the margin of the stone.

A well was found in the midst of the valley being 10 cubits by 10 cubits on its every side filled with fresh water to its edge, undefiled, kept pure and cleansed from gazelles, concealed from the troglodyte barbarians. Soldiers of old and kings who had lived in the aforetime went out and returned by its side, no eye had seen it, the face of man had not fallen upon it but to his majesty himself it was revealed...............

Those who were in Egypt heard it, the people who were in Egypt from the south to the north land they bowed their heads to the ground, they praised the goodness of his majesty forever and ever.