Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Cause of Death

A mummy autopsied by the late Dr. Granville in the 1820's has been re examined and found to have died from TB.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090929/sc_afp/sciencehistoryhealthmummy_20090929233342

Amenemhet's First Pyramid

Certainly for me those middle kingdom pyramids are the most interesting. Here is an article on the black pyramid of Amenemhet III.

http://drhawass.com/blog/pyramids-dashur-3-black-pyramid

Monday, September 28, 2009

Preserving Giza

Here an article from Dr. Hawass on the preservation of the heritage of the Giza plateau.

http://drhawass.com/blog/preserving-gizas-archaeological-heritage

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Coins In Storage at the Cairo Museum

Coins have been found stored in the Egyptian museum Cairo that apparently bear the image of the biblical Joseph.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1253820674074&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Falling on the Ministers Shoulders

Strong article from the folks at the Jerusalem post on the recent loss of the job to be UNESCO director general by Egypt's culture minister Farouk Hosny and Arab resentment that has followed.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1253627551882&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Tombs of Dra Abu el Naga

Interesting video on the recent "discoveries" of tombs found at Dra Abu el Naga however the article says that the shawabti of Ray is of the third intermediate period but in the video Dr. Hawass says the shawabti is late nineteenth dynasty?

http://drhawass.com/blog/video-new-tombs-discovered-dra-abu-el-naga

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tutankhamen in Denver

Here we have the Denver art museum announcing that the traveling Tutankhamen show will be visiting next summer.

http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=33464

Shovelling Theory

This theory certainly must come at the chagrin of Dr. Hawass, the rising of sothis is an interesting date however there is no proof of this theory.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/09/090921-great-pyramid-giza-date-built.html

Unesco Director General Not Egyptian Minister

The next Director general of UNESCO will not be Farouk Hosny, the one time leading Egyptian candidate made scandalous remarks that more than likely ruined his candidacy for the job.

http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=29008&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

Gods Prophets in Egypt

Very interesting article on the presence of the prophets in the Egyptian historical record.

http://aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=7&id=18213

Islamic Cairo

Here Dr. Hawass talks about recent restorations on several Islamic monuments.

http://drhawass.com/blog/islamic-monuments-reopen-ceremony-citadel

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Secrets of the Sphinx

Here an article on the beard or lack of on the great sphinx on the Giza plateau.

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/series/egypt-unwrapped/3917/Overview#tab-Videos/07227_00

Cairo's Royal Mummies

This article is on a couplel subjects including the DNA studies on Cairo's royal mummy collection.

http://www.sacbee.com/arts/story/2190692.html

Saturday, September 19, 2009

MFA Highlights: Arts of Ancient Egypt



Rita Freed   Lawrence M. Berman   Denise M. Doxey
Museum of Fine Arts
Boston
2003
ISBN 0-87846-661-4
 
Recently my nine year old charge Natasha was on her way to Boston with her family so I urged her to visit the Museum of Fine Arts to find Djehutynakht's brick makers and tell me about them unfortunately the brick makers were not on display thankfully Natasha brought this book home which does have that picture.

I am already a fan of the museums bulletins of George Reisner's excavations at the start of the last century through which the museum acquired many of its finest pieces complete with provenances. The book opens up with short history of the founding of Egyptology and Egyptian collections in America including the founding of Boston's collection.

The collection in the museum is one of the largest and finest in the world particularly on it's Old and Middle Kingdom collections though all periods of Egyptian art are well attested by masterpieces in this collections 60 000 pieces. The highlights chosen for the book are among the finest and most famous objects of Pharaonic Egypt including the 2nd Dynasty scepter of King Khasekhemwy which indeed does inspire awe while my friend Natasha really liked the 4th Dynasty beaded dress.

The authors add details from Dr. Reisner's expeditions in relation to acquisition of individual objects including artifacts not represented in the Cairo museum. Highlights was an excellent read with very fine pictures but that does not surprise me considering after all it is the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and one of the worlds great collections.

Friday, September 18, 2009

UNESCO Candidate has till Tuesday

Egypt's minister of culture has till Tuesday to win the nomination for director general of UNESCO. The troubled minister finds himself limping to the finishing line after remarks he made in regards to burning books.

http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2009/965/fr2.htm

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Tunnels of Giza

Your publicity machine is working well when you have the good doctor Zahi Hawass commenting on your new books theory.

http://www.i-newswire.com/zahi-hawass-debates-new-discovery/4121

The Book Burners Nomination

Here is a conveniently timed article by Dr. Hawass. I say convenient because today voting for the director general job of UNESCO begins and Dr. Zahi and his friends are hoping the Egyptian candidate will get the job even though the candidate Farouk Hosny has threatened to burn Israeli books.

I noticed the parts that have not been restored or at least displayed are the parts containing the star of David.

http://drhawass.com/blog/cnn-interview-about-moses-ben-maimon-synagogue

Dr. Hawass on Finds from VOK

Here we have a video from Dr. Hawass on small but interesting discoveries from the Valley of Kings.

http://drhawass.com/blog/video-new-inscribed-finds-valley-kings

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

King Tutankhamun in New York

The travelling show "Tutankhamun and the golden age of the Pharaohs" is off to New York.

http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=33348

Ex-museum Director Charged in Theft

A museum director in the United states is accused of stealing Egyptian artifacts and selling them at auction.

http://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/ex-museum-director-to-surrender-in-theft-of-artifacts-1.1451120

A Rulers Zoo

Here from National Geographic a series of pictures of animals that may once have belonged to a ruler of ancient Hierankonpolis.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/09/photogalleries/animal-tombs-ancient-egypt-missions/index.html

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Mummy by Joyce Tyldesley


Joyce Tyldesley
Carlton Books Limited
1999
ISBN: 1 85868 714 4

On my journey back to Vancouver I was browsing through this book which I had just picked up while visiting Victoria finding, to my chagrin, that a number of the photos bore incorrect captions including a picture of the female mummy found in the coffin of Ahmes Nofretari labeled as the mummy of Siptah. On page 16 the sentence says "Although the purifying bacteria.." when it should be "putrefying bacteria", makes one wonder if the editor was asleep during the production of this book. Being only 25 pages into it I have already found a half dozen mistakes, we are off to a very clumsy start!

The book is a short 125 pages long with a good selection of pictures as is the writing of Ms. Tyldesley informative which I expected from previous works by the author that I have read. The mummy is clearly intended for new readers to Egyptian history as most of the famous stories in relation to mummies is present in a format very much suited for a ten year old.

That is not to say nothing original was said in contrary I learned a number of interesting details but there were still more mistakes. From here the author is on to a history of fictitious books and movies all featuring our bandaged friend committing acts of brute murder.

At the end of the book I reflected on the errors which I had found realizing these mistakes were in relation to labeling of pictures and poor editorial production they in no way detracted from the strong presentation by the author. Having said that I have my doubts whether I would give this book to a child knowing that it possessed a fair amount of misinformation.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Welcome to the Prophet?

Does a middle kingdom tomb at Beni Hassan show the arrival of the prophet Abraham into Egypt?

http://aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=7&id=18119

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Pyramids of Ancient Egypt by Aidan Dodson


Aidan Dodson
New Holland Publishers Ltd.
2003
ISBN 1 84330 495 3

I have to say from the start I am not a huge fan of Egyptian pyramids probably because the best part being the burial and it's provisions is almost always next to all gone. Thankfully however I am a big fan of the work of Dr. Dodson and this book at 144 pages is a relief from the over sized books I have been reading lately.

The Pyramids of Ancient Egypt is well equipped with many pictures on every page and a very interesting and useful 3 page review of the pyramid explorers. Dr. Dodson's presentation is clear and easy to comprehend certainly a read suitable for a young person or an old one.

With so much material being presented the individual burials and pyramids are lightly covered but thoroughly including name of pyramids, exploration of, and bases of attribution. Dr. Dodson has a fine way of telling stories and I particularly liked his recalling of the Brugsch brothers and the mummy found in the sarcophagus of Merenre at Saqqara.

For me the book could have been slightly more in depth particularly on the seldom dealt with queens burials but all and all The Pyramids of Ancient Egypt is a flawless read and an excellent resource.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Things I Wished I Never Said!

This very thorough article is on the potential nomination of Egypt's minister of culture Farouk Hosny to Unesco as it's director general. Minister Hosny got carried away and said damning things to his reputation!

http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090912/WEEKENDER/709119855/1306

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Speculating Doctor

This video from Dr. Hawass has the doctor claiming he will find at least one tomb in the valley of kings without actually saying he has found one. That is what makes him a showman and earns him a lot of criticism for his abundant speculations.

http://drhawass.com/blog/video-kv64-be-discovered-all-egyptian-team

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Nile and the Egyptian Civilization by Alexandre Moret


Alexander Moret
Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., LTD.
Alfred A. Knopff
1927
ISBN-10: 0486420097

This 1927 book is by the late distinguished Alexandre Moret which comes with some immediate approval well at least by the mouse that nibbled on the bottom right corner of my copy. I love the look and smell of old books with texts that almost certainly will be out of date but in many ways closer to the truth of those days.

The introduction heads into the sources and chronology followed by the decipherment of the hieroglyphs including the discovery of the Rosetta stone by a Captain Broussard of Napoleon's army while digging in the foundations of a fort at Rosetta.

As fascinating the landmarks of Champollion's decipherment are, certainly the chronology of Pharaonic dates of history in relation to the helical rising of Sothis by the priests of Heliopolis lends a date to the start of the Egyptian calender of the rising of Sothis in 4241 bc, we are off to an interesting start!

Though I must also say that the rising of Sothis on this date and the start of the Egyptian calender has been discredited with many experts placing that date to 2781BC or dispute the entire concept altogether.

Mr. Moret is next on the rarely covered subject of the nomes of ancient Egypt emerging from nomadic tribal standards to provincial status regardless of individual groups including the gods they represent with the chapter ending with a five page chart of all the nomes of Upper and Lower Egypt including the nome gods and capital cities outstanding!

The succession of the dynasties of the god kings of prehistory is well explained including the death of Osiris. The wars between Seth first king of Upper Egypt and the first king of Lower Egypt Horus the elder are well accounted with Horus defeating Seth and reigning for 300 years before the god Thoth's reign of thousands of years leaving Horus the younger, the son of Isis, to be the last of the god kings.

The god kings are then followed by the (Shemsu-Hor), demi-gods known as the servants of Horus. The Shemsu-Hor are the last of the gods before dynasties of mortal kings known as the descendants of Horus take hold of kingship.

The evolution of prehistoric monarchy to King Menes and the Thinite dynasties of I and II through those of the Old Kingdom are interesting and still reasonable interpretations of the surviving monuments more than eighty years later. While the pantheon of gods and goddess' merge and take the attributes of older gods while a defining of the gods roles takes place. Many take on elements of the gods Ra and Osiris while others fall from favor and are assimilated. The author gives a sound history of the Osirine play how it evolved as a Royal prerogative in the Old Kingdom to a prerogative of the entire population by the middle kingdom.

The history of the political evolution and revolutions of late Old Kingdom to the Middle Kingdom and up through the New Kingdom political structure is well explained, the place each official holds within the frame work of administrations being reasonable though the story of the reigns of Thutmosis I through to Thutmosis III including Hatshepsut is largely now a discredited scenario as is much of the reign of Akhenaten in this book.

The second half of the book is a very detailed examination of the gods and the influence upon the evolution of Egyptian society. The book is certainly a good read with of course the expected flaws which were minor, the book was well written.

The book was a scholarly read rather then an entertaining read and I must say however that I would have preferred it to be 100 to 150 pages less as in the end it did turn into a bit of a chore to finish.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Following Heaven

The article is on the astronomical alignment of Egyptian temples.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20327243.000-egyptian-temples-followed-heavenly-plans.html

Walk Like an Egyptian in NYC

From the fine folks at Archaeology Magazine come this look at Egyptian sites in New York.

http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/egyptian_nyc/

The Caves of Giza

Here Dr. Hawass talks about the recent rumors of a cave under the Giza plateau which as he explains is just a tomb probably from the Ptolemaic period.

http://drhawass.com/blog/collins-cave-controversy

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Shabti Goes Home

This article is on an American returning a shabti to Egypt, the article has picture of the statuette.

http://bikyamasr.wordpress.com/2009/09/08/egyptian-statue-returned-by-american-citizen/

Sunday, September 6, 2009

What the Governor Said

Dr. Hawass and the Supreme council of antiquities is unhappy these days as the Governor of Giza claimed the great pyramid was started on a date which according to Dr. Hawass is false and not the place for the Governor to say.

http://www.gulfnews.com/region/Egypt/10346772.html

How to Burn Books and Ones Future

This article from the New York Times is on Egypt's motives for restoring its dilapidated synagogues. Many believe it is an effort to help Mr. Farouk Hosny become UNESCO's next director general.

Mr. Hosny is a hot head and should be disqualified as a candidate for the job as he would burn any Israeli books in Egypt's national library.

Or at least apologize for burning them later!

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/07/world/middleeast/07cairo.html

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Classic: Mansoor Amarna Collection

Here we have the website of the hotly disputed collection of Amarna period sculptures collected by antiques dealer M. A. Mansoor with some scholars considering the collection to be fakes while others are comfortable as feeling the sculptures are genuine.

The video is interesting but it is the museum gallery of images that is for me disturbing as I find all of the trial pieces to be too similar and fresh looking yet without soul and lacking any depth of detail. Not to mention the lack of subjects within these vacant heads and how alike they are to pieces both in Cairo and Berlin found in the house of Thutmosis at Tell el Amarna except with faces reminiscent of the hideous colossal figures of Akhenaten from the Gem Pa Aten at Karnak. That would make most of these pieces from an early period of the kings reign while presumably the works found in the sculpture Thutmosis house which possess great spirit are from the later part of Akhenaten's reign?

Picture 1 of a sculpture of Akhenaten has the same face as #24 and #26, busts of the Amarna princess' with the faces being crudely worked with details left unfinished on all pieces. This could be explained by the works being found in a lesser sculptures studio at Tell el Amarna. The nemes headdress on the sculpture (1) also appears to be just the wrong shape for my tastes.

In the collection shown only one nose is missing with two more slightly damaged this is unusual for a collection of sculptures from ancient Egypt. Images # 37-39 seem to be copied directly from a painted scene of Smenkara while the two seated princess' come directly from the famous mural found by Flinders Petrie at Amarna and now in England.

This is not new but worth another look at so you can be the judge!

http://www.mansooramarnacollection.com/

Early Dynastic Contact

The article tell of a find made by archaeologists in the Jordan valley of a stone plaque with early Egyptian hieroglyphs.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1251145168042&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

The Doctors Restorations

More on the restorations taking place around Luxor.

http://drhawass.com/blog/site-management-and-restoration-luxor