Sunday, January 31, 2010

Rehuankh from the Middle Kingdom















In the British museum

The Pottery of Beni Hasan

Here is an article on a lecture on pottery excavated from the middle class tombs at Beni Hasan by John Garstang early in the last century.

King Tutankhamun's Relatives

Dr. Zahi Hawass has announced that he will be announcing the DNA results from the boy kings mummy on February 17.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dr. Hawass Says What?


This article from Dr. Zahi Hawass is a bit of an oddball that leaves one with a view of a man who believes using reverse psychology on the English public will get the Rosetta stone returned to Egypt. I was not aware of that according to Dr. Hawass most English people want the stone returned to Egypt.

Dr. Hawass says about the stone "
a piece that has been stolen and passed on from one occupier to another". That six letter word does not help his cause!

Dr. Hawass goes on to say that the Egyptian authorities will not be silent until the stone is returned to Egypt, even if it takes a thousand years. Makes one wonder if the stone will still have any importance in a thousand years if it has not been destroyed by war, disaster or from people who cut up saints for relics.

Dr. Hawass has had a most remarkable career and as the guardian of Egypt's antiquities has been successful in many of his important efforts. However the good doctor has with time gained a reputation of threatening people who his cause still needs and whom will in turn freeze in objection as long as Dr. Hawass is in his job, or perhaps any job with Egypt's ministry of culture.

But the last word belongs to the doctor who said "
I have embarked upon trying to regain the Rosetta Stone as well as other antiquities that I consider key to understanding the Egyptian civilization and ones that can best convey its superiority ,"

Threatening to Resign

A bill is making it's way through the Egyptian parliament that has infuriated the Egyptian minister of culture, Mr. Farouk Hosni and his vice minister the head of Egypt's Supreme council of antiquities, Dr. Zahi Hawass.

The bill, which will probably not pass, would permit the buying and selling of antiquities in Egypt. Minister Hosni and Dr. Hawass want this law to apply only to non transportable antiquities such as walls and not to portable objects. Under current Egyptian law anyone who finds an antiquity must report it to the Supreme council of antiquities within two years though Dr. Hawass wants this reduced to six months.

If the bill passes both men have threatened to resign. Talk about tempting your enemies.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Then and Now

An interesting article based on a comparison of the lives of ancient Egyptians with those of today though that king Tut mask gives me the creeps!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Antiquities Protection in Egypt

This is an article on the redrafting of Egyptian law to protect it's heritage and to curb ownership of antiquities by Egyptians some of whom may inherit antiquities that need to be reported to the Supreme council of antiquities. Mostly though the article is on politicians who want to raise more money.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Temple Found

A Ptolemaic temple has been found at Kom el Dikka area in Alexandria, the temple was discovered along with hundreds of statues. The temple is dedicated by queen Berenike wife of king Ptolemy III (246-222 bc).

Conserving KV62

This is a page from the Getty museum on the conservation of king Tutankhamun's tomb that is now ongoing in the valley of kings. The Getty museums site lay's out the projects objectives as well as it's very respectable past record in preservation of the royal mummies in the Cairo museum and including the restoration of the tomb of Nefertari in the valley of queens.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sekhmet















Here we have the goddess Sekhmet in the British museum.

Finds from the Tomb of Seti I

Here we have an image of some of the finds by Dr. Zahi Hawass' team in the tomb of Seti I.

Don't have a Bird !

Here is an article on an Egyptian mummy believed to have a bird mummy in it's abdomen however the ct scan done on the mummy suggests viscera. The article comes with 9 excellent pictures. The article suggests that the mummy is 4000 years old but the coffin pictured in the story can be no earlier than about Egypt's 26th dynasty.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Statues in the Sudan

Here is another article on those statues found in the Sudan. The remarkable things is their location far south of where other Kushite material has been found. The fragments make up four statues which appear to have been ritually broken.

The most important of the statues is a 1.5 ton statue of the last king of Egypt's 25th dynasty the pharaoh Taharqa. The Sudanese kings Aspelta and Senkamanisken are also represented in the group as is a fragment of a crown of an unidentified fourth statue.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Volunteer for Mummification


A call has gone out for a terminally ill person to give their body to be mummified in the Egyptian manner for a television show. There is hope that afterward the mummified corpse will be put on display in a museum.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Coptic Killings

Pope Benedict XVI has condemned the very disturbing recent killings in Egypt on the eve of Coptic Christmas. The drive by killing of six Coptic Christians was followed by Christians and Muslims setting fire to each others properties 60 km north of Luxor.

Pyramids Workers Tombs

Tombs of the workers who built the pyramids on the Giza plateau have been recently located and explored.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Taharqa in the Sudan

Finally we have a picture of the massive statue of the Egyptian pharaoh Taharqa last pharaoh of Egypt's 25th Nubian dynasty. The striding statue of the king has been found far south of Egypt in the Sudan. Statues of two other Nubian kings were found near the Taharqa statue but these rulers were never Egyptian pharaohs.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cairo Conference

A multi national conference is to be held in Cairo to deal with issues of repatriation of artifacts removed over the centuries. Among the countries who will participate include Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen, Iraq, China, India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, Korea, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Russia, Spain, Turkey, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Peru.

I could not help but notice that Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan, United States, Canada and Switzerland are missing from that list making the conference questionable even before it starts.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Statue of Rehuankh















This statue is dated to the reign of Sesostris III to Amenemhet III and was probably central to a family tomb chapel at Abydos. There are also two offering tables known from this same chapel.

This middle Kingdom quartzite statue EA 1785 in the British museum was bequeathed by Lady Coote in 1984.

Monday, January 4, 2010

26th Dynasty Tomb

A large 26th dynasty tomb has been discovered at Saqqara containing coffins and mummified animals. This article contains pictures of the tomb.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

First Dynasty Burial in British Museum

Truth on Display

Certainly the battle of Egypt's authorities to retrieve artifacts that have gone abroad over the last 200 years is in full swing though the bust of Nefertiti is the star of this cause there are still many more questionable important artifacts. I have not included those monuments taken to Rome in Imperial times.

Perhaps the most blatant provenance of theft is the 19th dynasty book of the dead of Ani that Wallace Budge went way overboard in its acquisition. Including detention by authorities, removal of the book of the dead at the time accompanied by an 18th dynasty book of the dead and a 20th dynasty book of the dead all were re acquired and sent in ambassadorial baggage to London before the Egyptian authorities could stop them from leaving. All three books were secured for and are in the British museum.

Before purchasing the 19th dynasty mask of Ka Nefer Nefer for a half a million dollars from Phoenix ancient art gallery in 1998 it appears that the St. Louis art museum had received the okay from officials at the Cairo museum. The records now show however that the mask was more than likely stolen from Zakaria Goneim's excavation material at Saqqara in the 1950's. The mask may well be stolen but the institution appears to have acted in good faith before purchase.

The (DOG) excavations of Tell el Amarna 1912 brought forth approximately three dozen plaster masks which appear to be casts of the Amarna royal family and its elite courtiers. The masks are part of the controversial division of finds which include the limestone bust of Nefertiti and currently among the collection of Berlin's Neues museum. As the case goes for the bust of Nefertiti the case for Berlin's ownership of the plaster masks is very connected along with all of the finds presented at the 1913 division of finds in Egypt.

While Norbert Schimmel donated 25 wonderful sculpted blocks known as talatats to the Metropolitan museum of art. Unfortunately earlier last century a storage area in Egypt where hundreds of talatats were stored had been broken into with many of the finest stolen. Whether these talatats are the stolen ones remains to my knowledge unproven though the suspicion hangs over them and many are no longer on display.

The wonderful whip handle of a horse is yet another example, the whip came into the collection of the Metropolitan museum of art in 1926. Thomas Hoving suggested in his best seller "Tutankhamun the untold story" that this horse along with a number of other exquisite "pocket pieces" in the Met and Brooklyn museums were potentially smuggled out of the Tomb of Tutankhamun as were gold and silver nails from that kings coffins.

Still other objects such as a cosmetic vessel in the shape of a cat 1990.59.1 in the Metropolitan has no known history of improper acquisition, at least to this author, but coming from a gallery in Zurich in 1990 it is left up to question how such an important piece arrived on the market and the simple answer given by sellers, museums and their directors may no longer be acceptable to an ever more sophisticated public who may demand more detailed explanations be easily available to the public.

The reliance on international law is more than likely a flawed measure to curb acquisitions of objects the answer must instead be clear with truth and depth in the display of an objects record of acquisition. It is the public who must in the end be offended by questionable artifacts who offer only the most shallow of provenances.