Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Avenue of Sphinx's

Well after the evictions and the bulldozers the long sought avenue of sphinx's is about to be open to tourists to walk in October. The highly controversial excavation has been ongoing at the cost of the Egyptian people who lived in the area who were displaced and had their homes torn down


Monday, June 27, 2011

Mummification of Heracleides

This is a video on the mummification of Heracleides in The Getty Museum with the mummy dated to 150 A.D.

Blocks of Osorkon II

Archaeologists have found more than one hundred painted limestone blocks which originally came from a temple constructed for the 22nd dynasty king Osorkon II. The blocks were reused as fill in a enclosed wall surrounding the lake of the goddess Mut during the late period or Ptolemaic dynasty.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt Dies, 1913-2011

After a brilliant career Egyptologist Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt has died at the age of 97.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cleopatra ca.1917

In the years between 1914 and 1926 Theda Bara made more than forty films of which only six of her films have been found complete.  She was promoted to the public as a mysterious figure known as the "Serpent of the Nile" and she is cited as the first sex symbol of the Hollywood movie era.

Of Theda Bara's 1917 film "Cleopatra" only about forty seconds is preserved while two of her earliest films from 1914 "The Stain" and 1915 "A Fool There Was" are preserved complete so also are her last three films from 1925 "The Unchastened Woman" and 1926 "Madam Mystery" and "45 Minutes From Hollywood". Theda's 1916 film "East Lynne" is the only other complete film preserved of the repertoire of the "Serpent of the Nile".

Monday, June 20, 2011

Displaying Human Remains

Here we have the British Museum's display of a first dynasty burial ca. 3000 bc the museums site picture shows the skeleton inside the box which makes me wonder if perhaps that's where it should be? True the display outside the box is very interesting but perhaps the display should posses a photograph of the current presented image and the skeleton with it's equipment should be placed back in it's box with dignity and be seen through the missing slat as the museum's current online photograph displays?

The issue was explored particularly a year or two ago but the issue of the presentation of ancient human remains is yet always going to be controversial though this is probably something to which the answers lye in grey areas. This may well be true of mummies like the unknown late period woman in the museums public website display in which is naked, perhaps not what she herself may have wanted.

Certainly the pre dynastic mummy referred in the museum as "Ginger" is another example of a display perhaps not what the man represented would have wanted for his earthly remains. So the question becomes how much does a persons values play when they are represented in a museums display? How can the museum display be honest when it potentially violates the wishes and values of the deceased?

How much of this is deceptive museology or fragmentary display which violates human dignity and how much is the desire for the viewer to be thrilled? Of the mummy of "Ginger" it must be acknowledged that similar displays exist in museums all over the world. I myself particularly like the pre dynastic burial in Chicago's Field museum which is still almost completely enshrouded.

How does this person rank as a humanitarian display, the mummy is not exposed and appears to be with much of it's funerary equipment and is this glass display case a suitable tomb for this individual? The answers can probably not be ever fixed in stone though I have to wonder how much we view human remains within a context of what is considered the norm rather than by the values once held by those displays long dead.

Photo's Courtesy: Michael Harding

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

UNESCO Director General Tours Cairo Museum

UNESCO's Director General Irina Bokovo has toured the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and say's all is well and that the museum was safe. She also thanked the Egyptian's who protected the museum as well as the library at Alexandria during the recent unfinished revolution.

Sounds like a very useful and worth while trip for UNESCO's Director General whom perhaps she would better spend her time in Jerusalem's Mamilla cemetery than touring the halls of the Cairo museum?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Relief of Goddess Returned

The pictures from Luxor Times article reminded me immediately of the site from a paper I had read years ago. The relief of the Goddess Akht was mauled back in 1990 with her head being chipped off a block found at the site of the 30th dynasty temple of Isis in Bahbit Al hegara.

The relief came up at auction in London and was spotted and now is back in Egypt.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Excavating Berenike

The ancient Red sea port of Berenike founded by Ptolemy II Philidephius has been excavated for the last two decades by Steven Sidebotham of the University of Delaware. The findings have included a pet cemetery as well as a Roman period trash dump and various harbor materials such as timbers.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Robbery of Cairo U Archaeology Museum

This is an article on a robbery of the museum of Cairo University apparently a month ago. The collection of artifacts at the museum contains 1950 objects from the Pharaonic, Coptic and Muslim era's held in two halls. The museum has been closed since February because of instability following the recent unfinished revolution.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Air Pollution in Mummies

Here we have an article on mummies and air pollutions effects on their lives interesting indeed however I particularly liked the accompanying photo gallery. It is a rare view of the mummy of Hatiay

Loan for Grand Egyptian Museum

The Japanese government is loaning Egypt LE300 000 000to complete the Grand Egyptian museum in 2015. The museum will hopefully keep Egypt's national collection secure for another hundred years. The Egyptian Supreme council of antiquities have plans to house 100 000 artifacts in the G.E.M.