Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 in Brief

Among the finds of this past year was an Old Kingdom pyramid belonging to queen Sesheshet of dynasty 6 this find was moderately interesting as were the two empty tombs found near the causeway of king Unas.

Among the stars of 2008 in Egyptology must certainly be the CT scanning done on the royal mummies including unknown man "E" who's death and burial may not have been as brutal as some previous exam's lead us to believe.

But CT scanning was very popular for other mummies too.


Shep en min:

Unknown Mummy:

Son of Ramses II?

Mdina's Mummy:

Plus the discoveries of mummies of the old and Middle Kingdoms:



The discovery of monuments in Egypt including:

That big ugly head of Ramses II

Lovely Queen Tiye:

The return of stolen objects include:

The head of Amenhotep III:

The eye of Amenhotep III stolen from Karnak :

While the battle for others continues:

Mask of Kanefernefer:

Monday, December 29, 2008

Borring ?

It is one thing to blame the economy because the attendance to Tut in Dallas is down it is another thing to blame the shows contents for less interest felt by a public who expect more than this. The 130 objects are a group of the standard stars of the Cairo Egyptian Museum and are each highly marketed by Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Perhaps more interest would be felt if half of the objects were mummies less famous we all know King Tutankhamen but hardly know the Twenty-First Dynasty priests and priestesses of Amen. I say put the dead back into the museum display, the problem here appears to me to be political correctness.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Year in Egyptology

This has been a mixed year with some success's such as the return of stolen antiquities to Egypt but also some not so successful excavations. Dr. Zahi Hawass had reported two new tombs in the Valley of the Kings which so far have not materialized as also the tomb of Antony and Cleopatra, though the idea that Cleopatra and Mark Antony are buried together seems far fetched to this author.

Amenhotep's Head

Here is an excellent picture of the stolen graywack head taken by a British smuggler twenty years ago.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Up In the Sky

Satelites are being used to unearth the foundations of long forgotten buildings a very useful tool to archaeology.

First the Dead

The Oriental Institutes Egyptian mummy Meresamun has had its date with a CT. scanner.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tombs of Dynasty Five

Here is Dr. Hawass in all his glory unfortunately it appears that little to nothing remains of the contents of the tombs.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Royal Mummies, Immortality in Ancient Egypt

Francis Janot
White Star Publishers
ISBN: 978-88-544-0389-5

          "What a thrill it is when the portable lamps are lowered down a deep shaft and their light dispels the darkness of a tomb forgotten for centuries!"

The introduction of the book was by Dr. Zahi Hawass who repeats his finds including pictures from a television program about the finding of the mummy of king Hatshepsut in which a late 19TH Dynasty mummy of unknown woman "D" is represented as being the late 17TH Dynasty mummy of unknown woman "B", though it appeared in his words that he was describing the correct mummy but the unknown "D" was the one pictured in the book.

The author introduces the reader to the fascination of ancient mummies and the thrill of the royal mummies found in caches discovered in the 19TH century at Deir el Bahari and the Valley of the Kings. The chapter is filled with many nice old images of mummies including a Ptolemaic mummy once owned and drawn by the great artist Peter Paul Rubens in 1626.

From here the author presents the reader with a section on the main royal mummies which was a huge let down. One would expect with a book called, "The Royal Mummies" that more of the royal mummies, especially of those not seen in a century would be present, instead the reader is presented with new photographs of the most famous of the royal mummies including the Thutmoside mummies and Seti I, Ramses II, III and V, you would think that was all the royal mummies of interest.

The mummy of Amenhotep II represented in the book as hidden under wrappings is an error in labeling as it is more likely the mummy of Queen Meryetamun that is presented. The use of excavation photographs from Victor Loret's finding of the royal cache in the tomb of Amenhotep II is indeed special as are the books other excavation photographs.

More beautiful photo's of King Tutankhamun's shiny stuff are presented throughout but also many fine images from the tombs of the nobles. The chapter on masks, coffins, sarcophagi, and canopics was a nice assortment of material presented.

    "Entrance here is defended by a terrifying guardian, a monstrous ram-headed crocodile armed with a gigantic knife. Some secondary routes that branch off from the main ways are especially dangerous because they lead to blind alleys, insurmountable obstacles. or even directly into the fire and Nothingness. Both ways lead the deceased to the necropolis of Rosetau".

Most disappointing for me is I bought a book on royal mummies instead I found myself in a book about funerary beliefs and practices that also include some royal mummies. This gigantic book was difficult to read by the very nature of its size and weight and cost even, though the photographs within are a feast.

Moreover, this mega-book possesses a number of editorial mistakes and that the content was not particularly special and not worth the struggle of propping oneself into position to read it. Leave it on the coffee table!

Tombs of Dynasty Five

Here we have an article by Dr. Zahi Hawass of two recently discovered tombs at Saqqara.

Stolen Head Returned

This stone head of Amenhotep III was stolen 20 years ago in a very famous case and now has been returned to the Egyptian embassy. The article has a picture of the head.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Amenhotep III Comes Home

So comes to its conclusion the theft of Egyptian antiquities by J. Tokely Parry a man who was cool at his craft but the opportunity he faced was the result of the prohibition of the antiquities trade out of Egypt.

Nothing will ever stop the illegal trade in works as important as the head of Amenhotep III but instead may make it unnecessary for people to damage an antiquity in order to disguise it for sale as another object.

Egypt can be profiting from redundant antiquities instead of spending its resources chasing artifacts and spending money on filling it's jails with smugglers of secondary objects.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Relax It Is Just a Snack

So you spend a life's fortune being mummified and thousands of years later some European eats you?

That Damn Mummy

People who need x-rays or CT scanning will have to wait for three mummies and two heads before they can get the machines.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Restoration work at Deir el Bahari

The Polish expedition to Deir el Bahari is headed back to work restoring sphinxes from the processional way to the Pharaoh Hatshepsut's mortuary temple.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Lost King

Archaeologists have found three inscribed rams dedicated to the God Amun. The inscriptions mention a shadowy king of which little is known including where he was buried.

The Age Of the Sphinx

The age of the sphinx has long been a point of debate as is the face on it, the article claims the face to be that of Khufu while others think it is Khafre but in my opinion, the head in the Louvre of Djedefre is a much better match.

Fakes in Brooklyn

Here we have an exhibition of late Egyptian fakes from the Brooklyn museum.

Liverpool Exhibition

The exhibition in Liverpool will feature the famous Ramses III girdle/belt as well as a beautiful white new kingdom coffin, up till this time I had believed that the badly damaged coffin trough of the Lady Tay in Bristol was the only one in the U.K. I was mistaken

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Graffiti Online

Here is a new website on graffiti left by travellers to Egypt. Very interesting!

Exhibition in Brooklyn

I am a huge fan of the Brooklyn museum and its temple of Mut dig diary but here is a new exhibition being put on by the museum.

No More Convoy

Tourists traveling by land in Egypt will now not have to follow slow convoy's from place to place in an attempt to protect the tourists from militant attacks like the one which killed dozens of tourists at the Deir el Bahari.

Ramses Everywhere

Archaeologists are uncovering a colossal statue of the colossal king at Sohag which was found 17 years ago but could not be excavated because of a modern cemetery in the area.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Giza's Sphinx

The age of the Sphinx has long been debated but whether the human face actually was originally carved as a lion is unknown.