Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Egyptian Book of the Dead


James Wasserman
Chronical Books
San Francisco, CA
1998
ISBN 978-0-8118-6489-3

This large Chronicle book is the complete papyrus of Ani in the collection of the British Museum with a preface by Carol A. R. Andrews and an introduction by Dr. Ogden Goelet. The translations of the papyrus are by Dr. Raymond Faulkner and while it is true the book is large it is also thankfully a carryable book complete including all 37 pages Sir Wallace Budge cut the original papyrus into dismembering the text in a desire for aesthetics.


I have long seen the beauty in the well-known images but to have the complete document is more than about pretty pictures. Ani's book of the dead's wonderful images are not accompanied by equally impressive texts, the painter is finer than the scribe. The book's foreword and introduction were very useful in putting the papyrus into context.


Ani's Book of the dead opens with an introductory Hymn to the sun god Re including an image of Ani and his wife in adoration in front of a table of offerings. This is followed with a similar vignette of Ani and his wife only, this time, the hymn is to Osiris.


Perhaps my favorite image of Ani's Book of the Dead is the field of offerings though there are so many wonderful vignettes. Dr. Faulkner's translations of the papyrus are excellent as in example chapter 77 for being transformed into a falcon of gold begins:


     " I have appeared as a great falcon, having come forth from the egg; I have flown up and alighted as a falcon of four cubits along its back, who's wings are of green stone of Upper Egypt; I have gone up from the coffer into the Night bark, I have brought my heart from the eastern mountains, I have alighted in the Day-bark, there are brought to me those of ancient times bowing down, and they give me worship when I appear, having been reassembled as a fair falcon of gold upon the pointed stone."


The papyrus of Ani ends and is followed by a four-page map key to the papyrus. In the next section, we are on to the chapters in the Theban recension not found in the papyrus. This section is definitely not for the average reader as informative as it is it also at times difficult to read as the spells become more and more abstract.


In the final section, we are on to a commentary by Dr. Ogden Goelet of  New York University who lays down the developments in religious texts leading up to the creation of the book of the dead as well as it's development up to the Roman period.


The concepts of gods and magic are dealt with excellent clarity with their being a strong division between what in our modern world is termed religion dealing with the minds view of monotheism and what we perceive to be ancient Egypt's polytheistic values. In the final commentary by Dr. Goelet, he explains the vignettes in Ani's Book of the Dead beautifully.


The Egyptian Book of the Dead is certainly not for kids though it would still be an interesting pictorial addition till the day they delve into the incredibly complex composition that is also probably not textually enjoyable to readers of any age unless the desire of the reader is to take on a challenging read in the study of this historically important document.


I began reading Ani's book of the dead in the middle of May and found something deep and so here I am relieved 7 months later to have read this incredible document certainly this book is an enhancement to the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Images of the Destroyed Library


These are truly sad photographs from National Geographic of the destruction of the Institute de Egypte and the loss of it's library including rare and ancient books.

Photo: Amr Nabil

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Egyptian Treasures: From the Collections of the Brooklyn Museum


Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
New York
1978
ISBN 0-8109-2170-7

How I dislike oversized books this one though half a bookshelf long is not thick and it's size is exploited beautifully with full page photographs by Seth Joel.  Many beautiful objects in Brooklyn's collection of Egyptian art are represented though about half are trinkets only inches in size.


The book opens with a short introduction by Michael Botwinick then director of the museum with the commentaries of the chosen objects provided by Robert S. Bianchi. The book is about 29 objects from the collection starting with an attractive small gneiss statuette of a god from the 3rd Dynasty. I have some serious issues with number 2 in the book like 18 of the 29 pieces in the book are reportedly from or have no provenance at all.


The shawabti of the scribe Amenemhet is from tomb no. 82 in the Theban necropolis and still possesses much of its paint. Whatever I think of the selection of pieces the photographs are stunning. The figure of the spoonbill found at the palace of Amenhotep III at Malkata is an extremely rare example of Egyptian art and new to me though not a beautiful object.


The just over 3-inch nude ivory figure of a lady reportedly from the tomb of Tutankhamun is present among the pieces though unfortunately its base is omitted in the picture. The tiny gold scarab inscribed with the name Mutnedjem wife of King Horemheb is a work of great beauty at less than an inch long and without provenance.


The cartonnage of the priest Nespaneterenpera is a lovely example of mummy cases that enveloped upper-class mummies of the 21rst and 22nd dynasties, in this case, most probably from Thebes. Just over 6 inches tall the bronze of the god of the Ba of Pe is crafted in the austere elegance of the 26th Dynasty and one of my favorites in the book.


As we approach the end of the book we come to the small schist head of Wesir-wer where we find one of the most interesting of the choices for the book. The mixed media head of the god Osiris dated to the Ptolemaic period is full of life in its wonderful decay.


The silver and gilded wood ibis with rock crystal eyes is probably the finest example of it's kind that I know of. The Brooklyn Museum also has one of the finest collections of faience and a number of fine examples are represented in the book.


The book is a short read of a couple of hours and suitable for persons of all ages to enjoy a small treasury of gems from one of America's great Egyptian collections at the same time a fine tribute to the Brooklyn museums Egyptian collections great patron Charles Edwin Wilbour who made it all possible.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Worlds of Forgeries



The painting of the lady above was once believed to be by Goya but when studied further it was found to be not by the artist but rather an 18th century portrait of a woman that was painted over with materials not available till after Goya's death. Restorers of the painting decided the painting should be left in it's current state with both portraits showing.

Many factors play a part on the art and antiquities marketplace including fakes and forgeries. In articles I have published on occasion I have referred to a museums piece as a forgery or fake it is never a personal thing but an inevitability of collecting, seeing whats not there and what should not be.

As a collector of art myself every once in a while I unfortunately add a fake to my collections and hopefully discover which are which before to much embarrassment. Inevitably the object which looked so hopeful in the store/gallery comes home and is placed in a place of pride to be admired by myself and my guests but what happens on occasion is that it is not until I walk by it a number of times that my original thrill begins to wear and those things which are not right begin to stand out and gnaw at me and my original judgment of the piece.

 No museum/gallery or personal collector can escape this fact of the life in any open collection.

In recent years the Bolton museum in the U.K. bought a forged statuette of an Amarna princess for more than L400 000 while the J. Paul Getty museum spent millions on a fake kouros. Where there is money to be made there will always be someone there to make it though even more insidious is those scholars who create fakes to make others look bad including Piltdown man.

The late Thomas Hoving on forgeries.

True when one finds out there piece is a forgery you better believe it's dead and how fast can I get rid of it.  This is one thing in a work of art but much harder to ferreted out when it is a document posing as historical. In the Salamander letter Joseph Smith the founder of Mormonism has a seer stone in which he sees the golden bible but when he goes to dig it up a Salamander appears and will not let Joseph take the bible until he shows up with his brother Alvin who unfortunately is dead and buried. There is a rumor that Joseph Smith and his family dug up Alvin to use his remains in a ceremony. The letter along with many other anti-Mormon documents were created by a forger in an attempt to discredit Joseph Smith and the Church of Later Day Saints and he earned big money on a number of his many creations of which some may still be out there perverting history. Excellent show from the Detroit Institute of Arts on fakes and forgeries I recommend all six episodes:
I have also come across the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology on forgeries in their Egyptian collection. I also found this site on fake Egyptian antiquities. Of note must be the auction prices for the real work and the fake pieces. Here is a fine list of antiquities auctions from recent years including prices realized. This site has excellent overview of forgeries.

Tomb of Seti I

I loved this animation of the tomb of Seti I


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Egypt's Military Rulers Must End Human Rights Abuses

Please take action to show your support to the Egyptian people and for the correct decisions by the military rulers of Egypt for the better of the people to transition to an Egyptian democracy.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Revolution in Tahrir Square


Egypt is in a state of unrest with crowds of tens of thousands of people are gathering in Tahrir square calling for the removal field marshal Tantawi. Clashes with the peaceful crowds and the Egyptian army have resulted in numerous arrests and dozens of deaths among the protesters.

Some wish to bring in the subject of the rise of the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt as a sort of threat that the military is the lesser of two evils? Until last January the west was content to have a dictator as a friend who along with Israel makeup one third of all United States foreign aid with Israel receiving $3,175,000,000US and Egypt coming in second received in 2010 from the United States taxpayers just over $1,550,000,000US. (1)

A full $1,300,000,000US of this money goes towards buying military supplies and weapons from the United States in order for Egypt to keep peace with Israel. Unfortunately those military gifts to Egypt are being used against the peoples democratic revolution going on in Egypt. Please contact your congressman or tell President Obama to stop military aid to Egypt and to put pressure on Egypt's military and particularly field marshall Tantawi to step aside for free party elections.

(1). Vaughns
(2). ProPublica

Photo: Al Ahram

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Curse of Artemisia


In this papyrus from Ptolemaic Egypt in the 4th century BC, Artemisia`s daughter is deprived of funeral rites and burial by her father. In revenge, Artemisia appeals to the god Oserapis that he may be given the same respect at his death as well as his parents.

The papyrus is in the collection of the Austrian National Library and a part of the World Digital Library.

Egyptian Museum Safe


There are rumours that the Cairo Museum has been looted again during the current unrest in Tahrir square. The museums Director Tarek El-Awady has said that the rumours are false and that the museum is open for business and has had 13, 000 visitors in the last few days.

The museum was targeted by a gang of thieves who took advantage of the revolution in Tahrir square to rob the museums Amarna collection. More than 50 objects were taken of  which about half have been returned, some quit dubiously and convenient.

Still missing are most of Yuya and Thuyu`s shabtis several pieces of King Tutankhamun`s statues which were broken during the robbery including a tiny statuette of the king that use to rest on a goddess`head. Also missing are a number of pieces that occupied a cabinet in the Amarna gallery including a stone head of a princess.

Photo: BsOu10e01

Mummy Secrets of the Tomb


Here we have a traveling American exhibition presented by the British Museum and opening in Richmond Virginia at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibition will run from November 19, 2011, through to March 11, 2012, and display more than a hundred objects including the beautiful 22nd dynasty mummy of Nesperennub which will follow his story in life and in the afterlife.

Nesperennub will not be the only mummy there will also be a cat mummy and artifacts including stone sarcophagus and statues, jewelry and parts of a book of the dead.

Photo: British Museum


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture of Ancient Egypt


Wolfhart Westendorf
Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
New York
1968
Library of Congress: 68-28391

This book is one of eighteen volumes which under the common title of (The Panorama of World Art) explain the history of world art. The book opens with an introduction to Egypt's gods how they came to be and the influence they had on the developing civilization.


The author then lays down the foundations of Egyptian art including the materials available, the intention of the art and its function within the ideals of Egyptian society including the standardization of the art early on in ancient history. Professor Westendorf begins a book which is filled with pictures on just about every page accompanied by a paragraph or two about the objects pictured beginning with the Brooklyn Museum's prehistoric female dancing figure of the Nagadah I culture which while simple contains great beauty.


Each object is given its basic size, material, find spot and museum where the object resides as well as a couple of sentences of insight by the author. The large pictures and choice of objects from around the world is very interesting including many objects I have never seen.


Professor Westendorf imbues his subjects with moments of brilliant insight into the mind of the objects creator. The layout of the book makes for a quick read with wonderful connections created between the objects.


I liked that several of the Pre-Dynastic to archaic period eye makeup palettes are present in the book demonstrating that at such an early period in Egyptian art that the royal craftsmen were producing works of sophisticated highly stylized iconography and for all the beauty the message they send is of aggression and destruction of the king's enemies.


The Archaic alabaster baboon in Berlin is an unusual example of the art of period being in it's earliest stages of carving in the round with the end statue having its arms awkwardly carved. Occasionally objects are given their biographical information while the author remains silent on the object, something I liked very much.


The IVth Dynasty statue of Nofret found next to the statue of Prince Rahotep at Medum has defied time itself a rare object that has the same appearance with its paint intact as it did the day it was finished more than 4500 years ago, she transcends time.


The subject of the book is not only of statues and objects but also the architecture including the hall of columns in Chephren's valley temple at Giza with its alabaster floor with its severe pink granite columns is an agreed highlight in Egyptian art history.


I liked that of the IVth Dynasty portrait heads found almost exclusively at Giza, (though one was found at Saqqara), that the choice picked was Cairo's head from which has had its ears removed? The V Dynasty herd of cattle crossing a body of water from the tomb of Ti at Saqqara presents daily life of the ancient people of the Nile valley in a great splendor of detail.


From Saqqara comes Cairo's VI Dynasty relief of workmen working on statues while two men work with chisels on one statue two other workers are using polishing stones on another statue behind the first. A First intermediate period stelae from the Royal Scottish Museum is something new to me though detailed it's provincialism lacks elegance.


Presented is the beautiful seated Middle Kingdom granite statue of the lady Senuwy found at Kerma in Nubia and now the property of Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.The great thing about old books on Egypt is you get to see the Hatshepsut temple in so many different stages of reconstruction.


The acacia wood head of a king or prince in the Kofler-Truniger collection in Lucerne is a small masterpiece of the XVIII Dynasty and new to me while also new to me are the austere musicians at a banquet in the tomb of Wah (no.22) at Thebes of which the author say's nothing.


Column 61 of the XVIII Dynasty papyrus referred to as the Ebers medical papyrus was composed in hieratic by a confident hand and is an unusual choice from Leipzig`s University library. The 65ft. long papyrus contains 108 numbered columns of medical treatments of various illness` and was purchased by author George Ebers at Luxor in the early 1870`s.


Professor Westendorf then heads into a section on the tomb of Tutankhamun and it`s fabulous furniture though I myself have had too much Tut and was glad the section was brief. The Eighteenth dynasty limestone stelae of Huy from the National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden is amazing as a voyeuristic view of dozens of people attending an afterlife party.


Always loved the carved wood statues of the nobles of the New Kingdom and the elegant XIX Dynasty lady in the Egyptian Museum in Turin is no exception. The lady is in the company of two other figures one of which is a girl wearing a collar and girdle while the other male figure wears a white kilt and is reminiscent of figures found in the Middle Kingdom tomb of Meseheti.


It is a travesty that in Florence's Archaeological museum a wall hacked out of the tomb of Seti I stands with king Seti in adoration of Hathor on a yellow ground. The detail of the god Ptah not in mummiform found in the Valley of queens tomb No.55 for prince Amon-Khepshef is a rarely seen persona of the god.


The author brings great insight into not only the objects but the passing of time within Egyptian society. Interesting professor Westendorf predicts that the exquisite tomb of Ramesses II's chief Queen Nofretari (No.66) " is being gradually destroyed so that the paintings created for eternity will survive in the future only in reproductions."


From this point we are presented with three images on facing pages showing the deterioration of the quality of reliefs from the masterpieces of raised reliefs found in the temple of Seti I at Abydos to the inferior sunk relief in the temple of Ramesses II at Abydos and the even further deterioration in the reliefs in the mortuary temple of Ramesses III.


Very unusual picture of the end of the lid of the sarcophagus of Djed-Hor which displays the transfer of the sun from the day barge to the night barge with Djed-Hor in adoration of the sun god. A relief from the Cleveland Museum of Art of a drummer woman and a woman with a lyre from the Thirtieth dynasty tomb of Hap-iu has an interesting pose for the woman with the lyre.


Professor Westendorf closes the book with the evolution of Egyptian art into the Ptolemaic and Roman periods culminating in the art of the ancient Copt's. Berlin's statue of Horsanebenebef is a masterpiece of late Ptolemaic portraiture and though he is a foreboding figure he is beautifully rendered.


The book was a very easy read, certainly suitable for a 10-year-old though Professor Westendorf's thoughts are deep but well explained by the accompanying photos. Start to finish "Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture of Ancient Egypt" is an excellent telling of the evolution of Egyptian culture over more than 5000 years and exceeded my pessimistic expectations by far!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Spurlock Museums Child Mummy

Back in 1989 the Spurlock Museum of the University of Illinois received a donation of a child's mummy from Roman period Egypt. The mummy has been xrayed and now CT. scanned yet still the sex of the child's mummy remains unanswered as does cause of death.

Researchers have found a portrait in the wrappings which appears to be of a male also the mummy has expensive red pigment as part of it's decoration which may indicate the child was from a wealthy family.

Photo: Sarah Wisseman

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Artifacts Siezed



Authorities have arrested a 50 year old man as he attempted to smuggle ancient artifacts out of Egypt. The artifacts are said to be ancient Egyptian and Islamic and if determined to be authentic they will be sent to the Cairo museum.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Style of Egyptian Art


I found this short video on the style of Egyptian art and it's consistency over time and found it very interesting.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Masterpieces of Ancient Egypt

Nigel Strudwick
The British Museum Press
2006
ISBN-10:  0-7141-1972-5

Masterpieces of Ancient Egypt opens with a standard run through of ancient Egyptian history through to the Arab conquest of 642 AD, with a particularly informative inclusion of the history of the Kingdom of Kush to Egypt's south. The author includes an explanation of how the British Museum acquired its collection and the provenances of the pieces.


Mr. Strudwick begins with the collections earliest pieces from the Predynastic and earliest dynasties including the small ivory statuette of a king (EA 37996), perhaps Dynasty I found by Flinders Petrie in the ruins of an early temple at Abydos. The picture cannot do justice to this little piece as I found when I last stood in front of it in 2004 and for me a favorite piece in the collection.


The I'st or II'nd Dynasty relief of two kings on limestone (EA 67153), is a rarely seen piece in pictures and may actually be a practice slab used be an artist to perfect his/her craft. The shame that today we can only see fragments of the first rate fresco's that once decorated the funerary chapel of Itet at Meydum.


I have always loved the Old Kingdom husband-wife statues and the limestone statue of Kaitep and Hetepheres (EA 1181), is no exception. Mr. Strudwick puts forth in his choice of an object from the First Intermediate Period the stela of Inyotef (EA1203).  When I saw this piece last I did not like it, in fact, I was unable to appreciate it but my mind has now been changed with a better understanding of a complex piece of provincialism put forward by the author.


The brewery (EA40915), from tomb 3 in the temple of Mentuhotep II at Deir el Bahri is a gem of simple  complexity containing 28 figures making bread and beer. From the island of Elephantine comes a royal stela of King Senwosret I (EA 963), ca.1940 BC of enormous importance in the Middle Kingdom collection.


Mr. Strudwick picks the colossal head of Amenemhet III (EA 1063), and I am in complete agreement an awe-inspiring head, the eyes of which give it a ghostly presence. I have always been fond of the Middle Kingdom block statues and Mr. Strudwick's choice of the block statue of Sennefer (EA 48), is a fine addition to the book.


The simple wooden mummiform figures of Qenamun (EA 56929-30), are rarely published gems from the reign of Amenhotep II in the last quarter of the fifteenth century BC.  Qenamun is the owner of Theban tomb (TT93) and was a powerful official during that king's reign. The paintings from the tomb chapel of Sebekhotep (TT63), are sophisticated and possess great merit.


This point in the book Mr. Strudwick turns to the sculpture from the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III a king who's reign is viewed as an epoch of the XVIII Dynasty and possibly in Egyptian history. Clearly outside of Egypt, the British museum's collection of statuary from this king's mortuary temple is unrivaled in the world being acquired very early in the nineteenth century by men like Belzoni and counsel general Salt,s first collection in 1823.


The authors choice of Amarna period objects for the book only included three picks and though the stela of Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye (EA 57399), is a wonderful piece to stand in front of as is the glass tilapia fish (EA 55193), still I found myself wanting more.


The wooden protective figures from a kings tombs in the Valley of Kings capture a fearsome presence and the feeling of what the ancient burial party would have thought of such figures though I might imagine they were in black shrines and unseen by the mourners? I was glad to see the XIX'th Dynasty unknown couple carved in limestone (EA 36), which sculptor Henry Moore liked so much and am in full agreement with him as they possess a real charm and dignity and are beautifully crafted.


While the silver cult image of Amun (EA 60006),  I make a departure from the author in the reality the photographs always seem to make this piece look impressive but that in fact besides its material of silver and gold the statuette is very cheap looking and wonky in his position. For me, it is not good enough to be the actual cult figure but more likely a votive offering of the late period?


I loved the ostrakon bearing attendance of the workmen in the Valley of Kings (EA 5634) besides being very attractive the information is of an interesting personal nature of the workers responsible for the creation of the kings tombs. The seated statue of Seti II (EA 26),  has taken a gentle journey through the millenniums it's excellent state of preservation and is impressive, the statue having been found by the famous Belzoni in the temple of Mut at Karnak in 1816.


A sketch on an ostrakon (EA 5620), said to have been found in the Valley of Kings of Ramesses IX with a prince and vizier is exquisite in detail of complexity. The author has chosen the museums XXI'rst Dynasty mummy board (EA 22542), known as the "Unlucky mummy" . Though a fine work of art of the period of 950 BC, the mummy board is enhanced further by modern fantasies.


I love that the author goes on to the British museum's oracular shabti decree (EA 16672), which may have come from the royal cache of Db320 at Thebes. Mr. Strudwick follows this with the museums Third Intermediate Period receipt for a set of shabti (EA 10800).


Fascinating is the Late Period coffin of Menkaure (EA 6647), which colonel R.W.H. Vyse found in the pyramid of that king in 1837 and of course the museums star piece "The Rosetta stone" (EA 24), is certainly on a first level importance in this collection.


The stela of Taimhotep (EA 147), is a wonderful example of autobiographical information complete with a prayer to Imhotep to bring her a son. I often complain in my reviews of Egyptian books which lack mummies this book is very different in that a good selection of mummies from the collection are represented.


The mummy portrait of an elite lady found at el-Rubayat (EA 65346),  is a work of immense beauty so much so that when I saw her in the British museum show "Eternal Egypt" she hung in a corner of a gallery while the public formed a human whirlpool in that corner of the room as everyone tried to get close as they could to her while the rest of the objects in the room remained overlooked and unappreciated including the mask of Satdjehuty (EA 29770), on this book's cover, so small.


The mysterious Merotic stela (EA 1650), is of great interest and hopefully, archaeology will one day bring it's language to life. The book ends with the fourteenth century AD iron cross removed from the body of bishop Timotheus at Qasr Ibrim (EA 71955).


 As I expected from the start that a British Museum publication by Nigel Strudwick would be good I was right the book is a great edition to any one's library with particular notice that the book is suitable to those readers 10 years to 100 years and are interested in the Masterpieces of Ancient Egypt.

Prostate Cancer in Mummy

A Ptolemaic mummy of a middle-aged man known as M1 is being studied by an international team of researchers to see what ailed the man. Through CT scanning the team has found prostate cancer would have made his life miserable for years before he died.

The findings are the oldest known case of prostate cancer in Egypt and the second oldest in the world. The mummy is part of the collection of the National Archaeological Museum in Lisbon and is one of three from the museum undergoing tests.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Catalogue of Petrie's Finds at Naukratis

The British Museum is creating an online catalogue of Sir Flinders Petrie's finds from the ancient Egyptian Greek trading post of Naukratis. Petrie excavated the city in the mid 1880's and collected more than ten thousand artifacts from the smashed remains of the city.

The online searchable database is to include artifacts from not only The British Museum's collection but also 60 museums who sponsored Petrie's excavations including The Liverpool National Museum. Sir Flinders Petrie excavated in Egypt between 1880 and sometime after 1924 in the process he changed the entire field of archaeology including establishing a corpus of pottery to date the sites he was excavating.

Photo of Sir Petrie

Monday, October 17, 2011

Stolen Fifth Dynasty Reliefs Found

Two reliefs stolen in 1986 from the Saqqara tomb of Hetepka the royal hairdresser have been discovered by police. The relief pictured contains the cartouches of the fifth dynasty kings Sahura and Neferirkare the kings which Hetepka served under while the other relief contains lines of hieroglyphs and four ducks.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Royal Mummies Hall at Gizeh?


















I believe that this photograph was taken when Egypt's national collection was in the Gizeh palace after 1890 and before 1902 when the collection was again transferred to the newly built Cairo museum.

The picture appears to be taken with the 21rst dynasty high priest's family coffins in the foreground though I can only make out about a dozen possible coffins. That would represent about one in three of the mummies found in the king's cache DB320 at Deir el-Bahri.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Granville Mummy

This is the mummy and its coffin which in 1825 the mummy was subject of the first ancient Egyptian mummy autopsy by Dr. Augustus Granville. The lady Irtyersenu lived somewhere around 600bce and the mummy is reported to have been found at Thebes.

The autopsy was presented before The Royal Society of London which caused a sensation at the time. Dr Granville found during the autopsy an ovarian tumor on Irtyersenu and surmised that she had died from it. Recent study has brought up that Irtyersenu also had Tuberculosis which is what more than likely what killed her.

The coffin and remains of Irtyersenu are kept in the British Museum though I have been unable to find them on the museums site.

Image: The Royal Society

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Mummies Royal


This archaeological season is at work in Egypt but with the current political state of the country these operations seem insignificant in comparison. I decided it was time to once again to put forward G.E. Smith's classic 1912 book "The Mummies Royal".

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Archaeological Work Resumes in Upper Egypt

I laughed when I saw the title of the "Permanent Council of Antiquities", apparently it is led by whoever is the head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities on any given day? Anyhoo the secretary general of such organizations has approved some foreign archaeological missions to resume work in Upper Egypt including the Polish mission at Hatshepsut's temple and the German mission to Deir El-Medina.

Photo Courtesy: Steve F-E-Cameron

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Twenty Sixth Dynasty Tomb Found

Workers digging a foundation for a house in Ain Sham have accidentally discovered a carved wall from a 26th dynasty tomb further investigation has shown that the tomb was robbed in antiquity. The antiquities authority will remove the tomb and make sure that no artifacts are present and the land will be returned to the owner.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Goldworker of Amun Sobekmose

Here we have the Book of the dead of Sobekmose an 18th dynasty goldworker of Amun. Sobekmose lived within the reign of Thutmosis III to his son Amenhotep II, between 1479bce - 1400bce, At such a date it makes Sobekmose's one of the earliest Books of the dead and important example to the early part of the evolution of such texts.

Sobekmose's book contains about half of the known spells with a number of the spells being in common with the older coffin texts of the Middle Kingdom, unusually it is inscribed on both sides. Unfortunately, the papyrus was in poor condition and has required a number of years of restoration at it's home in the Brooklyn Museum.

Visitors to the museum will now be able to view all three sections of the papyrus after the third and final parts restoration is finished. Sobekmose's book of the dead is currently part of Brooklyn's wonderful display called "The Mummy Chamber".

Photo:
Book of the Dead of the Goldworker of Amun, Sobekmose. Egypt, from Saqqara. New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, probably reign of Thutmose III to reign of Amunhotep II (circa 1479–1400 B.C.E.). Papyrus, ink, pigment, 14 x 288 2/3 in. (35.6 x 733.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.1777

Thursday, September 22, 2011

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.

James Breasted: The Documentary Sources of Egyptian History

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Stolen Head


This head is listed on Interpol as stolen from Egypt but unfortunately very little detail about when it was stolen and how?

Serapeum Stelea, 547bce


Year 23 first month of the third season day 15 under the majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Khem ibre given life forever.

The god was conducted in peace to the beautiful west, to let him assume his place in the necropolis, in the place which his majesty made for him, the like of which has never been done before; after there had been done for him all that is done in the pure house.

Lo his majesty had it in his remembrances how Horus did for his father, Osiris, and he made a great sarcophagus of granite. Behold, his majesty found it good to make it of costly stone more than all kings of all times. He made a shroud of Mysterious linen of Resenet and Mehenet, to attach to him his amulets and all his ornaments of gold, and every splendid costly stone. They were more beautiful than what was done before, for his majesty loved the Apis, Living Son more than any other king.

The majesty of this god went to heaven in the year 23, third month of the second season, day 6. He was born in the year 5 first month of the first season, day 7. He was installed in the house of Ptah in the second month of the third season, day 18. The beautiful lifetime of this god was 18 years, 1 month and 6 days.

Ahmose Sineit, given life forever, made for him.

James Breasted; The Documentary Sources of Egyptian History

Friday, September 9, 2011

Documenting Nefertiti


 There was a recent article in the German newspaper Der Spiegel about a 1924 document found by the German Oriental Association who's author implies that the archaeologist who found the famous bust of Nefertiti at Tell el Amarna in 1912, Ludwig Borchardt used deception to secure the bust for Germany. If this turns out to be true and not just somebodies opinion in 1924 it may help Cairo's call for the return of Nefertiti.

A part of me laughs at the size of that "if", yes it is a big word and one that I am very fond of myself however there has always been the issue that the official of Egypt's antiquities service in charge of the division of finds did not do the job properly. As for what statute of limitations exist in this case that may perhaps be the bigger issue? Whether those statutes are recognized by either party may be a nest of bureaucracy unto itself?

Add to this I can see the director of the Neues museums name being destroyed both academically and publicly scorned in Germany that the star was handed over on that persons watch? Which other museum would hire that director or would not other museums fear that if they hired that person they may do the same to their star pieces?

That is even a side point as to who is going to retrieve it on behalf of Cairo is another nest? Dr. Hawass may have difficulty receiving the proper documents to even enter Germany? So how about the head of UNESCO Irina Bokova of course after a smart caviar and champagne lunch.

There is little doubt to me it is unlikely that a small mismanaged country like Egypt can do anything to impress upon an economic giant like Germany.

So it seems that the 1924 document may not even hold any weight whatsoever even if it is valid and it appears unfortunate for Egypt that in the end laws are meant to be broken and as grotesque a message as that sends few care when they are standing in front of the beautiful Nefertiti in her beautiful room at the Neues museum!

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Grand Egyptian Museum

This is an article concerning the third phase of the construction of Egypt's Grand Egyptian Museum which when completed will house 100 000 objects 10 000 of which are already present? The Museum is set to open in 2015?

Djoser's Pyramid

I love the picture with this article about the restoration of what may be the worlds oldest pyramid. The pyramid created in the 3rd dynasty for king Djoser. I hate the idea of diagonally inserted steel rods knitting together a building that has withstood 5000 years without them.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Archaeological Work Resumes


After a pause of many months due to the security situation in Egypt about a quarter of foreign archaeological expeditions are now back in the field. The last archaeological season showed little coming out of the valley of kings though there is an update on kv64. Also what appeared to be an intact shaft was found in one of the tombs on Luxor's west bank.

The unfinished avenue of rams linking Karnak with Luxor remains a dubious place to take a wiz or throw your garbage which has become a real focal issue not only at the avenue of rams but other places around Egypt particularly archaeological sites. I wonder how the temple of Ptah at Mit Rahina is doing on this issue?

At Giza once again the great pyramid has caught the public imagination particularly with robots ascending that pyramids shafts and current technology being used with great effect on solving the pyramids construction. Herodotus might be off on this one?

At Saqqara the worlds oldest pyramid is in process of a multi million dollar restoration including removing the debris covering the sarcophagus and over at the Supreme Council of Antiquities there is a new Secretary-General Mohammed Abdel Fattah and I think it is a perfect time for a fresh start.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Akhenaten: The Rebel Pharaoh

Here we have a six part program hosted by Dr. Bob Brier on Akhenaten and the world he created. Most interesting to me were the rare images of the mummy of Amenhotep III though it was only one of the highlights of the program.





Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Nefertiti and the Lost Dynasty

Here we have the show from a couple of years ago based on searching for Nefertiti. As I recall the show was in reaction partially to confront the theory put forward a few years earlier in 2003 by Dr. Joann Fletcher who had published her book "In search of Nefertiti" which had not pleased Dr Hawass who felt that Ms. Fletcher should have made Dr. Hawass aware of her findings before she went to the media as was protocol and so no Joann Fletcher in Egypt.

Some great access to the Amarna royal mummies in this show though I wish the show was not broken into ten pieces.

Breaking protocol is one thing but hey the book was also successful and a great read. Hopefully now that the winds of change have come that Dr. Fletcher will be able to do research in Egypt again.



Also check out "Do we have the mummy of Nefertiti" by Marianne Luban

My Review of "The Search for Nefertiti"

The Eternal Hairdo

 The ancient Egyptians loved their hair styles and wished to be coiffed well for eternity this included the use of fats and resin to set their curls for the afterlife. Unfortunately eternity is a long time and most ended up with severe cases of bedhead not to mention the crudely mannered intruder over the millenniums who for some reason wants to see if they can pull out your hair?

There is mention in the article of scented fat cones we see on the heads of women in tomb paintings though one has never been found to my knowledge

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Continuing Story of Ka-nefer-nefer

The story of the mask called Ka-nefer-nefer in the St. Louis Art Museum appears to be turning on St. Louis in favour of Cairo as the mask clearly is the same mask excavated and shown in excavation photo's of the early 1950's.

Lawyers for the museum are trying anything they can to of course resolve the situation best for the museum but unfortunately the argument of statutes of limitations admits the masks correct provenance but rewards it to the museum anyway because it took too long to discover the crime.

Not likely to happen with the American authorities now involved and The St. Louis Art Museum should expect a visit in the future to hand over the mask. St. Louis' lawyers might spend their time better by suing the art dealer they bought the mask from.

The issue at present appears to be based on what kind of "contraband" the mask is, and what laws apply? St Louis' position gets weaker and weaker. The St. Louis Art museum admits the masks provenance, please go to their site to see the masks provenance according to St. Louis' acquisition.

Here is the background information on the mask:  The Battle for Ka-nefer-nefer

Source of update: Looting Matters 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hatshepsut Poisoned?


 There is a study going on at the University of Bonn on a lovely little bottle bearing cartouches of king Hatshepsut. The researchers have discovered from the dried residue inside the bottle that it contains a carcinogenic hydrocarbon which may have poisoned Hatshepsut?

I have heard of the bottle before but have no idea of it's provenance, I would think that just because Hatshepsut's cartouches are on the bottle that it is highly unlikely that it actually belonged to the king? I would think that putting the reigning kings cartouches on objects was how it was probably done at the workshops where objects were created and that it is not necessarily a personal possession of the king?

Very interesting findings though as the ointment in the bottle may have been a product produced for the population and not just the king? It would be interesting to see if residue of the hydrocarbon can be found in any of the royal mummies in Cairo?

To learn more about Hatshepsut check out Stuart Tyler's Hatshepsut Project

Image: Associated Press

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Metropolitan Returns Tutankhamun Objects to Egypt

This article on the return of objects from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art back to Egypt. The artifacts are believed to have been taken by Howard Carter from the tomb of Tutankhamun.

The objects removed by Carter were termed by the late Thomas Hoving as a "pocket collection" as all the artifacts easily fit into a pocket and were thus removed from the boy kings tomb . The article has two pictures.

Here you will find background information to the story.

The Carter/Carnarvon Connection

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ancient Building Uncovered at Meroe

The site of the ancient city of Meroe in the Sudan was originally discovered before world war one by famous archaeologist John Garstang who unfortunately never published his findings. Now archaeologist working on behalf of the Royal Ontario Museum have found what they believe to be the oldest building found so far, the newly discovered building may be a royal palace located beneath the ruins of a newer palace.

Reading the Oxyrhynchus Papyri

This is an article on the huge dicsovery of the Oxyrhynchus papyri which contained thousands of fragment from Egypt's Greco-Roman period. The collection is so huge that it has been impossible to translate the hoard of documents.

Among the documents found contain many famous lost works by authors like Euripides, Herotudos and Plato.

Oldest Known Image of King in White Crown

The image probably carved around 3200 bc and was discovered about a half century ago at the site of Nag el Hamdulab by archaeologist Labib Habachi. It is believed to be the oldest representation of a king of Egypt wearing the white crown.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Awful Artifacts Reappear

The fine folks at Egypt's Cairo museum are a little more relieved today from finding two objects believed stolen during the break in at the end of January. The drawing of the Heset vase really does sum up a broken antiquities department including mismanagement of the national museums ledgers, they could have at least whipped out a box of crayons and coloured it.

Who in the world would break into the Cairo museum and of all it's treasures steal that awful clay bed when the robber could have made more money by stealing one of the museums garbage cans? Now that the Heset vase has been located I imagine it might be a good time to take a proper picture of it, in colour and not blurry.

Certainly the real price paid for the loss of these pieces was the exposure of the museums ledgers to the public eye and particularly the vulnerability of the museums security with the display that Dr. Zahi Hawass was unable to guarantee security for Neues Nefertiti should she have been present, thankfully she stayed in Berlin and missed the robbery of Cairo's Amarna collection.

In all fairness the museum is 109 years old and though it has pulled in untold millions the museum does not appear to be benefited by it. I am not surprised that these two objects have turned up in the museum and based on their appreciative value would suspect that they might have been better off lost!

Vincent at Talking Pyramids has pictures of items recovered.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Metropolitan Returns Tutankhamun Objects

It has long been known about objects being in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York which came to the museum via Howard Carter and his associates as well as other museums. Mr. Carter appears to have created a collection of pocket sized objects from the tomb of Tutankhamun.

This week the Metropolitan will be handing over more of the pieces acquired by Carter for his as well as his patron Lord Carnarvon's collections.

The Carter/Carnarvon Connection

Rosetta Stone in Context

This coming week on August 4 British Museum Curator Richard Parkinson will be discussing the world famous stelea created in 196 bc for the first anniversary of the coronation of Ptolemy V. The stone and it's inscription as well as it's context will be discussed.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Kha's Protractor

This is an article on a mysterious object found in the tomb of the 18th dynasty royal architect Kha who's tomb was found intact in 1906 at Deir el Medina in the cemetery of the workman's village who carved and decorated "The Valley of Kings.

The beautifully carved 3400 year old object is being proposed by a scientist to be the oldest known protractor. There is debate about this but the argument is interesting as is the picture of the object shown.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Known and Unknown Kings

As my readers will know I have been silent through the latest ins and outs of Egypt's antiquities service if it is still legal to be referred as, probably more a sense of irritation than deafness finding my amusements in another direction.

I had almost completed another book review that I was working on last winter but then the revolution took place and my book review became completely inappropriate, not the best time to do reviews on colonialism. Very poor timing?

Certainly this downtime is a good time for little to nothing to happen in the field of Egyptian archaeology except preservation and security of those zones until the nations people determine their destiny in the fall., though filling back in a certain restored avenue to protect it from becoming a sewer sounds a little amusing if not entirely irresponsible or appropriate!

I have found myself this summer clearing out my cupboards one of which is where I keep my print outs of online books and bulletins, (I imagine a certain doctor might be doing the same thing), and getting rid of most of them but then I came to an old favorite from "The Giza Archives Project", Museum of Fine Arts Bulletin Vol. XVI, No. 97, October, 1918, "Known and Unknown Kings of Ethiopia" by George Reisner.

The bulletin contains wonderful images of pyramids still filled with numerous artifacts belonging to the royal dynasties of Ethiopia and told by the great man.

This bulletin I will be keeping in my collection!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Death of a King

Ever since the butchered remains of the mummy of king Sequenenre II was unrolled on June 9, 1886 by Gaston Maspero the mummy has been a strong subject for archaeologists to see the results of wounds inflicted by a number of ancient weapons.

Sequenenre the prince of Thebes declared war upon the foreign ruler of Egypt the Hyksos king Apophis after a threat was sent to Sequenenre by Apophis who complained that the snoring of the hippopotamus' in the sacred lake was keeping Apophis awake. Apophis at his capital of Avaris in the delta was much to far away to hear the hippo's snoring instead Apophis was telling Sequenenre that he knew the prince of Thebes was conspiring with others to overthrow him.

Within a few years in about 1560 bc. Sequenenre was dead assassinated by two or more assailants with there being some evidence that the king may have received four of his five head wounds while he was lying on the ground unconscious after the first blow to his head. From his head wounds it can be surmised that at least two or more weapons were used including an axe, a spear, possibly a sword and a blunt object maybe the but end of the axe.

To Sequenenre's credit he acquired the moniker of Sequenenre the Brave with his descendants driving the foreign kings out of Egypt and the prince's of Thebes became kings of Upper and Lower Egypt.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tomb of Nefertari ca. 1920's

Here we have a short video from the Valley of Queens in the tomb of Nefertari wife of Ramses II. The black and white film gives the tomb a bit of a dark eerie feel. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Support to the Egyptian People

Allot of things are going on in Egypt these days including in the antiquities portfolio who's minister Dr. Zahi Hawass has apparently resigned though a major reshuffling of government ministers is taking place to answer protest which are taking place. The minister Dr. Hawass was chased through the streets by angry archaeologists who want a chance to practice their chosen profession.

Dr. Hawass will hopefully move on with his life either in retirement or by going abroad to work for any number of museums that may want him, having said that I do not think the doctor will be dropping off a resume in Berlin.

I want to extend my support to the Egyptian people during this time of revolution and pray that the peoples courage brings prosperity, more freedoms and a brighter future for their children.

Peace

Timothy Reid

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Destruction of a Temple Monument


This slab is one of five known examples which may have once been a screen wall in a temple though the location of that temple is vague. The slab was found reused in Alexandria and appears to be one of the British Museum's earliest Egyptian objects entered in its collection as a gift of King George III in 1766, (EA22).

When I saw the slab in the "Eternal Egypt" exhibition at the Royal British Columbia Museum it was a gorgeous object and the wall must have been a remarkable site in whichever temple it once stood. On the more damaged side is a crude inscription in Greek relating to a restoration in the Roman period.(1a)

Three of these slabs are inscribed for the first king of the 30th Dynasty King Nectanebo I and two are inscribed for earlier kings of the 26th Dynasty including the first king of the dynasty Psamtik I and Psamtik II.(2) On the British Museum's slab the decoration of the more damaged side includes an offering scene with the king kneeling before a god and to the right another standing god belonging to another part of an offering scene the completion of the scene belonging on an adjoining block.

The cornices on both sides have been attacked with a chisel the cornice on the better-preserved side shows a row of frontal facing falcons, the feet of which still are present. On the more damaged side, there is little sign of the cornice except that the slab in Vienna(213), dedicated to Psamtik II shows a row of erect cobras (3). The Vienna slab cornice goes around one end of the stone indicating this slab was the beginning or end of the wall with no further elements at that end.


The inscriptions of the blocks indicate the wall might have been erected at Sais in the delta, ancient Heliopolis.  The Vienna stone differs from the later Nectanebo slab in that King Psamtik is shown in a much more prostrate position with both legs showing and side view of both feet while the British museum's slab shows King Nectanebo with only one leg and more than one toe.

At least part of the monument was present at the beginning of Egypt's 26th Dynasty and in good enough condition 300 years later for Nectanebo I to have his name inscribed on some of the slabs. The wall may have become badly damaged in the earthquake of 27 BC which destroyed the remains of the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III or in the 365 AD earthquake(4) which destroyed much of Alexandria after which the rough largely illegible(1b), heretic inscription on the British Museum slab may have been hacked into the top of the slab during the reuse of the block.

When the drilled holes were added to the blocks is not known but may well indicate a further reuse after the Roman period. Since the block was found at Alexandria it may indicate the stone was taken to that city after the 365 AD earthquake to be reused in the rebuilding of Alexandria and thus eventually found there.

Perhaps someday more of the stone slabs in the wall will turn up and tell us more about what happened to the wall in between Psamtik II and Nectanebo I and hopefully why and when the beautiful wall was dismantled and used as filler in a later construction.

Notes:
 

1(a,b). Many thanks to Elizabeth R. O'Connell Assistant Keeper (curator) Roman and late Antique Egypt at the British Museum for her help in the interpretation of the text.
2. Eternal Egypt: Masterworks of Ancient Art From The British Museum, Edna R. Russmann, 2001, #134 pgs. 244-247
3. Global Egyptian Museum 
4. Timelines: Earthquakes

Photo Courtesy of Michael Harding

Smuggling Ring Broken

United states authorities have broken up a smuggling ring which involved a dealer in Dubai and a Greco-Roman sarcophagus. Federal agents found the sarcophagus in Manhattan antiques dealers Virginia home.

The New york dealer was released on $250 000 bail.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Five Best Books for a Hot Summer or a Cold Winter, depending!

I picked these five books because they will all be fairly easy to obtain and included the two extra books because they belong in my top five but will be more difficult to find.
1. Ancient Lives: The Story of Pharaohs' Tombmakers
2. Ancient Egypt; The Great Discoveries
3. Tutankhamun: The Untold Story
4. Unwrapping a Mummy
5. Archaic Egypt

A. Pyramids and Progress
B. Egypt by H.H. Powers

The last being particularly funny!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Roman Era Basilica Found

Archaeologists working on behalf of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities have discovered the remains of a Roman period basilica built over a Ptolemaic building. Some images of Isis and Serapis were found during excavation.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Burial Chamber of Ramses IX in Valley of Kings

Here we have a short interesting video taken in the burial chamber of Ramses IX In the valley of kings. The tomb was visited as early as 1737-1738 by Richard Pococke though it has been open since antiquity.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Mummies from Akhmim

Here we have two coffins from a group of coffins found in a family tomb at Akhmim, Egypt and acquired for the British museum by Wallace Budge between 1897-98. The museum appears to have seven members of the family though the actual bodies were left in Egypt and based on the inscriptions dates the coffins to the Roman period, 50 bc - 50 Ad.

I must also point out that I have a 1965 Chicago Natural History museum publication titled " Mummies" at the back of the publication presented in Plate 8 another female mummy case which belongs to the same period and stylistically perhaps the same tomb, though the picture is black and white?

Photo Courtesy: Michael Harding

Egyptological Magazine Vol. 1

After a ton of work, Andrea Byrnes of Egyptology News and Kate Phizackerley from News from the Valley of the Kings have published their first free online magazine Egyptological Vol. 1. The magazine includes a number of interesting articles including one by Barbara O'Neill on Egyptian mirrors.

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".

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.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Interior of the Sarcophagus of Nectanebo II

 This is the left side interior looking towards the foot of the sarcophagus of Nectanebo II which was later drilled to be a ritual bath at the Attarin Mosque in Alexandria. The sarcophagus came to the British Museum as a gift of King George III who attained it from the Napoleon expedition through the treaty of Alexandria.

Photo: Many thanks to Michael Harding

Discoveries at the Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III

Here we have an article of recent discoveries made by archaeologists at the site of the 18th dynasty mortuary temple of Amenhotep III ca. 1390-1352B.C.. The recent finds include a rare colossal alabaster statue of the king and a granodiorite head of a diety.

The kings temple of millions of years was likely destroyed by an earthquake little more than a hundred years after it's completion with many of its stones removed and reused for the mortuary temple of the 19th dynasty king Merenptah ca. 1213-1203B.C..

The temple was built in the inundation zone next to the Nile which meant the temple would have been flooded during that period of the year destabilizing its foundations.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Seeing Pyramids Through Clumsy Protocol

Here we have an article from Dr. Hawass on the recent BBC article on infrared satellite images which were advertised as showing seventeen unexcavated pyramids and thousands of archaeological sites. Dr. Hawass is displeased as the article went out without his approval which is proper protocol and he disputes the findings published.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Unseen Markings in Great Pyramid

A robot travelling up the so called air shaft of the great pyramid has found red builders markings behind a door with metal pins in it in the shaft. The robot was built by engineer Rob Richardson from the University of Leeds as part of the Djedi project with Dr. Zahi Hawass, Egypt's minister of state for antiquities affairs is the director of the project.

The pyramid was built for the old kingdom king Khufu about 2600bc probably as his tomb. Project Djedi is named after a magician who king Khufu consulted on the building of his tomb.