Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Cult of Amun

In the epic rivalry between ancient Egypt and Nubia, one god had enduring appeal

By Daniel Weiss

In its 3,000-year history as a state, ancient Egypt had a complicated, constantly changing set of relations with neighboring powers. With the Libyans to the west and the Babylonians, Hittites, Assyrians, and Persians to the northeast, Egypt by turns waged war, forged treaties, and engaged in mutually beneficial trade. But Egypt’s most important and enduring relationship was, arguably, with its neighbor to the south, Nubia, which occupied a region that is now in Sudan. The two cultures were connected by the Nile River, whose annual flooding made civilization possible in an otherwise harsh desert environment. Through their shared history, Egyptians and Nubians also came to worship the same chief god, Amun, who was closely allied with kingship and played an important role as the two civilizations vied for supremacy.

During its Middle and New Kingdoms, which spanned the second millennium B.C., Egypt pushed its way into Nubia, ultimately conquering and making it a colonial province. The Egyptians were drawn by the land’s rich store of natural resources, including ebony, ivory, animal skins, and, most importantly, gold. As they expanded their control of Nubia, the Egyptians built a number of temples to Amun, the largest of which stood at the foot of a holy mountain called Jebel Barkal. This the Egyptians declared to be the god’s southern home, thereby conceptualizing Egypt and Nubia as a unified whole and justifying their rule of both. After Egypt’s New Kingdom collapsed around 1069 B.C., the kingdom of Kush rose in Nubia, with its court based in Napata, the town adjacent to Jebel Barkal. The Egyptian colonizers may have been gone, but their religious legacy lived on, as the Kushite rulers were by this time fervently devoted to Amun. Just as the Egyptians had used the god to validate their conquest of Nubia, the Kushites now returned the favor. During a period of discord in Egypt, the Kushite king Piye first secured Amun’s northern home, in Karnak, Egypt. Then, claiming to act on the god’s behalf to restore unified control of Nubia and Egypt, he conquered the rest of Egypt and, in 728 B.C., became the first in a line of Kushite pharaohs who ruled Egypt for around 70 years.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Rare 3rd Dynasty Mastaba Found in Quesna

The site of Quesna situated on a large sand gezira in the Central Nile Delta was until recently best known for its Late Period to Roman remains. It is the location of a Late Period to Ptolemaic Mausoleum, as well as a contemporary sacred falcon necropolis, with an extensive Roman cemetery, some of the burials of which are dug into the walls of the mausoleum. A team of archaeologists under the auspices of the Egypt Exploration Society, led by Dr Joanne Rowland (Free University of Berlin) has been conducting research and holding fieldschools at the site since 2006. The team has been conducting geophysical surveys and examining the human remains in this vast cemetery (the gezira was once much larger, with burials being found up to 2 km from today’s central point). During these later periods the site seems to have been one of the burial grounds for the community living at Athribis, which is located 7 km to the southwest of Quesna.

However, in 2010 a mud-brick monument was located in the north of the site along with beer jars dating to the early Old Kingdom. The shape of this monument suggested that it was a mastaba, but further investigations were needed to fully understand the architecture and its exact date. In summer 2014 the team once again turned their attention to this enigmatic monument. The excavations revealed the tomb to be 14.1 m long north-south, by 6.0 m wide east-west, with a corridor chapel 3.0 m wide nearly running the length of its east side. It is a tripartite tomb, with the southern section having a rubble fill representing the primordial mound of creation, the northern section containing the burial shaft and the serdab, with the central section holding the double burial chamber.

Although the tomb had been severely looted in antiquity, enough pottery and stone vessels remained to place the tomb between the end of the 3rd Dynasty and the beginning of the 4th Dynasty. Other objects found included hundreds of beads from the jewellery that once adorned the occupants of the tomb. Unfortunately none of the inscribed elements of the tomb had survived to inform the team as to the identity of the tomb-owner. However, in the last few days of the excavation an extraordinary artefact was found in one of the two burial niches, a seal impression bearing the name of King Khaba within a serekh. This little known king of the 3rd Dynasty, who probably reigned for only six years, is best known from the stone vessels bearing an inscription of his serekh from mastaba Z500 at Zawiyet el-Aryan (ZeA). The unfinished Layer Pyramid at ZeA was probably built for this king, although no remains of his burial were found.

This is the first tomb excavated in over 100 years that can be assigned to the reign of King Khaba with any certainty. Its placement in the central Delta raises several questions about the provincial administration of Egypt during the 3rd Dynasty, as well as the identity of the individuals that were buried in the Quesna mastaba. The team will continue their work next year and hope to answer some of these questions.

Source: http://www.drhawass.com/wp/rare-3rd-dynasty-mastaba-found-in-quesna/

Wednesday Weekly # 75

Welcome to the Wednesday Weekly, your weekly dose of links to Egyptology news, articles, blogs, events and more!

Brooklyn Museum
LUXOR TIMES

Thutmose IV relief to be repatriated to Egypt
http://luxortimesmagazine.blogspot.nl/2015/04/thutmose-iv-relief-to-be-repatriated-to.html

The white wall of Egypt's oldest capital discovered by Russian archaeologists
http://luxortimesmagazine.blogspot.nl/2015/04/the-white-wall-of-egypt-oldest-capital.html

123 artefacts to be repatriated to Egypt from USA
http://luxortimesmagazine.blogspot.nl/2015/04/123-artefacts-to-be-repatriated-to.html

British archaeologists discovered an Old Kingdom Mastaba in Delta
http://luxortimesmagazine.blogspot.nl/2015/04/british-archaeologists-discovered-old.html

IN THE ARTIFACT LAB

Meet Nespekashuti
http://www.penn.museum/sites/artifactlab/2015/04/16/meet-nespekashuti/

EGYPT CENTRE, SWANSEA

Hatshepsut, drunkenness, sexuality and faience balls
http://egyptcentre.blogspot.nl/2015/04/hatshepsut-drunkenness-sexuality-and.html

ARCHAEOLOGY MAGAZINE

Fragments of the Ancient Wall of Memphis Found
http://www.archaeology.org/news/3219-150420-egypt-memphis-wall

Old Kingdom Mastaba Found in Quesna

The Cult of Amun

AHRAM ONLINE

The first tomb of King Kha-Ba discovered in the Nile Delta

123 stolen artefacts to return to Egypt

AERA

The 10th anniversary of the AERA field school

CALGARY SSEA

Lecture: Tomb Contents of New Kingdom Ancient Egypt

Date: 7:30 – 9:00 pm, 01-May-2015

Through this lecture, the audience will gain a greater appreciation for funerary practices during the New Kingdom and attain a visual library to recognize the variety of tomb equipment displayed in today’s museums.

ASOR BLOG

Green Pigments: Exploring Changes in the Egyptian Pigment Palette [VIDEO]

BEYONDBONES

Discover new secrets of ancient Egypt with guest lecturers

BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY SOCIETY

Chapel of King Nectanebo I Uncovered in Ancient Heliopolis, Egypt

BROOKLYN MUSEUM

Before the golden masks of Egyptian royal mummies

DR. ZAHI HAWASS

Rare 3rd Dynasty Mastaba Found in Quesna

A Trip to Saudi Arabia

LIVERPOOL MUSEUMS BLOG

Conserving Egyptian animal mummies

THE CAIRO POST

Briton gives up 3,300 year-old ancient Egyptian artifact

Ruins of Egypt’s most ancient capital of Memphis unearthed

4,600 year-old tomb of Pharaoh unearthed in Delta

EGYPT EXPLORATION SOCIETY

Old Kingdom mastaba found in the Delta

London Seminar: Delta Discoveries

Start Time: Saturday, 6th June 2015, 10:30 am
End Time: Saturday, 6th June 2015, 4:30 pm
Location: The Egypt Exploration Society

Building on the success of the fourth biennial Delta Workshop to be held in Cairo in March 2015, this seminar will bring the Society's dig directors from the Delta to London to discuss recent discoveries and future prospects, as well as a look back at the Society's long history of exploration in the northern most reaches of the Nile valley.

New internship opportunity at the EES

LIVESCIENCE

Ancient Hangover Cure Discovered in Greek Texts


Monday, April 20, 2015

Ruins of Egypt’s most ancient capital of Memphis unearthed

By Rany Mostafa

CAIRO: Ruins of the 5,200 year-old enclosure wall, once surrounded Egypt’s most ancient capital city of Memphis, has been unearthed, Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty said in a statement Saturday.

“Several white limestone fragments of the ancient capital’s wall were discovered during excavation work carried out by an archaeology team of the Russian Institute of Egyptology at Kom Tuman, south of Giza Pyramids,” said Damaty.

Memphis was founded from the end of the fourth millennium B.C. by the first Dynasty Pharaoh Menes, who was the first to unify Upper and Lower Egypt kingdoms into a unified state in ancient Egypt history, Director of the Russian archaeological team Galina A. Belova was quoted by the Antiquities Ministry Friday.

“A number of pottery making ovens and bronze tools were also found. The excavations will continue and we will be working to unearth the rest of the wall, as well as any archaeological elements which could help us to know more about this early period of Egyptian history,” said Belova.

Occupying a strategic position at the mouth of the Nile Delta, Memphis was the capital of ancient Egypt during the Old Kingdom (2,680B.C.-2125B.C.) It once comprised the royal palaces of the Pharaohs alongside the state administrative buildings, Kamal Wahid, director of the central administration of Giza antiquities told The Cairo Post Saturday.

“Unlike royal tombs, pyramids, mortuary and cult-related temples and any other buildings related to the afterlife, ancient Egyptian royal palaces, administrative offices, houses and other life-related buildings were often made of mud brick,” said Wahid, pointing out that the ancient Egyptian belief in life after death made the Egyptians keen to build durable tombs and pyramids.

Memphis is now an open air museum that houses artifacts spanning several periods of the ancient Egyptian civilization; a painted limestone colossus of Ramses II along with the alabaster Sphinx are the most preserved pieces in that museum.

In the 1950s, the Egyptian government decided to transfer a pink granite colossus of Ramses II to Cairo. It was placed before the Cairo’s main train station named after the Pharaoh. However, in 2005, the statue was transferred to the under-construction Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), nearby Giza Pyramids, scheduled to open in 2018.

The move has been criticized for its costs and concerns about pollution in the Giza location.

Source: http://www.thecairopost.com/news/146654/topnews/ruins-of-egypts-most-ancient-capital-of-memphis-unearthed

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Museum Pieces - A Complete Set of Canopic Jars

A Complete Set of Canopic Jars

This set of canopic jars was made to contain the internal organs removed from the body during the mummification process. The four sons of the god Horus were believed to protect these organs. The jackal-headed Duamutef protected the stomach; the falcon-headed Qebehsenuef, the intestines; the baboon-headed Hapi, the lungs; and human-headed Imsety, the liver.

Period: ca. 900-800 BC (Third Intermediate)
Accessionnr.: VO.7 (41.171, 41.172, 41.173, 41.174)
Medium: limestone with paint
Measurements: Qebehsenuef: 12 5/8 x 4 5/8 x 5 1/8 in. (32 x 11.7 x 13 cm); Imsety: 13 9/16 x 4 3/4 x 5 3/16 in. (34.5 x 12 x 13.2 cm); Duamutef: 14 3/16 x 5 11/16 x 5 5/16 in. (36 x 14.4 x 13.5 cm); Hapi: 13 3/8 x 4 13/16 x 5 5/16 in. (34 x 12.3 x 13.5 cm)


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wednesday Weekly # 74

Welcome to the Wednesday Weekly, your weekly dose of links to Egyptology news, articles, blogs, events and more!

Luxor Times

LUXOR TIMES

Royal Chapel discovered in Heliopolis
http://luxortimesmagazine.blogspot.nl/2015/04/royal-chapel-discovered-in-heliopolis.html

THE ANCIENT WORLD ONLINE

Egyptology and Coptology in the institutional repository of the University of Naples "L'Orientale"
http://ancientworldonline.blogspot.nl/2015/04/egyptology-and-coptology-in.html

Open Access Egyptology from Waseda University
http://ancientworldonline.blogspot.nl/2010/06/open-access-egyptology-from-waseda.html

IN THE ARTIFACT LAB

Goodbye old pal
http://www.penn.museum/sites/artifactlab/2015/04/11/goodbye-old-pal/

EGYPT AT THE MANCHESTER MUSEUM

Object Biography #17: An Anonymous Gilded Mummy Mask (Acc. no. 7931)
https://egyptmanchester.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/object-biography-17-an-anonymous-gilded-mummy-mask-acc-no-7931/

EGYPTIANS

Ramses II and His Time
http://tim-theegyptians.blogspot.nl/2015/04/ramses-ii-and-his-time.html

AHRAM ONLINE

Merimde Beni Salama site in Delta is larger than was thought
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/9/40/127292/Heritage/Ancient-Egypt/Merimde-Beni-Salama-site-in-Delta-is-larger-than-w.aspx

Egypt urged to expedite efforts to keep Sekhemka statue on display
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/9/40/127400/Heritage/Ancient-Egypt/Egypt-urged-to-expedite-efforts-to-keep-Sekhemka-s.aspx

Egyptian, German officials visit Minya's unfinished Aten Museum
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/9/44/127464/Heritage/Museums/Egyptian,-German-officials-visit-Minyas-unfinished.aspx

Two-millenia-old chapel discovered in Cairo's Matariya
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/9/40/127633/Heritage/Ancient-Egypt/Twomilleniaold-chapel-discovered-in-Cairos-Matariy.aspx

POPULAR ARCHAEOLOGY

The Black Pharaoh in Denmark
http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/spring-2015/article/the-black-pharaoh-in-denmark

AL-AHRAM WEEKLY

‘Tiradritti is wrong’
http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/News/10941/47/%E2%80%98Tiradritti-is-wrong%E2%80%99.aspx

Controversy over the Meidum Geese
http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/News/10942/47/Controversy-over-the-Meidum-Geese.aspx

GEBEL EL SILSILA SURVEY PROJECT

Busy bees
http://gebelelsilsilaepigraphicsurveyproject.blogspot.nl/2015/04/busy-bees.html

ANCIENT EGYPTIAN ANIMAL BIO BANK

Scanning mummies: the old and the new
https://ancientegyptbiobank.wordpress.com/2015/04/12/scanning-mummies-the-old-and-the-new/

HARMAKIS

The Meidum Geese Are Not A Fake - Part 2
http://harmakis.net/archives/3600

Egyptian German Mission uncovered a chapel in Heliopolis Temple
http://harmakis.net/archives/3608

DR. ZAHI HAWASS

Zahi Hawass in Manila on 27 & 28 April for ASPAC Conference 2015
http://www.drhawass.com/wp/zahi-hawass-in-manila-on-27-28-april-for-aspac-conference-2015/

Dr Zahi Hawass lectures in Munich on 5 & 6 May 2015
http://www.drhawass.com/wp/dr-zahi-hawass-lectures-in-munich-on-5-6-may-2015/

NILE MAGAZINE

The Renegade's Wife
http://www.nilemagazine.com.au/latest-stories/2015/4/11/the-renegades-wife

Never Let The Truth Get In The Way Of A Good Story.
http://www.nilemagazine.com.au/latest-stories/2015/4/13/never-let-the-truth-get-in-the-way-of-a-good-story

THE CAIRO POST

Meidum Geese painting authentic: Zahi Hawass
http://www.thecairopost.com/news/145516/culture/meidum-geese-authentic-zahi-hawaas

Opinion: You cannot police research
http://www.thecairopost.com/news/145642/culture/opinion-you-cannot-police-research

Giza Pyramids threatened by urban expansion
http://www.thecairopost.com/news/145766/culture/giza-pyramids-threatened-by-urban-expansion

Opinion: More than naked eye needed to rule on authenticity of ‘Meidum Geese’
http://www.thecairopost.com/news/145958/culture/opinion-more-than-naked-eye-needed-to-rule-on-authenticity-of-meidum-geese

Sham El-Nessim; a 4,500 year-old Egyptian feast
http://www.thecairopost.com/news/145955/culture/sham-el-nessim-a-4500-year-old-egyptian-feast

Ancient Egyptian shrine, bust unearthed under modern Cairo

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Ancient Egyptian shrine, bust unearthed under modern Cairo

CAIRO: A 2,400 year-old basalt shrine was unearthed from beneath Cairo’s modern districts of Ain Shams and Mataria, Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty announced Tuesday.

“The finds were discovered during the ongoing excavation work carried out by an Egyptian-German archaeology mission. The shrine belonged to the 30th Dynasty Pharaoh Nectanebo I (379 B.C.-360 B.C.,)” said Damaty.

Nectanebo I was the founder of the 30th Dynasty: the last native Egyptian royal family to rule ancient Egypt before Alexander the Great conquered Egypt in 332 B.C., Archaeologist Sherif el-Sabban told The Cairo Post Tuesday.

“Historical evidence suggests the Pharaoh came to power by overthrowing Nepherites II, his predecessor and the last pharaoh of the 29th Dynasty,” Sabban added.

The mission also unearthed a royal bust belonged to the New Kingdom (1580 B.C.-1080 B.C. ) Pharaoh Merenptah, Damaty said, adding that the statue represents the Pharaoh standing and making offerings to ancient Egyptian deities.

Archeology surveys carried out in Heliopolis have revealed prehistoric human settlements under this part of the modern city of Cairo, said Damaty.

Little remains of what was once one of the ancient Egyptians’ most sacred cities, since much of the stones used in the construction of the temples were later plundered and reused in building modern buildings, according to Sabban.

Heliopolis, known in ancient Egypt as Iunu, was Egypt’s most ancient capital city.

“The area was first excavated in the early 20th Century and most of the finds ended up in private collections. The obelisk of the Middle Kingdom Pharaoh Senusert I, probably the oldest standing obelisk in Egypt, is among the most significant excavations at the area,” according to Sabban.

Source: http://www.thecairopost.com/news/146170/topnews/ancient-egyptian-shrine-bust-unearthed-under-modern-cairo