Saturday, October 25, 2014

New generation of archaeologists takes ancient Egypt into 21st century

Young experts bring fresh ideas to help reform institutions in charge of likes of Tutankhamun’s tomb and Giza pyramids

By Patrick Kingsley in Cairo for The Guardian, Thursday 23 October 2014

Five years ago, if archaeologists digging up pharaonic ruins in Egypt found any human bones, they would usually throw them away. “Most Egyptian archaeological missions looked at human remains as garbage,” said Afaf Wahba, a young official at Egypt’s antiquities ministry.

But osteology, the study of bones, is standard practice on digs outside Egypt – and Wahba wants Egyptian teams to follow suit. After a five-year campaign, each Egyptian province is now meant to have an osteologist, and Wahba hopes the ministry will found its own osteology department. But, as she put it: “I am struggling to inform people in the SCA [the ministry’s governing body] that human remains are very important.”

Wahba’s mission is one example of a generational shift that optimists hope can slowly reform Egypt’s bureaucratic state institutions, not least its ministry of state for antiquities (MSA). The MSA has ultimate jurisdiction over arguably the planet’s most impressive collection of monuments and museums, hundreds of sites including the tomb of Tutankhamun, the mosques of medieval Cairo, and – in the Giza pyramids – the last remaining wonder of the ancient world.

“It’s a bit like English Heritage, the British Museum and a university research department rolled into one,” said Chris Naunton, the head of the Egypt Exploration Society (EES), a British charity that supports Egyptian archaeology.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday Weekly # 51

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


LIVESCIENCE


King Tut's Health: New Mummy Scans Refute Old Diagnosis of Pharaohs

http://www.livescience.com/48369-egyptian-mummy-pharaohs-had-back-disorder.html?adbid=10152338274571761&adbpl=fb&adbpr=30478646760&cmpid=514627_20141021_34124057

SUN SENTINEL

Doctors think mummy died of appendicitis
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/palm-beach/fl-mummy-death-cause-20141016-story.html

THE INDEPENDENT

King Tutankhamun did not die in chariot crash, virtual autopsy reveals

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/king-tutankhamun-did-not-die-in-chariot-crash-virtual-autopsy-reveals-9806586.html

THE GUARDIAN

Tutankhamun does not deserve this 21st-century desecration

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/21/tutankhamun-desecration-computer-scan-images-pharoah-archaeological

MARIA ROSA VALDESOGO

Requirements of Professional Mourners in Ancient Egypt.
http://www.mariarosavaldesogo.com/requirements-professional-mourners-ancient-egypt/

LUXOR TIMES

"Egypt Sunken Secrets" exhibition will be touring 3 European capitals
http://luxortimesmagazine.blogspot.nl/2014/10/egypts-sunken-secrets-exhibition-will.html

AHRAM ONLINE

Greco-Roman museum in Alexandria to undergo restoration
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/9/44/113497/Heritage/Museums/GrecoRoman-museum-in-Alexandria-to-undergo-restora.aspx

A collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts recovered from London
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/9/40/113538/Heritage/Ancient-Egypt/A-collection-of-ancient-Egyptian-artefacts-recover.aspx

THE EGYPTIAN HISTORY PODCAST

Episode 37: Imperial Projects

Senuseret I (Part IV) and the Gold of Nubia.
http://egyptianhistorypodcast.com/episode-37-imperial-projects

ANCIENT EGYPTIAN ANIMAL BIO BANK

It’s a wrap!
http://ancientegyptbiobank.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/its-a-wrap/

BIOGRAPHILE

Hatshepsut’s Egypt: Modern Lessons on Feminism from an Ancient Pharaoh
http://www.biographile.com/hatshepsuts-egypt-modern-lessons-on-feminism-from-an-ancient-pharaoh/36817/

PAST HORIZONS

Conserving by copying: 3D Printing Tutankhamun’s Tomb
http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/10/2014/conserving-by-copying-3d-printing-tutankhamuns-tomb

ACROSSBORDERS

New post by Julia Budka:

With kith and kin…
http://acrossborders.oeaw.ac.at/with-kith-and-kin/

THE CAIRO POST

'Egypt’s Sunken Treasures’ exhibit to tour Europe starting in December
http://thecairopost.com/news/127091/travel-antiquities/egypts-sunken-treasures-exhibit-to-tour-europe-starting-in-december

Metropolitan Museum of Art rescues 36 Egyptian artifacts from auction
http://thecairopost.com/news/127183/travel-antiquities/metropolitan-museum-of-art-rescues-36-egyptian-artifacts-from-auction

Egypt recovers 15 stolen artifacts from U.K. auctions
http://thecairopost.com/news/127426/travel-antiquities/egypt-recovers-15-stolen-artifacts-from-u-k-auctions


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

King Tut's Health: New Mummy Scans Refute Old Diagnosis of Pharaohs

by Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor   |   October 21, 2014 

The royalty of ancient Egypt suffered from an age-related back disorder, according to a new body scan of the mummies of pharaohs.

The new research clears up a long-standing mummy misdiagnosis, which held that some rulers who lived between about 1492 B.C. and 1153 B.C. had a painful inflammatory disorder called ankylosing spondylitis. This disease would have fused their vertebrae together starting from an early age.

"We are now questioning the reality that ankylosing spondylitis is actually an ancient disease," said study researcher Sahar Saleem of the Kasr Al Ainy Faculty of Medicine in Cairo. Whether it is an ancient disease or not, the altered diagnosis suggests that famed pharaohs, including Ramesses the Great, did not live out their final years in great pain. Instead, their disorder was likely asymptomatic, Saleem told Live Science.

Pharaoh's backbone

The mummies of the 18th, 19th and 20th Dynasties of ancient Egypt are incredibly well-preserved. These were the gilded times of such rulers as the 18th-dynasty boy king Tutankhamun, whose ornate burial mask is a universal symbol of ancient Egypt, and the 19th-dynasty pharaoh Ramesses II, also called "the Great" because of his military success and soaring monuments.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Museum Pieces - Relief of Ptolemy II with Ptah and Sekhmet

Photocredit: Allard Pierson Museum, Amsterdam
Relief of Ptolemy II with Ptah and Sekhmet

Present location: ALLARD PIERSON MUSEUM [06/002] AMSTERDAM
Inventorynr: APM 8795
Dating: PTOLEMY II PHILADELPHUS
Archaeological Site: UNKNOWN
Category: RELIEF
Material: LIMESTONE
Height: 44 cm
Width: 65 cm


Panel A shows Ptolemy II Philadelphus standing before Ptah, adoring him and presenting with his right hand a statuette of Ma'at to the god. The king wears the nemes-head dress with uraeus and the ceremonial beard. He is adorned with the wesekh-collar, bracelets and armlets. His clothing is a short, smooth kilt with a belt. Panel B shows the god Ptah standing in a shrine, wearing his usual tight-fitting garment and skull cap. He too wears the ceremonial beard and a collier with a counterpoise on his back. With both hands he holds a staff, of which the top is formed by the hieroglyphs meaning "prosperity", "life" and "durability". The goddess Sekhmet, on panel C, wears a long dress with shoulder bands, a long wig, a collier, two armlets and two bracelets. On her head is the sun disk with a uraeus. In her left hand she holds a staff which ends in a papyrus flower, in her right hand an ankh-sign. The three figures are finely carved, in contrast to the hieroglyphic inscriptions.

Translation
(1) Offering Ma'at (truth) to his father, that he may give life.

(2) [Horus] of Edfu, the great god, lord of the sky.

(3) Userkare-[meramen] ("Mighty is the soul of Re, beloved of Amun"),
(4) [Ptolem]y, may he live eternally.
(5) May all protection, life and prosperity be behind him like Re.

(6) Ptah, lord of Ma'at, king of the Two Lands,
(7) fair of face, who is upon the great throne,
(8) the [great] god, who is in Dendera.

(9) I give you an eternity as king of the Two Lands.

(10) [Sekhmet, ...] of the Two Lands, mistress of all foreign lands,
(11) [..., the great], beloved of Ptah, mistress of the sky.

(12) I give you all joy like Re.

Bibliography
W.A. van Leer, MVEOL, 3, 1936, 12-13/pl. III (nr. 7-8)
B. Porter, R.L.B. Moss, Topographical bibliography, VI, 1939, 110
W.M. van Haarlem (ed.), CAA Allard Pierson Museum Amsterdam, Fasc. 1, 1986, 51-53
R.A. Lunsingh Scheurleer, W.M. van Haarlem, Gids voor de afdeling Egypte, Allard Pierson Museum Amsterdam, 1986, 28, 30/fig. 11 (nr. 9)
W.M. van Haarlem, De Egyptische staatsgodsdienst, MVAPM 44 (september 1988), 8-16: 12, 14/fig. 29
R.A. Lunsingh Scheurleer, Egypte, geschenk van de Nijl, 1992, 104, 103/fig. 70

Sources:
http://dpc.uba.uva.nl
http://www.globalegyptianmuseum.org/detail.aspx?id=12565

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Meidum Pyramid site under restoration in Upper Egypt

The Meidum Pyramid’s archaeological site in Beni Suef is being restored by the government in an attempt to attract tourists to Egypt

By Nevine El-Aref , Thursday 16 Oct 2014

Antiquities minister Mamdouh El-Damaty embarked on Thursday on an inspection tour around the different archaeological sites and monuments in the upper Egyptian city of Beni Suef escorted by the city’s governor Magdi El-Batiti and Youssef Khalifa, head of the ancient Egyptian section.

The area of Meidum Pyramid was the first site to be visited. During the tour, El-Damaty announced that a comprehensive restoration project is to begin immediately to make the site more tourist friendly.

The development project will include the establishment of a sound and light show on the ancient history of Beni Suef and the construction work of Meidum pyramid.

A new lighting system powered by solar energy is to be installed as well as a visitor’s centre equipped with a cinema, bookstore, gift shops and cafeteria.

El-Damaty also gave the go ahead for the ministry’s excavation works at Ehnasia site to conduct further exploration in addition to the restoration project that is already underway. The site is to be developed into an open-air museum.

The Meidum pyramid consists of large mud-break mastabas which were originally built for the last third dynasty king Huni. Construction continued during the reign of his successor King Senefru.

The architect who continued Meidum construction was the successor to well-known ancient Egyptian architect Imotep, who built the Djoser step pyramid. However, the modification made Imotep’s design and attempts to extend the structure led to its partial collapse.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wednesday Weekly # 50

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


THE CAIRO POST


By Rany Mostafa:


Antiquities crimes should be a felony: Zahi Hawass
http://thecairopost.com/news/126768/travel-antiquities/antiquities-crimes-should-be-a-felony-zahi-hawass

UNESCO seminar to fund Egypt’s stumbling archaeological projects
http://thecairopost.com/news/126643/travel-antiquities/unesco-seminar-to-fund-egypts-stumbling-archaeological-projects

Luxor celebrates 110th anniversary of Queen Nefertari Tomb discovery

http://thecairopost.com/news/126818/travel-antiquities/luxor-celebrates-110th-anniversary-of-queen-nefertari-tomb-discovery

Menkaure Pyramid to be opened for public: Antiquities Ministry
http://thecairopost.com/news/126987/travel-antiquities/menkaure-pyramid-to-be-opened-for-public-antiquities-ministry

THE ANCIENT WORLD ONLINE


Exhibition: When the Greeks Ruled Egypt: From Alexander the Great to Cleopatra
http://ancientworldonline.blogspot.nl/2014/10/exhibition-when-greeks-ruled-egypt-from.html

EGYPTIANS

New blogpost by Timothy Reid:

Pharaoh's People
http://tim-theegyptians.blogspot.nl/2014/10/pharaohs-people.html

IN THE ARTIFACT LAB

New post by Molly Gleeson:


Consolidating a painted wooden shabti
http://www.penn.museum/sites/artifactlab/2014/10/11/consolidating-a-painted-wooden-shabti/

MARIA ROSA VALDESOGO

Sexual Stimulation in Ancient Egypt: The Ushabti of Pay.
http://www.mariarosavaldesogo.com/sexual-stimulation-ancient-egypt-ushabti-pay/

AHRAM ONLINE

The cultural section of the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization is to open end of November
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/9/44/112997/Heritage/Museums/The-cultural-section-of-the-National-Museum-of-Egy.aspx

THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART

Metropolitan Museum Acquires Important Group of Egyptian Vessels and Ornaments Excavated in 1913-14 at Haraga
http://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-museum/press-room/news/2014/egyptian-haraga

GLEN DASH FOUNDATION BLOG

What We Can Learn from the Remarkable (Mis)Alignments at Dahshur
http://glendash.com/blog/2014/10/10/what-we-can-learn-from-the-remarkable-misalignments-at-dahshur/

ANCIENT EGYPT ALIVE!

New blogpost by Thomas H. Greiner:

“Unwrapping Egypt” in Kitchener: Magnificent Objects on Display in Local Museum
http://www.ancientegyptalive.com/2014/10/13/unwrapping-egypt-in-kitchener-magnificent-objects-on-display-in-local-museum/

SCRIBE ACADEMY

The basics #3: 1-consonant, 2-consonant and 3-consonant hieroglyphs
http://www.scribeacademy.co.uk/blog/the-basics-3-1-consonant-2-consonant-and-3-consonant-hieroglyphs

EES IMBABA SURVEY

A successful season and thanks to all
http://imbaba.tumblr.com/post/99807128276/a-successful-season-and-thanks-to-all

EUREKALERT!

UCLA Egyptologist gives new life to female pharaoh from 15th century BC
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-10/uoc--ueg100814.php


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

UCLA Egyptologist gives new life to female pharaoh from 15th century B.C.

No usurper, Hatshepsut was just really good at her job, according to new biography

By Meg Sullivan | October 08, 2014

By the time of her death in 1458 B.C., Egypt’s Pharaoh Hatshepsut had presided over her kingdom’s most peaceful and prosperous period in generations. Yet by 25 years later, much of the evidence of her success had been erased or reassigned to her male forebears.

Even after 20th century archaeologists began to unearth traces of the woman who defied tradition to crown herself as king, Hatshepsut still didn’t get her due, a UCLA Egyptologist argues in a forthcoming book. 

“She’s been described as a usurper, and the obliteration of her contributions has been attributed to a backlash against what has been seen as her power-grabbing ways,” said Kara Cooney, the author of “The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt.”

In the mainstream biography, due Oct. 14 from Crown Publishing, Cooney sets out to rehabilitate the reputation of the 18th dynasty ruler whom she considers to be “the most formidable and successful woman to ever rule in the Western ancient world.” To find a parallel, Cooney argues, one has to look to Empress Lü of third century B.C. China, Elizabeth I or Catherine the Great.

“Hatshepsut’s story needs to be carefully resurrected and her modus operandi needs to be dissected and analyzed in a more fair-minded way,” said Cooney, an associate professor of Near Eastern languages and culture in the UCLA College. “I see her as a person who created her position based on her ability to do the job rather than her desire for it.”