Monday, June 6, 2016

Ancient Egypt this week: The color blue

When boxing legend Muhammad Ali came to Egypt

Throughout his glittering 30-year career, boxing great Muhammad Ali had some special memories with Egypt and Egyptians; visiting the country twice in 1964 and 1986.

Ali, one of the iconic sporting heroes of the 20th century, died on Friday in Arizona at the age of 74, leaving millions of his fans grief-stricken all over the world.

Death on the Nile: Uncovering the Afterlife of Ancient Egypt (Review)

A Coffee Table Book on the Making of Egyptian Mummies.

The Brooklyn Museum's 2013 Soulful Creatures: Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt focuses on the Egyptian view of animals in the afterlife and was intended to supplement a traveling exhibition. A similarly luxurious coffee table volume named for a famous Agatha Christie mystery, Death on the Nile: Uncovering the Afterlife of Ancient Egypt covers the burial materials used for human remains, focusing especially on the construction methods for Egyptian mummies that span more than two millennia.

More about those meteors

Last week I posted the article about Tut's dagger and its meteoric origins.  The internet went wild about this story, and I was tempted to write a whole post on Space Tut. However, there is evidence of other meteor activity in ancient Egypt.

Tut's gem hints at space impact

In 1996 in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Italian mineralogist Vincenzo de Michele spotted an unusual yellow-green gem in the middle of one of Tutankhamun's necklaces.
The jewel was tested and found to be glass, but intriguingly it is older than the earliest Egyptian civilisation.

The meteoric origins of Egypt’s first ironwork

Deep in the Predynastic galleries of the Petrie Museum, there is something truly out of this world.
In the cabinet containing jewellery and beads from a tomb in Gerzeh, a site about 70km from Cairo, there are three iron beads. They may not look like much, they are small, blackened and corroded and placed among more colourful artefacts, but these are no ordinary beads…they are made from a meteorite. At over 5,000 years old, they are the oldest man made iron objects in history.

Ancient Egyptian pigment provides modern forensics with new coat of paint

Egyptian Blue is considered to be the earliest known artificial pigment with origins dating back to 3200 BCE. Even on artefacts dating back several thousands of years, Egyptian Blue still glowed brightly in the near infrared.

Smith asked if Lewis had considered using artistic pigments in his fingerprint research?

New effort seeks to uncover ancient secrets in Egypt's Great Pyramid

CAIRO — What mysteries might still be hidden under Egypt's pyramids? A team accompanied by Egypt's former antiquities minister and famed archaeologist Zahi Hawass are testing a new scanner on the Great Pyramid of Giza on Thursday, hoping that modern technology could help unlock ancient secrets buried deep beneath the stone.

Drilling under the Sphinx video

Dr Zahi Hawass and Dr Mark Lehner talk about the latest conservation tests being carried out at the Great Sphinx, Giza, to test whether this iconic Egyptian landmark is at risk of a rising water table. Assisted by the Cairo University, the team are making holes around the Sphinx to check the porosity of the limestone underneath, as well as a side-benefit of being able to test the theories of whether there are hidden chambers and tunnels underneath.

Beadwork & Hair at the Petrie Museum

Last week, I paid a (research) visit to the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology in London ( If you know the place, I don’t have to tell you about the enormous amount of artefacts this collection houses. It is a wonderful small museum of UCL, and the displays are fantastic as well. If ever in London, you should definitely pay it a visit. I went there to look at the hair samples and the beadwork in the collection.

My favorite tweet of the week