Monday, May 8, 2017

Ancient Egypt this week: A garden, Belzoni, and lots of sites

A New Look at the Little-Known Pyramids of Ancient Nubia

In 2011, photographer Christopher Michel chanced upon an online course about ancient Egypt and signed up. What was intended to be a diversion led, some six years later, to a voyage of 8,509 miles, to the orange deserts of Sudan.

Although it’s less famous than the grouping of pyramids at Giza in Egypt, the complex at Meroë in Sudan is remarkable. More than 200 pyramids, primarily dating from 300 B.C. to A.D. 350, mark the tombs of royalty of the Kingdom of Kush, which ruled Nubia for centuries.

Modern technology and research has restored an ancient Egyptian woman, Meritamun, creating a unique teaching tool for medicine and health science. Reconstructed from a mummified head dating back at least two millennia, the fine-featured ancient Egyptian face looks out from an artist’s studio in the forested hills of rural Victoria.

Unique funerary garden unearthed in Thebes

During excavation work in the area around the early 18th Dynasty rock-cut tombs of Djehuty and Hery (ca 1500­‐1450 BCE) in Draa Abul Nagaa necropolis, a Spanish archaeological mission unearthed a unique funerary garden.

Since this is the first time such a garden has been found, there are a ton of stories about it. Here are a few more stories:
Royal workshops of Pharaoh Ramesses II tell story of ancient copper trade

Pi-Ramesses was once ancient Egypt's richest, most vibrant city. In the 13th century BC, Pharaoh Ramesses II decided to move his capital there and early in his reign, an impressive number of structures were built – including temples, residences, docks, and military facilities.

Materials such as copper were essential to this construction effort. Scientist Frederik W Rademakers, from UCL Institute of Archaeology (London), told IBTimes UK: "Copper at that time was very widely used in a variety of ways – to build artefacts used in funerary rites and temples for instance. After the initial phase of architectural development in Pi-Ramesses, when the army of Ramses II was stationed in the city, some of the copper might have been used in the covers of military chariots and in weapons."

An Illustrated 19th-Century Japanese Travelogue of Egypt
From Charles Bowles, A Nile Voyage of Recovery

The image of Egypt as conceived by innovative Japanese publisher Takejirō Hasegawa was well outside the dominant paradigm and thus startling to Western eyes.

The earliest European photographers working in Egypt emphasized size and stillness in their images, strategically placing human beings in their shots to give a sense of scale. As tourism to Egypt became more common in the later 19th century, albums full of this type of commercial photography were commissioned as (expensive) souvenirs for wealthy Western travelers.

5 Things to Consider When Dealing With Egyptian Artefacts
Photograph courtesy of National Museums Liverpool

National Museums Liverpool's World Museum is about to open its doors to the new Ancient Egypt gallery.

In the face of the sheer number of coffins, mummies and Egyptian artefacts that are now on display, some will wonder at how they were conserved. Luckily, we've got Organics Conservator and Icon member, Tania Desloge, from the museum to share her conservator secrets. So, here are a few of the many factors that had to be considered during treatment:

Belzoni’s watercolours of Seti I’s tomb at the Bristol Museum
Photos © Julia Thorne

Born in Padua, Italy, in 1778, Giovanni Battista Belzoni led a colourful life. He studied hydraulic engineering in Rome when he was young, but then moved to the Netherlands and worked as a barber. He subsequently joined a circus in England, performing as a strongman, where he’d carry up to 12 people at a time across the circus floor (he stood in at 6′ 7″; impressive, even by today’s standards). An obvious career path, wouldn’t you agree!

In 1812, Belzoni and his wife Sara found themselves in Egypt, working on a hydraulic engineering project.

Antiquities lab on the Giza Plateau

A few metres from the southern side of the Great Pyramid on the Giza Plateau outside Cairo, Egypt’s first on-site laboratory is set to restore the 1,264 pieces of the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu’s second solar boat, which has remained in situ for 4,500 years after it was buried to ferry him to eternity.
Skeletons Of Two Possible Eunuchs Discovered In Ancient Egypt

Skeleton B21 from Ptolemaic era Quesna, Egypt. With its immature bones and tall stature, this individual might have been intersex.

Recent excavations at the Ptolemaic-Roman site of Quesna in Egypt have revealed two skeletons of individuals who might have been eunuchs. But these people’s above-average height and other skeletal irregularities might also reflect a congenital condition rather than castration.

Khoiak Festivities podcast

The Religious Year (4/12). In the fourth month of the year, the Egyptians celebrated the end of the Nile flood (Akhet). With grand ceremonies to Hathor, Osiris and the god Sokar, they brought the first season of the year to a close.


Prince Mentuherkhepshef is unique.

He is the only prince to be buried in his own decorated tomb (KV19) in the Valley of the Kings.
Mentuherkhepshef was a son of King Ramesses IX from Egypt’s 20th Dynasty.

Seven Egyptian sites celebrated in World heritage day

CAIRO – 19 April 2017: April 18 marked international world heritage day, an annual celebration hosted by UNESCO promoting cultural heritage and local archeological sites around the world. This year 7 Egyptian archeological and ancient sites are listed by UNESCO to world heritage day list of archeological sites.

Maged Mekhail sculpts his voice in bronze at Cairo's Karim Francis Gallery
Photo: Soha Elsirgany

“What put me on this track were two sculptures I made for the SODIC Second Sculpture Symposium in 2012, which was themed around chairs. I looked to ancient Egypt for my research,” the artist told Ahram Online.

A common ancient Egyptian theme, the seated figure is often used for kings, gods and scribes to evoke their power and majesty.