Monday, June 5, 2017

Ancient Egypt June 5

Ancient Egyptians Collected Fossils

Ancient Egyptian worshippers of Set, god of darkness and chaos, collected fossils of extinct beasts by the thousands. From 1300 and 1200 BC, nearly three tons of heavy, black fossils, polished by river sands, were brought to Set shrines on the Nile. Many of the bones were wrapped in linen and placed in rock‑cut tombs.

The immense troves of fossils heaped at Qau el-Kebir and Matmar were discovered in 1922-24 by archaeologists Guy Brunton and Sir Flinders Petrie, stunning evidence that Egyptians revered large stone bones as sacred relics of Set. The god was often associated with the hippopotamus, and many of the fossils belonged to hippos, but remains of extinct crocodiles, boars, horses, giant antelope, and buffalo were also found.

Mummy DNA unravels ancient Egyptians’ ancestry
Petr Bonek/Alamy

Genetic analysis reveals a close relationship with Middle Easterners, not central Africans.

The tombs of ancient Egypt have yielded golden collars and ivory bracelets, but another treasure — human DNA — has proved elusive. Now, scientists have captured sweeping genomic information from Egyptian mummies. It reveals that mummies were closely related to ancient Middle Easterners, hinting that northern Africans might have different genetic roots from people south of the Sahara desert.

Lost Since World War II, Egyptian Artifact Returns to Germany
Credit: © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung/Nina Loschwitz

A vivid, turquoise-colored carving from ancient Egypt has been returned to a Berlin museum more than 70 years after it was thought to have been lost during World War II.

The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, which oversees Berlin's state-run museums, announced that the stone slab fragment had been found in the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

The pitfalls of recreating a pit burial

What colour should the sand be? This was just one of the many things we had to think about when installing the pit burial case for the new Ancient Egypt gallery.

The display shows an example of what a very early Egyptian burial looked like, with the remains buried directly into the ground and surrounded by their possessions.

Em Hotep BSS page

If you like talking about Egypt - and who doesn't? - why not take a look at the Em Hotep BSS page. The topics for this summer are listed below.

Image may contain: 1 person

The only requirement is a keen interest in Egypt, the ability to correctly reference any photos, objects, and theories you discuss in your post or comments, and courtesy in discussion.
Fun, friendly group with just those few simple rules.
All the Emhotep wonderful banner illustrations are from Ghi Stecyk.

Egyptian Blue: The First Synthetic Pigment
Painting from the Tomb of Nebamun (via British Museum/Wikimedia)

The first human-made blue pigment emerged in ancient Egypt, then disappeared for centuries until it was rediscovered in Pompeii.

The Virgin Mary is often depicted in Renaissance paintings draped in a robe of blue, chosen not just for its heavenly tones, but for the rarity of the lapis lazuli pigment that colored her clothing. Yet long before this hue of ground semi-precious stones, there was a synthetic blue pigment widely used in ancient Egypt. This blue’s creation, loss, and rediscovery cover centuries of human history, from the tombs of Egyptian kings, to the 19th-century archaeological digs at Pompeii, to the modern forensics lab.

Did you know? London was once home to an ancient Roman temple dedicated to the goddess Isis
Credit : Markus Milligan


Isis is a goddess from the polytheistic pantheon of Egypt. She was first worshiped in Ancient Egyptian religion, and later her worship spread throughout the Roman Empire and the greater Greco-Roman world.

Spanish mission discovers ancient granite threshold in Fayoum

The Spanish expedition of the Archaeological Museum of Madrid, working in Heracleopolis Magna in the town of Ehansia, Beni Sueif governorate, discovered a large threshold made of red granite while excavating in the Harshaf temple.

Photos: New exhibit on ancient Egypt opens this week at the Saint Louis Science Center

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, Egyptologist Bob Brier joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss a new exhibit opening at the Saint Louis Science Center.

The exhibit puts guests in the shoes of archeologist Howard Carter when he discovers King Tutankhamun tomb and features recreations of many other artifacts.

“The Discovery of King Tut” opens May 27 and runs through January 7. Listen to the interview to hear about this exhibit and about hundreds of years of Egyptian society. Click here to see more information from the Saint Louis Science Center.

Nature Middle East Podcast

Nature Middle East takes a look at the many secrets of ancient Egypt that archaeology has unlocked recently, from insights into pharaonic funerary and mummification rituals in Luxor to 'shamanic' rock art in Aswan.

Friday essay: desecration and romanticisation – the real curse of mummies
Looting and destruction of mummies at the site of Abu Sir Al Malaq in Egypt. HBO

This June Hollywood’s tomb of old ideas will creak open yet again and present the tale of an ancient Egyptian tomb disturbed by a bumbling archaeologist and/or action-adventure hero, who inadvertently and unwittingly unleashes a curse.

Heard it before? Kurtzman’s film is just the latest in a staggering line of mummy-mania and Egyptophilia predating even the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922. While popular culture has delighted in mummies for over two centuries, in that same time real Egyptian antiquities have been looted, lusted after, and desecrated. In the 19th century, it was even fashionable to host “unwrapping” parties, where mummies were revealed and dissected as a social event within Victorian parlours.

Ali Swayfi: ‘Petrie’s Best Lad’
Photo of Ali Swayfi from: Quirke, S. 2010. Hidden Hands: Egyptian Workforces in Petrie Excavation Archives, 1880-1924. Duckworth Egyptology. London: Duckworth.

Ali Mohamed Swayfi, also known as ‘Petrie’s best lad’ is encountered frequently in the Abydos Paper Archive. In this letter, dated 10 March 1916, he writes to the Director General of Antiquities at the time, Pierre Lacau. He complains to him about the corruption and dishonesty of both the Fayum Inspector and the chief guard (sheikh al-ghofara) and the threats he received from them after he successfully seized objects that had been stolen.

Picture of the week

From the Grand Egyptian Museum

A painting in the tomb of Inherkha TT359, Anubis and Osiris, gods of the Underworld, in front of tables piled high with offerings.The ceiling is decorated with a vine leaf pattern. New Kingdom, 20th Dynasty. Deir el-Medina, Theban Necropolis.