Monday, February 11, 2019

Ancient Egypt February 11

His cape billowing behind him, a cowled crimefighter flees from police by leaping and bounding over cars in a crowded metropolis rife with corruption an injustice. Sound familiar? The story takes a sharp turn once the cops eventually capture the hero and treat to him to brutal beating back at the station.

This isn't the kind of world we're used to seeing our superheroes normally operate in. These aren't the streets of NYC or a fictionalized Western metropolis; this is Cairo, Egypt, and the caped crusader skirting the law and being beaten in a police station is the reincarnated ancient Egyptian god Horus.

Effort to Save Egypt's Abu Simbel Temples in 1960s Recalled

Egyptologists and other experts gathered in Italy this week to celebrate a successful campaign to save ancient Egyptian temples from being submerged by a dam project 50 years ago and heard of cultural sites facing similar threats now.

The international campaign that saved the temples of Abu Simbel during construction of Aswan High Dam was remembered in Turin as an unprecedented engineering achievement and a turning point that made the preservation of cultural treasures a responsibility that cut across borders.

Egypt Races Time With Recent Archaeological Discoveries
Credit: Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities

Perhaps, the world’s oldest civilization, Egypt, has been around for more than 5,000 years; subsequently, our ancestors and those who came after have left us relics and monuments, commemorating their existence, leaving their mark.

Pharaonic Egypt, the ancient Egyptian civilization that spanned over 3,000 years, was followed by Persian Egypt, under the rule of the Achaemenid Empire, and then the Ptolemies followed by the Romans. In other words, Egypt has been a historic, as well as cultural, melting pot, and now, all around us from Aswan to Alexandria, Egyptian cities are awash with a tinge of historic landmarks.

In recent months, more and more groundbreaking discoveries are surfacing, with the Ministry of Antiquities, sponsoring excavations and encouraging archaeologists to uncover Egyptian history.

Maze of Tombs in Egypt Holds Many Mummies Dating Back 2,300 Years
Credit: Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities

Archaeologists have discovered a maze of tombs in Egypt holding tens of mummies, of all ages, possibly dating back to the Ptolemaic dynasty, which lasted from 305 to 30 B.C.

The mummies, which likely belonged to a family from the elite middle class, were discovered at the Egyptian archaeological site called Tuna el-Gebel, which lies to the west of the Nile River, the Egyptian antiquities ministry announced. The burials date back to a line of rulers descended from Ptolemy Soter, who was one of Alexander the Great's generals. (Cleopatra VII was the last of the Ptolemaic rulers; in 30 B.C., after her forces were defeated by Roman emperor Augustus, she killed herself.)

Newly Found Ancient Tombs in Egypt Revealed 40 Mummies of More Than 2000 Years Old Great Lakes Ledger

Mummified Proportionate Dwarfs from the Valley of the Kings

Proportionate dwarfism represents a form of harmonically short stature (lower than 150 cm), mostly caused by congenital deficiencies of the pituitary gland. The condition is well known in the modern world, but its antiquity is far from clarified. Three cases have so far been reported: a female skeleton from the 4th century CE in Roman Britain, and two more from the Americas. Regarding Ancient Egypt, there are some controversial or insufficiently substantiated diagnoses, including in the remains of Seneb (described by John Garstang [1876–1956] in 1907, and dating back to the end of the fifth dynasty, circa 2400 BCE), in a skeleton from the tomb complex of King Djer (first dynasty, circa 2980 BCE), and in nine abnormal skulls from the third dynasty (circa 2700 BCE).

Monday, February 4, 2019

Ancient Egypt February 4

Women Who Love Mummies

Women explorers played a major part in the UK's fascination with Egyptian mummies a century ago, and girls who - much later - visited their collections in provincial museums are among today's up-and-coming archaeologists. Samira Ahmed looks at female influence in the mummy world.

It was a "light bulb moment - like being teleported back into ancient Egypt" says Danielle Wootton, remembering her excitement at seeing Bolton Museum's Egyptian mummy for the first time.

Egypt's First Antiquities Discovery of 2019: Mummy-filled Burial Chambers in Minya

A maze of Ptolemaic burial chambers filled with more than 40 mummies, including men, women and children, was discovered at Tuna El-Gebel in Minya.

As the sun warmed the air at Tuna El-Gebel necropolis in Minya governorate on Saturday morning, hundreds of media and officials gathered to witness the announcement of the first discovery of 2019.

British Museum teams up with Louvre for revamp of Egyptian Museum in Cairo
Ancient statues inside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo Photo: Ovedc

But the disputed treasure, the Rosetta Stone, will remain in London.

The British Museum will participate in an ambitious €3.1m pan-European masterplan aimed at revamping and transforming the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square in Cairo, focusing on areas such as collection management, communications and audience engagement. But the 2,000-year-old Rosetta Stone, one of the British Museum’s most important exhibits, will not return to Egypt as part of the initiative, insist officials in Cairo and London.

Review: Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy Brings an Old Game Back from the Dead

Taking place in a fictional version of Ancient Egypt, the game follows the story of Sphinx and his rather unwilling pal the Mummy. Sphinx is the strong and almost-silent type, preferring to fight his way out of a problem. On the other hand, Mummy is an Egyptian prince hit by a curse-gone-wrong who’d rather be solving puzzles than doing any physical work. They’re like ancient chalk and long-aged cheese, but they still work together perfectly.

Cats In Ancient Egypt Didn't Look The Way You Think
Cat Killing a Serpent, Tomb of Sennedjem, Egyptian, Facsimile, 19th Dynasty, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (30.4.1)METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART

“In ancient times cats were worshiped as gods. They have not forgotten this.” –Terry Pratchett*

Our perceptions of the ancient world are shaped by the way surviving relics appear in the present day. The cool white marble beauty we attribute to Classical Greek and Roman statues arises from the long faded lifelike paint these statues once bore. The bright limestone of Maya pyramids today shines against the surrounding background of deep jungle green, yet these buildings were once painted from top to bottom in deep reds, blues and greens. As for the imposing and regal black cat of ancient Egypt, those cats didn’t look the way you think either.

A Dazzling Array of Ancient Greek And Roman Artifacts

The Archaeological Mission of Alexandria Antiquities has announced that they have discovered a dazzling array of ancient Greek and Roman artifacts in Alexandria, Egypt, with Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziri, stating that the recent treasure trove of artifacts was a “unique discovery because the site was being used for industrial and commercial purposes.”

See Inside the Newly Renovated King Tut's Tomb

Years of steadily accumulating dust and grime had taken a toll on King Tut’s tomb, but a recently completed restoration project has revitalized the historic chamber, while making much-needed infrastructure improvements to prevent ongoing decay.

It’s been nearly a century since British archaeologist Howard Carter first peered into the Tomb of Tutankhamun. Since then, the site has attracted millions of visitors, which, while great for the Egyptian economy, has not been so great for the chamber itself. Its majestic wall paintings became dim, drab, scuffed, and scratched from all the moisture and kicked-up dust from the ceaseless train of shuffling tourists.

Ancient Egyptian Wine Cellar Containing Coins and Ceramics 
Ptolemaic era coins discovered in an ancient wine cellar north of Cairo (Egypt Ministry of Antiquities)

There were no 2,500 year old bottles of the good stuff lying around, but archeologists exploring an ancient Greco-Roman wine cellar north of Egypt's capital Cairo did make a number of intriguing discoveries.

Ptolemaic era coins, fragments of ceramic and mosaic works, and a sophisticated architectural design for controlling temperatures using various types and shapes of stones were among the artefacts they discovered.

Sounds of Roman Egypt

The Petrie Museum has a range of sound-making artefacts from Roman Egypt. These include bells, reed panpipes, pottery rattles, cymbals, and wooden clappers. The exhibition demonstrates how researchers used laser-scanning technology to create 3D virtual models. These models were then 3D printed in plastic to create replica objects. Some of the models were also used to create craft replicas in materials like ceramic, wood, and bronze. All these replicas form an integral part of this exhibition together with 3D digital models based on the laser scans.

Listen: Cymbal With Elaborate Handle - Mid - Rhythm Paeonic

5 Must-See Graeco-Roman Temples in Egypt
Edfu Temple © Michalea Moore

Many visitors to Egypt make their way down to Luxor to take a look at the largest temple in Egypt: Karnak. In this travel blog, the Nile Scribes travel up the Nile to visit five temples in Upper Egypt built during Ptolemaic and Roman times that should not be missed.

Note: Go me! I've visited four out of the five. Now, I have yet another reason to return to Egypt.