Thursday, November 28, 2013

Egyptian archaeologists refute claims by German amateurs on Great Pyramid

Head of ancient Egyptian antiquities explains why he thinks claims by two German amateurs concerning the construction date of the Great Pyramid are wrong

by Nevine El-Aref , Wednesday 27 Nov 2013

In response to the alleged stealing of samples from the Great Pyramid by two German amateur archaeologists, Egypt's antiquities ministry issued a press release Wednesday discrediting all findings by the German pair.

The archaeologists took a piece of Khufu's cartouche from a small compartment above his burial chamber and smuggled it to Germany for study, the Ancient Egyptian section of the Ministry of State of Antiquities (MSA) reported.

The results announced by the two Germans cast doubt on the construction date of the Great Pyramid and consequently the Pharaoh for which it was built.

The results suggest that the pyramid was built in an era preceding Khufu's reign. It also suggests that the Pyramid is not the burial place for a king but a centre of power.

Mohamed Abdel Maqsoud, head of the ancient Egyptian department, asserted in a press release on Wednesday that a multitude of scientific research from the past two centuries shows that the Great Pyramid belongs to King Khufu, the second king of the fourth dynasty, and that it was built during his reign to be used as his royal burial place for eternity.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wednesday Weekly # 11

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


By Brenda Wang:

Penn Museum live: saving mummies


The Demon Blog by Dr. Kasia Szpakowska:

Ancient Egyptian Chariot pulled by griffins


New blog entries:

Looking inside our falcon mummy

Flippin' coffins


by María Rosa Valdesogo Martín

Open Reflections on Cutting and Offering Hair in Ancient Egypt

Shaking, Pulling, Cutting and Offering the Hair in Ancient Egypt Funerals


by Alvin Powell:

'Wonderful things', indeed


Article by Ati Metwaly:

Nefertiti's foster home

Article by Nevine El-Aref:

Restoring the Egyptian Museum


Article by Joel Gulhane:

Siwa: Sun, sand and springs


Game: Make a mummy


by Rossella Lorenzi:

Weird Facts About King Tut and His Mummy


Article by Tom Marshall:

Heritage: Hampstead resident Sir Flinders Petrie measured the pyramids of Giza and laid the foundations of Egyptology


By Abdallah Salah:

Pharaonic tomb discoverd in Aswan


by Nevine El-Aref:

Penalties imposed on two amateur German archaeologists


New blog of the Griffith Institute, University of Oxford:

Can you see anything?


by Christian de Vartavan:

Value for 'Money' in Ancient Egypt


Qurna Site updates:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Value for ‘Money’ in Ancient Egypt

by Christian de Vartavan

Years ago in Paris, as we were having at home an elegant Christmas dinner, I saw my father silent and with an enigmatic smile playing with the very large Ptolemaic stater he had just offered himself. These magnificent coins, which rarely survive in gold and silver but usually in bronze, are truly pleasant to handle because of their large size (42 mm), heavy weight (72gm) and soft patina. As I dared inquire of the reasons of his smile he softly responded, but with a larger grin:  ‘Do you realize that two thousand years ago a soldier could have paid an Alexandrian prostitute with this coin?’. [Silence – laugh!]. Well, considering the Empire wide reputation and skills of Alexandrian ladies of the time, I thought that the legionnaire might have had value for money and at a time when there was parity between the weight of the coin and its metal value?  But did he? I mean… did the value of the coin suffice to match the service provided? Or did it need more coins of the same?

Value for money. The point is that until the Greeks introduced coins in Ancient Egypt around the mid first millennium before Christ and formalized their first mint under Alexander’s reign (320 BC) or Ptolemy I around 290 BC, there was no money - i.e. metal coins even less paper notes – as we understand it today. The Ancient Egyptian economy was based on barter and hence ‘value for money’ meant something completely different. It is hard for us today to imagine an economy without exchangeable currencies, but the fact is the pharaonic civilisation fared extremely well for more than three millennia without them. And not only did it fare extremely well but it developed an extremely sophisticated economic model which time and time again not only proved itself efficient, but allowed pharaohs to build empires. How?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Heritage: Hampstead resident Sir Flinders Petrie measured the pyramids of Giza and laid the foundations of Egyptology

by Tom Marshall

Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie was a Victorian explorer who measured the Pyramids at Giza, laid the foundations for Egyptology – the study of ancient Egypt – and was the first biblical archaeologist in Palestine.

His insatiable curiosity led him to unearth how ancient civilization lived, worked and functioned. He discovered the world’s oldest portraits and evidence – through inscriptions – of written communication between Egyptian hieroglyphics and the Semitic alphabet. Another find was Kahun Gynaecological Papyrus, the oldest known medical text. He once stumbled across a stone slab with what is believed to be the earliest Egyptian reference to Israel.

His sense of precision was top drawer. Aged 19 he measured Stonehenge with 100 per cent accuracy and was said to know the exact distance between his eye and the tip of his finger.

In the field he was remembered as an eccentric and would dig in the nude, but dress suitably for formal luncheon in his tent. In order to maximise efficiency – on location – he often drew his findings with both hands at the same time, wielding a pencil in each. A forward thinker, he established archaeology as a science by painstakingly documenting his findings. He built a camera from scratch, a contraption that would become famous as the “biscuit-tin camera” and probably took the earliest extant group of pinhole photographs.

At home in Hampstead he would discuss and develop his beliefs in eugenics with his good friend and neighbour, the statistician Karl Pearson (1857–1936). His mission was to preserve and understand artefacts rather than simply pilfer, purloin and profit and once wrote that, “spoiling the past has an acute moral wrong in it”.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

‘Wonderful things,’ indeed

Wide fascination with ancient Egypt has long history, specialist says

By Alvin Powell, Harvard Staff Writer

Britain’s Lord Carnarvon asked famed archaeologist Howard Carter what he saw as he first peered into King Tut’s tomb.

“Wonderful things,” Carter supposedly replied.

Carter would eventually catalog thousands of objects from the tomb of Tutankhamun, the boy king, including some of archaeology’s most recognizable artifacts. The 1922 find sparked a craze for all things ancient Egypt, but that was just the latest wave of “Egyptomania” to wash over the world, according to Bob Brier, a Long Island University senior research fellow and Egyptologist with a particular expertise in mummies.

The phenomenon started in force more than 200 years ago, Brier says, with Napoleon Bonaparte’s 1798 invasion of Egypt, where he defeated a Mamluk army in a battle fought near Cairo, within sight of the pyramids. French rule of the country wouldn’t last long, collapsing after British Admiral Horatio Nelson destroyed the French fleet days later in the Battle of the Nile.

But Napoleon did not go away empty-handed. His gains included the records of more than 100 artists, engineers, and scientists who, as the fighting raged, collected, drew, and documented the natural and manmade wonders of Egypt. The publication of their work in France fed a curiosity that hasn’t faded. According to Brier, it flows largely from three spheres of interest: mummies, the mystery of hieroglyphics, and the allure of a lost civilization, epitomized by Carter’s discovery of Tut’s tomb.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

'Meat Mummies' Kept Egyptian Royalty Well-Fed After Death

By Stephanie Pappas, Senior Writer   |   November 18, 2013

Care for some ribs? The royal mummies of ancient Egypt apparently did, as a new study finds that "meat mummies" left in Egyptian tombs as sustenance for the afterlife were treated with elaborate balms to preserve them.

Mummified cuts of meat are common finds in ancient Egyptian burials, with the oldest dating back to at least 3300 B.C. The tradition extended into the latest periods of mummification in the fourth century A.D. The famous pharaoh King Tutankhamun went to his final resting place accompanied by 48 cases of beef and poultry.

But meat mummies have been mostly unstudied until now. University of Bristol biogeochemist Richard Evershed and his colleagues were curious about how these cuts were prepared. They also wondered if the mummification methods for meat differed from how Egyptians mummified people or pets.

The team analyzed four samples from meat mummies archived at the Cairo and British museums. The oldest was a rack of cattle ribs from the tomb of Tjuiu, an Egyptian noblewoman, and her courtier Yuya. The beef dates back to between 1386 B.C. and 1349 B.C.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Egypt: Italian technology to save Egyptian museum papyri

High tech instruments part of cooperation project

(ANSAmed) - CAIRO, NOVEMBER 18 - Italian technology will allow the restoration and preservation of thousands of very delicate papyri at the Egyptian museum in Cairo.

The initiative was presented on Monday morning during a ceremony at the museum attended by Gianpaolo Cantini, director general for the cooperation for development, Egyptian antiquities minister Mohamed Ibrahim, Italian ambassador Maurizio Massari and the museum's director Tarek el Awadi. It is part of the 'commodity aid' programme of Italian cooperation.

High tech instruments in particular provided by Italtrend Spa and produced by Bresciani Srl, which will play a role in saving the museum's secular papyri, were shown during the ceremony. They are a laser and a portable instrument. The laser, an Italian-made groundbreaking tool in the preservation of artwork, uses non-invasive technology to clean very delicate and sensitive surfaces and allows not to use chemical products. The spectrometer is used for chemical-physical measurements and to analyze material without the extraction of samples.

In order to save and preserve the precious papyri of the Egyptian museum, a low-pressure table with a humidifier to restore paper documents has been provided together with ten humidifiers and thermometers and five climatic chambers to preserve the findings to recreate the same condition as in the tombs where the papyri were found.

They were also especially planned for the museum overlooking the famous Tahrir square, one of the busiest in Cairo, and were made with special gas filters against pollution.

The initiative in favour of the Egyptian antiquities ministry is part of a programme of aid which aims to import to Egypt high tech Italian products and train specialized personnel in a number of sectors.

The programme which spans almost two decades was agreed in 1994, kicked off in 1996 and has funded until today the importation of Italian goods worth 37 million euros. The instalment for the Egyptian museum has a value of 300,000 euros.



Wednesday Weekly # 10

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


New blog entries:

New findings at Tuthmosis III Mortuary temple, Akhnaton was found too!

Five statues heads with crowns found in Armant temple


by María Rosa Valdesogo Martín

Open Reflections on Shaking Hair in Ancient Egypt

Open Reflections on Pulling Hair in Ancient Egypt


New blogposts by Timothy Reid:

Island of Isis: Philae, Temple of the Nile

New Discoveries at the Mortuary Temple of Thutmosis III


Let's focus on the eyes

X-ray excursion


by Rossella Lorenzi

King Tut Death by Chariot? Not So Fast


Ancient Egypt meets Google Glass in Italy


by Richard Spencer

Tutankhamun's sister goes missing


Egypt plans ambitious renovation for Cairo museum

Five heads of ancient royal statues discovered in Armant Temple, near Egypt's Luxor


New article by Owen Jarus:

Pyramid-Age Love Revealed in Vivid Color in Egyptian Tomb

and one by Stephanie Pappas:

'Meat Mummies' Kept Egyptian Royalty Well-Fed After Death


by Paul Darin:

Curious History: Ancient Egyptians May Have Traded With the New World


Blog entry by Thomas Greiner:

Lectures: Enter the Temple: A Learning Journey into Ancient Egypt's Great Sacred Spaces


Erotic Explorations: Victorians Abroad


Egypt: Italian technology to save Egyptian museum papyri


By Valerie Vande Panne:

Nefertiti as sensual goddess


Egyptomania: Author Bob Brier Recommends His Top Ten Books on Ancient Egypt


by Pavithra Mohan:

How Ancient Embalmers Pulled The Brains And Guts Out Of Mummies


New blogentry by Julia Thorne:

New Egyptology book releases: October 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How Ancient Embalmers Pulled The Brains And Guts Out Of Mummies

by Pavithra Mohan 15 November 2013

We’ve unearthed mummy upon mummy from Egypt, the oldest dating back to 3500BC, but one thing has remained a bit of a mystery: what does the mummification process actually entail from a surgical point of view? How did they remove the brains, guts, and other vital organs — what tools did they use and how did they train for it? One anthropologist thinks he’s found out.

Much like a 46-million-year-old mosquito fossilised mid-meal, Egyptian mummification has long provided us embalmed snapshots of an ancient way of life. Just last week, we found out why King Tut’s mummy had not been preserved in the most kingly fashion: his body seemingly experienced ignition inside its sarcophagus due to a flammable cocktail of oxygen, embalming oils, and combustible linens.

One myth of mummy-making has long appealed to our, or perhaps just my, gross sensibilities: mushy brain parts were usually removed from Egyptian mummies and flushed out through the nose, we’ve been told. And that’s not all: more often than not, they were disemboweled and rid of their internal organs as well, to stop decomposition.

In a paper published in the December 2013 issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science, Dr. Andrew Wade at the University of Western Ontario investigated the literal ins and outs of organ-removal techniques. Wade looked at films and forensic scans from a sample of 50 human Egyptian mummies, noting that there were two main methods of both excerebration (brain removal) and evisceration (body organ removal). Occurrences of brain and organ removal actually increased over time, as mummification was expanded to non-royals.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Nefertiti as sensual goddess

Lecturer details research suggesting more complex role for Egyptian queen

By Valerie Vande Panne, Harvard Correspondent

In history, the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti is depicted as a powerful, independent woman. Her bust, on display at the Neues Museum in Berlin, is one of the most reproduced works of ancient Egypt.

But Jacquelyn Williamson, visiting lecturer on women’s studies and Near Eastern studies and women’s studies in religion program research associate at Harvard Divinity School (HDS), suggests that Nefertiti wasn’t quite who people imagine she was, and eventually was revered as something of a sex goddess.

Nefertiti is “often represented as a powerful and independent figure,” said Williamson, and has a “reputation as being a uniquely strong queen.”

“I expected images of her smiting the heads of the enemies of Egypt, an act usually reserved for the king,” said Williamson, who has identified a temple that she believes was the queen’s. “She is shown in the tombs of the elite at Amarna at a natural height to the king.”

Amenhotep IV became king when Egypt was wealthy and its empire was strong, covering territory from as far north as Syria to as far south as Sudan. He worshipped the sun god Re, whose visible manifestation in the daytime sky was known as the Aten. He gave this god prominence. When Amenhotep took the throne, he became Akhenaten, or “one who is effective for the Aten.”

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Museum Pieces - Shabti of Akhenaten

Almost nothing remains of the burial equipment of Akhenaten. However, many Shabtis near his tomb were found. The Shabti shows Akhenaten, who can be identified by its characteristic features. Inscriptions were probably on the lower part of the Shabti, now missing. The King is wearing the nemes headscarf with Uraeus and the King beard. 

Shabtis were intended to perform work that the deceased was called upon to do in the afterlife. More than two hundred shabti fragments inscribed for Akhenaten are known, and their existence suggests that belief in the afterlife and certain aspects of traditional funerary practices survived during the Amarna period. However, Akhenaten's shabtis are inscribed only with the king's names and titles, not the standard shabti text.

Quartzite, fine-grained, white

H 12.78 cm, W 8.1 cm, D 5.7 cm 

Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Egyptian - Oriental Collection

Inv AE_INV_10166


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Pyramid-Age Love Revealed in Vivid Color in Egyptian Tomb

By Owen Jarus, LiveScience Contributor   |   November 15, 2013

She was a priestess named Meretites, and he was a singer named Kahai, who performed at the pharaoh's palace. They lived about 4,400 years ago in an age when pyramids were being built in Egypt, and their love is reflected in a highly unusual scene in their tomb — an image that has now been published in all its surviving color.

Inside a tomb dating back to the age of the Pyramids in Egypt held this image, an embrace between a priestess and her husband, a singer in the pharaoh's palace. The image has been recorded by researchers in full color.
Credit: Photo by Ms. Effy Alexakis, copyright Macquarie University Ancient Cultures Research Centre
The tomb at Saqqara — which held this couple, their children and possibly their grandchildren — has now been studied and described by researchers at Macquarie University's Australian Center for Egyptology. Among the scenes depicted is a relief painting showing the couple gazing into each other's eyes, with Meretites placing her right hand over Kahai's right shoulder.

Such a display of affection was extraordinary for Egypt during the Pyramid Age. Only a few examples of a face-to-face embrace survive from the Old Kingdom (2649 B.C. to 2150 B.C.), the time period when the couple lived and pyramid building thrived, said Miral Lashien, a researcher at Macquarie University. "I think that this indicates very special closeness," Lashien told LiveScience in an email.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Tutankhamun's sister goes missing

Alert issued after 'Daughter of the Pharaoh Akhenaten' - Tutankhamun's sister - is stolen alongside hundreds of other exhibits in Egypt

By Richard Spencer, Mallawi, Egypt

Egypt has issued an international alert for the return of an exquisite statuette of Tutankhamun's sister, stolen with hundreds of other exhibits when a museum was looted amid clashes between police and Islamists this summer.

The carved limestone figurine of "A Daughter of the Pharaoh Akhenaten", dating from the 14th Century BC, has not been found since the destruction in August of the Mallawi City Museum in central Egypt.

Photocredit: The Telegraph
Experts fear that under the cover of days of riots it was stolen to order. It was Mallawi's prize exhibit, and due to be transferred to a new museum currently being built nearby to honour the family of Akhenaten, one of Egypt's most celebrated and unusual pharaohs as well as Tutankhamun's father.

During the riots in the town which followed the violent dispersal of protests in Cairo on Aug 14 and the killing of hundreds of Islamist supporters of the president, Mohammed Morsi, looters walked off with everything that could be carried from the museum - around 1,000 pieces in all.

More than 600 have been returned or seized by police. But hundreds of fine pieces, including a collection of Greek gold coins, statues of ibises, the birds still common to the region which were held in reverence in pharaonic times, and the figure of the princess have still not been recovered.

Some archaeologists believe the raid may have been orchestrated with her statue in mind. Relics of the Akhenaten era, source of the most celebrated finds of ancient Egypt, fetch the highest prices on the international black market and families of antiquities smugglers are known to operate in the area.
"I think the looters knew what they were taking," said Monica Hanna, an Egyptian archaeologist prominent in the campaign to prevent the desecration of its historic sites.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

King Tut Death by Chariot? Not So Fast

by Rossella Lorenzi

King Tutankhamun’s death is a mystery which may never be solved, says a new study on the best-known pharaoh of ancient Egypt.

The study indirectly dismisses a recent theory which ascribed King Tut's demise to a horrific chariot accident. According to the claim, which was detailed on Sunday in a new British documentary, the high-speed chariot crash would have smashed the boy king's rib cage and many of his internal organs, including his heart.

"It is not the first time that this mode of death has been mentioned," Salima Ikram, professor of Egyptology at The American University in Cairo, told Discovery News.

"I wonder how could they say his internal organs were crushed. We won't know until the canopic jars housing his organs are examined," she said.

Frank Rühli, Head of the Centre for Evolutionary Medicine at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, agreed.

"Moreover, the mechanism of explanation for the accident is not fully provable," Rühli told Discovery News.

According to the researchers, the diagnosis of trauma caused by a chariot accident is one of the many hypothesis about King Tut's death for which not enough evidence can be found.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday Weekly # 9

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


New blog:

A female administrator in ancient Egypt


by María Rosa Valdesogo Martín

Secular Mourning vs. Ritual Mourning. An Egyptian Custom.

Data Collection on Mourning Hair in Ancient Egypt


Study Day 08/02/2014: Sons of Osiris - Men in Ancient Egypt

Study Day 23/11/13: South Asasif Conservation Project in Context


by Nevine El-Aref

Egyptian government deploys armed guards at remote temple sites

Egypt recovers 90 stolen antiquities from Israel


Check out new updates:


Tentative schedule for The SSEA/SÉÉA's Annual General Meeting weekend, Jan 9-12, 2014


by Julia Fridman

How a Canaanite goddess conquered ancient Egypt


Recruitment information:

Curator: Egyptian Written Culture

You will be responsible for undertaking research and documentation on the collection of inscribed material from ancient Egypt, and expected to develop research programmes and seek external funding to support these. A primary focus will be the significant collections of papyri and ostraca (hieratic, demotic), but the post holder will also have the opportunity to work across other inscribed material in the collection. The curator will also be expected to place Egyptian written culture within a broader context of writing across other cultures.

More info:


New blogpost by Timothy Reid:

A Burnt Tutankhamun


New additions to the blog:

Two New Kingdom statues discoverd at Montu temple in Armant

"The Revival of the Egyptian Museum"


Egypt - Past and Present

Monday, November 11, 2013

How a Canaanite goddess conquered ancient Egypt

Brought over by mysterious conquerors and fused with a local deity, the nameless goddess was a kinder, gentler - and yellow - goddess.

By Julia Fridman

Upon entering the tomb of King Thutmosis III, its excavator was greeted by a scene he hadn't expected. In addition to the typical stiff, repetitive funerary imagery of the time, the innermost sanctum of the burial chamber had a simple image of the Pharaoh suckling on a breast protruding from a tree.

The association of a tree of life with a major goddess had been all but unknown in Thutmosis’ 18th Dynasty Egypt (1479 BCE to 1425 BCE). But they were very well known in Canaan and the broader Levant.

Nude goddesses and tree symbolism began appearing as early as the Neolithic period, some 12,000 years ago in the north of Israel. Artifacts including scarab seals, jewelry, and clay figurines were found at important sites such as Lachish, Megiddo, Beit Shean, Gezer, and Nahariya, to name just a few.

By the time of the Middle Bronze Age, 4,000 years ago, they were commonplace in funerary, household and temple contexts – in the Levant. Not in Egypt.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Egyptian government deploys armed guards at remote temple sites

Guards to boost security at Wadi Al-Sebua temple near Aswan

by Nevine El-Aref , Friday 8 Nov 2013

The Ministry of State for Antiquities has started to provide security in remote archaeological areas which were left without guards after the 2011 revolution.

Ten ministry security guards at the Wadi Al-Sebua temple area on Lake Nasser, south of Aswan, were armed with guns on Friday, in order to tighten security measures at the remote site.
Photocredit: Ahram Online

Antiquities minister Mohamed Ibrahim said the step was important for preventing further looting attempts.

He denied reports that the Wadi Al-Sebua area had been recently subjected to looting, saying that only electricity cables and lamps used to illuminate the site at night had been stolen.

Wadi Al-Sebua, or the Valley of the Lions, is the name given to a Nubian temple built by King Ramses II at the end of his reign (1279 -1213BC).

It was one of the temples that was dismantled and removed from its site in the 1960s to make way for the reservoir that would accompany the Aswan High Dam. The temple took its name from an avenue of sphinxes that decorates its entrance.

The temple originally consisted of a set of three pylons, but only two survive. The first, which led to the avenue of sphinxes, is no longer there, but the second, which leads into a forecourt decorated by statues of Ramses II and the third, which leads to a second courtyard supported by columns decorated by images of Ramses as Osiris, are still extant.

The hypostyle hall and inner sanctuary that follow these courtyards were carved into the bedrock.

Close by Wadi Al-Sebua is Dakka Temple, which was built much later during the Ptolemaic era.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wednesday Weekly # 8

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


by Nevine El-Aref

Alexandria's Graeco-Roman Museum to reopen within 18 months

Giza plateau mastaba block fell, restoration to start Sunday,-restoration-to-st.aspx

Stolen Ancient Egyptian shrine recovered


by Nevine El-Aref

The necropolis opens


New blog entry:

First step for the heads


by María Rosa Valdesogo Martín

S3mt: Hair and Mourning, Evil and Udjat Eye

Mourning Women and Mourning Hair in Ancient Egypt Funeral


New addition to the blog:

Excavations in Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt


New blog entry:

From the Field to the Museum and Back Again


New blogposts by Timothy Reid:


Erosion on the Giza Plateau


New addition to the blog:

3-tons block has fallen but will be in place tomorrow


New article by Owen Jarus:

Mummy's Colorful Collar Found in Egyptian Tomb


Lecture: The Amarna Period


Continuing the History of Ancient Egypt brings us to the end of the Eighteenth Dynasty, to Amenhotep III, his heretic Aten-worshipping son Akhenaten, and the Amarna Period.  The Amarna Era was a time of dramatic changes in religion, culture and Egyptian art, and was followed by an equally wrenching reversion to the traditional Amon worship.

Date: 7:30 – 9:00 pm, 06-Dec-2013

More info:


New additions to her site:

Science Week at the British Museum


by Frank Urquhart

Egyptian mummy at Perth museum 'named'

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mummy's Colorful Collar Found in Egyptian Tomb

By Owen Jarus, LiveScience Contributor   |   November 05, 2013

A collar with "almost pristine" colors that would have been worn by a mummy has been discovered in small pieces in an Egyptian tomb in Thebes and put back together again.
Photocredit: Susan Redford

People in ancient Egypt wore collars called "wesekhs" made of beads when they were alive. This painted collar is made of a different type of material called cartonnage (a plastered material) and was meant to be worn by a mummy after death. A clay seal found near the collar suggests that it was worn by the mummy of a wealthy undertaker.

Dating back around 2,300 years ago and found in modern-day Luxor, the collar is painted in a vivid array of colors, designs and images that show elements of ancient Egyptian religion. The god Horus is signified by two falcons wearing red sun-disk crowns on the top corners, while at top center is a human-headed bird (called a "Ba" bird) that represents, in essence, the immortal soul of the deceased mummy.

Additionally, in the center of the design, there is a drawing of a golden shrine with two goddesses, possibly the sisters Isis and Nephthys, facing a deity in the center that may be the jackal-headed Anubis. The collar is about 8.7 inches (22 centimeters) high (not including the falcons) and about 16.5 inches (42 cm) in width. Near the bottom of the collar lotus blossoms are shown flourishing.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Stolen Ancient Egyptian shrine recovered

Limestone Ancient Egyptian shrine (or naos) found in residential home in Mit Rahina town

by Nevine El-Aref , Sunday 3 Nov 2013

Tourism and Antiquities Police have recovered a stolen limestone naos (shrine) hidden inside a residential home in Mit-Rahina town in Al-Badrasheen city, south of Cairo.

Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said the ministry's archaeological committee had confirmed the naos is authentic and dates from the Old Kingdom.

It includes four statues of persons fixed on four bases engraved with hieroglyphic verses from The Pyramid Texts. The first statue is 16 cm tall and depicts a standing figure wearing a black wig. The second is 19.2 cm tall and features a person wearing a coloured wig, while the third statue is 9.2 cm in height and may be of a child wearing a coloured wig. On his chest is engraved line of hieroglyphics. The fourth statue is 16.4 cm tall and depicts a person with a black wig.

Aly El-Asfar, deputy head of the Ancient Egyptian department at the ministry, said the statues could be of the same person different during stages of life. The naos is now under investigation to discover its original location and whether it was dug illegally.

The possessor of the naos is now being held in custody and is being investigated, he said.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Museum Pieces - Figure of Monkey Seated on Ovoid Base

Photocredit: Brooklyn Museum
Figure of Monkey Seated on Ovoid Base

Throughout Egyptian history, monkeys were enjoyed for their playful, whimsical behavior. This blue faience example holds a ball or piece of fruit; in antiquity, it wore a metal earring, indicating that it represented a household pet. Because they had to be imported over great distances at considerable expense, the possession of monkeys indicated the owner's wealth and social status.

Medium: Faience, glazed
Reportedly From: El Amarna, Egypt
Dates: ca. 1352-1336 B.C.E.
Dynasty: late XVIII Dynasty
Period: New Kingdom
Dimensions: 2 1/8 x 1 1/8 x 1 9/16 in. (5.4 x 2.8 x 4 cm)  (show scale)
Museum Location: This item is on view in Egypt Reborn: Art for Eternity, Amarna Period, Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Gallery, 3rd Floor
Accession Number: 48.181
Credit Line: Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund
Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
Caption: Figure of Monkey Seated on Ovoid Base, ca. 1352-1336 B.C.E. Faience, glazed, 2 1/8 x 1 1/8 x 1 9/16 in. (5.4 x 2.8 x 4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 48.181. Creative Commons-BY
Catalogue Description: Blue glazed figure of monkey seated on ovoid base. Body in the round, head at right angles to shoulders, ears pierced, hands extended grasping unidentified object supported by one foot and resting on base. Condition: Intact. Glaze slightly worn on front of body.