Thursday, February 27, 2014

Groundbreaking visualization and 3D Technologies reveal hidden Ancient Egyptian treasures

20 February, 2014 - 11:27

In a groundbreaking 3D digitization project, Interactive Institute Swedish ICT, Autodesk and CMIV have created a digital copy of the mummy Neswaiu from Medelhavsmuseet in Stockholm. The result is now presented in a new exhibition where the visitors can unwrap and explore the mummy using an interactive touch table. For the first time ever, visitors will be able to hold a 3D printed copy of a golden amulet that the embalmers placed under the layers of wrapping more than 2300 year ago to protect Neswaiu on his journey through the underworld.

Photocredit: Thomas Rydell, Interactive Institute Swedish ICT
"With this project we hope to inspire museums to work with 3D digitization, interactive visualization and 3D printing to make their collections accessible in a new way. In this project we worked with mummies, but the same methods could be used on large variety of objects, such as natural history objects and other historical artifacts." – Thomas Rydell, Interactive Institute Swedish ICT at Visualization Center C in Norrköping.

Today, 3D digitization, modeling and interactive visualization create endless possibilities for museums where the technology can be used for research and education, preservation of collections and to create new visitor experiences. On February 22 2014, the new permanent Egyptian exhibition opens for the public at Medelhavsmuseet in Stockholm. Visitors will both be able to explore a digital reproduction of the mummy Neswaiu and hold a 3D printed copy of the golden amulet with their own hands.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wednesday Weekly # 22

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


By Mohammed Elrazzaz:

Egypt's Widan Al-Faras: The world’s oldest road all but forgotten


by María Rosa Valdesogo:

An Egyptian Mourning Ritual from the Cache DB320 in Thebes

A double Coffin from Roman Egypt. Double Nut…double Funeral?


Ancient Egyptian papyri discovered at Luther College


MOOC: The Art and Archaeology of Ancient Nubia

This course examines the development of the art and architecture of the cultures of ancient Nubia through what we have learned from archaeology and how that evidence has helped us create the picture we now have of the culture and history of the birth and development of art and civilization in the Nile Valley.


New blogentries:

Ho. W. 1


A visit to another Palace City

Local Fauna

Conservation Never Ends, But This Season Does

Our Inspector Mohammed Ibrahim


By Andrea Byrnes. Published in Egyptological, In Brief  22nd February 2014

Ancient Egyptian Cosmetic Spoons of the New Kingdom


Study Day Saturday!


New posts by Julia Budka:

The enigmatic “fish dishes” again

The New Kingdom town wall at SAV1 West


Amara West 2014: house E13.16 and beneath

Amara West 2014: D12.6 – revealing a house room-by-room

Amara West 2014: burial chambers in G244

Amara West 2014: Rich stratigraphy — and curving walls — below house E13.5

Amara West 2014: geophysics survey


Restoration in progress


UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology

Dynasties 2 and 3

Wilkinson, Toby, Cambridge University


Wenuhotep: Mystery Mummy


By Hoda Ossman Khalifa (Inspector, Ministry of State for Antiquities):

It’s Coming Back To Me Now

Monday, February 24, 2014

Egypt's Widan Al-Faras: The world’s oldest road all but forgotten

Close to Fayoum lies the world’s oldest surviving paved road, threatened by oblivion and neglect

by Mohammed Elrazzaz, Saturday 22 Feb 2014

“The pyramids and temples of the Egyptian Old Kingdom (early mid-third millennium BC) are testament to an epoch of global significance in the evolution of monumental stone architecture. The basalt quarries of Widan Al-Faras and gypsum quarries of Umm es-Sawan (…) were key production sites in the foreground of this transformation to largescale stone quarrying.” — Elizabeth Bloxam and Tom Heldal

You can think of it as an ancient cultural landscape, or you can think of it as a fossil landscape. One thing is certain: it is the world’s oldest surviving paved road, and — if nothing is done to protect it — it will eventually vanish completely.

Widan Al-Faras quarry road was built some 4,500 years ago in the area situated north of present-day Lake Qarun.

As we approached Widan Al-Faras area ("ears of the mare"), easily recognisable by its twin peaks, we knew we had a tough task ahead: locating a road in the middle of nowhere and stretching into infinity. The road was built for moving blocks of basalt from the Widan Al-Faras mines to the shore of the ancient Lake Moeris, the bigger ancestor of Lake Qarun. The road ended in a quay not far from Qasr Al-Sagha Temple, an Old Kingdom temple still standing north of Lake Qarun. From there, the basalt was moved via Bahr Youssef to the Nile, and from there to the Giza Plateau, where it was used in building sarcophagi and floors of mortuary temples around the Giza Pyramids.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Museum Pieces - Green jasper heart scarab of King Sobekemsaf

Green jasper heart scarab of King Sobekemsaf
From the tomb of King Sobekemsaf, Thebes, Egypt
17th Dynasty, around 1590 BC

Length: 3.800 cm
Width: 2.500 cm
EA 7876

A human-headed scarab set in a gold mount

This is among the earliest heart scarabs known, and the first that is known to have belonged to an Egyptian king. It may have been among the items stolen by the tomb-robbers who confessed to stealing from the mummy of Sobekemsaf II at their trial in about 1109 BC (known from a papyrus in the Musée du Cinquantenaire, Brussels and the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York).

The heart scarab was an amulet placed on the chest of the mummy to ensure that the heart, believed to be the seat of intelligence and personality, was not removed. A verse of Spell 30B of the Book of the Dead is roughly incised around the base of the scarab. The appearance of Sobekemsaf's scarab follows the instructions of the spell exactly, being 'made from green stone, mounted in fine gold'.

Spell 30B was apparently very old, perhaps composed during the Old Kingdom (about 2613-2160 BC). A heart scarab of the Thirteenth Dynasty (about 1795-1650 BC) suggests that they were first produced in the Middle Kingdom, around 400 years after the spell was supposedly composed. It seems that a false pedigree was created for the spell, so that it appeared older than it was. This illusion of antiquity is also used to validify the 'Memphite theology' on the Shabako stone.

I.E.S. Edwards, 'Sebekemsaf's "heart-scarab"' in Melanges Gamal Eddin Mokhtar I (Cairo, 1985), pp. 239-245

C.A.R. Andrews, Egyptian mummies (London, The British Museum Press, 1984)

I. Shaw and P. Nicholson (eds.), British Museum dictionary of A (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)

J. Capart, A.H. Gardiner and B. van de Walle, 'New light on the Ramesside tomb-robberies', Journal of Egyptian Archaeol-8, 22 (1936), pp. 169-93


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wednesday Weekly # 21

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


New blogentries:

17th Dynasty Rishi coffin discovered in Dra Abu El Naga

Missing parts of the Colossi of Memnon discovered

Egypt will repatriate Late Period antiquities from French owner


UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology (UEE)

K. Donker van Heel, A Very Easy Crash Course in Abnormal Hieratic


New blogpost by Timothy Reid:

The Lady of the House


By Mariam Rizk:

Egypt: archeologists find 3,600-year-old mummy; 3 Germans tried for antiquities smuggling


By Nevine El-Aref:

Rare wooden anthropoid sarcophagus discovered in Luxor

A part of Memnon colossi uncovered in Luxor

An ancient Egyptian piece of a sarcophagus return to Egypt


The Sun Temple of Nefertiti: Sex and Death

The discovery of the "lost" sun temple of Nefertiti has revealed new aspects of the Aten cult overseen by the famous Egyptian queen. Jacquelyn Williamson discusses new research that links Nefertiti's temple to funerary activities at Tell el-Amarna and to sexual aspects of regeneration.


Intact 3600 year old Egyptian Sarcophagus Among New Discoveries


by María Rosa Valdesogo:

Were in ancient Egypt funerals the two Drty mourners more important that the common mourners?


By Anthony Sattin:

The Nile: Downriver Through Egypt's Past and Present by Toby Wilkinson – review


11th Annual Legacy of Egypt Lecture

Co-sponsored by the Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology and the Tennessee Chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt.

"Coffin Recycling: Funerary Culture in a Time of Economic Crisis"

Friday, February 28, 2014

Public Lecture: 7:00 p.m.
Public Reception: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Fountain View Suite (room 350)  
                University Center
                University of Memphis Main Campus


By Laura Galicier:

The wooden heads, paraffin and a lamp


New blogentries:

A Tasty Treat

Preserving Mud Brick Walls at Malqata

To Flatten or not to Flatten

A Valentine from Amenhotep III


No Matter How You Clean It Up, It’s Still Mud !

Up On The Roof


By Nevine El-Aref:

Tombs of legendary lovers


By Julia Thorne:

New Egyptology book releases: January 2014


Episode XXV: A Fire in the South

A Kingdom Divided Against Itself.

The House of Khety, ruling the North, now faces a challenger. Emerging at Thebes,

the House of Intef has emerged as a new confederation. Their emergence comes at
the expense of Ankhtyfy, a local prince who attempted to create his own 
autonomous principality. In the North, the Instructions of Merykare present
a political manifesto for the kings of the House of Khety.


By Edmund Connolly:

Divorce, Adultery and Revenge: an alternate Valentine’s Day


By Thomas H. Greiner:

Fighting with Robbers: a Blurb about Hatshepsut’s Cliff Tomb

My Precious Lapis: the Quest for the Celestial Stone


Egyptian and Jewish Magic in Antiquity

Contexts, Contacts, Continuities and Comparisons
A Collaborative International Conference in Ancient Magic
6th-9th July, 2015, University of Bonn


New posts by Julia Budka:

Drawing ceramics from Sai Island, New Kingdom Pharaonic town: One of the masterpieces

End of 2014 fieldwork in the Pharaonic town

Pottery from the 2014 season at SAV1 West


Amara West 2014: enigmatic ivory “sticks”

Amara West 2014: A Nubian perspective on excavating Amara West

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Intact 3600 year old Egyptian sarcophagus among new discoveries

Researchers and archaeologists working on the Djehuty Project, led by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), have discovered four noble burials from the 17th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt at the northern end of the necropolis of Dra Abu el-Naga, near Luxor (ancient Thebes), this includes the intact sarcophagus of a man named Neb, who lived around 1600 BCE.

The discovery, during the 12th season of archaeological excavations will shed light on a little-known historical period in which Thebes became the capital of a kingdom that heralded the dominance of Egypt over Palestine and Syria to the north, and Nubia to the south.

The project was led by CSIC researcher José Manuel Galán, Institute of Languages ​​and Cultures of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. His team included 16 Spanish and four other foreign specialists.

The discovery of Neb

Photocredit: Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC)
Neb’s body was found in a burial chamber carved over 1.5 metres deep into the bedrock. The wooden sarcophagus was in remarkable condition, with bright colours and decoration. The bricked-up entrance led the archaeologists to believe that it had never been looted since the coffin had been laid in the tomb.
Inside this small rock chamber lay the anthropomorphic carved wooden casket decorated in the characteristic style of the seventeenth dynasty, called “rishi” (which means “beautiful” in Arabic).

Monday, February 17, 2014

A part of Memnon colossi uncovered in Luxor

Quartzite blocks belong to the colossi of Memnon was discovered Sunday at King Amenhotep III's funerary temple on Luxor's west bank

by Nevine El-Aref , Sunday 16 Feb 2014

The European-Egyptian archaeological mission headed by famed Egyptologist Horig Sourouzian has unearthed a collection of quartzite blocks that had been missing since antiquity from Memnon colossi, at the entrance of King Amenhotep III's temple at Kom El-Hitan on Luxor's west bank.

Egypt's antiquities minister Mohamed Ibrahim told Ahram Online on Sunday that the blocks belong to the northern colossus and depict a part of the statue's arm, painted belt and skirt.

These blocks, Ibrahim went on, were missing since antiquity following an earthquake that led to the destruction of the temple, with the exception of these two colossi which once decorated the temple's entrance gate.

Aly El-Asfar, head of the ministry's ancient Egyptian antiquities section, said that in addition to the 88cm tall and 76cm large blocks, the mission had also uncovered others that were once part of the colossus' royal crown and foundation stone.

"It is a very important discovery," said El-Asfar, adding that the discovery of these blocks will lead archaeologists to reconstruct both colossi and return them to their original glory.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Rare wooden anthropoid sarcophagus discovered in Luxor

A 17th dynasty painted sarcophagus belonging to a top governmental official was unearthed at Draa Abul-Naga necropolis on Luxor's west bank

by Nevine El-Aref , Thursday 13 Feb 2014

(Photo: Egypt's Supreme Council Of Antiquities)
A Spanish-Egyptian archeological team working on Luxor's west bank has discovered a rare wooden human-shaped sarcophagus from the 17th dynasty.

The find came during routine excavation work at the tomb of Djehuty, treasure holder for Queen Hatshepsut, at Dra Abul-Naga necropolis.  

The sarcophagus is important for the detailed depictions of bird feather shapes and sizes painted on its lid, motifs that have earned it the title of Feathers Sarcophagi, according to Egypt's antiquities minister Mohamed Ibrahim.

The 2 metre long, 42 cm tall sarcophagus is in very good condition, Ibrahim said, and also engraved with titles of the deceased, which archeologists have not yet been able to identify.

Studies reveal that the sarcophagus belongs to a top governmental official from the 17th dynasty, whose mummy was enclosed inside, said Ibrahim.

The archeological team found two other burials at the site, which were both empty. It is believed that they were robbed in antiquity.

The Spanish mission began excavation work at Djehuty's tomb 13 years ago, when many artefacts from New Kingdom dynasties were found.

Last year the team unearthed a sarcophagus of a 17th dynasty child, along with a number of clay pots and ushabti figurines wrapped in linen.

Excavation at the site remains in full swing, said Gose Galan, head of the Spanish team.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Drug References Found on Walls of Ancient Egyptian School

By Owen Jarus, LiveScience Contributor   |   February 11, 2014

Archaeologists working in the western desert of Egypt have discovered a school dating back about 1,700 years that contains ancient Greek writings on its walls, including a text about ancient drug use that references Homer's "The Odyssey."

The school — which contains benches that students could sit on to read, or stand on and write on the walls — dates back to a time when the Roman Empire controlled Egypt, and Greek was widely spoken.

In use for less than 20 years, the school structure eventually became part of a large house that contained colorful art, including images of the Olympian gods, the researchers said.

The house and school are located in the ancient town of Trimithis (modern-day Amheida), which is in the Dakhla Oasis, about 200 miles (322 kilometers) west of the Nile River. The house, and some of the art, was first discovered in 1979. In 2001, a new exploration project at Amheida, now sponsored primarily by New York University, led to the discovery of the school, its Greek writings and more art scenes from the house.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wednesday Weekly # 20

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


By Nevine El-Aref:

Ancient mastaba tomb found in Egypt's Dakahliya

More ancient discoveries in Egypt's Dakahliya: Gallery


By A.R. Williams:

Newly Excavated 4,600-Year-Old Egyptian Pyramid Threatened by Development


New blog entries:

Ancient Egyptian Astronomy

The Oriental Institute's Publications on Medinet Habu


New blogposts:

The new discovery is not new

Psamtik I is found, 26th Dynasty discovery in Delta


by María Rosa Valdesogo:

Isis the mourner at the feet of Osiris. A matter of sex?

Isis the Mourner at the Feet of Osiris. An Ancient Egypt Birth?


Pharaoh power-sharing unearthed in Egypt


By Nicola Harrington:

What the new pharaoh tells us about ancient Egypt


Call for papers

From Egypt to Manchester: unravelling the John Rylands papyrus collection.
This conference aims to bring together scholars who are working or have recently worked on the John Rylands papyri.


Lost dynasty revealed


New blogentries:

Starting up again

First Day at the Site

Study Day


New Work at the North Village

The Newest Member of the Team


By Jane Akshar:

More about the Amenhotep III/Akhenaton co-regency discovery


New blogpost by Richard Redding:

Animal Bones and the Silo Building Complex


By Thomas H. Greiner:

The Intrigue of Ancient Byblos


Mummy recording and exhibition prep at the World Museum, Liverpool


‘Magical Spells on Protective Cobra Figurines’ seminar by Kasia Szpakowska

This discussion will focus on preliminary interpretations of religious texts inscribed on clay cobra figurines found near the temple of Osiris at Abydos. The brief inscriptions are written in cursive hieroglyphs down the body of the snake. Whether they constitute a sort of identifying label for the figurines, an abbreviated magical spell, or a recitation for apotropaic rituals is yet to be determined. This is still a work-in-progress so discussions and feedback will be most welcome in preparation for publication.

‘Learning is Not Just For Life, But For Death’ lecture by Felicitas Weber

The “Book of the Dead” was the most common guide through the Netherworld for the ancient Egyptians, from the New Kingdom through the Roman Period. This talk will not only introduce this complex corpus of spells and vignettes, but will also show some distinguished peculiar examples of individual religionless.


New post by Julia Budka:

The western part of Building A: New finds at SAV1 East


Amara West 2014: looking behind the colour

Amara West 2014: the desert survey comes to an end….

Amara West 2014: another season begins in the ancient town


By Owen Jarus:

In Photos: Ancient Egyptian School Discovered

Drug References Found on Walls of Ancient Egyptian School

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What the new pharaoh tells us about ancient Egypt

By Nicola Harrington

Last month’s discovery in South Abydos, in Egypt – of the remains of the pharaoh, Senekbay, which date to the Second Intermediate Period (c. 1750-1550 BC) – sheds new light on a complex and divided period of Egyptian history.

The collapse of the Old Kingdom, the age of the great pyramid-builders, saw the dissolution of central government and the formation of independent states. The unprepossessing tomb of a provincial king named Senebkay not only supports Danish Egyptologist Kim Ryholt’s previously dismissed theory of an Abydos Dynasty, but changes the political landscape of Egypt during the turbulent Second Intermediate Period.

Senebkay’s times and the Abydos Dynasty

Senebkay, who lived around 1650 BC, was ruler of Middle Egypt, situated between kingdoms ruled from Avaris (Tell el-Daba in the Delta) and Thebes (modern Luxor).

Prior to the discovery of the Abydos South cemetery, the only established dynasties were those of the north (the 13th and 15th dynasties, Hyksos) and south (16th). These vied for power until the Theban king Ahmose pushed south and succeeded in reunifying the country at the beginning of what is known as the New Kingdom (1550-1075 BC).

It’s worth noting here that term “dynasty” is a modern artificial academic concept – a means of grouping Egyptian rulers chronologically. It would not have been recognised in the ancient world.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Pharaoh power-sharing unearthed in Egypt

Conclusive evidence that revolutionary pharaoh Akhenaten shared power with his father.

A handout picture provided by the Egyptian Ministry of state for Antiquities on February 6, 2014 shows inscriptions discovered in a tomb in the ancient city of Luxor (Egyptian Ministry for Antiquities/AFP)
AFP –  Egypt’s antiquities ministry on Thursday revealed what it called conclusive evidence that revolutionary pharaoh Akhenaten shared power with his father.

Scholars had long debated whether Akhenaten, who tried to revolutionise ancient Egyptian religion, had shared power with his ailing father Amenhotep III.

The evidence came from the tomb of a pharaonic minister in the southern city of Luxor, inscribed with the cartouches of both pharaohs.

It was traditional for a minister’s tomb to be adorned with the cartouche of the ruler.
The inscriptions found in the minister’s tomb by an Egyptian-Spanish team dated back to a religious celebration marking Amenhotep III’s 30th year in power, roughly eight years before his death and Akhenaten’s ascension around 1,300 BC.

It is “definitive evidence of the co-regency between Amenhotep III and Amenhotep IV,” said antiquities minister Mohamed Ibrahim in a statement, referring to Akhenaten by his early title.

Akhenaten, who tried to impose monotheism with the worship of Aten, the sun disc, later fathered the famed boy king Tutankhamun.

Elsewhere, Egyptian archeologists discovered the mummified body of a woman buried with 180 funerary statues in Daqahleya province, 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Cairo, the antiquities ministry said on Wednesday.

The number of statues indicates the high social rank of the woman when she died. Her mummy was well preserved.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

More ancient discoveries in Egypt's Dakahliya

More funerary objects are unearthed inside a mastaba tomb uncovered last week in Dakahliya

by Nevine El-Aref , Sunday 9 Feb 2014

During excavation work carried out Sunday inside a mastaba tomb found in Tel El-Tabila in Dakahliya, a collection of three skeletons, a large collection of ushabti figurines and two tombs were uncovered.

Mohamed Ibrahim, minister of state for antiquities, said in a press release that the three skeletons can be dated to the Late Ancient Egyptian period. A collection of 14 amulets were found buried beside one of them. The most important amulet is one depicting the Triod gods of Amun, Horus and Neftis.

Beside the second skeleton, Ibrahim said, a collection of 29 amulets was found, among them a heart shaped scarab and garnet amulets.

Beside the third skeleton excavators uncovered 12 amulets featuring the Udjat eye of Horus.

Ali El-Asfar, head of the Ancient Egyptian Section at the Ministry of State for Antiquities told Ahram Online that the Egyptian excavation mission uncovered two anthropoid limestone coffins with a mummy inside.

Inside the first coffin the mummy is covered with gilded carttonage and decorated with hieroglyphic text and the cartouche of King Psamtik I from the 26th Dynasty.

The mummy is in a bad state of preservation due to high levels of humidity.