Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A New Discovery in Aswan: A Burial of a prominent 12th Dynasty Lady uncovered

Photocredit: Ministry of Antiquities

Within the framework of the excavation works performed by Jaén University – Spain, directed by Alejandro Jimémez-Serrano, in the necropolis of Qubbet el-Hawa (West Aswan) , a burial of a lady called " Sattjeni " from the 12th Dynasty (Middle Kingdom) buried inside two wooden coffins was uncovered…. Declared Dr. Mahmoud Afify, Head of the Ancient Egyptian Archaeology Sector at the Ministry of Antiquities.

Afify said that the discovery is of a historic importance because "Sattjeni" is one of the most important figures in the Middle Kingdom, being the mother of Heqa-Ib III" and " Amaeny-Senb"; two of the highest authorities of Elephantine under the reign of Amenemhat III, around 1800-1775 BCE .

The body was originally wrapped in linen and deposited in two wooden coffins made of cedar from Lebanon…added Nasr Salama, General Director of Aswan and Nubia Areas. Over the face of Sattjeni, some remains of her cartonnage mask were documented. The inner coffin was in extremely good condition, which will even permit to date the year in which the tree was cut.

Dr. Jimémez explained that Lady Sattjeni was a key figure of the local dynasty. She was the daughter of the nomarch Sarenput II and, after the death of all the male members of her family; she was the unique holder of the dynastic rights in the government of Elephantine.

The Spanish Mission (University of Jaén, Spain) in Qubbet el-Hawa, directed by Dr. Alejandro Jiménez-Serrano, is working on West Aswan since 2008 and, since that year, has discovered several intact burials of different periods. Among them, it is necessary to remind the discovery of Lady Sattjeni’s son Heqaib III.

Ministry of Antiquities, Press Office

Monday, May 16, 2016

Newly Discovered Fetus Is Youngest Egyptian Mummy on Record

By Laura Geggel, Senior Writer | May 13, 2016

A miniature coffin discovered more than a century ago holds the remains of the youngest Egyptian ever embalmed as a mummy on record, researchers in England said.

A computed tomography (CT) scan of the coffin revealed that the coffin didn't hold mummified internal organs, as researchers had suspected, but instead contains the tiny mummy of a human fetus, according to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England. The mummified fetus was likely at only 16 to 18 weeks of gestation when it died, likely from a miscarriage, museum officials said.

"This landmark discovery … is remarkable evidence of the importance that was placed on official burial rituals in ancient Egypt, even for those lives that were lost so early on in their existence," museum researchers said in a statement.

The British School of Archaeology originally uncovered the 17-inch-long (44 centimeters) coffin in Giza in 1907, and the Fitzwilliam Museum added the coffin to the museum collection that same year. The cedarwood coffin is a perfect miniature of a regular-size coffin from Egypt's Late Period, and likely dates to about 644 B.C. to 525 B.C., museum researchers said. It even has "painstakingly small" carvings on it, the researchers added.

For years, museum curators assumed that the coffin held internal organs, which were routinely removed during the Egyptian embalming process. But curators found otherwise when they examined the coffin during preparations for the museum's bicentennial exhibition, "Death on the Nile: Uncovering the Afterlife of Ancient Egypt," which opened in February.

What they discovered in the coffin surprised them.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

In Egypt, Debate Rages Over Scans of King Tut's Tomb

Tests for hidden chambers yield conflicting results. Investigation likely to continue.

By Peter Hessler

CAIRO, EGYPT - Never underestimate the mysterious, unpredictable, and slightly insane power of Egyptology.

This was the lesson of this past weekend’s Second Annual Tutankhamun Grand Egyptian Museum Conference in Cairo, where attendees may have been lulled by a lineup of sessions that included “Tutankhamun’s Embroidery,” “A Constructive Insight of Some Plant Species from Tutankhamun’s Tomb,” and “The Golden Pendant of Tutankhamun: A New Interpretation of the Epithet of Wertethekau.” If only the epithets had stopped with Wertethekau.

On the third and final day of the conference, more than a hundred people watched two former government ministers sit onstage and angrily accuse each other of trying to drill holes into World Heritage Sites without proper permission. Other exchanges were friendlier, if no less passionate. A couple of scholars bantered about the shape of Queen Nefertiti’s lips, and there was a running debate about whether adult male pharaohs wore earrings during the 14th century B.C., when Tut ruled.

But nothing compared to the news about the boy king’s tomb. After months of speculation about the possibility of hidden chambers in the tomb, officials revealed another surprise: that two different radar scans of King Tut’s burial chamber have resulted in contradictory conclusions.

“Until now, we don’t have a conclusive result,” Khaled El-Enany, the minister of antiquities, announced on the final day of the conference. He called for the formation of a committee to decide the next step, which will likely include further examination by radar and other high-tech methods. On his way out of the lecture hall, El-Enany continued:  “This is my message—that science will talk.”