Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Mummification Museum Lectures this winter 2011

This years lectures seem to be a bit more haphazard than last year. I actually have no idea who is organising them but today I phoned the director of the museum and he believes there is one this Saturday and every Saturday. He has no idea what the subject is. You now know as much as me

Friday, 24 December 2010

Mummification Museum lecture - Exploring the sacred district Kelly Anne Diamond

We have had one lecture, still no news of the series but here are my notes.

Exploring the sacred district Kelly Anne Diamond
Kelly has been looking into an area shown on early New kingdom private tombs, located on the left wall of the passage in T-shaped tombs.
Now whilst I don’t have her slides I do have a link to a great picture on osirisnet of exactly what she was talking about so you can see.

It is an area that looks like a garden and believes she has found similar scenes elsewhere
• Djer plaque, there are shrines with trees and a canal
• In the Old Kingdom with Mww dancers in front, Ptahotep and Idut are examples
• 5th dynasty sun temple
• Early 13th dynasty example at Avarice
Identifying this is tricky because it is not known various authors give various descriptions, within Porter and Moss, Kelly has found different descriptions including scared garden. The transliteration is tA Dsr sometimes referred to sacred land or even cemetery or necropolis. It is possible enclosed although that is not certain and has the appearance of a plan or map. Often in conjunction with three female titles
1. dmDyt
2. mn/knwt
3. mnit wrt
The first title means she who collects and unites the limbs (putting the deceased back together like Osiris), she is shown in some examples mooring the boat of the deceased, the third wearing the great mooring post and the second mooring the boat of the deceased. (Hope I have got these right as my notes are bit muddled).
There are connections between these and the myths of Osiris, Kelly thinks these are very archaic conceptions and that the New Kingdom scribes might not have been exactly sure what they were themselves. There are also very few examples which make analysis difficult. The scene appears in the progression of tomb scenes, after the funeral and before the afterlife.
You can find it in Renni at El Kab and TT81, 21, 179, 125, 71, 224, 100,127 and 112. It is rarely found after the time of Tuthmosis III and Hatshepsut except in a couple of Ramesside tombs and Saite revivals. Renni at el Kab is one of the best examples, others being partially destroyed. The scene after this one tends to be the shrine of Osiris or Anubis. In the tomb of Rekhmire it is Osiris, rarely it can be the goddess of the west. The scene preceding it is the mww dancers.
There are various elements
• the hall of the mww
• Pool surrounded by trees
• Two obelisks
• Garden plots with or without offering stands
• Pairs of sycamore trees
• Rows of shrines sometimes with gods inside
• Women’s tent
• Three pools for Khepri, Hekat and Sokar
• Great gate or God of the gate
• Two kites
The use of knwt is a little anachronistic she suggested. The climax of use of this scene is during the reign of Hatshepsut and she wonders if there is a royal connection. The Amarna period changed the religion and tomb paintings in this area and after that the paintings only show the real events of the funeral. She believes this to be a concept, an intermediate space between living and dead. It is always on the left wall of a passage which is an intermediate area itself. Other scholars like Hartwig and Strudud(??) believe that the tomb regenerated the deceased once they crossed that line and the passage is a transition. The goal of the funeral is to access the West (afterlife) from the East (living).Sacred places are always shown low on the wall in the early 18th dynasty. The Ramesside example has it in the upper registers going round a corner. A t-shaped pool and tree goddess preceded it. Some scholars believe that the T-shaped pool shown in Ramesside tombs as the evolution of the sacred district scene.
This place could be mythical or legendary or even a real place. If we believe that the tomb is a map for the deceased then it has a connection with Anubis and Osiris as the final destination of the deceased, a buffer zone if you like.
Interestingly the Neferhotep stele mentions an area of ground outside Abydos where the tA Dsr is demarcated by a number of stele. Nobody is allowed to enter but priests and nobody can be buried there. So there is appears to be a real place but again a buffer or transitional area.
This is a work in progress subject but Kelly put forward a very convincing argument with lots of detail.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Another present this time from Griffiths Institute via EEF

Tracings made by Norman de Garis Davies in Theban tombs TT 76, TT 85, TT 95, TT 108, TT 161, TT 176, TT 179, TT 200, TT 222, TT 249 and TT 260 have been made available online on the website of the Griffith Institute. Go to

Jaromir Malek
Editor of the Topographical Bibliography and Keeper of the Archive

Another Christmas present from Osirisnet

Dear Friends,

Everyone who is interested in ancient Egypt knows of the tomb of Nakht, TT52, one of the better preserved of Luxor, and one of the rare ones which can still be visited.
But this visit often brings with it more frustrations than expected: the tomb, originally very small, is now minuscule with the introduction of protective glass panels. Between the dust which covers these panels and the low lighting, which itself reflects on them, a number of scenes is nearly invisible, in all cases the true value of the scenes cannot be appreciated.
This is why it seemed interesting to us to present to you this monument as at a better time.

We take advantage of this letter of information to wish you to all a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year for 2011.
Enjoy your visit


KV8 Merenptah photos from Richard Sellicks

Richard picked up on the blog that KV8 has just reopened and dug out some old photos of his to remind you what you can see.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Jane Akshar, Flats in Luxor and Luxor News all featured in Lonely Planet

Imagine my surprise on picking up guests at the airport to be told they had read about me in the Lonely Planet. Well I knew Flats in Luxor was featured but knew nothing about me personally appearing. Well I will be blowed, there I am as a local expert and even the blog gets a big mention. How strange nobody contacted me, still of course I don't mind

Friday, 17 December 2010

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Statuary fragments uncovered in Luxor | - Zahi Hawass

Statuary fragments uncovered in Luxor | - Zahi Hawass: "Statuary fragments uncovered in Luxor

Two red granite statuary fragments of King Amenhotep III were unearthed this week at Amenhotep III’s (1410 – 1372 BC) mortuary temple on the west bank of Luxor.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Luxor Lecture 18/12/10

For everyone visiting or living in Luxor there will be a lecture by Kelly Ann Diamond on that date. I don't have any more details but I am guessing Mummification Museum 7pm

Monday, 13 December 2010

Online Lectures from Swansea

UNIVERSITY OF WALES SWANSEA. Experiment and Experience: Ancient Egypt In The Present
Conference May 2010. The entire conference is online!!!!! And here is the link (thanks to Ken Griffin for the heads up) Enjoy

This conference included an exciting array of demonstrations and talks, from flint knapping to flower arranging, from textiles to ship building, not to mention woodworking, stoneworking, manufacturing ritual clay artefacts, shipbuilding, antler bow manufacture, glassworking, an oral performance, and of course mummification!

This conference was streamed with financial help from Swansea University Research Institute for Arts and Humanities. The results can be downloaded by clicking on the name of the speakers:


Ashley Cooke

The Experimental Work of F.C.J. Spurrell: Faience, Glass and Beads.

Sonia Focke

The Horn Bow - Egyptology's Problem Child

Finds of bows made from oryx horns are known from the subsidiary tombs at Abydos , yet many Egyptologists have doubted their functionality. This paper aims to explain the construction of the horn bows, present the various arguments against it being a functional weapon and present the insights gained in the reconstruction of such a bow.

Salima Ikram

From the Meadow to the Em-baa-lming Table: Experimental Archaeology and Mummification.

This lecture (and limited demonstration) will provide a brief, general introduction to the ideas behind Experimental Archaeology and its application to Egyptology. This will be illustrated by a group of experimental mummifications of animals carried out recently at the American University in Cairo, as well as a modest demonstration on choice cuts of meat from a local butcher.

Please note: Some of the images in this presentation are graphic.

Rosalind Janssen

Textile Demonstration

The aim of this innovative workshop is to demonstrate the role of experimental archaeology in conducting research. We will use exact replicas of four so-called wooden ‘pleating boards’ surviving in museums in Turin, Florence, and London, together with different qualities of linen dating from the time of the Second World War. Our practical attempts will enable us to contemplate just how the Egyptians created their famous pleated diaphanous garments. The results are guaranteed to be surprising!

Janet Johnston

Practical Dressmaking for Ancient Egyptians: Ancient Sewing Techniques and Replica Clothing Construction.

Geoffrey Killen

Ancient Egyptian Woodworking

A practical demonstration and short illustrated talk of those woodworking tools used by Ancient Egyptian carpenters. A discussion of the tools marks that can be identified on woodwork including attempts to turn wood using a simple replica lathe similar to that illustrated in the tomb of Petosiris.

Marquardt Lund

Flintknapping scenes from the Beni-Hasan tombs viewed and interpreted by a contemporary flintknapper.

Two flint knapping related scenes are known from the Middle Kingdom tombs at Beni Hasan. These had formerly been questioned as to whether they were closely related to the true ancient manufacturing process. Recent experiments indicate that it seems possible that several details were indeed accurately depicted.

Sally McAleely

Experimental Recreation of an Ancient Egyptian Funerary Garland Found on the Mummy of Ramesses II.

Experimental archaeology is a valid and well tried methodology for interpreting archaeological evidence. It enables us to explore practical aspects of past technologies, giving insights into prowess and the chaîne opératoire, and in my view also provides a platform to explore aspects of human cognition, namely the notions of savoir-faire and connaissance, through practical experience.

This paper discusses these theoretical concepts and their contribution to the interpretation of artefacts; describes the experimental reconstruction of an ancient Egyptian garland found on the mummy of Ramesses II; and shows how experimental archaeology was used to address a number of research questions.

John Merkel


Paul Nicholson

Could the Egyptians Make Glass? An Integrated Approach to Experimental Archaeology.

The question of whether or not the Egyptians could make their own glass, rather than simply working glass from imported raw material, has been a vexed one. This paper examines the debate over the evidence for glass working in Egypt and demonstrates how an experimental approach has been used to in combination with archaeological evidence in order to provide a possible answer to this question. Emphasis is put on the strengths and limitations of the experimental approach.

Ann Richards

Could Ancient Egyptian Textiles Have Pleated Themselves?

It is widely assumed that, in Ancient Egypt, all pleated linens were produced by imposing pleats on finished fabrics, either by hand or using pleating boards. However Rosalind Janssen has suggested that some fabrics may have been woven in such a way that they pleated ‘naturally’ when washed. I am a weaver who makes extensive use of such spontaneous pleating techniques in my own textiles. I will explain the mechanisms involved and describe experiments I have carried out, with various yarn thicknesses, twists and densities, to investigate the possibility that Ancient Egyptian textiles could have pleated themselves.

Ann Richards is a designer/maker specialising in textiles with ‘naturally emerging’ textures. She has exhibited widely and has work in a number of public collections. She was formerly a lecturer in woven textiles at the University of the Creative Arts, Farnham.

Donald Ryan

Reed Boat Building: Early Experiments

Denys Stocks

Some Experiments in Ancient Egyptian Stone Technology

This paper will be presented in two parts. The first part discusses the tools and techniques for ancient Egyptian stone vessel manufacture, covering key processes and tools that stretched from Predynastic times to the end of Egyptian civilization. Important epigraphic and archaeological evidence will be introduced and examined, with appropriate illustrations, together with the manner that this evidence, combined with mechanical engineering training, directed the experimental manufacture, evaluation and use of reconstructed tools for creating vessels of different shapes, which were made of both hard and soft stones. These reconstructed tools will be demonstrated to conference members for shaping, for drilling and for boring two replica stone vessels: ancient design ideas for tools, using plant’s structural features, will also be scrutinized.

The paper’s illustrated second part concentrates upon the development of a multiple, simultaneous stone bead drilling procedure that developed in the New Kingdom Period at Thebes , Upper Egypt , and which is illustrated in six private tombs. This remarkable development replaced single bead-drilling methods to make the threading hole, ushering in a new and exciting manufacturing technique that dramatically speeded up the most difficult part of manufacturing hard stone beads. The experiments needed to make and test the drilling tools will be described in detail. Drilling up to five beads simultaneously by one worker, in the same time period for drilling a threading hole in a single bead, considerably lowered the economic cost of producing many types of jewellery. Both the single and multiple drilling techniques will be demonstrated to conference members using a flint tool, a replica single bead drill and the reconstructed multiple bead drilling tools. Related ancient technological methods and materials will be discussed while demonstrations take place.

Kasia Szpakowska

Making and Breaking Ritual Figurines

Clay figures shaped like rearing cobras were prevalent in Ancient Egyptian settlements and military installations in the Late Bronze Age. All the evidence points to them having been used in religious rituals, the details of which are as yet unclear. As part of a project to help us understand these figures (how were they used? who used them? who made them? what for?) a short presentation will be made, followed by a hands-on workshop during which we will form cobra figurines from clay. Pre-made figures will also be broken to see if patterns emerge providing clues as to whether they were broken ritually or accidentally. Because this is a hand-on workshop, there is room for only 50 people, and separate enrolment will be required (children are welcome!)

Willeke Wendrich

Apprenticeship as a Research Method

The study of ancient technology, understanding the chaîne opératoire, the physical and social contexts, as well as the history of economics, distribution, use and discard, benefits greatly from hands on experience by the researcher. Traditional apprenticeships to master a technique typically take multiple years of increasingly advanced steps. A researcher who lacks this experience and tries to understand very particular archaeological and technological questions, may come to skewed or false conclusions. In order to avoid failure of experiments, and understand the difficulties of particular technologies a sound research strategy is to take on an abbreviated apprenticeship. Learning from the specialists, and benefiting directly from their experience by involving them closely in the experiments thus puts apprenticeship at the cross-roads of ethnoarchaeology and experimental archaeology.

Summing Up

Thursday, 9 December 2010

TT391 Karabasken photos by Richard Sellicks

Some more old photos of sites now closed for photography. This tomb is a South Assasif one, part of Dr Elena's concession and looks very different now, check the website for updates

Monday, 6 December 2010

Jon Baines Study Tours and the Institute of Historical Research | Institute of Historical Research

I got sent this link as it is my professor doing one of the tours. :) Jon Baines Study Tours and the Institute of Historical Research | Institute of Historical Research: "A History of Medicine Cruise along the Nile – From Aswan to Alexandria
13-26 October 2011

Accompanied by Professor Rosalie David, an authority on the History of Medicine in Ancient Egypt, this tour begins in Cairo then continues with a flight to Aswan for a Nile cruise to Luxor. The cruise includes lectures in the evening and guided visits during the day. The tour concludes in Alexandria, examining the influence of Greece and Rome. There is an optional extension to El Alamein and the Siwa Oasis.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Saturday, 4 December 2010

KV11 photos from Richard Sellicks

Big thanks to Richard, it is so brilliant to see these special photos of KV11

Facebook | Messages - Arcaheological Season 2010

If you want to know the latest at the Harwa mission site then Franceso just sent this out to members of his Facebook group. Facebook | Messages - Arcaheological Season 2010: "The archaeological season 2010 in the Funerary Complex of Harwa and Akhimenru just began. If you want to follow our activities the address of the site is:

I will try to keep informed the English speaking Harwa's fololowers through FB.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

If you have ever attended any of his lectures then you will know they have been there over a decade, recording, repair and reconstructing. It is a very interesting site

Thursday, 2 December 2010

New book from Francois Tonic in French

Hi Jane,

Since several weeks, my new book is available : "les temples d'Abydos" (Temples of Abydos), in french language only.

228 pages, full colors, +90 photos (big format), with descriptions, maps. A4 format. 0,9 kg
39 euros in France (49 euros with european mail)


francois tonic
historian, journalist
redactor in chief of pharaon magazine

Support the EES and win a prize

Dear Friend,

I write with two pieces of news that may be of interest to you in the run up to Christmas, which come straight from our friends at the Egypt Exploration Society (EES).

As part of the Fortnum and Mason Christmas Auction, the EES have put together a special prize of an exclusive Egyptological experience which will take place on Monday 10 January 2011 in London.

The prize..
Starting in the late afternoon with a private 'behind the scenes' tour of the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan at the British Museum with the Deputy Keeper, Dr Jeffrey Spencer, during which you will be able to see many of objects excavated by the EES in Egypt. In the evening you and your guest will attend the EES private view of the amazing 'Book of the Dead' exhibition at the British Museum, followed by dinner with Dr David Jeffreys of University College London, an eminent EES field director with many years of experience working in Egypt and many fascinating stories to tell.

To be in with a chance of bidding for this unique experience, please visit this link:

The auction is running now and will finish on 5th December 2010!

We would encourage everyone to support the EES this Christmas since it is a unique Egyptological organization with robust archaeological credentials that has been excavating in Egypt for almost 130 years. Like many academic societies, they have faced a challenging time recently, but remain determined to raise the profile and funding necessary to continue their critical work which is currently concentrated in the Egyptian Delta.

The pressures on ancient Delta sites in Egypt due to climate change and social impact are growing and are unlikely to recede. The EES has archaeological teams ready to work at two such sites, Tell Basta and Tell Mutubis, next Spring. These teams are eager to uncover the facts about life in ancient Egypt before these sites become inaccessible for archaeologists and we are asking supporters to get involved this Christmas to help make this a reality.

The Society’s ‘Amelia Edwards Projects’ at Tell Basta and Tell Mutiubis this year have been accepted into the Big Give programme and at 10am on 6th December (until approximately 9th December) there is a special opportunity to double all online donations and to make a real difference to EES fieldwork in Egypt. By getting involved with their ‘Christmas Challenge’ you could help teams to explore these ancient sites in Spring 201l. If you can help and enjoy the idea of your donation going twice as far, simply log on directly to