Saturday, 31 January 2009

Studies in Egyptology

1672788774041 (application/pdf Object)

A flyer on the online Egyptology Course I am on

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Manchester University release a podcast

As you know I am doign the Egyptology course with Manchester University. Just been told be my tutor Joyce Tyldesley that they have released a podcast

Hi Everyone, We have made a new podcast featuring some of the work of the KNH Centre, and starring Jackie Campbell and Natalie McCreesh talking about their work on pharmacy and hair. The podcast is now live on iTunes and can be accessed via the following link:

If this doesn't work for you it may mean that you need to install the latest version of iTunes

Enjoy! Then pass the link on to others. If enough people watch the podcast we can get it into the iTunes charts, and the Faculty will finance more podcasts.


More changes on the East Bank

This is just by Sphinx Avenue, there used to be a garden there and shops

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

:: Luxor Caravanserai ::

Remember me blogging about a new shop by Medinet Habu, well they have a website now. They are also support local women with their handicrafts as well as the charity the Small Pyramid.

:: Luxor Caravaserai ::

AUK hosts talk on preserving ME heritage » Kuwait Times Website

AUK hosts talk on preserving ME heritage » Kuwait Times Website

I really interesting article about the progress made in Egypt developing field schools. I have seen these in operation myself at the temple of Khonsu. Zahi Hawass is responsible for the professional development of the SCA and many inspectors I have spoken to are very happy about the opportunities they have now, even for foreign travel. And for sure Egypt is a model of international co-operation

Monday, 26 January 2009

Facebook | Mummy Meresamun

Facebook | Mummy Meresamun

Well if you are on Facebook you might want to add a new friend. Mummy Meresamun. What a clever marketing idea. Lots of Luxor and Egyptology friends are friends with her

Hassan Fathy Update

International expertise mission of the international association SAVE THE HERITAGE OF HASSAN FATHY, New Gourna Village


The international mission constituted by a representative of CRAterre - ENSAG and Chair of UNESCO for Earthern architecture, Egyptian architects, academics and experts in adobe architecture as well as the founder members of the association, has noted that since the creation of the SAVE THE HERITAGE OF HASSAN FATHY in February 2008 and despite the support of the international community, Egyptian and international institutions as well as the honorific patronage of H. E. Madame Suzanne Mubarak, New Gourna is continuing to deteriorate daily.

The most alarming fact that should be stopped immediately is that behind the theater of New Gourna village, on the beautiful esplanade planned by Hassn Fathy for events and festivities, two new concrete buildings are being constructed. These buildings will be used for the administration of the Council of the Town (Maglis al-madina). They are being constructed at a distance of a few meters from the theater and the Mayor's house which are still in a very good condition. The trucks are seriously threatening Hassan Fathy's works.

Moreover, a survey of the village has shown that approximatively 60% of the houses of the original village built by Hassan Fathy have been destroyed during the past years and that a process of destruction and reconstruction is ongoing.
Most of the public and private buildings need urgent care. Therefore conservatory measures shouls be taken and a moratorium should be applied immediately on the entire village built by Hassan Fathy to avoid further deteriorations.


Leila el-Wakil, President Rachida Teymour, Vice-President Nadia

Sunday, 25 January 2009

A way to help Mohammed Ismail

Michael of "Michael on the roof" fame has come up a practical way to help Mohammed, selling his artifacts on Ebay So if you want a genuine fake :) place your bid.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Mummfication Museum lecture - Look into their eyes

Look into their eyes – Earl Ertman

I do like Earl’s lectures; he gave one on “Smiting, keeping it in the family” which was thought provoking and well researched, this was the same. BTW I had a chat with members of the KV63 team and they are really enjoying this season. Lots of ‘interesting’ things found in the jars so keep an eye on their website for news. This website has an article from him discussing the same topic

During the lecture he referred to the coffins by their designations A-G (if you look at their website near the bottom of the home page you can a drawing of tomb which identifies the coffins). Photos were credited to Heather Alexander

When KV63 was found that was a lot of speculation about the contents and the date. Various things give us a clue.

The shaft of the tomb had a slight overhang which Otto Schaden believes to be the signature of the craftsman that created the shaft and this is present on tombs KV55 and KV46.

The tomb was found under 19th dynasty huts indicating it was before that time.

There were seals similar to those found at KV62 Tutankhamen and KV54 of the jackal and nine bound prisoners.

This lead to speculation that the tomb was from the period of Amenhotep III which seems plausible at the time. There was also speculation that the coffins were female because they were painted yellow. Artistic style in Egyptian wall art shows men as red and women as yellow. So a yellow coffin means female.

But this speculation was incorrect as there was no connection with Amenhotep III and there are many examples of yellow coffins with male owners. In the British Museum there is the shabti and coffin of Djuhuty (?) which is yellow. TT181 shows yellow coffins when the owner male. So we must be cautious saying all yellow coffins are female.

Of the 7 coffins 4 have yellow faces, coffins A, B, F G and the others are unpainted.

Coffin A has blue glass inlay around the eyes but not the eyebrows

Coffin B has painted eyes and Earl commented that if that was a portrayal of a female it was the ugliest he had ever seen with a very wide jaw.

These 2 coffins and coffin F & G have a feature called an epicanthic fold where the inner canthus--the corner of the eye near the nose--descends abruptly and abuts the upper lid, giving them an East Asian appearance.

Earl them demonstrated many other examples some more distinct than others. The assumption is that this a physical characteristic. The bust of Nefertiti, a dancer from the tomb of Kheruef at the sed festival of Amenhotep III when we know the kings daughters danced. Could this dancer be the daughter of a wife of foreign wife? In TT55 a servant has this slightly; this tomb shows both the left and right foot which is something that does not appear until the Amarna period. Prior to Akhenaton there are about a dozen examples. There is a statue of the king with Sobek where the right eye shows this more than the left. The ES expedition of 1931-32 found a trial piece with this characteristic. In the Berlin Museum there is another trial piece showing this slightly. In a stele in the same museum only Nefertiti is shown with this characteristic. This stele is identified as late Akhenaton by Aldred. Nefertiti and the girls are shown with it all times but Akhenaton only occasionally. Trial pieces from the workshop of Tutmosis. Plaster head of Akhenaton. Remains of a painting from the palace. It seems that Tutmosis the sculptor is the first to depict this and then he promotes it. Earl believes it is a physical characteristic of Nefertiti but could be just an artistic one on the others.

He then should some extremely interesting slides of real life examples.

Further pharaonic examples Nefertiti kissing her daughter, the Wilbur plaque Akhenaton is shown without it but Nefertiti with. In the royal tomb at Amarna Ay has a very slight one but Ti’s is more pronounced. Could it be like Akhenaton’s distended stomach which is copied by courtiers this eye characteristic is put on other people as a compliment to the royal? A royal artistic marker.

It carries on past the Amarna period during the reign of Tutankhamen Nakht Min(?) and his wife. The Beirut head attributed to Horemheb. In the tomb of Tutankhamen ushabities like the one donate by Nakht Min, the manikin and the wooden piece showing the king emerging from the lotus. As these are the few painted wood examples the KV63 coffins are compared to these.

Wall reliefs still continue to show this, both Tutankhamen and Ay are shown with this in Tutankhamen’s tomb. In Ay’s tomb both Nephthys and his Ka are shown with this. Even down to the Ramaside period Seti I, Ramses II, Nefertari, and Ramesses VI. Private tombs such as Ptah May and Tenmein (?)

There are no royal insignia on the KV63 coffins but restoration might reveal more information.

In the question and answer session Otto said they have found wine seals from KV63 with inscriptions very similar to Tutankhamen’s

KV63 Year 5 wine from Tjaru
KV62 Year 5 Tutankhamen wine from Tjaru

There are seal impressions showing the wine coming from both Aton and Amun Re which means that there were estates bearing these names in Tutankhamen

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Strike at Gurna

Many years ago pharaoh did not pay his workers and they went on strike, it was the first recorded strike. when that did not work they had a sit in.

There is a sit in going on at the moment, my friend Mohammed Ismail, evicted from the home his grandfather had built in Gurna was promised a house and a shop to replace his livelihood. After much wrangling he got the home, not the same size as the one he left but a roof. But still no stall or shop.

So he has gone back to the hole in the hill and is camping out, his one man protest. my heart goes out to him but I suspect nothing will happen.

So how does this lovely man, a true gentleman earn living

6 weeks of no convoys

It's great, it's working and there is so much more to see and such a relaxing journey. On the 1st December the Egyptian government banned the convoys which operated between Hurghada and Luxor, Luxor and Aswan and Luxor and Abydos. I never understood how it made tourists safe to gather them all together at exactly the same place and time every single day but that is another story.

It has been fantastic, you leave when you like and stay as long as you like and so many sites that were a pain to get to are now easy and accessible. Abydos that had to be seen in 90 minutes now you can get there early and stay as long as you like.

On the road to Aswan sites like Moalla, Tod and El Kab are now easy to pop in.

It is all working

Mummfication Museum lecture - North Kharga Survey - Dr Salima Ikram

Many thanks to Salima for correcting my obvious mistakes, much appreciated.

You should have been there. Every week we have trouble with the display of slides, sometimes it is the projector, sometimes the computer sometimes they won’t talk to each other. It is a nightmare. This week was no different, in fact it was worse. Salima had got there early to make sure the set up worked. It didn’t, various experts in the audience offered help but nothing. Another computer was sent for, that didn’t work either. Eventually a guy called Alex (Hamduallah) got it working about an hour later. So the lecture that was supposed to start at 7 was about 30 minutes late. But nobody minded Salima is so funny and had the audience totally behind her and the troubles. And I haven’t seen a turn out like that since Otto Schaden gave the talk about KV63. Every mission was there, all the members and of course the lay audience. When the talk eventually started the knowledge poured out of her like a flood. I did my best but it was hard keeping up. So please forgive the inevitable mistakes and as always I welcome corrections.

There is a really good website

North Kharga Survey - Dr Salima Ikram 19/1/9

Kharga is about 3 ½ hours away from Luxor and is the largest and most important oasis in the Western Desert. Its importance lies in the various trade routes that go through it from time immemorial. It has not been studied very much for any discernable reason. The project was a survey of the north run by the AUC, Cambridge University and Milan.

It started when Corinna was on holiday and then Salima and Corinna went to see these mud brick fortresses and perceived a need to map and plan before the agriculture took over. The area is over 100 sq km and their remit was not to excavate but just to survey. Kharga is actually mentioned in Luxor temple as a source of a mineral thought to be alum or ochre. Alum is used in tanning, incense and mummification. Kharga was also a big agricultural area from the 26th dynasty onwards. They exported wine, wheat, emmer, barley and fruit trees. It was also a place of banishment and mentioned on the Banishment Stela in the Louvre, you could not escape from Kharga (in fact there is a prison there now). Kharga has history from the pre dynastic to Islamic times. In antiquity it was greener than it is now.

The project is run by Salima Ikram and Corinna Rossi and has had lots of logistics problems due to its location and remoteness. The three areas covered are
• Survey
• Ceramics
• Architecture
• Archaeobotanical remains
• Zooarchaeological remains
• Understanding Settlement Pattern and the exploitation of space
• in the Darb Ain Amur, a study of the ancient environment and how it related to the rock art found there

Because of the prison in the area they could only use kites for their aerial photography and this was very needed as only from the air can some of these structures be clearly seen.

Ain Gib & Qasr el Sumayra
Roman fortresses located on an Ancient Egyptian route that linked Luxor with Dakhla. Also had links with Libya, Chad and Sudan. There is another team Rudolph Kuper at Dakhla is also tracing routes that go further West and South. Altogether they increase our knowledge of ancient trade routes going back to 4th dynasty

Muhammed Tuleib, Ain el Lebekha, Umm el Dabadib are huge garrison forts. Umm el Dabadib connects Ain el Lebekha

Ain Gib is the first fort on a small hill. The word fort can give you a false impression of thick walls, battlements and lots of soldiers. These are not like that. Only one brick thick it is only their architecture that is impressive, the actuality is rather flimsier.

Ain Gib & Qasr el Sumayra were like look out posts and tax collection points. There is water emplacement with 8 large wells and access to a complex water system. The water is trapped between the sandstone layers. It could support a train of 200 camels and was used until the 1970’s. They had a courtyard inside and barrelled vaults around. There was a thin wall with lookout points. There was not a lot of space. The external walls lean into each other at either end but they are only 1 or 2 bricks thick. Ain Gib has lots of water emplacements. Around Qasr el Sumayra there was a small settlement. Ain Gib seems to have been a command post.

The fort at Lebekha has towers at the corners but these are just for show having no access. There are uneven sandstone foundations. At Umm el Dabadib the towers are useable, they have opened up due to the thin walls so have had to be buttressed. Outside the fort there is a settlement that has a wall around it but again only one brick thick. The houses were very close together so protected you against wind and sun. The buttresses are very fragile being only one brick think. There is a later text that had people from the black sea coast. Lots of trade routes converge here. There are 2 -3 basic house types. Dakhla has proper Roman villas but not here.

Ain el Tarakwa is Coptic and has temple like structures, very simple of stone that has been plastered and painted. People have settled within the temple precincts in the late period. There is a church built in the very early Christian period. A very transitional place. Only one inscribed block has been found. It is one of the earliest churches dated to the 5th century AD ceramically. The Copts ‘killed’ the temple by blocking the doorway with mud brick and putting the church in front.

Ain el Dabashiya is another temple made of mud brick with stone elements with good architectural points. In the temple walls there were doors to external shrines possibly for the people to interact with the god. There is an atrium, house, grain processing and fields of emmer, barley, apples, olives, grapes and big cemetery. There is a 2 story pigeon tower that would have held large numbers. Pigeons have uses both as food and as fertiliser.

Muhammed Tuleib has a little bit of text with a Horus, there are large tracts of cemeteries but these are not associated with a known settlement. Tombs can be rock cut, shafts or built with vaults. There are brick lined tombs, multi burials with simple mummification. There was a set of very shallow graves with young children and older people perhaps indicating some kind of disease had taken the most vulnerable members of the community.

The mummies were Late Roman to 4th centaury AD and not good quality. They were wrapped with palm ribs and stacked. The rock cut tomb occupants were eviscerated and excraniated, had Coptic textiles and cartonage.

There was large canid cemetery with a mass burial of every age from young pups to old dogs with cursory mummification. Roman soldiers adopted Anubis as a mascot so that might be a connection. There was 26 and 27th dynasty activity and even 4-5 centenary remains. A complicated water system with underground aqueducts which need shafts to clear sand.

At Ain el Lebekha there is reuse of a Roman aqueduct with the same technology as ancient times. Plots of land have palm trees remains at the corners like today’s Egyptian land. The area was self supporting and exported goods. Gates have stone lintels some with a cross inscribed on them.

The temple at Dabadib has corvetto cornices and other familiar architectural elements. A grape arbour, line of Gods, a dado painted with faux stone.

There is a lot of destruction being caused to these monuments because of their remoteness but now the guards are being supplied with motorbikes and are more mobile and it is hoped this will cease.

The Darb Ain Amur is Roman and connected Unm el Dabadib with Ain Amur. It has a spring and herds of gazelles and is 4 days by donkey. Along the route they found huts associated with Alum mining and traces of rock art.

Aa’s rock comprises very friable sandstone so inscriptions are being lost. There is a serekh of Aa from Dynasty 0 or 1. There is some dispute about this hieroglyphic but Salima says it looks like an arm. The earliest inscription and it was as barren then as now. There are Nagada II pictures of giraffes, falcons, elephants and lioness with what looks like a collar and cattle. Others from late Old kingdom, First Intermediate Period or early Middle Kingdom. Pictures of Antef’s donkeys

At Darb Ain Amur there is Fish rock with a picture of a fish. Neolithic tools and huts. Ceramics from Roman and Ptolemaic and even the Old kingdom

Split Rock
Looked like a lion with random glyphs plus an inscription. Predynastic origins with the only known inscription of a spider which is an image associated with the sun. A Nagada II hippo

Seth Rock
Has shrines, steps to a cave and a mixture of hieroglyphs and hieratic with a mention of Amun which combined with Seth is unusual.

Scribes Rock
Late 18 dynasty or early 19 at the end of Ain Amur. Temple with an enclosure (recorded by Winlock) with houses, industrial activity, cemeteries used for 5,000 years to make a highway. Coptic Shelter. Site with small cave dedicated to Seth and Amun which might have been a tomb. Seth is the God of the Desert and Amun of Thebes.

Other sites found on the Darb Ain Amur include another site dedicated to Amun and Seth

(Sorry I know the last bit is very disjointed but I was getting tired)

Next week it is Earl on KV63

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Vernissage in Luxor - Art

Thank you so much for this contribution from Dr Klaus Muller

Egyptian artist, Ammar Abo Baker with one of his latest works
Collage by Ammar

All great events of modern Egyptian art take place in the capital Cairo. Well, not always! The exception to the rule was a magic vernissage in Luxor's Marsam Hotel on 15th January. It was a symphony of paintings, children's and adults' drawings, primitive art, sculptures, photos and a documentary film. The Marsam Hotel on the Westbank, more famous as "Sheikh Ali's Hotel" and it's lovely garden gave a nice frame for the Egyptians and expats of a dozen nationalities who attended – just before the archeologists of the Italien, Belgian and Spanish mission will take over this meeting point for artists and egyptologists for the usual excavation campaign mid-January to mid-April.

The folk music, played on traditional instruments by Awlad Manmool and his group was enthusiastically applauded.
The exhibition was organized by the "Art From People to People Movement", an international initiative to break the idiological and geographic barriers and bring people together through art. The members keep the door wide open to anyone who would like to get involved. There are the novelist Assem Abd Alhamed and the painters Dr. Mohamed Oraby, Prof. Roger Dale, Ammar Abo Baker, Ashraf El Sweeny. I personally liked the genial hand of the promising painter Ammar Abo Baker – particularly the expressiveness and vigor of his portraits – and his strong personal radiation.

He has already passed on much of his spectacular style to his student Ashraf El Sweeny (photos of old men above). Being very fond of kids, I spent a long time in front of the impressing Mahrosa photos of a painter with some youngsters and of children holding candles, their faces varying from those of imps to little saints (photos below).
The event was one of the few perfect things in our imperfect world.
The exhibition will last until 18th January.

Klaus G. Muller

Friday, 16 January 2009

Hopkins in Egypt Today

Hopkins in Egypt Today They are back and online, really interesting site and well worth viewing

Hassan Fathy

I just received this via Facebook where I am a member of the Save New Gourna group

International Association

A Mission to New Gourna will take place in the end of January 2009

The International Association "Save the heritage of Hassan Fathy" (Geneva) was created in February 2008 to safeguard and preserve the remaining works of the great Egyptian architect, Hassan Fathy.
Since its creation, many individual members, Institutions and Universities from all over the world have subscribed to the Save the Heritage of Hassan Fathy and their number is increasing daily.
Our main objective today is to carry out an expertise assessment of New Gourna Village. Indeed, this outstanding realisation is one of Hassan Fathy's most famous projects. The international and national opinion is now calling for a restoration project of New Gourna Village. Besides preserving a cultural world heritage, the project could constitute a very attractive element in the framework of the ongoing touristical development of Thebes and its Necropolis.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Mummfication Museum lecture - New Kingdom Beds

So many thanks to Liz Cummings who gave the lecture tonight and gave me her notes and even some pictures so I could just relax and enjoy the lecture. Much appreciated Liz

The Bed in New Kingdom Egyptian Art - Elizabeth Cummings
Tonight I would like to share with you my current research for my dissertation on beds in new kingdom egyptian art. This research is in its early stages but I have already found many insightful images which tell us about the Egyptians concepts of sex, sleep, and death. Today, we view our beds with respect to these concepts as well, even using the word “bed” to indicate an action related to sex, sleep, or death such as (He is very tired—he needs to go to bed or two people going to bed together to indicate sexual activity, and even a person’s deathbed
However, our cultures comprehend these concepts within very different conceptual frameworks, even though both perceive the bed as a locus for transitional states. In this study, I propose to examine both actual beds and images of beds in order to explore in depth the significance of the represented bed. I will focus my study on the the New Kingdom (1540-1070 B.C.). due to its wealth of different resources. Currently, I’m collecting relevant material from temples, tombs, and settlement sites, which will divide into two parts: actual beds, and two- and three-dimensional images of beds. I also plan to collect New Kingdom textual references to beds, since these will provide another approach to comprehending the significance of beds in Egyptian thought.

The concepts of sex, sleep, and death were intertwined within the Egyptian consciousness as sleep and death were often compared as liminal states and sexual activity in the Egyptians' view led not only to birth in this life but also the next. Therefore, the bed signaled to the viewer that the occupant was in a transitional state, with the bed becoming a vehicle in which to successfully transfer its occupant into the next realm or protect the individual on the uncertain thresholds of sleep or conception. I propose the bed makes its own transformation as well, when it becomes the lion-headed funerary bier, indicating the nature and significance it holds in its funerary functions.

The Bed as Object
First I will look at the bed as an object, which is defined in this study as an item of furniture where a person may lie and sleep, typically with a horizontal frame and vertical footrest. The use of the bed as an object will inform the use of the bed as an image, so it is crucial to examine the bed where it appears in the archaeological record. All existing examples from ancient Egypt are what modern viewers would probably term “single beds” or beds designed for accommodating only one person, and most have been discovered within tombs or the New Kingdom settlement site of Deir el Medina. While the majority of beds found are very simple in design, I will examine the decoration of these beds in the context of the conceptual framework established in my introductory chapter.
Some of the finest examples of actual beds found in the 18th dynasty belonged to Yuya and Tjuyu, the parents of queen tiye, wife of amenhotep III. The discovery of the tomb in 1905 yielded three beds all similar in design.
Slide two (Bed with Bes and Taweret)
They have carved wooden legs, which represent the fore and hind legs of a lion that face toward the head of the bed. The side rails of the bed are rectangular and have a distinctive dip from the front to the back.
(detail) Slide 3 The footboard of this bed contains images of the deities Bes and Taweret. Both sides are decorated and are divided into three panels. On the inner panel which would face the occupant of the bed, the two outside panels show two inward facing images of the goddess Taweret with a frontal image of the god Bes in the center. The central inside panel also contains two inward facing images of Taweret but the center figure is yet another image of Taweret facing to the left.
The outward facing panel of the footboard also holds images of Bes and Taweret with the center panel depicting Bes holding the hieroglyphic symbols of the was-scepter,and the sa and ankh symbols indicating all (nb)life, protection, and dominion. The outside left panel has an image of Bes with a tambourine with Taweret facing him with her paw on the sa symbol and holding a knife. This image is the same on the right side but with an image of Bes replacing Taweret. The sa symbol also appears quite frequently on the inside panel of the footboard.
The composition of the footboard is very similar on an ebony bed discovered in the tomb of Tutankhamen. Slide 4 (ebony bed) The footboard is in a cut out design in three panels with the center figure of each panel representing a forward facing image of Bes. Two lions face inward, their paws resting on the sa symbol. You can see how similar in design it is to those of Yuya and Tjuyu.
Bes and Taweret are deities commonly associated with the households of the living and both provide protection for the family. They are also connected to women and childbirth and are therefore further related to sexuality. Not all beds hold images of these gods but if deities are shown on the footboards of beds, the iconography generally revolves around one, if not both.

I will also examine the role personal status played in association with the bed. Not everyone in the household would have been privileged enough to sleep on a bed and many might have slept on the roof of the household in order to stay cool in Egypt’s heat. Sleeping in a bed was therefore a status symbol, where the owner of the bed would have been elevated from the ground, just as his/her position in society was elevated. I plan to examine the household inventories of Deir el Medina in order to compare the number of occupants of a household to the number of beds present and explore the possibilities of a designated space within domestic architecture for the permanent location of the bed.
Throughout ancient Egyptian history, beds were often part of the funerary equipment included with a tomb owner’s burial. In New Kingdom tombs, the bed appears in many depictions of funerary processions and I will explore the bed’s use as a symbol of conspicuous consumption. Slide 5 Here is a very famous scene of the funerary procession in the tomb of Ramose with a quite beautiful bed. While the objects placed in the burial chamber were not seen by anyone after burial they would have been viewed by those who witnessed the funeral procession going into the tomb and it was important to show one’s status with the wealth of objects provided. Tutankhamen’s tomb contained as many as five beds, (not counting the three large funerary beds) apparently for the use of only one person. A specific example is the ingeniously constructed folding bed found within the tomb, which was designed for ease of transportation. Slide 6 This bed would have allowed the king to have a bed at all times wherever he traveled indicating his supreme status in society.
The Bed as Image
The main focus of my dissertation will be the bed as it appears as a represented image in the New Kingdom. For the Egyptians, the two-dimensional representation of a bed is usually viewed from the side with the legs and frame of the bed in profile. The legs of the bed may have the shape of bull hooves or lion paws and a footboard is also shown in profile. (Slide 7 a scene from TT 217 where although it doesn’t have lion feet it does have the footboard and the headrest in position.) Occationally a mattress will rest on the flat surface of the bed. Also included in my category of the represented bed are literary references and three-dimensional models of the bed, whether made separately or with attached fertility figurines. And I will devote a chapter of my dissertation to address each of the concepts related to the bed—sex, sleep, and death—and their place within the conceptual framework.
One section of my dissertation will focus on the bed as a place for sexual activity and procreation. In ancient Egyptian art, sex was rarely depicted explicitly in formal contexts but rather referenced indirectly through other methods. In the eighteenth dynasty, there are various examples of a relief cycle referred to by Egyptologists as divine birth imagery where the myth of the birth of the king is related. In the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahri, Amen-Re and Hatshepsut’s mother are shown seated on a flat surface facing each other, which is raised up by two goddesses, Neith and Selket, who are seated on a bed (Slide 8). Amen-Re holds the ankh, or symbol of life, to the nose of the queen and the accompanying hieroglyphs leave little doubt as to the meaning of the scene: this is the moment of conception and the bed is a visual indicator of the unseen sexual element of the moment. These same scenes appear in other reigns, which attest to the effectiveness of this cycle that appears as late as the Ptolemaic and Roman period. (Slide 9) Medinet Habu
Beds also occur in less formal contexts relating to sex. Certain types of fertility figurines of the New Kingdom often depict a nude woman lying on a bed with or without a child by her side or nursing at her breast (Slide 10). Geraldine Pinch discusses these figurines in Votive Offerings to Hathor and argues that they can be associated with the dangerous state of childbirth and the uncertain period of survival shortly thereafter. Since women did not give birth on beds but by squatting on birth bricks, the bed rather symbolizes the place of consummation and fertility and these positive associations (since fertility was successful with the birth of the depicted infant) may have protected the mother and child in this unpredictable and, possibly perilous, phase.
While rare, graphic images of sex do emerge from the material record and often use the bed as an element of the setting. Decorum kept many of these images from appearing on the walls of tombs and temples, but they are found on ostraca, papyri and grafitti. In the Turin Erotic Papyrus from the nineteenth dynasty, a series of 12 vignettes depicts an older man (or men) with a young attractive female (or females) in various sexual positions and settings (Slide 11). In the center, a woman lies horizontally on a bed while she leans out to gesture towards a man who has fallen or lies on the ground. The nudity of the female (shown wearing only a hip girdle) implies her relationship to fertility figurines and the highly sexualized nature of their function, while the large phallus of the male accentuates his potency. The artistic technique of the work is skillful and the papyrus was probably made for a member of the elite. I will investigate the presence of the bed in these images, as well as in other papyri and ostraca where it might appear, such as the Satirical Payprus in the British Museum.
The literary record from the nineteenth dynasty preserves a genre unknown to earlier Egyptian literature. Love poetry, which probably derived from an oral tradition, expresses an ideal love between a man and woman and includes highly evocative sexual imagery. In these poems, the bed is a locus for sexual union. (Slide 12) In one example, an anonymous man and woman have a dialogue concerning their love and how a river and crocodile separate the two lovers. The young man crosses the river because of their love and orders someone to make up a bed for the consummation of their relationship. (Slide 13) And in the following poem, a youth waits outside the door of a girl and longs to enter to see his beloved.
While notably idealized, this poetry produces an insight into the very private sexual uses of the bed where the visual and material records remain silent.
I will also explore the function of the bed for its sleeping inhabitant. The state of sleep was often likened to the condition of death—the sleeper was unable to move and function as in death. Also, awakening and resurrection were used as interchangeable phrases where the awaking individual was compared to a reborn or resurrected being. Dreams were considered as occurring outside of the individual and one’s enemy could impose nightmares onto the dreamer. While sleeping, a person was connected to the duat, a realm inhabited by the Egyptian dead, and a place where dreams were thought to originate. This liminal state, therefore, was considered dangerous and unpredictable, and the decorative program of actual beds were designed to protect the sleeper from unseen forces. And here we are reminded of the gods Bes and Taweret in their protective roles on the footboards of beds.
The legs of the represented bed are often depicted as lion legs, linking the bed to the lion. Lions lived in the desert on the edges of the Egyptian world, and were symbolically shown as the guardians of the eastern and western horizons (Slide 14). The occupant of the bed could therefore be seen as being protected by these guardians of the sunrise and sunset—linking the sleep cycle, when the occupant would go to sleep at night and awake in the morning, to the cycle of the sun and its rebirth.

Bart Hellinckx discusses the solar iconography associated with the headrest, which is frequently shown with beds in tomb paintings. In his discussion of the shape of the headrest, Hellinckx relates it to the horizon symbol, or akhet sign, which shows the sun rising between two mountains. The curve of the headrest cradles the head in the same way as the mountains of the horizon cradle the rising and setting sun. Hellinckx argues that this analogy would have been evident to the Egyptians. The sleeper would place his head in the headrest at approximately the same time as the sun would set and then the sleeper’s head would rise just as the sun rose the next morning. (Slide 15) A headrest from the tomb of Tutankhamen shows the lions on either side of the god Shu who holds the head of the individual above the bed. The iconography of the bed contributes seamlessly to this argument by completing the image of the horizon. The lion legs of the bed, present on each side of the bed’s occupant, would have guaranteed the sleeper a safe passage through the night with the presence of these lion guardians. I will examine the frequency with which lions appear as a design element of the bed both as image and object in order to explore their link to the bed’s occupant.

And finally, I will consider the bed in a funerary context. Beds appear in tomb reliefs such as funerary processions and scenes with Anubis attending the mummy. In the tomb of Sennefer (Theban tomb 96B), the image of the bed occurs at the very entrance into the antechamber (Slide 16). A funerary procession moves around the edge of the wall towards a large image of Sennefer where other funerary objects such as the mummy mask, shawabtis, chests, and necklaces are all shown as objects carried by the bearers. (Slide 17) The procession where the bed occurs is indicative of a movement from the realm of the living to the realm of the dead. The bed is now not just a place of transition for the occupant but is itself in a transitional state—the bed is in transition from an object of the living world into an object in the afterlife. (Slide 17) In the burial chamber, Sennefer’s mummy appears on the lion bed where the transformation of both the bed and the tomb owner into the next world is complete.

In one very common scene in New Kingdom art, Anubis attends the mummy who rests on a lion bed often with Isis and Nephthys flanking each side-here is a famous image from the tomb of Sennedjem without them(Slide 19). (Slide 20) And in this image hails from the tomb of Nefertari showing Isis and Nepthys flanking the mummy in the form of two kites. Appearing first in the eighteenth dynasty and more frequently in the nineteenth dynasty, these images often show the bed in a much more complete state—not only does the bed have the legs of the lion but also the tail and the head, depicted above the leg at the head of the bed. I contend the bed has completed its transition from the world of the living into the realm of the dead. It now holds the transfigured dead who are presented in the divine form of Osiris. The bed, which functioned in the world of the living as a place of transformation through sexual union, conception, and the daily cycle of sleep, has now made its own transformation, and can facilitate transformations in the next realm.
This newly transfigured bed became the locus for new unions in the afterlife. In Egyptian mythology, the union of Isis and Osiris after the latter’s dismemberment and subsequent regeneration produced their son Horus. The event is depicted in reliefs where Isis is shown as a bird alighting on the mummy of Osiris who is often shown as ithyphallic. (The scenes from the temple of Seti I at Abydos are excellent examples of these scenes but I haven’t been able to take photos of these images yet.) The funerary bed becomes the location of this union, mirroring the sexual function of the bed in the world of the living.
In an image from the Book of the Dead, the ba bird joins together with the mummy in a nightly union (Slide 21). Visually, this resembles the union of Isis with Osiris and the mummified figure can be interpreted not only as Osiris but also as any member of the transfigured dead. The transfigured individual is now able to sexually reproduce, an important function for the afterlife. The bed serves as a place for two transitional events: the changing of the deceased into the transfigured dead and the bestowal of sexual potency for the afterlife.

I would also like to show a few more images of a bed from the tomb of Tutankhamen. (Slide 22) This photo is taken from the Carter archives and shows a bed that looks a little different than the others—this is because it was actually underneath all of the coffins of Tutankhamen. It amazes me how well it is preserved especially holding all that weight for thousands of years. Carter even mentions how he is astounded—this bed was inside the sarcophagus under the coffins.
Slide 23—yes, this is an image from the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and while a bit inaccurate it gives the idea of how these coffins would have rested on the bed. Now was this bed actually necessary in order for the coffins to go into the sarcophagus? Probably not, but the important thing is that the presence of the bed itself is necessary for the successful transition of the deceased into the afterlife.
I hope with this study to bring the bed into the Egyptological discourse concerning sex, sleep, and death, pushing the boundaries of previous scholarship and to demonstrate the significance of the bed within the ancient Egyptian world view.


Otto Schaden is back with the KV63 team, both he and Earl were at the lecture tonight.

The Menna team are expected back in March led by Melinda Hartwig.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Mummfication Museum lecture - TT16 Panehsy

TT16 The tomb of Panehsy Suzanne Onstine

Firstly thanks to Suzanne for this great lecture done under difficult circumstances as the projector hardly worked at all.

Panehsy was a chanter and priest of Amenhotep I cult at Dra Abu Nagar, her project was one of epigraphy and conservation. The tomb has been published in Baid & Drioton and Porter& Moss but only the first room Kamp’s plan shows the unpublished 2nd room and rough hewn burial passage. There used to be a house above it but the house was not an issue. There was a rock fall in the rough passage which might have been caused by the bulldozers that demolished the house. We think he was from the period of Ramses II as the steward Neb Su Menu is mentioned who was Ramses II steward. The demolishing of the house blocked the doorway which was quickly cleared. There was mud brick around the courtyard.

She was interested in the tomb as she is interested in chanter and chantress titles. Panehsy and his wife Tarenu were a chanter and chantress of Amun and she wondered if their hobs influenced the choice of scenes. Tarenu is always shown with a sistrum. Men do not usually have this title there are 900 women and 15 men chanters. There is a brother Pa-watt(?) who is also a chanter.

There is a scene of an unnamed temple which is probably Karnak and the 2nd pylon which would have been the entrance at that time. He was the cult priest of Amenhotep I and there are scenes of the cult. People could appeal to the statue. Panehsy had 2 roles Chanter of the offering tables of Amun with the scene of the cult figure of Amenhotep I. He is a pious man shown offering to Ahmose Nefertari and Amenhotep I. There are sense of agricultural daily life with a lazy cow and an angry donkey. There was duplication of the iconography Hathor cow and lady of the sycamore.

In their 1st year as a mission they have taken a series of photos using software instead of Mylar to do the drawings to avoid damage to the walls. It is a fast way to do epigraphy. If they had electricity in the tomb they would not even need to do a print out. There is smoke damage to the second chamber and they are hoping to remove it after hearing the encouraging result of Dr Boyo last week.

During 1965-1985 there were no doors on the tomb and there is definite looter damage as it was close to the road. It was art market driven as they went for generic scenes which could not be easily identified as belong to Panehsy. She hopes to get photos on the website. In TT15 5 scenes were similarly cut out and were displayed in the Louvre. She has not been able to locate the missing scenes so if anyone knows of scenes of a bald guy with skinny arms she would like to hear. The style is similar to TT19 is Seti I. The humour is unusual at this time.

Next week the French site manager will show the SCA master pan of the West Bank which has been developed in conjunction with the governor’s plan.

International Luxor News

Apparently writing a blog using Goggle means all over the world it is automatically translated. Not the content but the links, biography, title etc. Really clever. If you want to read the content please try I just tried it in Arabic and my husband tells me it was completely understandable

So welcome to everyone even Chinese 欢迎 Japanese ようこそ Arabic مرحبا Russian Добро пожаловать

Луксор, Египет, отдых, туры, экскурсии, отели, апартаменты, квартиры, виллы,
ルクソール、エジプト、祝日、ツアー、ツアー、ホテル、自炊、アパートメント、フラット、別荘,الأقصر , مصر , عطلات ,
رحلات , رحلات , الفنادق , المطاعم الذاتي , والشقق , والشقق والفيلات

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

In Egypt, Living on a Farm -

In Egypt, Living on a Farm -

Great story about a lady I know of. I have had some of her guests come to my apartments and rave about her wonderful horses. Interesting comments about how foreigners can own land in Egypt

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Mummfication Museum lecture - TT147

Theban Tomb Project TT147 Dr Boyo Ockinga MacQuarrie University

BTW When I write these notes I do try and look things up and when doing this one I found this very interesting link which talk about the work of the Australians in Egypt

TT147 is located in the Dra Abu Naga area of the Theban Necropolis and belongs to Nefer - renpet. There is a gully just above it which runs down the hill directly into the courtyard of TT147 which has caused many problems for the tomb and they are trying to block this off to protect the tomb. The courtyard is filled with debris and the mud brick walls have been washed away. There is a different, softer stone in the gully and a hard rock around it and this made the ancient workmen move the position of the door. When the removed the existing door it revealed the sandstone threshold. The tomb is T shaped and has been reused with possible 2 subsidiary burials.

The original burial was in the time of Amenhotep III. The walls were blackened by soot and smoke which surprisingly was easy to remove compared to other similar tombs. Some lovely dancers were revealed by Ali Abdullah the restorer who uses a mixture of distilled water, alcohol and ammonia on tissue paper which is peeled off 30-40 seconds after application. Conservation was needed on the plaster as it was very vulnerable. The stone was poor quality so they had mud plaster walls 20cm thick and some of the mouldings were in this. On top of this there was two other layers plaster. Flooding had badly attacked the lower parts of the wall and the burial chamber had thick layers of silt. However they were able to make use of this during reconstruction. There was nothing left in the burial chamber except the impression of a wooden coffin in the mud.

Who were the owners of TT147?

The name was erased in antiquity, who did this?

Was there one or two owners?

There is definitely Amarna period damage, the owner was an official in the temple of Amun so that name was hacked out but there was also the owners name rubbed out. Funerary cones had been found which identified the owner these are DM464 and DM459 (I did not get where these references were from and would appreciate any help with that). From these cones the owner Nefer- renpet was the owner, the sheer number and the location makes him confident that the cones belong to this tomb. He was the scribe who counts the cattle of Amun. His wife’s name was also erased. Another title Chief Elder of the portal in Karnak also appears. There are two different sons offering to these people with 2 different titles. There are places where both titles are used but the second title does not appear on the funerary cones. From all this he concludes there was one owner who had two titles.

The reason there are two types of damage hacking and erasure is because one damage is Amarna period and the other is reuse of the tomb. Some scenes show a different style of perfume cone. Those from the Third intermediate period have distinct lines drawn on them but XVIII dynasty cones, the original period of this tomb do not have this feature. There is a name Amun Ra Ns pauty-(taw) which is a common name in the Third Intermediate Period. They found a lot of cartonage. He is a priest of Amun and responsible for the changes. There were shabties Nes-pauty-tawy God’s father which are 21st dynasty.

Two different sons offering to owners with 2 different titles. There are places where both titles are used but the second title does not appear on the funerary cones. From all this he concludes there was one owner who had two titles.

The reason there are two types of damage hacking and erasure is because one damage is Amarna period and the other is reuse of the tomb. Some scenes show a different style of perfume cone. Those from the Third intermediate period have distinct lines drawn on them but XVIII dynasty cones, the original period of this tomb do not have this feature. There is a name Amun Ra Ns pauty-(taw) which is a common name in the Third Intermediate Period. They found a lot of cartonage. He is a priest of Amun and responsible for the changes. There were shabties Nes-pauty-tawy God’s father which are 21st dynasty.


There are two sets of scenes with banquet, musician and dancers. In the long hall they are lively with broad strokes whereas in the broad hall they are more detailed and less lively. This indicates different styles and possible different artists. Also in the long hall there is less light so this might have influenced the art. Duplicate scenes of the tomb owners also show different styles. In the banquet scenes the figures have more movement and different feet positions. The funerary people are more rigid and conservative.

Nebamun in the British Museum shows an elaborate style where TT147 is more like Nakht

Melinda Hartwig talks about there being 2 different styles with different artists so depending on who you were you would have used an artist from the temple school (priest) or the court school (official) during the reigns of Tutmosis IV and Amenhotep III

The temple style has composites and the state they are arranged around a large seated figure of the owner and his wife. Minor figures are small lively vignettes rendered gracefully. The shapes are drawn fine and relatively precise. This tomb seems to have a mixture of both styles with the long hall using the court style and the broad hall the temple style so we may need to rethink this definition

As always I am grateful for corrections

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Tuthmosis III mortuary temple

I had a wander round the new excavation by the Spanish at the mortuary temple of Tuthmosis III. From the road, which actually goes through the middle of the temple, it just looks like two mud brick pylons one each side of the road. But the sign in front shows a great aerial shot showing the entire complex

As you can see it is big, really big

There seem to be two entrances through the pylon, they have excavated the south entrance.
In the next courtyard there is a lot of stone paving and pieces of stone

There was a rather nice column with Tuthmosis III cartouche on it, that column shape is quite popular with him and Hatshepsut
There was a postive litter of stone pieces and there were a number of areas with grass matting and sailcloth that were protecting some pieces. A local told me it was pieces with colour on it
I found this piece rather interesting a star ceiling with colour BUT it is curved. which made my puzzle about the probably structure. There were some other curved pieces as well

A nice column base
This is taken the other side of the road, in front of the first pylon. You can see that the road is much higher and covering the first courtyard.

Again the road going through the first courtyard, the first pylon on the cultivation side of the road and the second pylon on the right

This was another curious thing, it looks like a round structure in front of the first pylon but at a higher level.