Saturday, 31 July 2010

Mummification Museum Lecture - South Assasif Project - Dr Elena Pischikova

South Assasif Project - Dr Elena Pischikova

Nespakashuty TT 312 late Twenty sixth Dynasty tomb

Back in 2005 when Dr Elena was coming to the end of her excavation of Nespakashuty TT 312 a late Twenty sixth Dynasty tomb at Deir el Bahri they decided to look for the tomb of his mother. Lepidus had recorded this tomb but when they went to look for it there was a village in the way. So they were surrounded by houses in 2006 when they started the project but by 2009 these had been removed. They are working in three tombs Karabasken TT391, Karakhamun TT223, Iritieru TT390. This is mainly a conservation project. Karakhamun was a Kushite and a plan of his tomb was made in 1974 but it did not record a court or vestibule and very little was actually seen and a lot guessed. They have found lots of new features not on the plan and the tomb is very large. There is a lot of soot damage

Back in 2006 the tomb was completely destroyed and nothing was visible and it was a big risk to excavate and feel the laughter of your colleagues asking why is she excavating a rubbish dump. This was exactly what it looked like then. Then finding your first fragment which although it had no name did at least confirm you were looking in the right place. After three or four weeks of non-productive digging they found a lovely figure of Karakhamun and underneath the plaster was carved his name. In fact they had found their best preserved wall as the rock in this area is appalling quality. Even when they were excavating in Ancient Egyptian times they had to do running repairs. (I was shown some of these on my visit). The carving is the best quality Kushite carving and one particular carving excited a lot of interest. It is a little greyhound like dog.

All this was found in 2006, in the east part of the first pillared hall the pillars are in a ruined state however there are lots and lots of fragments so actually it is good news as they can reconstruct the pillars. By 2008 the northern aisle had been cleared of thousands of wall fragments. The first pillared hall consists of 8 pillars on each side. In the south west corner they found an intrusive burial. There is chapter 114 of the book of the dead. Dr Elena would like to restore and open the tomb but it is slow work, the reconstruction of one pillar has taken a complete season and with 7 further pillars and all the rest of the tomb it could take her all her life to complete. (I suspect funds would help, check the website for details). On the south wall there is chapter 117 of the Book of the Dead with associated vignettes. They have sorted all the fragments and have identified several artists working on the tomb, possible up to a dozen. Another chapter 31 has crocodiles and they have found the evil crocodile of the north.

Another find is a figure of Ptah which is found in chapter 106 now this has cast a ripple in the pond of Egyptology. Previously it was speculated that the Memphite decoration in the tomb of #Harwa was carved by artists of the north on their way south to be employed by Tarahaka in the kingdom of Kush. This is why that particular tomb has a lot of old kingdom influence but the tomb of Karakhamun is a lot earlier which casts doubts on that theory. It would seem that was a big revival of Chapter 106 in the early 26th dynasty.

The stone in the tomb is very poor quality and with the northern aisle having the 11th hours of the book of the day there are a lot of similar vignettes of Karakhamun, Ra Herakyty and three gods.

This season has started with reinforcing and conserving before reconstruction. The remaining stone is so unstable that it could not support the weight of reconstruction so they have had to make a steel reinforcement into the bedrock to take the higher reconstructed elements. Eventually they will reach 3m high. And there is the ceiling, they have lots of ceiling fragments and she dreams of reconstructing that but it would need some imaginative engineering to do so.

On the East side there is a procession of offering bearers. They are now working in the second pillared hall and here there is a different style of his face, he is perhaps meant to look older in the second pillared hall and younger in the first (Francesco Tiradritti talked about this in his lecture on the tomb of Harwa). They also have a really nice jar wall (which I have seen and it is nice). You can also see grid lines as parts are incomplete and this tomb uses the 21 grid lines instead of 18 which is the earliest use of this grid.

There is another intrusive burial in the 2nd pillared hall of Petahor (?) who has sandstone chapel. As this area was underneath the village it is unlikely that there will be any objects mainly wall fragments but she did have a wooden Anubis with a tiny bit of gilding around the eye which may be original to the tomb as it is typical of that period.

It is a Kushite feature to have a surrounding corridor around the burial chamber and it is possible they may have a feature like this but it remains to be excavated. However they have found the stairs to the burial chamber, actually this is not quite as exciting as it sounds as there is a shaft leading directly to the chamber which has been used by robbers but it might mean there may be small objects on the stairs. The chamber has been seen by people before the collapse of the ceiling and was described as being quite beautiful. They hope to eventually open the chamber may be after a couple of years. So the tomb is still full of surprises and there are lots of new things. There is a website although she admitted it was a bit out of date she foresees this taking at least a decade before it can be opened to the public.

There were some interesting questions.

What were his titles? He seemed to collect meaningless titles he is described as First Aq Priest of Amun but what is Aq. It is one of the largest Kushite tombs but we have no idea who he is, she believes he must be related to royalty as his tomb is much larger than the Mayor of Thebes.

When did the tomb collapse?

It was recorded in 1974 and re-entered in 2001 nobody knows what happened between those dates

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

A visit to Early Kushite Tombs of South Asasif TT223 etc

Firstly I am not going to give a big report on the excavation as lots has to wait for publication but it does mean that when Elena gives her public lecture on Saturday I will be able to expand the things she mentions knowing I am safe doing so. As a bit of background reading do have a look at this link not only does it fully describe the tomb and general area but it also has some great photographs. Obviously I was not allowed to take any.

After stopping by the inspectors office to be ‘officially cleared’ I made it to the site just after 8. The team are working on three tombs Karakhamun, Karabasken and Irtieru, Karakhamun being the major one and they had been there since 6. When I got there some of them were busy recording and photography a buffalo skull, not quite treasure but it just shows you how archaeology has changed. Belzoni et al would have probably just thrown these things away but everything is recorded, photographed and stored. Digging is a whole different ball game these days.

These tombs are from the period when the Nubians or Black Pharoahs held sway over Egypt, hence the very unusual names. The first tomb we went into was originally underneath the Abu Rassoul house so the team are not expecting to find many artefacts however there was a very lovely ceiling which had been cleaned and a number of SCA conservators working there. That one was across a narrow plank bridge and I hate heights. I kept repeating the mantra don’t think about it. These late period tombs are very large and deep, they obviously had a bob or two. The second tomb was being used as a store room and is much ruined I was completely distracted by the giant jigsaw puzzle being worked on the floor. They have a number of fragments that come from one of the pillars and were using the area to reconstruct these into a coherent inscription. Another member of the team was working using some software to record some decoration. It is personal fascination to me how technology has made it into the archaeology arena and is making a huge difference. The old fashioned ways of pieces of paper on the walls are being ditched in favour of digital pens and pads. Obviously you have to have two skills now, artistic and use of the software.

Lastly we went to the tomb of Karakhamun which is huge, what is it with those late period guys. There is loads of colour, inscriptions and excavation still to be done. A huge task and one that relies on voluntary funding. Have a look at the website if yould like more info ad sponsorship details of the stuff I saw was charming, really lovely. He does not appear to have had much family, only a brother has been identified, perhaps further excavation will reveal more. It took two Egyptians to get me back out of the tomb, it really is deep but it was worth it.

I have to give my thanks to Moustafa Waziry for giving me permission, Elena Pischikova for inviting me on the site and Meg Gundlach who actually did the tour and held my hand over narrow plank bridges and up and down hillsides. (Eventually some nice strong Egyptian men came to our rescue and pushed and pulled me up.)

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

BA in Egyptology online, is there a demand?

As you know I am doing the Certificate in Egyptology with Manchester University. I am totally loving it as do my fellow students. A number of us having been asking if it was possible to do a BA. At the recent graduation ceremony for the Certificate students Rosalie David announced that they are looking into this. Now my understanding is it will take a while and they have to get formal approval. obviously with financial cut backs etc they are going to have to put a good case and I suspect the course will have to be self funding.

I have set up a Facebook page We-want-an-online-BA-in-Egyptology so people can register an interest. This is not an official page but I am sure it will help them put there case if they see a lot of people on there. If you are not a Facebook person why not put a comment here, saying yes I would be interested and any questions you might have and I can cut and paste them there.

Monday, 26 July 2010

New method could revolutionize dating of ancient treasures

Not Luxor news but non the less very relevant. It constantly fascinates me how much archeology is changing and how new scientific methods are giving us information not thought possible just a few years ago. I attended a lecture where they were analysing the paint using non destructive methods and able to identify different artists. But this one could be totally revolutionary.

New method could revolutionize dating of ancient treasures: "In conventional dating methods, scientists remove a small sample from an object, such as a cloth or bone fragment. Then they treat the sample with a strong acid and a strong base and finally burn the sample in a small glass chamber to produce carbon dioxide gas to analyze its C-14 content.

Rowe's new method, called 'non-destructive carbon dating,' eliminates sampling, the destructive acid-base washes, and burning. In the new method, scientists place an entire artifact in a special chamber with a plasma, an electrically charged gas similar to gases used in big-screen plasma television displays. The gas slowly and gently oxidizes the surface of the object to produce carbon dioxide for C-14 analysis without damaging the surface, he said.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Mummification Museum - Popular Worship at Luxor Temple and the Rekhyt Rebus - Ken Griffin

This lecture was different to our normal ones as Ken presented a new theory. I have read his published paper on this so if you want to know more I do suggest you read this. You can also search Google using “Rekhyt rebus” as keywords. His argument was convincing and well presented. This link is a picture of the rebus which will help understanding the lecture.
The lecture was divided into three parts; who were the Rekhyt, the Rekhyt rebus and the people’s gate.
Who were the Rekhyt?
In 1868 Brugush was the first to define the word as people and many others have come after using definitions like volk, plebeians, mankind, and common folk, lowest level of people. There is also another word, ‘Pat’ people which means nobility.
Others have had more controversial ideas but these are not widely accepted, Nibbi thought they are Libyans and Hodge Indo-Europeans
They are symbolised by the lapwing bird with its wings pinned back and human arms raised worshiping. Birds are still seen in this position in markets in Egypt today.
The Rekhyt Rebus
The rebus itself consists of a bird – the people, a basket – all, and star – worship. Finally a cartouche (e.g. Ramesses). So it reads as “all the Rekhyt-people worship Ramesses”.
Why was it put on the temples?
Traditional view has been that this was a symbol to direct the common people to where they should stand as stated by Brand, Bell, Teeter, Wilkinson and others. You can see it at the 1st courtyard at Luxor Temple which is variously referred to in hieroglyphs as a Place of Supplication, Court of Appearances or Festival Court. It only appears on the columns on the south east area (the north east is under the mosque and has not been studied) and some believe that this meant that the common people were only allowed into this eastern side of the court. The corresponding columns on the west side have a cartouche flanked by the goddesses Wadjet and Nekhbet. All the birds face towards the central aisle.
Ken also pointed out that the statues flanking the doorway to the colonnade of Amenhotep III were also identified for popular worship so common people must have had access to them. Also the triple shrine in the North West is a place for supplication with both the Mut ad Khonsu chapels mentioning the Rekhyt people as well as the false door in the Amun chapel. This had the mystical function, a bit like an ancient telephone booth with direct dial to Amun. There is also a statue (provenance unknown) of a noble called Panhesy which mentions the Rekhyt people presenting gifts to the statue in order to have Panhesy deliver the pleas to the god who la within.
People’s Gate
This is the entrance just by the mosque and the inscriptions says that the Rekhyt adore in order to be given life. The Pat people were on the other door jamb back in 1983 but have now vanished. It is possible that this gateway was used by the king coming and going from his east bank palace. As well as the Pat-people there are also examples of various other peoples including foreigners as seen at Abydos.
Now Ken started to put his case against the rebus being a positioning glyph for common people. So at Luxor temple we should consider when deciding where the common people were allowed.
- Name of the court
- Open courts could by default be described as being open for worship
- Triple Shrine
- Ka Statues
- Rekhyt Rebus positions
- People’s Gate
Ken had examined the occurrence of the Rekhyt-rebus in New Kingdom temples, in the courtyards, hypostyle halls and inner sanctuaries. If the Rekhyt rebus was a sign indicating ‘you may stand here’ then one would have expected it not to appear past the courtyards.
He has looked at a variety of temples and found occurrences along the axial ways in courtyards and hypostyle halls but also in inner sanctuaries like the Red Chapel of Hatshepsut, the way stations of Hatshepsut, Seti I temples at Gurna and Abydos, and Ramesses II temple at Abydos. So this is found throughout temples, even in their private most secret places.
Doorways in the Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts restricted access to the hereafter but in the New Kingdom they became physical doorways. They had symbols which were both greeting and worshiping.
The Rekhyt image can be a bird, a person with a birds head or a person with the little crest of the lapwing on the back of their head and there is an example from the Third Intermediate Period of a bird with a flail as opposed to wings. They appear to flank the processional route with the few exceptions explained by poor reconstruction or missing elements.
Ken believes that this was part of upholding Maat and that without these images continually worshiping and greeting the both the pharaoh and the gods then Egypt would be thrown into chaos. So a much more mystical purpose than the traditional view.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Supreme Council of Antiquities - Foreign Mission Resources

This is a really interesting page on the new SCA website with every current mission and LOADS of websites. Enjoy

Supreme Council of Antiquities - Foreign Mission Resources: "Current and Recent Foreign Missions

Nazlet el-Samman/Heit el-Ghurab, Giza
Mark E. Lehner, Univ. of Chicago/Harvard Semitic Museum, U.S.A.

Giza Plateau
Ann Macy Roth, New York University, U.S.A.

Pyramid Complex of Senwosret III, Dahshur
Dieter K. Arnold and Adela Oppenheim, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, U.S.A.

Teti Pyramid Cemetery, Saqqara
Naguib Y. Kanawati, Australian Institute of Egyptology Studies,
Macquarie University, Australia, Australia

Tomb of Ni-Netjer, Saqqara
Peter Munro, Univ. of Berlin/Univ. of Hannover, Germany

Tombs in South Abusir (Qar, Inti, Iuf-aa), 6th Dynasty
Miroslav Verner, Czech Institute of Egyptology, Charles University, Czech Republic

Horemheb Cemetery, Saqqara
Martin J. Raaven, Leiden Museum of Antiquities, Faculty of Antiquities, Dept. of Egyptology, Lei. Uni., The Netherlands

Temple of Sneferu, Dahshur; Fifth Dynasty Cemetery, East of the Bent Pyramid
Rainer Stadelmann and Nicole Alexanian, German Institute of Archaeology, Germany

Tomb of Ny-ankh-Nefertem, Saqqara West
Karol M. Jan, Polish Center of Archaeology, Poland

Tombs of Niankh-Khnum and Khnumhotep, Saqqara
Yvonne Harpur, University of Oxford, England, Britain

South Abusir-North Saqqara Area
Nozomu Kawai, Institute of Egyptology, Waseda University, Japan,

North of the Unas Causeway
Christiane Ziegler, Louvre Museum, France, France

Memphis, Saqqara
David G. Jeffreys, The Egypt Exploration Society, England, Britain

Kom Helul, Saqqara
Paul T. Nicholson, Egypt Exploration Society, Britain

Gisr el-Mudir, Saqqara
Ian J. Mathieson, Glasgow Museum, Scotland, Britain
Pyramids of Merenre, Ankhnes-Pepi II, Meretities II, Saqqara
Audran Labrousse, Scientific Research National Center, France, France

Bubasteion Cliff, Saqqara
Alain Zivie, Scientific Research National Center, France, France

Tomb of Khafra-ankh (G7948), Giza
Eleonara Kormysheva, Russian State University for the Humanities, Russia

New Kingdom Necropolis, Dahshur
Masahiro Baba, Institute of Egyptology, Waseda University, Japan, Japan

Tomb in the Abu Bakr Cemetery, Giza (NW corner)
Edward J. Brovarski and Tohfa Handoussa, Brown University, U.S.A.; Faculty of Archaeology, Cairo University, U.S.A.

Tabbet el-Gech, South Saqqara (Hau-en-fer's tomb)
Vassil Dobrev, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology, France

Kom Tuman Tell Azizia, Mit Rahina
Galina A. Belova, Russian Institute of Egyptology, Russia

Burial Chamber of Idout, Saqqara
Hirosh Suita, Kansai University, Japan, Japan

Mut Temple, South Karnak
Richard A. Fazzini, Brooklyn Museum, U.S.A.

Tomb of Djehutymes (TT32), El-Khokha
Gabor Schreiber, Eotvos Lorand University, Hungary

Station des Repos / Workmen's Huts, Theban Mountains (restoration)
J. Toivari-Viitala, Academy of Finland

Tomb of Amenmesse (KV 10), Valley of the Kings
Otto J. Schaden, Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology, University of Memphis, U.S.A.

Tomb of Amenhotep III (KV 22)
Sakuji Yoshimura, Institute of Egyptology, Waseda University, Japan

Small Amun Temple, Temple of Medinet Habu and Luxor Temple
William R. Johnson, The Oriental Institute, Univ. of Chicago, U.S.A.

Temple of Hatshepsut, Deir el-Bahari (conservation)
Zbigniew S. Tadeusz, Institute of Archaeology, Mediterranean Sea, Warsaw University for Technology, Poland

Memnon and Temple of Amenhotep III, Kom el-Hetan, Luxor
Hourig Sourouzian, German Institute of Archaeology, Germany

Tomb of Sheshonq (TT27), Assasif
Alessandro Roccati, La Sapienza, University of Rome, Italy

Tomb of the Sons of Ramessses II (KV 5), Valley of the Kings
Kent R. Weeks, American University in Cairo, U.S.A.

Tomb of Pa-ren-nefer, Assasif (TT188)
Susan Redford, Pennsylvania State University, U.S.A.

Karnak Hypostyle Hall
Peter J. Brand, Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology, University of Memphis, U.S.A.

Tombs of Neferrenpet (TT147), Amenemope (TT148), Saroy (TT233), Dra' Abu el-Naga, Luxor
Boyo G. Ockinga, Australian Institute of Egyptology Studies,Macquarie University, Australia

Ramesseum Temple, Tombs of Ramesses II and Merenptah
Christian Leblanc, Louvre Museum, France/SCA, France

Chapel of Hathor, Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari (restoration)
Janusz M. Karkowski, Institute of Archaeology, Mediterranean Sea, Warsaw University for Technology, Poland

Tomb of Amenhotep (TT 61), El-Khokha
Tomas A. Bacs, Eotvos Lorand University, Hungary

Tomb of Nefermenu (TT184), El-Khokha
Zaltan I. Fabian, Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts, Hungary

Tombs of Amenmose (TT89) and Anen (TT120), Gurna
Lyla P. Brock, Royal Ontario Museum, Canada, Canada

Tombs of Harwa (TT37) and Akhinenru (TT404), Assasif
Francesco Tiradritti, Italian Archaeological Mission, Italy

Tombs (KV 16, KV 17), Valley of the Kings
Robert K. Vincent, American Research Center in Egypt, U.S.A.

North of Karnak
Jean Jacauet, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology, France

Tomb (TT320), Deir el-Bahari
Erhart Graefe, University of Münster, Germany

Temple of Amenhotep III
Angelo Sesana, Komosko Center, Italy

Tomb of Horemheb (KV 57), Valley of the Kings
Geoffrey T. Martin, University of Cambridge, Great Britain

Temple of Tod
Christophe Thiers, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology, France

Tombs of Ramesses X (KV 18) and Siptah (KV 47), Queen Tiaa (KV 32), Valley of the Kings, Luxor
Elina P. Grothe, University of Basel, Switzerland, Switzerland

Tombs of Amenemope (TT29) and Sennefer (TT96), Qurna
Eugene Warmenbol, Free University of Brussels, Belgium, Belgium

Tomb of Nub-Kheper-Re, Dra' Abu el-Naga
Daniel C. Polz, German Archaeological Institute, Germany

Tomb of Neferhotep (TT49), El-Khoka
Maria V. Pereyra, Faculty of Fine Arts, Tuchman National University, Argentina

Tomb of Huy (TT14), Dra' Abu el-Naga
Marilina Betro, University of Pisa, Italy

Tombs of Montuemhat (TT34) and Padineit (TT197), Assasif
Farouk el-Gomaa, University of Tübingen, Germany, Germany

Tombs of Djehuty and Hery (TT11-12), Dra' Abu el-Naga
Jose M. Galán, Spanish Supreme Council for Scientific Research, Spain

Tomb of Nespakashuty (TT312), Assasif
Elena Pischikova, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, U.S.A

Temple of Qasr el Agouz
Claude Traunecker, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology, France

Temple of Mut, South Karnak
Betsy M. Bryan, Johns Hopkins University, U.S.A.

Tomb of Senenmut (TT353), Deir el-Bahari
Francesco J. Martin, Institute of Egyptian Studies, Spain

Temple of Tausert, Sheikh Abd el-Qurna
Richard H. Wilkinson, University of Arizona, U.S.A., U.S.A.

Tomb of Padiamenope (TT33), Assasif
Claude Traunecker, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology/Univ. of Strasbourg, France

Undecorated tombs in the Valley of the Kings (KV 21, 27, 28, 44, 45, and 60)
Donald P. Ryan, Pacific Lutheran University, U.S.A.

Tomb of Puyamre (TT39), El-Khoka
Gabriela Arrache and Jorge Canseco, Mexican Archaeological Society, annex to Elwadi University, Mexico

Qasr Ibrim, Aswan
Pamela J. Rose, The Egypt Exploration Society, England, Great Britain

Aswan, Shelal area, Vall. of the Omoburat, 'Edge of the Desert'; and Kom Ombo, Om Raqaba Valley, New Toshka, Kharit Valley
Maria Carmela Gatto and Manro Cremaschi, The British Museum/Univ. of Milano, Italy

Tomb of Hau-nefer, Tabbet el-Gech, South Saqqara
Vassil Dobrev, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology, France

Pyramid of Djedefre, South Cemetery, Abu Rawash
Michel A. Vallogia, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology/Univ. of Geneva, Switzerland

Al-Galela Mount, Ain el-Sokhna, Khalid Suez
Mahmoud Abdel Raziq, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology/Suez Univ./Fac. Tour:Hot., France

Serabit el-Khadim, North Sinai
Pierre Tallet, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology/Univ. of Paris (4), France

Om Al-Bareega, Tab Tunis, Faiyum
Claudio Gallazzi, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology/Pap. Council-Milan Univ., France

Tomb of Petosiris, Tuna el-Gebel
Jean P. Corteggiani, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology, France

Temple of Hathor, Coptic Church, Dendara
Pierre Zignani, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology, France

Temple of Tod, Ptolemaic, Luxor
Christophe Thiers, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology, France

Ptolemaic temple in Qasr Agouz, Qasr Agouz, Luxor
Claude Traunecker, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology, France

Treasure of Thutmose III Excavation, North of Karnak
Jean Jacauet, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology, France

Tomb of Petamenophis (TT33), Assasif
Bernard H. Matthieu, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology/Coun. Of Mark Polis (Setra Borg Univ.), France

Sixth Dynasty tomb of Baba-lot, Ain asil, Dakhla Oasis
Georges Soukiasian, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology, France

Ain Menower, Dush, Kharga Oasis
Michel Wuttmann, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology, France

Tabbet el-Nahasin Magazine, Alexandria
Jean Y. Empereur, Center of Alexandrian Studies, France

Sand Tira Cemetery, Alexandria
Jean Y. Empereur, Center of Alexandrian Studies, France

Mereya Island, east of Mereya Island, south of Mariut Lake, Alexandria
Valerie Pichot, Center of Alexandrian Studies, France

Mastaba of Akhethetep, Saqqara
Christiane Ziegler, Louvre Museum, France

Ramesseum Temple, Tombs of Ramesses II and Merenptah (KV 7 and KV 8), el-Ashraf Cem., Sheigh Abd el-Qurna
Christian Leblanc, National Center for Scientific Research/Friends of Ramesseum, Louvre Museum, SCA, France

Unas Pyramid, Teti, Merenre I, Ankh-es-en-pepy II, Saqqara
Audran Labrousse, National Center for Scientific Research/Academy of Arts, France

Bubasteion Cemetery, Saqqara
Alain Zivie, National Center for Scientific Research, France

Architectural Mawlawi Complex in Shari Es-Siufiya 31, Helmeiah Gedida, Cairo
Giuseppe Fanfoni, The Egyptian-Italian Center for Archaeology and Restoration, Italy

Istabl Antar, Fostat
Roland Gayraud, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology, France

Bayt Al Razzaz, Cairo
American Research Center in Egypt, U.S.A.

Old Cairo
Gerry D. Scott, American Research Center in Egypt, U.S.A.

Khayer Bek Complex and Umm As-sultan Sha'ban Madrasa
Mohamed el Mekawi, Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Switzerland

Qubbat Afafendina, Old Cairo
Agnieszka Dobrowolska, Netherlands-Flemish Institute, The Netherlands

Mausoleum of Ruqayya Dudu and Bint Badawiyya Shahin
Nairy Hampikian and May Ahmed El-Ebrashy, University of Oxford, England, Great Britain

Aslam al-Silhdar Mosque, Cairo
Gerry D. Scott, American Research Center in Egypt, U.S.A.

Fakhany Mosque, Cairo
Agnieszka Dobrowolska, Netherlands-Flemish Institute, The Netherlands

Qasr Alam, Qaret Atub, Bahariya Oasis
Frederic Colin, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology, France

Badia Mount, Agama, Abu Drurub, Ain Barka, Abu Regoum, Qata Fayer Valley
Francois Paris, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology, France

Om Balad, Red Sea
Helen Cuivgny, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology, France

Kom Al Helgan, Mansoura
Beatrix M. Reynes, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology/Research Center Toulouse Univ., France

Ala Aïdma, Ben Esna, Edfu
Beatrix M. Reynes, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology, France

Qaytbay Citadel, Alexandria
Jean Y. Empereur, Center of Alexandrian Studies, France

Kom el-Shoqafa, Ein Fushi, Tegran, Alexandria
Jean Y. Empereur, Center of Alexandrian Studies, France

Monastery of St. Catherine, South Sinai
Sofia Kalopissi, University of Athens, Greece

Monastery of St. Catherine, South Sinai
Roberto Nardi, Center for Conservation/Archeology, Rome, Italy

Abu Mina, Alexandria
Peter Grossmann, German Archaeological Institute, Germany

New Kingdom Cemetery, North Dahshur
So Hasegawa, Institute of Egyptology, Waseda University, Japan, Japan

Mastaba of Idut, Saqqara
Hiroshi Suita, Kansai University, Japan

Tahna el-Gebel, Minya
Hiroyuki Kawanishi, Institute of History and Human Science, Tsokuba, Japan

Chatby 1 and 2, Alexandria
Harry E. Tzalas, Institute of Hellenic Underwater Archaeology, Greece

First and Third Intermediate Period Cemetery, Ahnasya al-Medina, Beni Suef
Maria C. Perez, Spanish National Museum, Spain

Meidum, Beni Suef
Luis M. Gonzalez, Egyptian Museum, Barcelona; Univ. of Utunoma, Spain

Bahnasa, Minya
Joseph Padro, Barcelona University, Spain

Mit Rahina, Qasr Apries, Kom Touman
Maria H. Trindade, Faculty of Social and Human Science, Nova University in Bulgaria, Bulgaria

Djedefre's pyramid, Western Cemetery, Abu Rawash
Michel A. Valloggia, Geneva University, Switzerland

Om el-Balad, Red Sea
Helene Cuvigny, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology, France

Petosiris Tomb, Tuna el-Gebel, Minya
Jean P. Corteggiani, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology, France

Sixth Dynasty Tomb, Ayn Asil, Dakhla Oasis
Georges Soukiassian, French Institute of Oriental Archaeology, France

Parerekeya , Alexandria
Francis Choel and Marie Jacquemin, Center of Alexandrian Studies, Alexandria, France
Marie D. Nenna, Lomir University-Lyon 2, France

South and Middle Quft, Qena
Laure Pantalacci, Lormir University, Lyon Univ., and Mark Bloche, France

Abusir, Balentin tomb, Borg el-Azzab, Taposiris, North Beach
Marie F. Boussac, Korbi Institute, Lyon University, France

Amun Temple, Sa el-Hagar, Sharkeya
Philippe Brissaud, Scientific School of High Studies, Dept. of Regional Science, France

Khaleg, Abu Qir, Eastern Port (Heraklion), Alexandria
Frank Goddio, European Institute of Underwater Antiquities, France

Tell el-Hir, North Sinai
Dominique Valebelle, Sorbonne University, France,

Citadel el-Deir, Kharga Oasis
Francoise Dunand, Center of Research and History of the Region, Mark Bloche Univ., Sitra Borg, France

Isis Temple, Aswan area
Cornelius V. Pilgrim, Swiss Institute, Switzerland

Naga el-Hagar, Aswan
Michael Q. Mackensen, Swiss Institute, Switzerland

Nelson Island, Alexandria
Paolo Gallo, Turin University, Italy

El Bahrain Temple, Siwa Oasis
Paolo Gallo, Turin University, Italy

Mina Guesis, Safaga South, Red Sea
Rodolo Fattovich, Italian Institute of African and Eastern Studies, Napoli University, Italy

Tombs of Moustafa Kamel, Alexandria
Nicola Bonacasa, Palermo University, Sicily, Italy

Kom el-Ghoraf, El Behera
Loredana Sist, Faculty of Human Studies, Rome University, La Sapienza, Italy

Valley of el-Mahfi, Sheik el Abbiad, Ain Dela, Farafra Oasis
Barbara E. Barich, La Sapienza, Rome University, Italy

Tukh el-Karamous, Zagazig
Enrico Acquaro, Bologna University, Italy

Kom um Alati, Tamia, Faiyum
Sergio Pernigotti, Bologna University, Italy

Demeyet el-Sabeya, Tamia, Faiyum
Mario Capasso, Lecce University, Italy

Medinati Khelwa, Maadi, Faiyum
Edda Bresciani, Pisa University, Italy

Huy Tomb (TT 14), Dra Abu el-Naga
Marilina Betro, Pisa University, Italy

Sheikh Ibada, Minya
Rosarioi Pintaudi, Institute of Papyrus Science, Italy

Tombs of the Nobles, West Aswan
Maysoun Alkhouri, Institute of Cultural Heritage and Restoration and Earth, Italy

Hawara, Faiyum Oasis
Willy Clarysse and Inge Uytterhoeven, Catholic Leuven University, Dept. of Ancient History, Belgium

Djeutyhetep Tomb (17L201), Ihenhetep (17K 85/1), Ige (101), Khnumhetep (103), Djehutynakht, Deir el-Bersha, Minya
Harco Willems, Catholic Leuven University, Dept. of Ancient History, Belgium

Amenemopet Tomb (TT 29), Sennefer (TT96), Sheikh Abd el-Qurna
Roland Tefnin, Free Brussels University, Belgium

El-Hoche, South Edfu, Aswan
Dirk L. Huyge, Museum of Art and History, Belgium

Citao Bilkab Tomb, Aswan
Luc J. Limme, Museum of Art and History, Belgium

Tell Ibrahim Awad, Sharkeya
Willem M. Van Haarlem, Amsterdam University, The Netherlands

Tell el-Far'ain, Buto, Kafr el-Sheikh
Ulrich Hartung, German Institute, Germany

El-Wahi Temple, Orami Mount, Siwa Oasis
Klaus P. Kuhlmann, German Institute, Germany

B Cemetery, Khasekhemwy, Peribsen, Umm el-Qaab, Abydos
Gunter Dreyer, DAIK, Germany

Khnum Temple, Hekaib Chapel, Elephantine Island, Aswan
Dietrich Raue, DAIK, Germany

Qantir, Sharkeya
Edgar B. Pusch, Hildesheim Museum, Germany

Pepi Temple, Tell el-Basta, Sharkeya
Christian O. Tietze, Potsdam University, Germany

Kom el-Giza, Kom el-Hamam, Behera
Marianna Bergmann and Michael Heinzelmann, Goettingen University, Germany

Kom el-Ahmar, Sharuna, Minya
Farouk El Gomaa, University of Tübingen, Germany, Germany

Tuna el-Gebel, Minya
Dieter Kessler and Abd Halim Nur el-Din, Egyptology Institute, Munich Univ; Faculty of Archaeology, Cairo University, Germany

First Intermediate period tombs, Iti-ib-I III, Haty I and II (4 and 5), Asyut
Jochem A. Kahl and Mahmoud Elkhadragy, Egyptology and Coptic Institute, Munster University; Faculty of Art, Dept. of Egyptology, Ganoub el-Wady University, Germany

Athribis, Sheikh Hamid, Sohag
Christian K. Leitz, Coptic and Egyptology Institute, Munster University, Germany

Abu Garara, Abu Mahariq, Abu Balat, Khufu, Gebel el-Aiwayanat, Western Desert
Rudolph H. Kuper, Cologne University, Germany

Edfu Temple, Aswan
Dieter F. Kurth, Hamburg University, Germany

El-Hez, South Bahariya Oasis
Miroslav Bárta, Czech Institute of Egyptology, Charles University, Czech Republic

Tomb of Merer-neb-ef, Saqqara West
Karol M. Jan, Institute of Archaeology, Mediterranean Sea, Warsaw University for Technology, Poland

Tell el-Farkha, Rasela, Simbelwyn, Dahleia
Marek Chlodnicki and Krzysztof M. Cialowicz, Institute of Archaeology, Mediterranean Sea, Warsaw University for Technology, Poland

Kom el-Dikka, Alexandria
Grzegorz M. Marian, Institute of Archaeology, Mediterranean Sea, Warsaw University for Technology, Poland

Marina, Alexandria
Hanna Szymanska, Institute of Archaeology, Mediterranean Sea, Warsaw University for Technology, Poland

Houses H21e, H19e, E, H10, H1; Tombs T12, T1k, T1gh, Marina, Alexandria (Restoration)
Stanislaw Medeksza, Institute of Archaeology, Mediterranean Sea, Warsaw University for Technology, Poland

Marina, Alexandria (Excavation)
Wiktor A. Daszewski, Institute of Archaeology, Mediterranean Sea, Warsaw University for Technology, Poland

North Sinai, Il Farma Theater (Pelusium)
Michal Gawlikowski, Institute of Archaeology, Mediterranean Sea, Warsaw University for Technology, Poland

Rock ramp behind Hatshepsut's temple, Deir el-Bahari, Western Thebes
Andrzej Niwinski, Warsaw University, Poland, and Shafia Bedier, Faculty of Arts, Ain Shams University, Egypt

Kaseba Shaft, Safsaf, Tarfawy, Naga el-Mobtah Desert, Western Desert
Romuald V. Schild, Polish Academy of Science, Poland

Helmi Warashdi Village, Tell el-Daba, Sharkeya
Manfred Bietak, Institute of Archaeology, Vienna University, Austria, Austria

Taposiris Magna Temple, North Beach, West of Alexandria
Gyozo Voros, , Budapest University, Hungary

Tomb of Amenhotep (TT61), El-Kokha
Phil H. Ermo Gaal, Lorand-Eotvos University, Hungary

Nebamun Tomb (TT65), Sheikh Abd el-Qurna
Tamas A. Bacs, Lorand-Eotvos University, Hungary

Shaft El-Menih, Eastern Desert
Ulrich E. Luft, Lorand-Eotvos University, Hungary

Tell el-Amarna, Minya
Paul J. Nicholson, EES, Great Britain

Tell el-Balamun, Dahleya
Alan J. Spencer, British Museum, Great Britain

Kom Farain, Behera
Neal A. Spencer, British Museum, Great Britain

Hathor em-khebit tomb, Edfu, Sobek mek bilkab, Aswan
William V. Davies, British Museum, Great Britain

Hierakonpolis, Kom el-Ahmar, Edfu
Renee F. Friedman, British Museum; Arkansas University, Great Britain

Zawiet Om el-Rakham, Marsa Matrouh
Steven R. Snape, Liverpool University, Great Britain

Ankhtifi tomb, El Moa'lla
Mark A. Collier, Liverpool University, Great Britain

Mahaga Urit kefra, Gebel el Asr, Toshka
Ian M. Shaw, Liverpool University, Britain

Islamic Roman Port, el-Quseir, el-Kadim
David P. Peacock, Southampton University, Great Britain

Western Beach of Mariut Lake
Lucy K. Blue, Southampton University, Great Britain

Tombs of Kagemni, Ptahhotep II, Saqqara
Yvonne Harpur, University of Oxford, England, Great Britain

Sa el-Hagar, Harbeya, Kafr el-Sheikh
Penelope Wilson, Durham University, Great Britain

City of Watfa, Kasr el-Nebat, Faiyum
Cornelia Romer, Archaeology Institute, University of London, Great Britain

Tell el-Amarna, Ranefer's house, Small Aten Temple, Minya
Barry J. Kemp, McDonald Institute of Archaeology, Great Britain

Zawiet Sultan, el-Minya
Barry J. Kemp, McDonald Institute of Archaeology, Great Britain

Tell Edfu
Nadine Moeller, Cambridge University, Great Britain

Between el-Fushi and el-Agami
Galina A. Belova, Russian Institute for Archaeology and Egyptology Studies, Russia

Tomb G7498, Eastern Cemetery, Giza
Eleonora Kormycheva, Russian University for Human Studies, Russia

Tell el-Tebela, Eastern Delta
Gregory D. Mumford, Toronto University, Canada

Tell el-Markha, South Sinai
Gregory D. Mumford, Toronto University, Canada

Tell el-Mahshala, Sharkeya
Sabrina R. Rampersad, Toronto University, Canada

Amunmesse (TT89); Aye (TT120), Sheikh Abd el-Qurna
Robert L. Shaw and Lyla P. Brock, Royal Ontario Museum, Canada

Asmant el-Kharab; Mut el-Kharab, el-emhada; Nekhesamun Temple, Ain Darbiya, Dakhla Oasis
Anthony J. Mills, Royal Ontario Museum, Canada

Wadi el-Madura, el-Kharga Oasis
Mary M. McDonald, Calgary University, Canada

Om ed-Debadib, Wadi Ain Amur, North el-Kharga Oasis
Salima Ikram and Corinna Rossi, American University in Cairo and Cambridge University, Great Britain.

Giza, Database Project
Mark E. Lehner and Margaret Watters, National Geographic Society; SCA, U.S.A.

Ahmose Pyramid Temple; Tetisheri Chapel, Abydos
Stephen P. Harvey, Univ. of Chicago; Univ. of Pennsylvania; Yale University, U.S.A.

Western Cemetery, Giza
Ann Roth, Howard University, U.S.A.

Tell el-Rub'a, Mendes, Dahleya
Donald B. Redford, Pennsylvania State University, U.S.A.

Hierakonpolis, Temple and Town
Elizabeth J. Walters and David P. Gold, Pennsylvania State University, U.S.A.

Teti Cemetery, Saqqara
David P. Silverman, University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Shunet ez-Zebib, North Cemetery, Abydos
David O'Connor and Matthew D. Adams, University Museum, Univ. of Pennsylvania; New York University; Yale University, U.S.A.

Complex of Senwosret III, South Abydos
Josef Wegner, University Museum, Univ. of Pennsylvania; New York University; Yale University, U.S.A.

Wadi Um el-Qa'ab, Wadi Gir, High Desert, Abydos
Harold L. Dibble, Univ. of Pennsylvania; Yale University, U.S.A.

Luxor way, Farshout, Sahrawi, Reyaneya Desert, Temple and Mount of Gaweta, Krakour Oasis, Toshka Desert
John C. Darnell and Deborah Darnell, Yale University, U.S.A.

Middle Cemetery, Abydos
Janet E. Richards, University of Michigan, U.S.A.

SCA Magazine, Dendara
Sharon C. Herbert and Henry T. Wright, University of Michigan, U.S.A.

Tell el-Borg, North Sinai
James K. Hoffmeier, Trinity University, U.S.A.

Fag el-Gamous Tomb, Faiyum
Charles W. Griggs, Brigham Young University, U.S.A.

Qarit Rosas, Qarit el-Hamra; Watfa City, Faiyum
Willeke Wendrich, UCLA; Groeningen University, U.S.A.

El Hiba, Beni Suef
Carol A. Redmount, University of California at Berkeley, U.S.A.

Tomb of Rai (72) and Amose (121), Sheikh Abd el-Qurna
Peter A. Piccione, Charleston University, U.S.A.

Tell el-Reba, North Sinai
Silvia A. Lupo, Art and Philosophy Faculty, Buenos Aires University, Argentina

El Katrani Mount, ramp, Basalt Quarries, Faiyum
Guillermo A. Cornero, Science and Engineering Faculty, National Rosario University, Argentina

Archaic Period, Esbit Alwalda, Helwan
Eva C. Kohler, Australian Institute of Egyptology Studies, Macquarie University, Australia

Dakhla Oasis
Jennifer Simmons, Washington University, U.S.A.

Kom Truga, el-Behera
Suzanna Fenick, The Oriental Academy of Restoration,

Djoser Pyramid, Saqqara
Machinuri Ochari, Komazeru University, Japan

Tomb of Menna (TT69), Sheikh Abd el-Qurna
Melinda Hartwig, American Research Center in Egypt, Georgia State Unviersity, U.S.A.

Deir el-Medina tombs, Luxor
Nadine Cherpion, IFAO, France

Armant temple, Esna
Christophe Thiers, IFAO, France

Djoser Pyramid, Saqqara
Bruno Deslandes, UNESCO

Kom el-Shuqafa tomb, Alexandria
Jan F. Embro, Institute of Alexandrian Studies

West Bank Tombs, Luxor
Sybil Imeri, IFAO, France

Waterfall Garden, Alexandria
Kalliope Baba Costa, Hellenic Institute for Alexandrian Research, Greece

Ankhor tomb, Assasif
Manfred Bietak, Austrian Institute of Archaeology, Austria

El-Ashraf cemetery, Sheikh Abd el-Qurna
Barbara Engelmann, Heidelberg University, Germany

Tuna el-Gebel, Minya
Katia Lembeck, Berlin University, Germany

Western Maadi Excavation
Ulrich Hartung, German Institute, Germany

Quesna, Munifiyah
Joanne Rowland, Oxford University, Britain

Tomb 23, Sheikh Abd el-Qurna
Galina A. Belova, Russian Institute for Archaeology and Egyptology Studies, Russia

Osireion, Temple of Seti I, Abydos
James Westermann, Arizona University, U.S.A.

Conservation in the Valley of the Queens, Luxor
Neville Agnew, Paul Getty Institute of Conservation, U.S.A.

Valley of the Kings tombs, Luxor
Eugene Cruz, Northern Arizona University, U.S.A.

Taposiris Magna Temple, Alexandria
Kathleen Martinez, Catholic Santa Domingo University

Meir tombs, Asyut
Naguib Kanawati, Macquarie University, Australia

Frasier Tombs, Minya
Elizabeth Thompson, Macquarie University, Australia

Renowned British archaeologist W.M. Flinders Petrie (SCA Archive)

French archaeologist Alain Zivie explores the Tomb of Maia at Saqqara (Kenneth Garrett)

Nineteenth Century archaeologists pose for a portrait (SCA Archive)

Otto Schaden examines a coffin in KV 63 in the Valley of the Kings (Sandro Vannini)

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Getting Real about Chasing Mummies “reality” show

Getting Real about Chasing Mummies “reality” show: "I have not posted anything about Chasing Mummies so far because I find the show cheap and contrived with little to do about Egyptology. But the following excerpt from York Dispatch says it all and much better.

Hawass is a very big deal in his field and a superstar in his country. And he didn’t get there by being Dr. Nice Guy. (In Chasing Mummies) He’s a tyrant with a short fuse, and he detonates in nearly every other scene.

When not exploding, Hawass betrays an avuncular nature, nurturing young female interns in the ways of Egyptology. Often in tight spaces. But at his most entertaining, he’s a shouter, a screamer, a terminator, if you will. If you can imagine an older, slightly sun-baked Omar Sharif-type portraying the Soup Nazi from “Seinfeld,” you’ve come close to picturing our mummy chaser.

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Newsletter from KNH Centre Manchester Uni

Dear Friend of Ancient Egypt,

Those of you who were unable to attend our recent Summer School might be interested to know that the opening lecture, given by Professor Rosalie David, is now available to view on-line via the KNH Centre website (on the right side of the home page, click on events):

Bookings for the 2010 Certificate Course in Egyptology are now closed.
However, we are still recruiting for the short (six week) on-line courses in Egyptology. For information on these courses, including fees and registration, look at the front page of the KNH Centre website (link as above).

Upcoming Events For Your Diary:

August 2010: Publication of Myths and Legends of Ancient Egypt by Joyce Tyldesley

23 October 2010 EES NORTH Launch Event: Landscape Development And Climate Change In Ancient Egypt: The Delta And The Valley The Egypt Exploration Society will be launching EES North in October this year. EES North will run Society events in the north of England at various venues, beginning with a study day and reception in Manchester. The study day will present a series of talks by EES field directors on their recent field work.
For further details see

12th February 2011: Magic Medicine and Science in Ancient Egypt:
Recent Research at the KNH Centre
Full details including a programme and booking form will be available on the KNH Centre web site in September/October.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Luxor Museum Lecture Striking Cobra, Spitting Fire – Kasia Szpakowska

Striking Cobra, Spitting Fire – Kasia Szpakowska
Firstly many thank to Kasia performing under difficult circumstances, the venue was changed with minutes to go and we lost the projector for a few seconds half way through, nothing fazed her. Secondly I had no light for note taking so it was tricky but I did my best. Corrections welcome as always.
The cult of the snake in Ancient Egypt
The cobra was an important symbol throughout Egyptian history. One of the earliest representations shows King Den of Dynasty 1 with a cobra or uraeus on his brow. However in the early times it does not seem to have a cult associated with it. The same image is show on Tutankamun’s death mask and an image of Emperor Hadrian Ad 133-134, so a huge span as an emblem but actual worship seems to be confined to a smaller period.

The cobra is associated with a variety of female deities Wadjet the delta/Lower Egypt lady and Meretsegner, the rearing cobra associated with Thebes.
Although snakes are abudndant in Egypt they are not worshipped in themselves. However they do appear twine as hieroglyphics both f the horned viper and dj the cobra. Aside of symbols is there any evidence of cult worship. We see the king pouring libations to gods and non royal like the lady pouring a libation to her ancestor but do we see any evidence of anyone worshiping a cobra.

Mostly we have objects, Dr Kasia then showed several slides of cobra objects and pointed out that they were not easy to identify and often missed. Originally she started with 2 one in Bolton museum and one in the British Museum now she has over 650 and is still finding more, most of these are fragments . This is a bit of chunky link but it does have some pictures of the objects she was talking about on pages 4 and 5 plates 156 -167. The fragments can be divided into head, torso and base. There are also a range of shapes. They are found in a variety of places e.g. Zur, Akoris, Amarna, Sakkara (a burial).
They are often found in domestic situations similar to the female figurines. They are found in the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age, mostly in the period of the empire Tuthmosis III to Ramses II although there are some Third intermediate Period examples. They are also found in the area or influence of the empire. Often in coastal area, from Lebanon to Libya and less often down to Thebes. They are mostly of fired clay but can occasionally be of mud. At Beth Shan although they look Egyptian and are made in the Egyptian way they are made of local materials.
Found in both domestic and military sites like garrisons they seem to be domestic and a cult object that did not need a priest to channel worship through. It was something you could use at home. Sometimes they appear to have a headdress. Petrie actually give the site places he found them at 8 long street and 9 main street, one in a living room and the other on a shelf. So very domestic, at Amarna female figurines, Bes, Tawsret and cobra were found. The objects found with them are also interesting, hair balls and spindles amongst others.
So what did the ancient Egyptian do with these figurines?
Decoration gives a bit of a clue, they seem to have spotted backs like that shown by Meretsegner in an offering scene and could have offering tables in front. Possible a votive object for Wadjet who being a delta goddess where there is a high occurrence. This object UC14439 shows a big snake with two little snakes in front and it is possible these objects are a 3d version of this picture.
Interestingly there have been none found at Deir el Medina so that does confuse the issue a little.
Possible these were representations of Renenutet or the combination goddess Renenutet/Meretsegner. She is a harvest goddess and these can be depicted around granaries.
Also possible is Neith as her emblem often appears inside the hood of the Uraeus and there is a warrior connection with the garrisons.
One object shows Tjawy a priest of Weret-hekau who is another contender she is mentioned depicted with garlands of flowers and there is decoration on them that could be garlands.
Interestingly there is a spell that calls upon cats to protect against scorpions and snakes. Scorpions are sometimes called the wives of snakes. Nightmares are blamed on evil entering and this could be warded off by putting in each corner of the room ‘four uraei made of pure clay’.
The cobra also represented the sun for the king and its action is to spit fire which is shown as dots. The non elite used them as protection. The venom is like fire when it lands in the eyes so a powerful goddess could take this form. Kasia showed a spitting cobra which can send out its venom for 3 meters and the real picture looked just like the representations in the reliefs.

A special report on Egypt: The long wait | The Economist

A special report on Egypt: The long wait | The Economist: "Schools and hospitals are indeed free to enter, but they are grim, bare, crowded places where getting learning or treatment requires cash that many still do not have. The lower middle class of army officers and bureaucrats who rose in the revolution have joined the gentry they were supposed to have ousted, adopted their haughty ways and now share Egypt’s spoils with them. The poor still queue for government-subsidised bread and must scrimp and save to buy a pair of shoes.

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A fascinating report on Egypt, the particular quote I have chosen explains why baksheesh is still so vital for the many Egyptians just to keep them in necessitys.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Understanding Temples

I got asked a question by a reader which was perfectly answered by an essay I had to do and he suggested I share it with my readers as the summer is quiet for discoveries.

Describe the major differences and similarities between a cult temple and a royal mortuary temple of the New Kingdom, giving a detailed description of at least one of each.

For the purposes of this essay, temples of Amarna period are excluded.

It is surprising that the terminology used by Egyptologists for many years, to describe the temples, is actually quite difficult to define; this seems to be a recognised problem. There are also slight variations on these terms such as divine instead of cult and memorial instead of mortuary. Should they even be used? “For all these reasons, one should not divide the principle temples of ancient Egypt into categories ’mortuary’ and ‘divine’. “The temples functions and symbolic representations were on the one hand too varied and on the other hand too intertwined” (Shafer, 1998, p. 4).

The ancient Egyptians refer to the two varieties of temple differently, "Mansion of Millions of Years" (Hwt-n t-HH-m-mp.wt), for mortuary temples and "Mansion of the God" (hwt-nTr) for the cult temple, but without defining what is actually meant by the terms. Traditional differentiations such as mortuary temples being situated on the west bank and cult temples on the east don’t help as there are examples of both on the opposite sides. Some kings also built more than one temple of each type on a different side of the river. For example Tuthmosis III built a Temple of Millions of years at Karnak, on the East Bank, the so called Festival Hall; he also built on the West Bank in the northern Assasif. This temple is also called a Temple of a Million of Years (Myriam Seco Alvarez, 2010, private communication). He also built at Deir el Bahri and dedicated that temple to Amun, so that is an example of a cult temple on the West Bank.

To use the area devoted to the royal mortuary cult as a definition as to whether the temple is a mortuary temple is also problematic. Can the Gurna temple of Seti I seriously be called a mortuary temple when the royal cult is a tiny part off the back of the building which is reached by exiting the temple proper and going down the side to the back on the southern wall. Whereas the main temple has chapels to Osiris, Ptah, Amun, Mut and Khonsu as well as a sun altar which are so much bigger and more prominent. Then there are temples like the Seti I temple at Abydos which, although it does have a chapel dedicated to Seti I, it also has numerous other chapels, which precludes us from saying that if the temple has a chapel to the king, no matter what size, that makes it a mortuary temple. The temple at Abydos is a very special cult temple to Osiris. Consequently, actually defining what is a mortuary or cult temple is fraught with difficulties.

Thankfully for the purposes of this essay other sources are more willing to come down on one side of the fence. “The cult temple is the easiest for us to understand for it is the place where a particular god or gods resided and where cultic activities took place, which we might term worship. The mortuary temple, in contrast, was the royal version of the mortuary chapels attached to private tombs, and its most basic purpose was to provide offerings for the use of the dead king and to ensure his beneficial survival in the afterlife” (Snape, 1996, p. 8). So for our purposes we can take this simplified definition. Indeed the very first mortuary temple built by Hatshepsut was built on the eastern side of the monument surrounding the tomb mimicking the Old Kingdom mortuary temple on the side of a pyramid. It was just that her structure was the rather large natural mountain (Andrzej Cweik, private communication, 2010).

It wasn’t until the New Kingdom that temples were built of stone. Our knowledge of what preceded them or how the design came about is necessarily slim as their predecessors do not survive. Kemp suggests that temple history and design can be categorized as follows “… the late Old and Middle Kingdoms by ‘Early Formal’ temples with a rectilinear plan but with limited use of stone, succeeded in turn by “Mature Formal” temples of the New Kingdom with more extensive use of stone and finally by “Late Formal” structures on uniformly massive scale, familiar to modern visitors to Ptolemaic and Roman Period sandstone temples from Philae to Dendera " (Kemp, 1991, pp. 65-79). The temples of the New Kingdom come into the Mature Formal category. It is probable that the layout was similar to earlier temples; there must have always been a special sacred area where the statue of the God resided. This was at a higher level than the rest of the area and the later design of slightly ascending floor level copies this.

It seems as though the overall plan was loosely defined and the selection of, and number of elements, courtyard, hall and sanctuary, was a matter of personal choice. “The open courtyard, pillared hall and hidden sanctuary might be said broadly to coincide with the parts of an Egyptian House” (Snape, 1996, p. 10). The mortuary temple used these same elements, open courtyard, hypostyle halls, sanctuary, in the same order making the cult temple the inspiration for the mortuary temple. “I therefore suggest that the royal temples are offshoots from the more central divine tradition” (Bains, 1997, p. 223).
The temple did not only consist of the temple proper but all the ancillary buildings, gardens, storage, workshops and housing. See Fig 1. So both secular and divine requirements could be met. Processional ways, although outside the temple boundaries are an important part of the
overall design, where God met the people even if he was hidden in the barque shrine. The temple precinct overall design was also not rigid, although various elements are generally incorporated. For example although it has been diligently searched for, no sacred lake or well has been found at the Ramasseum (Christian Le Blanc, private communication, 2008). So each king would select or emphasis elements he favoured.

“… the standard plan was probably never thought of by the Egyptians as a firm blueprint for temple design but was merely a collection of individual architectural units which satisfactorily served their particular functions. Variations on a theme were the norm rather than the exception. At its broadest, the temple is a recreation of the landscape of creation, the place where, at the ‘first time’, land arose from the waters of chaos and order (Maat) was created from chaos” (Snape, 1996, p. 29).

As well as following the pattern of a house the temple also followed the design of world around them. “Ceilings are covered in stars, columns take the form of papyrus and lotus (both marsh plants), whilst the floor level of the temple rose” (Snape, 1996, pp. 30-31). Snape goes on to say that the undulating walls may have been built to mimic the waters of Nun and that the pylons represent the hieroglyph for the horizon. Orientation is generally East to West although there are occasional exceptions like Luxor temple. This meant that the sun would rise and set between the pylons.

The external decoration of the temple shows “the king acting as a king in the sight of gods and man” and the internal “the king carrying out service” to the god “(Snape, 1996, p. 33). The front of the pylon often shows war like scenes. The king smiting his enemies is a common theme and carries the hidden meaning of the king subduing external chaos in his role of upholder of Maat. The pylons at Karnak have many examples of this. Another common scene is the king being heroic and warlike in a chariot firing arrows against enemies. Various gods accompany the scenes, often the God of the cult temple, a recording God like Thoth or Seshat or an alternative warlike God like Neith or Sekhmet. Often there is a list of captive towns and this would have added a propaganda advantage.

Within the temple the king would be shown making offerings to the Gods, both the God of the temple and other Gods in the pantheon. At one and the same time the king is showing reverence for the Gods and the Gods would be rewarding the king for this act of devotion. Important events in the king’s life are often recorded. For example the coronation of the king, examples are at Medinet Habu and Karnak.

To paraphrase (Snape, 1996, p. 10) the function of a cult temple was to provide a hidden place for the statue of the god and a place of theatre. The temple was a possible site(s) of a Heb Seb or coronation celebration but most importantly it was the house of the God, where he/she resided, where offerings were received, incense burnt, specific clothing worn, dances performed and the God revitalised. Cult temples could be at a national or local level, national ones could host functions like the coronation of the king or his Heb Seb festival.

It was also important for the king to be seen to build temples. “Temple building was an essential activity in the maintenance of Maat” (Snape, 1996, p. 30). The king had to be seen to be offering to the Gods in perpetuity.

Our use of the word priest carries much baggage from our own culture, for example it implies pastoral care of the congregation, teaching the theology and rites of passage such as christenings. These were not aspects of the role of an Egyptian priest. He was a servant to the God and his role was to serve the god. Just like a servant in an ordinary house.

What are the differences and similarities between a mortuary temple and a cult temple? A mortuary temple has a chapel for the benefit of the king and the royal ka. This mortuary temple is the place for “offerings for the nourishment of the dead king’s ka, part of the royal tomb complex like the pyramid complexes” and the temple itself “is based on contemporary cult temples” (Snape, 1996, p. 41). This does not have to be the prime or only function of the temple but can be restricted to a small part of the temple like that of Seti I. The design however is the same for both temples selecting one or more of the various elements from all the possible ones for both temple complex and the actual building.
There are also other, less important differences as well. Rather than God related heads to the sphinxes, such as rams headed sphinxes at Karnak and Luxor temples there are jackal headed sphinxes. Merenptah and Ramses II had dozens of these at their temples and there are still examples on site. There is often a temple palace attached to a mortuary temple. This was not where the king lived but merely a summer house or picnic hut used during ceremonies held at the temple as there were no kitchens (Stadelmann, 2005, private communication).
So it is the function that is different in the two types of temple, not the design, location or elements and this function can be limited to a small part of the temple.

A good example of a mortuary temple is the temple of Seti I. The diagram (Fig 1) shows the layout of the temple and the surrounding area. “The main building was laid out along the classic tripartite design of Theban memorial temples, with a back portion housing the inner cult rooms, preceded by two open courts fronted by mud brick pylon gateways and enclosed by side walls”
(Brand, 2000, p. 229). The gateway of the first pylon is made from limestone and is decorated. It has two open courtyards with a possible roofed colonnade (Stadelmann, 2005, private communication), leading to a portico with three entrances. To the left or southern side of the first courtyard is a small temple palace. It has two entrances and in the middle there is a pillared hall with a flight of steps leading to a window of appearances. These windows allowed the king to
appear to selected individuals surrounded by scenes showing power and majesty, often to present costly rewards such as collars of gold.

The second courtyard is at a higher level than the first courtyard and is the Heb Seb courtyard. This courtyard is surrounded by a wall. The right (most northern) entrance leads to an open area with an altar used for the worship of the sun. “There is a stairwell leading up to what must have been a rooftop shrine to the sun god” (Brand, 2000, p. 232). The central entrance leads to a hypostyle hall with a number of side rooms. Side chapels show the king offering or having libations poured over him.

This then leads to 5 chapels dedicated to Amun, Mut and Khonsu, the Theban triad, with the addition of chapels to Osiris and Ptah. These chapels are decorated with pictures of the barque shrine and the king making offerings to it. Above the entrances are pictures of the god to whom the chapel is dedicated. The central area was decorated with 2 goddesses suckling the king and many scenes to celebrate the ‘Beautiful Feast of the Valley’ (Stadelmann, 2005, private communication). Seti’s temple would have been the first stop on the west bank in this important festival. The King is invariable shown bowing, kneeling or inclined before the gods. The temple lines up with Karnak temple and from the hill behind the temple the first pylon is clearly visible. The hill surmounting the Valley of kings dominates the temple .

The left hand or southern entrance leads to a chapel dedicated to Ramses I, who never had time to build his own mortuary temple. To the rear of this sub temple are some fine false doors. Exiting the chapel at the side and going to the back behind the false doors of the Ramses I temple area there is a further chapel for the royal mortuary cult. This is the part that makes it different to a cult temple; there was a specific area where offerings could be made to the king who was buried in the Valley of Kings. The entrance halls are interconnected. The sanctuary floor is higher than those preceding it and the roof is lower, the smallest, darkest place. The roof of the temple has footprints carved into the floor so this must have had some significance.

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The temple of Khonsu at Karnak is an excellent example of a cult temple as the design is cohesive (see Fig 3) being executed by a limited number of kings Ramses III, IV and XII. When there are a lot of kings involved in the design, like at Karnak, the design is harder to see as there are so many additions and reworking. The gateway should be ignored as it is outside the time period being Ptolemaic.

The temple is connected to the both the Temple of Mut and Luxor temple by an avenue of sphinxes leading to a pylon. The axis is south/north which is probably dictated by the need to line up with Luxor temple via the avenue of sphinxes. A similar axial alteration was made at Luxor temple by Ramses II, “This prolific builder constructed a huge
pillared court and pylon on a new axis which swung east in order to align itself with Amun’s main temple at Karnak” (Wilkinson, 2000, pp. 166-167).

This avenue would have hosted the processions between the various temples and an opportunity for the populous to see the barque containing the statue of the God. Inside the pylon is a staircase leading to the top and several ‘windows’ can be seen at the top.

Behind the pylon there is just one open courtyard with a roofed colonnade, the columns are closed papyrus bud capitals. A set of steps lead to the hypostyle hall, which is lit by celestory windows and contains examples of open papyrus capitals. The columns support a higher central roof with closed bud capitals which support the side roof. The celestory windows are built in to the side wall between the high central roof and the side roofs. The temple further ascends until the area of the barque shrine and ambulatory around it. As the temple floor ascends the roof level descends. Leading off, in the south east corner, is a stairway leading to the roof which has a chapel. There are side rooms and at the back in the smallest, darkest place, the sanctuary, see Fig 3.

The interior decoration is of the king making offerings to a selection of gods and barques of the gods, not just to Khonsu. Only the ambulatory and inner chapels were decorated by kings of the New Kingdom, principally Ramses III and Ramses IV. The Theban triad dominate but the other moon god, Thoth is also present. Khonsu is shown both as a falcon headed god with a moon crescent and a young boy with a forelock of youth and moon insignia.

There are also important iconic images like the king receiving libations and unification of the two lands. The outside of the pylon is not decorated but if finished would have no doubt show the king smiting his enemies or a similar war like portrayal. The temple would have had a number of statues and there are still some remaining including a baboon , which is associated with moon and sun gods.

In conclusion there is no or little difference in design or decoration between a mortuary and cult temple, just the function.

Bains, J. (1997). Temples as symbols, guarantors and participants in Egyptian civilisation. In S. Quirke, The Temple in Ancient Egypt: New Discoveries and Recent Research. (pp. 216-235). London: British Museum Press.
Brand, P. J. (2000). The Monuments of Seti I - Epigraphic, Historical & Art Historical Analysis. Leiden; Boston; Koln: Brill.
Kemp, B. (1991). Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civlisation. London: Routledge.
Shafer, B. E. (1998). Temples. Priest and Rituals. In B. E. Shafer, Temples of Ancient Egypt (pp. 1-30). Tauris.
Snape, S. (1996). Egyptian Temples. Princes Risborough: Shire Publications.
Wilkinson, R. H. (2000). The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt. London: Thames & Hudson. last accessed Jan 2010

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

KNH Centre for Egyptology (The University of Manchester)

You can watch a lecture by Rosalie David from the Manchester Uni Summer School. it also talks about the Certificate, the Egyptology course I am doing.KNH Centre for Egyptology (The University of Manchester): "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Press Release - Two new tombs discovered at Saqqara | - Zahi Hawass

Do check the photos of this wonderful pair of tombs, such vivid colours. Nearly as good as Luxor :0

Press Release - Two new tombs discovered at Saqqara | - Zahi Hawass: "Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), who is also the leader of the excavation mission said that the tombs belong to a father, Shendwa, and his son, Khonsu. The father’s tomb consists of a painted false door depicting scenes of the deceased seated before an offering table. The door also bears the different titles of the tomb’s owner who was a top governmental official during the Sixth Dynasty (2374-2191 BC). He was the head of the royal scribes and the supervisor of the missions as well as other honorary titles.

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Wednesday, 7 July 2010

New Discovery

* SCA press release:

"Two rock-hewn painted tombs considered as two of the most distinguished tombs ever found from the Old Kingdom were discovered last week at Saqqara necropolis. Cultural Minister, Mr. Farouk Hosni, announced today that the tombs were found during a routine excavation carried out by an Egyptian mission at an area called "Gisr El-Mudir" located to the west of the Step Pyramid of Djoser. The team has been working in the area since 1968. Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the SCA, who is also the leader of the excavation mission, said that the tombs belong to a father, Shendwa, and his son, Khonsu. The father's tomb consists of a painted false door depicting scenes of the deceased seated before an offering table. The door also bears the different titles of the tomb's owner who was a top governmental official during the Sixth Dynasty (2374-2191 BC). He was the head of the royal scribes and the supervisor of the missions as well as other honorary titles. The tomb's burial shaft is located directly beneath the false door, meters below the ground level.
When Dr. Hawass descended into the tomb he realized that it was intact and had not previously been plundered by tomb robbers. Unfortunately Shendwas's wooden sarcophagus had disintegrated due to humidity and erosion. Beside the sarcophagus, a collection of limestone jars was found including five offering vessels carved in the shape of a duck. Upon opening the vessels, Dr. Hawass discovered that the bones of the ducks were still intact.
Inside the burial shaft a painted relief and a 30 cm tall obelisk made of limestone were also discovered. "This obelisk is a symbol of worshiping the sun god Re," said Hawass pointing out that the ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom used to erect small obelisks in front of their tombs and inside the temples related to the tombs of the Queens' pyramids. Next to the father's tomb, excavators discovered Shendwa's son Khonsu. It is a beautifully painted tomb with a false door bearing Khonsu's different titles. It appears that Khonsu inherited the same titles as his father. Excavators located an offering table just opposite to the false door as well as a stone lintel on the floor. Hawass said that the lintel is engraved with symbols that belong to the 6th dynasty. On top of the false door, is a small lintel depicting a colored relief of the deceased in different poses."