Friday, December 10, 2010

In Celebration of Coptic Art

Published during week of December 9-15, 2010 | Al-Ahram Weekly Online | by Nevine El-Aref | Excerpt:
Culture Minister Farouk Hosni said Coptic Art Revealed was the first locally- curated exhibition on Coptic art. It focuses on the splendours of the Coptic era and highlights the Copts' outstanding contribution to Egypt's diverse and rich heritage. The exhibition includes several painted icons by renowned artists as well as beautiful textiles; illuminated manuscripts; an excerpt from the famous Nagaa Hammadi scrolls; stone and wooden friezes with intricate Coptic designs and splendid objects for daily use.

Rare Find by Polish Archaeologists in Egypt

Originally published December 9, 2010 | New from Poland | Congratulations to the Polish team! "Polish archaeologists working in Egypt have discovered the burial places of some 400 people dating back to1 BC or even earlier."

What Explains a Peaceful Greek Trade City in Ancient Egypt?

Originally published December 10, 2010 | Kansas City infoZine | by Jeannine Chatterton-Papineau | Excerpt:

Dr. Alexander Fantalkin of Tel Aviv University's Department of Archaeology is delving deeper into this unique piece of ancient history to come up with a new explanation for how Naukrtis developed, and how its inhabitants managed to operate on foreign soil and create a new sense of common identity.

The Greeks that inhabited Naukrtis, explains Dr. Fantalkin, may have come from warring city states at home, but they formed a trade settlement in Egypt under the protection of powerful Eastern empires. This link not only brought them together as a culture, but explains how they were allowed to operate in the midst of Egyptian territory. Dr. Fantalkin's theory was recently presented at the Cultural Contexts in Antiquity conference in Innsbruck, Austria, and will soon be published in the proceedings of the conference.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Math Puzzles’ Oldest Ancestors Took Form on Egyptian Papyrus

Originally published: December 6, 2010 | the New York Times | by Pam Belluck | In ancient Egypt, math had a practical purpose. I doubt any scribe worth his hekat would question the reason he was solving any of these 85 problems, as modern students in the lower grades tend to do. I would say that it's not so surprising that most of the solutions to the problems in the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus are accurate. Ahmes' estimation of the value for Pi is almost spot-on. Therefore, it's no surprise that this culture built pyramids, the construction of which we moderns still can't fathom pursuing with tools that were known to have been used back them. For lack of a better defense: They were very clever.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Egyptian Bones Could Help Solve Canine Conundrum

Originally published November 29, 2010 | Spiegel Online International | Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan | Perhaps the secret to the mammalian evolution of canis lupus into the 400 breeds of dogs today, from dachshunds to Great Danes, can be found at Hamunaptra (Well, not per se; rather, the Temple of Anubis at Saqqara...but it's a romantic thought, no?). The article also features an array of beautiful art depicting the domesticated dog in ancient Egypt. On a side note, this gives me an idea for another historical fiction novel. I'll save it for the third in the series I'm currently working on, as I'm already working on an outline for the second.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

King Tut Secrets Go Online

Published July 20, 2010 | Press TV | It's a wonder that only a portion of all the data has been published about Tutankhamun. Why excavate if one is going to keep the information gained from it to one's self? I'm glad to see that this is becoming a trend - the trend of disseminating any and all information learned from excavations, scientific experiments, etc. Even better that it will be digitally available.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

An Oxford University scholar has made the information found by British Egyptologist Howard Carter during excavations at Tutankhamun's tomb available online.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Conference: Between Geb and Nut - the Egyptian View of the World

Published June 11, 2010 | El Blog Del Nilo - MARQ | by MARQ and presented by Marina Escolano Poveda | The following is an hour and a half-long video of the June 9th conference presented by Marina at the MARQ. She presents her lecture in Spanish. There is also a link to more videos on the exhibit, The Enigma of the Mummy, provided.

Hieroglyphs Study Day in Oxford

Published June 23, 2010 | Challenging the Past Blog | by Marsia Sfakianou Bealby | Takes place on June 26 from 10:30 to 3:30, Oxford time. Egyptologist-led study day at the Griffith Institute Archive and the Ashmolean Museum, limited to 10 people. Marsia's post also includes an itinerary, which includes taking a look at archival records at the Griffith and examining artifacts at the Ashmolean. Don't forget about the coffee!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Short Courses at the Manchester in Egyptology Available Online

Published May 11, 2010 | Egypt at the Manchester | by Karen Exell | The University of Manchester is offering six weeks, non-credit bearing courses in Egyptology-related topics online in October, 2010; February, 2011; and May, 2011. The registration fee per "short course" is £200 (not too shabby; a summer course online at my school is 10 times that!). And for the cherry on top: the director is Professor Rosalie David and the course tutor is Dr. Joyce Tyldesley. You can't get much better than those two scholars!

Classics and Egyptology Summer Classes at the University of Liverpool

Accessed June 1, 2010 | Egypt at the Manchester Museum | by Karen Exell | The School of Archaeology at the University of Liverpool is offering a summer school program that runs from July 26 through August 6 for those interested in the Classics or Egyptology. More information, including booking details and programme guides are available at the above link.

Monday, May 24, 2010

New Blog - El Blog del Nilo

Accessed May 20, 2010 | El Blog del Nilo | contributions by Marina Escolano Poveda and El Museo Arqueológico de Alicante | This latest addition to the Egyptological blog world is connected to the exhibits "El Enigma de la Momia" and "Objetos Egipcios en Alicante." Both are the newest temporary exhibits to be installed at the Archaeological Museum of Alicante. The following link describes the El enigma de la momia exhibit and features a video that showcases some artifacts and other images relating to it: Do check it out (and the exhibit, if you're in the area) and leave a comment while you're there.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

To Bury a Pharaoh - an Interview with Met Curator Dorothea Arnold

Published May 8, 2010 | Archaeology Magazine Online | by Eti Bonn-Muller | An interview with Met curator Dorothea Arnold who takes a fresh look at the leftover materials from Tutankhamun's mummification, which are the subject of an exhibit entitled Tutankhamun's Funeral at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Features photos and a very detailed conversation.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Baubles and Bangles Inspired by Ancient Egypt

Published May 12, 2010 | The New York Times | by Susan Joy | Many of these jewelry pieces inspired by Ancient Egypt are not as gaudy or gimmicky as you'd think. In fact, they are very beautiful and expertly made. Here's an excerpt - click the above link to read the rest, which also includes a great picture showcasing some of the jewelry:
Two of this year’s nominees for the accessories award that the Council of Fashion Designers of America will bestow next month found their way to Egypt via quite different routes. The Fallon designer Dana Lorenz, whose current collection is filled with ancient Egyptian iconography, admits to an obsessive addiction to the television series “Lost,” which she regards as “deeply embedded with Egyptian symbolism and hieroglyphs.” Her collection acquired its “spiritual and aesthetic inspiration,” she said, when, in the same week, she found “an incredible vintage King Tut pendant” and caught Elizabeth Taylor in “Cleopatra” on TCM.

Monday, March 29, 2010

False Door from Vizier's Tomb Discovered

Originally published March 29, 2010 | Yahoo! News and AP | An announcement about the very recent uncovering of a false door near the Temple of Karnak at Luxor of a royal 15th century B.C.E vizier. As with many ancient Egyptian artifacts, particularly those that are brick-like, it was reused for another building project during the Graeco-Roman Era. Although there is a picture of the find, I'd like to see a bigger one that showcases the inscriptions. It would be great practice for those, like me, who are currently studying ancient Egyptian. Should I find a great photograph of the false door, I shall post it here for the benefit of scholars and enthusiasts alike. For now, here is a decent picture where you can kind of make out the hieroglyphic signs, which is the typical offering formula you find on many funerary scenes:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Role of Women in Egypt's History Lecture - My Review

"What does Egypt have to do with Chicago?," you might wonder. I certainly do not, as I have come to know the rich cultural connection between this beautiful city and an ancient one and the many Egyptological opportunities that proliferate through its haunted streets and heavily embellished theaters, some having been frequented by the most infamous gangsters, from Dillinger to Capone. However, Chicago has cleared itself (mostly) clean of its corrupt history and has welcomed programs, events, and celebrations that have cultivated it into an Egyptological hot-spot, boasting names (both fictional and real) like Indiana Jones and Rick O'Connell; mystery writer, Elizabeth Peters; and Dr. Emily Teeter, whom you may have seen give commentary on the Discovery and History channels.

As evidence of the aforementioned, there had taken place just recently a free lecture entitled The Role of Women in Egypt's History, as given by Ambassador Nihad Zikry, Assistant Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs. Although it wasn't entirely about ancient Egypt, a subject that she used to introduce her presentation, it did give me an appreciation for modern Egyptian women like her who have been raised in a country - like so many others - where the advancement of women has been a slow process. It was the perfect presentation to attend on International Women's Day, indeed. There were quite a few men in attendance too - I brought one of them with me.

Ambassador Zikry started her presentation off with saying that the important role of women is not a newly acquired achievement; women throughout all history and cultures have consistently exhibited this endeavor, this inevitable desire. After all, "in ancient Egypt, the deity of wisdom was a woman, not a man." I'd have to disagree with that statement, as Thoth is the chief deity of wisdom. However, there are many powerful female deities worth a mention. You have Seshat, consort of Thoth (how appropriate that she's his counterpart), the goddess of writing, lady-scribe to the pharaohs and all Egyptian kings throughout Dynastic Egypt, Mistress of the Books. Without her skill and duty to write the names of the newly crowned rulers on the leaves of a sacred tree to preserve forever their names, they wouldn't've been known to their successors. Then you have Ma'at and Shai, goddess of social and religious order, truth, and justice and goddess of fate, respectively, key players during the Weighing of the Heart Ceremony. Without these goddesses, Osiris, his Four Sons, and the 42 Judges would have been unable to determine fairly the outcome of a decedent's otherworldly trial, leaving the dead person unadmitted into the Afterlife. It's very interesting indeed that Ambassador Zikry mentioned that the highest position a modern Egyptian woman has attained is a judge, when you consider that, in ancient times, women were portrayed as deities of judgment. Finally, there are the Seven Hathors, septuplets with the power of foresight, the ability to determine the future of a newborn Egyptian child's life, particularly it's death. You can add to that list as many Egyptian goddesses as you wish. Those are my contributions.

Ambassador Nihad Zikry also spoke briefly of Hatshepsut, how she took up the highest achievement any ancient Egyptian could attain at the time - that of king. I append the following pre-Dynasty 18 queens to the list of powerful Egyptian women, who mostly like reigned as king in their own right: Mer-Neith of Dynasty 1, Ni-Ma-et of Dynasty 3, Sobek-Neferu of Dynasty 12, Ah-Hotep I of Dynasty 17, and quite possibly Tiye and Nefertiti of Dynasty 18. As a side note, I'd add that this achievement has never been neither matched following her long and prosperous reign or her predecessors' reigns, nor allowed ever again until Cleopatra VII, who had to commit many sinful acts to maintain that power (I don't blame her). Following Dynasty 18, with help from Djehuti-Mes III, kings/pharaohs never called their wives "God's Wife of Amun" again, as it was a powerful title, one that made royal queens practically, if not actually, equal to their kings in status.

These are just reminders that women can be as successful in higher positions as men are, even if they don't think, feel, or express themselves in similar ways. So, to all women of the world, if a man tries to throw religious dogma or prejudice in your face as justification for being superior, you make sure you give him a lecture on the "reasons" their opinion is unjustified.

Man fears time, time fears the pyramids, the pyramids fear Mother Nature.

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