An underwater research team of Greek archaeologists have just lifted from the Mediterranean Sea a huge nine-tonne granite block from a temple of Isis in Alexandria, near a palace supposedly belonging to Cleopatra VII.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
- December 13: Tourist Regulations
- December 9: The Tomb of Sa-Iset at Dashur
- November 24: Climate Change and Conservation in Egypt
- November 16: Site Management at Giza
- December 10: Tomb Robbers in the Valley of the Kings
- December 3: King Tut’s Treasure
- November 26: The Curse of Tutankhamun
- November 20: How Did King Tut Die?
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Dr. Hawass reminisces on the anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb and speaks about the symposium that was held in celebration of this event and the opening of the Carter Museum and the new entrance at Luxor Temple. Check out the pictures that accompany the blog post.
An excerpt from this article--click the above link to read it in full:
Artwork and artifacts from all four corners of the earth fill galleries and star in exhibits in museums across the world. In the world’s most prestigious museums and galleries, taking a stroll through the corridors has become synonymous with meandering through the history of cultures and civilizations that represent every continent on this planet. However, as we move forward into a new age of global awareness and understanding—and past the mantra of rampant imperialism that dominated the last five centuries—it is becoming clear that some of the artifacts that millions of global citizens marvel at today were originally taken from their place of origin illegally.
This article briefly discusses the first steps toward a peaceful negotiation about the fate of the bust of Queen Nefertiti. I hope, whatever the result may be, that there will be hard feelings among parties or ties severed due to hurt feelings or pride. In my humble opinion, her rightful owner is Egypt if Hawass can prove that the Germans took her illegally, as that's were she was interred. It doesn't matter the origins of Nefertiti herself (Nubia, Macedonia, or other places that have been mentioned)--this comes as a response to one of the comments about the article.
Friday, November 6, 2009
This five paged article chronicles the history of animal mummies in Ancient Egypt and their role in archaeological and Egyptological history, from first discoveries and illegal activities to the science behind them and artifacts in general.
If you're anything like me and have heard the stories about animal mummies before, you'd quickly read through the paragraphs dedicated to their having been used as fertilizer because, upon their first discovery, there was a surplus. It's a shame they weren't discovered recently, as nowadays, modern archaeology is more about science than a trophy hunt, as the article puts it. It's a good read nonetheless and features one of my favorite Egyptologists, Salima Ikram.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
The latest element in the saga that is Hawass' endeavor to regain ancient Egyptian artifacts from "foreign" museums he believes had purchases said pieces illegally. But more important than this is the anticipation I'm sure for which the Egyptology world (both amateurs and professionals) is waiting: will Germany give up Nefertiti's bust and England the Rosetta Stone? If the Great Sphinx is still standing even having been constantly exposed to the elements for ages, then both of these artifacts, having been coddled within the climatically controlled confines of museums, are fit for transport back home, particularly the Rosetta Stone, which is in fact a lump of rock.
After many curious inquiries by tourists, Carter's home away from home, the abode where he studied and cataloged everything to do with his recent discovery in the Valley of the Kings 87 years ago to the day (well, yesterday), has been renovated and opened to the public as a museum.
Needless to say, I'd probably be teary-eyed were I to visit the place. I get that way even in ordinary history museums, for goodness sake! I remember standing before a glass case that housed pewter 17th century dinnerware, so enamored by and lost in the grooves ensconced in the plates that pirates had made with their knifes. I thought, "Wow, real pirates had made those marks." Imagine how I'd react to standing over tools Carter used to poke around in Tutankhamun's tomb! I'm looking forward to visiting this in person when I finally get myself to Egypt.
Monday, October 26, 2009
The following is a pictographic slideshow of sorts, illustrating different scenes from tomb 10A, a preview of an upcoming exhibit focusing mainly around a noble named Djehutynakht and his wife. Some of the artifacts include wooden model scenes, a coffin, statuettes, the mummy head of Djehutynakht (with one less tooth, I'd imagine), and vintage photographs from the tomb of Djehutynakht from 1915.
A tooth was removed from the head of a 4,000-year-old Egyptian mummy, as the first step in an effort to extract DNA from its pulp. I wonder if they got permission from Zahi Hawass to proceed with this procedure. Usually everything has to go through him first. Me, I'm not one for DNA testing...too much..only because there's only so much of a mummy left, particularly this one, having had several other bits of it extracted and scraped off. Is it really necessary for this testing to be done on this mummy? What sort of revolutionary information will they...ahem...extract from the future results? Certainly, the mystery of this mummy won't be nearly as eye-opening as that of Tutankhamun's mummy. Perhaps it will, but that's a big "maybe."
The section of this article describing the loose jaw is most interesting only because the observations are ones I've never heard before: the ancients may have actually performed the Opening of the Mouth Ceremony rather than executed it metaphorically. I highly doubt it, much like the academics (but they are, after all academics like me, possibly having no experience in the field). They have in their favor other instances where loosened jaws on mummies is commonplace, having to do with the mummification process and rigor mortis. Most of these mummies are the "screaming" kind and have neither suffered a violent death nor experienced an actual opening of their mouths during the ceremony dedicated to doing this metaphorically.
No matter which way you slice it, we shall see what we shall see. Hopefully the extraction of the tooth will not have been for naught.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Well, maybe "modern" is a bit of a stretch--Nef is just as old as Helen.
In any event, much like the Greek Helen of Troy, Egyptian officials have as their claim that Germany, way back in 1913, "abducted" Nefertiti from her native Egypt. If this is the case, Egypt has the right to have her back; however, Zahi Hawass will have her returned even if the contrary. She is, after all, the epitome of significant (and iconic) Egyptian specimens, recognizable to nearly everyone. Times Online chronicles the continuing saga, the battle between Egypt and Germany. Not to be outdone, the New York Times also reports on the same story.
Perhaps a little more lighthearted is a dialogue between the Huffington Post and the Queen herself (one pissed off majesty as it turns out). It's entertaining and a distraction from all the political craziness (you tell 'em Queenie!), further scrutinized in yet another New York Times article.
The following is an excerpt from Yahoo! News, another source reporting on the same news story:
A trick used by ancient Egyptians to exploit cracks in Earth to make tomb-digging easier has come back to haunt the Valley of the Kings, new evidence suggests.
While the natural fractures were followed to carve out burial sites, several instances show, rare heavy rainfall events can flood the tombs. Archaeologists are racing to map and photograph the tombs to better preserve their contents and figure out ways to divert the rain.
Another source reporting on the same story can be found at United Press International
Flora and ceramics reveal that Alexander the Great might not have been the first to settle at Alexandria. The margin is by at least several hundred years. However, science isn't the most fascinating thing about this discovery, it's fiction. This is best illustrated in the following excertp:
This idea is also supported in the stories of Homer: In Book 4 of "The Odyssey," there's a mention of a one-day sail from the coast near the Nile to the nearby island of Pharos. This suggests that a port settlement of some sort was already there, according to the researchers. "Fiction is true," in this case, Berhnhardt said.
The following 2009 publication is a doctoral thesis penned by Åsa Strandberg of Uppsala University. Here is an excerpt from the abstract and the permalink to access the thesis:
This thesis establishes the basic images of the gazelle in ancient Egyptian art and their meaning. A chronological overview of the categories of material featuring gazelle images is presented as a background to an interpretation.
Friday, October 23, 2009
If you are in London, England mid-December, make plans to attend this half-day educational lecture, which has an amazing line-up of speakers, each discussing various topics including paleoanthropology, the emergence of Early Egypt in Oxford, and rubbish heaps (trust me, this last one is far more interesting than you think--at least it would to an archaeologist). Prior to all this excitement, there will be a book sale.
Follow the above link to discover more information about this program, which offers contact and registration information, the prospective agenda, location, and date/time.
This is a brief story about an adorable 26th Dynasty ushabtis, which is now on its way back to Egypt, after having spent some time in the US for a mere 14 years. This is another page in the saga that is Zahi Hawass' efforts to regain all significant Egyptian artifacts. Although I wouldn't consider this artifact as being very contributory in extending what we already know about the Afterlife and the role ushabtis play in the process of getting there, it will make a nice little addition to the Egyptian Museum's collection.
Dr. Hawass details the process the traveling Tutankhamun exhibit took across the globe and through the States and describes one hosting city in particular: Indianapolis.
If you haven't experienced this fantastic exhibit, I implore that you visit it at least once. Even though neither his mummy nor his infamous funeral mask are not part of the roaming collection, it is a sight to see. For the utterly Egyptological, you may find yourself gazing for hours at all the featured wonders. It took me a good four hours to get through the entire display of artifacts--and that still wasn't enough for me (my humanness got in the way of exploring more, with ravenous hunger being the thing that tore me away).
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Dr. Hawass tells the story of the Unfinished Pyramid and its discoverer, Zakaria Goneim, sharing this story so that everyone will understand that fame can be a burden and making discoveries is not an easy thing. It's a sad story and only goes to show that the scholastic world is not as romantic as it appears in books and movies. Poor man.
The original video is at Heritage Key, paired with a transcript.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
The controversy over five 3,200-year-old ancient Egyptian tomb fragments removed from Egypt and put on display in the Louvre in Paris has finally come to a close, reports Nevine El-Aref.
Dr. Hawass announces a new publication of his, which tells the story of the private Theban tombs along with many others. There is also a German version: Die verbotenen Gräber in Theben. It's an expensive book, but if you wish to splurge a little, visit Amazon to buy a copy for your own collection.
Hawass describes the prologue to his lecture at the Sofitel Hotel in Cairo, where he is inspired to give praise to Herbert Winlock after his grand-niece gives him a first edition and signed copy of Winlock's publication Excavations at Deir el-Bahri 1911-1931, which introduced the world to Hatshepsut. You know me: I'm set on finding this book and buying a copy for myself *wink*
Hawass recounts the process he pursued that led him to discovering great things in the Bahariyan Oasis, namely the tomb of a governor called Djedkhonsu and his relatives, mummies from Dynasty 26, and a chapel built for the god Amun-Re. These discoveries however did not come without a little "help" from the locals whose houses were built atop these areas of special interest. Hawass reassures his readers by mentioning the care he and his team took to maintain the well-being and relocation of the people after having demolished their homes.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
The temple of Isis at Philae is one of the most beautiful and best preserved Greco-Roman temples in Egypt. Most of the temple was built by the Ptolemaic rulers as part of their promotion of the cult of Isis, which lasted well into the Roman Period. In the 1970’s the temple was relocated to preserve it from the rising waters resulting from the construction of the Aswan High Dam.
In this article at Zahi Hawass' blog, Dr. Hawass describes the Saqqara necropolis, details his impressions on it and its place in history, and reveals upcoming and ongoing restorative efforts on the historic site.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Visit the Berlin Museum's official web site for more information. Es ist ins Deutsch.
This discovery is of particular interest (possibly "significant" is a better word) to me, considering Tanis is the location that plays a fundamental role in my historic novel, set during the 1926/7 archaeological season in Egypt, one full year prior to the first discovery of a sacred lake in Tanis in 1928 (funny how none of these articles mention Pierre Montet...hmph). Naturally, as with all instances of Egypt-inspired novels, there is a curse involved; yet, this curse is less gimmicky that depicted in film ;)
See also the article at La Boite Archeologique
Perhaps the real reason Zahi Hawass is discrediting Collins is he'd rather be the one to make such a discovery. It would benefit his endeavors to bring more significant discoveries to Egyptian (rather than foreign) archaeologists and Egyptologists. Yesterday's posting about the hydrological work on the Sphinx attempts to disprove the theory of an underground chamber, but it's clear the SCA documented this work par vidéo only to say that they did examine the theory.
Please stop by Flickr and "add to faves" my submission to the @ Your Library Tote Bag Design Contest. You must register with/sign it to Flickr to "vote"/"add to faves." Great thing about Flickr is it's free...therefore, it's free to vote :) Leave a nice comment there too, if you wish. I will greatly appreciate all the support I can get. This was such a fun thing to create! I'm sure you all will enjoy it too...considering it is very Egyptian...and hand-drawn/original artwork by yours truly :)
Click the following link to vote for The Alexandrian Library Pun...
This article is beyond fascinating indeed. Do you think the ancient Egyptians intentionally do such intensely scholastic things or is it just coincidence? Read the article to learn more.
Bath in it like Cleopatra VII did to promote soft skin or use it as a cure for snakebite--beer, as ancient as the art of writing. This is certainly an interesting article and goes well with the season, being Oktoberfest and all.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
This entertaining article explores all corners of the fairly recent hydrological work being performed on the Great Sphinx to nip in the bud any possible future water damage to the ancient (and don't forget mysterious!) monument. A video accompanies the information, which also gives lip service to Hawass and Lehner's conclusion that there aren't any subterranean chambers hidden under the Sphinx. Argh! Thanks for ruining it for all the day dreamers :P
The following is an article at Zahi Hawass' Blog of his and Lehner's work at the Giza Necropolis.
Professor Emerson, Fellow of the Royal Society, Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, Member of the American Philosophical Society, the greatest Egyptologist of this or any other age, etc...would have something to say about this.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
In his own words, Dr. Hawass gives more details on the process to regain five fragments discovered in the hands of the Louvre illegally. Among the legal stuff, he describes how these fragments fit into Egyptian history (Dynasty 18, to be exact).
If there was a statute of limitation on stolen artifacts, the British Museum's years of ownership of the Rosetta Stone has past it. After all, Egyptology was but a fetus when the Napoleonic expedition discovered it and there were no rules that detailed who got what upon discovering Egyptian artifacts. However, it is a very significant (and iconographic) artifact that plays one of the greatest roles to Egyptology...the re-learning of the ancient literary language of the Egyptians, that is! My goodness! If Hawass can regain this artifact, then the Germans should have no more excuses to withhold the bust of Nefertiti from her native country!
The Egyptology world has been abuzz about the latest drama going down at the SCA. It nearly cut ties with France's Louvre Museum in the event that officials didn't return reportedly stolen artifacts in its possession. Thank the gods that everything is just fine and dandy now. Just in case you missed all that swirling news, here is a list with all the details:
- Egypt Cuts Ties With Louvre Over Artifacts - October 7, CBSNEWS
- No Relics, No Ties - October 10, the Straits Times
And then France does the right thing:
- French Commission Agrees to Return Egyptian Art - October 9, Associated Press/Google
- France Ready to Hand Back Egyptian Murals - October 7, Yahoo! News/Reuters
- Louvre Agrees to Return Egyptian Relics - October 11, pressTV
- France to Return Disputed Tomb Fresco to Egypt - October 10, Washington Times (by Angela Charlton)
- Stolen Egyptian Relics On Their Way Home - October 9, Discovery Channel News (by Pascale Mollard-Chenebenoit)
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Submit your papers (in English, German, or French) related to the theme at the 2010 international colloquium entitled The Temples of Millions of Years and Royal Power at Thebes in the New Kingdom: Science and New Technologies applied to Archaeology. Deadline is November 15, 2009.
After a German expedition alerted the SCA of stolen fragments during work at Dra Abu'l Naga, the SCA started a procedure to regain them from the Louvre, who claimed they didn't know anything of the sort happened. Read the rest of this article to learn more. There are also other reports of the same caliber, one at BBC News and another from Agence France Presse.
Don't forget that this Thursday, a presentation at the Petrie Museum about Robert Knox's research on Ancient Egypt, particularly how the statuary art of Ancient Egypt fitted into to his racial constructions and theory. Save the date: Thursday, October 15.
Maria Bealby from the University of Birmingham UK will present The Avaris Murals at the Village Hall, Upton Snodsbury on Thursday 15th October 2009 at 7:30pm. If you're in the Worcestershire area, why don't you stop by and listen in on what should be a very interesting presentation...and visit Ms. Belby's blog, Challenging the Past for more information.
The 'Highlights From The Collection' web page for Ancient Egypt has been updated, showcasing and detailing thirteen objects from the Oriental Institute’s collection, accompanied by photographs. These objects include funerary objects and masks, papyri, statues and figures, reliefs and stelae, coffins, and magic bricks, just to name a few. You can sort these objects by subject and region.
Visit the Oriental Institute's web site to learn more about this exhibit (includes contact and venue information), which chronicles the incredible adventure story of the James Henry Breasted 1919-20 expedition through photographs, excerpts from letters, original documents from the archives, and objects purchased on the trip. The exhibit starts in January 12 and ends August 30, 2010. Make a New Years resolution to visit it!
On Sunday, Oct. 18, the Museum of Fine Arts opens “The Secrets of Tomb 10A: Egypt 2000 B.C.,” an exhibit that explores the world of the Djehutynakhts (pronounced “jeh-hooty-knockeds”) and the period, known as the Middle Kingdom (2040-1640 B.C.), in which they lived. It also tells the parallel story of how the remains of their burial chamber — and in the case of one of the Djehutynakhts, their physical remains as well — managed to find their way into the MFA’s permanent collection.
Visit the Clay Center's site for more information on this exhibit, which lasts from September 12, 2009 until April 11, 2010 and showcases Nubian treasures from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston such as sculpture, stone relief elements, gold and silver jewelry, and ceramic and alabaster vessels that illustrate ancient Nubian art, funerary customs, warfare, and daily life.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Follow the link to download the flier for this event at the University of London, which will examine mummies, diseases, and other scientific techniques. Sign up by October 17 for the October 31 program.
If you are near the greater London area, there are some great Egyptological things beckoning to you: an exhibit entitled Framing the Archaeologist: Portraits and Excavation, which runs from Sept. 22 - December 19, and a couple of free lectures: Ancient Egypt, Racial Construction and Robert Knox and Inventing Traditions: Performances in Pre-Dynastic Cemeteries. The where, when, what, and how much are listed at Challenging the Past, with a direct link to the Petrie Museum's web site.
Monday, October 5, 2009
I recommend Egyptomaniacs of all kinds to hop on over to Bennu's Talking Pyramids Blog. He has posted a few excerpted videos which feature a behind-the-scenes look with Dr. Zahi Hawass at the Pyramid of Unas. Chicago's Field Museum replica has nothing on this, that's for sure!
Professor Smith reminisces in this video, speaking about the now-lost fortress site of Buhen in Egyptian Nubia, an EES archaeological site. The video also features images from the Society's archives and footage shot by EES member Dr Anthony Hovenden during a visit to Buhen in 1962.
This author uses quotes around "with extreme care." Apparently s/he isn't buying either the museum's excuse that Nefertiti is too fragile to transport her back home to Egypt. She seemed to travel well, being placed on display in her new home at the Neues. Perhaps the German scholars should have used this excuse: they feared her sinking to the bottom of the Atlantic à la (the) secret mummy aboard the Titanic.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
This festival of art, dance, music, fashion, games, food, talent shows, and awards marks the opening of the traveling exhibit Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science, brought to you by Cincinnati Museum Center and the INTERalliance of Greater Cincinnati. This announcement features an itinerary and contact information (phone number and web sites to the Cincinnati Museum and the PharaohFest. The event is free and takes place on October 3.
I recommend hopping over to the Giza Archives web site; it is truly amazing! I've been working on a novel of the historical fiction kind for a few years now and it will prove very useful to me indeed. By the way, my novel is set at the end of (roughly around October/November) 1926 and takes place at the Giza Necropolis, specifically at camp Emile Baraize and the Great Sphinx. I can't believe the diary pages in this archival database describe a very jovial Baraize, ever-willing to point out the details of the Great Sphinx ;) And what he points out to the diary writer is exactly what he points out to the main characters in my book! That is just too weird. I know I'll be using this as a resource for the remainder of my writing, particularly since Baraize is a hard man to peg in terms of finding his publications, which are mainly unpublished. Good thing that web site has this media too.
Oh yeah, and Dr. Hawass has some great ideas and things to say about the preservation of the Giza Necropolis and the dissemination of information and images on it.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Once again, we are putting the Ancient Egyptians in a vacuum, saying that they did things this way and that. It may be true that they employed a barter system, but who's to say that they didn't barter an object for coins? It's highly probable. In fact, I wouldn't put it past them; they could have done so, only to melt down those coins to use the gold in their jewelry and other personal items. The coins that have been uncovered might have been neglected. But this is all speculation, Egyptology's middle name. As an heroic woman used to say "Speculation clears away the deadwood in the forest of destruction." (Or something like that).
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Never before seen artifacts (collected by George Reisner for Mrs. Hearst) will be showcased at the Todd Madigan Gallery at Cal State Bakersfield in an exhibit called The Art and Death in Ancient Egypt, on loan from the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at U.C. Berkeley. The article further discusses the importance of death to the ancients and the author's and his students' archaeological endeavors at Tell El-Hibeh.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
When: Saturday, March 13 - 27, 2010; Key Figures: Professor Alan Lloyd, Faten Saleh, and Ros Phipps; Contact: Emily Feasey (The Traveller) +44 (0)20 7436 9343 or email firstname.lastname@example.org; Cost: £2635 (per person)/Single room supplement £332. The program guide offers more details and descriptions about this trip; click the link to access it.
I've been on the edge of my seat for months to hear more news (and results) about this DNA testing procedure on the Dynasty 18 mummies Zahi Hawass had announced a while ago. I'm overzealous to learn the findings are on their merry why to the public this fall. I'm praying that the results have identified more unknown mummies than lost them, as had happened in 2007 with Djehuti-mes I (you know him as Tuthmosis I). What was thought to have been he was a much younger man. Rats! (or is it "Scarabs!"?) Salima Akram will certainly have something to say about this.
If you haven't discovered it already, there are many Oriental Institute groups and pages on Facebook. If you are on Facebook and are an archaeology enthusiast, perhaps you'd like to "friend" Meresamun or the OI at the University of Chicago or catch all the latest research updates at the Research Archives of the OI. Follow the above link to find more places on Facebook to become connect with OI.
Sothis, the Dog Star, turns out to be the variable that solves the problem of the exact dating of the construction of the Great Pyramid at Giza for one Egyptian team. Like any good debate, this article examines both sides: the Egyptians present their evidence and others counteract.
I like to stray from saying "a culture always did something this way" when describing a peoples' endeavors because people are quite unpredictable (even Ancient Egyptians, who seemed to be very purposeful when it came to all aspects of the humanities!). Although scholars like to pin things down (or try to), sometimes one has to be satisfied with words like "probably," "about," "perhaps" and the like.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Follow the above link to discover more about this children's book. I think I may take a peek inside; it may prove useful in the development of one of my page at my web site (visit me at Egyptology Page: Book of Thoth).
I think the provost said it best: the alleged actions violate expected standards of academic honesty and the preservation of historical and cultural objects held in the public trust. This thieving curator may be perhaps the dumbest "smart" person ever. I don't know if they already do it, but anyone working in the realm of archaeology should take an oath like medical professionals take the Hypocratic Oath. Even then, humanness still gets in the way, for something as simple as morality is not innate.
Here is an excerpt from this article:
The former director of Long Island University's Hillwood Museum is expected to surrender Wednesday morning on charges he stole nine ancient Egyptian artifacts from the collection and offered them for sale through Christie's auction house, his attorney said Tuesday.
Barry Stern, 61, of Oyster Bay, was charged with theft and lying to an FBI agent in a criminal complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Central Islip. Stern had worked at the museum for 22 years before his contract was not renewed in August.
The following article regards more on the gem with Alexander the Great's likeness etched into it. It's a cute little thing and definitely showcases a "sexy Alexander." It's no wonder that proceeding rulers used his image (long after his death) for their own ends. The following is an excerpt from this article:
"The engraver portrayed Alexander without omitting any of the ruler's characteristics. The emperor is shown as young and forceful, with a strong chin, straight nose and long curly hair," Ayelet Gilboa, chairman of the archaeology department at Israel's University of Haifa, told Discovery News.
The distinct facial features of the work helped the researchers identify the subject as the legendary conqueror and emperor. But there was more.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Coming to Moscow September 29 - October 4, 2009, the CESRAS will host an international conference to share experience between scholars of different countries and to discuss the latest achievements in the field of Egyptology and Egyptian archaeology, study of history, culture, religion and languages of Ancient, Graeco-Roman and Coptic Egypt. In addition, there is an exhibit associated with the conference called The Royal Cache. Secrets of Pharaohs, which features objects from the Egyptian Museum, Cairo.
Follow the above link to information about the committee, the themes, location, and fees of the conference, and contacts.
The following is an excerpt from Zahi Hawass' Blog; click the above link to read his post in full:
The Valley of the Kings has only revealed one new discovery since the tomb of King Tut – 84 years later, Otto Schaden found KV63 in front of the young pharaoh’s tomb. Our excavation, however, is proving to be not only the first Egyptian expedition ever to work in the valley, but also one of the most scientifically important. When we started our excavation, we could feel from the beginning that the area was promising.
Needless to say that I am happy for Dr. Hawass that he is finally getting his wish: that an all-Egyptian team may discover another Valley tomb (and how exciting is it to discover a previously unknown name!). There are still many more Valley tombs to unearth I'm sure, so there will be many more chances for all-Egyptian teams to make discoveries.
The following is an excerpt from Zahi Hawass' Blog; click on the above link to read his blog post in its entirety:
I think these study trips are very important for the young people of Egypt. It is important for them to travel abroad and befriend diverse people; it opens their minds to have international friends and increases their knowledge of the outside world. I can see how much Rania has changed; she has applied what she learned on the study tour to her work here, and I can see that she will have a very bright future. Helen and I talked about how we will send more young Egyptians for training in the future, and it is my hope that we will continue to work with the American people to promote cultural exchange through these study trips.
Dr. Hawass also talks about his meeting with President Obama and the pictures taken during that time and his hopes that he will inspire people to donate to the Childrens Museum in Cairo so that it will thrive.
The following is an excerpt from Physorg; click on the above link to read the full article:
A rare and surprising archaeological discovery at Tel Dor: A gemstone engraved with the portrait of Alexander the Great was uncovered during excavations by an archaeological team directed by Dr. Ayelet Gilboa of the University of Haifa and Dr. Ilan Sharon of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
This sort of intricate artwork reminds me of artwork on grains of rice. So unlike Ramesses the Great, Alexander put his image on even the tiniest of material. I'm not surprised this artifact ended up in Israel; after all, Alexander traveled to many faraway places.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
A German team visited the Manchester and took footage of the mummy Arsu with Prof. Rosalie David (a great author, to boot, so read her books!). The short film will come to Germany in October, chronicling pharmacy and medicine in ancient Egypt. I sure hope it gets released in the States.
A team at Giza drills to test groundwater levels underneath the Sphinx. In 2008, a project was initiated to protect the Sphinx from the rising water table in the area.
Dr. Hawass describes in detail why Andrew Collins' observation about a "cave complex" under the Giza Plateau. Hawass is right to call the theory out for what it is: hokum, if you know anything about the Giza Plateau; although I think his words are a bit snooty. Not everyone is a scholar like you and I dear reader ;)
He provides an example of good reading, and I will provide just the opposite because I think it is a terribly amusing book, albeit very old, out of date, and a sign of the times: Everett W. Fish's, The Egyptian Pyramids, an Analysis of a Great Mystery.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
James Henry Breasted's The Human Adventure, a short documentary about the excavation and research activities of the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute, received a rather dour review from the New York Times in 1936, according to Archaeopop, but I think it's charming. To read the 1936 review, you have to sign in (it's free) to the NY Times.
Zahi Hawass, head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, has objected to the governor of Giza’s announcement of an annual "Giza Day" on August 23. He objects because we don't know the exact day the Great Pyramid was built. I wouldn't mind a "Giza Day;" it doesn't have to reflect the exact day of construction (or completion for that matter), just a day that is dedicated to the structure. I'm sure if Farouk Hosni proposed it that way, Dr. Hawass wouldn't raise any objections.
Friday, September 4, 2009
The Francis Frith's Egypt exhibition, opening next Wednesday, September 9, will feature photographs and ancient objects, including a mummy's mask, jewelery, pottery and textiles. There will be two sets of photographs, those taken by Victorian photographer Francis Frith during the 19th century and those by Egyptologist Bob Partridge of modern times. Partridge's photographs will showcase how Egyptian monuments have changed since Frith's time.
November 6 and 8, 2009 will bring to the ROM a free event, known as Scholar's Colloquium Days, where those interested in attending can "enjoy a wide variety of short papers on all aspects of ancient Egypt, from reports on recent digs to careful consideration and re-evaluation of religion, art, history, literature and politics." Program information including location, contacts, and date/time is given; click the above link to view this information.
The following is the description for the SSEA's upcoming annual symposium:
Egypt is intimately connected to three great religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It is the backdrop for some of the most well-known stories of the sacred books of all three, including the Exodus, Joseph, and Abraham. Join a panel of distinguished scholars from all over the world as they illuminate the history behind the holy texts.
To register for this event and to find event and contact information, visit the Royal Ontario Museum web site.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Ann gives her reactions to five of her favorites from the early days of Egyptology, from the archives at EES on Flickr (and you can read my comment at her blog post to boot lol).
When Egyptology was in its infancy, the survey techniques were not yet well developed (consider the fact that Belzzoni must have destroyed dozens of unidentified mummies as he crawled over them and had Theodore Davis and Edward Ayrton took a little more time and done a better job of excavating KV55, it would be less mysterious) and it's very interesting to realize the dramatic difference between then and now. The same goes for the examination of mummies, when archaeologists discovered them: a modern Egyptologist, anthropologist or any other "ologist" would gasp at the thought of conducting a "mummy unwrapping party" (how Victorian!), where you'd have to actually take the mummy's bandages off!
Personally, my favorite picture is of John Pendlebury, one of the more charming and exciting archaeologists--that goes for his glass eye too! lol Can you believe the gall (I use that term with loving admiration) of this man! Why take a boring picture of an artifact when you can jazz the photo up by modeling it yourself?!
The Valencian Institute of Egyptology (IVDE) will offer a 20-hour course called History and Archeology of the Egyptian New Kingdom, given by José Lull, Egyptologist, from 28 October to 2 December 2009. The course consists of 10 2-hour sessions Mondays and Wednesdays from 7pm to 9pm at the Training Center TAES - Advanced Techniques Study.
Click on the above link to learn more about the course description and enrollment and contact information.
The following is a direct link to the web site in its original language (Spanish): Curso de "Historia y Arqueología del Imperio Nuevo egipcio" en Valencia
The following is an excerpt from Heritage Key, which chronicles a Swiss team's efforts to perfect the exact same mummification process the Egyptian's used thousands of years ago, to examine how much the mummification process degrades DNA, how tissue reacts during the process, and how ancient cultures tried to preserve their loved ones after death:
So far the Swiss team has met with mixed results. After 440lbs (60kg) of salt mixture and 80 days, magnetic resonance still shows signs of moisture within the tissue. Dr. Rühli had expected the process to take around 70 days, and plans to continue for another month. Sometime this winter the team will attempt to mummify another body part, this time accounting for the role heat plays in mummification.
The article states that the Swiss team is basing their salt mixture on "a mid-1990s United States study, which tried to determine the 'magic formula' used by ancient Egyptians to dry out bodies before burial," but the details of the U.S. study are not given.
If Emily Teeter were in charge of that U.S. team back in the 90s, there would have been detailed notes and documents of how they went about mummifying an entire body using ancient methods (no offense to that team, of course). What is the purpose of keeping information to yourself? There's no progress in that. And how do you know you're progressing or just repeating experiments needlessly without such references?
The following is a direct link to an article at the Journal of Turkish Weekly, which gives more details of the Swiss Mummy Project.
The Oriental Institute announces that it will be back to the archaeological fields of Nubia, which began in 2006. The following is a direct link to the OI's Nubian Expedition pages, which chronicles its efforts done there, from the early years in 1905-1907 to today.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Excavations at Tel Bet Yerahcarved (a settlement along the ancient highway that connected Egypt to the rest of the Near East) yield a most unusual find: a stone plaque bearing archaic Egyptian signs, which are rare in Egypt (let alone anywhere else!). The find suggests the people of the Jordan Valley and Egypt (circa Dynasty I) had stronger ties than previously believed. Alas, a shining example of the reason for archaeology: not only to learn more about certain peoples (their habits, worldviews, lifestyles, technology, etc), but also to learn more about the connectivity they had with each other. I'd like to give lip service to Kara Cooney's series on the Discovery Channel, Out of Egypt; through the ancient Egyptian culture(s) she examines others around the world and throughout the ages.
Zahi Hawass supplements Nevine El-Aref's article at Al-Ahram Weekly Online concerning major developments to monuments and archaeological sites at Luxor; this time, it straight from the source. Less site pollution at Deir el-Bahri; a new lighting system has been tested to dazzle visitors to the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens, the mortuary temples, and Deir el-Bahri at night; the future opening (significantly dated for November 4th) of Howard Carter's rest-house; and more are detailed in Hawass' post.
Monday, August 31, 2009
My twin (well, really my triplet, I'm already a twin) has a new moving coming out in theaters (hopefully very soon because I've been waiting for this for almost a year!) called Agora.
The following is the plot for the movie:
4th century A.D. Egypt under the Roman Empire... Violent religious upheavel in the streets of Alexandria spills over into the city's famous Library. Trapped inside its walls, the brilliant astronomer Hypatia and her disciples fight to save the wisdom of the Ancient World... Among them, the two men competing for her heart: The witty, priviliged Orestes and Davus, Hypatia's young slave, who is torn between his secret love for her and the freedom he knows can be his if he chooses to join the unstoppable surge of the Christians.
Rachel is such an amazingly intelligent actress (and person) and seemingly every nice (she'll get down on her knees to talk to someone who is not mobile enough to get up out of their chair...and in heels!)...and the movie looks spectacular to boot! I wait in thorough anticipation for this to come to a theater near me, particularly to the Chicago Film Festival, where I'm hoping this will be the featured movie opening night (because that would bring her back to Chicago, where I could see her again).
Bringing the excavations to you, Archaeology's Interactive Dig team reveals more about the very dawn of Egyptian civilization and investigates early beer making. These field notes showcase an array of beautiful photographs of ancient beads, stones used for bead making, and tomb paintings depicting bead making.
The following is a produce description of a new publication, penned by Penelope Wilson and Dimitris Grigoropoulos:
The West Delta Regional Survey is the result of five years of survey work carried out in Beheira and Kafr el-Sheikh Provinces as part of the Sais and its Hinterland Project and the Delta Survey of the Egypt
Exploration Society and Durham University, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The report by Penelope Wilson contains details of the current state of 70 archaeological sites (some of which are mapped here for the first time), their previous history and a photographic record. Dimitris Grigoropoulos discusses and dates the catalogue of pottery sherds, collected from most of the sites. The volume includes a CD with over 1,000 images of the sites catalogued by the Survey.
Click the above link to download the PDF newsletter from the EES (Egypt Exploration Society), which features upcoming projects, events, courses, lectures and seminars, tours, and symposiums.
The following is a tiny blurb about the opening of an exhibit at the Arkansas Arts Center called World of the Pharaohs, which begins September 25. This particular source features a mummy dating to the Old Kingdom (you can't see me right now, but I'm bouncing up and down; never have I seen an Old Kingdom mummy or though such had stood the test of time!)
Friday, August 28, 2009
It mostly speaks of the Meroe pyramids in the Sudan; it's less an article that bashes the pyramids (as the title seems to suggest), more one that gives detailed information about the Meroe pyramids in the Sudan and the Meroe civilization.
The following is a preview of the contents of the article; click the above link to read it in its entirtey:
Some ideas are too good to be forgotten. When Egypt’s pyramid boom burnt out in 2500BC, the country’s signature tomb design found its way up the Nile to northern Sudan, where it was embraced more than 2,000 years later by the Kushite Kingdom.
Evidence of this architectural revival can be found at the great royal cemeteries of Bagrawiya, better known as the pyramids of Meroe, where dozens of steep-sided pyramids litter the desert. This may be Sudan’s most iconic sight, but visitors are likely to have the tombs all to themselves, with only the sound of the desert wind in their ears.
The following is an excerpt from Al-Ahram Weekly Online where Zahi Hawass reveals his and the SCA's plans to create a "Replica Valley" of the most famous of the KV/Q tombs such as Tutankhamun's, Seti I's and Nefertari's (the most beautiful if I don't say so myself); click the above link to read the full story:
As for the tombs of Tutankhamun, Seti I and Nefertari, Hawass said a plan to protect them was now being implemented in collaboration with the British organisation Adam Lowe of Factun Arte. The plan is to create identical replicas of these tombs by making detailed high-resolution copies of the burial chambers, paintings and sarcophagi using laser scanners. After the replicas have been constructed they will be installed on the cliff side of the Valley of the Kings, which will be called "The Replica Valley" where visitors can experience their beauty with the knowledge that the ancient paintings are being preserved. Hawass pointed out that missing fragments from these tombs now held in foreign museum, would also be scanned and added to the overall reconstruction to give a complete picture of the tombs.
Below is an excerpt from Al-Ahram Weekly Online; click the above link to read the full story:
Last Week Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), and Samir Farag, head of Luxor City Supreme Council (LCSC) celebrated the completion of several development projects at archaeological sites on both the east and west banks of the Nile. They also visited other ongoing projects for which the total budget was LE127 million. These projects include the restoration of Howard Carter's rest-house with a view to developing it as a museum, the first phase of the installation of a new lighting system in the Valley of the Kings, a new visitor centre at Deir Al-Bahari, and the reopening of the Youssef Abul-Haggag mosque after restoration.
This post at Dr. Hawass' blog tells of his lecture in Indianapolis a few weeks ago. For the full interview (at least), follow the link that I've provided on my August 14 blog post. Keith Payne, you were so lucky to have spoken with Dr. Hawass. He must have been so enjoyable to talk to.
In addition to his thoughts, there is an accompanying picture from the event, a link to more of the same topic, and a map of the exact location where he gave his lecture and interview.
The following event is especially for those who have a passion for Ancient Egypt, African Studies, Black History, museums, and the Sudan. A program guide for this symposium is available; click the provided link to access it. I've also included a direct link to the University of Manchester web site, where you will find outline, key speaker, fee and registration, and contact information.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
It had occurred to me that something was odd about this scarab. I had seen it many times while reading. The color of the scarab seemed unusual. I suppose feldspar was not immediately available to the craftsmen who created this masterpiece, so they settle on using this meteoric glass. I wouldn't put it past Tutankhamun to want something unusual incorporated into his jewelry, coming from a family who had ignored the rules of tradition of any medium. As much as Tutankhamun tried to disassociate himself from the ways of his father, I suspect he enjoyed a bit of artistic freedom himself. After all, the presence of the Aten and the portly belly-skinny limb rendering of his own likeness were evident in his artifacts.
This brings to mind the age of the Sphinx, but that's another, very long-winded, discussion.
If you're willing to spend $960 and would like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the secrets of Egypt through lectures, tours, and a felucca ride in the company of Zahi Hawass, then this offer is certainly for you. This Global Explorer Series from Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and the National Geographic Society runs from November 27 - 30, 2009 and has many fabulous incentives (as if Dr. Hawass wasn't enough, my goodness!). Click on the above link to read more on this offer.
The following is a direct link to the Fairmont Towers web site, where you can book the tour.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The following is an excerpt from an article at the Cincinnati Enquirer, which details the coming of a traveling exhibit called Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science:
"Lost Egypt gives people an in-depth look at the fascinating discoveries being made by archeologists working in Egypt today," Robert Genheimer, Rieveschl curator of archaeology for the Museum Center, said in an announcement about the exhibit.
Lost Egypt will be located in the Museum Center’s traveling exhibit hall across from the Duke Energy Children’s Museum. The Dinosaurs Unearthed exhibit, which closes Sept. 7, currently occupies the space.
The following is an excerpt from the Telegraph, which speaks of the speculated fate of the Valley of the Kings and Queens:
Outside of Bangkok, two of the planet's least lonely places are Egypt's Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens, where bus-loads of tourists tramp all over the pharaohs' tombs. Sadly, the horde's humid breath raises the moisture level in the closely confined chambers, accelerating their decay. This means that visitor numbers will soon be severely limited – experts and dignitaries only, I imagine – while replica tombs will be built for the gawping masses.
I hate to say "I told you so," but...I told you so! I wouldn't go as far as to say that these replicas will be "no more alluring than Las Vegas" because they will be far more precise and true to Egyptian craftsmanship (one would hope, anyway). Like I said before, just close off the Valleys (I don't care if it takes years...just not too many) until technologically sound protection to all contents within each Valley tomb is implemented (I certainly would not mind looking through Plexiglas). Of course, that's easy for me to say. If worst comes to worst, I'll just load up my credentials with so many degrees in Egyptological subjects that Zahi Hawass will have no choice but to let me into one of those chambers.
Opening tomorrow (Wednesday, August 26) at the University of Sydney is an exhibit entitled Egyptians, Gods & Mummies: Travels with Herodotus, which will feature mummies of all kinds with 3D CT scans of one in particular, a column from the Temple of Bastet, and a column headstone of Bastet, just to name a few things, all of which will have descriptions as penned by Herodotus. Following the opening of the exhibit is a lecture given by forensic Egyptologist Janet Davey (ticket and booking information is provided). Featured through the exhibit's duration are several free Egyptian-themed Sunday lectures.
As envious as I am (once again, dear Reader!), I'm sort of leery about them providing information to the public using Herodotus' words. I'm hoping they will be descriptions only in terms of proportions and such and not an examination of meaning, symbolism, and dating (we've come a long way since Herodotus); though, I think I'd get a kick out of correcting errors I find (as I normally would do), whispering them softly into my sister's ear (but only if she asks, of course; she hates my little...ahem long...tangents).
This seems like a reiteration of his previous article about Queen Mutnodjmet at Al-Ahram Weekly Online that dates to last week, which is much more intensely detailed on the topic than it is here. He conveniently links to this article penned by him. He also gives links to other information within his blog. I highly recommend reading his article at Al-Ahram Weekly Online.
Beginning this article are a few paragraphs dedicated to the importance of Tutankhamun's tomb and its discovery. Then it briefly discusses previous speculation as to Tutankhamun's parentage, which includes well-known names such and Akhenaten, Nefertiti, and Amenhotep III. Some examination of these mummies is given in detail, followed by the process that an Egytian team is pursuing to perform DNA and CT scan tests on Tutankhamun's and the aforementioned figures' mummies.
Although Hawass finds justification for extracting DNA samples from these mummies, one is still taking a piece of that mummy, desiccating it, even if it might just be a minute piece. I'm glad someone else has this job; I wouldn't be able to do it without thinking too much. How the Ancient Egyptians would be completely shocked to learn that, not only are their mummies on display in museums throughout the world, stripped of their protective amulets, but also being chipped away at!
If you are near the British Museum during September through December, here are a few Ancient Egypt-related gallery talks and family activities. All of the following are free. I envy those who are able to make it to these events.
- Galler Talk - August 29: The Tomb-Chapel of Nebamun, given by Lorna Oakes
- Gallery Talk - September 2: Ancient Egyptian Funerary Temples, given by Lorna Oakes
- Gallery Talk - September 10: Looking at Ancient Egyptian Basketry: Technology, Design, Continuity, given by Barbara Willis and Gemma Aboe
- Family Activity - October 24: Making Mummies
- Gallery Talk - October 31: The Life and Times of the Scribe Nebamun at Thebes, given by George Hart
Monday, August 24, 2009
More on the possibility of the Kings and Queens Valleys being permanently closed off to tourists. Also features information on the Getty Conservation Institute and Factum Arte (a company that digitally reproduces artifacts for museums).
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The following is an excerpt from Zahi Hawass' Blog; click the above link to read the post in its entirety:
This work is very accurate and very fast; it took us one month to scan the Pyramids of Giza, and now we are scanning their interior chambers and shafts too. The team is also scanning the monuments on the East and West Banks of Luxor. As well as making scans from ground level, the team also conducted aerial scans by flying over the archaeological sites.
As per usual, there are accompanying pictures and an interactive map that shows the exact location of the project.
The following is an excerpt from an article at Al-Ahram Weekly Online, which describes the famous bust of Nefertiti' long history, both ancient and modern:
Nefertiti's bust has recently made headlines, in newspapers, magazines, and by bloggers on the Internet. BBC News, under the title "German guile won Queen Nefertiti..." described how "newly- published documents show how a German archaeologist used trickery to smuggle home a fabulous sculpture of the Egyptian Queen, Nefertiti." Agence France-Press confidently reported that the famed bust was a 20th-century copy. And Dawn Martinez-Byrne, in a blog, posed several questions that caught my attention because I had heard many of them before -- voiced by Egyptian post- revolutionary intellectuals.
It looks like the Germans are giving Zahi Hawass a dose of his own medicine, claiming that the "Berlin Bust" is far too delicate to travel back to her homeland. I say, those wooden coffers in the traveling Tutankhamun exhibit are far more delicate than Nefertit's bust, being made of far more delicate material.
The inspiration for this article comes in the form of a statue of an Amarna princess of unknown origins. The estimated time of its creation is the Amarna Period. With that, the rest of the article chronicles the life and times of Akhenaten, his wife Nefertiti, their children, and their life and religion that was the foundation for what is known as the Amarna Period.
I think this period is the most intriguing due to its complete lack of interest in the norm in Egyptian art and religion (perhaps it's better said that Akhenaten was uninterested in keeping to old traditions). You have to admire him for his originality and passion for his family.
The following is a succinct description provided by Archaeology News from Archaeology Magazine Online of the contents of this article at Recordnet.com:
The mummy of Iret-net-Hor-irw, also known as Irethorrou, was just scanned. Long in Stockton’s Haggin Museum, Irethorrou is moving to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, from which he had been on loan since 1944.
In addition an in-depth description of the examination of this mummy and its place in history, there is also information on an upcoming exhibit, which will feature as its centerpiece the mummy of Irethorrou: Very Postmortem: Mummies and Medicine, which runs October 31 through the summer of 2010.
The following is a concise description from Archaeology News from Archaeology Magazine Online of the contents of this article:
The Putnam Museum in Davenport has recently CT scanned its mummy. The coffin says it once held Isis Neferit, a chantress in the Temple of Isis, who lived about 3,000 years ago. The new research says the mummy isn’t Isis but a woman who lived 600 years later.
It's really quite fascinating how technologies such as CT scanning further our knowledge about certain artifacts, namely mummies, and correcting errors and outdated notions. I think this is especially important for museums, which is one fundamental reason they exist.
A new letter has been added to the Chicago Demotic Dictionary (W). I have provided the direct link to that particular page in the CDD (the above link will send you to the home page of the CDD's table of contents, where you can download all letters of the dictionary).
Friday, August 21, 2009
The following information is from the Challenging the Past Blog:
The Friends of the Egypt Centre, Swansea University
Hunting the Land of Punt: In Search of the Location of This Mysterious Land, by Prof. Kenneth Kitchen
Preceded by the AGM at 6:30 pm (members only).
Date: Wednesday, September 30, 2009; 7.00pmPlace: Room 5 Fulton House, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP
Cost: free for members, £3.00 non-members
Phone #: 01792 295960
Tutankhamun and Meresamun were a few of the first mummies to be CT scanned. Add to the list a Late Period priest named Iret-net Hor-irw. His technological undergoing is a direct result of a new exhibit that will be opening in October at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco called Very Postmortem: Mummies and Medicine, which will examine ancient medical care and death in Egypt.
The next few paragraphs of this article discuss the CT scanning process, reactions of those involved, and the results.
The following are links chronicling the same story, each a different rendering, but revealing the same facts:
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The following volume is a compilation of many topics regarding Egypt, penned by various authors. I'd like to plug one of the articles in particular because one of my friends and another scholar wrote it: Egipto y la Biblia - El evangelio de Judas: Textos coptos del cristianismo by Marina Escolano Poveda and Gerardo Jofre González-Granda, which begins on page 47. It is about the Gospel of Judas; Marina writes about the characteristics of the Coptic language (she represents only a few people who in Spain who know how to read this language!)
Other articles chronicle the treasures of Tutankhamun in Barcelona, the Giza Pyramids, and the hieroglyphic writing system. It is complete with pictures, cited notes, and a recommended reading list.