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of my writing, particularly since Baraize is a hard man to peg in terms of finding his publications, which are mainly unpublished.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.