Monday, October 26, 2009

Photos - The Secrets of Tomb 10A at MFA

Originally published October 22, 2009 | The Phoenix | by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

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.

Scientists Pull an Ancient Tooth for DNA

Originally published October 19, 2009 | The Boston Globe | by Carolyn Y. Johnson

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

Queen Nefertiti - the Modern Helen of Troy

Originally published October 19, 2009 | Times Online | by Roger Boyes

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.

Valley of The Kings Tombs Endangered By Fracture Zones

Originally published October 19, 2009 | redOrbit

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

Alexander the Great Not the First at Alexandria

Originally published October 24, 2009 | DNA India

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.

Publication - The Gazelle in Ancient Egyptian Art: Image and Meaning

Accessed October 23, 2009 | Electronic Tools and Ancient Near Eastern Archives

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

EES Lecture - In the Time of the Demigods

Accessed October 21, 2009 | EES

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.

Exile Over - the Little Ushabti that Could

Originally published October 15 - 21, 2009 | Al-Ahram Weekly Online | by Nevine El-Aref

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.

Dig Days: Indianapolis and the Golden Boy

Originally published October 15 - 21, 2009 | Al-Ahram Weekly Online | by Dr. Hawass

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

Video - The Unfinished Pyramid at Saqqara

Originally published October 22, 2009 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Dr. Hawass

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

Tomb Fragments Come Back Home

Published week of 15 - 21 October 2009 | Al-Ahram Weekly Online | by Nevine El-Aref

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.

Book - The Lost Tombs of Thebes: Life in Paradise

Originally published October 20, 2009 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Dr. Hawass

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.

Herbert Winlock, Hatshepsut Thanks You

Originally published October 20, 2009 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Dr. Hawass

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*

Bahariya Oasis Discoveries

Originally published October 21, 2009 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Dr. Hawass

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

Photo - Philae Temple

Originally published October 16, 2009 | Zahi Hawass' Photo Blog | photo credited to the SCA

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.

Restoring Saqqara

Originally published October 17, 2009 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Dr. Hawass

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

Berlin's Neues Museum Finally Reopening to Public

Originally published October 15, 2009 | The Seattle Times | by Geir Moulson

Visit the Berlin Museum's official web site for more information. Es ist ins Deutsch.

Other places reporting the same story, more or less: Times Online and Earth Times

Sacred Pharaonic-Era Lake Found in Egypt

Originally published October 2009 | Press TV

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 ;)

Here are some other places that are reporting on the same story: the Star Online and Earth Times.

Giza's Cave Underworld Finally Revealed

Originally published October 13, 2009 | Challenging the Past | by Marisa Sfakianou Bealby

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.

The Alexandrian Library Pun - Vote For My Design!

To all my Egyptological friends and readers:

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...

The Egyptian Pharoah Who Helped Win a Nobel Prize

Originally published October 15, 2009 | Heritage Key | by Owen Jarus

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.

The Good, The Bad, and the Belly: The Facts About Ancient Beer

Originally published October 15, 2009 | Heritage Key | by Lucie Goulet

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

Drilling Under the Sphinx

Originally published October 15, 2009 | Heritage Key | by Keith Payne

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.

Egypt Continues to Suffer Treasure Hunt Fatalities

Originally published October 12, 2009 | Gulf News | by Ramadan Al Sherbini

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.

US Sues to Return Stolen Egyptian Artifact

Originally published October 9, 2009 | Miami Herald/Florida AP

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Battle of the Louvre

Originally published October 14, 2009 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Dr. Hawass

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).

Ancient Egypt on Exhibit in Little Rock

Originally published October 11, 2009 | Florida Today | by Chuck Bartels

Egypt Asks British Museum for the Rosetta Stone After Louvre Victory

Originally published October 10, 2009 | Telegraph | by Samer al-Atrush

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!

Egypt Takes it Back

Originally published October 10, 2009 | iAfrica News | by Ines Bel Aiba

France does the Right Thing and Gets to Dig at Saqqara Again

Originally published October 14, 2009 | Heritage Key | by Ann Wuyts

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:

And then France does the right thing:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

International Colloquium - Science and New Technologies Applied to Archaeology

Originally published October 9, 2009 | Challenging the Past | Marisa Bealby

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.

Egypt Suspends Archaeological Cooperation with the Louvre

Originally published October 10, 2009 | Zahi Hawass' Blog

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.

Presentation - Ancient Egypt, Racial Construction

Accessed October 11, 2009 | Challenging the Past | by Marsia Sfakianou Bealby

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.

Presentation - The Avaris Murals

Accessed October 11, 2009 | 3CAHS (Three Countries Ancient History Society)

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.

Highlights from the OI Collection: Egypt

Originally published October 6, 2009 | the Oriental Institute

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.

Exhibit - Pioneers to the Past at the OI

Originally published October 8, 2009 | the Oriental Institute Blog | by Charles Ellwood Jones

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!

Exhibit - The Secrets of Tomb 10A: Egypt 2000 B.C.

Originally published October 11, 2009 | the Providence Journal | by Bill Van Siclen

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.

Exhibit - Lost Kingdoms of the Nile

Accessed October 11, 2009 | Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences of West Virginia

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

Forensic Aspects of Ancient Egypt at the University of London

Originally published October 1, 2009 | Challenging the Past Blog | by Marsia Sfakianou Bealby

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.

Exhibit at the Petrie Museum and Free Lectures

Originally published October 1, 2009 | Challenging the Past Blog | by Marsia Sfakianou Bealby

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.

Museums in Alexandria - Zahi Hawass' Visit and Lecture

Originally published October 7, 2009 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Dr. Hawass

Dreaming of Cleopatra

Originally published October 1-7, 2009 | Al-Ahram Weekly Online | by Dr. Zahi Hawas

Hawass' Trip to Moscow for the International Egyptology Conference

Originally published October 5, 2009 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Dr. Hawass

Monday, October 5, 2009

Videos - National Geographic's Egypt Unwrapped

Originally published October 3, 2009 | Talking Pyramids Blog | by Vincent "Bennu"

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!

The Oriental Institute Rendered 3D in Google Earth

Originally published October 5, 2009 | OI Blog

It's almost like being there...well, almost.

Video - EES Oral History Project: Harry Smith on Buhen

Originally published September 28, 2009 | EES - YouTube

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.

The Mut Precinct: a Brooklyn Museum Feature

Accessed September 28, 2009 | Brooklyn Museum

New Publications of the Center for Studies Papyrological University of Salento

Originally published September 28, 2009 | What's New in Papyrology

Nefertiti Moved With Care

Originally published October 5, 2009 | The Straits Times

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

Egypt to Combat Emissions With Solar Power

Originally published September 29, 2009 | Mena Infrastructure | by Timon Singh

TB the Culprit in the Great Mummy Whodunnit

Originally published September 29, 2009 | Yahoo! News and AFP

Book - The Libyan Anarchy: Inscriptions from Egypt's Third Intermediate Period

Accessed September 30, 2009 | Society of Biblical Literature | by Robert K Ritner

Video - Beautiful Mummy Found at Saqqara

Originally published September 2009 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Dr. Hawass

The Pyramids of Dashur 3: The Black Pyramid

Originally published September 30, 2009 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Dr. Hawass

Photo - Beni Hassan Tomb

Originally published September 29, 2009 | Zahi Hawass' Photo Blog | photo credits by Ken Garrett