Friday, December 10, 2010

In Celebration of Coptic Art

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

Rare Find by Polish Archaeologists in Egypt

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

What Explains a Peaceful Greek Trade City in Ancient Egypt?

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Math Puzzles’ Oldest Ancestors Took Form on Egyptian Papyrus

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

Monday, December 6, 2010

Egyptian Bones Could Help Solve Canine Conundrum

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

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

King Tut Secrets Go Online

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

Here's an excerpt from the article:

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

Thursday, June 24, 2010

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

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

Hieroglyphs Study Day in Oxford

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

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Short Courses at the Manchester in Egyptology Available Online

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

Classics and Egyptology Summer Classes at the University of Liverpool

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

Monday, May 24, 2010

New Blog - El Blog del Nilo

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

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

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

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

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Baubles and Bangles Inspired by Ancient Egypt

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

Monday, March 29, 2010

False Door from Vizier's Tomb Discovered

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

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Links:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lecture - The Tomb of Sennedjem: Little Jewel in the Beginning of Spanish Egyptology

Accessed March 18, 2010 | Instituto Valenciano de Egiptología | Join Marina Escolano, out of the EES and Durham University (among many other places), at the Royal Agricultural Society and Sports (C / Comedy, 12 - Valencia) on May 27 at 7:30pm for a free lecture she will be presenting on the tomb of Sennedjem, the discovery of which included a Spaniard, Eduard Toda i Güell. This announcement is in Spanish; click here to access an English translation. The link above gives a brief intro to TT1 and a nice description about my friend, Marina. Congratulations on your Fulbright scholarship!

Organic Preservation - a Petrie Museum Video

Originally published March 23, 2010 | UCLMuseums YouTube Channel | A short video documenting an intern's conservation efforts on some shabtis figures. If you frequent YouTube, perhaps you might subscribe to UCLMuseums' channel.

The Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus Online

Accessed March 23, 2010 | US National Library of Medicine | For those passionate about papyrology and the ancient Egyptian writing system, here's an amazing find on the web: the Edwin Smith Papyrus, a digitized image and interactive experience that lets you unroll this medical papyrus and read it (if you are so inclined). There is also additional information about this historic document. Talk about preserving the past. Now we can enjoy this artifact repeatedly without having to worry about contributing to its deterioration.

KV63 - an Update from Jane Akshar

Originally published March 19, 2010 | Luxor News | by Jane Akshar | Jane details the latest about KV63: excavation work, restoration, etc. Follow the above link to read more. Here's an excerpt:

Otto opened the lecture by reminding us that whatever KV63 finally turns out to be it will always be the first tomb discovered since the tomb of Tutankhamen. It started with a search for foundation deposits for the tomb of KV10. Excavation revealed 2 huts to the west and 10 huts to the east. These were used by the workman who lived in the valley and filled with ostracha and other artifacts. Theodore Davies had excavated the east most huts 10, 9 and 9a but left the central area. Under hut 5 they found KV63. Consisting of a single chamber with a stack of 8 coffins and 28 huge storage jars. This season they have been working on restoration of the coffins and the contents of the jars. Within these jars they have found natron, pots, textiles and the ‘embalming bed’ that is now in the mummification museum.

Solving the "Blue" Mystery - New Kingdom Pottery

Originally published March 17, 2010 | Washington University in St. Louis | by Diana Lutz | An excerpt:

What was she doing in the tunnel?

The answer: seeking an uncontaminated sample of a mineral that might have been the key ingredient in the blue used to decorate "blue painted pottery" popular among the Egyptian elite during the New Kingdom (1550-1079 BC).

Colleague Colin A. Hope, PhD, an expert in blue painted pottery, had asked if she wouldn’t help him pin down the source of the blue pigment by sampling and analyzing material from the mine.

Hope and Smith, together with Paul Kucera, a doctoral student at Monash University in Australia who first identified the mines, describe the pottery, the mines and the mineral in a chapter of Beyond the Horizon, a festschrift for the Egyptologist Barry A. Kemp

New Statues Found at Kom el-Hettan

Originally published March 21, 2010 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Dr. Hawass | Press release announcement from Zahi Hawass about the unearthing of two red granite statues of King Amenhotep III and of the god Thoth near the Pharaoh’s funerary temple at Kom el-Hettan on Luxor’s west bank by an Egyptian team. Includes a photo and related links.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Avenue of Lost Sphinxes to be Unveiled Soon

Originally published March 14, 2010 | Times Online | by Matthew Campbell | I have a love-hate relationship with this endeavor - that of uncovering and restoring the Avenue of the Sphinxes. I commend the restoration work, but wish the effort wasn't a rushed affair. It's archaeology - it should be a slow process, not only to take care with ancient artifacts, but to avoid making mistakes (historical and ethical). Yes, it's a great future touristic hot-spot, but catering to tourism should come second to good archaeology.

The following is an excerpt:

A HIDDEN wonder of the ancient world is to be unveiled in Egypt after excavation of the first stretch of a two-mile avenue lined with hundreds of carved sphinxes.

Built more than 3,000 years ago, the so-called Avenue of Sphinxes linked two giant temples and was used once a year for a religious procession. It was gradually buried by silt and built over after falling out of use in the 5th century AD.

Now it is being uncovered and the first part is expected to open within weeks. Visitors will have the chance to stroll under the imperious gaze of the sphinxes — mythological creatures with the body of a lion and head of a human or ram.


Controversy has surrounded the project, not least because of the speed of the excavation in which bulldozers have cut a 100-yard trench through some of the densely populated districts of Luxor.

Foreign archeologists say historical buildings have been demolished to make way for a lucrative new attraction.

Video - Behenu's Burial Chamber

Accessed March 13, 2010 | Reuters | This is a nice video documenting the recent discovery of Queen Behenu's intact burial chamber at Saqqara. Whereas before (in articles announcing the discovery) you couldn't really see the beautiful inscriptions, you can with this video. If you have a minute or two, I encourage you to watch it.

Excavations in the Valley of the Kings

Originally published March 14, 2010 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Dr. Hawass | An excerpt:

One of the most famous sites in Egypt has always been the Valley of the Kings, which has revealed to us such wonders as the tomb of Tutankhamun. However, all of the major discoveries of the past were made by foreign archaeologists. I was determined that Egyptian archaeologists should become part of the process of excavation and discovery, so in November 2007, the first all-Egyptian team to ever work in the Valley began excavating the area behind the tomb of Merenptah.

In the cliffs behind the tomb we discovered channels that the ancient Egyptians dug to redirect the “tears of the gods,” the flood, in order to preserve the tombs. In the course of our excavations, we recorded many new graffiti in the Valley and found many ostraca, which are pieces of limestone or pottery with drawings and inscriptions. The inscriptions found were very interesting, including a picture of an old lady, the cartouche of Ramses II and many descriptions and other things.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Burial Chamber of Ancient Egyptian Queen Unearthed

Originally published March 3, 2010 | Yahoo! News and AFP | For all of you hieroglyphic inscription fans, this find should be a fascinating one for you (it is for me). Recently discovered in Saqqara was a burial chamber of an obscure Old Kingdom Queen. The following is an excerpt from this article at Yahoo! News:

"We are excited because the texts are well conserved," he told The Associated Press, adding that the queen's titles were written on the walls of the 33 by 16 foot (10 meter by 5 meter) burial chamber inside her small pyramid.

The text is primarily concerned with protecting the queen's remains and her transition to afterlife.

Collombert called the queen "mysterious," and said it was not clear whether she was the wife of King Pepi I or II, two long-ruling pharaohs of the Sixth Dynasty.

Another source reporting on the same news can be found at Reuters and my favorite place to frequent on the web, Heritage Key.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lectures - The Rosetta Stone

Accessed February 25, 2010

Thanks goes to Marina Poveda, one of the presenters of these lectures, for passing along this information on to me.

The following are some talks happening at the Assembly Hall of the Casa de Cultura, C/ Jaume II, 3. Novelda (Alicante):

  1. Friday 5th of March at 20:00: La Piedra de Rosetta: Llave maestra de la egiptología, by Santiago Mallebrera, teacher of Egyptian language. Member of ITERU.
  2. Friday 12th of March at 19:30: Más Allá de la Piedra de Rosetta: El papel fundamental de la lengua copta en el desciframiento de la escritura jeroglífica, by Marina Escolano, deputy director of the joint EES/Durham University archaeological expedition to Saïs (Sa el-Hagar, Egypt).

A poster for these lectures is available.

Unraveling the DNA Behind the Mask

Originally published February 24, 2010 | Yale Daily News | by Erin Vanderhoof |

After 3,400 years, one of history’s oldest cold cases has finally been solved.

In addition to finding evidence that the legendary Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun (better known as King Tut) died of malaria and suffered from a club foot, DNA analysis unveiled last week has identified a previously anonymous excavated mummy, KV55, as Tutankhamun’s father: Akhenaten, the rebellious pharaoh of Egypt’s Amarna period whose legacy disappeared for thousands of years. The DNA supports the theory of two Yale professors, who suggested that the androgynous figures of the period’s art reflect religious beliefs rather than representations of Akhenaten’s family.

This theory was presented by Yale Egyptology professors John Darnell and Colleen Manassa ’01 GRD ’05 in their 2007 book, "Tutankhamun’s Armies," which details the military and diplomatic technique of Egypt’s late 18th Dynasty, which ruled the country from 1550 B.C. to 1292 B.C.

Tutankhamun's Funeral Exhibition at the Met will Explore Materials and Rituals

Originally published February 24, 2010 | Art Daily | An excerpt - click on the above link to read more:

In 1908, while excavating in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, American archaeologist Theodore Davis discovered about a dozen large storage jars. Their contents included broken pottery, bags of natron (a mixture of sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium sulphate, and sodium chloride that occurs naturally in Egypt), bags of sawdust, floral collars, and pieces of linen with markings from years 6 and 8 during the reign of a then little-known pharaoh named Tutankhamun. The Metropolitan Museum of Art was given six of the vessels and a good part of their contents in 1909.

In time, Herbert Winlock, curator and field director of the Metropolitan's Egyptian excavations and in the 1930s Director of the Museum, came to realize that the natron and linen were the embalming refuse from the mummification of Tutankhamun. He also suggested that the animal bones, pottery, and collars might have come from a funeral meal. Winlock's analysis was an important clue that led to Howard Carter's 1922 discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb some 110 meters away.

Opening March 16 at the Metropolitan Museum, the exhibition Tutankhamun's Funeral will explore the materials and rituals associated with the burial of the pharaoh. The presentation will include some 60 objects, primarily from the Metropolitan's own collection.

Still Them and Us - a Look at the Drawings of the Time Exhibit

Originally published February 25, 2010 | Al-Ahram Weekly Online | by Gamal Nkrumah | Gamal Nkrumah's reaction and analysis of Drawings of the Time: Impressions of Edfu Temple exhibit. An excerpt:

Drawings of the Time: Impressions from Edfu Temple is an exhibition that displays colourful and engaging portraits of high priests of ancient Egyptian Temples. Gamal Nkrumah discovers they tend to be at odds with contemporary art in many respects. These striking images are definitely not the stuff of daily life in the closing years of the Pharaonic era. They have a broader and more aspiring canvas.

The exquisite works of Andalusian artists Asuncion Jodar Minarro and Ricardo Marin Viadel ornament the Egyptian Museum and offer a timely lesson in Mediterranean camaraderie. The exhibition focuses on the miscellaneous aspects of the high priests of the Ptolemaic Period. The focus of this show is art rather than history. And yet the images have quite a tale to tell.

What a difference a couple of millennia make. Two thousand years ago, these images were adored as the very likeness of the living gods. Or those destined to serve the gods. Today they are admired as imaginative and ingenious interpretations of an art of an age bygone. They were worshipped then, and they are viewed with wonder now.

Imesy's Coffin to Return to Egypt

Originally published February 25, 2010 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Dr. Hawass | Here's a portion of the article describing this latest news - click the above link to read the fully story at Dr. Hawass' blog:

Culture Minister, Farouk Hosni, announced that following two years of negotiations and investigations, the 21st Dynasty (1070-945 BC) coffin of a private individual called Imesy is to be returned to Egypt.


On the basis of their investigation, ICE confiscated the coffin and contacted the SCA who requested that the object be seized. The SCA petitioned to DHS for the artifact’s return to Egypt. In November 2009, the matter went before US courts at which time the SCA presented their case with the help of a pro-bono lawyer from Miami. The importer eventually retracted his claim and withdrew from the case. The SCA agreed that the coffin be forfeited to US authorities with the guarantee that the object be repatriated to Egypt as soon as possible.

Arrangements are currently underway for the coffin to be handed over to the SCA as of March 10th, 2010, in Washington, DC during an official gala ceremony.

Other sources reporting on the same news: Discovery News and The Daily Star

Egyptian Priests Ate Like Gods and Paid by Dying Young

Originally published February 26, 2010 | Times Online | by Russell Jenkins | The following is an excerpt - click the above link to read the story in full:

Egyptologists and scientists at the University of Manchester have disclosed in The Lancet the cost of keeping the gods happy. By combining translations of hieroglyphic inscriptions on temple walls showing details of food offered to the gods with analysis of mummified remains, they have assessed their atherosclerosis, the build-up of fat and calcium in the arteries.

The findings show that cardiovascular disease affected the privileged of Ancient Egypt long before fried food and a sedentary life made heart attacks and strokes a modern killer. Rosalie David, of the university’s KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology, said that it was a telling message: :Live like a god and you will pay with your health.:

Other sources reporting on the same news: Earth Times and Yahoo! News UK

Massive Head Of Pharaoh Unearthed In Egypt

Originally published February 28, 2010 | NPR and AP | An excerpt:

Archaeologists have unearthed the massive head of one Egypt's most famous pharoahs who ruled nearly 3,400 years ago, the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities announced Sunday.

The head of Amenhotep III, which alone is about the height of a person, was found in the ruins of the pharaoh's mortuary temple in the southern city of Luxor.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Radio Interview & Podcast - Pioneers of the Past Exhibit

Accessed February 19, 2010 | Oriental Institute - Facebook | Dr. Emily Teeter and friends will be talking about the new exhibit at the Oriental Institute called Pioneers of the Past from 9 - 11pm CT on WGN Radio AM 720 today (Friday, February 19, 2010). They will take callers' questions starting at 10pm.

I believe you can listen live online. I'm not sure if you have to reside in the States for this feature to work (I know I can't watch Dr. Who episodes from the official web site because I don't live in the UK). If this happens to be the case, there will be a podcast of the interview after the broadcast:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Upcoming Ancient Egypt Programs on the Discovery Channel

Accessed February 18, 2010 | Discovery Channel | Here is a list of upcoming programs on the Discovery Channel about Ancient Egypt, from the Great Sphinx to Cleopatra, Hatshepsut, and Tutankhamun. It's going to be an awesome weekend!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What Plagued the Boy King?

Originally published February 16, 2010 | CNN Health | by Val Willingham | After hundreds (well, dozens is more like it) of years of speculation concerning what plagued the Boy King so greatly that it ended his life so soon. The results are in: the legendary Egyptian "boy king" Tutankhamun, commonly known as King Tut, died of conditions including malaria and complications from a leg fracture, according to a study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Read this article for the at-long-last information for which we Egyptomaniacs have been pining for quite some time. The following source has a lot a great detail and I'd recommend you reading this one as well: Aol News.

Press Conference to be Held at Egyptian Museum

Originally published February 15, 2010 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Dr. Hawass | Two very important events to the Egyptology world will occur on February 17: an 11am conference to announce new discoveries surrounding the family of Tutankhamun and the cause of the young king’s death and the publishing of these findings in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association). While you wait for those events, here's a video to keep you in the Tutmania mood:

Discovering Pyramids - The Tomb of Queen Sesheshet

Originally published February 3, 2010 | Smithsonian Magazine | by Stephan Glain | An excerpt:

When you make your living unearthing the royal riches of ancient Egypt, the beginning is a very distant place indeed – more than four millennia away, during the time of the 6th dynasty. We are standing on the rim of the necropolis of King Teti at Saqqara, where Karar and his team of archaeologists are excavating the tomb of Queen Sesheshet, Teti's mother. The tomb, and the once five-story-high pyramid that accommodates it, was until recently a dump for the sand and detritus of surrounding digs. But the intuitive power of Karar and his inimitable boss, Zahi Hawass, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, rescued it from oblivion last November. It was a once-in-a-lifetime strike – how often does one "discover" a pyramid? – and it may shed light on a particularly notorious episode in a pharaonic tradition of court intrigue and murder most foul.


Hawass, who began working at the Saqqara necropolis in 1988, says Sesheshet's pyramid "might be the most complete subsidiary pyramid ever found" in the area. It is certainly one of the largest. The remains of its 72-square-foot base suggests a pitch of 51 degrees, a common feature of 5th and 6th century pyramidal design, and a height of 46 feet. Large, smoothly carved blocks of limestone around the southern end of its foundation is all that's left of the casing that gave Egyptian pyramids of the time their clean, elegant lines. The entire structure would have been built with bronze tools.

Karar and his team waited several weeks before opening the tomb's burial chamber so as not to disrupt the remains while the surface excavation was going on. In January, when they finally entered the chamber, they found a mummy inside wrapped in linen and conclusive evidence to suggest it is Sesheshet, Hawas told the Cairo-based Al Ahram Weekly.

Lecture & Symposium - Radiocarbon Dating & Egyptian Chronology

Accessed February 16, 2010 | University of Oxford | On March 17 and 18, the Research Laboratory for Archaeology & the History of Art, Oxford University will host a conference about radiocarbon dating and the Egyptian chronology. Accompanying this conference is a free public lecture and reception at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and a symposium (admission fee) that will discuss the results of the Egyptian Chronology Project (a program with the aim to investigate the consistency of the historical chronology with dates obtained via the radiocarbon method) at the Ashmolean Museum. For more detailed information, please visit the above web site. There is also a conference schedule available.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lecture - Ritual and Magic in Ancient Egypt

Originally published February 11, 2010 | Egypt at the Manchester Museum | On Saturday, March 6 from 10am to 4:30pm Drs. Mark Collier, Steven Snape, and Kasia Szpakowska present a program that will explore the role and use of magic in Ancient Egypt, how rituals were performed, and who performed them. Each speaker will present case studies designed to give attendees a detailed understanding of the expressions of ritual and magic in Pharaonic Egypt. Dr. Szpakowska presents The Darker Side of Magic in Ancient Egypt, Dr. Snape presents Pots, Potions, and Dancing Dwarves, Dr. Collier presents The Scorpion's Sting. In addition to the talks, guests are invited to the Department’s Garstang Museum where they will have the unique opportunity to handle and learn about key objects from the museum’s collection. The Manchester Museum has a brochure for the program available as well as a booking form.

CSI Cairo: How Science Will Solve the Mystery of Tutankhamun

Originally published February 14, 2010 | The Independent | by Andrew Johnson | New technology is helping answer the riddles in the life and death of the boy king; it has cracked other historical cases too including laser scans on the Great Sphinx and other technological efforts put on non-Egyptian, yet ancient things. This article isn't divulging Tutankhamun's test results; it's just a teaser announcing that the results will be revealed this coming Wednesday. The anticipation is killing me! Here's another article reporting on the same news from Monsters and Critics.

Strolling on the Avenue of Sphinxes

Originally published February 11, 2010 | Al-Ahram Weekly Online | by Nevine El-Aref | Tourists will soon be able to see two sections of the Avenue of Sphinxes in Luxor looking much as they did in the days of the Pharaohs. Nevine El-Aref takes a stroll down the path of priests and princes in her very detailed article regarding this very exciting excavation program.

Lecture - Interconnections and Trade Between Crete/the Aegean Islands and Egypt

Originally published February , 2010 | Challenging the Past | by Marsia Bealby | On February 20th at 2:00pm UK time Marisa Bealby of the University of Birmingham will be conducting a lecture on the interconnections and trade between Crete and Egypt from 1850 to 1400 B.C.E at the New Walks Museum in Leicester, UK.

Video - Petrie Museum Celebrates LGBT History Month

Originally posted January 28, 2010 | YouTube | by UCLTV | To celebrate LGBT History Month, for the third year, the UCL Petrie Museum has created an LGBT History Trail of objects that tell of homosexuality in ancient Egypt with considerable attention being paid to Egyptian myths and legends. John Johnston, PhD student in UCL Archaeology, points out a few of the objects on display that best represent this topic, which include reliefs, and sculptures, and a 12th Dynasty papryus. Directly related to this event is an exhibit called Beyond Osiris and Isis: Alternate Sexualities in Ancient Egypt, which I mentioned in my February 6th post (Upcoming Lectures & Workshops at the Petrie Museum) about a week ago. This exhibit lasts until April 1, 2010.

Luxor Temple Excavations

Originally published February 9, 2010 | Luxor News Blog | by Jane Akshar | Ms. Akshar gives us a peek at the continuing excavations happening near Luxor, especially those done at the tell behind the Pashas House. She gives approving remarks about the field schools that train professionals on the job. Jane also includes several pictures capturing a few great sites to see near the area, including talatat bricks of the Amarna Period.

Opening the Children’s Exhibit at the Cairo Museum

Originally published February 12, 2010 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Dr. Hawass | The recent opening of the Children's Exhibit at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo has resulted in many great things, according to Zahi Hawass. He is very pleased that children of Egypt and around the world have an ancient Egyptian exhibit they can relate to, one that features famous Egyptian icons in LEGO form. There is also a workshop for children that teaches them about the Egyptian heritage and has graduated a thousand students. Read his blog post for a more detailed look at Dr. Hawass' reactions to this permanent exhibit.

Remaking History’s Shelves: SCA's Plan for New Museums

Accessed February 14, 2010 | Egypt Today | by Michael Kaput | This article is an overview of the SCA's ongoing and future plans to develop and restore museums to create better areas for housing the nation's antiquities, which have been in dire need of an appropriate and safe environment to be showcased. Here is an excerpt:

The building that houses the office in charge of the nation’s museums at the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) downtown is grand but half-finished. With some work, it could be truly magnificent. Whether that work gets done anytime soon is anyone’s guess. The same could be said about the SCA’s colossal undertaking to give the country’s staggering collection of artifacts a new showcase.

Flush with ticket revenue from international exhibitions and local tourist sites, the SCA is in the midst of a project that will see 20 new museums covering every governorate, and long-closed favorites re-opening to the public over the next five years. More than just cash cows feeding on tourist dollars, however, the new museums are also hope to reconnect Egyptians with their own heritage, in their own neighborhoods.


Part of the SCA’s plan is to air out the museum, transferring more than 20 percent of the objects, including the famed royal mummies, to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC) in El Fustat, due to open in two years. King Tutankhamun’s treasures will be moved to the new Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) being built at the Giza Plateau, which the Museum Sector head confirms is on schedule to open in five years.

Three Decades of Discovery - New Insight to Egypt’s Past

Accessed February 14, 2010 | Egypt Today | by May Kaddah | Over the last three decades, technological advancement has allowed archaeologists to answer longstanding questions and refute misconceptions about missing details of Egypt’s history. From the remains of ancient rulers to Napoleon’s flagship, Egypt Today takes you through some of archaeology’s most significant discoveries in the last 30 years, which includes the following topics: tombs of the pyramid builders, the Valley of the Golden Mummies, DNA analysis of Hatshepsut's tooth, the Theban Mapping Project, tomb of Rameses II's sons, underwater archaeology at Alexandria, and more.

Exhibit - Interpretations of Edfu

Originally published February 9, 2010 | Al-Masry Al-Yourn | by Andrew Bossone | A new contemporary exhibit, entitled Drawings of the time: Impressions From the Edfu Temple, will be showcased at the Egyptian Museum until April 8. It is a modern interpretation of ancient artwork and features drawings from the western staircase in Edfu temple by artists and professors Assunción Jódar Miñarro and Ricardo Marín Viadel. This article divulges the inspiration and development of the exhibit and includes exhibition information at the bottom. Pictures are also included to give you a peek at the beautiful interpretive artwork.

Otto Schaden's Dig Diary Feb 13 Update

Originally published February 13, 2010 | Dig Diary KV-63 | by Mudir Schaden | A few bits of news concerning the restoration work on and conservation of several of the items discovered within KV-63 including a funeral mask, coffin fragments and an infant's coffin, pottery and ceramics, and seal impressions. To see these items in there current state, photos are provided. My favorite is the funeral mask. It's so delicate and has a lovingly welcoming expression that makes me smile.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Zahi Remembers James Romano of the Brooklyn Museum of Art

Originally published February 9, 2010 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Dr. Hawass | Zahi recalls a tribute he presented at a conference about the life and work of the late James Romano of the Brooklyn Museum of Art. He also mentions his approval of the joint expedition conducting a survey of Malqata, a conservation project that James' widow, Diana Craig Patch, is co-directing.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Upcoming Exhibit - Seramón, el Enigma de la Momia

Accessed February 6, 2010 | Museo Arqueológico de Alicante

A special thanks goes to Marina Escolano Poveda for passing along some information about a new exhibit coming to the Archaeological Museum in Alicante (I've read it will run from March to October, 2010. I'm sure Marina will correct me if I'm wrong), which will showcase artifacts from the Louvre and Besançon museums, including two mummies (Seramon and Ankhpakhered), their coffins, and funerary equipment. In addition, a part of the exhibit is dedicated to Egyptian objects found at Phoenician, Roman, and other archaeological sites in the Alicante province. Be sure to check out this latter part of the exhibit, as Marina is part of its preparation, writing some of the descriptions of the artifacts for the catalog and advising about other Egyptological aspects of the general exhibit.

The web site is currently only in Spanish, but follow this link to read it in English (translated by Google Translate).

Course in Egypt - The Life and Works of the Theban Royal Tomb Makers

Accessed February 6, 2010 | Bloomsbury Summer School/Academy | Join John Romer, Renowned expert on Deir el-Medina and the Valley of the Kings, for a week-long series of lectures in the heart of Luxor November 10 - 17, 2010. Here is the course description:
The extraordinary achievement of the royal tombs of Thebes cannot be fully appreciated without an understanding of the environment in which they were made. John Romer will re-explore with you the world of the Theban New Kingdom. He will consider how and why the first royal tombs were made at Thebes, and how the tomb makers who lived at Deir el Medina elaborated that tradition to create the great tombs of the Valley of the Kings. He will also explore the purposes and meanings of these tombs - and something also, of the lives and times of the archaeologists and Egyptologists who have shaped our present understanding of them. Finally, in the light of fresh and, as yet, largely unpublished evidence, he will outline a new history of the ending of the Valley of the Kings and of the remarkable community of those who worked there.
Click the above link to find a list a suggested reading, booking and programme information, and registration fees.

New Exhibit - Abu Simbel: the Salvaging of the Monuments

Originally published February 5, 2010 | Al-Ahram Weekly Online | by Nevine El-Aref | This article is a reaction by the author to the new exhibit entitled Abu Simbel: the Salvaging of the Monument, which is currently in Al-Sama Khana in Sayeda Zeinab and will soon be touring Europe and then worldwide. It highlights in photographic form, Italy's help in rescuing Nubian monuments during the Salvage Campaign of the 1960s and 70s. Follow the above link to read Nevine's detailed description of the history and importance behind this exhibit.

The following is an excerpt:

The idea for an exhibition was dreamed up last year in Rome by the World Wide Artists Association and the Chamber of Commerce in Rome to highlight the role of Italy in rescuing Nubian monuments from the rising waters of Lake Nasser following the construction of the Aswan High Dam. The exhibition was previously shown in 2009 in Rome inside the Temple of Hadrian. The exhibition will later tour some of the principle capitals of Europe and worldwide.


The event is taking the form of a worldwide documentary exhibition and will have a high impact, with images never before published. It will enhance not only the natural and historical value of the archaeological site, but also the anthropological aspect, paying particular attention to the human resources involved in the feat, the methodologies employed and the machinery and equipment used, as well as the projects throughout their development and realization.


According to the official statement by the organiser, the exhibition will strive to meet two main objectives: one that of reaching a global public, bringing to them awareness of the history of man, of what was achieved, the ideas that took shape in the knowledge of the convergence of historical and archaeological themes, in an effort to involve the "public at large", not only those who dedicate themselves daily to this fascinating field, the other is that of taking advantage of this unique opportunity to valorise the entrepreneurial network between Rome, Italy and Egypt's social and economic realities.

Upcoming Lectures & Workshops at the Petrie Museum

Accessed February 5, 2010 | Petrie Museum | Will you be in the London area? You may want to check out these upcoming events (lectures, workshops, and more), hosted by the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology:

Friday, February 5, 2010

Forthcoming Egyptology Books

Accessed February 5, 2010 | Blackwell Bookshop Online | Here's a list of some books that will be released and sold very soon. So, if you're like me and want to buy new publications for your personal library, follow the link and get to shopping. Upcoming publications include titles like Money in Ptolemaic Egypt, Preserving Egypt's Cultural Heritage, Ancient Egyptian Art, and The Legacy of Egyptian Mythology. A head's up, the prices listed at the e-commerce site are in English pounds.

Laser Scanning the Sphinx

Originally published February 4, 2010 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Dr. Hawass | Laser scanning technology has captured a detailed record of the face of the Sphinx, the information of which has been used to create the most accurate 3D model of the Sphinx ever, the likes of which will be used to measure the effects of humans and nature on the infamous monument. The entire process and everything that encompasses it will play an important part in its conservation.

Volunteer Opportunities at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

Accessed February 4, 2010 | Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum | Calling all lovers of ancient cultures - the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum has volunteering opportunities available for you! Visit the REM web site for more information. There is also an internship opening, which is a two-month gig. Here is the application form if you're interested in either opportunity. REM also requests you to forward a resume and cover letter to the following email address:

Project Manager Selected for Grand Egyptian Museum

Originally published February 2, 2010 | Yahoo! Finance | An announcement about the selection of a project manager for the construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum, which promises to result in successful development of the future pharaonic museum of iconic proportions. The following is an excerpt:

The Grand Egyptian Museum, which has a total estimated project cost of approximately $550 million, will be the largest and most important Pharaonic museum in the world, the largest museum in Egypt and one of the leading scientific, historical and archaeological study centers on the globe. The museum’s twenty-first century galleries will be located in an iconic and distinctive building located where Cairo meets the desert, abutting the Giza Pyramids world heritage site. The museum, designed by Heneghan Peng Architects, Ove Arup, Buro Happold and others, will cover 3,500 years of ancient Egyptian history and house more than 100,000 artifacts.

"With the selection of a project manager, we have achieved yet another milestone in the development of the Grand Egyptian Museum," said Farouk Hosny, Egypt’s Minister of Culture. "In Hill/EHAF, we have the expertise of a world-class project management team to ensure that this project will be completed successfully," he added.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Upcoming Workshops at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

Accessed February 4, 2010 | Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum | The following are a few upcoming and recurring workshops at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum about mummification, jewelry, and hieroglyphs - each are linked to the events page on the Rosicrucion Facebook Page (click the above link to visit the museum's web site):

  • Date: February 6, 2010
    Lecture: Ancient Egyptian Mummies (1st Saturday of the Month)
    Time: 12:30pm - 1:00pm

  • Date: February 7, 2010
    Workshop: Hieroglyph Workshop (every Sunday at 11:30am and every Thursday at 4:00pm)
    Time: 11:30am - 12:00pm

  • Date: February 7, 2010
    Lecture: Ancient Egyptian Jewelry (1st Sunday of the Month)
    Time: 12:30pm - 1:00pm

Lecture - Mummies, Science, and Egyptology II

Originally published February 3, 2010 | The University of Manchester | The University of Manchester and presenter Dr. Rosalie David will be hosting a lecture entitled Mummies, Science and Egyptology II on Saturday, February 6 to discuss the scientific study of Ancient Egyptian mummies, which will include the question, "Was the great Pharaoh Ramesses II a true redhead?" The day school will also reveal how modern scientific investigations and archaeological research are helping to reveal more about the lives of other Ancient Egyptians: Horemkenesi, high priest of Amun at Karnak; Meresamun, a temple singer; and Asetirikhetes, the Ptolemaic mummy from 305 B.C.E. Follow the link to book a spot for yourself.

New Exhibit - the Eternal Light of Egypt

Originally published February 4, 2010 | Times Union | by Tim Kane | This article announces a new photographic exhibit called The Eternal Light of Egypt by Sarite Sanders, coming to the Albany Institute of History and Art June 13, which brings the ethereal back into the monuments of Ancient Egypt. I had the pleasure of seeing a preview this past spring, where a few of Sarite's photographs were on display at the Loyola University Museum of Art. If these were but a hint at what an entire exhibit dedicated to her photography would be like, I imagine this new exhibit is stunning. This reminds me of the tomb of Tutankhamun: such an historically unimportant king found in such a beautifully decorated tomb, a thought that makes one wildly wonder how much more splendidly the most important rulers' tombs were filled with riches. That said, the second page of this article contains all the information you need to visit the exhibit, including contact information, hours of operation, and more.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Naughty Hieroglyphic Graffiti at the UofC

Originally published February 2, 2010 | Crescat Graffiti, Vita Excolatur | by Quinn Dombrowski | Not nearly as obviously naughty as the Hatshepsut-Senenmut graffito, but just as interesting, is the latest bit of graffiti (in hieroglyphs no less!) to grace the walls of the library at the University of Chicago. Who knew that Egyptological scholars (or perhaps students?) at the UofC had dirty minds (because that's the sentence that just pops into one's head when one is studying in the library!) Fifty scribes just punched the air.

More Regarding the Avenue of Sphinxes in Luxor

Originally published February 3, 2010 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Zahi Hawass | More details about the excavations at Luxor on the Sphinx Alley including the latest developments, the long history of contributors to the Alley and its surroundings, and more. Here's an excerpt:

Hosni said that the Avenue of Sphinxes, built by the 30th Dynasty king Nectanebo I (380-362 BC), is 2,700 meters long and 76 meters wide, and lined with a number of statues in the shape of sphinxes. Hosni added that the avenue is one of the most important archaeological and religious paths in Luxor, as it was the location of important religious ceremonies in ancient times, most notably the Opet festival. Queen Hatshepsut (1502-1482 BC) recorded on her red chapel in Karnak temple that she built six chapels dedicated to the god Amun-Re on the route of this avenue during her reign, emphasizing that it was long a place of religious significance.


Dr. Hawass explained that the work was carried out in three phases; the first was to build a low wall alongside the avenue in order to preserve it from any further encroachment, the second phase is the excavation and the third is restoration of the area.

Excavators unearthed a collection of Roman buildings and workshops of clay pots and statues as well as several reliefs. One of the reliefs bears the cartouche of Queen Cleopatra VII (51-30 BC). Dr. Hawass believes that this queen likely visited this avenue during her Nile trip with Mark Anthony and implemented restoration work that was marked with her cartouche.

Two articles by Ann Wuyts written for the Independent report on the same story: Excavation and Restoration on the Avenue of Sphinxes and Temple Fragment Return to Egypt and Its Place

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

King Tutankhamun's Senet Game Board in Photos

Originally published February 2, 2010 | Heritage Key | Heritage Key is working closing with Sandro Vannini to bring visual representation of Tutankhamun's senet board games, which were found in his tomb, possibly denoting his love for the game. In addition to giving a short history of the game and its significance to the ancient Egyptians, the article provides loads of great resources on the matter: a Senet Board slideshow, King Tut Virtual, a video of Vannini's photography, and more.

Lectures - Zahi Hawass in Canada, Germany, and the US

Accessed February 2, 2010 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Zahi Hawass | Two upcoming lectures with Zahi Hawass as the speaker will be occurring in Toronto, Canada and Hamburg, Germany. Here is the information concerning both dates:

  • Date: March 26, 2010
    Lecture: Dr. Zahi Hawass: My Discoveries
    Time: 7:30pm - 8:30pm
    Location: Am Dammtor, 20355 Hamburg, Germany
    Venue: Congress Centre Hamburg
    Ticket & more info

  • Date: March 8, 2010
    Lecture: Mysteries of Tutankhamun Revealed
    Time: 7:30 pm
    Location: 301 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, California
    Venue: War Memorial Auditorium Opera House
    Ticket & more info

  • Date: March 6, 2010
    Lecture: Mysteries of Tutankhamun Revealed
    Time: 7:00 pm
    Location: 31 King's College Circle, Toronto, Ontario
    Venue: Convocation Hall
    Ticket & more info

Egypt Tightens Penalties for Relics Robbers, Smugglers

Originally published February 2, 2010 | Agence France Presse and Google | by Riad Abu Awad | An excerpt:

Parliament amended Egypt's antiquities law on Monday to bring in stiffer punishments for the theft and smuggling of relics while granting patent rights to the country's antiquities council.

The amendment requires Egyptians who have antiquities to report their possessions to the Supreme Council of Antiquities, headed by Zahi Hawass, in six months. The sale of antiquities is still banned.

"Parliament agreed on article eight that forbids trade in antiquities but allows possession of antiquities with some individuals, on condition that they cannot use them to benefit others, or to damage and neglect them," Hawass said.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Opening the Tomb of Sa-Iset

Originally published February 1, 2010 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Dr. Hawass | Dr. Zahi Hawass details the recent re-excavation of the burial chamber in Dashur of a Dynasty 12 vizier named Sa-Iset. He finds the need to lift the lid of the vizier's coffin to confirm that a previous excavator (Jacques de Morgan) did indeed do the same to perform excavation work underneath. He continues with a brief history of this tomb's place in history and it's significance (and it's intriguing aspects). He ends with this final note:
The important thing to remember is that this tomb is still very valuable, in its unique design and Pyramid Texts, and a complete study will reveal much information about the reign of Amenemhat II and the Middle Kingdom time in which Sa-Iset lived.

New Book - Amarna Sunset

Accessed January 31, 2010 | The American University in Cairo Press | "A new account of the return to orthodoxy after Akhenaten’s revolution. [...] This new study, drawing on the latest research, tells the story of the decline and fall of the pharaoh Akhenaten’s religious revolution in the fourteenth century BC." Visit this web page for publication information, pricing, and related works from the author (Aidan Dodson).

New February/March 2010 Issue of Ancient Egypt Magazine

Accessed January 31, 2010 | Ancient Egypt Magazine | Features include the following: The Rosetta Stone, News from Egypt, The Missing Link, Into Egypt's Eastern Desert, Investigating Early Mummification, The Cult of the Apis Bull, The Belly of Stones, Featured Pharaoh: Senusret III, Per Mesut: for young readers, and Architectural Gems. From this site you can purchase a copy of the magazine or read reviews of recent books and publications.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Two Granada Artists at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo

Originally published January 29, 2010 | Amigos de los Egiptología | An excerpt in its original Spanish (click on the above link to access this article, translated to English; click here to read the article in Spanish):

Dos granadinos serán los primeros pintores contemporáneos en exponer su obra en el Museo Egipcio de El Cairo, y lo harán gracias al trabajo de investigación y reproducción de las treinta y una figuras de los sacerdotes portainsignias de la escalera Oeste del templo Horus en Edfú (Egipto). Asunción Jódar y Ricardo Marín han realizado más de 400 dibujos, la mayoría de ellos a gran escala, de esos sacerdotes, que serán expuestos en el Museo Egipcio de El Cairo a partir del 8 de febrero y, en Granada, a partir del 27 de abril.

Impresiones del templo de Edfú es una muestra de dibujos monumentales que Jódar y Marín llevaban realizando desde el año 2005. La idea de reproducir en pintura los dibujos de los relieves de los sacerdotes surgió, según explicó Asunción Jódar, cuando la pareja de artistas visitaba el templo de Edfú. "Vimos entonces la escalera oeste del templo y me pareció muy especial, sobre todo las 31 figuras que la decoraban. Aquellos sacerdotes me llamaron la atención y pensamos en la posibilidad de dibujar sus imágenes".

The Taharqa Gate: the Week of the Brick

Originally published January 29, 2010 | Brooklyn Museum Blog | by Mary McKercher | This post illustrates in beautiful pictures the work that is being done at the Taharqa Gate. Each day reveals new insight about the enclosure. Click the above link to review the Johns Hopkins University excavation's progress and see the amazing photos.

Egypt Exhibit Opens in Vegas Natural History Museum

Originally published January 30, 2010 | KTNV ABC | The following is an excerpt announcing a new permanent exhibit at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened yesterday (January 30):

The Las Vegas Natural History Museum in downtown Las Vegas is celebrating a milestone thousands years in the making. This Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010, the Museum opens a new permanent exhibit called The Treasures of Egypt, which features nearly 500 reproduced artifacts including the tomb of the young Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

The exhibit, located in the museum's new 4,000-square-foot Egyptian Pavilion expansion, provides a glimpse into the ancient past of Egyptian civilization. It features replicas generously donated by MGM MIRAGE that were formerly on display in the King Tut Museum & Tomb inside the Luxor Las Vegas, including the world-famous guardian statues, King Tut's sarcophagus and an array of statues, vases, baskets and pottery. The Museum was able to recreate the tomb of King Tut as discovered by Howard Carter in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt in 1922. This unique replica of the actual tomb is the only known exhibit of its kind outside of Egypt.

Egypt to Announce King Tutankhamun's DNA Test Results

Originally published January 31, 2010 | Courant | by Paul Schemm | Finally, after much hinting of this event, Hawass et al will be releasing the DNA results of Tutankhamun on Saturday, February 13. Personally, I feel sorry for Tutankhamun's mummy, having already gone through so much over the years, only to be chipped away at to learn a little more about him, particularly his seemingly mysterious lineage. The article also details some background information on Tutankhamun, similar procedures being performed on other royal and unknown mummies, and past endeavors that have revealed important information to the world of Egyptology.

Upcoming Egypt Exploration Society Lectures and Classes

Accessed January 31, 2010 | EES | The following are upcoming ESS and non-ESS lectures, symposiums, and classes on various topics of Egyptology (click on the event titles to find more information including event descriptions and contact and registration information):

More Regarding Restoration of Luxor's Sphinx Avenue

Originally published January 29, 2010 | The Star Online | by Alexander Dziadosz | More details concerning the restoration of Luxor's Sphinx Avenue (previously posted January 24: Sphinx Alley Gives Egypt Large Open-Air Museum), including how many have been unearthed thus far, how long the project will take to complete, how long it will take to restore the avenue, and its pre- and post-relation with tourism.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Egypt Relics Chief Pulls in Revenue as He Fights for Nefertiti

Originally published January 26, 2010 | Bloomberg | by Daniel Williams | This article highlights the past and future endeavors of one Dr. Zahi Hawass, none of which have come without controversy. Such endeavors have been the following: the request to return fragments from the Louvre, numerous attempts to regain the Nefertiti bust in the Neues Museum, the discovery that Egyptian workers had built the pyramids and not Hebrew slaves, the collection of billions in revenue from the Tutankhamun traveling exhibit to fund Egyptological projects, and the like.

Notorious Forgeries Take London's Limelight

Originally published January 25, 2010 | The Daily Star | A new exhibit, called the Metropolitan Police Service’s Investigation of Fakes and Forgeries at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London opened last Saturday that features ancient Egyptian fakes, including those from a man who had been in the trade for more than a dozen years and many with signed "certificates of authenticity" alongside them. The most famous of the forgeries, the Amarna Princess, is also on display. The exhibit runs until February 7.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

New Publication - Giza Mastabas

Originally published January 27, 2010 | David Brown Book Company | by Peter Der Manuelian | For those of you who are faced with difficulty in finding an Egyptological book that you don't have, here's a new publication (I will certainly have it on my bookshelf ones of these days. Here's an excerpt:

West of the Great Pyramid at Giza, the Fourth Dynasty pharaoh Khufu laid out scores of mastaba tombs for the elite members of ancient Egyptian society. Specific clusters of tombs seem to form architectural and archaeological units, prompting the modern division of the Giza Necropolis into discrete nucleus cemeteries. This book interprets the complete archaeological record of the mastabas of Cemetery G 2100, one of the six nucleus cemeteries at Giza. As a key to understanding Old Kingdom mortuary development at Giza, it explores the distinguishing features of such a grouping of tombs and tomb owners: relative chronology and individual artistic styles; common administrative titles, possible familial connections to the king; and the relationship of the earlier, major mastabas to the subsequent, minor burials surrounding them.

The web site also features an excerpt from the book itself, a batch of 3D photos featured in the book, notes about the author, and related publications.

Uncovering Secrets of the Sphinx

Originally published January 22, 2010 | Smithsonian Magazine | by Evan Hadingham | An excerpt from February's issue of Smithsonian, which features one of my favorite yet little known archaeologists (Emile Baraize); it's very reminiscent of the PBS/NOVA program that was on a week ago (available for purchase at PBS, in case you missed it):

After decades of research, American archaeologist Mark Lehner has some answers about the mysteries of the Egyptian colossus.

The Sphinx was not assembled piece by piece but was carved from a single mass of limestone exposed when workers dug a horseshoe-shaped quarry in the Giza plateau. Approximately 66 feet tall and 240 feet long, it is one of the largest and oldest monolithic statues in the world. None of the photos or sketches I’d seen prepared me for the scale. It was a humbling sensation to stand between the creature’s paws, each twice my height and longer than a city bus. I gained sudden empathy for what a mouse must feel like when cornered by a cat.

Nobody knows its original name. Sphinx is the human-headed lion in ancient Greek mythology; the term likely came into use some 2,000 years after the statue was built. There are hundreds of tombs at Giza with hieroglyphic inscriptions dating back some 4,500 years, but not one mentions the statue. “The Egyptians didn’t write history,” says James Allen, an Egyptologist at Brown University, “so we have no solid evidence for what its builders thought the Sphinx was....Certainly something divine, presumably the image of a king, but beyond that is anyone’s guess.” Likewise, the statue’s symbolism is unclear, though inscriptions from the era refer to Ruti, a double lion god that sat at the entrance to the underworld and guarded the horizon where the sun rose and set.

Abydos - The Most Sacred of Cities

Originally published January 28, 2010 | Al-Ahram Weekly Online | by Jill Kamil | A review of David O'Connor's Abydos: Egypt's First Pharaohs and the Cult of Osiris. Here's an excerpt of Jill's take on it:

Abydos: Egypt's First Pharaohs and the Cult of Osiris gives us new insights into the origins of kingship in Egypt and the organisation of early state. It reveals that writing has been found here that rivals in antiquity that of Mesopotamia. And it explores the significance of a fleet of boats, the earliest surviving in the world, unearthed at Abydos. "Each discovery raises new questions and issues, and indicates that further mysteries remain to be explored and resolved," writes O'Connor, and adds: "Abydos will continue to intrigue archaeologists, Egyptologists and lay enthusiasts for many generations to come."

Let me, however, hasten to add that this is not a book for the general reader who expects a publication described as: "The definitive account of one of Egypt's most important ancient sites, written by a world authority", to be a guidebook to the site. Abydos is most definitely a book by a scholar, for scholars, and for those enthusiasts who have some background in archaeology.

Festival of Archaeologists at Cairo Opera House

Origianlly published January 28, 2010 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Dr. Hawass | On a very significant day every year for the past four years, Dr. Hawass and friends get together to celebrate the achievements and progress of Egyptian archaeology, create a place for them to cohort with each other and their foreign colleagues, watch a video representation of all the projects that Egyptian archaeologists are overseeing and training programs that they are implementing, and honor current and long past Egyptian archaeologists of great importance. This blog post chronicles this year's festival.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Antiquities Protection Draft Law Continues to Ignite Debates at PA

Originally published January 20, 2010 | Zawya | by Safaa Abdoun | Here's an excerpt of one of my favorite topics - illicit trade and private owning of antiquities:

Protection of Egypt's antiquities was the subject of heated debate at the People's Assembly as steel mogul and senior National Democratic Party MP Ahmed Ezz and Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni argued over private ownership of antiquities.

The point of contention was Article 8, which bans the trade, or any other form of disposal, of antiquities unless there is a written consent from the Supreme Council for Antiquities (SCA). It also states that the council has the right to take the antiquity from the owner and offer a reasonable compensation.


Minster of State for Legal Affairs and Parliamentary Councils, Mofid Shehab, proposed to add a clause to the articles which states that anyone in possession of an antiquity has to notify the council within a year of the law coming into force.

Parliament Speaker Ahmed Fathi Sorour said that the crime of owning an antiquity is only punishable if the owner knows that it is an antiquity and doesn't report it, and he postponed the discussion of this article until the entire law is discussed.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous Egyptians

Originally published January 21, 2010 | Heritage Key | by Paula Veiga | An article examining the backgrounds and lifestyles of rich Egyptians (including priests and kings). These leisurely activities and ammenities included eating and drinking parties and banquets, personal hygiene rituals, quality of dress, love and marriage, and more, linking these topics to examples of their modern day counterparts.

Sphinx Alley Gives Egypt Large Open-Air Museum

Originally published January 24, 2010 | Yahoo! News and Associated Press | An announcement about the completion of the restoration on the 2-mile alley of crio- and andro-sphinxes that connect the Luxor and Karnak Temple Compexes, which is boasted to be the largest open-air museum. Completion is set for March.

Ancient Men Had Strokes

Originally published January 25, 2010 | Zee News | An excerpt:

Ancient Egyptian mummies, some as old as 3,500 years, showed hardening of arteries, suggesting that heart attacks and stroke afflicted the ancients too.

"Atherosclerosis, despite differences in ancient and modern lifestyles, was rather common in ancient Egyptians of high socio-economic status living," says Gregory Thomas, clinical professor of cardiology at the University of California-Irvine (UCI).

"The findings suggest that we may have to look beyond modern risk factors to fully understand the disease," said Thomas, principal study co-investigator.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Exhibit - Ippolito Rosellini and the Dawn of Egyptology

Accessed January 19, 2010 | ANSAmed | An excerpt:
Drawings, watercolours and unpublished manuscripts that show the beginnings of Egyptology will be exhibited for the first time in Cairo from January 26 to the end of the February in an exhibition entitled 'Ippolito Rosellini and the Dawn of Egyptology'. [...] The exhibition recounts the Franco-Tuscan expedition to Egypt, led by Jean-Francois Champollion [sic] and Pisan Ippolito Rossellini in 1828-29, which signalled one of the founding moments of Egyptology and the first section of the exhibition is in fact dedicated to the birth of the undertaking and the team which conducted it.

The exhibit runs from January 27 - February 23, 2010 at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and the admission free (you can't get much better than that!)

New Discovery of Greek Cat Goddess Temple at Alexandria

Originally published January 19, 2010 | Dr. Hawass' Blog | by Dr. Hawass | Naturally, I'm going to direct you to the more authoritative source of this latest discovery - at Dr. Hawass' Blog, of course. Here is an excerpt from his post:

An archaeological mission of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) led by Dr. Mohamed Abdel Maqsoud, Head of Antiquities of Lower Egypt, discovered the remains of a temple of Queen Berenike, the wife of king Ptolemy III (246-222 BC), along with a cachette of 600 Ptolemaic statues.

An inscribed base of a granite statue from the reign of King Ptolemy IV (205-222 BC) was also unearthed. It bears ancient Greek text written in nine lines stating that the statue belonged to a top official in the Ptolemaic court. Dr. Maqsoud believes the base was made to celebrate Egypt’s victory over the Greeks during the Battle of Raphia in 217 BC.

Yahoo! News has two resources covering the same discovery:

Monday, January 18, 2010

On TV - Riddles of the Sphinx on PBS' NOVA

Accessed January 15, 2010 | Providence Pictures and NOVA/PBS | by Ben Sweeney | A special thanks goes to Ben Sweeney for sending me a direct link to the bonus videos of the upcoming television show entitled Riddles of the Sphinx, which will premier on NOVA/PBS Tuesday, January 19 (check your local listings - Chicagoans can view it at 8pm on WTTW-11). Here is a brief synopsis of the program:
For over 4,000 years, the Sphinx has puzzled all who have laid eyes on it. What is this crouching lion, human-headed creature? Who built it and why? To unlock its secrets, two teams of scientists and sculptors immerse themselves in the world of ancient Egypt — a land of pharaohs and pyramids, animal gods and mummies, sun worship and human sacrifice.

Upcoming Lectures - London Examines Nefertiti and Chicago, Ancient Egyptian Women in Society

Accessed January 18, 2010 | Egypt at the Manchester Blog and Neighborhood Star | The following are the dates, times, location, topics, and a tiny excerpt of each upcoming lecture:

  • Date: March 8, 2010
    Location: Millennium Park Room at the Chicago Cultural Center - Chicago, IL
    Lecture: The Role of Women in Egypt's History, by Ambassador Nihad Zikry, Assistant Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs
    At the invitation of the Consulate General of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Chicago, H.E. Ambassador Nihad Zikry, Assistant Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs, will speak about the role of women throughout Egypt's history in celebration of Women's History Month.

  • Date: February 10, 2010
    Location: Kanaris Lecture Theatre, The Manchester Museum - Manchester, UK
    Lecture: Re-Writing Nefertiti, by Dr. Joyce Tyldesley
    This Showcase Seminar will consider the distorting effect that the Berlin head has had on the public perception of Nefertiti, before reviewing the archaeological evidence for her life and death.

  • Date: January 21, 2010
    Time: 7:30pm
    Location: Marie Irwin Community Center - Homewood, IL
    Lecture: Beyond Harpists and Housewives: Women and Their Employment in Ancient Egypt, by Megaera Lorenz, University of Chicago graduate student
    "Despite their misleadingly low profile in the historical record, women were active participants in ancient Egypt's economy," said Lorenz. "This talk examines a few of the varied and often surprising ways that ancient Egyptian women found employment"

I believe all of these lectures and workshops are free admission, especially the one at the Cultural Center.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

TV Channel Seeks Terminally-Ill Person to be Mummified for Documentary

January 11, 2010 | Mail Online | On a few occasions, I've been asked, when I die, am I going to be mummified. The answer is "no." It appears, however, that someone may just chose to be. Someone with the intent of filming a documentary about Egyptian mummification, claiming to have unlocked the secrets of this ancient process, has published an advert in a magazine, asking for a terminally-ill person to volunteer who can also chose to be put on display in a museum. If it's all in the name of science and understanding and not just to drop jaws and empty stomachs of their contents, I'm all for the project, just as long as it isn't made into some sort of silly spectacle similar to mummy unwrapping parties of the early days of Egyptology. Hey, if Leo DaVinci played with cadavers to draw the human body better, then I suppose it's all right if a scientist mummifies a person who has given consent to better understand the Egyptians' method to embalming their dead.

Colloquium - Egypt and the Mediterranean World

Accessed January 15, 2010 | Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale | Happening September 19 - 21, 2010 in central Cairo, Egypt at the French Cultural Center, the international colloquium Landscape Archaeology will be dedicated to Egypt and the Mediterranean World, shedding light on the evolution of the River Nile, an element that is the epitome of the relation between Man and his environment. The itinerary also includes a workshop/seminar taking place from September 23 to 25.

This announcement, although published originally in French, has an English translation.

Researchers Run Tests on Mummy to Shed light on Ancient Egypt

Originally published January 14, 2010 | Asbury Park Press | by John Christoffersen | An excerpt - click the above link to read in full:

The mummy, known as Pa-Ib and believed to be about 4,000 years old, has been in the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport since the 1890s and was a prized exhibit of the flamboyant showman P.T. Barnum. It will be transported Thursday in a coffin complete with a police escort from the museum to the university's campus in North Haven.

A CT scanner will take images that are eight times the resolution of tests done on the mummy in 2006, and a tiny camera will be inserted inside the mummy.

Researchers are trying to determine if bundles in the abdomen and pelvis cavities
contain a bird mummy or are organs. The earlier tests led to speculation that the
bundles might contain a bird mummy.

My money is on the bundles being her internal organs, but I would like to be proved wrong because I like the idea that we still have yet to reveal all of the secrets of Ancient Egypt.