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.

The Legacy of Howard Carter - Explorer and Thief?

Originally published January 15, 2010 | Free Internet Press | by Matthias Schulz, translated from German by Ella Ornstein | The following is an excerpt from this revealing article about perhaps the most well-known archaeologist, discoverer of perhaps the most well-known Ancient Egyptian pharaoh:

The grandeur of the find rubbed off on its discoverer. Carter was awarded an honorary doctorate and U.S. President Calvin Coolidge invited him to tea. Horst Beinlich, Egyptologist at Wurzburg University, calls him a "thoroughly honest man full of idealism."

It appears, however, that this isn't quite true. Documents show that the hero of the tombs cheated on many counts, manipulating photographs, forging documentation on the discovery and deceiving the Egyptian Antiquities Service.

The discoveries in that tomb set in motion a power struggle that has been only partially uncovered. Carter wanted to send as much of the treasure as possible to England and the United States. This plan quickly met with resistance. Egypt had been a British protectorate since 1914, but the administration of antiques lay in the hands of a particularly intractable Frenchman.

In the end, Carter's entire scheme went awry and the pharaoh's golden treasures remained in Cairo, marking the end of an era of ruthless appropriation of cultural assets. Carter and his team went away empty-handed.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Cairo Exhibition Showcases Ancient and Modern Egyptian Portraits

Originally published January 14, 2010 | Al-Ahram Weekly Online | by Reham El-Adawi | The following is an excerpt from this article that chronicles a new exhibit at the Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Museum's Horizon One Gallery in Giza, which examines the attractive theme of the human face, showcasing artists' point of view in depicting Egyptian faces:

Bisar also traces the history of portraiture from ancient Egyptian times to the modern age. Ancient Egyptian portraitists were admired for their craftsmanship and technique, with forms including murals, bas-reliefs and sculptures being common. Devotion and a sense of belonging were developed in sculptures depicting kings and members of the royal family, with one famous example being the portrait bust of Queen Nefertiti done by an ancient Egyptian sculptor.

Sailing Into Antiquity: Unearthing Clues About Ancient Egypt’s Sea Trade

Originally published January 11, 2010 | The Boston Globe | by Colin Nickerson | Here's an excerpt:

The archeological digs at Egypt’s Wadi Gawasis have yielded neither mummies nor grand monuments.

But Boston University archeologist Kathryn Bard and her colleagues are uncovering the oldest remnants of seagoing ships and other relics linked to exotic trade with a mysterious Red Sea realm called Punt.


'She’s found the first fragments of an ancient Egyptian seagoing vessel - a ship that actually sailed in pharaonic times,' Wachsmann said.

This month, Cairo’s Egyptian Museum will open a special exhibition, Mersa/Wadi Gawasis: A Pharaonic Harbor on the Red Sea, featuring, among other things, cargo seals, voyage accounts, and a shipping crate marked in hieroglyphic text: "Wonderful Things of Punt."

Follow the link to the video on PBS NOVA: Building Pharaoh's Ship.

On TV - Discover Channel Unlocks Egypt's Mystery Chamber

Originally published January 15, 2010 | Bangkok Post | Voilà un extrait:

Though the tomb KV63 in Egypt's Valley of the Kings was discovered in 2006, it has remained shut to the outside world. The meaning and significance of the tomb's contents - which include unopened relics, blemished inscriptions and delicate artefacts [sic] - were left shrouded in mystery.

The one-hour special, Egypt's Mystery Chamber premieres Sun, Jan 17 at 8pm and repeats the same night at 11pm, Jan 18 at 7am and 1pm, Jan 21 at 6pm, and Jan 24 at 3am and 7am on Discovery['s Science] Channel.

I'll be watching this...will you?

Book Review - Cairo Modern

Originally published January 15, 2010 | The Daily Collegian Online | by Stephannie Goga | For those of you who are avid readers, more specifically of literature set in Egypt and taking place in both ancient and modern times, here is a review of a recently re-published book, translated from Arabic to English. I may find it quite useful in my quest to create a more authentic picture in my future historical fiction novels (when I get to the 1930s, which is several books away from where I am now). Here is an excerpt from this review:

The novel, recently translated from Arabic, paints a glorious picture of Cairo in the 1930s, replete with cruises down the Nile River and elegant parties. Of course, societal and governmental changes also emerge, making the story a realistic portrait of Egypt at this time. [...] Mahfouz has passed away since the publication of this novel, and the Cairo that is illustrated in this novel probably has, too. Fortunately, readers can escape to this thrilling time period and indulge in the scandalous plot by picking up "Cairo Modern" -- no passport required.

Arts Center Collaborates with UALR in Ancient Egypt Course

Originally published January 15, 2010 | Maumelle Monitor | The following is an excerpt from the Maumelle Monitor. Click the above link to read the article in its entirety.

Collaborating with the Arkansas Arts Center, the University of Arkansas College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences is bringing ancient Egypt to UALR this semester [... with] a course to coincide with the World of the Pharaohs: Treasures of Egypt Revealed exhibit. [...] Throughout the spring semester, scheduled lectures and discussions will take place in the Art Center’s exhibition space. Students will choose a piece from the exhibit to use for research projects and presentations.

For more information contact Amrhein at by phone 501 569 3182, via email, or visit the UALR Department of Art and the Arkansas Arts Center on the web.

Friday, January 15, 2010

More Regarding Pyramid Builders' Tombs

Originally published January 13, 2010 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Dr. Hawass | Not to be outdone by the mass of media disseminating the recent news about new tombs of the Giza Pyramid builders, the finding of which prove that Jewish slaves did not build the pyramids (this is nothing new to the Egyptology world, but it definitely shows that Ancient Egypt - more specifically pyramid building - still intrigues the world, even if "most people" believe aliens helped the Egyptians execute this feat that we moderns have not yet executed), Dr. Hawass' speaks of his press conference on Monday about this subject, which spans much details.

Alexandria Library Merges Modern Technology with Ancient Relics

Originally published January 13, 2010 | CNN World | by George Webster | Features a brief history of the Library of Alexandria, both ancient and modern, the latter housing books and publications of every kind and on every subject, boasting the largest reading room in the world, and host many interesting exhibits. The current "Librarian of Alexandria" speaks of his endeavor to bring this historic institution into the digital age.

Video: Tombs of the Pyramid Builders

Originally published January 14, 2010 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Dr. Hawass | The following video showcases an extra scene from the upcoming Nova special - Riddles of the Sphinx - and talks about Hawass' discovery of the pyramid builders' tombs near the Giza necropolis. (Just imagine, if it hadn't've been for a horse's misstep, we would be less knowledgeable on this subject!) Take a peek:

Egyptian Eyeliner May Have Warded Off Disease

Originally published January 8, 2010 | ScienceNOW Daily News | by Katie Cottingham | This article features commentary from various scientists - and one from Chicago - who analyze the possible uses of eye paint in Ancient Egypt. Although, tests prove there are benefits to such a regiment, the risks make this ancient treatment far from perfect. The following is an excerpt:
Clearly, ancient Egyptians didn't get the memo about lead poisoning. Their eye makeup was full of the stuff. Although today we know that lead can cause brain damage and miscarriages, the Egyptians believed that lead-based cosmetics protected against eye diseases. Now, new research suggests that they may have been on to something.

The following is a little more information about the science behind this discovery, from Chemical Online: Ancient Egyptian Cosmetics - Magical Makeup May Have Been Medicine For Eye Disease

Here is another source reporting on the same story on January 18th: Ancient Egypt's Toxic Makeup Fought Infection, by Sindya Bhanoo - NY Times

Upcoming Lectures and Events in Egyptology

If you have any free time, you may wish to attend any or all of the following upcoming lectures and events around the world (to attend them all, you would need to spend some money on plane tickets, so perhaps it is silly to encourage visiting them all):

When: January 27
Where: Our Lady of Lourdes High School Auditorium in Poughkeepsie, NY
Lecture: Dr. Bob Brier's The Secret of the Great Pyramid
Price: Free admission

When: January 16
Where: press room of the Palma-Arena, C/ de l'Uruguai s/n, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Lecture: Marina Escolano Poveda's Beyond the Rosetta Stone. The Fundamental Role of the Coptic Language in the Decipherment of the Hieroglyphic Script

When: Through May 2010
Where: Greece (contact info is provided at Challenging the Past)
Seminars: Hellenic Society for the Study of Ancient Egypt

When: February 20
Where: University of London, Garden Halls - London, England
Workshop: Forensic Aspects of Ancient Egypt

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Oriental Institute's New Exhibit - James Henry Breasted

Originally published January 10, 2010 | Chicago Tribune | by William Mullen |

New exhibit -Pioneers of the Past- tells tale of James Henry Breasted, whose 1919-1920 travels through the Middle East established center's famed antiquities collection, which celebrates it's 90th anniversary with the temporary exhibit's opening on January 12.

Egypt Tombs Suggest Pyramids Not Built by Slaves

Originally published January 10, 2010 | Yahoo! News |

Hardly a surprise is what this article chronicles (along with many other sources): a new set of tombs built for the pyramid builders of the Giza Pyramids proves that they were Egyptian citizens rather than slaves.

Here are some another great sources concerning this recent piece of archaeological news, which includes a little more information and pictures: Press Release - New Tombs Found at Giza - Zahi Hawass' Blog and Tomb Discovery Helps Solve Ancient Slavery Riddle of the Pyramids - Daily Mail

Somewhere in the world, 57 academics just punched the air.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cairo Museum Offers Blind Tours

Originally published January 5, 2010 | Telstra BigPond News |

The Cairo Museum reflects the efforts German museums have put forth to give children with visual impairments the same experiences as those with none, going so far as to employ blind tour guides. Who better to give tours to people with blindness than people with blindness, no doubt to ensure an enriching and appropriate experience?

Founder’s Archaeological Journey to Middle East Featured in Oriental Institute Exhibit

Originally published January 6, 2010 | Oriental Institute | by William Harms |

This article promotes the newest exhibit in the University of Chicago's famed Oriental Institute Museum called Pioneers of the Past: American Archaeologists in the Middle East, 1919-1920. It also includes background history of the exhibit's inspiration, J. H. Breasted, and the goals of this exhibit.

Attendance is free, with a suggested donation rate for adults ($7) and children ($4) (very minimal, considering admission to most museums).

Here's an excerpt from the article:

A new exhibition at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute Museum chronicles an amazing and sometimes dangerous journey 90 years ago by James Henry Breasted, a famed archaeologist who brought back Egyptian artifacts to Chicago.

Pioneers to the Past: American Archaeologists in the Middle East, 1919–1920, opens Tuesday, Jan. 12 and will feature artifacts as well as photos and letters documenting the journey of Breasted, who was the first American to receive a Ph.D. in Egyptology.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Great Egyptological Articles and Musings at Heritage Key

Originally published January 4 and 5, 2010 | Heritage Key |

The following are very interesting articles and musings published within the last 24 hours by some very fantastic writers and scholars at Heritage Key:

Cleopatra Exhibit Coming to the U.S.

Originally published January, 2010 | Art Museum Journal | by Stan Parchin |

Making its majestic debut at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt (June 5, 2010-January 2, 2011). Touring five North American cities, the exhibition presents more than 250 artifacts that describe archaeologists' recent attempts at locating the elusive tomb of the enigmatic Cleopatra VII (69-30 B.C.), Ptolemaic Egypt's legendary last queen, and Roman general Mark Antony (83-30 B.C.), antiquity's most famous pair of ill-fated and clandestine lovers.

New Tombs Found at Saqqara

Originally published January 5, 2010 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Dr. Hawass |

Saqqara yields two rediscovered tombs, dating back 2,500 years, the oldest found in the area, replete with human and falcon remains and pottery. Despite it having been looted and explored throughout the millennia, it proves that Saqqara has many more secrets.

Three sources announce different facts about the discoveries in addition to Dr. Hawass' account, which is far more descriptive: The Sydney Morning Herald, which discloses mostly topographical information; IOL, which contains a few dates and measurements; and possibly the most interesting source from the Discovery New, which includes great photographs of the discovery.

Heritage Key Launches Tutankhamun Series from Lord and Lady Carnarvon

Originally published January 4, 2010 | Yahoo! News | Source: Heritage Key |

Heritage Key continues to recreate great historical sites as virtual online experiences with its newly launched accessible video series that delves into the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb and the men behind the discovery.

Heritage Key provides a page dedicated to everything Tutankhamun as well as a launching page to the Tutankhamun/Carter-Carnavron video series.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Massive Statue of Taharqa Found In Sudan

Originally published December 29, 2009 | Heritage Key | by Owen Jarus | A small blurb about the newly discovered one ton granite statue of Taharqa, a 25th Dynasty Egyptian ruler, including a bit of background history of the Napatan pharaoh and previous discoveries made in the Sudan in 2008 (only recently made public on December 20, 2009 - follow the link to read the original announcement).

Plans to Make a Formal Request for Nefertiti's Bust are Underway

Originally published December 30, 2009 | Zahi Hawass' Blog | by Dr. Hawass | Recent documentation from January 1913 illustrating deception in the acquisition of the bust of Nefertiti gives Dr. Hawass all the ammunition he needs to make a formal request to the Berlin Museum for the return of this artifact. More news is to come concerning this topic.