Sunday, November 30, 2014

Museum Pieces - A Worshipper Kneeling Before the God Anubis

Photocredit: Walters Art Museum
A Worshipper Kneeling Before the God Anubis

A bronze statuette of the anthropomorphic god Anubis facing a kneeling worshipper. He has the head of a jackal and the body of a human male. The piece has been cast in three sections and then joined. The eyes of Anubis are inlaid with gold and there are traces of gilding on the shoulders, wrists, ankles, neck, wig, and ears. The gilding was delicately applied to the eyes, eyebrows and muzzle, but in other areas it appears to have been applied in a more careless fashion. The piece is well preserved in general but there is a break on the lower back corner of the base and there is some green and bright blue corrosion on the lower side of the base. 

A hieroglyphic inscription runs around the main base, the base of the Anubis figure and along the back pillar of the worshiper, identifying the dedicant as one Wdja-Hor-resnet, son of Ankh-pa-khered, who is asking for the blessings of the god Anubis. The figure of Anubis is in a striding position with his proper left leg advanced. His proper right arm hangs at his side and the right hand is clenched into a fist with the thumb protruding. The proper left arm is raised and bent at the elbow and there is a drilled hole in the hand for the insertion of an object. Earlier photographs of this piece in Darresy's "Statues de Divinités," show that the missing object was a "was" scepter. He wears a tripartite wig, "shendyt" kilt with deep pleats and a striated belt. A broad collar, armlets and bracelets are incised and gilded. Anklets are suggested by the gilding around the ankles but they are not incised. The musculature of the limbs and the torso is clearly defined. The ears of the god are large and the inner detailing has been carefully modeled. The muzzle comes to a delicate point, accentuating the skillfully modeled eyes, sweeping brows, nose and mouth. 

There are two cobras at the feet of the deity facing the worshipper. The proper right cobra wears the Red Crown of Lower Egypt and the left cobra wears the White Crown of Upper Egypt. The head of the left cobra is raised slightly higher than that of the right. A worshipper kneels before the god with his back against an inscribed pillar which is pyramidal at the top. He kneels with both knees down on a flat rectangular base, which is attached to the larger main base below. He extends his hands to the god palms down. He wears a "shendyt" kilt, but the pleats are not carved with the same precision that is seen on the kilt of the god. The bent knees are squared off unnaturally and the legs blend together below the kilt. He has an inscribed broad collar. He also wears a skull cap, the front line of which is clearly marked across his brow. The face is round with full cheeks and no definition of the chin. The ears are large and set high. The eyes are natural and do not have cosmetic brows. The nose is straight and the mouth is small with slightly pursed lips. The overall surface of the worshipper is pitted whereas the figure of Anubis has a high polish.

[Translation] May Anubis, give life, health, long life and great and good old age to Wdja-Hor-resnet, son of Ankh-pa-khered, whose mother is Ta-gemiw(t), who is born (made) of the Mistress of the house, Hy-inty for Pen-pa-djew./ May Anubis give life to Wdje-hor-resnet, son of Ankh-pa-khered./ May Anubis, who is before the place of the divine booth, give life, health, strength, a long life, and a great old age and happiness to the son of Ankh-pa-khered, whose mother is Ta-gemiw(t), who is Mistress of the House, Hy-inty for Pen-pa-djew.

Acquired by Henry Walters, 1930

PERIOD: ca. 747-525 BCE (Third Intermediate Period-Late Period, 25th-26th dynasty)
MEDIUM: bronze with gilt, gold inlay
MEASUREMENTS: H: 8 3/16 x W: 5 11/16 x D: 2 1/16 in. (20.8 x 14.4 x 5.3 cm)

Read more about Anubis...

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Searching for Sesostris

A new French exhibition presents what is known about the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Sesostris III, writes David Tresilian in Paris

Not as famous as his New Kingdom successors Ramses II or Tutankhamun, and not responsible for the kind of grand building projects that immortalised his Old Kingdom predecessors Khufu and Khafre, builders of the largest of the Great Pyramids at Giza, the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Sesostris III was nevertheless one of the country’s most important rulers, becoming a kind of symbolic embodiment of ancient Egyptian kingship.

However, until recently it has been difficult to disentangle fact from fiction in inherited accounts of the pharaoh’s accomplishments, with modern historians tending to see the list of achievements attributed to Sesostris III by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, for example, as either invented or a composite of actions taken by many different rulers.

According to Herodotus, writing in the long second book of his Histories dedicated to ancient Egypt, Sesostris, an unusually war-like ruler, sailed down the Arabian Gulf with a fleet of warships, subduing coastal tribes as he did so. Later, he led campaigns in Asia, defeating the Scythians, and even led Egyptian armies into southern Europe, defeating sundry armies in Thrace.

“It is a fact,” Herodotus writes, “that the Colchians are of Egyptian descent,” indicating that Sesostris and his armies reached the far side of the Black Sea. “I noticed this myself before I heard anyone else mention it… and found that the Colchians remembered the Egyptians more distinctly than the Egyptians remembered them.”

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday Weekly # 56

Welcome to the Wednesday Weekly, your weekly dose of links to Egyptology news, articles, blogs, events and more!


New article by Owen Jarus:

Ancient Egyptian Handbook of Spells Deciphered


Ancient Egyptian Mummy Wearing Jewels Found


Egypt will retrieve 239 artefacts from France in the next few days


Some Open Access Articles from Chronique d'Égypte

Deir el Medine Online: Nichtliterarische Ostraka aus Deir el Medine

Open Access Journals: i-Medjat (papyrus électronique)

Digital Library at The Alexandria Center for Hellenistic Studies


New post by Molly Gleeson:

Meet Wilfred


A Guest Post From Our Museum Beekeepers


Nephthys in Ancient Egypt, Assitant of Isis.


The Controversial Afterlife of King Tut


Oldest papyri ever discovered document pyramid building, or More reasons why the aliens did not build the pyramids


Amenhotep III head unearthed in Luxor


Episode 39: The Wealth of Asia

The Wealth and Splendour of Nubkaure Amenemhat II.


Demons at the Egypt Centre, Wales

Armed and dangerous:

An iconography of protective Middle and New Kingdom demons

Wednesday, 3 December 2014, 7 pm

Fulton House 2, Swansea University, Wales


New post by Julia Budka:

Ahmose Nebpehtyre in Upper Nubia


16 Reasons Why Egypt's Pyramids were Tombs


Ancient Egyptian laborers worked through the pain despite health care: new study

Antiquities minister gives go-ahead for restoration of Nubian temples

Exorcism, love spells common in Classical Egypt: Australian researchers

Archaeologists unearth bejeweled ancient Egyptian mummy

Work under way on restoration of Amenhotep III statues

Limestone bust of Tuthmosis III discovered south of Luxor


Oxford team shed light on ancient Egyptian obelisk

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Controversial Afterlife of King Tut

A frenzy of conflicting scientific analyses have made the famous pharaoh more mysterious than ever

By Matthew Shaer for Smithsonian Magazine

The Valley of the Kings lies on a bend in the Nile River, a short ferry ride from Luxor. The valley proper is rocky and wildly steep, but a little farther north, the landscape gives way to gently rolling hills, and even the occasional copse of markh trees. It was here, in a humble mud-brick house, that the British Egyptologist Howard Carter was living in 1922, the year he unearthed the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun, forever enshrining both the boy king and himself in the annals of history.

These days, the house serves as a museum, restored to its nearly original state and piled high with Carter’s belongings—a typewriter, a camera, a record player, a few maps, a handful of sun hats. Toward the back of the museum is a darkroom, and out front, facing the road, is a shaded veranda.

On the September day I visited, the place was empty, except for a pair of caretakers, Eman Hagag and Mahmoud Mahmoud, and an orange kitten that was chasing its own shadow across the tiled floor. 

Most of the lights had been turned off to conserve electricity, and the holographic presentation about Carter’s discovery was broken. I asked Hagag how many visitors she saw in a day. She shrugged, and studied her hands. “Sometimes four,” she said. “Sometimes two. Sometimes none.” 

Mahmoud led me outside, through a lush garden overhung with a trellis of tangled vines, and toward the entrance of what appeared to be a nuclear fallout shelter. An exact replica of Tutankhamun’s tomb, it had opened just a few months earlier, and Mahmoud was keen to show it off.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Archaeologists unearth bejeweled ancient Egyptian mummy

By Rany Mostafa

CAIRO: A team of Spanish archaeologists have unearthed a 4,000-year-old female mummy wearing jewels in the necropolis below the mortuary temple of Pharaoh Thutmosis III in the west bank of Luxor, Aly el-Asfar, the head of the Upper Egypt Antiquities Department, said Saturday.

Credit: Manuel González Bustos/Thutmosis III Temple Project 
Both the mummy and the wooden sarcophagus in which it was found were badly damaged and trapped under the tomb’s collapsed roof, and the site of the find dates back to the Middle Kingdom (2,000 B.C.-1,700 B.C.), Asfar told The Cairo Post.

“The sarcophagus was found sealed, which suggests the tomb and its contents apparently eluded tomb robbers in both ancient and modern times. It seems that the roof had already collapsed before tomb robbers were able to enter,” he added.

The mummy, who is believed to have been an aristocrat in her 30s, was found wearing intact jewelry, including a gold-plated necklace inlaid with lapis lazuli, a shell-shaped golden pendant, two badly damaged silver ankle bracelets and two golden bracelets on her wrists, according to Asfar.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ancient Egyptian Handbook of Spells Deciphered

by Owen Jarus, Live Science Contributor   |   November 20, 2014

Researchers have deciphered an ancient Egyptian handbook, revealing a series of invocations and spells.

Among other things, the "Handbook of Ritual Power," as researchers call the book, tells readers how to cast love spells, exorcise evil spirits and treat "black jaundice," a bacterial infection that is still around today and can be fatal.

The book is about 1,300 years old, and is written in Coptic, an Egyptian language. It is made of bound pages of parchment — a type of book that researchers call a codex.

"It is a complete 20-page parchment codex, containing the handbook of a ritual practitioner," write Malcolm Choat and Iain Gardner, who are professors in Australia at Macquarie University and the University of Sydney, respectively, in their book, "A Coptic Handbook of Ritual Power" (Brepols, 2014).

The ancient book "starts with a lengthy series of invocations that culminate with drawings and words of power," they write. "These are followed by a number of prescriptions or spells to cure possession by spirits and various ailments, or to bring success in love and business."

For instance, to subjugate someone, the codex says you have to say a magical formula over two nails, and then "drive them into his doorpost, one on the right side (and) one on the left."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday Weekly # 55

Welcome to the Wednesday Weekly, your weekly dose of links to Egyptology news, articles, blogs, events and more!


Egypt - Fayum

The 2015 field school will excavate at the Graeco-Roman town of Karanis, founded in the third century BCE and abandoned during the early seventh century CE. The preservation of the ancient remains is excellent and a wide range of archaeological materials, including botanical macro-remains, textiles, wood and metal, is studied by a large group of archaeological specialists.

Course Dates: Oct 16 - Nov 21 2015

Payment Deadline: January 15, 2015
Enrollment Status: OPEN
Total Cost: $ 4,800 
Course Type: Field Archaeology

Instructor: Prof. Willeke Wendrich


Stanford archaeologist leads the first detailed study of human remains at the ancient Egyptian site of Deir el-Medina


Papyrus Graecus Holmiensis Online

Corpus Antiquitatum Aegyptiacarum Old Kingdom Volumes Online


New posts by Molly Gleeson:

Hello, goodbye

Tawahibre, front and center


Fifteen beams of King Khufu's second solar boat arrive to GEM after restoration

UNESCO teams visits old Cairo, Djoser's step pyramid,-Djosers-step-pyrami.aspx

UNESCO ends visit to Egypt, discusses preliminary recommendations,-discusses-preliminary-.aspx


Revealed: Modern medicine unwraps ancient mysteries of Bolton's 2,000-year-old child mummy


The truth about Tutankhamun

Was Tutankhamun epileptic?


A final call to save Alexandria’s antiquities


Welcoming Visitors- TARA, MEHEN and Plymouth Egyptology Society

2 weeks in photos


Call for papers: Demon Things conference

Demon Things:

Ancient Egyptian Manifestations of Liminal Entities

21-24 March, 2016

at Swansea University, Wales, UK

This international conference explores the range and variation of liminal entities the Ancient Egyptians believed capable of harm and help from the Predynastic through the Coptic periods.


New post by Julia Budka:

Home game: presenting AcrossBorders in Vienna


The Wigtown Daily Interview

A Scribe in Brussels


Childhood in Roman Egypt


Hawass under investigation for graft

15 pieces of Khufu’s solar boat transported to GEM

Do mummies deserve a ‘return to eternity?’

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Stanford archaeologist leads the first detailed study of human remains at the ancient Egyptian site of Deir el-Medina

By combining an analysis of written artifacts with a study of skeletal remains, Stanford postdoctoral scholar Anne Austin is creating a detailed picture of care and medicine in the ancient world.

By Barbara Wilcox 

Ancient Egyptian workers in a village that's now called Deir el-Medina were beneficiaries of what Stanford Egyptologist Anne Austin calls "the earliest documented governmental health care plan."

The craftsmen who built Egyptian pharaohs' royal tombs across the Nile from the modern city of Luxor worked under grueling conditions, but they could also take a paid sick day or visit a "clinic" for a free checkup.

For decades, Egyptologists have seen evidence of these health care benefits in the well preserved written records from the site, but Austin, a specialist in osteo-archaeology (the study of ancient bones), led the first detailed study of human remains at the site.

A postdoctoral scholar in the Department of History, Austin compared Deir el-Medina's well-known textual artifacts to physical evidence of health and disease to create a newly comprehensive picture of how Egyptian workers lived. Austin is continuing her research during her tenure as a fellow in the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities.

In skeletal remains that she found in the village's cemeteries, Austin saw "evidence for state-subsidized health care among these workers, but also significant occupational stress fueled by pressure from the state to work."

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Museum Pieces - Counterpoise of a menat

Counterpoise of a menat

A bronze decorative counterpoise of a menat. It has the form of Sakhmet, with her body represented as a shrine. A figure of the goddess stands within the shrine wearing a sun or moon-disk. The menat, a bead necklace with counterpoise, was an important ritual object used by priestesses in temple ceremonies, and could be rattled to accompany singing and dancing.

Present location: LIVERPOOL MUSEUM [03/061] LIVERPOOL
Inventory number: 1987.408
Dating: 18TH DYNASTY
Archaeological Site: UNKNOWN
Category: MENAT
Material: BRONZE
Technique: FULL CAST
Height: 15 cm


The menat (mnit) consists of several strings of beads joined together to a two-part end piece shaped like a rectangle or trapezium with a disk attached. This part functioned as a counterpoise whenever the menat was worn as a necklace. The menat was also often carried in the hand. The strings of beads resulted in the menat making a rattling noise when shaken, similar to that of a sistrum. Together with the sistrum, the menat was used as an accompanying instrument for song and dance.

The first illustrations date from the 6th Dynasty and show the menat being held by women who had functions in the cult of Hathor. Hathor is often shown herself with a menat around her neck, and it can even be seen as one of the manifestations of Hathor, with the counterpoise often taking the shape of the face of Hathor. Hathor's son, Ihy, uses the menat as a musical instrument, just like the musicians named after him who performed at Hathor festivals. Via Ihy, the instrument was transferred to Khons.

The menat is considered to be multifunctional - it could be used for protection, to calm a divine power, or to transfer something of the being of the goddess to the person who touched the menat. The close connection to Hathor meant that contact with the menat would transfer zest for life and love. One relief shows the goddess holding a menat to the nose of the king, as if it were an ankh sign. It is also related to the sphere of fertility and birth. From the late New Kingdom on, the deceased was given the end piece of a menat; in representations they wear it as a kind of pectoral. The friezes on sarcophagi dating to the Middle Kingdom already show complete menats; they represent the menats which were offered to the deceased in the tomb reliefs by dancers.


Piotr Bienkowski and Angela Tooley., Gifts of The Nile: Ancient Egyptian Arts and Crafts in Liverpool Museum., 1995., 62; pl.96.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

The truth about Tutankhamun (2)

In the second of two articles, Zahi Hawass continues his explanation of the mystery of Tutankhamun

November 2014 marks 92 years since the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in Luxor. This is an occasion that could be used to promote tourism to the city where the golden king and his tomb are located. It is also be an ideal opportunity to announce that only one ticket is now needed to visit Tutankhamun’s family tombs, including those of Amenhotep II, Yuya and Tuya, and tomb KV55.
Even with the passage of time, we should never forget what the English team did to the pharaoh’s mummy in 1968. Jewellery disappeared, and pieces of the mummy were taken without permission. Only last year an English team announced, based on their examination of these stolen pieces, that the mummy of Tutankhamun had been burned.
My intention in this article, and in the article published in the Weekly last week, is to show that despite the problems that Tutankhamun had during his life, he was in good health and used to hunt wild animals. He was not disabled, contrary to what was alleged on a recent TV show.
Last week I wrote about the lies told in an English TV show about the golden king, and how a scientist had perjured himself in front of scholars all over the world. The truth about Tutankhamun is the real discovery made by the great British archaeologist Howard Carter, enabling us to discover new material about the boy king every year. The truth has been revealed by the great work of the Egyptian Mummy Project and the discovery of Tutankhamun’s family and how he died.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wednesday Weekly # 54

Welcome to the Wednesday Weekly, your weekly dose of links to Egyptology news, articles, blogs, events and more!


By Kara Cooney:

Who Remembers the Greatest Woman to Rule the Ancient World?


Update on Rakow Research Grant work currently happening in Egypt


The truth about Tutankhamun


2000-year-old youth organization


In Our Time, Hatshepsut


Recent Open Access Dissertations from Leiden University

Leuven Online Index of Ptolemaic and Roman Hieroglyphic Texts: Ptolemaic Temple Texts (PTT)


10/11/14 Bob Partridge Memorial Lecture: Dr Renée Friedman on Hierakonpolis


Had in Ancient Egypt the Goddess Nephthys a Lower Status?


New post by Timothy Reid:

The Life & Times of Cleopatra Queen of Egypt


Sphinx and Khafre's Pyramid to open Sunday


New blogpost by Julia Thorne:

Girls' day out to the new Egyptology gallery at the Atkinson, Southport


A new season!

10 days into the new season – a poetic captivation by our topographer


An Update on the Building Research


BASONOVA Lecture: Queen for Eternity

On Sunday, November 16, 2014, the Biblical Archaeology Society of Northern Virginia (BASONOVA) will host the lecture “Queen for Eternity: Digital Archaeology and the (After) Life of Meresank III” by Dr. Rachel Aronin, research associate at Harvard University.


France, Egypt to host symposium on antiquities smuggling

University of Oslo study reveals details of childhood in Roman Egypt

Engineers Syndicate: Step Pyramid restoration must be resumed immediately

Latest Great Sphinx restoration complete; site reopened to the public Sunday


The basics #4: Gardiner's sign list


Tut Ankh Amon tomb closure postponed, mummy not to be relocated

Saqqara pyramid committee urges restoration to prevent collapse

Library of Alexandria to host lecture on the city's ancient history

Sunday, November 9, 2014

2000-year-old youth organization

In Roman Egypt, 14-year-old boys were enrolled in a youth organization in order to learn to be good citizens.

So says social historian and historian of ideas Ville Vuolanto, University of Oslo, who has joined forces with Dr April Pudsey of the University of Newcastle to dive deep into a mass of material of around 7,500 ancient documents written on papyrus. The texts comprise literary texts, personal letters and administrative documents. Never before has childhood been researched so systematically in this type of material.

The documents originate from Oxyrhynchos in Egypt, which in the first five hundred years CE was a large town of more than 25,000 inhabitants. Oxyrhynchos had Egypt’s most important weaving industry, and was also the Roman administrative centre for the area. Researchers possess a great deal of documentation precisely from this area because archaeologists digging one hundred years ago discovered thousands of papyri in what had once been the town’s rubbish dumps.

Free-born citizens only

Only boys born to free-born citizens were entitled to be members of the town’s youth organization, which was called a ‘gymnasium’.  These boys were the children of local Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Their families would necessarily have been quite prosperous, and have had an income that placed them in the ‘12 drachma tax class’. It is uncertain how large a proportion of the population would have qualified, probably somewhere between 10 and 25 per cent, Vuolanto explains.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The truth about Tutankhamun

Recent speculation about the life of the ancient Egyptian boy king Tutankhamun can be easily disproved by the archaeological evidence, writes Zahi Hawass

Tutankamun: the Truth Revealed” is the title of a TV show produced by a private company in England for the BBC and the Smithsonian Channel in the United States. But the show reveals lies, not the truth.

It quotes scientists whose real intention is to become famous in the media, and one of them, a former member of the Egyptian mummy project, uses the Egyptian team’s CT and DNA analysis without permission to spread lies about Tutankhamun, claiming that the ancient Egyptian boy king was handicapped, born with a club foot.

This golden boy has entered the hearts of people all over the world, and this person wanted to take him out of our hearts. This person and the film producer have made a huge mistake and in so doing they have lost the respect of all reasonable people. Scholars all over the world disagree with them, and, again, instead of revealing the truth all they have done is to propagate lies.

The UK’s Daily Mail newspaper has published an article on the new documentary on Tutankhamun, produced by STV and already aired. The documentary distorts what Tutankhamun looked like: the boy king, whose treasure and tomb still fascinate people across the world, was presented in a completely fantastic way, humiliating not only the Egyptian king but also rewriting the history of the ancient world.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wednesday Weekly # 53

Welcome to the Wednesday Weekly, your weekly dose of links to Egyptology news, articles, blogs, events and more!


Cedar timbers, rope point to historic Egyptian find


When the Greeks Ruled Egypt


Data formats and software for Egyptian, by Mark-Jan Nederhof


As a result of illicit dig, Thutmose III temple discovered

Tut Ankh Amon's International Conference at GEM


New post by Molly Gleeson:

Glowing in the dark: multispectral imaging and Egyptian blue


What killed King Tut?


Giza men arrested after digging up ancient temple under house

Virtual autopsy of Tutankhamun triggers anger of Egyptian Egyptologists


Episode 38: Burial Rites

The International Fame of Nubkaure Amenemhat II.


Discovering Tutankhamun, Ashmolean Museum


Farmer stumbles upon ancient Egyptian temple while working field

950 artifacts stolen from Malawi Museum recovered

2 newly restored Giza tombs to be opened to public in November


A note on the King Tut documentary


Egyptian Myths


The real 'curse of Tutankhamun' is that gold mask has never been fully studied, say experts