Saturday, February 28, 2015

The tomb of Queen Khent-kawes III

A Czech team working at Abousir near Saqqara has found the tomb of a previously unknown ancient Egyptian queen, writes Zahi Hawass

A Czech expedition directed by Miroslav Barta recently made a great discovery at the site of Abousir, to the south of the Giza Pyramids and between the Pyramids and Saqqara.

Abousir is the site of the “forgotten pyramids,” and the Czech expedition has been working there for many years, first under Miroslav Verner, and now under Barta. Last month it found a tomb at Saqqara recording for the first time the name of a queen. Her name is Khent-kawes, but we know of two other queens named Khent-kawes.

Khent-kawes I is known from Giza, where Egyptologist Selim Hassan found her tomb in 1932-1933. Some scholars believe that this Khent-kawes ruled at the end of Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom, between the pharaohs Khafre and Menkaure. Her tomb is unique for a queen, and its construction may be evidence that she actually ruled in her own right.

It consists of a huge mastaba that caused Hassan, its excavator, to designate it as a fourth pyramid of Giza. The tomb, which had a boat located near its southwest corner, is associated with a settlement that may have housed the priests who maintained the cult of the queen after her death.

This is the oldest such settlement to be found in Egypt, and the tomb is also associated with a structure that could be a valley temple. The settlement is surrounded by an enclosure wall.

The title of the queen was Mother of the Two Kings of Upper and Lower Egypt, and these may have been kings of the Fifth Dynasty. It is also possible that this title can be read as two separate titles, as the Kings of Upper and Lower Egypt and Mother of the Kings of Upper and Lower Egypt.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Was King Senebkay killed in battle?

Injuries to pharaoh's bones suggest he was brutally hacked with axes while riding his horse

By Sarah Griffiths for MailOnline

The 3,650-year old skeleton of King Senebkay has revealed the pharaoh died a violent death. Senebkay lived at a time when rulers battled for power before the rise of Egypt’s New Kingdom in 1,550 BC and his skeleton shows 18 injuries caused by axes. Injuries to his skull, lower back and ankles, suggest he was attacked while on his horse and hacked at with the deadly weapon - dying from blows to the head.

The tomb of Senebkay was unearthed at the Abydos archaeological site, near the city of Sohag, Egypt last year and was identified by an inscription on the wall of this burial chamber. It was the first time that any trace of the pharaoh was found, who was only previously known about by fragments of his name on an ancient list of Egyptian rulers.

Now, archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania, who came across the tomb, have revealed how the pharaoh probably died. Injuries to the skull, as well as vertical cuts on the ankles, feet and lower back, suggest the king was killed in a battle and was aged between 35 and 49 when he died, Luxor Times Magazine reported. Josef Wegner of the university, who led the dig, said the injuries suggest that the king died a violent death.

He was a ruler of Abydos for just four and a half years, at a time when dominant families battled for control of land. The angle and direction of the lacerations show he must have been higher up than his attackers when they cut him with axes.
It is likely that the king was on horseback and blows to his back and legs caused him to fall to the ground, where his enemies brutally struck his head until he died, far from his home.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wednesday Weekly # 67

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

Nile Magazine


Das Digitale Schott-Archiv (DSA): Altägyptische Monumente und Antiken in Photographien des frühen 20. Jahrhunderts


Full report on the Sun Cult complex in Hatshepsut temple after restoration

American Egyptologists prove Pharaoh was brutally killed in a battle away from home


The Talatat Wall in the Luxor Museum


Texts in Translation #15: An offering table dedicated by Queen Tiye (Acc. no. 633)

MAES Study Day 21/03/15: ‘The Power Behind the Throne’ – Key Personalities in Ancient Egyptian History


Spring cleaning?


Preservation And Presentation Of The Palace At Malqata

Frog Blog

Rest Day

Thank you, AEF!

How many bricks would a pharaoh make if a pharaoh would make bricks?

Frog Blog 2

Our 2015 Representative from the Ministry of Antiquities


Year of the sheep/goat/ram


Busts of the lioness goddess unearthed in Luxor


What is our backsight today?


Episode 44: The Shipwrecked Sailor


Details on lost Ancient Egyptian queen’s tomb emerge


End of week 7: mud sealings, pottery vessels & not yet a tomb

More dogs from Sai Island


Amara West 2015: recycling in the New Kingdom town

Amara West 2015: who let the dog(s) out?

Amara West 2015 (week 6): a familiar character appears


Question of the Week: What is that object?


Work at the City Wall

Pyramid niche

The face of a pyramid


Back in Cairo 18th February 2015

Up to Beni Salama! 19th February 2015

The Wadi Gamal Terraces 21st February 2015


Happy Caturday from the Brooklyn Museum!


The Esoteric Meaning of the Myth of Osiris

Dominican archeology team uncovers ancient stele in Egypt that is over 2,200 years


Saved From The Skip

One of a Kind

A Great Honour For A Young Prince

The Great Hypostyle Hall

And the winner is...


Week 6: Sunday February 15 - Saturday February 21

Monday, February 23, 2015

Colleen Manassa, Imagining the Past: Historical Fiction in New Kingdom Egypt - A Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2015.02.27

Colleen Manassa, Imagining the Past: Historical Fiction in New Kingdom Egypt.   Oxford; New York:  Oxford University Press, 2013.  Pp. xxviii, 339.  ISBN 9780199982226.

Reviewed by Nikolaos Lazaridis, California State University, Sacramento 

Colleen Manassa, the William K. and Marilyn M. Simpson Associate Professor of Egyptology at Yale University, has demonstrated in her publications over the past decade a remarkable breadth of research interests and scholarly skills. In this latest monograph she revisits four previously published New Kingdom texts, exploring their themes, form, language, and scope, and considering them as fair representatives of ancient Egyptian historical fiction. These texts are: the Quarrel of Apepi and Seqenenre, the Capture of Joppa, Thutmose III in Asia, and the Libyan Battle Story. Her study is thorough, well-written, and multi-layered; it may serve not only as these texts’ proper introduction for an audience not familiar with them, such as students or non-Egyptologists, but also as a well-rounded reconsideration of these texts’ reconstruction and interpretation for experts.

The four central chapters constitute her text-by-text analysis. These are preceded by an introduction to Egyptian historical fiction and its important interconnections to other Egyptian genres of writing and are followed by a short final chapter where the author summarizes the results of her analysis and treats them as defining features of this genre.

In Chapter 1 the author first discusses her definition of historical fiction as “narrative in which a process of historical events is itself an actor within the plot and whose characters are directly and repeatedly influenced by those events” (p. 3).1 Then she proceeds to introduce the four tales, relating their production and circulation to the intellectual context of Egypt’s temple and scribal cultures and stressing their dynamic intertextuality with earlier and contemporary historical narratives. Next, the author engages with Mikhail Bakhtin’s famous “chronotope”, arguing that these tales’ particular treatment of spatiotemporal aspects distinguishes them from other types of Egyptian narrative. Finally, the author briefly discusses the tales’ “paratextual elements”, pointing out, among other things, that their mixed Late Egyptian and Middle Egyptian grammar could be taken as an additional sign of their fictionality, and that possibly the tales’ transmission followed parallel oral and written paths.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Museum Pieces - Aegis of Isis

Photocredit: British Museum

Aegis of Isis

From Kawa, Sudan
Kushite, late 3rd century BC
Height: 17.500 cm
Width: 16.000 cm

Excavated by Prof Francis Llewellyn Griffith

EA 63585

Ornamental head of a goddess, possibly Isis

The term aegis is used in Egyptology to describe a broad collar surmounted by the head of a deity, in this case a goddess, possibly Isis. Representations in temples show that these objects decorated the sacred boats in which deities were carried in procession during festivals. An aegis was mounted at the prow and another at the stern. The head of the deity identified the occupant of the boat and it is likely that this example came from a sacred boat of Isis.

The eyes and eyebrows of the goddess were originally inlaid. The large eyes, further emphasized by the inlay, are typical of later Kushite art. The rectangular hole in her forehead once held the uraeus, which identified her as a goddess. The surviving part of her head-dress consists of a vulture - the wing feathers can be seen below her ears. The vulture head-dress was originally worn by the goddess Mut, consort of Amun of Thebes, but became common for all goddesses. The rest of the head-dress for this aegis was cast separately and is now lost, but would have consisted of a sun disc and cow's horns. The piece bears a cartouche of the Kushite ruler Arnekhamani (reigned about 235-218 BC), the builder of the Lion Temple at Musawwarat es-Sufra.

S. Wenig, Africa in antiquity: the arts, Vol II, exh. cat. (Brooklyn, N.Y., Brooklyn Museum, 1978)

M.F. Laming Macadam, The temples of Kawa (Oxford, 1949 (vol. I) 1955 (vol. II))


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Even the ancient Egyptians had paid sick days

How state-supported health care worked in ancient times.

By Anne Austin

We might think of state-supported health care as an innovation of the 20th century, but it’s a much older tradition. In fact, texts from a village dating to Egypt’s New Kingdom period, about 3,100 to 3,600 years ago, suggest that ancient Egypt had a state-supported health-care network designed to ensure that workers making the king’s tomb were productive.

Health care boosted productivity on the royal tombs

The village of Deir el-Medina was built for the workmen who made the royal tombs during the New Kingdom (1550 to 1070 BCE). During this period, kings were buried in the Valley of the Kings in a series of rock-cut tombs, not the enormous pyramids of the past. The village was built close enough to the royal tomb to ensure that workers could hike there on a weekly basis.

These workmen were not what we normally picture when we think about the men who built and decorated ancient Egyptian royal tombs — they were highly skilled craftsmen. The workmen at Deir el-Medina were given a variety of amenities afforded only to those with the craftsmanship and knowledge necessary to work on something as important as the royal tomb.

The village was allotted extra support: The Egyptian state paid them monthly wages in the form of grain and provided them with housing and servants to assist with tasks such as washing laundry, grinding grain and porting water. Their families lived with them in the village, and wives and children could also benefit from these provisions from the state.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wednesday Weekly # 66

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


Ptolomy Stela unearthed in Taposiris Magna


It’s in the Batter

Fragile Elegance, Part II: Live and Learn

Our Day Off

Our Second Home in Luxor

Bath Time in the Palace

I wonder what the king is eating tonight?

Preserving Malqata


Multispectral imaging of Wilfred/a’s cartonnage


‘From Mummies to Microchips: celebrating online Egyptology at Manchester’ – 23-24 July 2015


The ministry of antiquities will not use laser to remove the epoxy from Tutankhamun's mask


Egypt Uncovered


Plaster, Pits and Pots: Feeling Smug in FS1


Isis and Nephthys rising Osiris-Re in the XX Dynasty of Ancient Egypt.


Animals in ancient Egypt

Papyri on display


Lecture: Herodotus and the Technologies of the Egyptians

Date: 7:30 – 9:00 pm, 06-Mar-2015


Vaults, pavements, pots and sealings: closing the New Kingdom town season

Coming and going…

Beyond New Kingdom ceramics – our first giraffe from SAV1 East?

Back to SAC 5, the New Kingdom pyramid cemetery on Sai Island


Amara West 2015 (week 5): the practical, the unusual and the desert beyond

Amara West 2015: books by boat, cart and car


Progress in the Pyramid

Plants at El Kurru

Surprise in the temple


The Mummy of Nesmin: A Closer Look

The Met's Joint Mission to Malqata


Hatshepsut at Abydos? Latest Excavations by Dr. Mary-Ann Pouls Wegner


Rosetta stone-style stele unearthed in the Mediterranean coast

11 Greco-Roman papyri make their debut in the Egyptian Museum


The Pyramid Texts

Min Project - There was light


Valentine’s Day Cards: Be(ad) Mine?


Meet the Mummy: Part 2


Dr Zahi Hawass Lectures In Cincinnati, Ohio, On 5 March


Week 5: Sunday February 8 - Saturday February 14

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Papyri on display

A collection of papyri from the Fayoum has been put on display for the first time in nine decades at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, writes Nevine El-Aref

Some 80 km southeast of Cairo is the small village of Karanis, once one of the largest Graeco-Roman towns in Fayoum. It was established in antiquity by Ptolemy II Philadelphus, as part of a scheme to settle Greek mercenaries among indigenous Egyptians and exploit the fertile Fayoum basin.

Karanis flourished until the end of the 3rd century CE, when the town started to decline due to troubles in the wider Roman Empire. The town was abandoned by the beginning of the 5th century, as part of momentous socioeconomic, political and religious changes taking place throughout the Mediterranean region.

The site was forgotten, buried by the sands, until the early 19th century when farmers unearthed papyri among organic debris left by the ancient inhabitants. It is these papyri, suitably conserved and restored, that have now been put on display at the Egyptian Museum.

Archaeological excavation, led by British Egyptologist Bernard Pyne Grenfell and papyrologist Arthur Surridge Hunt, started in Karanis in 1895. However, they did not continue their work, deciding that the site had been too plundered in antiquity to produce anything of value. The few papyri and artefacts they stumbled upon were not considered important enough to lead to a better understanding of the history of the site during the Graeco-Roman period.

In 1924 the archaeological rescue of the site began, continuing for the next 12 years under the leadership of an American mission from Michigan University directed by Francis W Kelsey. Two temples, residential houses and urban districts were discovered, along with cisterns, public baths and a collection of household objects of different shapes, sizes and materials. A large collection of papyri, now exhibited at the Kelsey Museum in Michigan in the US, was also unearthed.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Animals in ancient Egypt

Far from superstitiously worshipping animals, the ancient Egyptians had perhaps surprisingly sophisticated attitudes to the natural world, writes David Tresilian

Ancient Egyptian attitudes towards animals have sometimes received a bad press, in part because of the prejudice or carelessness of those observing them. According to the early Christian writer Clement of Alexandria, for example, active in the Egyptian port city in the second century CE, the ancient Egyptians not only spent an inordinate amount of time capturing and mummifying animals, time, he implied, that would have been better spent elsewhere, but they also exhibited the height of superstition by worshipping animals, setting them up as gods or goddesses and building elaborate temples for them.

“The halls and entrances of Egyptian temples are magnificently built. The courtyards are ringed with columns, and precious multi-coloured marble panels decorate the walls,” Clement wrote. “The sanctuaries are concealed behind veils of gold, but when you go into the depths of the temples, seeking the god to whom they are dedicated, what do you find? A cat, a crocodile, a snake, or an animal of that kind! The gods of the Egyptians are just so many wild beasts disporting themselves on purple carpets.”

As Hélène Guichard, curator of the exhibition the Animals and the Pharaohs that has recently opened at the Louvre Lens, the Louvre Museum’s new satellite institution in northern France, points out, Clement’s words could hardly have been further from the truth. While Clement, born in Greece and eager to proselytise, could hardly have been expected to be sympathetic towards a competing religion, he badly missed the mark.

As this stimulating and sometimes enchanting exhibition makes clear, the ancient Egyptians may not have been any more superstitious when it came to the animal world than the American Walt Disney, who after all made a fortune out of a talking mouse. In fact their attitudes may have been closer to those of the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, being based on the careful observation of the natural world.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Rosetta stone-style stele unearthed in the Mediterranean coast

By Rany Mostafa

CAIRO: A 2,200 year-old “an upright stone slab bearing a commemorative inscription” was unearthed at the Mediterranean coast, Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty announced Thursday.

The stele, which was discovered at Taposiris Magna archaeological site on Lake Mariout, southwest of the Mediterranean city of Alexandria,  “dates to the reign of Ptolemy V Epiphanes (204B.C-180B.C) of the Ptolemaic Dynasty (332 B.C.-30 B.C) that has ruled Egypt after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C.” said Damaty in a statement on the ministry’s Facebook page.

The stele, measuring 1.05 X 0.65X0.18 meters, was discovered by an archaeology mission of the Catholic University of Santo Domingo in collaboration with Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), he added.

“It consists of two registers carved in two different scripts; the upper one features over 20 lines of hieroglyphic inscriptions bearing the cartouches [oval shapes bearing royal names only] of King Ptolemy V Epiphanes, his sister Princess Cleopatra I, his mother Queen Arsinoe III and his father King Ptolemy IV Philopator,” said Damaty adding that archaeologists are currently working on transliterating the text.

The bottom register features a 5-line demotic script that seems to be a translation of the hieroglyphic inscriptions, said Damaty.

Demotic language was used by ordinary people while hieroglyphic was used by royals, high officials, priests and the elite of the ancient Egyptian society.

The famous Rosetta stone, currently displayed in the British Museum in London, dates back to the reign of the same Greek king but was carved in hieroglyphic, demotic and Greek scripts, according to Damaty.

Chief of the Dominican Egyptian archaeology mission, Dr. Kathleen Martinez said that the mission, has been working at Taposiris Magna for six years, has made a lot of significant discoveries related to the history of Alexandria. “Some of the major discoveries are tombs of Nobles, a number of statues of goddess Isis in addition to many bronze coins belonging to Queen Cleopatra VII, the famous Cleopatra of Anthony,” said Martinez.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wednesday Weekly # 65

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

Photo courtesy of National Library Of Medicine


Egyptian statuettes of Osiris: Production unveiled by neutrons and laser


Isis and Nephthys in Ancient Egyptian Solar Iconography.


Conservation at the Penn Museum: the next generation


An Old Friend Joins Us at Malqata

The Gem of the Desert, herset desheret

We’re Taking a Break

It’s Great to be Back!

Secret Messages: The Wild TH63 Theodolite

Fragile Elegance


Project Curator: Egyptian Exhibition (Lead)

The British Museum

Job Description:

Ancient Egypt and Sudan
Fixed Term – 16 months 

The British Museum’s Ancient Egypt and Sudan department are seeking to recruit a Project Curator: Egyptian Exhibition (Lead) for a major exhibition on ancient Egypt, to open in 2016. This unique exhibition will present around 300 objects from Late Period and Ptolemaic Egypt, including sculpture, jewellery and metalwork. You will take responsibility for selecting themes, finalising the narrative, choosing the selection of objects, and also supporting any associated programming and outputs (e.g. accompanying catalogue, digital resources).


Monspaet-Datenbank des Instituts für Ägyptologieund Koptologie der Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität Münster

DigitalHeka: Digitalisierte Erfassung altägyptischer magischer Texte des Mittleren und Neuen Reiches

Ancient Egyptian Cobra Project

Demonthings: Ancient Egyptian Demonology Project

AEGARON: Ancient Egyptian Architecture Online


Next MAES Lecture – 09 Feb 2015 – Dr Garry Shaw on ‘The Daily Life of the Pharaohs’


New Testament Papyrus Discovered in Birmingham!


Egyptian Antiquities Remain at Risk


New Archaeologist on Board

The Riddle of Standing Wall Island


Museums under attack

Saving face


Episode 43: Dominion Over All

Senuseret III (Part II): Death and Society


Barley and wheat residues in Neolithic cemeteries of Central Sudan and Nubia


Demon bed legs!


Digital Humanities & Egyptology & some Demons too!


End of fieldwork and more tasks at SAV1 West and East

First clay sealings from SAV1 East!

More complete pots from Feature 15


Amara West 2015 (week 4): a Deputy of Kush, monumental architecture and industry

Amara West 2015: clarity (?) from above


Cairo To Constantinople, The Queen's Gallery.


Return to El Kurru: The Temple

Return to El Kurru: The Pyramid

Return to El Kurru: City Wall

Guest post: Martin Uildriks

Digging at the wall


Conserving a Dog Skull


Poles reconstructed houses of the first Egyptians,403626,poles-reconstructed-houses-of-the-first-egyptians.html


Menkaure Pyramid opened to public after restoration: Damaty

Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus; earliest mention of cancer


American-Belgian archaeological mission turns King Cheops petroglyphic engravings into 3D inscriptions


We are very excited to have a never-before-seen Coffin Texts from the Tomb of Horhotep


Magic in Ancient Egypt

Succes for Zahi Hawass in Cortona

Pets and animal deities in ancient Egypt

Swimmers in the Sand

Nefertari, the favorite bride

The Egyptian collection of MAEC Cortona


Zahi Hawass On 28 February At The Houston Museum Of Natural Science


Reisetipps Kairo – Das Hotel Windsor / Travel Tipps Cairo – Hotel Windsor

Reisetipps Kairo – Hotel Longchamps, Zamalek/ Travel tipps Cairo – Hotel Longchamps, Zamalek

Reisetipps Luxor – Hotel El Nakhil Luxor/

Reisetipps Mittelägypten / Middle Egypt

Mittelägypten Teil II / Middle Egypt part II

Mittelägypten Teil III / Middle Egypt part III

Mittelägypten Teil IV / Middle Egypt part IV


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