Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Backlog updates

Sincere and multiple thanks to Chris Townsend for providing me with a number of additional URLs which either provide stories which I missed when back-dating the blog, or give more information about key stories which have appeared. Here they are, and click on the links to see the full story:

More re tablet unerathed at Avenue of Sphinxes, Karnak (17th-20th December 2006)

The following is a summary of the main facts taken from the above URLs:
  • The discovery was made in teh Avenue of the Sphinxes linking Karnak and Luxor temples
  • The carving dates to the 12th Century BC (c.1188-1069BC) from the reign of Senakht, father of Ramesses III and foudner of the 20th Dynasty
  • It is made of quartzite and measures 170x80cm
  • It is carved with 17 lines of hieroglphys
  • The subject matter concerns the achievements of a high priest of Amun named Bak En Khonso, and shows his family tree. It claims that the priest supervisted the construction of Karnak's main hall
The Temple of Mut Expedition, Karnak (12/12/06)
The Brooklyn Museum has produced an website about its excavations at the Temple of Mut in Luxor, adjacent to Karnak Temple. The site includes the dig dairies for 2005 and 2006, and now includes a Blogspot site which has a recent update, from 12th December 2006:
The blog includes an introduction to the goddess Mut and to the work carried out by the team, and promises updates for 2007 from mid January. Terrific!

Egypt's historic sites seriously threatened
"Egypt's most important sites are experiencing major trouble, a new report suggests. All the three reviewed Egyptian World Heritage sites were in danger of losing the values that originally brought them into the prestigious Unesco list, and they were worst rated in the Middle East and North Africa region. The threatened sites include the Pyramids of Giza, the Islamic district of Cairo and the historic cities of Thebes and Luxor.
In a review of 94 major World Heritage sites made by the George Washington University in cooperation with the 'National Geographic' journal, the major historic and tourist attractions of Egypt are all among the bottom-25 of the list, receiving from 50 to 58 out of 100 possible points."
This summary provides many more details - it is highlighting a very important report - do have a look.

More re robotic probe of Great Pyramid
http://tinyurl.com/yzwv7b (The Standard.com 11/12/06)
"When dentist Ng Tze-chuen is not picking at cavities at his Causeway Bay clinic, he may be dreaming about his forceps and the craters in a distant moon, wrecked titanic boats in the deep ocean and pharaohs' chambers hidden in the Egyptian pyramids. It was back in the early 1970s when Ng tried to pick up an inlay with his surgical forceps to fill cavities, but dropped it on the floor. An idea flashed across when the apple, or the inlay in this case, dropped. how nice it would be, he thought, to have surgical forceps - as flexible and gentle as the human fingers - to feel the object and adapt its grip according to the shapes of inlays. He brought the concept to have it custom-made by top engineers at Polytechnic University. The Holinser Forceps was developed for use by dentists with self-adaptive grip to hold inlays and insert them into cavities.
But Ng aimed higher. . . . After 30 years, Ng's forceps concept has traveled an amazing journey from the surgery room to outer space, to deep-water archeological sites and back in time with the Egyptians in Giza."
See the full story for how the idea evolved and was used in many different environments for very different purposes.

More re building blocks of concrete in Great Pyramid (9/12/06)
"In partially solving a mystery that has baffled archeologists for centuries, a Drexel University professor has determined that the Great Pyramids of Giza were constructed with a combination of not only carved stones but the first blocks of limestone-based concrete cast by any civilization."

950 West Bank tombs to be restored
"The SCA on Tuesday called for implementing an archaeological project on restoring 950 Pharaonic tombs that were sculptured at the foot of El-Qarna Mountain on the Western Bank of Luxor to immortalise kings and other royalty of Ancient Egypt. The project will be carried out through foreign grants to be raised by an international fund on overhauling monuments in Luxor within the framework of the Comprehensive Development for the City of Luxor project (CDCL). Luxor's Supreme Council Chairman Samir Farag said that the project would be carried out in cooperation with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), under the aegis of Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak."

Book Review: History of a Lost Civilization: African Kingdoms of Kush
"After 24 years of research, Harkless presents a comprehensive history of the great forgotten civilizations of Africa. . . . . The rich history of this culture began in 2500 B.C. with the kingdom of Kerma. Harkless tracks its origins as well as its thriving success through 750 B.C., when the Nubian Pharaohs conquered Egypt. They ruled for 100 years until the Assyrians conquered Egypt and forced them to retreat to their Kingdom of Napatan.
Harkless shares their complete history through the Meroe, the last empire of the Kush. The Meroitic dynasties reigned for 40 generations as a people separate from Egyptian culture, developing their own language and script. Through research of recent archaeological campaigns, including the investigations of more than 200 pyramids and cemeteries, Harkless shares new information about the architecture, art and politics of the civilization. Many of their accomplishments surpassed those of Egypt"

Key facts re the physician Qar
From the above URLs, 5th-7th December, the following key reported details about the somewhat confusing discovery of a sarcophagus and mummy (described variously as 6th dynasty and Late Period) in the tomb of the physician Qar can be assembled:
  • The surprise discovery was made during the cleaning of a burial shaft at Saqqara
  • The burial is close to to Djoser's Step Pyramid complex
  • Qar was a sixth dynasty royal physician
  • The discovery was of a highly decorated painted anthropoid coffin made of sycamore, which the Al Ahram article describes both as Late Period and 30th Dynasty (which the description of the decoration certainly supports)
  • The tomb contained graveboods including earthernware containers bearing the phusician's name, a circular limestone offering-table, bronze surgical instruments and 22 bronze statues of deities
  • The mummy was apparently too long for tbe sarcophagus which may mean that the mummy was reburied in a sarcophagus to whcih it did not belong, for protection, by priests

Exhibition: Daily Magic in Ancient Egypt (4/12/06)
"The Walters Art Museum presents the exhibit Daily Magic in Ancient Egypt through November 18, 2007. Magic played an important role in religions of the ancient world. Amulets in particular were believed to posess great power to bring protection, health, luck, and even immortality through their images and symbols. This small exhibition will feature 46 amulets, scarabs, figurines, and ritual objects associated with this belief in the power of magic in ancient Egypt. The art and history of the ancient world comes alive in one of the Walters Art Museum’s best-loved collections, which comprises amazing treasures from ancient Egypt, Nubia, Greece, Rome, Etruria, and the Near East. The Walters’ collection is one of the largest and finest assemblages of ancient art in the United States. "
This piece is accompanied by a beautiful photograph of a 700BC collar with lioness head in gold.

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