Sunday, September 23, 2007

Weekly Websites

Today was supposed to be a specialy edition of WW, dedicated to museum databases. However, I was somewhat inundated not only with links to databases and search engines but also online galleries and non-museum related databases and related resources. Instead of adding them here in the form of the world's longest post, I will assemble them on a web page on one of my other sites and link to it from the Links section on this blog. I'll post when I've done it. So this week is just the usual round up of places I've been visiting during the week.

The Sea Peoples and Egypt:Conflicting perspectives in the past 50 Years of Egyptology

Since the latter half of the previous century, a vast amount of research has been directed toward the ‘Sea Peoples’ phenomenon, ranging from strict adherence to literal interpretations of Egyptian texts to liberal theories about invincible Sicilian pirates and adventurers. Each of the perspectives on this matter, (un)fortunately, contains its merits and its incongruities. That is, they all share a common truth while, simultaneously, a degree of misinformation. To what extent these widely varying perspectives are the result of a particular culture (our own) or whether there exists a universal truth to which all (or none) of the theories discussed herein may claim, is called into question. The debate can be broadly broken down into two schools of thought, which serve both as critiques and stimuli for each other: (1) those who believe that the ‘Sea Peoples’ were a local phenomenon (Nibbi) and, (2) those who argue for a large scale migration and a close link between the dissolution of the Hittite Empire, Mycenaean palaces, mass destruction along the Levantian coast, and the repulsion of the ‘Sea Peoples’ from Egypt in the Late Bronze Age (Sanders, Redford, Tubb, Oren, et al.). By contrasting these various theories, perhaps scholars may arrive at a more plausible “truth” on the matter.

Castello Sforzesco Egyptology Collection, Milan

Thanks very much to Pierfranco Dotti for this link to the web pages dedicated to the Egyptology collection at the Castello Sforzesco. Housed in the subterranean area beneath the Ducal Courtyard, the Egyptian section of the Archaeological Museum offers a rich overview of ancient Egypt, organizing its collection into themes. There is a virtual tour of the collection on the above page.

Noreen Doyle's Egyptomania
Egiptomania is a web site founded to promote the examination and appreciation of the varied aspects of Egyptomania. Such examination may be scholarly or popular in approach, but it must be responsible. This will include extensive on-site bibliographies, links to web sites treating such subjects, articles (either original or reprint) featured on the pages of, a "virtual museum" of related visual material, a guide to Egyptian Revival monuments viewable by the public, and, it is hoped, conferences and traditional media publications.
For a definition of "Egyptomania" see the above page. Noreen Doyle is a writer, editor and consultant with degrees in Egyptology and nautical archaeology, whose home page can be found here.

Poznan Museum Obelisk

A detailed description of the obelisk in Poznan Museum in Poland. The page also looks at general aspects of obelisks, including their construction, transporation, how they were erected and their symbolism.

The Pyramids of Egypt

A website dedicated to lovely photographs of Egypt's pyramids, with descriptions and facts listed. Use the main menu to go to an area and then use the links in the left hand navigation bar to navigate to individual pyramids.

Expedition to Sais

Last updated in 2006, this website contains an introduction, excavation reports for every season at Sais since 1997, plus a photo gallery. Sais is int he wesbtern Egyptian Delta at the village of Sa el-Hagar. Recent excavations under the direction of Penny Wilson from Durham University have uncovered levels dating to the Neolithic period. Here's an extract from the Introduction:

Egyptologists don't know very much about the delta part of Egypt and about cities and how they were organised. They don’t like such gaps, so they go and try to fill them in. Manfred Bietak has been working hard in the Eastern delta for the last thirty years and has made some very important discoveries about ancient Egypt and its towns. There is still a gap in the west however.

We want to understand how cities could come to be important and the kind of factors which mean it was possible. We can understand some of the individuals who made things happen, such as Psamtek I and Amasis, but we would also like to know how the River Nile affected a city's fortunes, how the Egyptian focus on the west may have influenced the eventual founding of Alexandria, how the city of Sais developed from 3000 BC onward as a cult centre, the way in which Sais worked as a pilgrimage centre, the types of industries and trading which happened there, how the royal obsession with the past affected ordinary people, the forms of Saite pottery, the shape and plans of the temples, the location of the city's harbours, settlements, canals and so on.
See the above page for complete details.

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