Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Stanford acquires a ‘world-class’ Egyptology library

Stanford News Service

Stanford has acquired the library of one of the foremost Egyptologists of the 20th century.

The collection of Wolja Erichsen (1890-1966), now at Stanford's Green Library, documents more than 1,500 years of Egyptian history, ranging from about 650 B.C. to about A.D. 1000. It includes Egypt's important transition from paganism to Christianity.

"The Erichsen library is one of the most significant and perhaps the last great Egyptology library in private hands," said Joe Manning, associate professor of classics. "It is difficult to overestimate the importance of acquiring this collection. Stanford's acquisition adds great momentum to our research and strengthens our profile as one of the very best places in the world to study ancient Mediterranean civilizations."

Manning, speaking at an Oct. 15 reception to celebrate the acquisition, emphasized that this contribution from the "heroic age" of Egyptology, which peaked between 1880 and 1920 and was centered in Berlin, is "a huge deal."

"The gift of a library is not the sexiest thing in the world—people prefer to build buildings—but this is much more important," he said, to laughter and scattered applause.

Erichsen, a professor at the University of Copenhagen, was a specialist in demotic Egyptian, the script and language of Egypt from 650 B.C. to A.D. 200, and Coptic, the last stage of the ancient Egyptian language that has particular importance for the study of early Christianity, especially since Egypt was the location of the earliest organized church.

See the above page for more.

A 3,000-year-old mystery is finally solved: Tutankhamun died in a hunting accident

The Independent (Steve Connor)

The mystery behind the sudden death of Tutankhamun, the boy king who ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago, may have been finally solved by scientists who believe that he fell from a fast-moving chariot while out hunting in the desert.

Speculation surrounding Tutankhamun's death has been rife since his tomb was broken into in 1922 by archaeologist Howard Carter. X-rays of the mummy taken in 1968 indicated a swelling at the base of the skull, suggesting "King Tut" was killed by a blow to the head.

More recent studies using a CT medical scanner, however, revealed he suffered a badly broken leg, just above his knee just before he died. That in turn probably led to lethal blood poisoning. Now further evidence has come to light suggesting that he suffered the fracture while hunting game from a chariot.

The new findings are still circumstantial but one of Egypt's leading experts on Tutankhamun will say in a television documentary to be screened this week that he believes the case is now solved on how the boy king met his sudden and unexpected end.

"He was not murdered as many people thought. He had an accident when he was hunting in the desert. Falling from a chariot made this fracture in his left leg and this really is in my opinion how he died," said Zahi Hawass, general secretary of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.

See the above page for more.

Wadi el Hitan

The Encyclopedia of Earth

Wadi Al-Hitan (29° 15’ 13'' to 29° 23’ 56''N by 30° 00’ 41'' to 30° 10’ 06 E) is a World Heritage Site in the Western Desert 150 kilometers (km) southwest of Cairo and 80 km west of Faiyum in the Wadi el-Rayan Protected Area. . . .

Wadi Al-Hitan is of international value as it represents an outstanding record of Middle to Late Eocene life and geological evolution. It is the only place in the world where the skeletons of families of archaic whales can be seen in their original geological and geographic setting of the shallow nutrient-rich bay of an early sea of some 40 million years ago. There is no other place in the world yielding archaic whale fossils of such quality in such abundance and concentration. Many of the sirenians and cetaceans are preserved as virtually complete articulated skeletons which, uniquely, preserve reduced hind limbs, making them intermediate between earlier land mammals and later modern whales. The nominated area contains most of the key interrelated and interdependent elements in their natural relationships which provide a robust foundation for reconstructing the mosaic of paleoenvironments and palaeogeography of a southern coastal realm of the ancient Tethyan Ocean during Eocene time, enabling interpretation of how animals then lived and how they were related to each other. The high number, concentration and state of preservation of these fossils is unequalled. They are of iconic value for the study of evolutionary transition, and make the site vitally important.

See the above page for more.

Exhibition: Tutankhamun encore visit to U.S.

PR Newswire

Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs," the exhibition that drew nearly 4 million visitors during its two-year, four-city tour, will return to the United States for a three-city encore tour. Following the success of the first tour, which broke records at each of the four museums it visited in the United States from June 2005 through September 2007, the exhibition will return from its current London engagement to open at the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) in October 2008, followed by visits to two yet to be named museums.

When the exhibition opened in Los Angeles in 2005, it marked the first time in more than 25 years that treasures from King Tut's tomb were shown in the United States. The Dallas engagement marks the first time these artifacts will be seen in the Southwest region. The current exhibition includes an extensive array of more than 130 extraordinary artifacts from the tomb of Tutankhamun and other ancient Egyptian sites. The return of the exhibition to the United States will include a selection of artifacts that are new to the exhibit and have never before been seen outside of Egypt.

See the above page for more.

Exhibition: Magic in Ancient Egypt

Design Taxi

How the Egyptians, known throughout the ancient world for their expertise in magic, addressed the unknown forces of the universe is explored in this exhibition of twenty objects from the Brooklyn Museum's world-famous collection.

Ancient Egyptians did not distinguish between religion and magic. They believed that the manipulation of written words, images, and ritual could influence the world through a divinely created force known as Heqa, personified as the eldest son of the solar creator Atum.

Heqa could be used by the gods to control and sustain the universe and by humans to deal with problems of ordinary life. The exhibition includes a relief of a son of Ramesses II, Prince Khaemwaset, who became legendary as a sage and magician; a bronze figure of the goddess Isis, known as "great of magic," holding a cobra that also had magical powers; a magical healing stela inspired by myths of Isis healing Horus of a scorpion bite; and a headrest with images of Bes and Taweret, deities who protected the dead and the living.

See the above page for more.

Early Cat Taming in Egypt


The wild ancestor of our domestic cat is Felis silvestris, and more precisely its Levantino-African subspecies, F. s. lybica. The exact place and date of its domestication is unknown, but domestic status seems to have been reached by the Middle Kingdom (c. 2040 - 1782 BC) in Egypt, at the latest during the 12th dynasty (c. 1976 - 1793 BC) when the animal begins to appear frequently in Egyptian art. However, a tomb painting from Saqqarah dated to the 5th dynasty (c. 2500 - 2350) depicts a cat with what seems to be a collar around its neck and three hieroglyphs representing seated cats have been found on a limestone building block probably dating to the end of the Old Kingdom and perhaps to the 6th dynasty (Pepy II c. 2278 - 2184 BC).

See the above page for the full story.

IEAE Bulletin No.10

Instituto de Estudios del Antiguo Egipto

Bulletin 10, Spring/Summer 2007 (10th anniversary issue). Contents:

A 50 kilómetros de Alejandría, un templo podría albergar el secreto mejor guardado de Egipto: las tumbas de Cleopatra y Marco Antonio.

Libro: Tiempos de Pirámides III
- Los logros de la civilización en el antiguo Egipto a través de los siglos.
- Taller de Egiptología
Visita Guiada: Caja de Ushebtis De Ja-Bejent. Museo Arqueológico Madrid.

Viajes a Egipto, Grecia y Turín

Noticias e información sobre los cursos que convocan, La Universidad Complutense de Madrid, la Cátedra de Egiptología Jose Ramón Mélida y el Instituto de Estudios del Antiguo Egipto

Living Images book launch - comment on phrenology


The authors of “Living images – Egyptian funerary portraits in the Petrie Museum” each spoke, giving context to the writing of the book and to the portraits themselves. The portraits were discovered while Flinders Petrie was looking for something else entirely. But he found a great cache of sarcophagi, each painted with their contents.

The sarcophagi in question are from the period when Egypt was governed by Romans (as seen in the TV show Rome). Which is also, of course, the Dr’s period and she loves the details in the faces. The Roman ex-pats couldn’t afford the gold opulence that was once lavished on mummified pharaohs, so a portrait was the next best thing. These portraits, and the grave goods found with them, give all kinds of clues about the Roman middle-classes – their clothes, jewellery, diets and lives.

Petrie’s interest, though, was in their use for phrenology. His notebooks detail how he eagerly reaped the shrunken heads of the mummies – as well as the portraits of them alive. Skull A, says his notes, goes with Portrait A.

See the above page for more.

Daily Photo - Al Bagawat (Kharga Oasis)

Bagawat is an extraordinary place - a fabulously preserved early Christian cemetary consisting of 263 mud brick, mausoleums dating from the 4th to 6th centuries AD, and a church. The cemetary appears to have been occupied until the 11th century but most were built when Athanasius and Nestorius were banished to Kharga (in the fourth-fifth Century). The tombs are lined either side of a street. Each tomb consistes of a domed chamber, a number have an apse and some have niches for lamps. The exteriors often feature decorative elements including columns and pialsters. A few of the tombs are beautifully decorated.

Click on the thumbnail to see the photograph.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Unearthing Egypt's Greatest Temple

Smithsonian Magazine

"Heya hup!" Deep in a muddy pit, a dozen workers wrestle with Egypt's fearsome lion goddess, struggling to raise her into the sunlight for the first time in more than 3,000 years. She is Sekhmet—"the one who is powerful"—the embodiment of the fiery eye of the sun god Ra, but now she is caked in dirt and bound by thick rope. As the workers heave her out of the pit and onto a wooden track, the sand shifts and the six-foot-tall granite statue threatens to topple. A half-dozen men in ankle-length robes grab the taut ropes, again shout the Arabic equivalent of "heave, ho!" and steady her just in time.

Within the hour, the seated Sekhmet is once again imperious: her breath creates the desert wind, her anger feeds on disease and war, and her power protects mighty pharaohs. Or did. This long-buried statue is one of 730—one for every day and night of the year—that guarded a vast collection of gates, colonnades, courts and halls built by the great Egyptian king Amenhotep III, who reigned over Egypt for 38 years in the 14th century B.C., at the height of peace and prosperity. In its day, "The House of Millions of Years" was the largest and most impressive temple complex in the world. But it was no match for earthquakes, fires, floods or Amenhotep III's successors, who scavenged stone blocks and statues for their own temples. Much of the site, near the Valley of the Kings along the west bank of the Nile River, is covered with sugar cane.

Hourig Sourouzian, an Armenian archaeologist, is directing the effort to rescue the long-neglected site and its many statues.

See the above three-page article for the full story, accompanied by a photograph of a statue of Sekhmet being retrieved from the ground.

CSUB archaeologist looks for story behind death

The Bakersfield Californian (Shellie Branco)

Someone or something bashed a guy known as Mummy No. 7 in the back of the head more than 1,500 years ago. Cal State Bakersfield anthropology professor Robert Yohe is trying to figure out the mystery behind his death.

Yohe has spent each summer since 2003 studying the archaeological site Tell El-Hibeh in Egypt. This summer, the Discovery Channel took an interest in the project, especially one mummy with an intriguing story.

Yohe returned to Egypt for about two weeks in late September to study Coptic (Christian) mummies from a Roman outpost. The project started in 2000 through UC Berkeley.

See the above page for the full story.

The Sen-En-Mut Project

Tendencias21 Egiptologia ( Francisco J. Martín Valentín)

On the 27th October the fifth season (2007) of the Sen-En-Mut Project commenced. The project, managed by the Instituto de Estudios del Antiguo Egipto, is examining Theban Tomb 353 in Deir el Bahri, and this season's work will explore the eighteenth dynasty site, created during the reign of Hatshepsut. The project is dedicated to both the excavation and restoration of the tomb, which was discovered by Herbert Winlock in January1927, during his examination of the northeast corner of the Temple of Hatshepsut in Deir El Bahri. Only one chamber is decorated, but its ceiling contains the world's oldest known astronomical plan.

Tras los trámites oportunos y la correspondiente aprobación del proyecto presentado, en el año 2003 se inició la primera campaña de trabajo sobre el terreno, hemos desarrollado hasta el momento cuatro campañas de trabajo en el interior del monumento y en el área que circunda al mismo.

El Proyecto Sen-en-Mut se integra en el marco del actual modo de entender la actuación en los monumentos y restos arqueológicos existentes en Egipto. Hoy se impone la preservación, restauración, y si es posible, el estudio lo más completo posible de los monumentos existentes y ya conocidos. No podremos avanzar en el camino de la adecuada conservación del patrimonio arqueológico e histórico de Egipto sin nuestro compromiso con la protección de los monumentos. . . .

El Proyecto Sen-en-Mut desarrollado por el Instituto de Estudios del Antiguo Egipto en la TT 353 tiene, pues, por objeto la recuperación completa del monumento, un exhaustivo estudio y documentación del mismo desde el punto de vista egiptológico y monumental, así como la elaboración de una propuesta para su comprensión total, su exacta documentación por medio de sistemas de reproducción digital, y su exhibición al gran público por medio de una copia facsímil que asegurará su conocimiento sin sufrir los eventuales daños causados por las masas de turistas en sus visitas.

See the above page for the full story. A summary of the project in English can be found at the Sen-En-Mut home page. If you happen to speak Spanish, the website dedicated to the project is a very good resource, including a dig diary and season reports.

Rebellious son: Amenhotep III was succeeded by one of the first known monotheists

Smithsonian Magazine

Not long after Amenhotep III died, in 1353 B.C., masons entered his mortuary temple and methodically chiseled out every mention of Amun, the god said to have fathered the great pharaoh. Astonishingly, the order to commit this blasphemy came from the king's own son. Crowned Amenhotep IV, he changed his name to Akhenaten in his fifth year on the throne and focused his energies on promoting a single god, Aten, the sun disk. Together with his beautiful queen Nefertiti, he built a new capital, Akhetaten (today known as Amarna), banned representations of several deities and set about destroying all inscriptions and images of Amun, from the Nile Delta to today's Sudan.

See the above page for more.

Book Review: Tutankhamun's Cook Book

Free Press Releases (Tim Batty)

Tutankhamun's Cook Book - ancient Egyptian recipes
A new cook book featuring ancient Egyptian food recipes is released. “Tutankhamun’s Cook Book” is a beautiful and delicious study of food history.

This unique and beautiful book is bursting with ancient Egyptian and culinary treasures. “Tutankhamun’s Cook Book” is the first of a new concept of popular and colourful cook books, “Cooking the Past”, based on accurate historical evidence. Every page is alive with images of Tutankhamun that combine with fascinating dishes to tempt even the most conservative food lover.

The result of extensive research, Jackie Ridley has brought together a series of mouth-watering ancient Egyptian dishes, specially adapted for today. They are easy to cook and delicious and exotic to eat. Each is good on its own but can be prepared to form an exciting ancient Egyptian meal. A feast fit for a pharaoh!

“Tutankhamun’s Cook Book” is a study of ancient Egyptian food, from earliest times until the Roman period. Although small in size the book is packed with facts, combining the author’s knowledge of Egyptology with her passion for good food. It contains rare ancient Egyptian recipes and a research on the food history.

See the above page for the full story.

Who stole King Tut's crown jewels?

Daily Mail (Glenys Roberts)

An old story, but presumably resurrected to coincide with the various travels of Tutankhamun:

Now aided by modern science, the present Earl of Carnarvon, greatgrandson of the ill-fated explorer who spent £2million of the family fortune on exhuming the king, has embarked on a quest to piece together the true story of the boy's life and death.

The extraordinary findings are revealed in a TV documentary which also brings to light that, though the hapless pharaoh was discovered intact, his grave has been mysteriously violated since Carter's dramatic find 85 years ago.

Not content with hacking out his ribs, someone in modern times - most likely the Second World War, when the tomb was unguarded - has also removed Tutankhamun's penis.

To understand why, it is first necessary to appreciate the new findings about the pharaoh himself.

See the above for the full story.

Also on the Times of India website:

Tomb raiders in Egypt had removed the ancient Pharaoh's mummified male reproductive organ and cut through his ribcage to steal a priceless jewel collar glued to his chest six decades back, according to a researcher.

"Tutankhamun was mummified with a penis, so it was an object of note. It is tomb robbing with a nasty twist," The Sun reported on Monday, quoting Dr Salima Ikram of Cairo University.

In fact, Dr Ikram, who believes the robbery happened during the Second World War, made the discovery after studying X-rays of the boy King taken in 1926 and then comparing them with scans from 1968.

Tutankhamun's tomb was poorly guarded during the war, and it is believed locals took advantage to steal his jewels, according to her.

Two Cairo landmarks restored

Ismaili Mail

His Highness the Aga Khan, His Excellency Farouk Hosni, Egypt’s Minister of Culture, Dr. Abdel Azim Wazir, the Governor of Cairo, inaugurated the restoration and revitalisation of two historic complexes in the city’s Darb al-Ahmar district.

The restoration of the fourteenth century Umm al Sultan Shabaan mosque and the Khayrebek complex, which encompasses a 13th century palace, a mosque and an Ottoman house, represent major steps in the revitalisation of Cairo’s Islamic City.

Speaking at the ceremony inaugurating the restored sites, the Aga Khan, who is spiritual leader of the world’s Shia Ismaili community, said the restoration work has helped bridge Cairo’s present with the era of its Fatimid Ismaili founders 1000 years ago.

“I have found that this endeavour has provided for me, personally, a profound sense of connection with my own ancestors, the Fatimid Caliphs, who founded Cairo and who laid its physical and cultural foundations 1000 years ago,” he said.

See the above page for the full story.

Ancient Egypt meets modern art in London

Channel 4

A piece of ancient Egypt is being constructed in London's Hyde Park.

The 15-metre multi-coloured pyramid has been created by Miami-based Brazilian artist Romero Britto in celebration of an upcoming exhibition.

Tutankhamun and The Golden Age of the Pharaohs will be held at the O2 arena in Greenwich, featuring King Tut and his treasures.

Britto is no stranger to bringing his work to the capital as he has already installed his Dance of Hearts mural at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital and has showcased his art across the world.

Speaking of his latest work Britto said: "The pyramid is a very old structure and design but it is still so modern and when you go back in time it was built 4,000 years ago but it's still so today, the shape and the form."

A half-size replica will be placed outside the O2 and another dozen pyramids are due to be installed across London.

Daily Photo - Qasr el Dush, Kharga

Monday, October 29, 2007

Blog Update.

Hi to All

I've been updating the blog again this morning - unfortunately the shade of blue I chose to highlight the newer items doesn't stand out particularly well, but I've added around 10 new items since yesterday's efforts, dating from the 12th October onwards. Any other new items that I find will be summarized in a single post in the next few days.

In fact, nothing of earth shaking Egyptological interest has happened in the last two weeks (or if it has, it hasn't hit the media yet), so there's not much to comment about.

Apparently Otto Schaden updated an ARCE chapter with news of forthcoming works at KV63, but this hasn't filtered out yet, either onto the KV63 website or in the form of a press release.

As usual, if anyone has anything news-worthy for me, please let me know.

Cheers everyone!


Egypt's Cultural Heritage Roundup

Egypt Daily Star News (Nigel J. Hetherington)

Nigel looks at the Tutankhamun phenomenon, the plans for a German pyramid, and Hawass's proposals to investigate Egypt's heritage beneath the Nile:

In this month’s roundup of all things archaeological, historic etc, we find out that Princess Diana has a rival in the affections of the public and it is our very own Tutankhamun, we encounter German pyramid builders, and learn the truth about life on the Nile.

Tutankhamun continues to hold our attention

Just when you think we know it all about Tutankhamun, the boy king goes and surprises and entertains us again. In the last few weeks we have watched as new discoveries have been made in his tomb, an announcement has been made that he will finally be revealed to the public in his tomb in Luxor and his exhibition – which has not yet opened in London – is causing excitement more akin to a rock concert. And on top of all that, scientists say they have solved the mystery around his death and are now claiming that they finally know how he died. If you consider the Ancient Egyptians’ religious beliefs for a moment, then Tutankhamun must be a very happy and old man; as they thought that those whose name is spoken after death never die.

So why has the world gone Tutankhamun crazy? And what are the stories behind these recent headlines? Well we must start this story in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, once considered by academics and archaeologists to be a spent force, even before the discovery by Howard Carter in 1922 of Tutankhamun’s almost intact tomb. The discovery of a new tomb, now designated KV63 in the winter of 2005/2006 started a media frenzy that has not abated even today. Although the finds in the tomb were not as spectacular as those found in Tutankhamun’s tomb and the recent press coverage has in fact stated that the tomb might now be re-branded as a store or embalmers’ cache, it got many thinking about what else might lie undiscovered in the Valley of the Kings.

See the above page for the full story.

Sudan supports nominating Farouq Hosni as UNESCO director

State Information Service

Sudanese Minister of Culture Muhammad Youssef Abdullah asserted his country's full support for nominating Minister of Culture Farouq Hosni as UNESCO General Director describing it as Sudan's duty towards Egypt.

He said that Hosni has a very good chance to reach such high-ranking post representing the Arab World.

Eloquent Peasant blog - Word of the Week

The Eloquent Peasant

Margaret Maitland has updated her excellent blog with two articles which may be of interest:

Egyptian word of the week (new slot in which Margaret takes one of her favourite ancient Egyptian words and discusses it):

I’ve decided that it might be interesting to share some of my favourite Egyptian words each week, so that even if you don’t read hieroglyphs, you can enjoy some of the flavour and character of the language that is often lost in translation.

The basis of certain words and the special ways in which they were used can give us key insights into Egyptian culture and the way the people thought. For example, the Egyptians were very keen on puns or play-on-words, which often formed a key symbolic part of religious and political ideology. Also, although hieroglyphs weren’t just simplistic representative pictures, their pictorial form was still significant and often exploited in art and texts. And sometimes it’s not just our understanding of Egyptian culture that can be enlightened by examining Egyptian words—sometimes it’s our own culture as well. Some Egyptian words have made it into modern languages, including English.

I remember learning one of my favourite examples of an Egyptian loan word into English back during my undergraduate degree in Toronto when we read an inscription about Queen Hatshepsut’s trading expedition to the exotic land of Punt (which some argue is modern Eritrea). The word is hbny and you might be able to guess what the English loan word is!

Head North, or rather ḫd North

To the Egyptians, ‘travel’ was synonymous with ‘water travel’, and the Nile acted as the country’s superhighway. Since Egypt was entirely strung out along the fertile riverbanks of the life-giving Nile that served as the country’s backbone, the majority of travel and transportation was north-south oriented and much time and energy was saved by using boats. Therefore the words used to indicate north or southward movement were written with boat symbols.

Jane Akshar's Luxor News Blog updates

Luxor News Blog

Jane has been busy whilst I have been away. She has updated her blog with a number of articles, accompanied as usual by some great photos, as follows:

The Monastery of Mary Mina

Egyptian Gazette

The story will expire shortly on the above address. It is quite a short piece so it has been reproduced here in full:

Egypt is full of Islamic and Christian places of worship. The Monastery of Mari Mina is one such Christian sanctuary, which attracts many thousands of worshippers. Located 35 miles southwest of Alexandria near Borg Al-Arab, where Abu Mina City once stood, the foundation stone of the modern Monastery of Mari Mina was laid by Pope Kyrillos VI of Alexandria in 1959.

The monastery church is 60m long and 26.5m wide.

Built on 15 feddans (acres) of land, the monastery includes a number of churches, a restaurant, a library and some monastic cells. One of these churches contained some of the relics of Saint Mari Mina. Many of his relics are to be found at other churches and monasteries named after him. In the 14th century, the remains of Mari Mina were removed by a Mamluk soldier and taken to a church in Cairo.

Saint Mari Mina was born of Egyptian parents in Verigia, Asia Minor. At the end of third century AD, he joined the Roman Army but escaped from the persecution of Diocletian. Shortly afterwards, he was caught and beheaded for being a Christian. Before his killers could burn his corpse, his friends saved it and put it on the back of a camel, which was allowed to wander off into the desert. Where the camel stopped and knelt down, they buried him. The monastery has become a popular place of pilgrimage for Christians from all over the world. As well as a baptistry, there is a graveyard to the north of the monastery.

With the passing of time, a number of houses, palaces and churches came to be built around the monastery. They were made of marble, earning the complex the name 'City of Marble'.Inside the modern monastery, there is a new church under construction and again marble is being used.At one time, following the Arab expansion, 50,000 people lived there and it was the most important place for Christian pilgrimage in Egypt. Muslim pilgrims also visited the monastery, on their way from Libya and other North African countries to the Arabian Peninsula.

At a meeting in Luxor in 1979, UNESCO decided to add the Monastery of Mari Mina to its World Heritage List.

Tourism: Auctioned tourist development land causes concern

Egyptian Gazette (Salah Attia)

N.B. The story will expire shortly on the above URL.

Auctions of land prepared for tourist development projects caused more worries in the tourist sector this week. Tourist experts and leading investors, who were polled by Travel Page, warned seriously that these auctions would hamper the much-sought tourist development drive in the country.

These sceptics said that buyers of auctioned land would refuse to set up projects and prefer to sell the bare-land for much more expensive price after years. The worried investors and experts also rejected the idea of auctioning land in remote areas in the country. Mr. Hamada Abul Enein, a leading investor, suggested that auctioned land should be located in areas at the heart of the city, such as the Tahrir Square or on the Nile. “Auctioning land located thousands of kilometres away from Cairo will undermine prospects of tourist developments,” Abul Enein added. He remarked that the idea of auctioning land for tourist development was basically motivated by auctions held by the Ministry of Housing and Utilities on the one hand and the the Holding Company for Tourism on the other. However, he protested that auctions of tourist development land were Unwisely proposed. He explained: “The Ministry of Housing holds auctions of land prepared for expensive residential units and trade centres. The Ministry of Housing does not have plans to construct development projects or provide a new tax resources.” According to his arguments, tourist development projects alone provide new tax resources and offer jobs in the market. Criticising auctions of tourist development land held in Ain Sokhna recently, Abul Enein continued: “Such auctions should not be re-organised.”

See the above page for the full story (you will need to be quick - the story will expire shortly).

Deir el Hagar #2

More photographs from Deir el Hagar in Dakhleh Oasis. Click on the thumbnail to see the larger photo.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Canal Linking Ancient Egypt Quarry to Nile Found

National Geographic (Steven Stanek)

Experts have discovered a canal at an Aswan rock quarry that they believe was used to help float some of ancient Egypt's largest stone monuments to the Nile River.

It has long been suspected that ancient workers moved the massive artifacts directly to their final destinations over waterways.

Ancient artwork shows Egyptians using boats or barges to move large monuments like obelisks and statues, and canals have also been discovered at the Giza pyramids and the Luxor Temple.

But the newfound canal, which has since been filled in, is the first proof discovered at the granite quarries in Aswan. Almost all obelisks, including those at the Luxor and Karnak Temples, were originally hewn in the Aswan area.

"What you have is very strong evidence that they may have loaded these stones in at the quarry ... and as a result not dragging and hauling them over land," said Richard R. Parizek, a professor of geology at Penn State University who led the scientific tests confirming the canal's existence.

"It eliminates that land connection."

See the above two-page item for the full story.

Also on Science Daily:

The unfinished Obelisk Quarry in Aswan, Egypt, has a canal that may have connected to the Nile and allowed the large stone monuments to float to their permanent locations, according to an international team of researchers. This canal, however, may be allowing salts from ground water to seep into what has been the best preserved example of obelisk quarrying in Egypt.

Excavations by the Aswan Office of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Egypt, began in 2002 to prepare the site for tourists. Among the discoveries made were a trench at least 8.25 feet deep. Archaeologists were unable to reach the bottom because of groundwater incursion.

"Some researchers suggested that this trench linked the quarry with the Nile," says Dr. Richard R. Parizek, professor of geology and geo-environmental engineering at Penn State. "Transporting huge granite monoliths by boat to the Nile during the annual flood would appear to be easier than having to transport these blocks overland from the quarry to the Nile."

Parizek, working with Adel Kelany, inspector, Supreme Council of Antiquities; Amr El-Gohary, geologist, National Research Centre, Cairo; and Shelton S. Alexander, professor emeritus of geophysics; David P. Gold, professor emeritus of geology: Elizabeth J. Walters, associate professor of art history; and Katarin A. Parizek, instructor, integrated arts, all at Penn State, looked at minimally invasive ways to determine whether the canal, as suggested, existed.

The researchers used both soil temperature readings and shallow seismic reflection to outline the canal without excavation because a cemetery and the recently completed tourist amenities are in the path of the canal. They drilled holes into the ground and fitted them with pipes so the researchers could measure temperature. Because this is a granite quarry, most of the underlying area is solid granite, which has little groundwater circulation and is heated and cooled only by geothermal energy from beneath and the outdoor above-ground temperatures. However, where the canal may run, sediment-filled areas would respond to groundwater circulation and show temperature differences.

See the above page for the full story.

Also on EurekAlert.

Mummy to be rescanned

Suite101 (Stan Parchin)
Specialists will perform a CT-scan on a five-foot-tall adult Egyptian mummy (Dynasty XXI, ca. 1000 B.C.) from the Royal Ontario Museum on October 29, 2007. This non-invasive procedure is now performed with some regularity by institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum. The cutting-edge process, also known as computerized tomography, will be conducted at the University of Western Ontario by Dr. Roberta Shaw, the ROM's Assistant Curator of Egyptology, Dr. Rethy Chhem of the London Health Sciences Centre and Dr. Andrew Nelson of UWO's Department of Anthropology, also a Research Associate at the ROM. CT-scanning equipment was recently acquired by the university. Three-dimensional images of the body will help determine the remains' gender and reveal any artifacts, such as jewelry and religious amulets, possibly concealed beneath some 18 layers of bandages.

See the above page for more.

Travel: Rolling back the centuries in Egypt's second city

Chicago Tribune (Stephen Franklin)

Travel article about some of the more recent aspects of Alexandria's past:

As the old hotel elevator rumbles upward, its antiquarian wood and brass cage carries me backward.

Back to the 1930s when the Cecil Hotel—staring out at an ancient harbor, a busy square and chic European-style patisseries—was the gathering place for aspiring (and already world-famous) writers, for social climbers and for curious foreigners caught up in Egypt's mystique.

Back to a breezy, Mediterranean city on the edge of Africa that once felt like Marseilles and London and Naples and Istanbul, and a mixture of everything from the Middle East thrown into an exotic urban stew.

Back to a decades-old cosmopolitan elegance.

What draws me in 2007 to Alexandria, the heart of which is a tiny isthmus between two harbors, is exactly this: a long-lingering connection to the past with just enough taste of the new.

See the above page for more.

Travel: Discovering Cairo through the eyes of Naguib Mahfouz

The Hindu - Magazine (Sadhana Rao)

An article that describes a trip to Cairo, looking at it through the eyes of the novelist Naguib Mahfouz:

Through his prose, Naguib Mahfouz (a confirmed Cairo loyalist) has given us a myriorama of his homeland. He opened anecdotal windows and gave a compelling narrative of Egypt and particularly Cairo’s timeline. Tiptoeing tentatively on the litera ry trail Mahfouz’s novels soon gained strong footholds because of the resonance of his tales (the attentive spotlight shone on him once he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1988).

Years before he won literary accolades, Mahfouz, with simple lucidity articulated his thoughts on his writerly life: “Fiction is an art for the industrial age. It represents a synthesis of man’s passion for fact and his age old love affair with imagination”. Straddling the realms of fact and imagination, Mahfouz wrote about his city Cairo with the insight of a family retainer who is aware of all the deep secrets. Yet he laced and spiked his treatise with the detachment of a factual observer. His narrative at times thus reads like an atmospheric travelogue.

See the above page for the full story.

Weekly Websites

Oxford Expedition to Egypt

The Oxford Expedition to Egypt (OEE) consists of a group of professionals who are undertaking a variety of projects that relate to the study of Ancient Egypt during the period generally referred to as the 'Pyramid Age', or 'Old Kingdom' (c. 2650 - 2150 BC). Since 1995, OEE has been affiliated academically to Linacre College, University of Oxford. The Expedition's founding members possess formal attachments to the College, which effectively link Linacre College and the Expedition staff in the UK to the Expedition's fieldwork in Egypt.

Academic expeditions with current site-concessions in Egypt are granted permission to work seasonally at their ancient sites by the Secretary General and Members of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, a branch of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture. In the case of OEE the sites in which most of its projects are located are at the necropolis of Maidum, east of the Fayuum, and the necropolis of Saqqara, not far from the ruins of the Old Kingdom capital, Memphis.


Edward Loring has posted a super new website dedicated exclusively to shabtis:

Welcome to, an online shabti museum and collecting place for links to shabtis worldwide. If you have shabtis, shabti-boxes, or anything relative to this subject, including Flickr sites*, blogs, forums, papers etc, please send us the web-address; we will link you from here and also from our network directory. If you do not have your own website and would like to post something for this project, you can send us your material as e-mail attachments and we will make you a page with your name, anything you would like to say and a link to this directory.

This is a project of the Centre for Egyptological Studies of the Russian Academy of
Sciences and the Russian Institute of Egyptology in Cairo to serve all shabti-lovers.

Images of Deir el Medineh past and present

The above site is introduced on its home page by its authors Lenka and Andy Peacock as follows:

Deir el-Medina is a 3500-year-old village, the remains of which nestle in a small secluded valley in the shadow of the Theban hills, on the west bank of the Nile, across from modern-day Luxor in Upper Egypt.

Throughout the New Kingdom (since about 1550 BC) the village was inhabited by workmen who were responsible for constructing and decorating the royal tombs in both the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens.

The location is unique for its unrivalled wealth of archaeological, artistic and textual evidence that has survived and from which we can reconstruct many aspects of the daily lives of its ancient inhabitants.

These web pages document the past and the present of this, in my opinion, the prettiest archaeological site in the world, based on our own photographic material, that we have shot during our visits to Egypt and to various museums that house objects originating from Deir el-Medina.

These pages are composed as a tribute to Professor Jaroslav Černý (1898-1970), a Czech Egyptologist, who devoted most of his life to the study of this community.

Tutankhamun Resources

A short article with links to various resources for Tutankhamun, to accompany an article announcing the Fall 2008 visit of the Tutankhamun exhibition to Dallas, U.S.

1989 ISIS Fellowship Lecture: Gold in a time of bronze and Iron by J.M. Ogden
Journal of the Ancient Chronology Forum
A paper looking at the development of precious metal craft between 1200 and 600BC with a view to determining if there was a "dark age" period when art work ceased to be produced or, instead, some degree of continuity between styles and technologies that would challenge the dark age hypothesis. He focuses in particular on the Tell Basta hoard. In PDF format.

Daily Photo - Deir el Hagar #1

Photographs of Deir el Hagar in Dakhleh Oasis, Western Desert. Deir el Hagar, "Monastery of Stone", was built under the reign of the Emperor Nero and was later added to by other Roman leaders (Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian). Known in Pharaonic times as "The Place of Coming Home", it was originally dedicated to the Theban Triad of Mut, Amun-Ra and Khonsu, but there are many other deities represented at the site, most notably Thoth and Seth (the latter being the principal deity of Dakhleh Oasis). In spite of considerable earthquaqe damage, burial in the sand for centuries, left many reliefs in good condition, with some of the original colours surviving. The temple was restored by the Dakhleh Oasis Project in 1995.

Click on the thumbnail image to see the full photograph.

Built in pale yellow limestone and red Nubian sandstone, with columns made of mud brick, it is a singularly attractive temple, and even though the Roman style carving is crude by comparison with that in Pharaonic temples, the remaining pigments show how colourful Deir el Hagar must have been in its heyday. It was surrounded by a mudbrick wall, remains of which are clearly visible today, and the inner surface of the enclosing wall was lined with coloured plaster, some of which survives at the temple, and has been restored.

As with many of the temples of Egypt, it was later used as a Coptic monastery. Historical graffiti can be found at the site, the most interesting of which were left by Edmondstone (1819), Houghton, Hyde, Cailliaud, and Gerhard Rohlfs.

The site is located immediately to the west of the Roman necropolois of rock cut tombs, Gebel el-Muzawaka, which was featured on an earlier Daily Photo.

More photos, with descriptions in French, can be found on the Deir el Hagar page on Alain Guilleux's site. There is a good plan of the site, available on the Rome In Egypt website.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Blog Update

I'm back in the land of the living, although it feels as though I have been away for two months rather than two weeks. I will be working to backdate the blog over the next few days. I have literally hundreds of emails to work through, so please bear with me as usual!

A special mention to Maged, Mostafa, Tareq, Nasr#1, Nasr#2, Helen, Chris R, Jo, Chris E, Bev, Oliver, Jean, Jane and wonderful Murad, with my love.

Terrific thanks as usual to Kat Newkirk and Chris Townsend - even the briefest glimpse at my emails tells me that you have been updating me in my absence. I'd be lost without you!

See both below and above for updates - with more to come, which will be posted with blue text so that you can see which ones are new.

All the best


Book launch: Living Images

The book Living Images: Egyptian Funerary Portraits in the Petrie Museum, published in memory of Barbara Adams by the Friends of the Petrie Museum and the Institute of Archaeology (by Jan Picton, Stephen Quirke & Paul Roberts) was launched yesterday, Friday 26th October at the Institute of Archaeology (UCL, London) with a lecture.

Jan Picton's email regarding the dedication of the book to Barbara Adams says that:

Barbara Adams was the much loved Research Curator of the Petrie Museum who died in 2002. She joined the Petrie Museum in 1965 as the museum attendant and rose to become not just a great Museum Curator but a leading scholar in the field of Predynastic Egypt and Joint Director, with Renee Friedman, of the excavations at Hierakonpolis. She was responsible for founding the Friends of the Petrie Museum and one of our first projects was raising the funds to conserve the mummy portraits so it was fitting that we should publish them in her memory.
Full details of the book:
Jan Picton, Stephen Quirke & Paul Roberts
Living Images: Egyptian Funerary Portraits in the Petrie Museum, published in memory of Barbara Adams by the Friends of the Petrie Museum and the Institute of Archaeology
Left Coast Press
(ISBN 978-1-59874-251-0)

Gottinger Miszellen 215, 2007

Gottinger Miszellen no.215 (navigate to Publikationen in the left hand navigation bar)

The most recent issue of GM is out now. The contents are listed on the above website as follows:

Technische Hinweise


Blom-Böer, I.: Wie aus einer Büste ein Öllämpchen wurde

Pasquali, St.: Des fouilles „discrêtes” à Ro-Sêtaou en 1931?


Castillos, Juan J.: The Beginning of Class Stratification in Early Egypt

Finneiser, K.: Ein Statuenfragment aus der 3. Zwischenzeit (Berlin, ÄM 15139

Grandl, Ch.: Das altägyptische Sprichwort in der internationalen Sprichwortforschung. Stand, Aufgaben und Bedeutung

Grossman, E.: Protatic iir=f sDm in the Report of Wenamun: a ’proto-demotic’ feature?

Koemoth, Pierre P.: Les onguents du rituel d’ouverture de la bouche à Dendara et à Edfou. Essai de formulation compareé

Moje, J.: Demotica Varia II

Nagy, A.: Meaning Behind Motif: Bes in the Ancient Near East

Scheele-Schweitzer, K.: Zu den Königsnamen der 5. und 6. Dynastie

Notizen zur Literatur

Groddek, D.: Zu den neuen ägyptisch-hethitischen Synchronismen der Nach-Amarna-Zeit

Schenkel, W.: rci + Pseudopartizip – eine nach-klassische Konstruktion?

Second hand books

Three online book sellers have made their most recent catalogues of new, used and bargain books available by email or on their websites:

Museum Books
October 2007 book list (new and second hand)
This autumn list has many interesting new and out of print titles, available by mail order. The catalogue for the major Tutankhamun exhibition opening in London, in November, will be available soon. Subjects covered: Egyptology, Classical World and General Archaeology. Orders for new books that are not listed are welcome. 'Wants' lists for out of print tiles are also welcome.

Oxbow Bargain Catalogue 2007

Last year’s bargain catalogue proved to be a big hit - it seems that great books at rock bottom prices are always popular. With that in mind here’s our selection for Autumn 2007.

There’s an excellent array of completely new bargains, including some Oxbow publications reduced for the first time, along with some old favourites and some books which, for whatever reason, just haven’t apppeared in a catalogue for years - I’m sure you’ll be able to find a home for them!

All our stock is limited - with some titles more so than others - so please do get your orders in quickly to avoid disappointment, and feel free to phone us to check titles are still in stock. I’ve tried not to include titles with seriously low stock quantities, and I’m planning to highlight these in a series of subject-specific emails over the next few months, further incentive, if it were needed, to sign up to our email list!

Joppa Books
Catalogue 92 Rare Books on the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia (NOAF3). You can email them for a copy at:
Their books tend to be on the pricey side, but they offer some excellent titles.

Lord Carnarvon returns to Egypt to examine new evidence about Tutankhamun

Newbury Today ()

A TELEVISION documentary will follow Lord Carnarvon’s travels back to Egypt to examine new finds from Tutankhamun’s tomb, which question long-held theories about the young pharoah.

The eighth Lord Carnarvon, a keen amateur archaeologist, said he has always been obsessed by the real life of Tutankhamun.

His great-grandfather, the fifth Earl of Carnarvon, helped Howard Carter discover Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922, and was present when it was breached.

The Earl died seven weeks after the discovery and was thought to be the first victim to the curse of King Tut.

During his visit to Egypt, the current Lord Carnarvon met leading experts, including the Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, Dr Zahi Hawass, who gave him unique access to unseen artefacts and new research.

See the above page for the full story.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Egypt wins membership of UNESCO International Heritage Committee

Egypt State Information Service

Egypt won yesterday 25/10/2007 the membership of the UNESCO International heritage committee as it received the highest votes after the candidate of China.

Dr. Ali Radwan member of the Supreme Council for antiquities and head of general association of Arab archaeologists was chosen to represent Egypt at this committee, which carries out projects to protect international heritage.

Culture Minister Farouk Hosni said winning this post is an expressive of the place Egypt occupied in terms of culture at the world level as well as the appreciation for Egypt's political leaders who support Egypt's cultural projects.

Egypt restored its membership of this committee as it used to be a member of this committee for five years and yesterday Egypt resorted its membership.

This is the complete bulletin on the State Information Service.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Profile: Nigel Hetherington

Egypt Daily Star News

A profile on Nigel Hetherington and his newest venture, Past Preservers:

When Nigel Hetherington was packing for his trip to Egypt in 1997, he had no idea he would come back a few years later. This time, he wouldn’t just be a tourist, he was coming back as an entrepreneur running the first company specialized in providing historical and archeological consultancy to the media industry in Egypt.

An accountant for 15 years, Hetherington decided to pursue a career in archeology after a short encounter with the Ancient Egyptian civilization.

When he went back to England after his first trip, he took an evening class in Egyptian history. In 2000, he went back to school for a BA in Egyptian archeology, followed by an MA in cultural heritage, which is what brought him back to Egypt.

In 2003, Hetherington came back to Egypt for a placement at the Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage (CultNat) as part of his degree. “It was the longest month of my life,” he said, “I had absolutely nothing to do.”

“One day, however, they asked me to interview Dr Kent Weeks, one of the world’s most acclaimed archeologists, who has led the excavation work for KV5, the largest tomb ever found in Egypt,” Hetherington said.

After the interview, Dr Weeks asked Hetherington if he would like to join the team that was responsible for coming up with a strategy for conserving the Valley of the Kings, an offer he couldn’t refuse.

See the above page for the full story. The Past Preservers website has been recently updated and improved.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Documentary preview: Tutankhamun: Secrets of the Boy King

National Geographic (Steven Stanek)

An unusual level of interest in Tutankhamun was bound to occur now that the Tutankhamun exhibition is coming to London, and a TV documentary is being shown in UK television on 30th October 2007, which is previewed on the National Geographic website:

King Tutankhamun likely died after falling from his chariot while hunting, Egypt's top archaeologist says in an upcoming TV documentary, offering new insights into the boy pharaoh's long-debated death.

Tutankhamun is widely thought to have died of an infection stemming from a broken leg, after CT scans in 2005 revealed a severe fracture in his left thighbone, challenging

"He had an accident when he was hunting in the desert," said Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, who has overseen recent examinations of the pharaoh's mummy.

"Falling from the chariot made this fracture in his left leg, and this really is in my opinion how he died."

Hawass made the comments in the film Tutankhamun: Secrets of the Boy King, a documentary scheduled to air October 30 on Britain's Channel Five.

The new theory stems largely from examinations of some of the 5,000 artifacts found in the king's tomb, which suggest he was an active, sporting young man and not the sheltered and fragile boy often portrayed by history.

See the above two-page article for the full story.

The Independent on Sunday also covers the documentary:

Until now, many historians had assumed that he was treated as a rather fragile child who was cosseted and protected from physical danger. However, Nadia Lokma of the Cairo Museum said that a recent analysis of the chariots found in the tombs of the pharaohs indicated that they were not merely ceremonial but show signs of wear and tear. Hundreds of arrows recovered from the tomb also show evidence of having been fired and recovered. "These chariots are hunting chariots, not war chariots. You can see from the wear on them that they were actually used in life," Dr Lokma said.

A cache of clothing found in Tutankhamun's tomb, which was stored in the vaults of the Cairo Museum, suggest that he was accustomed to riding these chariots himself. They include a specially-adapted corset which would have protected the wearer's abdominal organs from any damage from an accident or the heavy jostling of a chariot ride.

A final piece of evidence comes from a garland of flowers placed around the neck of Tutankhamun's mummy. Botanists found it included cornflowers and mayweed that were fresh at the time the decoration was made.

See the above page for more.

A brief look at a Vermont mummy

The Fleming is home to an Egyptian mummy that is at least 2600 years old. She's one of the museum's most popular attractions. . . .

In the early 1900s, UVM professor George Henry Perkins traveled to Cairo's Royal Museum of Egypt and came home with the painted coffin and its contents. He paid just thirty-five dollars, part of a spending spree that formed much of the University's ancient Egyptian collection.

But still, little is known of this woman, including how she died. Fearon says of the researchers UVM consulted, "They guessed it was a disease like diphtheria or smallpox. They killed a lot of people in ancient Egypt."

Her coffin reveals very few clues. Experts in hieroglyphics told the Fleming much of the painting is nonsense: just decorations, so she has no name. The fact she was buried in sycamore wood suggests she was likely middle class, and x-rays indicate she was probably a teenager when she died.

Those x-rays also show the embalmers broke her bones wrapping her up, or perhaps, when they removed her internal organs.

Middlebury's lost mummy


One of the most popular attractions at the Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History isn't actually at the museum, but in a cemetery down the road. Museum director Jan Albers says, "It's not a scary story."

The story that ends in that small cemetery on Route 30 begins nearly 4,000 years ago in Egypt, where a two year old boy died and was mummified.

To cut a long story short, the mummy was purchased in the 1880s and was destined to become an exhibit in the museum. It's head was crushed and was therefore deemed unsuitable for display, and was left in storage where it suffered considerable damage. A museum curator, George Mead, appalled at what he found, decided to give the mummy a decent burial, so it was cremated and it now has its own headstone at the local cemetary, with the date 1883BC inscribed into it. Not quite what his parents had in mind! For the complete story see the above page, accompanied by a photograph of the headstone.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Book review: Naguib Mafouz - Khufu's Wisdom

Bits of News

Naguib Mahfouz seems to be equally able to write about ancient and modern Egypt. His novels about Ancient Egypt concern themselves with an analysis of high politics, often through using mythic stories to indicate political concerns. So for example, his novel about Akhenaten, the ancient Pharoah focuses on the links between faith and politics and questions about how far religious motivations can justify political actions.

Khufu's Wisdom, his novel about the Pharoah Khufu (also known as Cheops) focuses on similar issues. Mahfouz is fascinated by the way that the personality of the ruler effects his power to control and rule his nation. Khufu's Wisdom concerns the succession to Khufu, from the beggining of the novel the scent of death rests over the realm, after ten years the Great Pyramid is still unfinished. The real story though concerns Khufu's effort to avoid a prophesy that says Djedjef, son of the priest of Ra, will succeed him and not his own sons. The novel shows us the way that despite Khufu's best efforts, Djedjef does come to succeed him, ultimately through the Pharoah's own intercession.

See the above page for the full story.

Exhibition: Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt

Daily Titan

Historians have always been fascinated by the culture of Egyptians and their unique approach to life, death, mummification and the possibility of resurrection.

Media has shown, however, that it is not only historians who are intrigued by the Egyptian view on death, but everyday people as well; books and films still continue to thrive about these intriguing people.

The largest collection of ancient Egyptian funerary material outside of Cairo is held at The British Museum. The Bowers Museum in Santa Ana has collaborated with them to present "Mummies: Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt ... Treasures From the British Museum," so Southern Californians can experience the wonder as well.

The exhibition holds 140 objects, which includes 14 mummies and sarcophagi, and is the largest exhibit of its kind to be shown by the British Museum outside of Britain.

"We speak of death as one of the great rites of passage of human existence. Whether we believe that life continues beyond death, or ends at that moment, or whether we admit that we do not know, death is a door through which we must all pass," said Curator John Taylor regarding the exhibit.

See the above page for the full story.