Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Egypt at the Manchester Museum (Campbell Price)

On Saturday, I met up with the Young Archaeologists Club (YAC) to do a spot of hieroglyph translation. For the session, I chose this short text on an object currently displayed in the Museum’s Discovery Centre.  The members of YAC, mostly aged around 10, were incredibly knowledgable and – with only a little help – cracked the code presented by this small stela. Rather than simply ‘make up’ hieroglyphic words using a phonetic alphabet, the chance to read a real text from ancient Egypt – and work out what the object was used for – was one the group really enjoyed.

This small limestone stela is one of a class of objects called ‘ear stelae’, common in the New Kingdom (c. 1550-1069 BC), and records the name of a deity to whom it is dedicated as well as the man who made or comissioned it. It shows a pair of ears, between which reads: “Ptah-hearer-of-prayers (ptH sDm-nH)”

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