A group of workers, archaeologists and architects is busy at work at the entrance to the Valley of the Kings on the West Bank at Luxor, where the tombs of New Kingdom pharaohs and nobles are spread out within the surrounding mountains. They are constructing a new mud-brick structure containing panels for a full-scale facsimile of the burial chamber of the pharaoh Tutankhamun.
This will be the first replica tomb in the Middle East and one fit for a king. It is due to open to the public at the end of April near the rest house of the tomb’s discoverer, British Egyptologist Howard Carter. Read more.
The study and popular perception of Egyptian antiquities focuses too much on the unwrapping of mummies and the use of technologies such as scanning, according to an academic from the University of East Anglia.
In a new book published today, Egyptologist and former museum curator Dr Christina Riggs challenges the scientific and medical approach that has become commonplace. Unwrapping Ancient Egypt sheds light on both the past and contemporary practices of collecting, displaying and presenting ancient Egypt – and especially Egyptian mummies – in museums and the media.
"Egyptian mummies may pull crowds, but focusing on them only as bodies means we overlook what was arguably much more important from an ancient Egyptian point of view: their wrappings," said Dr Riggs, a senior lecturer in the School of Art History and World Art Studies at UEA. Read more.
An inscription on a 3,500-year-old stone block from Egypt may be one of the world’s oldest weather reports—and could provide new evidence about the chronology of events in the ancient Middle East.
A new translation of a 40-line inscription on the 6-foot-tall calcite block called the Tempest Stela describes rain, darkness and “the sky being in storm without cessation, louder than the cries of the masses.”
Two scholars at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute believe the unusual weather patterns described on the slab were the result of a massive volcano explosion at Thera—the present-day island of Santorini in the Mediterranean Sea. Because volcano eruptions can have a widespread impact on weather, the Thera explosion likely would have caused significant disruptions in Egypt. Read more.
Could all the pharaohs read and write? Only 1-3 percent of the inhabitants of ancient Egypt mastered this exceptionally difficult art. Evidence of literacy of the rulers of Egypt are perhaps not numerous, but clear, argues Filip Taterka, Egyptologist, a doctoral student at the Institute of Prehistory, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań.
In ancient Egypt, there were several types of handwriting. Currently, the best known are classical hieroglyphics, carved in stone on the walls of temples and tombs.
"For administrative documents and literary texts, ancient Egiptians used mainly hieratic, which was a simplified form of writing used since the Old Kingdom, the time of the builders of the pyramids in the third millennium BC. In the middle of the first millennium BC, even more simplified demotic appeared" - explained Taterka. Read more.
A tomb newly excavated at an ancient cemetery in Egypt would have boasted a pyramid 7 meters (23 feet) high at its entrance, archaeologists say.
The tomb, found at the site of Abydos, dates back around 3,300 years. Within one of its vaulted burial chambers, a team of archaeologists found a finely crafted sandstone sarcophagus, painted red, which was created for a scribe named Horemheb. The sarcophagus has images of several Egyptian gods on it and hieroglyphic inscriptions recording spells from the Book of the Dead that helped one enter the afterlife.
There is no mummy in the sarcophagus, and the tomb was ransacked at least twice in antiquity. Human remains survived the ransacking, however. Archaeologists found disarticulated skeletal remains from three to four men, 10 to 12 women and at least two children in the tomb. Read more.
A Czech archaeological team working on a site in Abusir on Monday unearthed the skeleton of a top governmental official, referred to as Nefer during studies carried out in his tomb after it was discovered last year.
Nefer held several titles in the royal palace and the government during the reign of the fifth dynasty king, Nefereer-Ka-Re. He was the priest of the king’s funerary complex, the supervisor of the royal documents scribes and also of the house of gold.
Egypt’s antiquities minister Mohamed Ibrahim said that the skeleton was found inside the deceased’s sarcophagus, which was carved in limestone. A stone head rest was found under the skeleton’s head. Read more.
An ancient labor contract by a guard hired to protect a vineyard in ancient Egypt has been deciphered. Scrawled in Greek on a piece of dark brown papyrus, the document dates back to the 4th century A.D., a new research paper claims.
Guarding vineyards in Egypt more than 1,600 years ago was no easy task. Other ancient sources describe grape-seeking thieves who violently beat watchmen in pursuit of the fruits ripe for winemaking. Crime could be especially high from July to September, the time of the harvest, writes Kyle Helms, a classics doctoral student at the University of Cincinnati.
Grape thefts even found their way into poetry. A verse by the Roman poet Catullus says a married woman “must be watched more carefully than the darkest grapes.” Read more.
The skeletons of six cats, including four kittens, found in an Egyptian cemetery may push back the date of cat domestication in Egypt by nearly 2,000 years.
The bones come from a cemetery for the wealthy in Hierakonpolis, which served as the capital of Upper Egypt in the era before the pharaohs. The cemetery was the resting place not just for human bones, but also for animals, which perhaps were buried as part of religious rituals or sacrifices. Archaeologists searching the burial grounds have found everything from baboons to leopards to hippopotamuses. Read more.