features ANCIENT EGYPT
From our Egypt Correspondent VOLUME 7, NO 2: ISSUE NO. 38
9 Ayman Wahby Taher with the latest news from
Egypt and details of a new museum at Saqqara. EDITOR:
Robert B. Partridge, 6 Branden Drive
Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 8EJ, UK
Friends of Nekhen News Tel. 01565 754450
Renée Friedman looks at the presence of Nubians Email firstname.lastname@example.org
19 in the city at Hierakonpolis, and their lives there, as
revealed in the finds from their tombs. ASSISTANT EDITOR:
The New Tomb
Professor Rosalie David, OBE
26 in the Valley of the Kings EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS:
The fourth update on the recent discovery and the
final clearance of the small chamber. Victor Blunden, Peter Robinson,
ANOTHER new tomb in the Valley Ayman Wahby Taher
31 of the Kings?
Nicholas Reeves reveals the latest news on the PUBLISHED BY:
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36 practical guide to enable AE readers to read and
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ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 3
From the EDITOR
y schedule of articles for inclusion in AE was duced some remarkable discoveries, so we wish all the
completely disrupted this year by the discovery
of a new tomb in the Valley of the Kings, tomb
expeditions well for another productive season.
Whilst foreign missions only work in Egypt for rela-
tively short periods, the work of the Egyptian Supreme
I am not really complaining, for I was as fascianated as Council of Antiquities is an all-year-round operation and
anyone to find out what the contents of this tomb might often the opportunity is taken in the quiet season, when
be. Thanks to the splendid cooperation of members of tourists are limited, to carry out much routine mainte-
the University of Memphis Team and with images sup- nance and inspection of the sites. It is always fascinating
plied by them and the Egyptian Supreme Council of when returning to Egypt to spot the many changes and
Antiquities, I have been especially pleased to have been improvements being made.
able to include a total of four articles in consecutive edi- You will have all read about the huge amount of civil
tions, telling readers of the progress of the excavation. engineering and archaeological work being undertaken
The fourth and final account of the discovery and in the centre of Luxor and around the temples of Luxor
clearance of the tomb is included in this edition, and I and Karnak. Most of the work is due to be completed by
am surprised to find that this means we have devoted a the start of the tourist season. I am looking forward to
total of twenty-five pages to the discovery, undoubtedly seeing what has been going on when I make my planned
the best and fullest account of the find so far, and sec- visits at the end of this year.
ond-best only to any official and more formal book pub- One of these visits will be our magazine trip to Cairo
lished by the team (in the not too distant future we hope). in September (this issue had to be completed before the
Work on the contents of the tomb will continue when trip, so I will bring you news of it in the December issue).
the new season begins and if there are any new develop- If this trip goes well (and there is no reason to assume
ments, I hope to be able to bring them to you. I am sure otherwise) we will consider other trips in the future, pos-
you will have found the articles of interest. My main frus- sibly a week in Luxor.
tration was the time delay in getting the latest news to Prices for trips to Egypt and to Luxor in particular
you, which is always the problem with a bi-monthly pub- have been remarkably cheap this summer and I know a
lication date. number of people who have taken advantage of this. For
Almost literally as I was putting the finishing touches to those willing to put up with the building works in Luxor
the last KV63 article came news of another possible and the very high temperatures, the rewards are great,
previously unknown tomb in the Valley of the Kings. notably being able to visit the main sites without the
Nicholas Reeves, Director of the Amarna Royal Tombs huge numbers of visitors there in the peak season.
Project has written an article on the information avail- Tourist numbers have increased dramatically, although
able at this stage. The prospects are exciting, but also, as on-going concerns about the political stability of coun-
you will see from his article, challenging. The news has ries around Egypt may have influenced the decision of
already caused some interest and debate and rather than some to travel at this time. It is, however, nice to see the
make my own comments here, I will let you read both sites full of people, and if you happen to be there at a
the KV63 article and the article by Nicholas Reeves first busy time you just need to bear in mind that most groups
and add my comments and observations (for what they spend a surprisingly short time there, and it is quite easy
are worth) after. No doubt AE readers will have their to find some peace and quiet at the larger sites.
own views. RP
I know some of you have noticed (and commented
favourably upon) the fact that our “News from Egypt” Detailed Map of Thebes
section has been spreading over an increasing number of
pages in recent issues.
I was squeezing Ayman’s reports into a fixed and lim-
ited number of pages, and they really warranted more
space. I have now decided that the quality and amount
of information from Ayman deserves as much space as I
can manage. The number of pages allocated is not now
set in concrete and will vary depending on the amount of
news and photos available.
Most articles are not time-critical; I suppose it is one of
the “joys” of being Editor that, having reached the stage
when an issue is full, I often find out about new discov-
eries and information. If it is clear that readers would
want to share this news as soon as possible, some shuf-
fling around of articles is inevitable.
By the time this October issue lands on your doorstep,
the excavation season in Egypt will be back in full swing,
with the onset of the cooler weather. The last season pro-
4 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
MAP of EGYPT Time-line
Maps and Time-line
by Peter Robinson.
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 5
BITS and PIECES
News and views from the world of Egyptology
News of an award Professor Gaballa Ali Gaballa of the University of
Cairo spoke on the work of Ahmed Fakhry, an Egyptian
ongratulation to Professor Gaballa Ali Gaballa, archaeologist who pioneered research in the desert and
C who has just been awarded one of the highest
honours in Egypt, the 2005 “State Prize for
Social Sciences”. This is awarded by the Higher Council
was amongst the first to realise the importance of the
sites, as well as the problems they faced.
Tony Mills and other members of the Dakhleh Oasis
of the Supreme Council of Culture. Project covered their long-term work at the Oasis, and
Professor other speakers covered communication between the
Gaballa worked Oases and the Nile valley.
for many years at It was clear from the presentations that, far from being
the University of provincial backwaters, the Oases were an important
Cairo and from part of Egypt; over the last few years, our knowledge of
1997 to 2002 was the area has increased dramatically.
the Secretary Many of the sites are remote, some are being dam-
General of the aged by simple erosion, others are in close proximity to
Supreme Council modern towns and villages and are in danger of being
of Antiquities. He lost beneath modern buildings, and others are being
is now a Professor deliberately damaged and vandalised.
at the University It was, however, in the closing remarks by Rudolph
of Cairo and is a Kuper from the University of Cologne, that the real
special consultant problems facing the many sites were highlighted.
and advisor to the Tourism in the Oases has increased, and this presents
Minister of real problems at many of the sites, which are often less
Culture. than secure and open to anyone.
The award is in An increased population in the “New Valley”, with
recognition of his people being encouraged to move to the Oases from the
many years of Nile Valley, has meant that, whereas the local inhabi-
work, especially in tants were familiar with their monuments and appreci-
the area of cul- ated them, others new to the area often realise the
ture and antiqui- “value” of them, and damage and looting has increased.
ties. The presence of more archaeologists often exacerbates
this problem, for the implication is that there must be
something of value there. The discovery of a hoard of
British Museum Colloquium gold in the temple of Dush in Kharga Oasis a few years
and Sackler Lecture, 2006 ago did not help. Only recently at least two mud-brick
temples have been flattened by a bulldozer, in an
f you are ever planning a holiday in the UK and attempt to discover such treasure.
I want to guarantee a sunny week, then you can do lit-
tle better than choose the same dates as the annual
British Museum Colloquium and Sackler Lecture, held
Further south, one of the most remote hieroglyphic
inscriptions has been deliberately vandalised, and this
has to have been done by someone in a tour group vis-
each year in mid-July, which invariably enjoys (or suffers iting the area, for that is the only way anyone can get
from) the hottest and sunniest weather of the year. there.
This year was no exception; on one of the days This news was quite depressing, but on the positive
London experienced its hottest July temperature on side, measures are now being put in place to secure the
record. The air-conditioned lecture theatre was proba- sites, and the Gilf Khebir, in the south west corner of
bly the best place to be for the evening lecture and two- Egypt, is to be made a National Park, which will restrict
day Colloquium. and control visits to the site.
The Sackler Lecture, given this year by Dr Laure In Dakhla, there are plans for a new museum dedicat-
Pantalacci, set the scene for the theme of the ed to the Oases of the Western Desert and it is hoped
Colloquium, “Egypt’s Great Oases: the Archaeology of that a programme of education will encourage all the
Kharga, Dakhla and the Roads of the West”. people who live in the area to see the antiquities as part
At the Colloquium, a series of lectures by experts from of their own heritage, important for their livelihood and
around the world presented papers on various aspects of for tourists, rather than something to be plundered.
the archaeology of the Oases, and much new informa- The annual British Museum Colloquium and Sackler
tion and research was revealed. Lecture is open to anyone. Tickets usually go on sale in
6 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
bits and pieces
June each year. Details of the 2007 Colloquium will be included a photograph of the best preserved example,
included in AE, when available. and it is the second lion that was cast), reveals this to be
Hourig was not certain when the plaster cast was
More on the Lion of Amenhotep III made, or when the lion was placed at the Citadel. Older
guide books about the citadel state that two lions were
n AE 33 (Dec. 2005/Jan. 2006) an article featured located there at the base of the steps of the Police
I a “new “ lion of Amenhotep III, at the Citadel in
Cairo, which was very similar to the two well-known
lions of Amenhotep III from Soleb, now in the British
Museum, but only one is there now. Perhaps casts of
both lions were once located there?
The Soleb lions came into the collection of the British
Museum in London.. Museum in 1835. It does seem an extraordinary amount
Two other similar lions of Amenhotep are known of work to mould the lions in the UK and to send a cast
from Tanis, but the question was raised, where did this (or casts) to Egypt, so it is possible that the lions were
example come from? One of the Tanis lions was moved cast when they were still in Egypt, en route to the UK.
to Cairo and I did wonder if this was the one now at the However, at the end of the nineteenth century and in
Citadel. the early years of the twentieth, many international
In AE issue 34 (Feb./Mar. 2006), the lion was men- museums exchanged plaster casts of some of their best-
tioned again as, following a visit to Cairo, the Tanis lion known objects. This was a time when few travellers went
was spotted in a garden at Zamalek, in Cairo, leaving to Egypt and when there were hardly any books on the
the issue of the original location of the Citadel lion wide subject; museums were quite happy to display casts. The
open. British Museum sent casts of many of its objects all
I am pleased to say that the problem has been solved, around the world, as far afield as Australia. In return,
thanks to Hourig Sourouzian, the Director of the casts of objects in other collections were sent back and,
Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple in the main sculpture gallery, the Museum displayed for
Conservation Project. many years a number of casts of statues from the
Hourig saw the article in the magazine, and her Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
knowledge of the sculpture of Amenhotep III meant As museums filled up with newly-excavated statues,
that she knew that the “Citadel lion” was actually a cast the casts were removed and placed in storage.
of one of the British Museum Soleb lions! Close exam- It is most likely, therefore, that the lions were cast as a
ination of the less-well preserved of the two lions (I special request from the Egyptian Museum, in return for
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 7
bits and pieces
examples of The original
their main lion was dam-
exhibits. The aged and in
casts of the several pieces,
Soleb lions and has been
(and other stat- repaired in the
ues) may have British Mus-
been sent to the eum (the best-
Egyptian preserved lion
Museum. is still in one
When such piece). Parts of
casts were the statue have
removed from been restored,
display, they but an ancient
were often sent repair to the
to other institu- base, visible in
tions and this is the original, is
probably how, not part of the
and when, the Soleb lion casts were moved to the cast.
Citadel. The question remains, though … what has happened
I am not sure what sort of plaster was used, but it is to the other cast? There have been many improvements
clearly very hard, for the Citadel example is undamaged and restorations at the Citadel and if the other lion has
(other than ancient damage seen on the original). The survived, perhaps it is still there somewhere. The Citadel
exposure to the air and the pollution in Cairo over a peri- is a fascinating place to visit and there is now a great
od of a hundred years, or possibly even more, has given deal to see there; AE readers should keep their eyes
the lion a unique and well-weathered patina, which is open for the missing lion!
why I thought it was carved from limestone (unlike the
originals, which are carved in pink granite). RP
£149 rtn Luxor
Hotels - Tours - Middle East Cruise Bookings
8 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
From our EGYPT CORRESPONDENT
News from Egypt
Touring Exhibition in Japan from the Re-Opening of the Coptic Museum
Egyptian Museum in Cairo in Cairo
special Exhibition has been put together that will t the end of June, President Hosni Mubarak for-
A tour ten Japanese cities over a period of two
years. This is a token of gratitude for Japan’s
major support for the establishment of the new Grand
A mally re-opened the Coptic Museum in Cairo,
following a major refurbishment that has cost
over £E30 million.
Museum of Egypt to be built at Giza. In his address during the opening ceremony, the
Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni said the Coptic
Museum is one of Egypt’s most important museums,
with a collection of over one thousand three hundred
objects on display in twenty-six galleries.
Secretary General of the Supreme Council of
Antiquities (SCA) Zahi Hawass said, during a tour of
the museum conducted by the President, that the
restoration project included the addition of a new
gallery devoted to the history of churches in Old Cairo
and that a special gallery for temporary exhibitions has
also been built.
The restoration began in 2003 and meant that the
museum was closed for almost three years.
The Museum has an important collection of manu-
scripts, some of which date back to the fourth century
AD, including thirteen bibles. The collection also fea-
The Egyptian Minister of Culture Farouq Hosni tures textiles, icons and woodwork, as well as many large
explained that the Exhibition of over three hundred pieces of stone sculpture and carvings from sites around
pieces would include many objects discovered during Egypt.
the last forty years by the Japanese Waseda University’s
archaeological mission to Egypt.
One of the objects, a Middle Kingdom cartonnage New Appointment by the SCA
mask (shown above, photo: J. Rutherford) was temporarily
on display in the new Imhotep Museum at Saqqara. r Zahi Hawass is pleased to announce a new
Found at South Abusir and belonging to a man called
Senw, it was in a very damaged and delicate state. To
enable it to go on the tour, it has been expertly con-
D appointment, that of Adel Hussein Mohamed
to the post of General Director of Sharkia. Adel
began his career with the Supreme Council of
served, by conservators Richard and Helena Jaeschke, Antiquities in 1979, where he worked as an Inspector in
using the latest techniques for the conservation of car- Minia; in his later career he held Directorships of the
tonnage (linen and plaster). New Valley, Ain Shams, Saqqara and the Giza
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 9
from our Egypt Correspondent
brings much expe-
rience to his new
job in the Nile
Delta, which is rich
in antiquities. He
is responsible for
six missions work-
ing together with
ogists on the main
sites at Tell Basta,
Tanis and Qantir. I
am sure many of
our readers have
visited these sites
and will continue to do so in the future. The Serapeum at Saqqara
Adel is extremely happy to be in his new role and he
is looking forward to his Egyptian colleagues and mis- n AE issue 33 (December 2005) I mentioned the
sions uncovering more ancient artifacts from this area.
ANCIENT EGYPT magazine wishes him every success
for the future.
I huge restoration and conservation project being
undertaken by the SCA at the Serapeum at
The Serapeum (the burial vaults of the sacred Apis
Bulls), which has been closed to visitors for many years
New Development Plan for Saqqara now, has been in serious danger of collapse and the
impressive and costly repair work by the SCA is still on-
he SCA has recently announced a development going. The scale of the work can be seen from these pic-
T project for Saqqara, following the opening of the
New Imhotep Museum. The project is to be
completed in thirty months and will cost £E40 million.
tures. Initial restoration included the building of stone
arches inside the vaults to prevent the collapse of the
roof, but this was not enough and heavy steel girders are
The work will be in three stages: now being fitted in the damaged parts of the vaults.
Work like this, out of sight and not noticed by visitors, is
1. Preparing the area for improved systems for
2. Building new administration offices, conservation
laboratories and improved security systems.
3. Cleaning modern graffiti from tombs, providing
humidity systems and testing equipment for
The project will also help to improve the documenta-
tion of tombs with the help of the Italian Mission and
may involve about six hundred tombs in the area. At
present only seventeen tombs are open to visitors and
this number will be increased.
A new storage museum with improved security will be
built to house objects from excavations. This will help
students of Egyptology and secure and conserve the
Above left: the new General Director of Sharkia, Adel Hussein
Photo: J. Rutherford.
Above right: the entrance to the Serapeum at Saqqara.
Right: view of one of the corridors inside the Serapeum, showing the new
stone arches to support the roof, the additional scaffolding now needed as a
temporary measure and some heavy girders waiting to be fitted into place
as a more permanent measure.
Photo: J. Rutherford.
10 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
from our Egypt Correspondent
essential to ensure the long-term survival of this impor-
tant monument and, hopefully, to allow visitor access
Neferhotep at Karnak
n AE 32 (October 2005), I reported on the finding
I of a statue of Neferhotep I in the temple of Karnak.
Found beneath the foundations of the obelisk of
Queen Hatshepsut, the figure of the king had then been
only partly revealed, but it was clear that it formed part
of a double statue with the second figure of Neferhotep
The statue was covered up again, but new excavations
have now taken place by archaeologists from the Centre
Franco-Egyptian d’Etude des Temples de Karnak (CFEETK)
and more of the statue has been uncovered, including
the superbly preserved second figure of the king.
Top left: one of the burial vaults in the Serapeum at Saqqara. The heavy
girders are needed to prevent the roof of the vault from collapsing. Beneath
the girders can be seen the wooden protective covering over one of the great
granite sarcophagi of the sacred bulls.
Photo: J. Rutherford.
Top right: the double statue of Neferhotep I as revealed by new excava-
tions. The second figure of the king, to the right, is still partly buried.
Right: detail of the face of the second image of the king.
Photos: courtesy of the Egyptian Supreme Council of
Antiquities and the Centre Franco-Egyptian d’Etude des
Temples de Karnak (CFEETK).
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 11
from our Egypt Correspondent
Neferhotep is shown holding hands with a double of Discoveries in the “Hidden Valley” at
himself, probably his ka. The statue, as can be seen from Farafra Oasis
the photographs, is buried deeply; its large size and the
fact that it is an integral part of the foundations of the he “Hidden Valley” is a five-hundred-metre-
temple mean that it is not certain that it can be removed
from the site.
AE issue 34 (Feb. 2006) featured an article on
T square valley located sixty kilometers north east
of Farafra Oasis, and is not a well-known area,
even to people who live in the Oasis.
Neferhotep I. An Italian team from Naples University has recently
discovered there a settlement from very ancient times.
The team was headed by Prof. Barbara Barich and
More on the Foundation Deposits recently Giulio Lacarini and has been successful in finding shel-
discovered at Karnak ters, knives and bracelets. Carbon dating of objects sug-
gests a date of around 7700 BC.
n the last issue of AE, I reported on the discovery of Archaeologists believe that the shelters formed a small
I foundation deposits with objects bearing the name
of Thutmose III and Hatshepsut.
All the objects, which included pottery (now restored,
community of about twenty people. A cave, thought to
be sacred, was also found cut into a nearby mountain.
Inside, there were a number of rock art representations
as much of it was broken when found), models of cop- of sheep, gazelles and ostriches, together with hand-
per or bronze chisels, and gold and faience cartouches, prints and some graffiti.
have been removed from their find site, and I can now
bring you some photographs of them:
Treasures of Dakhla Oasis
he Fifth International Conference of the
T Dakhleh Oasis Project took place in the summer
in Cairo. It was well attended with an interna-
tional gathering of scholars who have excavated and
studied at the Oasis and were able to talk about their
fields of work. Papers were also given on a range of sub-
jects from Dutch, French, German and Egyptian
experts on rock art, graffiti, pottery and studies carried
out at Kellis, the ancient Roman Period village now
called Ismant Al Kharab.
The head of the Dakhleh Oasis Project is Anthony J.
Mills, who has worked in the Oasis for nearly thirty
years – the team has carried out research in the Oasis
At least twenty-five Roman temples have been found
in Dakhla, the best-preserved being the Temple of Deir
el Hagar, which, under a team headed by Anthony
Mills, was restored during the 1990s. Some graffiti on a
mud-brick wall still remain there – the names of team
members from an expedition visiting the site the
To mark the opening of this year’s conference, Dr
Wafaa El Saddik, Director of the Egyptian Museum in
Left: the foundation deposits recently discovered in the Temple of Amun
at Karnak, by the Centre Franco-Egyptian d’Etude des Temples
de Karnak (CFEETK).
From top to bottom:
- Restored pottery objects from the deposit. Note the green faience car-
touches in some of the bowls, which is probably how they were origi-
- A closer view of some of the faience cartouches.
- Details of some of the many bronze or copper chisels found in the
Photos: courtesy of the Egyptian Supreme Council of
Antiquities and the Centre Franco-Egyptian
d’Etude des Temples de Karnak (CFEETK).
12 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
from our Egypt Correspondent
Cairo, and Dr Zahi Hawass, head of the SCA, organ-
ised an exhibition in Room 44 of the Egyptian Museum
entitled “Treasures of the Dakhleh Oasis”. Some
objects have never been on display to the public before,
so I went along to see this small but very beautiful dis-
play of objects from the Old Kingdom, Late Period and
I have chosen two objects out of the collection to write
about. The first is the anthropoid coffin that was found
with four others in a single chamber of a tomb at Ein
Tirghi in 1986, and is from the First Persian Period. The
other coffins from the same tomb are in the Royal
Ontario Museum, Canada.
It was probably a family tomb, because the inscrip-
tions on the coffin lids show a family relationship. This
particular coffin was displayed in a glass case and was
the main feature of the exhibition, due to its well-placed
position in the room. The excellent lighting attracted me
to it straight away.
The coffin is highly decorated and brightly painted,
especially the facial features, wig and trunk of the body.
It is made out of small pieces of wood, a common fea-
ture during this period, because wood was scarce. Some
analysis of children’s bodies found at Ein Tirghi shows
that they suffered from anaemia. A small percentage of
children died at birth. Adults were short in height and
the average life expectancy was the mid-twenties.
The second exhibit is a collection of seven glass vessels I was informed that room 44 in the Egyptian Museum
found at the Roman village of Kellis (Ismant al- will hold all temporary displays and exhibitions on a
Kharab). The one I want to mention is the “Gladiator rotation basis, so be sure to check out this room on your
Jug”, which is highly decorated on all sides and is paint- next visit to the museum.
ed in beautiful colours on pale and darker green glass. It My thanks to Dr Hawass and the Director of the
depicts a scene of a gladiator in combat; he has dark Egyptian Museum, Dr Wafaa El Saddik, for allowing
curly hair and is stretching out his left hand holding his me to take photographs of this very special exhibition.
shield. In his right hand he is holding a dagger. In anoth-
er scene a gladiator is shown wearing a helmet and Above left: the head of a painted coffin from the First Persian Period,
crouching down. The referee, depicted in white cloth- found at Dakhla Oasis.
ing, waves his rod or stick. Looking at the vase closely
Above: the glass “Gladiator Jug” also from Dakhla.
you will see many colourful floral motifs around the
neck and base of the vase. To me this is the very best of Photos: Ayman Wahby Taher, courtesy the SCA and the
this glass vessel collection. Egyptian Museum, Cairo.
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 13
from our Egypt Correspondent
The Mortuary Temple of
Amenhotep III at Luxor
In AE issue 35 (April 2006), we reported on the
remarkable finds made by the Colossi of Memnon and
Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project, under the
Directorship of Hourig Sourouzian.
Many significant finds of fragmentary statues of
Amenhotep III have been found and also a large num-
ber of granite statues of the goddess Sekhmet. The dis-
coveries were a surprise to all concerned, at a site that
has been plundered and excavated since antiquity and
that many thought would reveal nothing new.
Hopes will be high of more discoveries when the new
excavation season gets underway at the end of the year.
view of the Sekhmet statues as first uncovered.
moving a large block.
a closer view of one of the Sekhmet statues.
lifting some heavy blocks. Note the face of a colossal
statue of Amenhotep III.
Photos: courtesy of the SCA.
14 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
from our Egypt Correspondent
The Imhotep Museum at Saqqara was also venerated in late pharaonic Egypt as a wise
man and patron of medicine.
gypt’s first “site” museum was opened in late I myself couldn’t wait to see this outstanding museum,
E April this year. The idea of a series of new muse-
ums at specific archaeological sites in Egypt was
suggested in the early 1990s but it was kept under wraps
so I went along early one morning to do my own explo-
ration tour for readers of AE.
Built of stone, the new museum is built right at the
until 1997. base of the Saqqara plateau. Many of you will know
where the ticket office for the site is (or actually was, for
it has moved), opposite the Valley Temple of King Unas.
The new museum is to the right of the road, past this
point and on the edge of the cultivation. The ticket
office has been moved to this area too and there is space
for visitors’ coaches and cars to park.
The architects of the new building have incorporated
elements of ancient Egyptian architecture in their
design, notably many dating to the Old Kingdom.
Parts of the exterior and interior design pay homage
to the ancient architects and builders, but result in a
splendid modern building, spacious and attractive and a
superb setting and home for the objects it contains.
When Dr Zahi Hawass took office some four years
ago as the Supreme Council of Antiquities’ Secretary
General, several museum projects had already been put
on hold. Dr Hawass has strong beliefs about the preser-
vation and protection of Egyptian monuments and he
wanted to pursue the idea and ensure that visitors to the
great sites could also see objects found there. In the past
objects were either moved to the Egyptian Museum in
the heart of Cairo, or simply placed in storage at the
sites. Continuous excavations and lack of space in the
Egyptian Museum meant that many objects worthy of
display, which helped to tell the history of the monu-
ments and sites, were hidden from view.
With support from the Culture Minister, Farouk
Hosni, Dr Hawass developed the plans for the first of
the site museums, to be built at Saqqara. At the same
time, plans for the extension to the Luxor Museum were
drawn up, and the completion of this extension is some-
thing of which the SCA is justly proud.
The new museum at Saqqara has been called the
“Imhotep Museum” in honour of the Vizier of King
Djoser. It is believed that Imhotep was the architect for
the king’s great funerary complex and pyramid and he
the entrance to the Imhotep Museum at Saqqara.
the base of a statue of king Djoser.
Photos: J. Rutherford.
a splendid Old Kingdom wooden head with inlaid eyes, moved
to the Imhotep Museum from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 15
from our Egypt Correspondent
the early Dynastic Periods right up to Greek and Roman
times, and even beyond into the Coptic era. (I had bet-
ter mention that the last two Egyptologists on the list are
very much alive and well, and still working.)
This hall, named the “Saqqara Missions”, also has a
display of discoveries by Dr Hawass. The two of his I
would like to mention are the anthropoid painted coffin
cased with gold from the Late Period and the copper
medical instruments from the tomb of Qar the physi-
The third hall, named “Saqqara Style”, displays the
various styles of art found in the history of Saqqara, fea-
turing a collection of stone vessels used for cosmetics
On arrival, I was asked if I wanted to see the special
documentary film before going into the museum, but I
was so keen to see the display I declined this invitation,
for the moment, and went into the museum first. The
electronic doors opened and I walked into the cool air
conditioning of the main hall.
Firstly, you encounter the solid base of a statue of the
Third Dynasty king Djoser, on which are inscribed the
king’s name and titles and also Imhotep’s name. The
feet are shown stepping on the nine bows of Egypt,
which represent foreign countries. The base is on a four-
month loan from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
The Museum’s major objective is to display the most
significant artifacts discovered on the Saqqara site, those
that help explain the history and purpose of this huge
archaeological site. Apart from one or two moved from
the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, all the objects have
come from antiquities storage magazines and have
never been on display to the public before.
In the second hall, high up on the wall, is a list of
archaeologists who have excavated in Saqqara from
1850 to 2006. Many of the names will be familiar to
AE readers; they include some of the best known
deceased and living Egyptologists, such as Auguste
Marriette, Gaston Maspero, Jean Phillippe Lauer,
Walter B. Emery, Alain Zivie and Geoffrey T. Martin –
archaeologists who have made discoveries dating from
from the Early Dynastic period. Amongst other objects
are clay vessels and huge alabaster pots in various
shapes. More than forty thousand vases carved from
hard stone were found beneath the Step Pyramid.
Many of these are from the First and Second Dynasties
and it is believed Djoser placed them in his tomb.
Top left and above:
view of the “Imhotep Architecture” hall, which includes examples of relief
and stone architectural features from the Step Pyramid complex. Ribbed
columns are shown and also elements of a “palace façade” feature.
some of the fine alabaster vessels from the site.
Photos: J. Rutherford.
16 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
from our Egypt Correspondent
The fourth hall, named “Imhotep Architecture”,
which is open-plan and the largest of the galleries, dis-
plays the architectural style of Djoser’s funeral complex
at the site.
Items include the remains of columns, and a frieze of
cobras brought from the façade of the Southern Tomb’s
cult chapel for protection. When you visit the complex
of Djoser, many of the elements of the building have
been restored. The museum display shows original
blocks, the way in which fallen blocks were pieced back
together, and also how the buildings were originally con-
structed. Visiting this gallery will make a visit to the
pyramid complex at the top of the plateau much more
Some larger objects dominate the centre of the
gallery, including a headless statue of King Djoser, and
an unusual “Snake Pillar” which Dr Hawass has pub-
lished under the title of “A Fragmentary Monument of
Djoser from Saqqara”. This publication has helped
many Egyptian scholars including myself with their
Above: the painted wooden head of a woman from one of the New
Kingdom tombs at Saqqara, discovered by Alain Zivie.
Left: a fine example of an Old Kingdom statue from one of the tombs at
Saqqara. Most of the monuments open to visitors at Saqqara date to the Old
Kingdom, but the site was in continuous use from before this time right up to
the Roman Period.
Photos: J. Rutherford.
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 17
from our Egypt Correspondent
At the back of the fourth hall stands a full-sized copy dedicated to him and his life’s work at Saqqara, espe-
of the blue-tiled wall of the Step Pyramid’s Southern cially his efforts in restoring the Step Pyramid complex.
Tomb, showing King Djoser in a ceremonial dress for Here there is a wonderful display of some of his per-
his jubilee, known as the Heb-Sed. The Southern Tomb sonal belongings, which include his hat, camera, com-
is closed to visitors, so this exhibit provides an opportu- pass and tools. He worked in Egypt for around seventy-
nity to see the unique reliefs of Djoser and the stunning five years until his death in 2001. Be sure not to miss this
blue colour of the tiles. Many of the tiles in this display room because it is so different from the others.
are originals. As I walked back out of the air-conditioned museum
I think the masterpiece of this gallery is a small bronze into the brilliant sunshine, I decided to seek some rest in
statue showing Imhotep seated and holding a papyrus the Visitors’ Centre to watch the ten-minute documen-
stem. No contemporary image of Imhotep is known and tary film on Saqqara, produced by National Geographic in
most of the representations we have date to the Late conjunction with the SCA. The room is very spacious
Period of Egyptian history. His tomb, which many with comfortable seating on all three sides.
believe has to be at Saqqara close to that of Djoser, has In the middle of the room stands a small model of the
not been found, despite the efforts of archaeologists for Step Pyramid complex and behind this is the wide
almost two hundred years. screen. The film is in English and is narrated by the
The fifth hall, named “Saqqara Tombs”, provides you Egyptian film star Omar Sharif. Dr Hawass gives a short
with information about the contents of the tombs. On introduction to Saqqara Museum and Dr Alain Zivie
show is a coffin with remains of blue colours, and a cof- talks briefly about his discoveries. I found the film very
fin text inscribed on its inner sides painted in black on a informative and well worth the time.
yellow base. A rowing boat was also found, and this is During my visit, I saw a reasonable number of tourists
on display above the coffin. This room pays tribute to and visitors, but in my opinion it needs many more to
the many archaeologists at Saqqara who have made dis- come to the museum.
coveries of funerary ware such as offering tables, false If you visit Saqqara with a tour, there will probably
doors and amulets, all of which can now be seen, many not be time to visit the museum and it is doubtful if
for the first time. many of the more popular tour companies will include
The sixth and final hall, named “Lauer’s Library”, is the museum on their itineraries. Hopefully, the more
serious and specialist tour companies will see the new
museum as an absolute must for visitors.
It is easy to make a special visit to Saqqara, but if you
are making your own way there, then do make sure you
have the time to visit the museum and can spend as long
as you like there. The facilities are of the highest stan-
dard, consisting of restrooms, shops, and a cafeteria.
The complex is well designed and features a walk
through palm-tree-lined paths to the museum entrance.
The ticket price is £E15 for tourists for the museum
only and I believe you can also buy a combined ticket,
which will include the museum and the other sites at
Saqqara. It doesn’t matter what time of the day you visit
the museum because all the buildings are fully air-con-
ditioned. The important thing is not to miss it.
Ayman Wahby Taher
Ayman is currently a full-time lecturer in Egyptology at
the University of Mansura, Egypt. Prior to this he
Above: a fine blue/green faience broad-collar from one of the tombs at worked for the Supreme Council of Antiquities for
Saqqara. Photo: J. Rutherford. seven years under the guidance of Dr Zahi Hawass. He
is also a qualified tour guide in Egypt.
18 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
AE Suppor ting Eg yptolo gical
The Friends of Nekhen
AE bringsyou the fifth report on the excavations and research
at Hierakonpolis (ancient Nekhen), supported by the Friends of Nekhen.
Renée Friedman, the Director of the Hierakonpolis Expedition, looks at
Nubians at Hierakonpolis.
hen embarking on a project at a site as large cate diamond pattern, which thanks to modern consoli-
W and at least superficially featureless as the desert
portion of Hierakonpolis, the first order of
business is to conduct a surface survey and figure out what
dants, we were able to recover still in position.
Despite the disturbance of the graves, we found a sur-
prising amount of new information about the appearance
you’ve got. This is exactly what Walter Fairservis and and profession of the Pan Grave people. Many graves still
Michael Hoffman did in the early years of the Expedition contained remnants of leather garments, often dyed red
beginning in 1964, making inventories of, and assigning and occasionally decorated with charming leather tassels,
locality numbers (HK6, HK29, etc.) to, the various fea- in addition to elaborately woven fringed cloth with which
tures identified throughout this immense site. These sur- they apparently lined their leather kilts. Large quantities
veys revealed not only interesting facets of the
Predynastic occupation, but also the presence of three
discrete cemeteries of the Nubian inhabitants of
Hierakonpolis in the Middle Kingdom and Second
Intermediate Period: HK21A and HK47 located at oppo-
site edges of the site; and HK27C in the centre, near the
All three were assumed to belong to the Pan Grave cul-
ture – Nubian mercenaries, probably the Medjay of
Egyptian sources, who were brought in to defend Egypt
during the troubled times of the Second Intermediate
Period. Cemeteries of this distinctive culture have been
detected all along the Nile Valley, but the people remain
a mystery. We still do not know for certain who they were,
where they came from, and where they went when the job
was done. They were first discovered by Flinders Petrie,
who coined the name “Pan Grave” because their shallow
round graves resembled frying pans, and indeed some of
Test excavations at HK21A in 2001 uncovered six of
these pan-like graves, all unfortunately badly plundered,
but with enough of the characteristic incised pottery and
jewellery to mark their presence.
Far richer and better preserved were the graves at
HK47, which had been dug deeply into the loose white
sand and lined with multi-coloured goat and cow skins.
Although all of the burials had been plundered, the funer-
ary offerings left outside the graves escaped untouched.
These above-ground offerings are typical of Nubian
funerary practices and here included a number of pots
(Egyptian and Nubian) and baskets as well as a little bot-
tle, which had been deposited together with a leather bag
containing a kit for making carnelian beads. The leather
of the bag had deteriorated, but still preserved was the
band of woven beads that once adorned it. White, blue,
and dark blue faience beads were used to create an intri- Excavating a pan-shaped grave in the Pan Grave cemetery at HK21A.
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 19
Left: an offering deposited outside one of the Pan Graves included a little jar and a
leather bag containing a bead-making kit.
Photo: J. Rossiter.
Above top: the C-Group cemetery in the shadow of the Fort.
Photo: J. Rossiter.
Above: a Thirteenth Dynasty scarab, our first find from the C-Group cemetery.
Photo: J. Rossiter.
Below left: the woven bead pattern on the leather bag from the Pan-Grave offering.
Photo: J. Rossiter.
Below: the plaque bead armlet after conservation.
of beads were also found, some still on their string, thus little doubt about their day jobs. Examination by physical
preserving the original pattern. These included a com- anthropologists shows that the people interred here were
plete bracelet of stunning garnet beads, and an armlet of mainly young men, seventeen to twenty-five years of age,
rectangular mother-of-pearl plaque beads, one of the of over-average Egyptian stature, (171 to180 centimetres;
most characteristic elements of Pan Grave attire. By piec- 5' 6" to 5' 9"), with strong muscle attachments in their
ing together the bits of raw hide thong remaining in one legs, as one might expect of military professionals.
set of beads, conservator Fran Cole was able to recon- Colourfully adorned with tasselled leather garments,
struct the armlet revealing its original curve over the arm. fringed kilts, and bespangled with beads at neck, arms,
A leather bow grip, bow string and arrow shafts with the wrist and ankle, they must have been an impressive sight.
trimmed feather fletching remarkably still in place leave Intriguing as this Pan Grave cemetery was, it was no
20 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
match for the surprises in store for us at HK27C, the
cemetery by the Fort. Our first surprise was the exquisite
scarab found on the first day of our test excavations in
2001. Our second revelation was that this cemetery actu-
ally belonged to the Nubian C-Group, probably the last of
its kind in existence after the waters of Lake Nasser flood-
ed the heartland of this indigenous Nubian culture.
Although these Nubians (called Nehesy in Egyptian
sources) were also prized for their fighting skill, and in the
employ of nomarchs in the First Intermediate Period, it
seems that they either adopted Egyptian funerary prac-
tices or returned home at death. During the Middle
Kingdom, when Egypt occupied Lower Nubia to the
Second Cataract with a series of imposing forts built to
control a people they called “wretched” and “vile”, lack of
evidence for their presence suggested that these particular
Nubians were not welcome north of Aswan. Thus, a C-
Group cemetery, located over one hundred kilometres
north of the political border, was definitely an unexpect-
Excavations in 2001 and 2003 uncovered twenty-three
out of an estimated one hundred graves, revealing dis-
tinctive funerary architecture, still intact above-ground
offering places, delicate decorated pottery, exquisite jew-
ellery and colourful leather garments typical of this
Nubian culture, showing that at least in death the inhab-
itants proudly displayed their cultural links, despite being
positioned within Egyptian territory.
Dating from the Eleventh Dynasty through early
Second Intermediate Period (2055-1700 BC), the wealth
of the graves suggests these people were not slaves or pris-
oners of war, but members of a community that was res-
ident at the site for several generations. The reason for
their presence, their lifestyle and their interaction with the
Egyptian population are issues that we are exploring and
further excavations are planned for winter 2007.
As elsewhere, none of the graves had entirely escaped
plunder, but organic preservation in a select few was spec-
tacular. In one instance, the preservation of the skin of an
older woman allowed us to reconstruct the pattern of her
elaborate tattoos. A diamond of short dashed lines
adorned her left hand, and a pattern of dots and dashes
ran down the back of her left arm. Skin adhering to the
ribs preserved a dotted zigzag line along the front of the
torso, with a more elaborate lattice pattern of dotted
squares running down along the abdomen, up over the
hip and onto her back. Tattooing is typical of Nubian cul-
tures, and it is from Nubia that the Egyptians adopted the
practice in the Middle Kingdom. Who would have imag-
ined we would have a cemetery of such trend-setters!
The same tomb also contained copious amounts of
leather. Unique to this burial were delicate fragments of
cut-work leather of differing quality. One mass of leather,
perforated with a pattern of parallel rectangles (c. 5mm x
Right top: feather fletching still in place on the Pan Grave arrows.
Right centre: the tattooed skin of a Nubian dancer(?) from the C-Group
Right bottom: the remains of leather garments with carefully made
perforations; a loincloth on the left and a hairnet on the right.
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 21
2mm), looked so incredi- Other garments made
bly fragile, yet turned out of a patchwork of brown,
to be sufficiently supple beige, pink, red and yel-
for Fran Cole to examine low leather panels were
the construction of the found in several graves,
garment from which it but almost exclusively
originated. Composed of those of women; they
a patchwork of pre-cut probably derive from
panels with a specific their multicolour skirts.
number of cut-out rec- Leather kilts with blue
tangles per row, it appears faience beads sewn at the
most similar to a loin- seams and edges were
cloth, a light but hard- found in the graves of
wearing garment worn by men.
soldiers, sailors and work- In addition to typical
men to protect their linen Nubian clothing and tat-
kilts, and again is a fashion that the Egyptians adopted toos, we also observed characteristic Nubian funerary
from Nubia. Although generally a garment restricted to architecture.The most elaborate was the well-built ring or
the male wardrobe, there are some exceptions. tumulus of mud-brick, four courses high, around Tomb
A Ramesside ostracon depicts a dancing girl wearing a 17. After its construction, several large boulders were
cut-work loincloth, apparently as her special (and only) rolled in, and between them a platform or offering chapel
performance costume (see above).The similarities between of specially selected bright yellow fieldstones was erected.
the tattoos that adorn this dancer and those found on our As was the Nubian custom, numerous offerings of pottery
Nubian lady are certainly intriguing, and, despite the time were left above ground on all sides of the tumulus. We
difference, this combination of loincloth and tattoos may found pots, both Egyptian and Nubian, under almost
be more than coincidental. Although our lady was well every rock, nestled in brick cists or simply left up against
into her forties and had lost all of her upper teeth, a the side of the brick ring. The final appearance must have
localised injury to her lower back suggests that in her been a dazzling tribute to the young man, twenty to thir-
youth she may well have done a back flip or two. ty years of age, buried within.
Age apparently also brings modesty, as our lady was But it wasn’t just pottery that they left as above-ground
buried with far more clothing that the girl on the ostra- offerings. A short length of beads just below the surface
con. Impressions on the skin of the ear and chin suggest soon revealed itself to be part of a string of over one
that finer-quality leather, with perforations less than 4mm thousand six hundred tiny blue faience beads wrapped
in length (making for an astonishing forty-two slashes per around an iridescent shell pendant. Painstakingly collect-
square centimetre), may be the remnant of a leather hair ed in small clusters for restringing in their original order,
net that was tied under the chin. Her other garments they produced a result that is an elegant addition to any
include a leather top with brown and white, horizontally outfit.
striped, flaring sleeves that connected to a bodice of pink Despite being so far north in what we consider to be
leather with yellow appliqué. A colourful combination Egyptian territory, the occupants of the cemetery appear
indeed! to have made few concessions to Egyptian influence other
Above: a Ramesside ostracon of a tattooed dancing girl.
(ostracon IFAO 3779).
(After W.H. Peck, Egyptian Drawings, New York 1978, pl. 68).
Below left: a typically Nubian tumulus around Tomb 17.
Below right: a hand-made Nubian pot with incised decoration;
a hallmark of the C-Group Nubians.
22 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
Left and above: an offering of a beautiful shell pendant wrapped round
with beads appears, just below the surface in the C-Group cemetery.
Below: the shell pendant restrung – an elegant addition to any outfit.
than a general use of Egyptian pottery, mud-brick instead “Let us take for her feathers of the back(s) of ostriches,
of stone for their tumuli, and in some cases simple wood- which the Libyans slay for you with their throw sticks …”
en coffins. In death, at least, they dressed like Nubians, With this hymn as well as graphic representation from
constructed Nubian funerary architecture, and deposited the site itself of an ostrich and throw stick, it is not hard
Nubian grave goods above ground in traditional Nubian to imagine this ostrich-feather deposit as an offering from
fashion. The population of the cemetery, which includes the Nubian tribesmen who were celebrating the annual
an even spread of men, women and children, was obvi- return of Hathor. The unique discovery of the actual
ously a wealthy one, with most of the inhabitants living remains of this popular celebration is an exciting new
into their forties and beyond in relatively good health. explanation for the activities at the site and of the Nubian
Caries and abscesses with relatively minor arthritis are the population, be they resident or mobile.
most common pathologies. The Egyptian pottery indi- The return from the south of the distant goddess was a
cates a date ranging from the Eleventh Dynasty into the popular celebration also for the Egyptians and corre-
Second Intermediate Period, suggesting a long-term pres- sponded with the coming of the Nile flood in late
ence at the site and this is not the only evidence for June/early July. While a desert location such as HK64
Nubians at Hierakonpolis seems an odd place to celebrate the inundation, it was in
Other evidence for C-Group presence is found at an fact the natural place to greet it. The millennia of silts
isolated sandstone knoll on the northern edge of the site deposited by the Nile on its banks meant that the flood
known as HK64. Adorning this hillock is a vast array of
incised petroglyphs, many of which can be attributed to
the Nubian C-Group culture, as well as one of the rare
examples of rock painting north of Aswan, depicting a
boat and a quadruped in black pigment (see overleaf).
Surrounding this rock-art hill was a series of superim-
posed campsites/fireplaces containing Nubian pottery
and quartz cobbles, suggestive of Nubian lithic technolo-
gy. What exactly this all meant remained a mystery until
the excavation of one campsite revealed a rounded pit,
fifty centimetres in diameter and twenty centimetres deep,
containing a carefully laid mass of ostrich feathers. The
long tail feathers lined the pit, while filling it were several
layers of smaller feathers. Carefully nestled between these
layers was a small stone with an inscription that provides
an intriguing explanation for this deposit and the recur-
rent visits to this remote site. The stone reads: “The
Golden One, she appears in glory” and is a reference to
the goddess Hathor in her solar function.
As the Eye of the Sun, Hathor left Egypt after her
drunken humiliation while trying to exterminate
mankind, and still angry she roamed the deserts of the far
south in the form of a bloodthirsty lioness. Various deities
sought her out and tried to entice her back to Egypt.
Ritual texts relate that when Hathor finally agreed to
return, a large entourage was assembled. Among those
who escorted her back to Egypt were various Nubian
tribesmen. They danced for her and made specific offer-
ings in her honour. A stanza from a ritual papyrus reads:
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 23
plain was actually higher than the low desert that sur- growth of desert flora induced by the rising ground water,
rounded it. Before the Nile flooded its banks, a rise in were responsible for the remains at HK64. This may still
ground water would be noticeable in the low desert. Even be the case, their arrival acting as a potent signal of the
today at HK64 the high water table is evident and there coming flood to their urban kinsmen as well as the
is a perennial well nearby, whose waters are reputed to be Egyptian population. The ritual texts suggest that,
effective in curing skin complaints. Old habits appear to although officially despised, Nubians eventually became
die hard, as those who make use of the well are still in the symbols of Hathor’s return and came to play key roles in
habit of leaving behind offerings of soap and combs. this and other celebrations.
Prior to the discovery of the C-Group Cemetery, it was All the evidence indicates that a good time was had at
suggested that desert-pastoralists, attracted by the rapid this place; a hearty feast, song and dance, and perhaps
even a little rock music. Recent research in Sudan has
demonstrated that the quartz cobbles with abraded ends
found around many petroglyphic sites were not used to
make the rock art, but to play the rock art. While the sand-
stone of our hill may not respond to a percussion beat as
musically as Sudanese granite, such a usage would
explain the large number of quartz cobbles in the camp-
sites at HK64. Clearly a bit of experimental archaeology
is called for in the near future to find out for sure.
Such celebrations may have served as a way for the
Nubian population to renew its ethnicity by interacting
with kinsmen; it also may have acted as a recruiting
ground, or job market, as inscriptions of several senior
army and caravan leaders at this rock suggest far more
Above: the painted boat at HK64, one of the rare examples of rock
painting north of Aswan.
Left: dedicated to Hathor, a deposit of remarkably preserved ostrich
feathers and an inscribed offering stone.
Photo: J. Rossiter.
24 ANCIENT EGYPT August/September 2006
interaction between Nubians and
Egyptians than the official documents
have hitherto allowed us to acknowl-
The C-Group cemetery at
Hierakonpolis is the northernmost
one now known. In New Kingdom
times, Hierakonpolis was adminis-
tered as part of Nubia under the con-
trol of the Viceroy of Kush. The rea-
son for its inclusion in the land of
Nubia may well have been because of
its sizable and varied Nubian popula-
tion. As work continues we hope to
understand more fully the relations
between the different Nubian peoples,
their place within Hierakonpolis and,
indeed, all of Egypt.
Excavation and study of the Nubian
localities was made possible by grants
from the National Geographic
Society and the Michela Schiff-
Giorgini Foundation, with additional
funds from the Friends of Nekhen.
Unless otherwise stated, all photo-
graphs and images are by the author.
School of Archaeology & Ancient History
About the Friends of Nekhen
Please help support the work of the Hierakonpolis
Expedition by becoming a member of the Friends of Explore the past...by distance learning
Introductory courses in archaeology
As a member you will receive an annual newsletter, the
Nekhen News, produced exclusively for Friends. This con- • Archaeology of Egypt, • Saxon and Medieval
tains all the latest news and research from the site (much Nubia and the Middle Nile Archaeology
more than we can include in AE). Membership also enti- • Aims and Methods • Post-medieval Archaeology
tles you to special rates on Expedition publications. • Early Prehistory • South Asian Archaeology
Your contribution (which is tax-deductible if you live in • Later Prehistory • African Caribbean
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not otherwise be possible and is an ideal way of sharing
Complete six modules for a Certificate in Archaeology
the excitement and commitment of the Hierakonpolis
Expedition. Undergraduate Diploma in Archaeology
courses now available.
For more information visit the web site: Modules include The Mediterranean in the Medieval
www.hierakonpolis.org World, The Rise of States in the Old World and
or send an email to: email@example.com Archaeological Theory.
Contact the Distance Learning Unit on
The Hierakonpolis Expedition, tel +44(0) 116 252 2772, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dept. of Ancient Egypt and Sudan, or visit www.le.ac.uk/archaeology/dl/ quoting
The British Museum, ref AE2006
London, WC1B 3DG.
A Leading Research
a petroglyph of a hunted ostrich from near the ostrich feather deposit
at HK64. and Teaching University
ANCIENT EGYPT August/September 2006 25
KV-63 Update: the final stage
AE brings you the fourth and final article on the latest tomb discovered in the Valley of the
Kings. Will we finally know the answer to the question “is this a tomb or a funerary cache?”
ince March this year, when the discovery of the mally the closed season for work in Egypt, temperatures
S new tomb in the Valley of the Kings (KV-63) was
formally announced, the team from the University
of Memphis and their Egyptian colleagues have been
soared in the Valley of the Kings, and the few fans intro-
duced into the shaft and chamber will have done little
more than circulate hot air. For the excavators it was
working hard to clear the small chamber and to make hot, uncomfortable and dusty work.
some sense of the contents. The appalling condition of the woodwork in the tomb
The excavating season, which should have ended in was perhaps more apparent in the TV programme. Four
the Spring, was extended. The Director of the excava- of the coffins had been badly attacked by termites and
tion, Dr Otto Schaden, was the last member of the team were in an extremely fragile condition. The termites had
to leave Egypt, at the end of July, for a well-deserved treated the thick black coating on the coffins like tree
break, having overseen a season that lasted a record bark, and had tunnelled into the wood beneath this
seven months. layer.
The last report ended with the chamber cleared of all The result was that the black pitch was in some cases
the storage jars and with just two of the seven coffins all that was keeping the powdery wood together. This
remaining. Up to that point no bodies had been found, situation was not helped by the fact that the coffins were
although the coffins and jars contained a wide range of packed with heavy items, which exerted pressure on the
objects and materials, which included pottery, linen, coffin walls from the inside, causing them to split and
natron, stone fragments, six feather-filled pillows or the lids to collapse inwards. Interestingly, the faces of
cushions and a small gilded coffin. five of the coffins are relatively well preserved and are
The clearance of the tomb was filmed by the not affected by termite damage. The faces were not cov-
Discovery Channel and many AE readers may have ered in black pitch, just yellow paint on the carved wood
had the chance to see the first programme, if not both. surface.
It is unusual for an excavation of this type to be record- The unsung heroes and heroines of archaeology are
ed and presented in this way, and it gave a unique (if, of the conservators, and their work often goes unnoticed.
necessity, selective) view of the work. Chief Conservator Nadia Lukma faced an amazing
The programmes highlighted three aspects of the challenge – to conserve the wood in situ, so that the
work that are not necessarily apparent from the written coffins could be removed from the tomb.
accounts and the photographs released so far. It was important to keep the coffin fragments togeth-
It was clear that work in the confined space was far er in panels or sections as far as possible. A number of
from easy, and that the working conditions were equally techniques were used, which included the use of
bad. When the excavation extended into what is nor- Japanese tissue paper. This is very thin, but very strong
Above left: plan showing the layout of the tomb contents. All the storage jars have been given reference numbers and each of the coffins allocated a reference letter.
Plan: courtesy of the University of Memphis Mission.
Above right: view into the tomb, showing the coffins and storage vessels still in situ.
Photo: courtesy of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities.
26 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
and was carefully stuck to the wooden surfaces, proba- concern, as many of the coffins included natron in their
bly using something like a water-soluble cellulose-based contents. This absorbs moisture, expanding in the
adhesive. This paper can easily be removed at a later process and potentially causing further damage.
time. Perhaps the most interesting thing that the TV docu-
Gaps in the wood were carefully packed with cotton mentary showed was the excitement and pure delight of
wool, soaked in a special solution that hardened. Both the team members when they made their discoveries. It
techniques enabled the damaged fragments to be is easy to forget, when reading a formal excavation
removed in larger pieces and will enable further conser- report, that archaeology can be exciting, and any find,
vation and possible restoration of the coffins at a later be it a piece of pottery or something more substantial,
stage. can be a source of delight and wonder and an amazing
Such a major attack by termites is not necessarily rare, experience for those few trained experts privileged,
but is a first for a tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Just experienced and lucky enough to be in the right place at
imagine (though perhaps it is better not to) the conse- the right time.
quences if similar damage had occurred in the nearby With just two coffins left, the small infant coffin (coffin
tomb of Tutankhamun or the almost contemporary D) and the larger coffin (E) against the rear wall of the
tomb of Yuya and Thuya, also filled with many splendid chamber, hope remained that there might be bodies in
funerary items and coffins. the chamber. Both coffins, unlike all the others, still
The conditions inside the chamber did not help the appeared to be sealed.
work of conservators. From the moment the tomb was The team used an endoscope (a small camera with a
opened, the team had to work quickly, but as safely and light attached) to look through holes in the last two
diligently as possible. The wood would begin to suffer coffins to see if they could determine what, if anything,
from the changes in temperature and the increased might be inside. The results were disappointing: it was
humidity in the confined space. The latter was a major possible to see only bits and pieces of flowers, pottery
shards and dirt.
Above: view of coffin E with the lid removed, revealing the floral collars. The infant coffin was empty. It was discovered that
Note the Japanese tissue paper applied to the outside of the coffin to hold it this well-made coffin was covered in gold and later
together and also the cotton wool used to fill and consolidate some of the gaps. painted with a thick layer of black pitch, which virtual-
Photo: courtesy of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities. ly obscured all the details. The face and head area
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 27
appear to be in good condition and elaborately execut- The coffin base was too large to be lifted from the
ed, but the remainder of the wood is in poor condition chamber with all the contents in place, as its fragile state
due to termite damage. The coffin measures around meant that it could not take the weight of the contents;
forty-six centimeters in length, just a little longer than they were much heavier than a mummy would have
the gilt coffinette found inside coffin G. been.
Attention turned then to the final coffin. Lying close There was little choice but to clear the coffin in the
to the wall, at the head and feet of this coffin, two more tomb, an excavation in its own right, and then to remove
pillows or cushions were found, bringing the total found its base from the chamber. The coffin was carefully emp-
in KV63 to eight. tied, revealing more of the same types of objects found
The exterior of the base and parts of the lid were cov- in the other coffins, but no mummy or any human
ered in Japanese tissue paper, to strengthen it before the remains.
lid was carefully removed. A carved inscription deco- Once the coffin was removed it was possible to sweep
rates this coffin, but it is covered by thick black pitch and the floor of the chamber to ensure that nothing had
has not yet been read. been missed and to be certain that there were no other
Everyone was hoping for a mummy, but what was chambers to be found.
revealed was a coffin packed full to the brim with the Now that the chamber has been cleared, a new
same variety of objects found in the other coffins. perimeter or enclosure wall has been built around the
However, on top of the debris were a number of elabo- shaft and the tomb has effectively been closed.
rate floral collars. Made using real flowers, stitched onto All the objects were removed to the nearby tomb of
a papyrus backing, they also incorporated beads and Amenmesse, used as a laboratory and storage area dur-
gold. They had been laid rather carelessly in the coffin ing the excavation (although a few of the larger objects
and were crumpled and partly squashed by the coffin have been moved to the SCA storage magazine in
lid. These delicate objects will present another huge Luxor), where they will be safe until the new season
challenge for conservator Nadia Lumka. starts early next year, when conservation work and study
Similar collars have been found before in the Valley, in of the objects can continue.
1907/08 in the so-called embalming cache of All the evidence from the tomb points to a date during
Tutankhamun, which also contained pottery, linen, and the reign of Tutankhamun, though speculation and a
jars and bundles containing natron. variety of theories abound as to why and when this
Above: view inside the coffin, showing the crumpled floral collars, beads and the glitter of gold.
Photo: courtesy of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities.
28 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
chamber was filled. The hard evidence from the tomb is
limited and frustratingly fragmentary – an inscription
on a jar mentions Year Five of a king’s reign, but with
no name, and elsewhere the end of a name “… pa
Aten”, Ankhesenpaaten perhaps?
The cache of objects, for it is clearly not a tomb, con-
tains unique artifacts, and there may be more surprises
to come when the detailed study of them continues.
It is possible that the chamber once contained a bur-
ial, for the doorway was sealed. This original sealing was
broken down when, possibly, some or all of the original
contents were removed. The chamber was then filled
with the coffins and storage jars and the doorway re-
sealed for the last time.
The mass of material clearly comes from a burial or
an embalming cache and the indications are that they
were not simply swept up from the floor of this small
chamber, but were brought from elsewhere. Fragments
of one pot were found in two separate coffins, which
would indicate a fairly rushed clearing-up process. If all
the objects were from an important burial, then this
might explain why they were treated so respectfully.
We know Tutankhamun acquired objects for his own
burial that may have come from the royal tombs at
Amarna; perhaps when these tombs were cleared and
the burials moved back to Thebes, the items of little or
no intrinsic value were also collected and moved to this
Top right: Dr Zahi Hawass visited the tomb when the final coffin was
opened; here he examines the contents.
Photo: courtesy of the Egyptian Supreme Council of
Right: Dr Otto Schaden, the Director of the excavation, shown holding
the small gilded coffin.
Photo: Elise van Rooij.
Below: comparable material – pottery and a floral collar – from the
“Embalming Cache of Tutankhamun” discovered in the early twentieth
century and now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 29
chamber. The coffins appear to have been used simply Kings and a fascinating era of ancient Egyptian civilisa-
as storage chests, though they could not have been low- tion.
ered down into the chamber full. The work in filling this A special study season will begin early next year when
chamber would have been extensive and indicates the more work and conservation on the objects will be car-
importance the objects had, to someone. ried out by the Memphis team.
There will no doubt be many theories about where
these objects came from and who they were made for. If RP
we are lucky, the answer may be revealed by the study of
the material. This does, of course, pose an intriguing AE would like to thank Dr Otto Schaden and the
question. If this chamber is a cache of funerary equip- KV-63 team for providing information and photographs
ment and items from Amarna, then where are all the of their work, and in particular Roxanne Wilson, who
bodies? There is the distinct possibility that the Valley of wrote the second and third articles on the discovery.
the Kings is far from exhausted and there may, as some AE has made a donation to the expedition’s funds for
people have argued, be Amarna cache tombs still to be each article published.
found there. Visit the official Websites:
The Memphis team and their Egyptian colleagues KV-10.com and KV-63.com
have laboured long and hard on this tomb and are to be
congratulated on their work. Inevitably in the world of Below (and main cover image): the face of coffin F, the best-pre-
Egyptology, the excavation has posed more questions served in the tomb, and nicknamed “The Princess” by team Chief
than given answers, but has nevertheless added a new Conservator, Nadia Lukma.
Photo: courtesy of the University of Memphis Mission.
and important chapter to the history of the Valley of the
30 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
Is ther e ANOTHER new tomb in
the Valle y of the Kings – “KV64”?
Just as the clearance of tomb KV63 in the Valley of the Kings has been completed comes news from
Dr Nicholas Reeves, Director of the Amarna Royal Tombs Project, of another
possible new tomb in the heart of the Valley.
n Friday 10 February 2006, Egypt’s Supreme new tomb to have been found in the royal Valley since the
O Council of Antiquities made public at last what
had been rumoured among Egyptologists for
many months: the discovery of a new and completely
discovery of Tutankhamun by Lord Carnarvon and
Howard Carter in 1922.
Six months later and the KV63 chamber stands fully
undisturbed tomb in the Valley of the Kings, located cleared, revealed (to evident media disappointment) not
beneath ancient workmen’s houses outside the entrance to as a burial proper but as an embalmers’ cache of surplus
the long-known sepulchre of pharaoh Amenmesse. coffins and mummification refuse dating from the very
KV63, as it soon became known, represented the first end of the Amarna period. It is an interesting find – and
Plan of the central part of the Valley of the Kings, showing the areas excavated by the Amarna Royal Tombs Project and the approximate position of “KV64”
as established by the ground radar survey. Map by Shin’ichi Nishiyma, copyright and courtesy of the Amarna Royal Tombs Project.
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 31
far more significant than the commentators seem to have
realised. For what KV63 clearly signals is the existence in
the Valley of the Kings of yet another tomb – one con-
taining the burial(s) to which these embalming materials
relate. And this further tomb is one upon which the
Amarna Royal Tombs Project (ARTP) is potentially able
to shed some intriguing light.
Observant followers of the KV63 story will have
noticed that ARTP had some small involvement in that
particular find – not as the tomb’s physical discoverers,
who were of course a University of Memphis mission led
by Dr Otto Schaden, nor as KV63’s excavators, but as the
team that first pinpointed the existence of an anomaly at
this spot in 2000, using ground-penetrating radar (GPR).
The KV63 anomaly looked to us at that time very much
like a void – a tomb – but we could not be certain. Time,
we believed, would tell: it was a feature we had earmarked
for future investigation as and when our project, working
systematically, reached that particular part of our conces-
sion. But then – crisis! Politics intervened, and ARTP
found itself out in the cold.
However disappointing it was for ARTP to have missed
the chance of excavating KV63, the physical location of
that tomb by Schaden’s team was for our project
immensely helpful. Not only did it confirm that the theo-
ry of further Amarna burials, which had been driving us
these past years, was indeed soundly based, but it provid-
ed also the vital corroboration needed properly to evalu-
ate the output of our 2000 GPR survey. After the uncov-
ering of KV63, it was possible to assess, with a great deal
more insight than previously, what our team’s GPR had
and had not revealed.
The practicalities of GPR survey are straightforward
enough; the key to the process is a sober analysis of the
data generated. ARTP were lucky: through friends and
colleagues in Japan, we were able to enlist the services of
Hirokatsu Watanabe, one of the most experienced GPR
specialists in the field, with impressive results to his credit
at sites in Japan itself and at the rich royal cemetery-site
of Sican in Peru. Watanabe’s radar survey was not only
systematic and thorough, taking in most of the ARTP
concession and other parts of the Valley also, but
extremely measured in its conclusions.
The GPR equipment Watanabe employed for the
ARTP Valley survey was a customized 400 MHz system.
The way the technology works is as follows: an electro-
magnetic wave is emitted downwards (at pulse intervals of
six nanoseconds) from a boxed antenna dragged along the
ground; the reflection echo is received and displayed on a
monitor as a traverse profile.
This raw data is recorded for subsequent laboratory
processing – the disentangling of what is actually there
from a multitude of confusing reflections.
The images generated do not represent the actual form
or dimension of the object detected, but are mere pat-
terns, to be analysed as aggregates of arcs with the display
colours varying according to the force and velocity of the
various reflection echoes. The basic trick is that different
types of underground features produce distinct screen
patterns: a pipe, for example, will generate a couple of
32 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
nested arcs; a ditch a cross-pattern above a couple of nest- drawn, either for the preparation of his own burial, or for
ed arcs; and a void or underground chamber a distinctive the refurbishment of Akhenaten’s, before the young king
pattern of radiating arcs. re-interred the ladies’ bodies close by.
The most recent of ARTP’s GPR readings to be It is a question bound to be asked: could it be that the
analysed by Watanabe is shown opposite. It is an image radar image now before us represents not only a tomb,
that has caused much excitement in recent weeks because but a tomb containing the body or bodies of one or more
its radiating arcs clearly indicate a void – which in a ceme- of these missing Amarna women – the burials for which
tery context almost certainly means a tomb. The feature ARTP had been searching since 1998? It is at least a pos-
itself is located not far distant from KV63, at a significant sibility, and all the more fascinating since the site has
depth adjacent to the southeast corner of the modern clearly not been disturbed since antiquity.
flood-barrier erected around Tutankhamun. For ease of The temptation to investigate this new and potentially
reference ARTP has labelled this void “KV64” – the significant feature in the Valley of the Kings will undoubt-
inverted commas acknowledging the obviously tentative edly be strong. If Egyptology decides to do so then let it
nature of the identification at this stage. be cautiously, in the right way and at the right time, and
The possibility of yet another tomb in a cemetery which not at the expense of the immensely important overlying
was merely presumed to be exhausted should cause no stratigraphy.
surprise: Belzoni wrongly declared the Valley to be The work requires a strategy; there is an obvious need
worked out in 1820; several tens of tombs later Theodore to consult widely in advance; and the excavators – who-
Davis incorrectly ventured the same opinion in 1912; and ever they may be – must be certain, before any work
it is an assessment most have tended tacitly to assume begins, that they are physically capable of attaining all
since the finding of Tutankhamun in 1922. possible objectives, with adequate funding, expert staff,
By 1997, I had become convinced, from a library-based and access to every sort of technology.
analysis of the situation, that beneath the Valley floor The Valley of the Kings is no ordinary site; the stakes
were concealed still one or more additional Amarna-peri- here are incredibly high. It was the fifth Earl of
od reburials – reburials analogous to that of the heretic Carnarvon, Carter’s sponsor, who commented that you
pharaoh Akhenaten discovered in 1907 in tomb KV55 in either find great things in the Valley, or nothing at all.
the central part of the Valley. This belief inspired me to ARTP may have found nothing – that possibility surely
set up the Amarna Royal Tombs Project to investigate exists; but then again we might, in all seriousness, be in
selected parts of the site afresh, beginning in 1998. the presence of a second Tutankhamun – another find of
My particular quarry at that time (though priorities quite extraordinary importance, containing a wealth of
changed when we discovered the extraordinary state of magnificent burial equipment; a tomb hermetically sealed
preservation of the archaeological record beneath the and preserving air samples, smells, pollen, insects,
tourist paths) was the burial place of Nefertiti, microbes, dust – an entire ancient environment of ines-
Akhenaten’s wife and co-regent, but also the whereabouts timable scientific value. We should recall that in the case
of Akhenaten’s secondary consort Kiya and his second of Tutankhamun the treasure was rescued, but the poten-
daughter Meketaten. These were all women upon whose tial of the tomb’s more fugitive data was lost forever when
funerary furniture, I had concluded, Tutankhamun had the excavators excitedly broke through the sealed door-
Hirokatsu Watanabe, the GPR
specialist, with his equipment in
the Valley of the Kings in
“KV64” as revealed by the
ARTP’s 2000 radar survey.
Images copyright, and
courtesy of, the Amarna
Royal Tombs Project. Rameses VI
the entrance to the tomb of “KV64”? Tutankhamun
Rameses VI and the retaining
wall around the entrance to the
Tomb of Tutankhamun, show-
ing the approximate location of
possible tomb “KV64”.
This photo was taken before the
latest flood-protection measures
were introduced and a “roof ”
built over the entrance to
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 33
way to peer in. In 1922 they knew no better; Egyptologists Dr Nicholas Reeves is Director of the Amarna Royal
today have no such excuse. Tombs Project, which excavated in the Valley of the
If there is to be another Tutankhamun, then we must be Kings between 1998 and 2002. His books include Valley of
prepared. Whatever “KV64” eventually turns out to be, the Kings: the decline of a royal necropolis (KPI, 1990) The
we have, for the present, to take it seriously; we cannot Complete Tutankhamun (Thames and Hudson, 1990) and
risk selling it short. (with Richard H. Wilkinson) The Complete Valley of the Kings
(Thames and Hudson, 1996).
Nicholas Reeves For further information on the excavations and work of
the ARTP in the Valley of the Kings, visit the web site
This news, and Nicholas Reeves’s views, seem, so far at least, not clear and, today, clearing a similar tomb could well take longer.
to have created as much interest as might have been expected. Conservation of objects would be critical, and all the resources
There have been the beginnings of a healthy debate on the sub- necessary would need to be in place from day one. Carter used a
ject in some of the on-line Egyptology chat rooms, and reports nearby tomb as a “laboratory” for his conservation work, and the
have appeared in the press, although not everyone is necessarily Memphis team also had to do this. Conditions and facilities in
in agreement. such temporary laboratories are less than ideal, and it could be
There is, of course, the possibility that the radar images may argued that there would be the need for a purpose-built, state-of-
be misleading, and there may be no tomb at all, or that any tomb the-art conservation laboratory to be provided before any work
might be empty, so perhaps no one should get their hopes up too is started.
much at this stage, pending further investigations. There would be a desire for any objects to be put on display as
The news, though, has to be good for the SCA. Further exca- soon as possible, as was done with the Tutankhamun objects.
vation in the Valley of the Kings is probably inevitable, especial- This may not be possible now, for there is limited room in the
ly after the discovery of KV63, and to be able to plan and under- current or planned museums – another factor that needs to be
take future work, with the knowledge that there might be a tomb allowed for; and, of course, all of this will take time and cost a
(possibly intact) in the area, can only be helpful. great deal of money.
The first decisions to be made are if and/or when any investi- One way forward might be for further surveys to take place. A
gation or excavation should take place. There is even the time painstakingly thorough open excavation of the overlying area is
and the opportunity to arrange, as some people have suggested, essential before digging down to any tomb – the information
an international conference of archaeologists and experts to pool within the stratigraphy is crucial, arguably more important than
ideas and opinions. another tomb, although excavations by Carter in this area may
Should “KV64” be Investigated? have already disturbed some of the historical layers.
Although there may be a new tomb in the Valley, it has lain there If a sealed tomb is found, it might be possible to drill into it
untouched for over three thousand years, and a decade or more without disturbing any air-tight seal for tests on the ancient air
of delay in excavation is but the blink of an eye in the historical and for any micro organisms, although this would be a difficult
context. There will undoubtedly be, however, pressure and a exercise. (It was done at the sealed second boat pit at Giza sever-
genuine desire to excavate to see what is there. The nature of the al years ago.) It would also be possible, in theory, for cameras to
contents of an Egyptian tomb are well known and our knowl- be used to look into the tomb without demolishing any doorways
edge of the likely state of preservation of any contents means or breaking seals.
that the necessary archaeological techniques and technical skills In this way, it would be possible to see what, if anything, the
are substantially available now worldwide. tomb contained and then to plan a more leisurely excavation,
When Should it be Excavated? with better knowledge about the tomb contents and their condi-
Whilst, therefore, it might be possible to excavate now or in the tion and with all the above problems addressed in full.
near future, the matter is not that simple. The SCA could pull together a team of Egyptian and inter-
The eyes of the world would, quite literally, be on any excava- national archaeologists and technicians and there would proba-
tion. Over eighty years ago, the media caused the excavators of bly be no shortage of people willing to offer their professional
the tomb of Tutankhamun many problems and the media fren- skills.
zy would undoubtedly be worse today, given the desire for In the meantime, the knowledge that something might be
“instant” and “live” news. there may, for example, help to plan any future developments in
There would be the practical problems of access to the Valley the centre of the Valley and the efforts there to ensure water run-
and any excavation, and of allowing visitors to still see at least off avoids tomb entrances.
some of the other tombs. The location of the new tomb, its prox- To excavate or not to excavate? It is, and will be, a difficult
imity to Tutankhamun, and its depth could pose a physical threat decision to make. Caution and planning should be the watch-
to that tomb in the event of a flash flood. words, but the temptation will be strong to see what this radar
If the tomb is opened, and is found to be intact, then it could scan really shows ... and what a tomb at the heart of the Valley,
conceivably contain many more objects than the recently-found close to the tomb of Tutankhamun, might reveal about the fas-
KV63. This tomb was cleared in a matter of months, but the cinating history of the end of the Eighteenth Dynasty.
Tomb of Tutankhamun took Howard Carter over four years to RP
34 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
Royal Mummies in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo
he second Royal Mummy room in the Egyptian rent museum, built in 1902. Many of the major pieces
T Museum in Cairo has recently been opened and
several mummies that have not been on view to
the public for many years, if at all, are now included.
from this collection will, in a few years’ time, be moved
back to Giza, to the new Grand Egyptian Museum,
where building work has just started.
Some mummies have been moved from the first room, The smaller photo, taken in the current museum in the
which now houses the mummies from the Eighteenth early years of the twentieth century, shows the
and Nineteenth Dynasties. On view are: Sequenenre, unwrapped mummies of Yuya and Thuya, the in-laws of
Amenhotep I, Queen Meritamun, Thutmose I, II and Amenhotep III. Their virtually intact tomb was discov-
III, Amenhotep II, Thutmose IV, Sety I, Rameses II and ered in the Valley of the Kings in 1905. These mummies
Merenptah. have been on and off display too, but have not been on
In the new room are mummies from the Twentieth view to the public now for many years. They remain in
and Twenty-first Dynasties: Rameses III, IV, V and IX, their coffins in the museum.
Pinudjem II, Queens Istemkheb, Maatkara and RP
Henttawy, Princess Nesikhonsu and Priest
A separate entrance charge is made for each of these
rooms. The plan is for all the royal mummies to be
moved in a few years’ time to a new museum of the his-
tory of Egypt, currently being built at Fustat, not far
from the Citadel.
The royal mummies have been on display intermit-
tently since they were discovered at the end of the nine-
teenth century. Most were found in the two famous
caches, one at Deir el-Bahri in 1881 and one in the tomb
of Amenhotep II in 1898.
The photograph below (supplied by AE reader Brian
Playfair) shows the display of the royal mummies in a
room in the old museum, which was housed in a royal
palace at Giza. This replaced an earlier museum at
Bulaq. The Giza museum was later replaced by the cur-
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 35
The Ancient Stones Speak
In the first of a three-part series, Pam Scott offers an approachable introduction to reading
hieroglyphic inscriptions on monuments and museum objects.
Finely-carved hieroglyphs from the Middle Kingdom “White Chapel” of King Senusret I, in the Open Air Museum at the Temple of Karnak. Photo: RP.
nyone visiting Egypt or museums with Egyptian script probably did begin as simple pictures. In some
A collections, or even reading magazines such as
ANCIENT EGYPT, cannot fail to be aware of the
huge number of hieroglyphic inscriptions to be found
instances this pictographic use of signs continued, so
that the symbol of a bull , for example, could be
both on the monuments and on objects of all kinds.
Since the decipherment of the hieroglyphic script in used to represent the word “bull”. Early on, however,
the early nineteenth century, these texts have added the technique was developed of using pictures to repre-
immeasurable to our knowledge of the ancient Egyptian sent other ideas that were not as easily expressed in pic-
civilisation. For most people, however, these inscriptions torial form, but happened to have a similar sound. A
remain a tantalising mystery. In this three-part series, I
will introduce the basic principles of the hieroglyphic good example of this is the familiar ankh sign . It is
script and show you how you too can begin to make “the
ancient stones speak”. actually the picture of a sandal-strap (imagine the loop
going around the ankle, the crossbar across the instep
and the post between the toes), the word for which was
The signs ankh in ancient Egyptian. However, the word ankh (or
To the uninitiated, the hieroglyphic script appears to be something very similar) also meant “live” and other
a series of unrelated pictures – birds, animals, human related words so, in order to express this rather more
figures and objects – and indeed the ancient Egyptian complex concept, the ancient scribes used the picture of
36 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
a sandal strap to spell out the sound of the words for In order to know where to start reading an inscription
“live”, “life” and so forth. you simply need to remember that signs representing
Hieroglyphic is therefore known as a mixed script, people, animals or parts of these almost always face the
with signs being used both pictographically to repre- beginning of the word. In other words you read into
sent objects, and phonetically to represent sounds. the front or faces of the signs.
Signs which are used pictographically are known as Look at the lintel of Senusret III, now on display in
ideograms or sense signs; those which are used the Open Air Museum in the Temple of Karnak (see
phonetically are called phonograms or sound signs. below, Photo: Pam Scott) on which you will see two lines
Some signs, however, like the ankh symbol, can be used or registers of text.
both as ideograms and as a phonograms, depending
upon the text.
The hieroglyphic script shows only the consonants that
make up a word; vowels are not written. Of course vow-
els would have been essential in the spoken language, so
some words, although they may look the same, would
probably have been pronounced quite differently.
Imagine writing the word “cat” without its vowels: as
well as “cat” it could mean “cot”, “coat”, “cut”, “cute”
or even “acute”. Only by looking at the context of the
word could we establish the meaning. It is the two pintail ducks on the lower register that
A study of Coptic, the language and script used by the give us the clue to the orientation of the text. Since they
early Egyptian church, has been useful in supplying the are facing the beginning of the text we see that there are
likely pronunciation of some Egyptian words, but for two inscriptions, each beginning in the centre with the
practical purposes we usually supply a short “e” in order ankh sign, like mirror images of each other. Thus the
to be able to pronounce the consonants represented by decoration of this architectural feature would have pre-
the signs. Thus “p+r” is pronounced “per”; “n+b” is sented a pleasing, harmonious symmetry when in situ
pronounced “neb”. above a doorway.
The same piece also demonstrates that the ancient
Egyptians rarely strung out their inscriptions in a long
Direction and layout of inscriptions line in the way that we do in English. Instead, signs were
As a monumental script, hieroglyphic was extremely grouped to fit neatly into imaginary rectangles with
flexible, fitting into the available space and changing its signs of different sizes carefully placed so as to give bal-
orientation to suit to the scenes it accompanied. ance to the whole.
So, for example, the name of the god Osiris could be Notice, for example, how the circle representing the
written in four different directions: sun god Ra is tucked in neatly above the back of the
duck, and how in the upper register the three pairs of
raised arms in the oval cartouche are arranged in a tight
In a vertical column, reading from top
to bottom, facing left: triangle , making a compact group.
Although this arrangement of signs gives a much
more aesthetically pleasing effect, it makes it a little
more difficult to decide in which order the signs should
In vertical columns, reading from top be read.
to bottom, facing right: As a general rule of thumb, however, upper signs
are read before lower ones. Hence the name of the
god Ptah, written , should be read in the
In horizontal lines, reading
from right to left:
order , while that of the god Amun,
In horizontal lines, reading written , should be read in the order
from left to right:
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 37
words could have been written using only these signs,
. but in practice only a limited number were.
Unfortunately for us, the Egyptian scribe did not leave
any space between individual words. As we shall see, Transliteration
however, there are clues to be found from the context In order to record what consonant(s) each symbol rep-
and in the structure of the words themselves. resents, scholars use a process known as translitera-
tion, which involves writing the appropriate sound
value of each sign using the equivalent letters of the
The Egyptian “alphabet” alphabet.
As we have seen, hieroglyphic signs fall into two broad The sign of a horned viper, , for example, is
categories – phonograms (sound signs) and transliterated as “f ”, its nearest equivalent sound.
ideograms (sense signs). Like the ankh sign, howev- Sometimes the sound represented by a hieroglyphic sign
er, some symbols can, and often do, play the role of both cannot easily be represented using only the letters of the
ideogram and phonogram, depending upon the word in alphabet. In these cases special symbols are used for
which they appear. transliteration.
Phonograms can represent either one, two or three In the following table of one-consonant signs each
consonants. The most frequently used are the twenty- sign is shown with its transliteration and approximate
four one-consonant signs (also called uniliteral or pronunciation. Although the first five appear to us to be
alphabetic signs) which make up what is sometimes more like vowels, they were not used as such in the
called the Egyptian “alphabet”. In theory, all Egyptian script.
38 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
Sign Object Trans- Sound
Left: hieroglyphs on a funerary papyrus in the British Museum in London. Photo: RP.
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 39
Here are some examples of gods’ names, written using
“alphabetic” signs, together with their transliteration:
Write your name in hieroglyphs
A popular souvenir from Egypt is a T-shirt or a pendant
bearing your name written in hieroglyphic characters.
To write modern names in hieroglyphs you can use the
“alphabetic” signs, plus one or two extras for sounds
that were not present in the ancient Egyptian language.
You will be following in the footsteps of some of
The following kings wrote their names using only Egypt’s later, foreign, rulers who used these phonetic
alphabetic signs ( is a late adaptation of a hiero- signs to inscribe their names on their monuments.
glyphic character sometimes used in foreign names,
transliterated as “l”). The royal names are enclosed in Here are a few tips:
an oval “frame” known as a “cartouche”.
Use for “a”; for “i”; for “o”; for “w”
or “u”; for “f ” or “v”; and for “l”.
40 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
You can omit short “e”s or unstressed vowels altogether, Two-consonant signs are frequently accompanied by
one or two one-consonant signs that repeat all or part of
their sound value. These are known as phonetic com-
but if an “e” is stressed, use or , whichever plements and as such are neither transliterated nor
The name of the god Amun, for example is written
sounds the closest, e.g. = “Peter”.
, using the one-consonant sign , followed
Draw a woman at the end of a feminine name, by the two-consonant sign , mn, and another one-
consonant sign , n, which is acting as a phonetic
complement for the second consonant in mn. The result-
and a seated man at the end of a masculine name. ing transliteration is imn (not imnn, since the final n is a
phonetic complement and does not add to the sound
value of the word).
Follow the ancient scribes’ example of writing in neat Some more royal and divine names written using one-
rectangles, rather than stringing the signs out in a single and two-consonant signs and phonetic complements
Two-consonant (biliteral) signs
As well as the one-consonant signs, ancient Egyptian
also used symbols that represent two and three conso-
The sign , for example, represents the conso-
nants “m+n”, is transliterated as mn and pronounced
“men”. Below are some of the more commonly used
two-consonant signs, with their transliteration and
Opposite left: cartouche with the name of King Amenhotep II, from a block in the Open Air Museum at Karnak. Photo: RP.
Opposite right: painted inscription from the roof of the temple of Rameses III at Medinet Habu, showing the royal titles. Photo: Pam Scott.
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 41
Three-consonant (triliteral) signs phonetic complements may be omitted altogether.
Phonetic signs representing three consonants are the Below are some Egyptian words that contain three-con-
least common type. Below are some of the more fre- sonant signs and phonetic complements
quently used ones:
Ideograms or Sense Signs
As we have seen, signs can be used to represent ideas as
well as sounds. These are known as ideograms or
Like the two-consonant signs, those with three conso- sense-signs and these may be used in one of two
nants are often accompanied by phonetic complements. ways.
The sound values that are repeated vary from sign to As logograms or whole-word signs, that rep-
sign. For example: resent pictorially the object, person or animal that is
being referred to. The sound value of these signs cor-
has the third consonant repeated and should be responds to the name of the object they depict.
transliterated , These are sometimes followed by a stroke known as
a stroke determinative, which indicates that here
we are dealing with the object depicted, or a very
has the second and third consonants repeat- closely related concept. For example:
ed and should be transliterated as nfr.
r pr ib
Sometimes, however, for example in monumental
inscriptions, where space is frequently at a premium, sun mouth house heart.
Carved relief with elaborate hieroglyphs, from the tomb of Sety I in the Valley of the Kings, now in the British Museum in London. Photo: RP.
42 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
As determinatives used to express or determine Using the list of determinatives below, see if you can
the general sense of a word spelled out using sound divide the line of hieroglyphs at the bottom of this page
signs. Determinatives are placed at the end of the into the words listed above them.
word and are not transliterated or pronounced. You have now met all the types of signs that appear in
hieroglyphic texts, although of course only a small pro-
For example, the word , “woman”, portion of the seven hundred or so signs that were com-
monly in use in Middle Egyptian, the “classical” stage of
consists of two alphabetic signs, which give its sound the writing, have been introduced.
value, followed by the determinative of a seated Have a look at the photographs that are included in
woman, which helps to define the word. this article (and others in this edition of AE) and see
Many determinatives, known as generic determi- how many signs you can identify.
natives, are used in several different words that have One of the “tricks of the trade” when approaching
related meanings. hieroglyphs is to be aware that most of the inscriptions
you come across are either names or standard formulae
For example, the words , “sun”, “day” that are repeated over and over again. In temples, for
example, it is the king’s names and titles that are ever-
present, together with those of the gods with whom he
and , “rise”, “shine” both have the is shown in company.
In tombs and on funerary objects it is formulae for
sun as a determinative. ensuring the continued existence of the deceased that
In the table below are some of the more commonly are most often found.
used generic determinatives together with the concepts
with which they are associated. As was mentioned earli-
er, in the hieroglyphic script no space was left between In the rest of the series (there will be two more parts,
individual words. Since a determinative invariably ends the next one in the February/March edition) we will be
a word, it can be a useful clue to identifying where one looking at both royal and funerary inscriptions. By mas-
word ends and another begins. tering a few simple principles and familiarising yourself
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 43
with some of the most commonly occurring forms you Faulkner, Raymond O. A Concise Dictionary of Middle
will surprised how many inscriptions you will be able to Egyptian. Griffith Institute, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford,
read. 1988. An invaluable translation tool for the more
Pam Scott advanced student.
Pam is a tutor in Egyptology at the University of Gardiner, Sir Alan. Egyptian Grammar, 3rd edn. Griffith
Manchester, where she regularly gives courses in Institute, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1957. Rather
Egyptian hieroglyphs for the Centre for Continuing out of date now, but for many years the standard work
Education. for the study of Egyptian grammar. The sign list is essen-
tial if you are serious about learning to read hieroglyphs.
Inscribe 2004, by Saqqara Technology, has been used
to reproduce the hieroglyphs in this article.
Allen, James P. Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the
Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs. Cambridge University
Press, 2000. A substantial work, this provides an up-to-
date alternative to Gardiner, complete with exercises, a
sign list and a dictionary.
Collier, Mark and Manley, Bill How to Read Egyptian
Hieroglyphs: A Step-by-Step Guide to Teach Yourself. British
Museum, 1998. One of the best and most recent books
on how to read hieroglyphs which, surprisingly, made it
into the best-seller lists! This is an extremely useful, prac-
tical introduction concentrating mostly on funerary
inscriptions. It includes several exercises, reference An inscribed block from the Open Air Museum at Karnak. Photo: RP.
tables, vocabulary and sign lists.
44 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
Images of the Rekhyt from
The lapwing was represented in ancient Egyptian art for a period of over three thousand years, but
these images are much more than just a representation of the bird, as Kenneth Griffin reveals.
Above: a rekhyt rebus: The rekhyt bird raises arms in adoration of Rameses II as represented by his double cartouche.
Carving on a column in the temple of Amun at Karnak. Photo: RP.
he lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), has, for a period of over three
T thousand years, been abundantly represented in both Egyptian art
and hieroglyphs. The lapwing can be identified by its characteris-
tic short pointed bill, rounded head, long squared tail and especially by
the long crest on its head. To the Egyptians the bird was referred to as
rekhyt. They were often depicted in Egyptian art in papyrus marshes,
perching on their nests. It is generally accepted that the rekhyt people
are to be identified as the lowest class of society in ancient Egypt and
have been called “subjects”, “common people”, “plebeians” or
“mankind”. However, other scholars have suggested that the rekhyt peo-
ple were actually foreigners who had settled in Egypt.
The lapwing first makes an appearance in Egyptian art ars as depicting Scorpion’s victories over the people of the
during the Protodynastic Period. The bird is depicted on Delta, who are depicted as the rekhyt people. However, the
the deck of a boat, on a fragment of slate palette known scene could also depict the sovereign’s control over all the
as the “Plover Palette”, which is housed in the Egyptian people of Egypt.
Museum in Cairo. The earliest depiction of the rekhyt bird during the Old
From the same period comes the limestone ceremonial Kingdom comes from the statue base of the pharaoh
mace-head of “king” Scorpion, on which a series of stan- Djoser. This base, which is on display in the Egyptian
dards with lapwing birds hanging from their necks are Museum in Cairo, depicts three rekhyt birds, each with
depicted. This scene has been interpreted by many schol- their wings intertwined, under the feet of the pharaoh. As
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 45
from flying, but also from walking; they
cannot stand properly, so consequently
lie on their legs.
Images of the rekhyt birds in the
mastabas of the Old Kingdom are quite
common. In the majority of cases, the
birds are depicted in the marshes, either
flying or sitting upon their nests.
One relief from an Old Kingdom
mastaba that does stand out comes from
the Fifth Dynasty mastaba of Nefer at
Saqqara. Here the tomb owner is
accompanied by his wife or daughter
who holds a lotus blossom in one hand,
while in the other she clutches a rekhyt
bird by its wings. It has been suggested
Above: well as the three rekhyt birds there is also by Partick Houlihan that the rekhyt in
detail of the Scorpion macehead a depiction of the “nine bows”, which this depiction was a pet or plaything.
showing rekhyt birds hanging from were a symbol used to denote the ene- He points out that children often carry
the standards in the top register. mies of Egypt; thus the rekhyt people in their pet birds, the hoopoe being the
Drawn by Sam Channer.
(After Cialowicz, 1997 this instance are closely linked with most common, while accompanying
Protodynastic Egypt.) Egypt’s enemies, a theme that remains their parents.
until the end of pharaonic history. Occurrences of the rekhyt birds from
Depictions of the rekhyt birds with the Middle Kingdom are rare. with only
their wings intertwined in an act of sub- one relief worthy of comment.
Below: mission, were frequent in Egyptian art. The relief, which is on display in the
the base of a statue of Djoser,
showing rekhyt birds Even in the markets of Egypt today it is Egyptian Museum in Cairo, depicts two
before the feet of the king. possible to find live ducks in this posi- images of Amenemhat I seated on his
Photo: RP. tion. This prevents the birds not only Sed-festival pavilion. Beneath the pavil-
ion there are seven representations of
the rekhyt bird in an act of praising. It is
likely that there were originally nine
birds depicted, but unfortunately the left
side of the relief is missing. Nine in
ancient Egypt was a significant number,
which appears many times. One cre-
ation myth revolves around nine deities,
known in Greek as the ennead, while
the “nine bows” symbolises the tradi-
tional enemies of Egypt.
Depictions of the rekhyt during the
New Kingdom are numerous.
Above all, the most common depic-
tion of the rekhyt is the rekhyt rebus,
which first makes an appearance during
the reign of Hatshepsut and continues
to be depicted through to the Graeco-
A rebus is an artful intertwining or
decorative arrangement of hieroglyphic
and other pictorial elements. At first
glance, a rebus looks like a picture, but it
is meant to be read as a phrase or clause.
The use of the rebus was fairly common
in ancient Egypt, where writing and art
were never really separated. This rebus
appears on many of the temple
columns, with over one thousand exam-
ples in the Hypostyle Hall at Karnak
alone. The rebus, made up of a number
46 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
of hieroglyphic signs reads “all the rekhyt
people worship N” (N being the name of
the king in whose reign the relief was
The most important element of the
rebus is the rekhyt figure itself. The figure
is usually depicted resting upon a hiero-
glyph in the shape of a basket, meaning
“all”. This reminds one of the nests
upon which the lapwing bird would
commonly be seen by the ancient
Another element of the rebus is the
hieroglyph in the shape of a five-point-
ed star, meaning “worship”, which is
usually placed just in front of the face of
the rekhyt figure. The act of worshipping
is confirmed by the depiction of
upraised human arms which often form
part of the rebus.
While the simplest form of the rekhyt
rebus depicts the lapwing bird with
human arms raised, in an act of adora-
tion, and wings pinned back, in an act of
submission, it was possible to have vari- depicts a kneeling rekhyt figure that has Above:
ants. the body of a human and the head of a a rekhyt rebus from Luxor Temple.
The most common variations are lapwing (see below left). Author’s photo.
depicted in the temple of Rameses II at From Luxor Temple there are also a
Abydos. These include rekhyt figures number of depictions of rekhyt figures
depicted with a human body and the that are completely human in appear- a column from the third tier of the
head of a lapwing; a human body with ance and can only be identified by their mortuary temple of Hatshepsut,
a lapwing crest; or a complete human accompanying hieroglyphs.. Deir el-Bahri, depicting a kneeling
with only the hieroglyphs in front of the Perhaps the most intriguing examples rekhyt figure.
figure identifying it as a rekhyt person. of the rekhyt rebus come from the mor- Author’s photo.
These variants are not unique to this tuary temple of Rameses III at Medinet
temple. Habu. High up on the outside walls of
In fact, the earliest form of the rekhyt the Migdol entrance gate there are sev- detail of a rekhyt bird from the base
rebus, which is located on the third tier eral depictions of a kneeling human fig- of the Djoser statue.
of Hatshepsut’s temple at Deir el-Bahri, ure who can be identified as a rekhyt by Photo: RP.
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 47
Of the six temple forecourts exam-
ined by this author, where the rekhyt
rebus is located, five have hieroglyphic
inscriptions specifically mentioning that
the rekhyt people have access. This
includes an inscription from the fore-
court of the temple of Khnum at
Elephantine which states, “He
(Amenhotep II) made [this], for his
father Khnum, who dwells in
Elephantine. He made a festival hall in
order that all the rekhyt people may see
that which he makes for him.”
In opposition to the belief that the
rekhyt rebus was used to designate areas
accessible by the “common people” it
was observed that of the four hypostyle
halls, and five inner sanctuaries or
shrines, where the rekhyt rebus was locat-
Above: the lapwing’s crest projecting from the ed, only the great hypostyle hall at
the “People’s Gate” at Luxor back of his head. The hands of the fig- Karnak has a direct inscription stating
Temple, which has a depiction of ure are raised in adoration, as is the case that it was accessible to the rekhyt people.
a number of kneeling rekhyt people. in the previous examples, and the five- If the function of the rekhyt rebus was
Note the small lapwing between
the two figures. pointed star hieroglyph is placed in not to signify the areas of the temple
Author’s photo. front. What is intriguing about these accessible to the rekhyt people, what was
images is that the depictions seem to its function?
depict the pharaoh Rameses III as a There are two possible answers.
rekhyt person. He wears royal attributes Firstly, it is possible that the rebus was
including the nemes headcloth, divine no more than a “filler” used by the
beard, shendyt kilt and the bull’s tail. sculptors. However, it is hard to believe
So what function did the rekhyt rebus that the Egyptians would have gone to
have? all the trouble of using this rebus this
It has been suggested by a number of way if it had no significance whatsoever.
Egyptologists, including Bell, Wilkinson The other possible function of the
and Brand, that the function of this rebus, and the one that I believe is
rebus was to indicate the areas of the much more likely, is that it signified that
temples that were accessible to the the rekhyt people were present in the
“common people”. Peter Brand, whilst temple metaphysically and not physi-
discussing the examples from the cally.
hypostyle hall of Karnak, says that the The Egyptian temple, representing
Below: rebus was “a visual sign to the public the cosmos, needed to include all classes
a statue base of Nectanebo II. that they had access to this part of the of society in order to maintain maat, cos-
A statue of the king would have temple” and that “the illiterate could mic order.
fitted into the slot in the top of the
base. Note the rekhyt bird easily be taught to recognise this design Baines says that the rekhyt, along with
on the left of the base. as a visual sign meaning ‘you may stand two other classes of society known as the
Author’s photo. here’ ”. However, a study of the various pat and henmemet “form a quasi-mytho-
areas of the New logical description of the peoples of the
Kingdom temples, where Egyptian cosmos, excluding non-
this rebus is present, sug- Egyptians”. Moreover, foreigners and
gests otherwise. enemies were frequently depicted on the
It is the belief of most temple walls, although in all cases they
Egyptologists that the are being defeated by the pharaoh or
“common people” would brought before the gods as captives.
have had access to only These themes were necessary depic-
the forecourts of the tem- tions, which maintained maat and
ples and even then it is helped banish isfet, “chaos”.
debatable whether this During the New Kingdom it became
was allowed all year very common to depict the rekhyt under
round or just during festi- the feet of the pharaoh in the same way
vals. as the “nine bows”.
48 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
A large number of faience tiles depict-
ing the rekhyt, many originating from the
temple of Rameses III at Medinet
Habu, have also been found. These tiles
were believed to have decorated the
floors of the palace of the pharaoh or
perhaps the dais from where the king
would greet his people.
The theme of these depictions was
thus to emphasise that the pharaoh was
in complete control and that the rekhyt
people were subjugated and inferior.
This theme of control can also be seen
throughout the temples of the New
Kingdom where there are images of the
pharaoh holding a rekhyt bird in his
hand. The bird is usually directed
towards the deity facing the king who in
turn presents the emblems of kingship
to the pharaoh, his reward for maintain-
During the Graeco-Roman Period, it
became common to depict the rekhyt fig-
ures as part of a frieze around parts of
various temples. These friezes consist of
a large number of rekhyt figures, each
with their hands raised in adoration and
There were various different methods sitting on the nb sign, similar to the rebus
of doing this. Statues of the pharaohs discussed earlier. However, the appear-
often had the rekhyt depicted on their ance of the birds is most striking and it
bases, a practice which continued is often difficult to tell for certain if they
through to the Late Period. represent the rekhyt people. The birds
Tutankhamun depicted the rekhyt on are usually very stout in appearance,
the footstool of one his thrones now in highly decorated and often missing the
the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. distinctive crest of the lapwing bird.
A relief from the tomb of Kheruef Clearly the artists of the period were
depicts Amenhotep III and his wife Tiye trying to duplicate the New Kingdom
seated under a canopy, the base of examples, but in their own style.
which has fourteen depictions of the With the emergence of Christianity
rekhyt rebus. the Egyptian temples were shut down
a painted relief from the Temple of
Sety I at Abydos, showing the king
receiving the emblems of kingship from
Amun-Ra. Note that the pharaoh is
holding a rekhyt bird in the direction
of the god.
a coloured faience tile depicting a
rekhyt rebus, from the temple of
Rameses III at Medinet Habu and
now in the Egyptian Museum in
a frieze of rekhyt birds in
the Temple of Deir el-Haggar,
Photo: Cheryl Hanson.
ANCIENT EGYPT June/July 2006 49
deliberate damage inflicted on many
reliefs, despite the fact that they would
have contradicted Christian ideology.
Kenneth is a Student of Egyptology at
the University of Wales, Swansea,
where he recently completed his
Masters in Ancient Egyptian Culture.
His area of study was the rekhyt rebus in
New Kingdom temples.
He will be continuing his study of the
rekhyt for his Ph.D., also at Swansea.
Bell, Lanny (1998) “The New Kingdom
‘Divine’ Temple” in Temples of Ancient
Egypt, ed. Byron E Shafer. London:
Cornell University Press. Pp.127-84.
Houlihan, Patrick F and Goodman,
Steven M. (1988) The Birds of Ancient
A relief from the Migdol Gateway and images of the gods and pharaohs Egypt. Cairo: American University in
in the Temple of Rameses III at were mutilated. Surprisingly though, Cairo Press. 93-6.
Medinet Habu, showing images of the rekhyt, with the appear- Nibbi, Alessandra (1986) Lapwings and
the king as a rekhyt person.
ance of a bird complete with human Libyans in Ancient Egypt. Oxford: DE
hands, seem to have been spared the Publications.
a particularly fine representation of a rekhyt bird on a block now in
the Open Air Museum at the temple of Amun, Karnak.
50 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
DEAR A NCIENT E GYPT
Dear AE, the application of heat to wine makes brandy (over-sim-
I was very interested to read Dylan Bickerstaffe’s article plification, I know!), which even today tends to be drunk
(Issue 36) about the confusion he uncovered between the out of fancier glassware than wine. Could the mysteri-
lids of two sarcophagi, those of Rameses III and Setau. ous shedeh therefore have been a (?mulberry-based)
It is fascinating to see how errors that crop up are then brandy?
repeated in other publications. I’m not in the habit of writing letters to editors, but
I personally get quite amused when I read in this one bugged me. Sorry!
Egyptology books published in English, that the word
“cartouche” comes from a French word which means Joan Alam
cartridge; this is then followed by some theory about North Cave, East Yorkshire.
Napoleon’s soldiers supposedly thinking that they
looked liked their own cartridges. I am not sure that sol- Ed: There is no doubt from scientific testing that the
diers, particularly at that time, would have been at all jars in Tutankhamun’s tomb contained wine and shedeh,
interested in un-deciphered texts. and that both were made from grapes.
In fact the “Robert” French dictionary has cartouche as I can understand your comments about the image I
two separate words and entries: selected for use in the article. It comes from the tomb of
1. Cartouche, masculine noun, first appears as “car- Sennofer and is a very stylised version of a grape vine
toche” in 1547. It describes a “sculpted or drawn orna- and bunches of grapes (see below).
ment ... designed to receive an inscription, a motto or The artists have painted life-sized bunches of grapes
coats of arms”. Later, it came to refer to the “elliptical and very simplified vine leaves on the rough ceiling of
frame” containing hieroglyphs. the underground chamber, where lumps of rock, too
2. Cartouche, feminine noun, first appears as “car- hard to cut away, protrude from the surface. The grapes
tuche” in 1571. It describes the “conical or cylindrical are represented by a coloured base with the individual
cardboard or metal wrapper for the charge of a grapes shown on top. The scale shows they are grapes,
firearm”. but if one didn’t know the size, as reproduced to a small-
In other words, these are two words which merely look er scale in the magazine, they do look like mulberries.
alike; their different gender (and date) is the proof that
they are not the same word.
Sorry to disappoint you about Napoleon’s Grande
Armée. Dear AE,
Please keep up the good work of unearthing and I read with great interest the article on Ancient Egyptian
exposing inaccuracies. Wine in your June/July issue, but surely the mystery sur-
rounding the drink named shedeh is easily explained?
Micheline Edwards Its not all that different from wine – it’s actually a very
Sittingbourne, Kent. superior kind of sherry, that was served only in upper-
crust households, as in “May deah, would you care for a
Ed: Thanks, Micheline. As someone who has used muz- glass of shedeh before dinnah?”
zle-loading muskets and paper cartridges, I have never
been convinced by the connection. Thanks for putting Mick Oakey
the record straight and showing that those who selected Sussex Egyptology Society.
the word for the frame for royal names actually knew
what they were doing.
In the recent article on Egyptian wine (Issue 36) on page
18, “bunches of grapes” are illustrated. I’m only an
interested layperson in Egyptological terms, but I have
to say that I’m not seeing bunches of anything; I’m not
even seeing grapes – since when do grapes have their
seeds on the outside? Seriously, the fruit looks far more
like mulberries to me.
Now, the mulberry is heat-tolerant (I lived with it in
Pakistan) and its juice makes a very pleasant and refresh-
ing drink. Most fruit juices can be made into wine, and
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 51
Dear AE, We spent several months discussing the detail of the itin-
We were intrigued by the article in Issue 36 entitled erary with our guide.
“Visiting Middle Egypt”, particularly as I and my wife
had made a similar journey in April this year. The major Tony & Margaret Marson
difference between our visit to Middle Egypt and Ann Boreham, Essex.
Eglintine’s was that ours was part of an itinerary taking
in selected sites in Upper Egypt around Luxor as well as Ed: Unless you travel with a specialist tour company
Middle Egypt. We embarked on our trip from Cairo, that organises tours to Middle Egypt, this is a good way
driving down from Cairo on the first morning, spending of getting there, and the services of Egyptian guides are
a day and a half in Minya. essential. Many of the tour guides for tour companies
This was only our third visit to Egypt, so we are not as will undertake private tours like this, too.
comfortable with independent travel as Ann is and we
used an English-speaking tour guide who is also a qual-
ified Egyptologist, called Mahmoud. After testing him Dear AE,
out last year, we decided to arrange a custom itinerary I was so interested in your lead editorial in this month’s
taking in sites in Middle and Upper Egypt. magazine (Aug./Sept.). Having tried to read some of
Mahmoud arranged all transport (an air-conditioned Christian Jacques’ works I have wondered if many of
minibus), access to sites, security and accommodation. the problems encountered were due to poor translation.
The security included obtaining the pre-requisite per- However, having researched extensively in ancient
missions to cross from one Governate to another, Tourist Egyptian medicine, I can only wonder at his fantastic
Police escorts (for our minibus) and a plain-clothed knowledge and “discoveries” that we, the plebs, have not
policeman who accompanied us to all the sites we visit- yet unearthed (Beneath the Pyramids)!
ed around Minya. In Minya we stayed at the Mercure I find it quite common for people to accept every word
Minya, (otherwise known as the Nefertiti Hotel), which they read, or programme they see or hear on TV and
is located on Corniche El Nil Street, for two nights. The radio as the gospel truth. We have all seen this exhibited
Mercure Minya is comfortable hotel, set in lush green recently in Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, a rip-roaring
grounds. Our room had a view of the Nile. During our yarn, but yarn only!
day and a half in Middle Egypt we visited Beni Hasan, I find some WEA learners and groups I give talks to,
Tuna el-Gebel, Hermopolis and Tell el Amarna. new to Egyptology, often have confused fact with fiction
We visited Beni Hasan after arriving in Minya. This – “Well, they said on that programme ...” – so I encour-
was the busiest of the sites we visited; there were two age them to read my copies of the magazine, or better
groups of tourists (ourselves and a French couple) visit- still to subscribe themselves.
ing the tombs at the same time. Apparently these two I am reminded of a story my father told me as a child
groups (the French and ourselves) were the only tourists many years ago (back in the 50s) concerning an episode
that had visited Beni Hasan all day, although there were in the Archers when Grace was killed in the stable fire.
a number of tourists staying at the Nefertiti. Scores of floral ributes and wreaths were delivered to
The next day, we set off early to visit Tuna el-Gebel, the BBC for her funeral. People didn’t understand then
Hermopolis and Tell el Amarna. At Tuna el-Gebel and the difference between fact and fiction anymore than
Hermopolis we saw no other tourists. At Tell el Amarna many of the populous today.
we visited the Northern Tombs (Ahmose, Meryre, Pentu Keep up the good work dispelling these silly fables and
and Panehesey), The Royal Tomb, Boundary Stela, The dumbing-down of facts.
Small Aten Temple, Thutmose’s Studio and the Tomb
of Ay. We were escorted around by the Supreme Christine Humber
Council of Antiquities’ Inspector in charge of the Herne Bay, Kent.
Amarna site. At Tell el Amarna, there was another
group being shown around but we had the impression
that they were not tourists, but visiting archaeologists. Dear AE,
The day after we set off for Luxor via Abydos; this trip In the absence of any Egyptology Societies or meetings
took us twelve hours, with at least eight changes of in the North East of England, if there is enough inter-
Tourist Police escort. est I would like to form an Egyptian interest
It is difficult to put a cost to our time in Middle Egypt group/Egyptology Society in the Durham area. Please
as it was part of a larger trip; I can only say that it is like- contact me at
ly to be more expensive than travelling by rail from 33 Alder Park,
This type of arrangement provides a more “comfort- DURHAM DH7 8TU
able” alternative, and takes the pain and uncertainty out or phone 0191 378 2047.
of independent travel. It is certainly not an approach
that can be embarked upon on the spur of the moment. Kelly Thompson
52 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
Coming in future issues of
– Dying to be Egyptian – Ancient Hierakonpolis
Elisabeth Kerner looks at some of the lesser-known In the last of her series of six articles on work at
funerary monuments of London. Hierakonpolis supported by the Friends of Nekhen,
Renée Friedman looks at the numerous finds from the
– The Tomb of Harwa at Thebes site, at how they have been conserved and how they can
Christopher Naunton reports on excavation and con- reveal much about life in the ancient city.
servation work being undertaken in one of the largest
tombs in the Theban necropolis. Harwa was an important
official of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty and his splendid tomb – The Ancient Stones Speak
reflects his high status. Pam Scott continues her series of articles on how to read
and understand ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. The second
– Technology Innovators article looks at royal names.
of Ancient Egypt
or “How did they do that?” Denys Stocks has adopted a
hands-on approach to ancient technology, which, coupled – Ancient Egypt and The Bible
with his engineering background and detailed research, Michael Tunnicliffe investigates the closely intertwined
now means that he can re-create the ancient technology to history of ancient Egypt and the Holy Land and the ways
cut and carve some of the hardest of stones for statues, any evidence can be interpreted.
jars, sarcophagi and buildings. This, the first of what will
be a series of three articles, looks at the earliest periods of
Egyptian history up to the beginnings of the Dynastic
Period. Plus Reviews ... Events ... etc., etc.
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private individuals: scribes, viziers, offering-bearers,
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ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 53
for younger readers
Pomegranates It seems that pomegranates were first grown in Egypt in
the early New Kingdom but, since models of the fruit
hese days we are encouraged to eat and drink sen- have been found in Middle Kingdom tombs, travellers
T sibly and some foods are advertised as being more
healthy than others: pomegranates for instance.
The pomegranate is a fruit in a category all of its own.
must have known about it for some time before it was suc-
cessfully grown in Egyptian gardens.
It is neither a citrus fruit, like an orange, nor a stone fruit,
like a peach. On the outside it might look a bit like a rosy
apple, but on the inside it is completely different, even
though the German word for pomegranate is granatapfel.
In French it is known as grenade. You might think that this
is because the fruit resembles an old-fashioned grenade or
hand-held bomb, like the badge of the Grenadiers’
Regiment, but of course, it is the other way round. The
pomegranate was around for thousands of years before
the invention of gunpowder, so the hand grenade was
named after the fruit.
When I was a child, you only saw pomegranates in the
shops around Christmas time, and then they were bought
as a special treat. My grandmother remembered picking
out the red seeds with a hatpin. We were always warned
not to get the juice on our clothes because it stained and
the bitter-tasting pith could turn your fingers yellow.
The Egyptians knew a thing or two about pomegran-
ates, though the tree was not a native of Egypt. It origi-
nated in the region south of the Caspian Sea and the first
evidence for its cultivation comes from places like Turkey,
Syria and Iran. The Israelites were familiar with the
attractive shape and colour of the fruit, and it was used in
decorative weaving or embroidery on the hems of priest-
ly robes, (Exodus 28:33) as well as in the carved capitals of The first mention of a pomegranate tree in Egyptian
columns in the Temple of Solomon, (I Kings, 7:20). inscriptions comes from the tomb of Ineni, an official at
the court of Thutmose I, who recorded all the different
types of tree that he wanted to have planted on his estate.
A dried pomegranate was found among the food offerings
left in the tomb of Djehuty, a butler who served Queen
Hatshepsut. Thutmose III recorded many plants and
trees at the Karnak Temple, in a room now known as the
Botanical Gallery because of these scenes. Unfortunately
there are no inscriptions with these reliefs, and the paint
has gone, so we can only guess at what some of the plants
are. However, the pomegranate tree is quite distinctive.
In the famous tomb painting of Ipuy, showing a gar-
dener working a shaduf to raise water, several trees and
plants are clearly shown, with leaves and flowers of the
right shapes and painted the correct colours. The pome-
granate tree is identified by its trumpet-shaped red flow-
ers. The tree blooms in the hottest part of the year and
the bright scarlet flowers were ideal for use in floral
wreaths and bouquets.
Beads shaped like pomegranate flowers were threaded
into multi-coloured necklaces and collars. In
Above: a pomegranate. Photo: HW. Tutankhamun’s tomb, pomegranate leaves were woven
Above right: a silver vessel in the shape of a pomegranate, into a garland and an elaborate funerary collar made
from the tomb of Tutankhamun. Photo: RP. entirely of natural materials.
54 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
Tutankhamun also owned a large silver vase in the dis-
tinctive shape of the pomegranate fruit. Engraved around
the body of this vase is a frieze of pomegranate flowers.
The fruit’s shape is easily recognised among the offerings
of food presented at temples and in tombs. At the Abydos
Temple of Sety I, the king is shown offering to the gods a
tray of bread, fruit and roast ducks. In the centre of this
tasty meal is a pomegranate, painted in realistic colours.
The pomegranate has a thick rind, yellow blushing to
red. There is a bitter pithy layer between the tough outer
skin and the mass of seeds inside. Each seed is surround-
ed by a deep pink or red jewel-like capsule of juicy flesh.
Pomegranate tastes of pomegranate – there is no other
way to describe its flavour. It has a slightly acid sweetness
that is very refreshing. Above: a faience collar from the tomb of Tutankhamun,
Now, with all the pomegranate health drinks on the with beads representing pomegranates (the round yellow ones). Photo: RP.
market, you can taste it for yourself. The ancient Below left: modern products made from pomegranates.
You can taste the fruit enjoyed by Tutankhamun. Photo: HW.
Egyptians also drank pomegranate juice and it is still a
favourite drink in Cairo. The cordial or syrup made from
pomegranate juice is known as grenadine and this, or an low. The bark and root of the tree were recommended in
artificial version of it, traditionally provides the red part medicinal prescriptions for getting rid of parasitic worms.
of a “tequila sunrise” cocktail. Dried pomegranate seeds, It seems that the pomegranate, once it had become
used as a spice, and a thick, brown syrup, made from established as an Egyptian tree, quickly earned a place
under-ripe fruit, are popular ingredients in some Middle among the sacred plants of Egypt. The red colour of the
Eastern and North African cookery. The syrup is used to fruit was the colour used for the sun’s disc crown, emblem
give a sweet-and-sour flavour to dishes and is particularly of Ra. The many seeds it contains were symbolic of plen-
good with chicken or duck. ty and fertility. In the setting of the tomb, the offering of
It has been suggested that the ancient Egyptians made pomegranates would be seen as a way to promote the
a wine from pomegranates as a cheaper alternative to rebirth of the dead person to life in the next world. All in
grape wine. This drink, known as shedeh, is mentioned in all, the pomegranate tree was a useful and significant
love poems where a girl’s kiss is said to be sweeter than plant as well as being very attractive.
shedeh, but the link between pomegranates and shedeh has
not yet been proved (see AE36). The skin and pith of the Further reading:
pomegranate fruit were used as dyes to turn leather yel- The Garden in Ancient Egypt by Alix Wilkinson
An Ancient Egyptian Herbal by Lise Manniche
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Each new issue of Ancient Egypt is now available in PDF format for the bargain price of £3.25 - more details on the website.
In addition, the much sought after Issue 9 (Nov/Dec 2001) is now available as a FREE PDF download from
The Cat in Ancient Egypt many cat mummies (and indeed other animal mummies)
by Jaromir Malek. were made in ancient Egypt.
Published by the British Museum Press. This book is beautifully illustrated throughout and is a
ISBN 978 0 7141 1970 6. Papercover, price £9.99. delight to read, and you don't have to be a cat-lover to
enjoy and benefit from reading it.
As the author points out, the cat has remained essential-
First published in 1993, this is a revised and updated edi- ly unchanged since antiquity and perhaps our own modern
tion and earlier reviewers have called it “the definitive attitudes, feelings and prejudices towards cats are not dis-
account of the feline in Egypt”. similar to that of the ancient Egyptians. It begs the ques-
Most modern cats are thought be descended from the tion, “Are we very different, in spite of time, geography,
cats of ancient Egypt, providing a living link between the language and technology?”
ancient civilization and modern times, and the author
looks in some detail at the significance of cats in Egyptian
life, religion and art.
The first chapter “Running Free” looks at the various Cairo Cats: Egypt’s Enduring Legacy
wild cats found in ancient Egypt and indeed still present by Lorraine Chittock.
today. The ancient Egyptians’ closeness to the natural Published by Camel Caravan Press.
world makes it no surprise that cats were closely associated ISBN 977 17 2431 2. Papercover, price US$ 18.95.
with people, and that the ancient Egyptians may have even
encouraged this link, seeing the usefulness of cats for pest
control. It is not surprising that the cat (probably descend- This is really a gift book for the cat-lover, who will enjoy the
ed from wild “swamp cats” finally entered the home, and fine photographs of cats in modern Egypt, with their
the chapter “Together at Last” looks at the domesticated Egyptian owners and in their city environment. Lovers of
cat. ancient Egypt and cats will delight in the images of mod-
Although there is only limited evidence before the New ern cats amongst the ancient ruins.
Kingdom, we have a wealth of information from this peri- It clearly is written by a cat-lover, for fellow cat-lovers, for
od to show the it is the positive aspects
domesticated cat as a of cats throughout
loved and pampered ancient Egypt that fea-
pet, but also one that ture in the short text; it
would keep the home concentrates on the
free of rats and mice. ancient Egyptians’
Cats are shown apparently genuine love
under their owners’ and respect for cats,
chairs and even which were considered
hunting in the special and not just as
marshes with their domestic pets. (No men-
owners. tion here of the mass-
The ancient murder of millions of
Egyptians adopted cats in the later periods of ancient Egyptian history, to pro-
the attributes and vide offerings to the gods.)
appearance of many Whilst this book may be of limited use to anyone want-
animals into the pan- ing to find out about cats in ancient Egypt, as a gift for
theon of deities and friends or relatives who dote on cats, then it would be ideal.
the cat was no exception. “A Poor Man’s Lion” looks at the If they happen to have a passing interest in ancient Egypt,
many aspects of cats as divine beings in the often- complex too, then that will be a bonus.
world of Egyptian mythology.
“Pride Goes Before a Fall” is a fascinating chapter that
looks at the representations of cats in a series of drawings
on papyri and ostraca, most of which date to the New Photographing Egypt: Forty Years Behind
Kingdom and probably come from the Workmen’s Village the Lens
at Deir el Medina. In cartoon-type drawings, cats are
shown undertaking various human activities, seated on by John Feeney.
chairs, feasting, preparing their make-up and being waited Published by the American University in Cairo Press.
on by mice (the original Tom and Jerry!) These delightful ISBN 977 424 891 0. Papercover, price£8.50.
scenes tell us much about real life in ancient Egypt and the
attitudes of the poorer members of the population to the This small booklet (48 pages) features the photographs of
wealthy. John Feeney, who visited Egypt in 1963, intending to stay
The final chapter, “Buried With Full Honours!”, looks at one year, but who actually remained there for forty years.
mummified cats, both those that were domestic pets and The photographs are excellent. They are accompanied
the large number that were mummified as votive offerings. by minimal text and captions, but they need nothing more,
The author puts forward a number of theories why so for they speak volumes in themselves, reflecting various
58 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
aspects of Egypt, the Egypt’s Sunken Treasures
people (including Edited by Franck Goddio and Manfred Clauss.
Dorothy Eady “Omm Published by Prestel.
Sety” taken in 1980), ISBN 3 7913 3545 6. Hardback, price £30.
deserts, buildings and
the River Nile.
Of particular interest This large and impressive volume is the catalogue of the
are some photographs “Egypt’s Sunken Treasures” exhibition, currently on show
taken during the last in Germany and coming to Paris at the end of the year. (A
inundation of Egypt in UK venue for 2007 is possibly on the cards, too).
September 1964, with The exhibition comprises over four hundred and fifty
one particularly evoca- objects, many recovered from the sea bed at the sites of
tive and splendid image Alexandria, Herakleion and East Canopus. The range of
of the Colossi of objects is impressive, from granite colossal statues to gold
Memnon at Thebes, jewellery and small coins. Most date to the end of
reflected in the still Egyptian history and the time we know as the Ptolemaic
flood waters. Period, although some New Kingdom objects were clearly
Photographers will love this book, but visitors to Egypt moved to these sites in Ptolemaic times to decorate the
will enjoy seeing views of things that have changed forev- towns.
er, but also, thankfully, those that remain timeless – one of As a catalogue, this is an excellent publication with pho-
the enduring joys of this fascinating country. tographs and descriptions of all the objects and back-
ground information to put them in their historical context.
Exhibition catalogues such as this, featuring a wide range
of objects, always become major reference books for any-
Clothing Culture: Dress in Egypt in one interested in the subject or period, and this will cer-
the First Millennium AD tainly be the case with this book with its four hundred and
sixty-four packed and informative pages.
by Frances Pritchard. The fact that the archaeological sites are all under water
Published by The Whitworth Art Gallery, University has meant that, unlike land sites, they have not been dis-
of Manchester. turbed or plundered since they first first covered by the
ISBN 0 903261 57 X. Papercover, price £25. waters of the Mediterranean; it is only in recent years that
underwater archaeology has revealed them again.
Issue 37 of AE (August 2006) featured an article by The book is full of information about the excavation and
Frances Pritchard on the Exhibition at the Whitworth Art conservation process, complete with some amazing under-
Gallery; this is the full catalogue of the exhibits. water images of the objects as they were first found and
Space in the magazine allowed only a glimpse of the also of the process of lifting them from the depths back on
richness of the exhibition, and this large, superbly illustrat- to dry land again for the first time in almost two thousand
ed book is the first in-depth study of the textiles at the years.
Whitworth from this period. Impressive as many of the objects are, it is perhaps the
Many of the items were discovered by Flinders Petrie in images of them lying on the sea bed, surrounded by fish or
Egypt and are unique survivors of costume. seaweed that are most fascinating and almost haunting.
Egypt in the first Millennium was a rich cultural melting- Divided into sections and illustrated with general photo-
pot and this diversity is reflected in the clothing actually graphs as well as photographs of the exhibition objects (not
worn by people and taken with them to their graves. in their exhibition number order), with full descriptions
This book is an absolute must for anyone interested in and details of them, part I looks at “The Religion and its
the history of textiles and clothing. Some of the textiles are History”, part II looks at the many aspects of “Religion
stunning in their richness, colours and intricacy of design, and Beliefs” and part III at “Trade and Everyday Life”.
as the large-scale The discovery
colour photo- and conservation of
graphs in this cata- the objects is cov-
logue admirably ered in part IV,
show. The way the “From Excavation
cloth was made to Exhibition”, and
and cut for the gar- there is a full
ments is really fas- numeric catalogue
cinating and is of the works in the
explained concisely exhibition, listed
and clearly. If you and illustrated in
were not able to see part V. Part VI
the exhibition, do (Appendices) lists
not miss the cata- the contributors
logue. and various
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 59
acknowledgements, though what is sadly missing form this A Velvet Silence – Pinhole
otherwise excellent volume is a bibliography for further Photographs of Egypt and Israel
by David Wise.
Published by Urban Fox Press.
ISBN 1 905522 11 8. Price, papercover £14.
Special Edition (in purpose-made linen bag, dyed red
Karanis: An Egyptian Town in Roman with earth from Mount Sinai, with a bag of spices, a
Times pinhole photograph and a bookmark) £24.
Edited by Elaine K. Gazdaby. www.urbanfoxpress.com
Published by the Kelsey museum of Archaeology,
University of Michigan. This is a fascinating book and
ISBN 0 974187 3 0 5. Price US$10. whilst not “Egyptology” with a
touch of Israel as one would
Visitors to Egypt heading to the Faiyoum or Meidum expect, is rather more about
invariably stop, en route, at the Roman town of Karanis, modern images taken in a sim-
which is just off the modern paved road. ilar fashion to the early camera
The site is large and impressive with two small but well- obscura photographs. It is an
preserved Roman Period stone temples and the remains of interesting insight to photogra-
houses clearly visible; the outlines of stone and mud-brick phy as used by Flinders Petrie,
walls emerge from mountains of sand, debris and pot- alongside which an interesting
sherds. narrative transports the reader
Karanis can be a very confusing site to the visitor – what to the expanses of the desert
was the town really like, why was it situated there, when and ancient sites as well as
was it excavated and what was found there? The small revealing some interesting
museum at the site displays some fine objects, but it is dif- thoughts in the mind of the
ficult to understand them in their context. author.
This is, therefore, the publication you have been waiting The original idea for David Wise’s trip was a chance hit
for (although it is a re-printed/slightly revised version of an on a website citing that the oldest pinhole camera photo-
earlier publica- graphs were taken by William Flinders Petrie around the
tion of 1983, 1880s in Egypt and that in 1906 he was “pinholing” the
which fell out of pyramids at Giza. This led David to follow in Petrie’s foot-
print), and it steps.
details the dis- So follows a beautifully produced book, full of excellent
coveries of the camera obscura photographs, taken and developed by David
University of en route. They transport the reader back a hundred years,
Michigan whilst displaying the beauty and magic of Egypt’s birthright
Expedition to with a panorama of dunes, fossil outcrops and oases.
Egypt from Much of the narrative is based on the dozen visits David
1924 to 1935. has made to Egypt over the past years and whilst this is not
All the ques- in a continuous format, more in a diary style, there are illu-
tions you may ever have asked about Karanis are answered minating concepts and impressions his experiences have
here, and, as a frequent visitor to the site, I find that it now yielded. I especially enjoyed his encounters with the empti-
makes much more sense, having read this book. ness of the desert and its peace. His comments on his alto-
The contents cover the rural economy of the area in gether different reception in Israel are also intriguing and
Roman times, the excavations at the site, domestic life in enlightening.
the town, and the temples. Karanis was an important trad- The book’s presentation is slick and the end papers are
ing centre, probably mostly concentrating on exports to nicely produced from antique printing plates of an Arabic
Rome of grain grown in the fertile Faiyoum. poem, translated at the beginning of the volume. The
The archive images of the houses and temples as exca- amount of work needed to produce this interesting publi-
vated are excellent. (Many of the houses are now choked cation has very obviously been a labour of love. One can-
with sand and impossible to see.) The scale of some hous- not fail to feel the passion of David’s work, which manifests
es is remarkable – many were three stories tall, often being itself in every photographic plate. I found this truly gives
built directly over the remains of earlier houses. another dimension to those of us who love and have jour-
The book is richly illustrated (all in black and white) with neyed into Egypt, whether as Egyptologist, holidaymaker
photographs, line drawings and plans. These are truly fas- or armchair traveller.
cinating. Most interesting are perhaps the small finds from Chris Humber
the site, which include textiles, furniture, personal items, Chris works at the Herne Bay Museum for Canterbury
tools and toys, all of which help us to visualise Karanis as City Council Museums, is a tutor in Ancient Egyptian
a thriving, bustling centre of activity and trade in the studies for the WEA, is undertaking post-graduate research
Roman Period. in Egyptian medicine and researching Egyptian law –
RP crime and punishment.
60 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
The Middle Kingdom of Ancient Lost Nubia: A Centennial Exhibit of
Egypt Photographs from the 1905-1907
by Wolfram Grajetzki. Egyptian Expedition of the University
Published by Duckworth Egyptology. of Chicago
ISBN 07156 34356. Paperback, price £16.99. by John A. Larson.
Published by the The University of Chicago.
The period we know as the Middle Kingdom (2055-1630 ISBN 1-885923-45-7. Paperback. Price US$19.95.
BC) is regarded by many as one of the most important in
the history of ancient Egypt, when the arts flourished and
Egypt began its expansion and the beginings of the This is a catalogue produced for a recent exhibition held in
Egyptian Empire, reaching its peak in the New Kingdom. the Oriental Institute Museum in Chicago.
Objects from this period are plentiful, but monumental The display of of fifty-two historic photographs from the
structures are more rare and are often overshadowed, in Oriental Institute Archives coincided with the new perma-
the eyes of most visitors to Egypt, by the Old Kingdom nent installation of objects from ancient Nubia.
pyramid sites and by the New Kingdom and later temples. These photographic images document a variety of
In histories of Egypt, the Middle Kingdom is often not archaeological sites in Nubia, some of which have disap-
given the space and coverage it deserves. peared under the waters of Lake Nasser and others that
The ancient Egyptians themselves saw the Middle are so remote that few tourists have ever seen them.
Kingdom as a classical period of art, history and literature. These documentary images, taken during the consecu-
In the last two hundred years of excavations, more has tive winter field seasons of 1905-1906 and 1906-1907, rep-
been discovered about this important period in ancient resent just a small part of a corpus of nearly twelve hun-
Egyptian history, and the author has brought together in dred black-and-white negatives that were made by the
this new book all the latest information to produce a com- Egyptian Expedition of the University of Chicago, under
prehensive and detailed history. the direction of James Henry Breasted.
The book is divided into three main sections. The first The original glass-plate field negatives for the first season
gives a detailed history of the Middle Kingdom, starting of the expedition, 1905-1907, were made by German pho-
from the end of the Old Kingdom, to set the scene, tographer Friedrich Koch. For the expedition’s second field
through the First Intermediate Period, to the formation of season up the Nile, 1906-1907, Breasted decided to sup-
the Middle Kingdom. There then follows a reign-by-reign plement the professional glass-plate photography of Horst
account of the kings of the Middle Kingdon, detailing Schliephack with a second camera that used roll-film. The
their exploits, their military campaigns and their building smaller-format film negatives were used to take ethno-
works. graphic photographs, as well as candid photographs of the
The second section looks at the “Archaeology and expedition members at work.
Geography” of Egypt, nome by nome, and at the temples, All the photographs included in the exhibition are in this
tombs and towns that survive. Excavations at many of book, complete with a full description. Archive photogr-
these sites are described; they are why, and how, we now pahs such as these are always important and in the case of
know so much about this period. Houses at sites such as many of the sites illustrated here are of special importance.
Elephantine and Kahun have revealed many domestic Many of the Nubian temples were moved to save them
items which, along with many objects found in tombs from the rising waters of Lake Nasser, and the plates here
along the length of the Nile Valley, mean that we have a show them in the original location and condition. Some
detailed, fascinating and sometimes intimate glimpse of life temples could not be moved and these images are some of
at this time. the few records we have of them today.
The chapter on “Society” brings all the archaeological The importance of photographs is admirably shown in
evidence totgether and also introduces the literature of the one image of a splendid and intact colossal granite head of
period. Important documents give a rare insight into how a king found at Gebel Barkal in the Sudan. Although
the Egyptians organised unfinished, the head
their society and how they came from one of the
saw their lives. largest granite statues to
Useful appendices give a be found at this site,
full list of Kings and their and stood over eighteen
various names and another feet tall. The face of the
of Viziers and Treasurers. statue was superbly fin-
There is also a good and ished.
extensive bibliography. Some time after the
The author has produced photo was taken and
a very readable, informative before the statue
and scholarly book, which arrived in Khartoum,
will be ideal reading for any- the nose was broken off
one wishing to study or just and lost.
understand the importance
of the Middle Kingdom. RP
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 61
Egyptology Society Contact Details
Societies Within the UK Egyptian Cultural Bureau North Yorkshire Ancient Egypt Sudan Archaeological Research
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Group Society
Ancient Egypt & Middle East Egypt, Secretary: Jo Hirons. Chairman: Derek Welsby.
Society 4 Chesterfield Gardens, 26 St James Street, Wetherby, c/o The British Museum,
Secretary: Mrs Sue Kirk. LONDON W1J 5BG LEEDS LS22 6RS Great Russell Street,
2 Seathorne Crescent, Tel: 0207 491 7720 Tel: 01937 580703 LONDON WC1B 3DG
SKEGNESS, Culture_UK@btconnect.com Jo@seshen.fsnet.co.uk www.sudarchrs.org.uk
Lincolnshire PE25 1RP www.egyptculture.org.uk www.nyaegroup.org.uk
Sussex Egyptology Society
Tel: 01754 765341 Secretary: Carol Woods.
email@example.com Essex Egyptology Group Northampton Ancient Egyptian
Historical Society Overlee, Bracken Lane,
www.aemes.co.uk c/o Lesley Kelly. Storrington,
69 Links Avenue, Gidea Park, Secretary: Linda V. Amas.
52 Back Lane, Hardingstone, SUSSEX RH20 3HS
The Ancient World Society ROMFORD, Tel: 01903 743525
NORTHAMPTON NN4 6BY
Secretary: Sandy Davey. Essex RM2 6NH www.egyptology-uk.com
Tel: 01604 761519
The Post Office, Main Road, Tel: 01708 760330
Sibsey, firstname.lastname@example.org Tameside Egypt Group
BOSTON, www.charlottesegypt.com/EEG.htm Secretary: Anne Marie Lancashire.
Norwich Egyptology Society.
Lincolnshire PE22 0TN (Inaugural Meeting 30th September.) 152 Victoria Street, Newton,
Tel: 01205 750201 Friends of the Egypt Centre – Contact Dee Mason, HYDE,
email@example.com Swansea firstname.lastname@example.org Cheshire SK14 4AS
Secretary: Carolyn Graves-Brown. Tel: 0161 366 6810
Association for the Study of The Egypt Centre, email@example.com
Plymouth & District Egyptology
Travel in Egypt & the Near East University of Wales, Singleton Park, www.cedar-view.co.uk/Egypt
Secretary: Dr. Patricia Usick. SWANSEA SA2 8PP Secretary: Jane Wearing.
32 Carlton Hill, Thames Valley Ancient Egypt
Tel: 01792 295960 Crossfields, 72 Tavistock Road,
LONDON NW8 0JY Society
Tel: 0207 328 2735 Secretary: Philip Wickens.
www.swan.ac.uk/egypt/Friends/ Cornwall PL17 7DU 467 Basingstoke Road,
firstname.lastname@example.org Friends.htm Tel: 01579 382097 READING RG2 0JG
email@example.com Tel: 0118 987 2878
Bolton Archaeology and Friends of the Petrie Museum www.pades.co.uk www.tvaes.org.uk
Egyptology Society Secretary: Jan Picton.
Chair: Sara Vernon. Petrie Museum of Egyptian Poynton Egypt Group The Three Counties Ancient
13 The Hollies, Archaeology, Secretary: Liz Sherman. History Society
Breightmet Fold Lane, University College London, 7 Craig Road, Roy Jenkins,
BOLTON BL2 6PP Gower Street, MACCLESFIELD, Episcopi Cottage, Upper Wick,
Tel: 01204 362273 LONDON WC1E 6BT Cheshire SK11 7XN WORCESTER WR2 5SY
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01625 612641 Tel: 01905 425742
The Egypt Exploration Society www.ucl.ac.uk/FriendsofPetrie/ Poyntonegypt@fsnet.co.uk
Secretary: Dr Patricia Spencer. www.poyntonegyptgroup.org.uk Wessex Ancient Egypt Society
3 Doughty Mews, Horus Egyptology Society Chairman: Angela Dennett.
LONDON WC1N 2PG RAMASES (North Kent 4 Maclean Road,
Secretary: Christine Fishwick.
Tel: 020 7242 1880 Egyptology Society) BOURNEMOUTH,
53 St James Road, Orrell, Secretary: Annette Jones.
email@example.com Dorset BH11 8EP
WIGAN WN5 8SX 7 Gordon Avenue, Tel: 01202 241973
www.ees.ac.uk Tel: 01942 517958 QUEENBOROUGH, firstname.lastname@example.org
www.horusegyptology.co.uk/ Kent ME11 5BD
The Egypt Exploration Society –
Northern Branch Tel: 01795 663475 Wirral Ancient Egypt Society
Leicestershire Ancient Egypt email@example.com Secretary: Mrs Brenda Bridge.
Secretary: Prof. Rosalie David.
Society 9 Woodfield Road,
KNH Centre of Biomedical
Secretary: Carol Walters. SELKET (South Yorkshire BEBINGTON,
1109 Elizabeth House, Egyptology Society) Wirral CH63 3DX
School of Biological Sciences,
Waterloo Way, c/o Adam Cadwell. Tel: 0151 334 6721
The University of Manchester, firstname.lastname@example.org
LEICESTER LE1 1QP 37 Windermere Court,
MANCHESTER M13 9PT Tel: 0116 262 8807 North Anston,
Tel: 0161 275 2634 Nr SHEFFIELD S25 4GJ
The Manchester Ancient Egypt Tel: 01909 563629 Societies Outside the UK:
Egypt Society of Bristol AUSTRALIA
Chairman: Dr Aidan Dodson. Secretary: Colin Reader.
54 Rigby Road, Society for the Study of Ancient Ancient Egypt Society of
c/o Department of Archaeology,
MAGHULL, Egypt Western Australia
University of Bristol, Secretary: Keith Lucas.
43 Woodland Road, Merseyside L31 8AZ President: Colin Simcock.
Tel: 07932 665216 25 Norton Lees Lane, Norton Lees PERTH,
BRISTOL BS8 1UU SHEFFIELD
Tel: 0117 942 1957 email@example.com WESTERN AUSTRALIA
www.maes.org.uk Yorkshire, S8 9BA www.aeswa.org.au
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 0114 2581856
NEMES (North East Manchester CANADA
Egyptian Society (UK) Egypt Society) The Society for the Study of
Secretary: Linda King. Chairman: Alan Fildes. Egyptian Antiquities
Southampton Ancient Egypt
Hatton Villa, Westleigh, 65 Kersal Road, Prestwich, /Société pour l'Étude de
TIVERTON, MANCHESTER M25 9SN Secretary: Norman Pease. l’Égypte Ancienne
Devon EX16 7HY Tel: 0161 773 2877 Brambletye, Whitenap Lane,
email@example.com – Head Office, Toronto.
Tel: 01823 672649 (evenings) ROMSEY SO51 5ST P.O. Box 578
Kinglinjo@aol.com www.nemes.co.uk/ Tel: 01794 516352. Postal Station “P”
Egyptology Scotland North East Lincolnshire Staffordshire Egyptology Society Ontario M5S 2T1
Contact: Mrs Eleanor Robertson, Egyptology Association Secretary: Carole Dawes. CANADA
29 Dalmahoy Crescent, Chairman: Steve Johnson. Grange Farmhouse, Tel: 416-906-0180;
BRIDGE OF WEIR, Grae-Mor, Church Lane, Whitgreave Lane, Whitgreave, Fax: 416-978-3305
Renfrewshire PA11 3HZ TETNEY, STAFFORD ST18 9SP. firstname.lastname@example.org or
email@example.com Lincolnshire DN36 5JX Tel: 01785 226570 firstname.lastname@example.org
www.egyptologyscotland.com email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.geocities.com/ssea.geo
62 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
These societies offer a range of lectures, slide shows, trips & activities to anyone interested in the subject.
– Montreal Chapter/ REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA The ARCE has “Chapters” North Texas (Dallas) Chapter
Chapitre du Québec à Montréal throughout the USA: President: Rick Moran.
The Ancient Egyptian Society http://www.arce-ntexas.org/
C.P. 49022, Succ. Versailles Chairman: Eric Swanepoel. Arizona (Tucson) Chapter
MONTREAL, P.O. Box 48407, President: Suzanne Onstine. Northwest (Seattle, Washington)
Quebec, H1N 3T6 ROOSEVELT PARK, 585 S. Stephanie Loop, Chapter
CANADA 2120, TUCSON, President: Scott Noegel.
REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA Dept. of Near Eastern Languages &
tél./fax: 514-353-4674 AZ 85745, USA
email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org University of Washington,
http://sseamontrealvip.homestead.com The Egyptian Society of South http://web.arizona.edu/~egypt/ Box 353120,
Africa ARCE_AZ.htm SEATTLE,
Chairman: Keith Grenville. WA 98195, USA
P.O. Box 246, Georgia (Atlanta) Chapter
– Calgary Chapter email@example.com
PLUMSTEAD, President: Vincent Jones. http://home.earthlink.net/%7Earcenwor
President: Dr William D. Glanzman, 7801, firstname.lastname@example.org /ARCE_Northwest_Chapter.html
Department of Behavioural Sciences REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
Illinois (Chicago) Chapter Orange County Chapter –
Mount Royal College
SWEDEN President: Emily Teeter. California
4825 Mount Royal Gate S.W. email@example.com President: John Adams.
CALGARY, Alberta The Egyptological Society of http://www.arcechicago.com/ 481 S. Country Hill Rd.
CANADA Stockholm ANAHEIM,
Tel: (403) 440-6437/Fax: (403) 440-6659 c/o Eva Olinder, Massachusetts (Boston) CA 92808, USA
Cypressvägen 4 Chapter firstname.lastname@example.org
S-18248 ENEBYBERG, President: Dr Kathryn Bard. http://www.ocpl.org/lectures/
http://www3.telus.net/public/ SWEDEN email@example.com egypt.htm
www.efis.nu New Mexico (Albuquerque) Oregon (Portland) Chapter
Chapter President: John Sarr.
MALTA P.O. Box 15192
USA President: Mae Araujo.
The Egyptological Society of OR 97214, USA
American Research Center in
Malta Egypt New York (New York City) firstname.lastname@example.org
President: Helen Foster. 1256 Briarcliff Road NE Chapter
Flat 6 Block B, Building A, Suite 423W President: Billy Morin. Chapter
Olive Court, ATLANTA, Georgia 30306, USA. email@example.com Nick Picardo.
Triq il-Bahhara, Tel: 404 712 9854 firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax: 404 712 9849 Northern California (Berkeley)
QAWRA, email@example.com Chapter Washington, DC Chapter
MALTA http://www.arce.org/aboutarce/ President: Bob Busey. President: Samir Gabriel
firstname.lastname@example.org aboutarce.html http://home.comcast.net/%7Ehebsed/ http://www.arcedc.org/
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 63
Many Societies arrange regular lectures and events that are open to the public. Although Deadline for submission: all events
every effort is made to ensure that the details below are correct ANCIENT EGYPT cannot entries should be received by 31st
be held responsible for the accuracy of the information provided. As events may be sub- October for inclusion in the next issue.
ject to change or cancellation, or tickets may be required, please ensure that you contact To add an event to the AE Events
the appropriate body (as listed on our “Society Contacts” page) before attending. Diary, please contact the Editor.
14th Egypt Exploration Society – 4th Wessex Ancient Egypt
OCTOBER 2006 Study-Day.
The Sacred Animal Necropolis at North Saqqara.
Patricia Usick: An Architect’s Progress –
(See details on page 65.) Charles Barry’s Travels in Egypt.
1st Essex Egyptology Group.
Charlotte Booth: Current Research in 14th Egyptology Scotland – 5th Essex Egyptology Group.
Egyptology. Glasgow Branch. Rosalind & Jac Janssen: The Ancient
Simon Eccles: Ancient Egypt in the Newly Egyptian Market – A Practical Session.
2nd Tameside Egypt Group. Refurbished Kelvingrove Art Gallery and
Michael Tunnicliffe: Egypt & the Bible. Who Museum. 6th Tameside Egypt Group.
do you believe? John Johnson: Tombs & Buildings of the
14th Society for the Study of Village of Deir el Medina.
4th Staffordshire Egyptology Ancient Egypt –
Society. Nottingham Venue. 6th University of Bristol –
Joyce Tyldesley: Crime & Punishment in Chris Naunton: Watercolourists at the EES. Amelia Edwards Memorial
Ancient Egypt. Lecture.
17th Egypt Society of Bristol. David Singleton: The Qasr Ibrim Taharqo
5th North East Lincolnshire Tom Hardwick: Monarchs and Miners – Wall-Painting Rescue Project.
Egyptology Association. What went on in Sinai? At 5.15 pm in the Reception Room,
“Study evening” at Cleethorpes Navy Wills Memorial Building, Queen’s Road,
Club. 20th Poynton Egypt Group. Bristol 8.
Lecture TBA. Contact The Egypt Society of Bristol for
7th Plymouth & District further details.
Egyptology Society. 21st Leicestershire Ancient
Julie Hankey. Lecture TBA. Egypt Society. 7th The Egypt Exploration
Martin Davies: The Rescue of the Monuments Society – Northern Branch
7th RAMASES (North Kent) of Nubia. Neil Spencer: On Egypt’s Western Delta
Society. Frontier – New Results from Kom Firin.
Study Day on the Amarna Period. 21st Southampton Ancient Egypt 7pm in Lecture Theatre 1, Stopford
Society. Building (Medical School), The University
Mark Walker: Mummies at the Movies. of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester,
7th Thames Valley Ancient
Egypt Society. M13 9PT.
28th Sussex Egyptology Society –
Society AGM, followed by Lecture TBA.
Horsham Venue. 11th Egyptology Scotland –
Cathie Bryan: Tales of the Crypts – The Glasgow Branch.
7th Wessex Ancient Egypt
Egyptiansing Tombs of Paris & London. Campbell Price: Living in the Past? Elite Self-
Jaromir Malek: Some Unexpected Aspects of Preservation in the Twenty-fifth Dynasty.
28th The Bloomsbury Academy
– Conference. 11th Thames Valley Ancient
Mysteries of Amarna Egypt Society.
9th Manchester Ancient Egypt
(See details on page 65.) Lecture TBA.
Michael Rice: Egyptian Hounds.
11th University of Bradford –
9th Wirral Ancient Egypt Saturday Day-School.
Society – Afternoon NOVEMBER 2006 Daily Life in Ancient Egypt.
Lecture. (See details on page 66.)
Tony Judd: When the Desert was Green –
Hunters and Herdsmen in Egypt’s Savannahs. 1st&2nd The British Egyptian 13th Manchester Ancient Egypt
Society – Conference. Society.
11th Friends of the Egypt 50 Years Since Suez: from Conflict to George Hart: Alexander the Great and his
Centre – Swansea. Collaboration. Conquest of Egypt.
Lucia Gahlin: Purity & Order in an Egyptian (See details on page 66.)
Household. 13th Wirral Ancient Egypt
1st Staffordshire Egyptology Society – Afternoon
14th Ancient Egypt & Middle Society. Lecture.
East Society. Liverpool University Bursary Award
Bob Roach: Pharaonic Stones – The Rocks of
Elaine Leachman: The Life of Howard Carter Student: Report on Fieldwork.
Egypt & their Uses.
& John Bimson: Now you see them, now you
don’t – the strange case of David and Solomon. 14th Egypt Society of Bristol.
4th Plymouth & District Paul Nicholson: Egypt in the Third Dimension
14th Egyptian Society (UK). Egyptology Society. – Stereophotography in Egyptology and
Paul Nicholson: The Berenike Project (with Kasia Szpakowka: Nightmares & Other Archaeology.
3D slides). Ancient Egyptian Demons in the Dark. (Note: This lecture will be in 3D.)
64 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
15th Bolton Archaeology and 2nd Wessex Ancient Egypt 9-10th University of Wales,
Egyptology Society. Society. Swansea – Conference.
Shirley Addy: Rider Haggard and Egypt. AGM and Grand Christmas Party, fol- The Exploited and Adored – Animals in Ancient
7.30pm at Bolton Town Hall. lowed by a lecture by Christine el Mahdy. Egypt.
(See details on page 66.)
16th North East Lincolnshire 3rd Essex Egyptology Group.
Egyptology Association. Christmas Party. 11th Manchester Ancient Egypt
Study Evening. Society.
4th Northampton Ancient Lecture TBA.
17th Poynton Egypt Group. Egyptian Historical Society.
John Johnson: The Wars of Kamose. Dylan Bickerstaffe: Strong Man, Wrong Tomb 11th Wirral Ancient Egypt
– The Mystery of Belzoni’s Sarcophagus. Society.
18th Egyptian Society (UK). AGM & Christmas Party.
Irving Finkel: Board Games in Egypt. 4th Tameside Egypt Group.
Christmas Party. 12th The Ancient World Society.
18th Leicestershire Ancient Christmas Party.
Egypt Society. 5th The Egypt Exploration
Colin Reader: Saqqara – A Personal Society – Northern Branch 12th Egypt Society of Bristol.
Perspective. Judith A. Corbelli: Funerary Decoration in George Hart: The Art and Myth of Kingship
Graeco-Roman Egypt. in Ancient Egypt.
7pm in Lecture Theatre 1, Stopford
18th Southampton Ancient Egypt
Building (Medical School), The University
Society. 16th Leicestershire Ancient
of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester,
Martin Davies: The Drowned Land of Nubia Egypt Society.
and the Rescue of its Monuments. Charlotte Booth: Parallels between Ancient
Egyptian Religion and Modern Hinduism.
6th Friends of the Egypt
18th Sussex Egyptology Society – Centre – Swansea.
Worthing Venue. Kim Ridealgh: Hatshepsut – Puppet, Martyr
Pamela Rose: Recent Work at Qasr Ibrim. or Usurper?
21st Egyptology Scotland –
6th Society for the Study of
Aberdeen Branch. Ancient Egypt – Derby
Kenneth Kitchen: Foreigners in Egypt and Venue. 14th October, 2006
Egyptians Abroad? Penny Wilson: Hearts, Birds and Bas– A STUDY-DAY –
Flight of Fancy. THE EGYPT EXPLORATION
22nd Friends of the Egypt
Centre – Swansea. 6th Staffordshire Egyptology SOCIETY
Wolfram Grajetzki: A Forgotten Period – The Society.
Egyptian Thirteenth Dynasty. Christmas Event. THE SACRED ANIMAL
NECROPOLIS AT NORTH
25th North East Lincolnshire 8th North East Lincolnshire SAQQARA
Egyptology Association – Egyptology Association. Speakers:
Day-School. Study Evening. Dr Jeffrey Spencer: Patterns of Development
Amenhotep III, Amarna & Mummies. in the Saqqara Necropolis;
Speakers: Joanne Fletcher & Stephen 9th Egyptian Society (UK). Professor Harry Smith: The Late Period
Buckley. Christmas Party, followed by Aidan Development of the Saqqara Necropolis into a
Dodson: Saites, Sand a Scottish Pretender. City of Sacred Animal Cult Temples and
25th RAMASES (North Kent) Catacombs;
Society. 9th Egyptology Scotland – Mrs Sue Davies: Aspects of the Sacred Animal
Wine & Wisdom Evening. Glasgow Branch. Necropolis as revealed by the Material Finds and
Ian Shaw: The Harem Palace in Ancient Egypt. Documentary Evidence;
30th Horus Egyptology Society. Dr Paul Nicholson: The North Ibis Catacomb,
Charlotte Booth: Sex, Marriage and 9th Society for the Study of and the Sacred Bronzes.
Childbirth. Ancient Egypt – Derby At the Brunel Gallery Lecture Theatre,
Venue. School of Oriental and African Studies,
Penny Wilson: Hearts, Birds & Bas – A Thornhaugh St, Russell Square,
Flight of Fancy. London, WC1H 0XG.
DECEMBER 2006 9th Southampton Ancient Egypt
Admission by ticket (£25 standard, £15
student) only; apply to the EES London
Christmas Social and Lecture.
2nd Ancient Egypt & Middle
Michael Feeney: Akhenaten, Heresy, and
East Society. Symbolism – a New Perspective.
Christmas Lectures & Dinner. 28th October, 2006
Speakers: Martin Davies: The Drowned 9th The Egypt Exploration
Land of Nubia & the Rescue of its Monuments Society. THE BLOOMSBURY
& Joyce Filer: Mummies I have Met. AGM, lecture and reception in the after- ACADEMY
noon/early evening in the Khalili Theatre, The Bloomsbury Academy stages a
2nd Thames Valley Ancient Main Building, SOAS, London. major conference, involving eminent
Egypt Society. Ian Shaw: The Royal Harem in Ancient Egypt. Egyptologists, in May and October each
Lecture TBA. Details in the EES Autumn mailing. year. The next event will be: (cont. over)
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 65
MYSTERIES OF AMARNA 11th November, 2006 Cost £40 for both days, £25 for one.
DAY-SCHOOL – Optional special conference “Tapas”
From 10.30 - 17.30, 28th October, evening £25.
2006, at the UCL Bloomsbury Theatre,
THE UNIVERSITY OF Contact:
University College London. BRADFORD The Egypt Centre, University of Wales
Speakers: DAILY LIFE IN ANCIENT EGYPT Swansea, Singleton Park, Swansea,
Dr Elzabeth Frood: Assessing Belief and Lectures by Joyce Tyldesley and Steven SA2 8PP;
Practice – the Origins and Developmemnt of the Snape. Tel. 01792 295960
Aten Cult. Held at John Stanley Bell Lecture www.swansea.ac.uk/egypt
Dr Aidan Dodson: Father and Son – Did Theatre, Richmond Building, University
Amenhotep III and IV Rule Together? and 20th - 24th February, 2007
Decline and Fall – the Enigma of Tutankhamun’s Ticket price £17.50 (concessions £14).
Last Years. Tickets available from IN LANZAROTE
Dr Christian Loeben: In Search of Primeval Short Course Unit, School of Lifelong
Unity – the Reasons for Akhenaten’s Persecution of VI WORLD CONGRESS ON
Education and Development, University MUMMY STUDIES
Amun. of Bradford, Bradford BD7 1DP.
Dr Marion Eaton-Krauss: Ankhesenamun – Enquiries: (01274) 233217 or 233213. In Teguise, Lanzarote, Canary Islands,
Sister, Wife and Widow of Tutankhamun. Email: email@example.com Spain, the congress will look at mummifi-
Tickets £34, from: cation of the dead in antiquity (not just in
The Box Office, 9th - 10th December, 2006 ancient Egypt) and papers from experts
The UCL Bloomsbury, 15 Gordon Street, CONFERENCE – from around the world will present their
London WC1H 0AH THE EGYPT CENTRE, latest findings and research.
Tel: 020 7388 8822 UNIVERSITY OF WALES, Topics covered will include:
www.egyptology-uk.com/bloomsbury History of Mummy Research,
SWANSEA Research Methods,
THE EXPLOITED AND ADORED: Conservation of Mummies,
1st - 2nd November, 2006 ANIMALS IN ANCIENT EGYPT Funerary Archaeology,
CONFERENCE – The Conference seeks to explore the Paleopathology and Paleoparasitology,
role of animals in Egypt from ancient Applied Technology and
IN LONDON, PRESENTED times up to and including the Islamic Mummification Methods and Animal
BY THE BRITISH Period. Themes include: defining and cat- Mummies.
EGYPTIAN SOCIETY AND egorising the animal; the relationship The historic town of Teguise is located
THE LONDON MIDDLE between people and other animals; the in the centre of the Island, about ten kilo-
EAST INSTITUTE influence of animals upon Egyptian socie- metres from the coast. An attractive pro-
ty and religion; modern costructions of gramme of parallel activities will be pro-
50 YEARS SINCE SUEZ: FROM animals in ancient Egypt. vided for persons accompanying delegates.
CONFLICT TO COLLABORATION Around twenty international speakers For more information, visit the web site:
will include: http://www.6mummycongress.com
A landmark forum on the evolving rela- Miriam Bibby (University of Manchester),
Harold Hays (Leiden University), 23rd - 24th June, 2007
tionship between Egypt and the United
Kingdom. Angela McDonald (University of Glasgow), CONFERENCE –
At the School of Oriental and African Michael Rice, IN LONDON
Studies, University of London, Hilary Wilson (University of Southampton),
Alan Lloyd (University of Wales, Swansea). THE EGYPT EXPLORATION
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, SOCIETY 125TH ANNIVERSARY
London WC1H 0XG. The Conference will be open to all and
aims to encourage research into the role of CONFERENCE
Senior politicians and the Ambassadors
from both countries, as well as experts in animals in ancient Egypt as well as to At The School of Oriental and African
economics, business, cultural heritage and increase public awareness of issues. Studies, University of London. Contact
relations, Egyptology, the arts and educa- (continued) the EES for details.
tion will consider how Egypt and the UK
can develop closer ties in these areas,
through government and the public and Found: Back Issue
In the last issue it was mentioned that AE 9 (Oct/Nov 2001) had sold
Also taking part will be Vivian Davies,
out sometime ago, and that it remains the only back issue not available.
Keeper, Department of Ancient Egypt There was also an appeal for any readers with “spare” copies to get in
and Sudan at the British Museum, Dr touch with the Editor.
Gaballa Ali Gaballa (Professor of
As if on cue, there is now a downloadable version of this long lost
Egyptology, ret. Cairo University);
Nicholas Warner (Gayer Anderson gem available free from our website in a handy pdf format.
Museum, Cairo); and Professor Fekry Just visit: www.ancientegyptmagazine.com/pdf-09.htm
Hassan (Professor of Archaology, UCL).
ANCIENT EGYPT is owned, and published bi-monthly, by Empire Publications.
For further information please contact
McKenna Campaigns (Forum publicity The contents of this magazine are protected by copyright and nothing may be reproduced
agents): Carol McKenna: 01962 793003; without the permission of the Editor.
07979 805169 or Andrew McKenna: The Publishers and Editor are not liable for statements made and opinions expressed in
01962 793007; 07748 793041. this publication. Unless otherwise stated all images are from the Editor’s
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See also the British Egyptian Society web-
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66 ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006
ANCIENT EGYPT explores the WORLD WIDE WEB ...
THE MIDDLE KINGDOM – PART TWO
This month’s NETFISHING continues its look at the history of Egypt by seeing what the World Wide Web has to say about
the Middle Kingdom, a period of history that often gets overlooked when compared with the magnificence of
the Old Kingdom and the New Kingdom.
In the last issue we gave an historical outline of the Middle Kingdom, whilst in this issue we look at some other aspects of the Period,
concentrating on the literary, artistic and military heritage that the Middle Kingdom (c. 2055-1650 BC) has left behind.
he Old Kingdom is often referred to as “The Pyramid Age”, because of the huge monuments that survive at Giza, and the
T New Kingdom is renowned for its fabulous wealth, the treasures of Tutankhamun, and the beautiful temples that still stand
in Luxor today, but what remains of the Middle Kingdom? Unfortunately, remarkably little. Its pyramids (referred to in the
previous issue) were made of mud-brick rather than stone and so they have not survived at all well. Its temples were dismantled and
rebuilt by later pharaohs, and its great fortresses in Nubia have all been covered by the waters of Lake Nasser. What survives from
this Period is, therefore, largely the literature and the artwork.
More than anything else, the Middle Kingdom is renowned for its great literature, and the Period is often spoken of as being
“Egypt’s Shakespearean age”. Two of the most famous stories of this period are:
The Tale of Sinuhe – in translation: http://www.touregypt.net/storyofsinuhe.htm
in hieroglyphs: http://jennycarrington.tripod.com/JJSinuhe/index.html
The Eloquent Peasant – in translation: http://touregypt.net/featurestories/peasant.htm
in hieroglyphs: http://www.rostau.org.uk/ep/index.html
In addition, the quality of the jewellery of the Middle Kingdom is so exquisite that it set a standard that was never surpassed.
Indeed, the trinkets of the New Kingdom seem crude in comparison. Much of the MK jewellery was found in the pyramids of the
kings’ daughters, buried in the Faiyum. To see some of these impressive jewels visit:
and then click on a piece that captures your eye. The pectoral of Princess Mereret is stunning; it shows her father, Senusret III, as a
griffin, crushing the enemies of Egypt beneath him. The anklet of Mereret is also interesting as, at 34cm, it seems far too large to fit
around a young girl’s ankle – but it is not. Some of my students made a copy at Manchester University and found it was a perfect fit,
with the gold claws hanging down on either side of the foot to warn away any intrusive scorpions!
The tombs of the Middle Kingdom were largely undecorated, all the emphasis being placed on the coffins and the “tomb mod-
els”, which accompanied the deceased. The best examples of these come from the tomb of Meket-Ra, refer to:
and for a close-up of some of the details of the boat models visit:
Two other famous tombs of the Period are to be found at Aswan. As these tombs belong to the Nomarchs (governors) of the region,
they are well decorated and are good examples of the artwork of the Period. For Sarenput I; refer to:
(Be sure to scroll through the pictures to see the carvings of his favourite dogs.)
Also visit the tomb of Saranput II, which features a rare depiction of an elephant:
One of the measures that Egypt took to maintain its security was to annex the lands to the south of Aswan, the lands of Nubia.
Military fortifications were erected to control the river traffic and to act as trading posts and transshipment points for the large
amounts of gold (nub) that were mined in this area. The largest of these “forts” was the one built at Buhen, which had very elaborate
defences; refer to:
for a “Virtual Tour”.
One of the most important sites to have survived from the Middle Kingdom is the town of Kahun, built to house the workers who
constructed the kings’ pyramids. The town appears to have been suddenly abandoned, leaving behind much evidence of the daily
lives of the inhabitants: their tools, domestic goods and even children’s toys. Refer to:
for an outline and to the “Virtual Kahun Project” site for more detailed information:
ANCIENT EGYPT October/November 2006 67
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