Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Review of "The Secrets of the Great Pyramid"

How did the ancient Egyptians build the Great Pyramid? This is one of the great mysteries of ancient Egypt. Several theories have been proposed, some of them have even been somewhat rational. But they all have suffered from one or more flaws.

One of the old theories is that the Egyptians built a ramp that snaked around the exterior of the pyramid. Workers would haul multi-ton stones up these ramps so that they could be fit into place. But this theory suffers from two problems: how do you line up the sides of the pyramid when it is buried under a huge ramp and where did the material used to build the ramp go after the pyramid go? Surely the Egyptians did not cart hundreds of tons of materials away in a massive clean up project once the pyramid was completed.

The authors of this book have turned this theory inside out, literally! They believe that the Egyptians did build a ramp and that it is still there. They built it inside the pyramid, not outside it!

This book explains the theory in detail and provides a lot of evidence to support it. One of the most interesting parts of the book is a description of the computer simulations that were created to see if the theory actually works. The simulations were able to explain cracks in the ceiling of the king’s chamber that Egyptologists have not been able to explain. The simulations also provide a time plan for when each part of the pyramid were completed and several of the illustrations show the pyramid at various stages of completion.

This book is concise, well written and explains the theory clearly. It is a very enjoyable read. Is the theory right? I cannot judge that since I am not an engineer. One of the authors is an engineer and that does lend credibility to the ideas presented in this book.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Discovery in Egypt's Fayum

Archaeologists are reporting the discovery of a necropolis in the Fayum that contains "dozens of burials" that are "as old as 4,000 years". Not much information is available, but I can provide a link to a film interview with Dr. el-Ayedi (who is with the Egyptian Antiquities Service). You may have to hit the refresh button after you click on the link to get past the commercial.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Review of "The Tomb in Ancient Egypt"

I have posted a review of "The Tomb in Ancient Egypt" (by Aidan Dodson and Salima Ikram) on Amazon.

Here is a link to the review.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Four New Temples Found in the Sinai

Egypt is reprting the discovery of four new temples near the Suez Canal. The temples date to the New Kingdom and were part of a town that was probably populated by the Egyptian military in charge of securing Egypt's northeast border.

Here is a link to the article.

I also found a review of Trevor Bryce's book "Life and Society in the Hittite World", which is one of my favorite books on the Hittites. It is up to date (published in 2003) and well written. I would definately recomend the book.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

An Old Babylonian Lawsuit

In an earlier post I mentioned that an adopted child in the Old Babylonian Period had the same rights, under most circumstances, as a biological child. A document relating to a lawsuit over a garden confirms this. The translation below is from Huehnergard, John, Key to a Grammar of Akkadian. Harvard Semitic Studies, vol. 46. 1997.

“Mar-Amurrim purchased the orchard of Sin-Magir for silver. Anum-bani brought suit for that orchard according to the royal decree. When they went to the judges, the judges sent them to the gate of Ninmar, and Anum-bani said to the judges of the gate of Ninmar, in the gate of Ninmar, as follows: ‘I am the son of Sin-magir; he adopted me; my sealed document was not broken (i.e., annulled).’ Thus he said to them, and so they confirmed the orchard and estate to Anum-bani. Sin-muballit again laid claim against Anum-bani for the orchard; they went to the judges, and when the judges sent them to the city and the witnesses, the previous witnesses of Mar-Amurrim said, ‘In the gate of Ninmar Anum-bani swore, “I am the son,” and so they confirmed the field and estate to Anum-bani. Sin-Muballit may not bring suit again. He swore by the life of Samas, Marduk and King Hammurapi.”

A man named Sin-Magir sold an orchard to Mar-Amurrim. Sin-magir’s adopted son brought suit claiming that the field should be his since he was Sin-magir’s adopted son and his adoption had not been annulled. Apparently the owner of the field could not sell it since he had an adopted son who could claim it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Two Upcoming Gallery Talks at the Met

For those of you who will be in New York in May, there will be two gallery talks in the Metropolitan Museum's Egyptian Gallery.

On May 13, at 10:00 a.m., there will be a talk entitled:
Medicine at the Metropolitan Museum—Ancient Egypt

On May 16th, at 7:00 p.m., there will be another gallery talk, this one entitled:
Continuity and Change in Ancient Egyptian Art

Click on either of the two links above for more information. I am going to try and attend the May 16th gallery talk.

Scepticism Surrounds "Cleopatra's Tomb"

Dr. Zahi Hawass, head of the Egyptian Antiquities Department, has announced that he feels the finding of the tomb of Cleopatra and Mark Antony is near. Some Egyptologists are suggesting that some people should temper their enthusiasm a bit. Personally, I will be tempering my enthusiasm. It would be a fascinating discovery, but we shall see.......

Here is a link to the story.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Egyptians Searching for Clepatra's Tomb

Archaeologists will begin looking next week for the tomb of Cleopatra and Mark Antony in three locations they have singled out as possible sites of the couple's tomb. Objects from Cleopatra's reign have been found in the area. Also, a mask, which MIGHT have belonged to Mark Antony, has also been found in the area.

Here is a link to the story.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Egypt's Seventeenth Dynasty (Again)

In 1987 I submitted a paper in which I created what I believe to be an accurate sequence for the Kings of the Seventeenth Dynasty. I presented this material (with some updates) in posts I made to this blog between January 31, 2009 and February 18, 2009.

One of my conclusions is that Sekkemre Shedtowy Sobekemsaf was the predecessor of two Kings named Intef. While surfing the web recently, I found a post in Wikipedia which quotes Kim Ryholt (in the book "The Political Situation In Egypt in the Second Intermediate Period") as claiming that a door jamb had been found in 1993 in which Sobekemsaf was listed as the father of two Kings named Intef. This would seem to confirm this part of my conclusions in sequencing the Dynasty Seventeen Pharaohs.

However, this post claims that Nebkheperre Intef is one of the two Intefs that Sobekemsaf fathered. This makes no sense to me however. Nebkheperre should be a predecessor of Sobekemsaf's (see my post on this topic). The two Intefs that I believe Sobekemsaf fathered are Sekhemre Wepmaat Intef and Sekhemre Herhermaaat Intef. It should be noted that the inscription quoted in the Wikipedia entry reads "Antef begotten of Sobekem....". This inscrption does NOT specifically state that Nebkheperre is the "Antef" in question.

As soon as I obtain Dr. Ryholt's book I will post again on this topic.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Kushite Invasion of Egypt in Dynasty 17

As I mentioned in the previous post, I have some more to add to one of the articles mentioned there, specifically the story of the discovery of a text at el-Kab detailing a Kushite invasion of Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period.

Here are some more internet references to this story:

1) A story that mostly repeats the London Times article.
2) A Reference in Wikepedia that quotes from some scholarly articles on this topic.
3) A story in Egypt's daily newspaper (Al-Ahram).

Somehow I was not aware of this discovery, even though it was made six years ago. I will have still more to say about this discovery in a later post.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Ancient Egypt in the London Times

I have found a number of articles on ancient Egypt in the London Times. Some of these stories go back a bit in time, but I thought all of you might be interested in them.

1) New Egyptian Gallery in the British Museum.
2) Britan's Love Affair with Ancient Egypt.
3) Tutankamen's Latest Visit to Britan.
4) Death and the Afterlife.
5) Kush Invades Egypt in the Seventeenth Dynasty.
6) Using New Technology to Examine an Ancient Mummy.
7) A Recent Forged Statue of an Amarna Princess.
8) Egypt's "Other" Pyramids.
9) Hatshepsut's Mummy Identified.
10) Another Story About Hatshepsut's Mummy.

The fifth article above is the most interesting from a historical point of view and I will have a bit more to say about it in an upcoming post.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Nefertiti Bust is Two Faced?

No big deal on ths story, but the famous bust of Nefertiti in Berlin has been CT scanned and apparently there is a slightly different face carved in the stone under the stucco. Possibly someone ordered a change in the statues after the face was carved in stone. The alterations were done via the stucco covering and paint.

Here is a link to the story.