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About this Collection
This Multi-disciplinary Egyptology Collection focusses on scientific information from different fields, featured artefacts, educational information and news.
It's posted by a graduate in Egyptology (University of Manchester,
UK 2011-16 - all views expressed are my own) in an effort to share current Egyptological research, information and discussion with a broad audience.
☥ Please post your questions/comments after reading the article/infographic/post.
☥ Posts are fact checked: Edits and corrections may be made in the light of new information or research.
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image: Universal Order: Ma'at
Ma’at is the embodiment of Truth, Order, Justice and Harmony
image hieroglyphic text translation:
Hail, Usekhnemt, who comes from Heliopolis: I have not committed sin.
Hail, Fenti, who comes from Hermopolis: I have not stolen.
Hail Amkhaibit, who comes from Qernet: I have not slain man or woman.
Hail Arfiemkhet who comes from Asyut: I have not stolen property of God.
I belong to Ma’at.
Artist: Aakheperure https://goo.gl/EENxxc
Photo

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Understanding the news: 27 more statues of Sekhmet excavated, New Kingdom
This makes a total of 287 statues of the fierce lioness-headed daughter of Ra and consort of Ptah found at the site of Amenhotep III's now largely ruined mortuary temple on the west bank of the Nile since excavations began in 1998.
If you have seen pictures of the so called "Colossi of Memnon" then you have seen the site of this temple which is being excavated by Hourig Sourouzian (Director of the Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project at Kom el Hettan).

Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri announced that the statues were all made of black granite and were up to 2m tall. Sourouzian noted that the statues varied in preservation with those found in upper strata in better condition than those in lower ones.

The Mortuary temple served the cult of the ka of the King who was buried in the distant mountains to the west in the Valley of the Kings and served as an interface to facilitate and ongoing relationship between the living and their king.

Sekhmet is a solar goddess of divine judgement who punishes the enemies of the supreme god Ra. She has a dual nature, as the bringer of disease, misfortune and pestilence to the enemies of the gods, she was also considered the patron of healers and doctors and many medical papyri include prayers and rituals designed to appease Sekhmet on behalf of the patient as part of treatment regimes. Her unique position of power in the Egyptian pantheon is indicated by her iconography of solar disk and uraeus (cobra).

Further reading:
Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III World Monument Fund:
https://www.wmf.org/project/mortuary-temple-amenhotep-iii

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Armchair Archaeology, Virtual Dig: Amara West
Not everyone can have the opportunity to visit a real dig site, but advances in technology are allowing more and more people to experience and learn about sites in a non invasive and safe way. These models are also invaluable as records of sites and can be very useful to students and scholars.

The link below will take you to the E13 section of Amara West by Neal Spencer & Susie Green based on excavations carried out at the site 2009-2015. These models were made using photography rather than laser or other scanning/survey work. I think you would agree that the results achieved are very good!

Use your left mouse to rotate the view and the right mouse to change the height on your desktop. Click the numbers to read more about the features of the site.

"We revealed a fascinating history, in which industrial areas and large-scale storage facilities were converted into, and in some cases built over, with small houses. Through photogrammetry, we have created a series of 3D models for research purposes as we work towards final publication of the excavations. Here we present versions of these models optimised for the web, with features and points of interest.
The models were made by Susie Green."
Source: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/research_projects/all_current_projects/sudan/amara_west_research_project/explore_amara_west_in_3d.aspx

You can also check out a typical ancient Egyptian house at the site: https://skfb.ly/WLPF
And examine a possible ancestor bust found in the house:
https://skfb.ly/XRnq

More about Amara West:
http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/research_projects/all_current_projects/sudan/amara_west_research_project/the_town_of_amara_west.aspx

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Happy 115th Anniversary to the Egyptian Museum, Cairo Nov 28

"CAIRO - 29 November 2017: Antiquities Minister Khaled el Anani witnessed on Tuesday a ceremony to mark the 115th anniversary of the Egyptian museum's foundation in Cairo.

The ceremony was attended by a number of ministers, MPs, governors, and foreign ambassadors to Egypt.

At the beginning of the ceremony, the attendees observed a minute of silence for the victims of Friday's terrorist attack on Al Rawda Mosque in North Sinai.

"The Egyptian museum will never fade away, and will remain a source of admiration," Annai said, adding that the museum will be renovated soon to display new artifacts.

A press conference will be held on December 9 to unveil a big archaeological discovery in Luxor governroate, he noted.

Annai also inaugurated an exhibition displaying 86 artifacts for two weeks."
Source: http://www.egypttoday.com/Article/4/34645/Anani-attends-ceremony-to-mark-Egyptian-museum-s-115th-anniversary
See also:
The Ministry of Antiquities Instagram page ministry_antiquities
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pWgT-X3gvk

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Understanding the news: New discoveries at Elephantine and Kom Ombo
Two interesting discoveries were announced this week by the Ministry of Antiquities.
An Egyptian mission discovered a new inscribed limestone block as part of flood mitigation work and German-Swiss group discovered a workshop.

Limestone block The block dates from the Greek Period and features the cartouche of King Philip III along with a prayer to the crocodile god Sobek. The Block is not shown in the article linked below but an image was released by the Ministry of Antiquities Press Office on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bb2KJQmBegt/?taken-by=ministry_antiquities
which shows the goddess Nekhbet above the king who is wearing the red crown of Lower Egypt.

The Workshop Two examples of axes were discovered, from the 18th Dynasty (New Kingdom) one in a design that first appeared in the earlier Second Intermediate period and was most likely used for construction, while the other is of a design that most likely originated in Syria, making it the earliest example of its type yet discovered in Egypt. The design of the imported axe is considerably different to Egyptian examples and Egyptian artisans did not adopt its unique features into their own manufacturing techniques.
"The discovery of this Syrian axe in Elephantine could add to the study of contact between Egypt and Mitanni, the North African nation's rival in Syria during the Thutmoside period."

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Understanding the news: Tombs of the Pyramid builders open to the public for the first time (Old Kingdom)
The Ministry of Antiquities has opened some of the tombs of the pyramid builders for the first time since their discovery in the 1990s.

While most people are aware of the pyramids on the Giza plateau it should be remembered that what we see today is a small fraction of the living infrastructure that was there in ancient times. Excavations have shown us there were towns, barracks, workshops, bakeries, funerary temples, causeways, canals, quarries and of course cemeteries all at this once busy site.

One of the rewards for a lifetime of loyal service working at Giza was the privilege of burial in an auspicious location: close to the royal burial place.

You will see these tombs described in the more excitable media as the 'Cursed Tombs' because some of them contain protective inscriptions against damage. It should be remembered that some parts of tomb architecture were meant to be accessible to family and respectful visitors to provide an interface between the Living and the Dead who were believed to have an ongoing relationship.

The Living could provide sustenance to the ka or spirit of the Dead, who in turn could influence the fortunes of the Living.
These 'curse' inscriptions served as a reminder to the Living from the Dead not to get up to mischief in the tomb, or they may find their fortunes seriously curtailed.
"The Inscription of Petety's Wife
As for any person, male or female, who shall do any evil thing against
this (tomb) and who shall enter therein this: A crocodile shall be
against him in the water; a snake shall be against him upon land; a
hippopotamus shall be against him in the water, and a scorpion shall
be against him upon land." [1]

These tombs provide us with valuable insights into the lives and fortunes of the people who built the pyramids: not slaves but skilled workers, administrators, artisans, families and farmers who worked on state projects during the inundation when their land was under the life giving annual Nile floods.

References
[1] Hawass Z (2004) The Tombs of the Pyramid Builders - The Tomb of the Artisan Petety and his Curse in Knoppers GN & Hirsch (Eds) "Egypt, Israel, and the Ancient Mediterranean World" Studies in Honor of Donald B. Redford
http://www.gizapyramids.org/pdf_library/hawass_fs_redford.pdf

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Understanding the news... calling out the hype, and reminding scientists to publish rather than announce directly to the media aka "It's a void" not a "Chamber"
Edit: Additional information added below November 7, 2017.
You might have noticed there are some "big" discoveries that I don't post about. You might also have considered recently how the media portray events, the emergence of "fake news" and other aspects of how we receive and understand information.

For this story, as a person with a scientific background and knowledge in the field of Egyptology, I searched for measured, scientific and accurate data regarding this latest discovery, which as an "international committee under Prominent Egyptologist and former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass" pointed out in their feedback to the scanners should "be committed to scientific steps, including publishing the finding in an international journal magazine such Nature instead of addressing the media."[1]

Ouch! So until that study is published in a peer reviewed scientific journal, let's just skip the hype and pseudo-archaeology and go for what we actually know.
Here's a summary of the latest "big" discovery:
Muon scans found a large void in a pyramid which contains a lot of other voids...
Here's what 5 years of study of Multi-disciplinary Egyptology teaches me to conclude from this data:
Further investigation may teach us more about pyramid construction.
And from the media hype:
Whenever the word pyramid is used in a headline, the hyperbole comes out as well with "mysterious", "secret" and "hidden" not far behind.
The public probably isn't aware that pyramids aren't necessarily 'solid' (don't get me started on ramp construction...).

This is not to say I don't get excited about discoveries made in the field of Egyptology. Far from it! I just get excited about discoveries that contribute tangibly to our understanding of the ancient world.This discovery while certainly interesting, has not led us to any further understanding of pyramid construction (yet) and when it does I will let you all know!

Additional: Doctor Hawass (love him or hate him) rightly points out our huge responsibility to educate people outside the field.
“We are not at all against any discovery but we as a scientific committee are responsible for explaining to non-Egyptologists the purpose and method of construction of the Great Pyramid. We wrote in our report which we presented to El-Enany that the ScanPyramids project should continue their work but they have to use the scientific approach, and we are happy that this paper is published. We, on the other hand, are going to publish a paper on our opinion on this work, as a scientific committee.” [2]
In other words: More SCIENCE, less SPECULATION please!

Sources:
[1] Egypt: Discovery of void inside Khufu’s Pyramid needs more study http://www.sis.gov.eg/Story/119312?lang=en-us
[2] https://www.inquisitr.com/4598857/egyptologist-zahi-hawass-declares-void-hidden-in-great-pyramid-of-giza-is-not-a-new-discovery/

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Feature object: Painter's ivory palette, New Kingdom
As lovers of Egyptology, most of us probably have favorites when it comes to antiquities that resonate on a personal level for us.

I like scribal palettes. Usually these were simple pieces of wood with 2 slots for red and black pigment for writing and a groove to store reeds. As an artist I particularly like this beautiful painter's palette which has been carved from a single piece of ivory with 6 slots to hold pigment 'cakes' (which many artists call 'pans'). To use the paints the artist simply wets their brush and rubs it on the surface of the paint until it becomes liquid enough for their needs. I particularly like the fact that the palette has been used.

What wonderful things were painted by the person who once held that palette?

At the top of the palette is the cartouche of Amenhotep III and reads (from right to left) Nebmaatre beloved of Ra. Egyptian paints used a variety of minerals such as malachite and artificial pigments (blue) to create stunning colours which have lasted for thousands of years. The pigments were ground finely and held together with a binding agent, usually gum arabic which is the dry sap of the acacia tree. By combining the pigment with a binding agent, the paint becomes 'sticky' enough to adhere to a surface.

Although there are many synthetic paints and binding agents, many modern painters (including myself) still use these materials. From personal experience, these gum arabic paints (perhaps unsurprisingly) work extremely well on papyrus.

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Resources for learning: العاصمة القديمة لمصر Memphis, capital of ancient Egypt
Visit the city that served as the administrative capital of ancient Egypt via this beautiful website in English and Arabic.
"Welcome to Memphis, Egypt’s first capital city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Memphis was once a vast settlement, with magnificent temples, palaces and ports.
Rulers of Egypt were buried in pyramids near to the city. Without Memphis, the world famous Pyramids of Giza may never have existed!
The temples of Memphis were some of the most important in Ancient Egypt. The only other ancient Egyptian city that you could compare it to would be Thebes (Luxor). Yet today we know far less about Memphis.
Soon, for the first time, you will be able to explore seven newly opened sites of this once bustling ancient city. Until then, you can visit a large collection of impressive statues, sphinxes and sarcophagi in the Memphis Open-Air Museum.
Unlike many sites in Egypt, much of Memphis has not been rebuilt. Its temples, chapels and tombs can be seen as they would have looked when first uncovered by archaeologists."
Cover image: Ptah, patron god of Memphis

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Understanding the news: More from Saqqara with a pyramidion of Ankhnespepy II found
Pyramidions are the capstones of pyramids. This pyramidion is approximately 1.3m high and probably came from a satellite or smaller pyramid which would have formed part of a larger complex. The queen's original burial pyramid was discovered in 1998. The pyramidion would have originally been encased in metal foil, possibly copper.

This example is the second item believed to have originally belonged to 6th Dynasty Queen Ankhnespepy II to have been discovered in a week by a Swiss-French archaeological mission directed by Professor Philippe Collombert from the University of Geneva at the Saqqara necropolis according to the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziri.

"The team previously unearthed the largest obelisk fragment ever discovered from the Old Kingdom, measuring 2.5 meters tall." (see also previous post on this topic: https://plus.google.com/u/0/115474587731688985845/posts/RQCZQMrXWo9)

These are important discoveries which help us to understand more about the ancient landscape of Saqqara and its use as a burial place. They also reveal information about the power and importance of the individuals concerned and their place in ancient Egyptian society.
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