Ancient sarcophagus discovery in Luxor, Egypt


This video is about sarcophaguses and coffins in ancient Egypt.

From Ahram Online in Egypt:

Rare wooden anthropoid sarcophagus discovered in Luxor

A 17th dynasty painted sarcophagus belonging to a top governmental official was unearthed at Draa Abul-Naga necropolis on Luxor‘s west bank

Nevine El-Aref, Thursday 13 Feb 2014

A Spanish-Egyptian archeological team working on Luxor’s west bank has discovered a rare wooden human-shaped sarcophagus from the 17th dynasty.

The find came during routine excavation work at the tomb of Djehuty, treasure holder for Queen Hatshepsut, at Dra Abul-Naga necropolis.

The sarcophagus is important for the detailed depictions of bird feather shapes and sizes painted on its lid, motifs that have earned it the title of Feathers Sarcophagus, according to Egypt’s antiquities minister Mohamed Ibrahim.

The 2 metre long, 42 cm tall sarcophagus is in very good condition, Ibrahim said, and also engraved with titles of the deceased, which archeologists have not yet been able to identify.

Studies reveal that the sarcophagus belongs to a top governmental official from the 17th dynasty, whose mummy was enclosed inside, said Ibrahim.

The archeological team found two other burials at the site, which were both empty. It is believed that they were robbed in antiquity.

The Spanish mission began excavation work at Djehuty’s tomb 13 years ago, when many artefacts from New Kingdom dynasties were found.

Last year the team unearthed a sarcophagus of a 17th dynasty child, along with a number of clay pots and ushabti figurines wrapped in linen.

Excavation at the site remains in full swing, said Gose Galan, head of the Spanish team.

Archaeologists working in the western desert of Egypt have discovered a school dating back about 1,700 years that contains ancient Greek writings on its walls, including a text about ancient drug use that references Homer’s “The Odyssey”: here.

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Martians did not build Egyptian pyramids, Mayan tombs


This video from the USA says about itself:

Orson WellesWar Of The Worlds – Radio Broadcast 1938 – Complete Broadcast.

The War of the Worlds was an episode of the American radio drama anthology series Mercury Theatre on the Air. It was performed as a Halloween episode of the series on October 30, 1938 and aired over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network. Directed and narrated by Orson Welles, the episode was an adaptation of H. G. Wells‘ novel The War of the Worlds.

The first two thirds of the 60-minute broadcast were presented as a series of simulated “news bulletins”, which suggested to many listeners that an actual alien invasion by Martians was currently in progress. Compounding the issue was the fact that the Mercury Theatre on the Air was a ‘sustaining show’ (it ran without commercial breaks), thus adding to the program’s quality of realism.

Although there were sensationalist accounts in the press about a supposed panic in response to the broadcast, the precise extent of listener response has been debated. In the days following the adaptation, however, there was widespread outrage. The program’s news-bulletin format was decried as cruelly deceptive by some newspapers and public figures, leading to an outcry against the perpetrators of the broadcast, but the episode secured Orson Welles’ fame.

So, according to recent research, it is possible that long ago, simple forms of life could live on planet Mars.

However, there is no evidence (yet) that any simple living beings used that opportunity.

Still far less than zero evidence exists of not so simple beings, like the Martians described in H.G. Wells’ science fiction book War of the Worlds, living on the red planet or elsewhere in outer space and going to planet Earth.

From the Columbus Dispatch in the USA:

Archaeology | No evidence of aliens helping ancient cultures

Sunday January 26, 2014 10:20 AM

Did aliens visit Earth in ancient times? It’s possible.

The late Carl Sagan once argued that there was a “statistical likelihood that Earth was visited by an advanced extraterrestrial civilization at least once during historical times.”

A statistical likelihood is one thing. Is there any reliable evidence that any such thing ever actually happened?

None whatsoever.

So why do 2 out of 4 Americans believe there are signs that aliens have visited Earth in the past? I think there are two reasons. First and most fundamentally, when most people see a wonder of the ancient world, such as the Egyptian pyramids, they can’t imagine how our so-called primitive ancestors possibly could have built it.

Second, there are charlatans out there willing to take advantage of that lack of imagination by making exuberant claims that various cultural achievements in antiquity could have been accomplished only with the help of friendly aliens.

In the current issue of Skeptic magazine, documentary filmmaker Chris White shoots down a few of the most popular claims of past alien intervention.

For example, ancient alien enthusiasts find it unbelievable that Egyptians could have carved the huge stone blocks used to build the pyramids, especially since they didn’t have iron tools. Yet there is abundant archaeological evidence that shows teams of stonemasons used simple hammer stones to shape the blocks.

But fans of ancient aliens say that even if Egyptians somehow shaped the enormous blocks of stone, no mere humans could have moved them into place.

The truth, however, is indeed out there.

White explains that there are many ancient carvings that show “Egyptians using wooden sleds to move … blocks the size and shape of the ones used for the pyramids.” It is amazing what our ancestors could achieve with creativity, determination and a large workforce.

Believers in ancient aliens frequently point to an engraved stone slab from a Mayan tomb, which they claim depicts an astronaut at the controls of a spacecraft.

If you take the time to study the symbolism of the Mayan religion, however, it is clear that the “spacecraft” actually is the primordial world tree with a celestial bird perched in its upper branches. And the barefoot “astronaut” really is the deceased Mayan king descending into the underworld.

These examples are typical of what is offered as evidence of ancient aliens. The purveyors of this nonsense assume our ancestors were ignoramuses. If they accomplished some great thing, then aliens must have helped them.

Champions of ancient astronauts look through volumes of prehistoric art and cherry-pick images that bear — at best — only a superficial resemblance to something that could be construed as alien technology.

They give no thought to what those images represented in their original cultural contexts. Using this method, an Egyptian carving of a lotus flower can be reinterpreted as an electric light bulb, and a South American sculpture of a sucker-mouth catfish can be imagined to be a delta-wing fighter jet.

Archaeologists don’t take these views seriously, but by ignoring them, we allow 3 out of 4 Americans to buy into a fantasy.

Bradley T. Lepper is curator of archaeology at the Ohio Historical Society.

Unbelievable story: A man is suing NASA for (allegedly) failing to investigate alien life: here.

Physicists from the FOM Foundation and the University of Amsterdam have discovered that the ancient Egyptians used a clever trick to make it easier to transport heavy pyramid stones by sledge. The Egyptians moistened the sand over which the sledge moved. By using the right quantity of water they could halve the number of workers needed. The researchers published this discovery online on 29 April 2014 in Physical Review Letters. Read more here.

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Unknown Egyptian pharaoh discovered, Senebkay


This 9 January 2014 video is called US Diggers identify tomb of Pharoah Sobekhotep I.

From AFP news agency:

Ancient tomb of unknown Egyptian pharaoh ‘Senebkay’ found in Abydos

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 13:04 EST

US archaeologists have uncovered the tomb in southern Egypt of a previously unknown pharaoh who ruled 3,700 years ago, antiquities officials said on Wednesday.

The discovery by a team from the University of Pennsylvania provides new evidence that at least part of Egypt may have escaped the rule of the Hyksos, invaders from what is now Syria who dominated the Nile Delta between the 18th and 15th centuries BC, the officials said.

A royal cartouche bearing the full name of pharaoh Senebkay was found on the sarcophagus and on a wall of the tomb unearthed in the ancient city of Abydos, the head of the antiquities ministry’s pharaonic department, Ali El-Asfar, said.

The team also recovered the skeleton of the pharaoh, which suggested he stood 185 centimetres (just over six foot) tall.

They found canopic vases, traditionally used to preserve body organs, but no grave goods, suggesting the tomb was robbed in ancient times.

Asfar said the discovery suggested that the rule of the Hyksos did not extend to all of Egypt and that a native dynasty managed to preserve its independence in the south.

“The royal family in Abydos, which may have been founded by Senebkay, is of Egyptian origin and did not submit to the Hyksos’s rule,” he said.

The same US team announced last week that it had identified the pharaoh whose tomb they unearthed at Abydos last year.

Pharaoh Sobekhotep I is believed to have been the founder of the 13th dynasty 3,800 years ago. His identity was established after the team found fragments of a slab inscribed with his name.

See also here.

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Ancient Egyptian art information about mammals


From Nature:

Ancient art fills in Egypt’s ecological history

Mammal populations shrank during three abrupt climate shifts over the past 6,000 years.

08 August 2013

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Ancient Egyptian artefacts, like this elaborately carved ivory knife handle from 3300-3100 BCE, helped scientists determine how mammal populations in Egypt have changed over time. Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, Brooklyn Museum

Ancient Egyptian artefacts, like this elaborately carved ivory knife handle from 3300-3100 BCE, helped scientists determine how mammal populations in Egypt have changed over time. Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, Brooklyn Museum

Ancient Egyptian rock inscriptions and carvings on pharaonic tombs chronicle hartebeest and oryx — horned beasts that thrived in the region more than 6,000 years ago. Researchers have now shown that those mammal populations became unstable in concert with significant shifts in Egypt’s climate.

The finding is based on a fresh interpretation of an archaeological and palaeontological record of ancient Egyptian mammals pieced together more than a decade ago by the zoologist Dale Osborn1. Thirty-eight large-bodied mammals existed in Egypt roughly six millennia ago, compared to just eight species today.

“There are interesting stories buried in the data — at the congruence of the artistic and written record,” says Justin Yeakel, an ecologist at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, who presented the research this week at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For example, the philosopher Aristotle said 2,300 years ago that lions were present, though rare, in Greece; shortly thereafter, the beasts appeared in the local art record for the last time, Yeakel says.

Overlaying records of climate and species occurrences over time, his team found that three dramatic declines in Egypt’s ratio of predators to prey coincided with abrupt climate shifts to more arid conditions. The timing of these aridification events also corresponds to major shifts in human populations at the end of the African Humid Period, about 5,500 years ago; during the Akkadian collapse, about 4,140 years ago in what is now Iraq; and about 3,100 years ago, when the Ugaritic civilization collapsed in what is now Syria.

Simulating stability

Once they found the climate correlation, Yeakel and Mathias Pires, an ecological modeller from the University of Sao Paolo in Brazil, examined the consequences of the ancient extinctions on food-web stability. The researchers adapted a method for modelling food-web interactions with limited data2. They simulated millions of potential predator–prey interactions using data about species’ body sizes. Tests using data from modern Serengeti food webs suggest the model correctly predicts 70% of predator-prey interactions.

Normally, as food webs get smaller, they become more stable, says Yeakel. But his simulations showed that the proportion of stable food webs in Egypt declined over time, with the largest drop in stability occurring over the past 200 years.

“Food webs are giant messy networks,” says Carl Boettiger, a computational ecologist at University of California, Santa Cruz, who was not involved with the work. “This approach is a powerful way to infer the stability of the food web without knowing specifically who eats who, much less the whole network structure,” he adds.

Yeakel and his colleagues confirmed that the extinction patterns in Egypt cannot be explained by random events. They also found that the presence or absence of any one species did not seem to have much impact on a food web — in sharp contrast to conditions today in many landscapes, possibly owing to rapid changes caused by human encroachment.

“We’ve lost redundancy in ecosystems,” Yeakel says, “which is why the absence of any one species can alter the stability of the system.”

Nature
doi:10.1038/nature.2013.13528

References

  1. Osborn D. J. “Mammals of Ancient Egypt” (1998).
  2. Gross, T., Rudolf, L., Levin, S. A. & Dieckmann, U. Science 325, 747–750 (2009).

Goddess Sekhmet statues discovery in Egypt


This video says about itself:

Iconic: Statue of Sekhmet

March 19, 2009

Dating to the reign of King Tutankhamun‘s grandfather, this Egyptian sculpture is a very fine example of one of the oldest known Egyptian deities, the lion-headed warrior goddess also known as Mistress of Dread and Lady of Slaughter. On display in the Galleries of Africa: Egypt at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the statue is one of the Museum’s iconic objects.

From Ahram Online in Egypt:

More Sekhmet statues unearthed at Amenhotep III‘s temple in Luxor

Black granite statues of the ancient Egyptian lioness goddess Sekhmet were unearthed Monday at King Amenhotep III‘s temple on the west bank of Luxor

Nevine El-Aref, Monday 11 March 2013

Egyptian and European excavators unearthed a collection of black granite statues depicting the ancient Egyptian lioness Goddess Sekhmet during their routine excavation at the King Amenhotep III funerary temple in the Kom Al-Hittan area on the west bank of Luxor.

The statues depict the goddess Sekhmet in her usual form, sitting on the throne with a human body and lioness’s head.

“This is not the first time statues of the lioness goddess have been unearthed at Kom Al-Hittan,” said Mohamed Ibrahim, minister of state for antiquities adding that the Egyptian-European mission led by German Egyptologist Horig Sourouzian has previously unearthed 64 statues of Sekhmet of different shapes and sizes.

Ibrahim explained that such a large number highlights the important role of the goddess during the reign of the 18th dynasty king Amenhotep III, father of the monotheistic king Akhnaten and grandfather of the golden king Tutankhamun.

Sekhmet was believed to be a protective goddess as she was also the goddess of war and destruction. “Some Egyptologists,” pointed out Ibrahim, “believe that king Amenhotep constructed a large number of goddess Sekhmets in an attempt to cure him of a specific disease that he suffered during his reign.” Sekhmet was well known of her supposed ability to cure critical deseases.

Mansour Boreik, supervisor of Luxor antiquities, told Ahram online that the statues are very well preserved and each one is two metres tall. He continued saying that the newly discovered statues prove Amenhotep III’s funerary temple was once filled with Sekhmet statues of different sizes and shapes, similar to his temple on the east bank of Luxor, known as goddess Mut temple. This temple acted as a symbol of stability and prosperity during Amenhotep III’s reign.

10 years ago, the archeologists unearthed a large number of statues of Amenhotep III and his wife Queen Tiye; they also unearthed some parts of the temple’s walls.

“The work we are doing here is not only about advancing historical knowledge, but also about saving the last remnants of a temple that was once very prestigious; it is unfortunate that it been badly damaged,” Sourouzian said.

The teams aim to produce a virtual reconstruction of the temple using the latest computer programmes, she added, saying that this reconstruction would show the original position of every surviving piece within the original temple.

See also here.

Egyptian lion goddess Sekhmet discovery


Newly discovered Sekhmet statue

From Ahram Online in Egypt:

The lioness for real

A granite statue of the ancient Egyptian warrior goddess Sekhmet was unearthed today in the Mut Temple at Karnak on Luxor’s east bank

Nevine El-Aref, Wednesday 16 Jan 2013

During excavation and cleaning works in the Mut Temple at Karnak, a mission from the American Research Centre in Egypt (ARCE) stumbled on a very well preserved statue of the goddess Sekhmet. The statue is 180 cm tall and depicts Sekhmet as a lioness wearing the cobra and the Aten sun disk on her head and holding the ankh sign in her right hand and the lotus flower in her left.

“This is the first time a standing statue of the goddess Sekhmet in her original lioness form was found in the Mut Temple,” Mansour Boreik, the supervisor of Luxor antiquities, told Ahram Online. He added that previously discovered statues there depict Sekhmet seated with the facial features of the goddess Mut, the consort of the god Amun Re, not her original lioness figure.

The ARCE mission uncovered this statue within the sands of the Mut Temple’s second hall, within the framework of comprehensive restoration work carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of State for Antiquities (MSA). The project, which began in May 2012, aims at restoring the temple and its surroundings so that it can reopen to the public, as it has been closed since 1976.

The original plan includes the establishment of a visitor centre where a documentary about the goddess Mut and her role in ancient Egypt would be screened alongside photos of the temple before and after restoration.

The Mut Temple is one among several located at Karnak. For many years it stood in ruins beyond the south gate, some 200 meters south of Karnak’s 10th pylon. For some time now it has been undergoing restoration. The Napoleonic Expedition recorded one of the earliest plans of the Mut Temple as well as explorers and historians of the 19th century such as Nestor L’Hôte, whose drawings, made in 1839, recorded details of such temple. The Royal Prussian Expedition in 1842, led by Karl Lepsius and the first directors of the Department of Antiquities of Egypt, August Mariette and Gaston Maspero, had their own record of the monument. However, the first excavation and restoration work started in 1895 by two English women, Margaret Benson and Janet Gourlay.