Ancient Pharaoh Tutankhamun, new research


This 2017 video is called Tutankhamun Tomb – Incredible Story of Egyptian Pharaoh – Documentary.

From the University of Tübingen in Germany:

New treasures from Tutankhamun’s tomb

November 16, 2017

As part of a German-Egyptian project, archaeologists from Tübingen for the first time examine embossed gold applications from the sensational find of 1922. The motifs indicate surprising links between the Levant and the Egypt of the pharaohs.

Researchers from Tübingen working on a German-Egyptian project have examined embossed gold applications from the treasure of the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun for the first time. The objects come from the famed find made by English archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922. Until now, they had been held in storage at the Egyptian Museum Cairo. They can be seen at a special exhibition at the museum which began on Wednesday. Conservators and archaeologists of the Institute of Ancient Near Eastern Studies (IANES, Professor Peter Pfälzner), the German Archaeological Institute, Cairo, (DAI, Professor Stephan Seidlmayer), and the Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums Mainz (RGZM, Professor Falko Daim), as well as the Egyptian Museum have spent four years (2013-2017) analysing the find.

Through painstaking hours in the lab, the partners restored the objects at the Egyptian Museum. They also made drawings of the items and did comprehensive research on them. A team of conservators, Egyptologists and specialists in Near Eastern archaeology found the embossed gold applications in the same crate they were placed in by Howard Carter’s team immediately after their discovery. At the time, the artefacts were photographed and packed, unrestored, and were never again removed until this project.

During years of detail work, conservators Christian Eckmann and Katja Broschat of the Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseum Mainz reassembled the fragments to produce 100 nearly complete embossed gold applications. They suspect the items are decorative fittings for bow cases, quivers and bridles. IANES archaeologists from Tübingen examined the images on the embossed gold applications and categorized them from an art-historical perspective. In her dissertation, doctoral candidate Julia Bertsch succeeded in distinguishing the Egyptian motifs on the embossed gold applications from those that could be ascribed to an “international,” Middle Eastern canon of motifs.

Among these are images of fighting animals and goats at the tree of life that are foreign to Egyptian art and must have come to Egypt from the Levant. “Presumably these motifs, which were once developed in Mesopotamia, made their way to the Mediterranean region and Egypt via Syria,” explains Peter Pfälzner. “This again shows the great role that ancient Syria played in the dissemination of culture during the Bronze Age.”

Interestingly, he adds, similar embossed gold applications with thematically comparable images were found in a tomb in the Syrian royal city of Qatna. There, the team of archaeologists from Tübingen led by Pfälzner, discovered a pristine king’s grave in 2002. It dates back to the time of around 1340 B.C., so it is just a bit older than Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt. The archaeologist says, “This remarkable aspect provided the impetus for our project on the Egyptian finds.” Now,” says Pfälzner, “we need to solve the riddle of how the foreign motifs on the embossed gold applications came to be adopted in Egypt.” The professor says that here, chemical analyses have been illuminating. “The results showed that the embossed gold applications with Egyptian motifs and the others with foreign motifs were made of gold of differing compositions,” he says. “That does not necessarily mean the pieces were imported. It may be that various local workshops were responsible for producing objects in various styles — and that one used Near Eastern models.”

After the current initial exhibition of these objects in Cairo, they will be on display in future in the new Grand Egyptian Museum close to the pyramids at Gizeh. Now, almost a century after they were discovered, and thanks to the work of archaeologists from Tübingen and Egyptologists and conservators from Mainz and Cairo, the scientific analysis of these artefacts from one of Egypt’s most sensational archaeological finds has been completed.

The German Foreign Office and the German Research Foundation (DFG) funded the work.

Advertisements

Sculpture, other discoveries of ancient Greek shipwreck


This video says about itself:

See Statues and Mysterious Disk Found in Ancient Greek Shipwreck | National Geographic

18 October 2017

Archaeologists have discovered additional intriguing artifacts from the Greek shipwreck famous for carrying an “ancient computer.” Discovered over a century ago off the island Antikythera, the ship, large for its time some 2,000 years ago, was carrying luxury goods, probably to Rome.

The site represents what one of the team’s co-leaders reports is the largest known cache of shipwreck cargo in the Mediterranean. In addition to the so-called Antikythera mechanism, a device for tracking celestial movements, the ship carried pottery items and bronze statues.

This year’s expedition has brought one more fragment of the latter to light, a disembodied arm, much like the “orphan limbs” that sponge divers first spotted when they discovered the wreck in 1900. Another bronze artifact just discovered is a disc decorated with the figure of a bull. The function of this piece is a mystery.

Ancient Egyptian obelisk discovered


Part of the newly discovered obelisk, photo by Waziri and Collombert

Translated from Dutch NOS radio:

Special find in Egypt: 2.5 meter high obelisk of 6-year-old monarch

Today, 11:17

At least 2.5 meters high, red granite and covered with gold leaf: in Egypt the upper part of a huge obelisk has been found. “A special find in a special place, in the Southern Sakkara region, where a big obelisk had never been found before”, Egyptologist Huub Pragt explains in the NOS Radio 1 News.

It is an obelisk from the Old Kingdom, the first great period, says Pragt. “From that time we know small obelisks, but this is a big one. Probably the monolith was 5 meters high, which is really huge for that period.”

An obelisk is a straight needle-shaped monument that usually consists of granite. At the point, gold leaf was often placed to reflect the sun’s rays. The obelisks were therefore established as a worship for the sun god Ra. In the Old Kingdom, the monuments were also often associated with tombs.

The obelisk most probably belonged to Queen Anchesenpepy II, the mother of King Pepy II of the 6th Dynasty. “Pepy II came as a 6 year old boy on the throne and would be the longest ruling king ever. He became 100 years old and continued to rule”, says Pragt. On his side was his mother Anchesenpepy II, she ruled jointly with him. “Therefore she will probably have received that great obelisk.”

The French-Swiss archaeological mission that has found the obelisk continues to search for fragments in the area.

Porpoise’s grave in medieval Guernsey monastery


This video says about itself:

See the Mysterious Medieval Porpoise Bones Found by Archaeologists | National Geographic

25 September 2017

Medieval monks on Guernsey, an island in the English Channel, appear to have interred a porpoise skull on the grounds of their retreat.

Ancient Egyptian goldsmith’s tomb discovery


This video says about itself:

Get a First Look Inside a Newly Opened Egyptian Tomb | National Geographic

17 September 2017

Archaeologists explored for the first time a 3,500-year-old tomb near Luxor, Egypt. The tomb belonged to a goldsmith and his wife, and includes a crumbling statue of the pair. The family lived during Egypt’s 18th Dynasty. Archaeologists also found statuettes, mummies, pottery, and other artifacts. They hope that its contents may yield clues to other discoveries.

‘Male’ Viking warrior turns out to be woman


This is how the grave on Birka might have looked like where the female warrior was buried. Illustration by Evald Hansen based on the original plan of grave Bj 581 from Hjalmar Stolpe's excavations at Birka in the late 19th century. (Stolpe 1889)

From Stockholm University in Sweden:

An officer and a gentlewoman from the Viking army in Birka

War was not an activity exclusive to males in the Viking world. A new study conducted by researchers at Stockholm and Uppsala Universities shows that women could be found in the higher ranks at the battlefield.

September 8, 2017

Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson, who led the study, explains: “What we have studied was not a Valkyrie [war goddess] from the sagas but a real life military leader, that happens to be a woman”.

The study was conducted on one of the most iconic graves from the Viking Age. It holds the remains of a warrior surrounded by weapons, including a sword, armour-piercing arrows, and two horses. There were also a full set of gaming pieces and a gaming board. “The gaming set indicates that she was an officer”, says Charlotte, “someone who worked with tactics and strategy and could lead troops in battle”. The warrior was buried in the Viking town of Birka during the mid-10th century. Isotope analyses confirm an itinerant life style, well in tune with the martial society that dominated 8th to 10th century northern Europe.

Anna Kjellström, who also participated in the study, has taken an interest in the burial previously. “The morphology of some skeletal traits strongly suggests that she was a woman, but this has been the type specimen for a Viking warrior for over a century why we needed to confirm the sex in any way we could.”

And this is why the archaeologists turned to genetics, to retrieve a molecular sex identification based on X and Y chromosomes. Such analyses can be quite useful according to Maja Krezwinska: “Using ancient DNA for sex identification is useful when working with children for example, but can also help to resolve controversial cases such as this one”. Maja was thus able to confirm the morphological sex identification with the presence of X chromosomes but the lack of a Y chromosome.

Jan Storå, who holds the senior position on this study, reflects over the history of the material: “This burial was excavated in the 1880s and has served as a model of a professional Viking warrior ever since. Especially, the grave-goods cemented an interpretation for over a century”. It was just assumed she was a man through all these years. “The utilization of new techniques, methods, but also renewed critical perspectives, again, shows the research potential and scientific value of our museum collections”.

The study is a part of the ongoing ATLAS project, which is a joint effort by Stockholm University and Uppsala University, supported by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (The Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences) and Vetenskapsrådet (The Swedish Research Council), to investigate the genetic history of Scandinavia.

See also here.