Ancient Egyptian necropolis discovery


This video from Egypt says about itself:

30 August 2012

TUNA EL GEBEL, near Minya, was the necropolis of the city of Hermopolis, This zone was a place with special adoration of the god Thoth. It is best known for the sprawling catacombs at the foot of the western cliffs, where thousands of ibises and baboons (dedicated to Thoth) and other sacred animals were buried from the New Kingdom on.

Besides fish, pigs, dogs, cats, goats, falcons, larks, and kestrels, all mummified and placed into pottery jars. Potsherds and torn and broken mummies are still strewn in the passages today.

Another main attraction of the site is the early Ptolemaic tomb of a high priest of Thoth named Petosiris, decorated with reliefs in a blend of Greek and Egyptian styles. Petosiris’s wooden coffin, exquisitely inlaid with colored glass hieroglyphs, can be seen in the Egyptian Museum.
Other main places are the chapel & tomb of Isadora, and her famous mummy. She was a young woman who drowned in the second century BC. Her mummy is into a glass case in her tomb.

The oldest monument at Tuna el Gebel is a stele marking the northwest boundary of Akhenaten’s city at Amarna, partway up a slope north of Hermopolis West. It bears scenes of Akhenaten and Nefertiti worshipping the sun disk (Aten) and is carved with an extensive text describing the founding of the city.

From Ahram Online in Egypt:

Cachette of 17 mummies unearthed in Egypt’s El-Minya

The Late Period burial site was discovered at the Tuna Al-Gabal archaeological site by a team from Cairo University

Nevine El-Aref, Saturday 13 May 2017

Tuna Al-Gabal archaeological site, near Upper Egypt’s El-Minya, buzzed Saturday with journalists who flocked in to catch a glimpse of a newly discovered cachette of mummies, dating from the Late Period.

During excavation work in the area, which neighbours the birds and animals necropolis, a mission from Cairo University stumbled this week upon the cachette — a term that describes an unmarked burial site used to house multiple mummies and protect them from looting.

Mission head Salah El-Kholi told Ahram Online that the cachette includes 17 non-royal mummies wrapped in linen and very well preserved. It was found by chance through a radar survey carried out in collaboration with experts from the university’s faculty of science in early 2016 that revealed hollow ground.

El-Kholi said the mummies were found in burial shafts along with a collection of eight limestone sarcophagi, two of which were carved in clay. A number of baboon coffins were also found.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany described the discovery as important because it is the first made in the area since the discovery of the birds and animals necropolis by Egyptologist Sami Gabra between 1931 to 1954.

The discovery adds to a spate of recent finds at sites across Egypt. Most recently, a mission from the antiquities ministry stumbled upon the almost intact funerary collection of Userhat, the chancellor of Thebes during the 18th dynasty, in the Draa Abul Naga necropolis on Luxor’s west bank.

El-Enany told reporters about this week’s cachette discovery at a gala ceremony attended by El-Minya governor Essam Al Bedewi, the ambassadors of Belgium, Hungary and Serbia and a number of top officials from the ministry and Cairo University.

El-Kholi said that both clay sarcophagi are anthropoid coffins, one of which is in good condition while the other is partly damaged. Two papyri written in Demotic and a gold decoration with the shape of a feather were also found.

“This feather could be decoration on the hair dress of one of the deceased,” El-Kholi said.

He said the papyri would be transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum for restoration.

At a neighbouring site, the mission has also uncovered a number of Roman funerary houses made of clay. Inside they found a collection of different coins, lamps and other domestic items.

Neandertal DNA discovery on cave floor


This 2016 video from the USA is called CARTA: DNA–Neandertal and Denisovan Genomes; Neandertal Genes in Humans; Neandertal Interbreeding.

From Science magazine:

DNA from cave soil reveals ancient human occupants

Lizzie Wade

28 Apr 2017

Summary

Fifty thousand years ago, a Neandertal relieved himself in a cave in present-day Belgium, depositing, among other things, a sample of his DNA. The urine clung to minerals in the soil and the feces eventually decomposed. But traces of the DNA remained, embedded in the cave floor.

Now, researchers have shown they can find and identify such genetic traces of both Neandertals and Denisovans, another type of archaic human, enabling them to test for the presence of ancient humans even in sites where no bones have been found.

Scientists say ancient DNA from sediments will help them complete the map of ancient human occupations and allow them to see where species may have overlapped and interacted. Many believe it will become a standard tool in paleoarchaeology, much like radiocarbon dating is today.

Water tubing accidents, table run-ins cause Neandertal-like injuries. Analysis shows that comparing ancient and modern bone breaks yields little insight into hominids’ everyday dangers. By Bruce Bower, 1:57pm, May 1, 2017: here.

Archaeologists at The Australian National University (ANU) and the University of Sydney have provided a window into one of the most exciting periods in human history — the transition between Neanderthals and modern humans: here.

A discovery of multiple toothpick grooves on teeth and signs of other manipulations by a Neanderthal of 130,000 years ago are evidence of a kind of prehistoric dentistry, according to a new study: here.

Special ancient Egyptian tomb discovery


This video from Egypt says about itself:

Dr Mostafa Waziry talking on the new discovery in Luxor

18 April 2017

The Egyptian archaeological mission working in Dra Abu El-Naga necropolis on Luxor’s west bank unearthed the funerary collection of a New Kingdom tomb of Userhat.

The tomb represents a typical example of a nobleman tomb. It is a T-shaped tomb consisting of an open court leading into a rectangular hall, a corridor and an inner chamber.

After removing almost 450 cubic metres of debris out of the open court, appeared the entrance of the tomb as well as two other entrances leading to two joint tombs.

Excavation works are at its full swings to reveal the secrets of these two tombs.

Check the links for more on the tomb location and details.

From AFP news agency:

Mummies discovered in ancient tomb near Egypt’s Luxor (Update)

April 18, 2017, by Mohamed Abdel Aziz

Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed several mummies, colourful wooden sarcophagi and more than 1,000 funerary statues in a 3,500-year-old tomb near the city of Luxor, hailing an “important discovery”.

The 18th Dynasty tomb containing at least eight mummies was discovered in the Draa Abul Nagaa necropolis near the famed Valley of the Kings, the antiquities ministry said in a Tuesday statement.

It belonged to a nobleman named Userhat who worked as the city judge. It was opened to add more mummies during the 21st Dynasty, about 3,000 years ago, to protect them during a period when tomb-robbing was common, Mostafa Waziri, the head of the archaeological mission, said at the site.

“It was a surprise how much was being displayed inside,” Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Enany told reporters outside the tomb.

“We found a large number of Ushabti (small carved figurines), more than 1,000 of them,” Enany said.

“This is an important discovery.”

Ushabti figurines were often placed with the deceased in ancient Egyptian tombs to help with responsibilities in the afterlife.

Antiquities officials had initially said six mummies along with partial remains were discovered near the southern city, but said they had later identified two more mummies.

“There are 10 coffins and eight mummies. The excavation is ongoing,” Waziri said.

Inside the tomb, archaeologists wearing white masks and latex gloves inspected the sarcophagi, which were covered with intricate drawings in red, blue, black, green, and yellow, and featured the carved faces of the dead.

Further discoveries possible

The coffins were mainly well-preserved, though some had deteriorated and broken over the years.

Archaeologists were also examining a mummy wrapped in linen which was inside one of the coffins.

White, orange, green, and patterned pots were also found in the tombs.

The necropolis is located across the Nile from Luxor, on the west bank, where many of the famous ancient Egyptian pharaohs were buried, including Tutankhamun.

The age of the tomb was determined “through the drawings on the ceiling,” said Waziri.

“It is a T-shaped tomb (which) consists of an open court leading into a rectangular hall, a corridor and an inner chamber,” the ministry said in a statement.

A nine-metre shaft inside the tomb held the Ushabti figurines, as well as “wooden masks and a handle of a sarcophagus lid,” the ministry said.

“The corridor of the tomb leads into an inner chamber where a cachette of sarcophagi is found,” the ministry said.

Waziri said the mummies dated back to an age called “the era of the tomb robbers.”

“It’s evident that someone with a conscience, the priests or a high-profile government official… made an opening to the chambers, and they put the coffins there,” he said.

Another room in the tomb was also discovered, though it has not yet been completely excavated, the ministry said.

Archaeologists were able to enter the tomb “after removing almost 450 metres of debris out of the open court,” it added.

The tombs and ancient temples of Thebes, the capital of ancient Egypt during its later periods and now the city of Luxor, have been a major tourist attraction.

Tourism here has dropped in the turmoil that followed the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.

Enany said he hoped these new discoveries would help attract tourists again.

Nevine el-Aref, the spokeswoman for the antiquities ministry, said “there is evidence and traces that new mummies could be discovered in the future” at the site.

American archaeologists have unearthed a pharaonic tomb from the 18th dynasty in Egypt’s famed temple city of Luxor, officials said on Tuesday: here.

Pharaoh’s tomb discovery in Egypt


This video is called Bent Pyramid perfectly cut stones. Dashur, Egypt. April 2016.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio:

Newly discovered pyramid is royal tomb

Today, 11:09

In Egypt a new pyramid has been discovered. Egyptologist Huub Pragt says to the NOS Radio 1 News that the discovery is special. “This is a royal tomb, which is unusual.” The structure was discovered in Dashur, an archaeological area where several pyramids have been found.

That it is a tomb of a pharaoh is reflected in the structure and layout of the building. The tomb of which king it is not yet clear.

Hieroglyphs

Because the building dates from the 13th dynasty it is interesting to find out who is in the tomb, says Pragt. Because pharaohs quickly alternated at that time there are gaps in the list of kings. “So, it could be an unknown pharaoh. It is scientifically very interesting to perhaps again add a pharaoh’s name to the king list.”

Newly discovered Dashur hieroglyphs, photo Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities/EPA

Pragt is hopeful it can be figured for whom the pyramid was built as a piece of stone was found with hieroglyphs. “I have seen a faded photograph of them, but it is not entirely clear to me what it says.”

UPDATE: there is suspicion it is the grave of Pharaoh Ameny-Qemau.

Neanderthals and raven bones


CUTS ABOVE Notches carved into a raven’s wing bone by Neandertals include two that were added to create a consistent, possibly symbolic pattern, scientists say. Added notches are second from bottom and second from top in the side view of the bone. Photo: Francesco d’Errico

From Science News:

Neandertals had an eye for patterns

Notches on a raven bone suggests human relatives intentionally created even spacing

by Bruce Bower

2:00pm, March 29, 2017

Neandertals knew how to kick it up a couple of notches. Between 38,000 and 43,000 years ago, these close evolutionary relatives of humans added two notches to five previous incisions on a raven bone to produce an evenly spaced sequence, researchers say.

This visually consistent pattern suggests Neandertals either had an eye for pleasing-looking displays or saw some deeper symbolic meaning in the notch sequence, archaeologist Ana Majkić of the University of Bordeaux, France, and her colleagues report March 29 in PLOS ONE.

Notches added to the bone, unearthed in 2005 at a Crimean rock shelter that previously yielded Neandertal bones, were shallower and more quickly dashed off than the original five notches. But additions were carefully placed, resulting in relatively equal spacing of all notches.

Although bone notches may have had a practical use, such as fixing thread on an eyeless needle, the even spacing suggests Neandertals had a deeper meaning in mind — or at least knew what looked good.

Previous discoveries suggest Neandertals made eagle-claw necklaces and other personal ornaments, possibly for use in rituals (SN: 4/18/15, p. 7).

New research suggests that advances in the production of Early Stone Age tools had less to do with the evolution of language and more to do with the brain networks involved in modern piano playing. The findings are a major step forward in understanding the evolution of human intelligence: here.