Amelia Edwards, British lesbian Egyptologist


This 2009 video from Britain says about itself:

Amelia Edwards: Egyptology’s Greatest Woman (at London’s Petrie Museum)

Heritage Key enters the Petrie Museum in London to talk to the curator Dr Stephen Quirke, who explains the importance of one of the co-founders of the Egypt Exploration Society – Amelia Edwards.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Friday, June 8, 2018

Frosty’s Ramblings: Amelia Edwards: lesbian and Egyptologist

With Pride month beginning tomorrow, PETER FROST tells the remarkable story of the author of A Thousand Miles up the Nile

AMELIA B EDWARDS was a Victorian English writer of the Arthur Conan Doyle School. Like Conan Doyle — who didn’t think Sherlock Holmes was his best writing — she made her not inconsiderable fortune from the books she didn’t rate as her favourites or her best work.

Perhaps her best-known work was a collection of ghost stories including the famous The Phantom Coach. Her novels included Barbara’s History and Lord Brackenbury.

But it was two travel books including A Thousand Miles up the Nile, and Untrodden Peaks and Unfrequented Valleys: A Midsummer Ramble in the Dolomites, both written and illustrated by her, that were her proudest works.

Edwards was born in London to an Irish mother and a father who had been a British army officer before becoming a banker.

Home educated by her mother, she was already showing considerable promise as a writer at a very young age. She published her first poem at age seven, her first story at age 12.

She had work published in a large number of magazines including Chamber’s Journal and Charles Dickens’s Household Words, as well as the Saturday Review and the Morning Post.

Her first full-length novel was My Brother’s Wife, published when she was just 25. Her early novels were well received, but it was Barbara’s History, a novel about bigamy, that solidly established her reputation as a novelist.

It is hard today to understand just how popular she was. Her last novel, Lord Brackenbury, for instance, ran to no less than 15 editions.

The wealth these books brought her allowed her to write about what really interested her — travel and particularly Egyptology.

In the winter of 1873-4, accompanied by several friends, she toured Egypt, discovering a fascination with the land and its cultures, both ancient and modern.

She hired a dahabiyeh — a houseboat with a huge sail and an Egyptian crew. At this time Egypt and its many ancient sites had become a popular tourist destination with the well-to-do from England, Germany and other parts of Europe.

These tourists were often keen amateur archaeologists and they fell into two distinct camps. There were those who thought that all the best artefacts and works of art should be shipped home to the huge museums of Bloomsbury and many rival city museums of Germany or, even worse, into private collections.

Others took the view that the art should be left where it was in Egypt. Edwards sided with this view. A keen artist, she mostly sketched rather than collected what she saw.

She and her friends visited Cairo, Philae and ultimately reached Abu Simbel. Edwards’s description of her Nile voyage, A Thousand Miles up the Nile, was the outcome of this trip. The book was illustrated by beautiful and accurate wood engravings taken from her hand-drawn sketches. It became an immediate bestseller.

The book led, in 1882, to her co-founding the Egypt Exploration Fund, which still exists today as the Egypt Exploration Society.

Edwards’s travels in Egypt had made her aware of the increasing threats directed towards the ancient monuments by tourism and modern development.

Determined to stem these threats by the force of public awareness and scientific endeavour, Edwards became a tireless public advocate for the research and preservation of the ancient monuments.

She worked closely and supported the English archaeologist and Egyptologist Flinders Petrie. He became the first Edwards Professor of Egyptian Archaeology and Philology at University College London, taking the chair that was set up and funded in 1892 by a bequest shortly after her death.

She had instructed that Petrie should be its first incumbent. He continued to excavate in Egypt after taking up the professorship, training many of the best archaeologists of the day.

One of his students was Howard Carter, who went on to discover the tomb of Tutankhamun.

With the aim of advancing the fund’s work, Edwards largely abandoned her other literary work to concentrate on Egyptology. She wrote the Encyclopaedia Britannica entry on Egyptology.

As part of her efforts, Edwards embarked on an ambitious lecture tour of the United States in the period 1889-90. The content of these lectures was later published as Pharaohs, Fellahs and Explorers.

As well as writing ghost stories and travel books, Amelia seems to have made no secret of her unconventional sexual orientation. Some modern biographers have tried to hide this aspect of her life but Edwards never did.

Her friend, the author and critic John Addington Symonds, told Henry Havelock Ellis that she made no secret of her lesbian lifestyle.

Havelock Ellis was in 1897 co-author of the first medical textbook in English on homosexuality and he also published works on a variety of sexual orientations and inclinations.

She told both Symonds and Ellis she had formed a menage a trois with an English woman and her clergyman husband. Symonds said she told him that one day the husband had married Edwards to his wife at the altar of his church.

This unconventional bisexual couple were almost certainly John Rice Byrne and Ellen Byrne who the 1871 census shows as living at 7 Cambridge Park, Bristol. He was a clergyman and school inspector. When they moved away from Bristol, Edwards told Symonds it was like a death blow.

Edwards died of influenza on April 15 1892 at Weston-super-Mare. She is buried in the churchyard of St Mary’s Church, Henbury, Bristol, and her grave is marked by a distinctive Egyptian obelisk and stone ankh — the ancient Egyptian symbol of life shaped like a cross with a loop at the top.

Buried beside Edwards is her lifetime companion, partner and lover Ellen Drew Braysher, with whom she shared a home for 30 years. Historic England designated her grave as Grade II listed, celebrating it as a landmark in English LGBT history.

Today many of Edwards’s books, now long out of copyright, can be downloaded free from the internet.

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Female pharaoh Hatshepsut picture discovered


This 2017 video is called Hatshepsut: Secrets of Egypt’s Lost Queen.

From Swansea University in Wales:

Mysterious head of a pharaoh discovered by Swansea Egyptologist

March 23, 2018

Swansea University Egyptology lecturer Dr Ken Griffin has found a depiction of one of the most famous pharaohs in history Hatshepsut (one of only a handful of female pharaohs) on an object in the Egypt Centre stores, which had been chosen for an object handling session.

The opportunity to handle genuine Egyptian artefacts is provided by the Egypt Centre to students studying Egyptology at Swansea University.

This video is called Introduction to The Egypt Centre, Swansea.

During a recent handling session for an Egyptian Art and Architecture module Dr Kenneth Griffin, from the University’s Department of Classics, Ancient History and Egyptology, noticed that one of the objects chosen was much more interesting than initially thought.

Consisting of two irregularly shaped limestone fragments that have been glued together, the object had been kept in storage for over twenty years and was requested for the handling session based only on an old black and white photograph.

The front side depicts the head of a figure whose face is unfortunately missing, with the remains of a fan directly behind. Traces of hieroglyphs are also present above the head. The iconography of the piece indicates that it represents a ruler of Egypt, particularly with the presence of the uraeus (cobra) on the forehead of the figure. Who is this mysterious pharaoh and where did the fragment originate from?

A search of the Egypt Centre records provides no information on the original provenance or find spot of the object. What is known is that it came to Swansea in 1971 as part of the distribution of objects belonging to Sir Henry Wellcome (1853-1936), the pharmaceutical entrepreneur based in London. The fragments are less than 5cm thick and had clearly been removed from the wall of a temple or tomb, as can be seen from the cut marks on the back.

Having visited Egypt on over fifty occasions, Dr Griffin quickly recognised the iconography as being similar to reliefs within the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahri (Luxor), which was constructed during the height of the New Kingdom. In particular, the treatment of the hair, the fillet headband with twisted uraeus, and the decoration of the fan are all well-known at Deir el-Bahri.

Most importantly, the hieroglyphs above the head — part of a formulaic text attested elsewhere at the temple — use a feminine pronoun, a clear indication that the figure is female.

Hatshepsut was the fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty (c.1478-1458 BC) and one of only a handful of women to have held this position. Early in her reign she was represented as a female wearing a long dress, but she gradually took on more masculine traits, including being depicted with a beard. The reign of Hatshepsut was one of peace and prosperity, which allowed her to construct monuments throughout Egypt. Her memorial temple at Deir el-Bahri, built to celebrate and maintain her cult, is a masterpiece of Egyptian architecture.

Many fragments were taken from this site during the late nineteenth century, before the temple was excavated by the Egypt Exploration Fund (now Egypt Exploration Society) between 1902-1909. Since 1961 the Polish Archaeological Mission to Egypt has been excavating, restoring, and recording the temple.

Yet the mystery of the precious find doesn’t end there. On the rear of the upper fragment, the head of a man with a short beard is depicted. Initially there was no explanation for this, but it is now clear that the upper fragment had been removed and recarved in more recent times in order to complete the face of the lower fragment. The replacement of the fragment below the figure would also explain the unusual cut of the upper fragment. This was probably done by an antiques dealer, auctioneer, or even the previous owner of the piece in order to increase its value and attractiveness. It was eventually decided at an unknown date to glue the fragments together in the original layout, which is how they now appear.

While Deir el-Bahri seems the most likely provenance for this artefact, further research is needed in order to confirm this and it may even be possible to one day determine the exact spot the fragments originated from.

Given the importance of the object, the head of Hatshepsut has now been placed on display in a prominent position within the House of Life at the Egypt Centre so that the relief can be appreciated by visitors to the Centre.

Dr Griffin said: “The Egypt Centre is a wonderful resource and is certainly one of the major factors in attracting students to study Egyptology at Swansea University.”

“The identification of the object as depicting Hatshepsut caused great excitement amongst the students. After all, it was only through conducting handling sessions for them that this discovery came to light.”

“While most of the students have never visited Egypt before, the handling sessions help to bring Egypt to them.”

Archaeological discoveries in Egypt


This video says about itself:

30 August 2012

TUNA EL GEBEL is near Minya, was the necropolis of the city of Hermopolis, This zone was a place with special adoration to 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 (also fish, pigs, dogs, cats, goats, falcons, larks, and kestrels, all mummified and placed into pottery jars).

From Associated Press:

Archaeologists find ancient necropolis in Egypt

February 24, 2018 6:43 AM PST

TUNA AL-GABAL, Egypt — Egypt’s Antiquities Ministry announced on Saturday the discovery of an ancient necropolis near the … city of Minya, south of Cairo, the latest discovery in an area known to house ancient catacombs from the Pharaonic Late Period and the Ptolemaic dynasty.

The large cemetery is located north of Tuna al-Gabal area, a vast archaeological site on the edge of the western desert. It hosts a range of family tombs and graves.

“We will need at least five years to work on the necropolis”, Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani said, “This is only the beginning of a new discovery.”

Archaeologists started excavation work in the area started late last year on a quest to find the remainder of the cemetery of Upper Egypt’s 15th nome during ancient times. They found tombs belonging to priests of Thoth, the ancient god of the moon and wisdom.

One tomb includes more than 1,000 statues and four well preserved alabaster canopic jars inscribed with hieroglyphics and designed to hold the mummified internal organs of their owner who was a high priest of the god Thoth. The priest’s mummy was also found decorated with blue and red beads and bronze gilded sheets.

Archaeologists also uncovered 40 sarcophagi believed to belong to the priest’s family members, some bearing the names of their owners in hieroglyphics.

Another tomb includes several coffins, statues depicting ancient priests and other funerary artifacts.

Mostafa Waziri, head of the archaeological mission, says eight tombs have been uncovered so far and he expects more will be discovered soon.

In 2017, the ministry found a necropolis holding at least 17 mummies in the area of Tuna al-Gabal. The area is also known to include tombs, a funerary building and a large necropolis for thousands of mummified ibis and baboon…s, as well as other animals.

Ancient Egyptian tombs discovered


This video says about itself:

9 December 2017

Archaeologists in Egypt have displayed items, including a mummy, from one of two previously unexplored tombs in the ancient Nile city of Luxor.

The mummy is believed to be that of a senior official from Egypt’s “New Kingdom”, about 3,500 years ago.

Other items included figurines, wooden masks and richly colored wall paintings.

The tombs lie in the Draa Abul Naga necropolis, an area famed for its temples and burial grounds.

It is close to the Valley of the Kings where many of ancient Egypt’s pharaohs were buried.

Egypt’s antiquities ministry said that the tombs had been discovered by a German archaeologist in the 1990s, but were kept sealed until recently.

The identity of the mummified body is not known but the ministry says there are two possibilities.

It could be a person named Djehuty Mes, whose name is engraved on one of the walls, or it could be a scribe called Maati whose name – and the name of his wife, Mehi – are written on funerary cones, officials said.

The other tomb was only recently “uncovered” and has not yet been fully excavated, the ministry said.

In September, archaeologists discovered the tomb of a royal goldsmith near Luxor.

The tomb, which also dated back to the New Kingdom, contained a statue of the goldsmith Amenemhat, sitting beside his wife.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Egyptian mummy and ancient treasures ‘in near perfect condition’ discovered in 3,500-year-old tombs

Findings believed to date back to 18th dynasty, in what experts are calling ‘the discovery of the year’

Edmund Bower

Draa Abou Naga, Egypt

The Egyptian Ministry of State for Antiquities announced on Saturday the discovery of two ancient tombs at the necropolis of Draa Abou Naga, part of the Unesco World Heritage site of Thebes, near the Nile city of Luxor.

The occupants of the private tombs are as of yet unknown but believed by the ministry to date back to the 18th dynasty (1550BC to 1292BC). It’s the latest find of a series of discoveries in Draa Abou Naga, and Egypt in general, after the minister Khaled Alnani announced at the beginning of 2017 that it would be “a year of discoveries”.

The two tombs, seven and ten metres deep respectively, were found to contain a number of artefacts, including 40 funerary cones, 36 Usahbti statues, and funerary furniture, some of which was gold plated.

Of particular interest is a large painted wall, which has survived almost intact. “It’s really beautiful,” said famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, “and typical 18th dynasty. It looks like it was painted yesterday. In my opinion, this could be the best painted wall discovered in Draa Abou Naga in the last 100 years.”

Also discovered were a number of mummies, skeletons, and a large painted statue of a woman named Isis Nefret – believed to be the mother of the tomb’s occupant – in the form of the Ancient Egyptian god of the afterlife, Osiris. “It’s in near perfect condition,” said Mr Alnani.

Mostafa Waziry, who is leading the excavation, said he believes the find to be related to one that was announced three months ago. Less than 100 metres from the site his team announced the discovery of another important tomb, which Mr Hawass described then as “the discovery of the year”. It contained a goldsmith named Amenemhat who lived 3,500 years ago, along with a host of other mummies and artefacts. It also included evidence that a man called “Marty” was buried there, although his body was never discovered. Speaking of one of the bodies found in the most recent tomb, Mr Waziry said: “I believe this is Marty.”

With his “year of discoveries” coming to an end, Mr Alnani said that the results have been “exceptional”. Other notable finds this year include a Roman-era mass grave near the Upper Egyptian town of Minya, a previously unknown pyramid at the Dahshur necropolis, and an eight-metre tall statue of King Psamtek I found in a suburb of East Cairo.

Ancient Pharaoh Tutankhamun, new research


This 2016 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.

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.

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.