Ancient Egyptian emoticons


This video series is about the ancient Egyptian village Deir el-Medina.

From Leiden University in the Netherlands:

Emoticons in Ancient Egypt

Published on 30 August 2016

The advent of script has never managed to eliminate the use of symbols. This is the finding of research carried out by Kyra van der Moezel on Ancient Egyptian identity marks. PhD defence 7 September.

Van der Moezel studied identity marks from the settlement at Deir el-Medina, on the west bank of the Nile. This is where some 40 to 120 workers and their families lived between 1550 and 1070 BC. These were the workers who built and decorated the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings, where the legendary King Tutankhamen is buried, along with other pharaohs and elites.

Funny signs

More than three thousand years later Deir el-Medina reveals a wealth of archaeological information. An exceptional number of written sources have been found covering trade, the law, religion and literature. Researchers have also found a large number of identity marks, often imprinted on potsherds or as graffiti on the rock walls of the necropolis. For a long time scientists had no idea how to interpret all these symbols, so they were dubbed very unscientifically ‘funny signs’.

Pictograms

‘Under the guidance of lecturer Ben Haring we have now managed to interpret most of these symbols,’ Van der Moezel explains. ‘You can compare them to pictograms today, like information symbols at airports or product logos. They all have an inherent meaning, but are not related by any linguistic rules. The rules governing how words and sentences are formed don’t apply here. The symbols use other means of expressing information.’

WhatsApp

Van der Moezel and her colleagues distinguish different types of identity marks. Some symbols appear to be geometrical and use squares, triangles or circles, while others were derived from the written language. Finally, the Leiden researchers also found images of beings and objects that in terms of their function are comparable with the symbols that we use today in WhatsApp.

Jackals

‘These pictograms depict images of animals, objects or professions, for example,’ says Van der Moezel. ‘They were used in two different ways. First of all metonymically, whereby the symbol refers directly to what the person who drew it wanted to convey. The scorpion hunter of Deir el-Medina, for example, was represented by a scorpion symbol. The Egyptians also used the pictograms metaphorically. A well-known Egyptian metaphor is, for example, ‘as fast as a jackal’, which could explain why a worker is represented by the image of a jackal.’

Continued existence

Surprisingly enough, the identity signs continued to exist even after the workers started to make more use of writing. Van der Moezel: ‘People often assume that identity signs are ‘more primitive’ than written language, and that writing will slowly but surely take over from symbols. However, what we see is that writing and symbols continue to exist alongside one another. There is some interchange between the two, but symbols have never been ousted as a means of communication. Symbols continue to be useful because you can express a lot more in a single symbol than in a letter or a word.’

Symbolizing Identity

Van der Moezel’s PhD is part of a larger project entitled Symbolizing Identity. Identity Marks and their Relation to Writing in New Kingdom Egypt, managed by Dr Ben Haring. Haring was awarded a subsidy in 2011 by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) to conduct this research.

Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s meteorite dagger


Tutankhamun's dagger

From Meteoritics & Planetary Science:

The meteoritic origin of Tutankhamun’s iron dagger blade

20 MAY 2016

Abstract

Scholars have long discussed the introduction and spread of iron metallurgy in different civilizations. The sporadic use of iron has been reported in the Eastern Mediterranean area from the late Neolithic period to the Bronze Age. Despite the rare existence of smelted iron, it is generally assumed that early iron objects were produced from meteoritic iron. Nevertheless, the methods of working the metal, its use, and diffusion are contentious issues compromised by lack of detailed analysis.

Since its discovery in 1925, the meteoritic origin of the iron dagger blade from the sarcophagus of the ancient Egyptian King Tutankhamun (14th C. BCE) has been the subject of debate and previous analyses yielded controversial results. We show that the composition of the blade (Fe plus 10.8 wt% Ni and 0.58 wt% Co), accurately determined through portable x-ray fluorescence spectrometry, strongly supports its meteoritic origin.

In agreement with recent results of metallographic analysis of ancient iron artifacts from Gerzeh, our study confirms that ancient Egyptians attributed great value to meteoritic iron for the production of precious objects. Moreover, the high manufacturing quality of Tutankhamun‘s dagger blade, in comparison with other simple-shaped meteoritic iron artifacts, suggests a significant mastery of ironworking in Tutankhamun‘s time.

Tutankhamun's meteorite scarab in brooch

From Astronomy magazine, 1 June 2016:

The dagger was not the only relic in King Tut’s possession that was rare and unusual; he also possessed a scarab necklace made of silica glass that might have been created by the heat of a meteorite impacting the desert sand and melting it down.

Queen Nefertiti discovered in Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s grave?


This video says about itself:

Hidden Chamber in King Tut’s Tomb May Contain Nefertiti

11 August 2015

A researcher claims to have found a ‘ghost’ doorway hiding beneath the plaster on the wall of the burial chamber, which he believes leads to the tomb of the ruler’s supposed mother, Queen Nefertiti.

By Rossella Lorenzi:

Hidden King Tut Rooms May Contain Metal, Organics

March 17, 2016 07:20 AM ET

The tomb of King Tutankhamun conceals two rooms that could contain metal or organic material, Egypt’s antiquities minister said Thursday.

Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty told a press conference that analysis of radar scans carried out by Japanese specialist Hirokatsu Watanabu revealed two hidden spaces on the north and eastern walls of the 3,300-year-old tomb.

“Furthermore, based on the GPR data, curves that might indicate doors were also detected above the cavities, which can be seen as an entrance to those cavities,” al-Damaty said.

Who Else May Be in King Tut’s Tomb?

The metal and organic material possibly revealed by the scans strongly suggest to the presence of a another burial, boostering a claim by Nicholas Reeves, a British Egyptologist at the University of Arizona.

In July 2015 Reeves published a paper arguing that high-resolution images of the tomb’s walls show “distinct linear traces” pointing to the presence of two still unexplored chambers.

“It does look from the radar evidence as if the tomb of Tutankhamun is a corridor tomb and it continues beyond the decorated burial chamber,” Reeves said at a press conference last November.

King Tut’s Tomb May Hide Nefertiti’s Secret Grave

According to Reeves, one hidden chamber would contain the remains, and possibly the intact grave goods, of queen Nefertiti, wife of the “heretic” monotheistic pharaoh Akhenaten, Tutankhamun’s father.

Reeves speculated that the tomb of King Tut was not ready when he died unexpectedly at 19 in 1323 B.C., after having ruled a short reign of nine to 10 years. Consequently, he was buried in a rush in what was originally the tomb of Nefertiti, who had died 10 years earlier.

According to al-Damaty, the hidden chambers could contain the tomb of a member of King Tut’s family. However, he did not speculate on Nefertiti.

Weird Facts About King Tut and His Mummy

New scans will be conducted later this month to reconstruct the exact size of the chambers and the best way to proceed with the investigation.

According to al-Damaty, multiple steps are planned in coming months to unveil new clues about the secrets of King Tut.

“It’s a rediscovery that might lead us to the discovery of the century,” al-Damaty said.

Egyptian Queen Nefertiti buried in Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb?


This video says about itself:

25 March 2014

Queen Nefertiti – Greatest Mystery of Ancient Egypt (History Documentary)

LOVED BY A KING. HATED BY AN EMPIRE. ERASED FROM HISTORY. SHE COULD BE THE BIGGEST FIND SINCE KING TUT. Has the famed Egyptian beauty, Queen Nefertiti, been found in a secret chamber deep in the Valley of the Kings? A Discovery Channel Quest expedition, led by Dr. Joann Fletcher and a team of internationally renown scientists from the University of York Mummy research Team, hopes to find out.

If they’re right, the finding will be one of the greatest archaeological discoveries since Nefertiti’s stepson – King Tutankhamen – was discovered in 1922. “Great Royal Wife” of the “renegade” pharaoh Akhenaten, Nefertiti was a mother of six who helped lead a religious revolution that changed Egypt and the world forever. Yet after her death, her enemies destroyed all evidence of Nefertiti’s life.

Now, drawing on 13 years of research, Fletcher and her team bring Nefertiti’s turbulent reign to life as never before using cutting-edge computer animations to recreate ancient Egypt’s great temples; x-rays to reveal the telltale signs of foul play on her mummy; and forensic graphics to recreate the mummy’s face. Have they found the ancient world’s greatest beauty?

From the Egyptian Streets site:

’90 Percent Chance’ King Tutankhamun’s Tomb Holds a Hidden Chamber: Egypt’s Antiquities Minister

November 28, 2015

There is a 90 percent chance a hidden chamber lies behind King Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Damaty announced at a Saturday press conference in Luxor.

According to Damaty, the scans, conducted by Japanese radar specialist Hirokatsu Watanabu, covered the southern, western and northern sides of the pharaoh’s burial chamber.

“The primary results of the scan gave us very positive results, very good results,” Damaty said. “We have here something behind the west and the north walls…We believe that there could be another chamber.”

The findings, which lend credence to British archaeologist Nicholas Reeves’ theory that Queen Nefertiti’s tomb is hidden behind that of King Tutankhamun, may lead to “one of the most important finds of the century,” Damaty said.

However, these findings are only preliminary and need more work to yield accurate results, the minister stressed. Damaty said the scans will be sent to Japan for further analysis, which will take around one month to complete.

Reeves had publicized his hypothesis in July, after which the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities invited him to Egypt to present his theory to antiquities officials.

In October, the panel of experts approved using radars to search inside King Tutankhamun’s tomb for a hidden chamber.

Based on the detailed scans and photographs of Tut’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor which were published last year by Factum Arte, a Spanish specialist in art and replication, Reeves noted that beneath the layers of paint, the texture of walls revealed cracks which may suggest the presence of two doors leading to passageways.

While the first door likely leads to a storage room which has already been discovered, the other passageway situated at the north wall of the burial chamber is speculated to lead to a bigger room which may be Nefertiti’s tomb.

The archaeologist also believes Tutankhamun’s tomb and death mask were originally made for Nefertiti, who is strongly believed to be his stepmother. According to Reeves, Tutankhamun’s sudden death likely resulted in his “hurried” burial in a mausoleum that had not been intended for him.

Not only was Nefertiti famous for her beauty, which remains evident through her world-renowned 3,300-year-old painted limestone bust housed at the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, but she was also the Great Royal Wife of the Pharaoh Akhenaten and his chief consort.

Nefertiti’s burial site has long been a mystery as archaeologists have so far failed to find the queen’s tomb.

King Tutankhamun’s tomb was found in 1922 under the supervision of another British archaeologist and Egyptologist, Howard Carter.

What the discovery of Nefertiti’s tomb would mean for the Egyptian economy.

United States Republican Carson believes Joseph built the pyramids to store grain


This 2011 video is called Pharaohs-The Great Pyramid of Egypt (How was it built?) – BBC 1 of 6.

While all serious Egyptologists say that the six pyramids of Giza were built about 2500 BC as graves for pharaohs, there are some crackpot theories denying that.

Some claim ancient Egyptians did not build the pyramids, but aliens who had arrived in UFOs did.

And now, a United States Republican politician has another off base pet theory. After his fellow Republican Sarah Palin claimed that dinosaurs and humans used to live at the same time, Ben Carson thinks he should not just become president of the USA, but an amateur pseudo-Egyptologist as well.

From daily The Independent in Britain, 5 November 2015:

Ben Carson says pyramids were ‘built by biblical figure Joseph to store grain’

It is not the first time the 64-year-old former surgeon has expressed the novel theory

Andrew Buncombe, New York

There are three of them on the outskirts of Cairo, with the tallest of them soaring to more to more than 140 metres.

Over the years, experts and archaeologists have debated over what may have been the use of these giant pyramids, one of which was for centuries the highest man-made structure on earth. Were they simply burial chambers for the mightiest of the pharaohs?

Ben Carson, one of the leaders of the US Republican presidential race, believes the solution lies in the Bible.

He has repeated his longstanding belief that Egyptian pyramids were built by the biblical figure, Joseph, to store grain.

Dear Dr Carson, there are some problems here. Most historians think that the biblical Joseph was a myth. A few believe the Joseph tradition was based on the Hyksos Asian invaders of Egypt. But that was around 1800-1500 BCE, so almost a thousand years after the Giza pyramids were built.

Another theory claims that the Bible was right on Joseph. In that view, Joseph was the same person as Amenhotep-Huy, vizier of Pharaoh Amenhotep III. But that was about 1360 BC, still more centuries later than the building of the pyramids.

“It’s still my belief, yes,” the retired neurosurgeon told reporters this week.

“Well, the pyramids were made in a way that they had hermetically sealed compartments. You would need that if you were trying to preserve grain for a long period of time.”

The Associated Press said that Mr Carson, 64, a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, first articulated his theory at a 1998 commencement speech at Andrews University.

In the commencement video, Mr Carson laid out his theory that the pyramids were constructed for grain storage.

“My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain,” Mr Carson

“Now all the archaeologists think that they were made for the pharaohs’ graves. But, you know, it would have to be something awfully big if you stop and think about it. And I don’t think it’d just disappear over the course of time to store that much grain.”

Exclusive: Carson claimed West Point ‘scholarship’ but never applied. Republican hits POLITICO story, later admits to The New York Times he wasn’t offered aid: here.

Ben Carson ‘fabricated’ his admission to West Point military academy: here.

Ben Carson is not having the best week, between redrawing borders on a U.S. map and that NYT piece on his lack of foreign policy understanding.

Ancient Egyptian sculpture acquired by Dutch museum


Newly aquired sculpture from the age of Pharaoh Amenhotep III

Translated from the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, the Netherlands:

The Egyptian collection of the Museum of Antiquities has recently been supplemented by a series of objects from the former collection of HC Jelgersma (1897-1982), a psychiatrist who studied Egyptology in his spare time. The most striking object of this is a small statue from the time of Amenhotep III (1391-1353 BC), the father of the famous Pharaoh Akhenaten. It is a thirteen centimeters tall head of a statue that has stood in an Egyptian temple.

Figurine with features of Amenhotep III

The sculpture has the characteristic features of Pharaoh Amenhotep III, but the wig with vertical strands indicates that the head does not represent the pharaoh himself, but a god with the facial features of the monarch. Amenhotep III had hundreds of these idols made for many temples in the country.

Rise and fall of the sun cult

The statue is made of red quartzite, a type of stone that was popular in this period of Egyptian history. Probably the colour was associated with the rising sun. That suited the cult of the sun as almighty god, which was booming at this time and culminated during the reign of Akhenaten. On the forehead was originally the head of a cobra, a symbol of power, worn both by gods and kings.

September 2, 2015

Egyptian Queen Nefertiti’s grave discovered?


This 2013 video is called Discovery Channel’sQueen Nefertiti” The Most Beautiful Face of Egypt.

From the Amarna Royal Tombs Project, by Nicholas Reeves:

ABSTRACT

Recently published, high-resolution scans of the walls of room J (the Burial Chamber) of Valley of the Kings tomb KV 62 (Tutankhamun) reveal, beneath the plastered surfaces of the painted scenes, distinct linear traces. These are here mapped, discussed, and tentatively identified as the ‘ghosts’ of two hitherto unrecognized doorways. It is argued that these doorways give access to: (1) a still unexplored storage chamber on the west of room J, seemingly contemporary with the stocking of Tutankhamun‘s burial; and (2) a pre-Tutankhamun continuation of KV 62 towards the north, containing the undisturbed burial of the tomb’s original owner: Nefertiti.

From the Daily Mail in Britain today:

Has Queen Nefertiti been found behind King Tut’s tomb? Scientist claims to have discovered a secret door to her burial chamber in Tutankhamun’s grave, the boy king who may have been her son

Radical claim made by Dr Nicholas Reeves at the University of Arizona
He analysed high-resolution scans of the walls of Tutankhamun‘s grave
Dr Reeves says he found ‘ghosts’ of doors that tomb builders blocked
The door on the north side contains ‘the undisturbed burial of the tomb’s original owner – Nefertiti’, Dr Reeves argues

Inspection of King Tut’s Tomb Reveals Hints of Hidden Chambers. Secret doors may conceal the burial chamber of Queen Nefertiti, but tantalizing clues await further testing: here.