Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, November 26, 2010

Jane has more photos from Richard Sellicks of Hatshepsut's cliff tomb and KV38 and KV39.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, November 26, 2010

I'm wondering if new excavations have begun in the Valley of the Kings for winter 2010.  This photo claims to show excavations in the valley.  It was taken on October 11th 2010 and is labelled "Luxor, Egypt - Valley Of The Kings - Excavators" but I don't recognise the location.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Monday, November 22, 2010

I need to catch up on some items in my newsreader, but for now here is a site about restoration work at Karnak Temple in Luxor.  My thanks for John Bright for the heads up.  The site is in French, but there is also an English version.  (Centre Franco-Egyptien d'Etude des Temples de Karnak translates as the "Franco-Egyptian Centre for the Study of the Temples of Karnak".)

The latest article is a report on work in the Temple of Ptah.  Again the report is in English, but photo labels are in French.  I really recommend the article.  For those unfamiliar with the period of the Temple, this quote may help you put it into context:

Despite the low number of scattered blocks identified, the first campaign has clarified the origin of several of them, especially from the south side of the temple, which is also the most damaged. Two blocks (2516 + 2625) from the inner southern wall of the court feature an offering of Maat to [Ptah, Hathor and Harsomtous]. One block (2606) with the protocol of Ptolemy IV, located east of the temple, was put back to its original location on the top of the north wall of the court. Besides Ptolemy III and Ptolemy IV being well attested among the scattered blocks, one can note the following kings: Tuthmose III (2626); Hatshepsut (2580, 2584 and 2589), Horemheb (2575), Rameses III (a reused block in gate D and scattered blocks); Nitocris (2639); Nectanebo II (2635). Hatshepsut, Nitocris and Nectanebo II are not documented in the temple.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Monday, November 22, 2010

Given the recent situation with comments, I've revised the copyright terms for the site to specify that the newsfeed is offered on a Creative Commons Attribution No Commercial Licence version 3.0.  In short you are welcome to reproduce articles providing the copyright notice included in the newsfeed is shown as part of the reproduction (attribution) and provided there are no adverts on your page.  

You may not show adverts alongside any reproduced articles under any circumstances or otherwise use an article or the newsfeed for commercial purposes.

(Read the full text.)

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You may already know of these resources but I haven't seen them linked in any of the discussions I have read over the past couple of years, so you may find them useful.

There is a Wiki project (which is my favourite) and a web site.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

One of the perennial questions is , "What's going on?"  Well as a partial answer, the new SCA website has a list of the current foreign missions operating in Egypt.  There are certainly some in the Luxor area I hadn't come aross like the Italian mission to the Tomb of Sheshonq (TT27).

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I know many people read the blog in a newsreader but please don't overlook the discussion which you don't get in the newsfeed.  For instance, so far we have had 40 comments on the DNA of Moses, many of which are long and detailed.  I've learned quite a bit about the Exodus.   Even the thread about the forensic examination of KV55 has 14 comments.

Not every article attracts that many comments, but most do have some comments.  Some of the readers leaving comments know more than I and I encourage you to stop by the blog itself every now and again to see what is being said in the discussions.  You can see the latest comments in the far right sidebar and from there click through to any discussion that interests you.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dr Hasass has posted a close up of the latest statue which is much clearer.

Sent from my Windows Phone

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Monday, November 15, 2010

A new route lined with sphinxes has been found in Luxor.  The previously known Sphinx Avenue runs roughly parallel to the Nile; this one runs towards the Nile.  Perhaps most importantly, it leads the the Temple of Mut which could add to what we know about that temple.   Inscriptions for Nectanebo (30th Dynasty) have been found, so this is a very late monument.

(Sorry to be brief,  must dash.)

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, November 11, 2010

It has been announced that 19 items from Tutankhamun's tomb, which are presently in the collection of New York's Metropolitan Museum, are to be returned to Egypt.  The returned to Egypt.  The story has been covered extensively with a good coverage on Zahi's blog including pictures of the main objects.  Thomas Hoving is usually creditted with identifying that these objects had come from KV62.

What has not been picked up in the press reports is the implication for the entry and clearance of KV62.  There have been suspicions for many years that Carnarvon was involved in the illicit removal of items from KV62.  Official acknowledgement that these items came from the time, will make it much harder to deny those suspicions.  They centre on two separate allegations:

1) Did Carter enter the tomb before it's official opening and then re-seal it?
2) Did Carter set aside items while cataloguing the tomb?

We may never know.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, November 11, 2010

Marriane Luban has an article on her blog which she has called "The DNA of Moses" in which she describes a project testing the DNA of modern day Cohens.  There is more here and even a dedicated Wikipedia article.

While this seems off-topic for News from the Valley of the Kings, as more studies into the DNA of royal and priestly mummies are done studies like this might help identify the time of Exodus which could help with our overall understanding of chronology.  It is also why I believe the DNA of tested mummies should be fully published as, in many ways, links between ourselves and our ancestors is what makes real for history for many.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Tuesday, November 09, 2010

This dates to June but somehow I missed posting the link, sorry.  I was Googling for R Paul's photos of KV55 when it was opened in 1907 just now and came across it.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, November 05, 2010

An album of photos from 1943, including Karnka and Luxor temples and some from the Valley of the Kings.  They are all black and white.  I've looked through and cannot spot anything that isn't available in colour, although the picture of Luxor Temple from the Nile is rather nice.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, November 05, 2010

I promised to get back with links on this find.  The SCA press release has the details and the best version of the photo can be found here.  Between them these sites has everything on the Hawass blog and have a better version of the photo.  (Getting back to the days of SCA press releases is great! Long may it continue.  I'll check the copyright and may start repeating them here - press releases are usually something that can be used for reporting!)

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, November 05, 2010

Another statue of Amenhotep III has been found at the Colossi of Memnon site.  Details on Dr Hawass site.  I'll try to find more photos later.

(On mobile so will hyperlink later.)

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

On the first anniverasary, there is an up to date photo of the exterior of this tomb on the latest post on Egyptologia.  (There have been some other articles since I last linked so if you want everything, then visit the front page.)

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Tuesday, November 02, 2010

John Samsen emailed me with a theory about KV62 and the end of the Amarna period and asked my thoughts.  With John's permission, I have turned it into a guest article so that other people can offer their views as well.  This is what John presented:

In 1977, I viewed the gold death mask of Tut at the exhibit in Chicago, and was surprised to see that red veins had been painted on the whites of the eys. There is also an alabaster bust of Tut that has red veins on the eyes. I immediately had the idea that persons in charge of the funeral had wanted to show that Tut was a "flesh-and blood" human being, which is in keeping with the naturalist philosophy of Akenaten and his family. There are also items among the treasures that show Tut and his wife in Amarna style art, with the Aten. When I visited Karnak in 1985, I realized that among the Tut treasures are a number of items that are very similar to bas relief sculptures on the wall at Karnak where Thutmose III shows the many gifts he gave to the Amon temples.  The chests with slanted tops, and in particular, the large gold cabinet with cobras on top in which Tut's sarcophagus was placed. (the solar disk was added to the heads of the cobras). It suggests to me that Akenaten removed the treasures from the Amun temples at Karnak and put them in the temple at Amarna. And, as Tut was raised at Amarna, he and others of the family and court of Akenaten, perhaps including Ay and Horemheb,  may have continued to believe in the religion of the Aten. The radical purge of the Amun religion may have brought Egypt to the brink of civil war, or at least, a coup, and Horenheb may have decided to restore the Amun cult and end the experiment with the Aten, to save the nation. The huge number of Amarna items stuffed into Tut's tomb may have been an attempt by Horemheb abd the family to keep the Amarna style furniture and other treasures from falling into the hands of the Amun priests or others who may have been trying to overthrow the government, as the eighteenth dynasty was ending. They may have even hidden Tut's tomb, hoping to get back the treasures at a later time when egypt stabilized. Tut's funeral ocurred around one hundred years after Thutmose III built the Amun temples.

This is how John summarises his theory:

The young Tutankhamen has died. Horemheb will now ascend the throne, as Ay does not have the political power to oppose him, especially as Horemheb has the army behind him, and has been gaining favor with the Amun Priests. Ay and Tut have been convinced that The Amun religion be restored to prevent a collapse of stability in Egypt, and have been overseeing a transition. Tut's family and Ay give Tut a conventional burial, but leave clues to Tut's faith in Akenaten's religion that reverences life and living creatures. Rather than just Horus eyes, red veins are painted on the whites of the eyes on the gold death mask, and on an alabaster bust of the young king. This is to show he was a flesh-and -blood human being.

King Tut's family and his Amarna based court fear that Under Horemheb, there will be a purge of those involved in the Amarna religion, and want to safeguard the treasures of the palace and the Amarna temple. Some of these treasures had been given to the Amun temple at Karnak by Thutmose III around one hundred years before, and had been taken to Amarna by Akenaten. Others had been created in the new Amarna artistic style, many having images of the Aten. Not wanting the treasures to be destroyed or confiscated by the Amun priests, the family decided to re open the tomb of Tut and pack into it all the furniture and other items from Tut's palace and the Amarna temple, for safekeeping. Then the tomb was hidden. Many of the Amarna believers fled to colonies in Nubia (Sudan) and continued the custom of wrapping the heads of babies to enlongate the skull, as had been done in Akenaten's family, and to Tut. This custom persisted in Africa until the 20th. century BCE.

The pictures of the Tut treasures I emailed you are on the Nat. Geographic site. The alabaster bust shows the "caruncles" or patches of red veins on the eyes.
Pictures of the gold death mask do not show these clearly, but I saw them up close.

Link to alabaster bust
The drawing of the Karnak treasures

I haven't seen much written about process by which tombs were stocked; however, the private tomb in the Valley of the Kings (KV46) of Yuya and Thuya was also well-stocked so my guess is that, apart from funerary items, a noble's royal appartment was packed into his tomb and that Tutankhamun's tomb wasn't partiularly unusual - it's why we would love another New Kingdom  royal tomb to be found intact as a comparison.  However, I do like the idea of a cache.  History suggests that when a religion is suppressed, believers do try to save certain especial treasures for posterity.  It seems highly likely that happened at the end of the Amarna period.  In general I am not persuaded that KV62 is such a cache, but maybe some of the personal items from his ancestors were added to the tomb to keep those safe - ie the theory may have a partial application even if one decides the tomb as a whole wasn't a cache.

Rather than reply to John directly, I thought his theory was interesting enough to share at large.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Monday, November 01, 2010

Had a touch of cold but will update tomorrow.


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