Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Saturday, June 25, 2011

Early in the year with the January Revolution very much in mind I visited the Book of the Dead exhibition at the British Museum.  It inspired me to write an article about how the Egyptians might have seen the break in at the Egyptian Museum and how the recognition of the risk may have helped spur people to protect Tutankhamun's tomb in the Valley of the Kings.  It was very tabloid peice but I didn't manage to place it anywhere.  It doesn't really fit well either here or on Egyptological because it isn't an academic piece at all, so I have finally published it on Wizzley.  If you are interested, it is called The Magic of King Tutankhamun.


Thutmose said...

Very nice article Kate!


Thutmose said...

Figured I would add the comment I put in the article here as well.

I would have been very difficult to get to the Mask of Tutankhamen as the area it is in at least seems secure. That wasn't always the case. If you will recall in the 1990's someone stayed overnight in one of the bathrooms and broke into a case and grabbed one of the famous daggers and placed it in his boot and tried to walk out of the museum. I believe the story went that he was caught because he was leaving just after the museum opened and the guards didn't remember him coming in. A couple of years after that was when they installed the security bars.

When I was last there in May 2010, I was struck by how in my opinion, the quality of lighting and even maintenance in the museum had deteriorated. Even at midday, it was difficult to see some things due to a lack of light, particularly in the area outside the 2nd Royal Mummy room where the tentatively identified mummy of queen Tiye was. You could see the light sockets overhead open without a bulb in them.

Marianne Luban said...

I notice that Kate mentioned in her article something about the belief [of some] that Yuya, the great-grandfather of Tutankhamun being one and the same with the Biblical Joseph. To the best of my knowledge, this theory was put forth by the author, Ahmed Osman, in his book, "Stranger In the Valley". Naturally, the idea was very well received by persons who are anxious to find proof of Biblical characters--and what better proof than an actual mummy with a well-preserved, noble face the features of which seem to suggest a foreign ethnicity?
Trouble is, the Book of Exodus maintains that the "bones of Joseph" were taken out of Egypt at the time of the leavetaking. And how much of a "stranger" can Yuya have been if his blood type is the same rare one as his wife, Thuya, [A2] and the kings from Amenhotep III to Tut--at least. For all we know, all the males of the 18th Dynasty carry this type. However, a study done of Egyptian blood groups in 1937, with both Copts and Moslems of Upper and Lower Egypt as the subjects, demonstrated a presence of less than 1% of A2 in the population.

One of the points made by Osman is that had Yuya's name not been a foreign one or at least the hypocoristicon of an alien name, then it would not have been spelled so variously on the items in his tomb. However, although "Yuya" does seem to be a nickname, there was no reason the various artisans should have known exactly how to spell it. There were spelling conventions for formal names because they were words in a phrase--and every Egyptian formal name was a complete phrase--but not for nicknames.

Kate Phizackerley said...

Thanks James.

I don't disagree with you Marianne but it was written to get the maximum amount of information across in a tight word count, while also keeping detail simple. Challenging and obviously involves compromises which is why I didn't place it here.

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