The unbroken seal on King Tut’s tomb.
Saqqara is the most important cemetery that belongs to the ancient city of Memphis. The site is almost 6km long and up to 1,5km wide at the widest, however the neighboring cemeteries, especially Abusir, were in antiquity not seen as separate sites. This compartmentalizing of cemeteries is a very modern and western concept.
The history of the site runs back to the very first dynasty (2950-2775 BC) and continues all the way through history to the Greco-Roman period, in these 3 millennia there has been a lot of activity in the area.
Early dynastic Period (2950 – 2650 BC)
In the first dynasty there are no royal tombs at Saqqara but there are several objects with the name of Narmer on them. Narmer is the oldest royal name known from Egypt. The first mastaba ( Arabic for bench) is from the reign of king Aha, known as the founder of the legendary city of Memphis. Mastaba’s from the first dynasty are all located along the eastern line of the desert, just north of the Step Pyramid of Djoser, they belong to high officials and members of the royal family. These mastaba’s were fairly large, some even measuring up to 57 by 26 m. The chambers for funerary equipment were in the mastaba superstructure and the burial chambers and additional rooms were cut into the rock below the mastaba. Most of the early excavations were done by W.B. Emery between 1936 and 1956. The non-royal mastaba’s of the 2nd dynasty were build in the area west of the 1st dynasty mastaba’s without a clear order, these mastaba’s were considerably smaller than their 1st dynasty counterparts.
The first royal mastaba’s in Saqqara were found underneath the pyramid of Wenis, not much has survived but there are some clay inscriptions that suggest the tombs of king Reneb and Ninetjer were located here.
Old and Middle Kingdom (2650 – 1630 BC)
In this period Saqqara was a popular place to build the Pharaoh’s pyramid and no less than 14 pyramids are known from Saqqara, amazingly enough more pyramids are very likely to still be undiscovered.
The first is the Step Pyramid of Djoser (2650 BC), the first Egyptian Pyramid and the biggest structure in the world of its time. The pyramid was initially supposed to be a mastaba but the plans changed and the Egyptian ended up inventing the first stage of the pyramid. The design of the pyramid is attributed to the architect Imhotep. Around the Step Pyramid is a complex of buildings, most were meant for the celebration of the Kings’ sed-festival, a festival that celebrated a new phase in the kings reign. The second pyramid was found under the sand in 1950 and was left unfinished, it was initially build for king Sekhemkhet but the burial chamber was found empty. The third pyramid was build for the last king of the 4th dynasty and the fourth for Userkaf, the first king of the 5th dynasty. The fifth pyramid belongs to the largely unknown king Izezi but the sixth pyramid is very well known. This pyramid belongs to king Wenis, last king of the fifth dynasty and the walls of his pyramid are covered with Pyramid Texts on the inside. These texts are spells to help the deceased king in the afterlife, these spells are found in all later pyramids of the Old Kingdom. The seventh pyramid belongs to Teti, the first king of the 6th dynasty, and stands as the most northern pyramid in Saqqara. Pyramids 8 (of Pepy I), 9 (of Merenre) and 10 (of Pepy II) are all in the south of Saqqara. These pyramids belongs to pharaoh’s of the 6th dynasty. The eleventh pyramid was build for a mostly unknown king named Ibi of the 8th dynasty and this pyramid therefore belongs to the First Intermediate Period. In this period Egypt has no central government and power was held by local lords. The same is true for pyramid 12, which belongs to a king names Merykare, and was build in the 9th/10th dynasty, or the Herakleopolitan Period. The last two pyramids were build in the Middle Kingdom, the 13th dynasty, and were build with sun dried bricks.
Nonroyal tombs are plentiful in Saqqara because the elite wanted to be buried close to the royal tombs. From the 4th dynasty onwards pyramids began to be surrounded by nonroyal tombs, especially Djosers’, Wenis’ and Userkaf’ pyramids were popular to be buried around. Nonroyal tombs of the 6th dynasty and First Intermediate Period are in the vicinity of Teti’s pyramid and around pyramids in the south of Saqqara. Tombs from the Middle Kingdom are mostly around the pyramid of Teti, Wenis and in the south of Saqqara.
The New Kingdom
The most beautiful tomb from the New Kingdom in Saqqara is the tomb of Aperia, a vizier from the reign of king Amenhotep III (1390 – 1353 BC). South of the pyramid of Wenis is a large area of freestanding chapels. These chapels can be divided into two groups, a group that belongs to the Ramesside Period and a group in the area of the tomb of Horemheb. At the end of the 18th dynasty Saqqara was also very active and there are some very beautiful early post-Amarna reliefs in some tombs. The finest tombs date between the reigns of Tutanchamon and Ramses II. The most impressive find in the area was done by the Anglo-Dutch expedition of the Egypt Exploration Society and the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, they found the private tomb of the Great Commander of the Army, Horemheb. Horemheb was the military force behind the throne in the aftermath of the Amarna Period. He was general in the army during the reigns of Tutanchamon and Aye, after this he himself became pharaoh and abandoned this tomb for a tomb in the Valley of the Kings.
Other important tombs in Saqqara is that of Maya (and his wife Merit), who served as treasury official during the reign of Tutanchamon. Another beautiful tomb is that of Tia, who lived during the reign of Ramses II (better known as Ramses the Great).
The cult of the Apis bull required the sacred bull, in which the Memphite god Ptah could be present, to be mummified and buried in Saqqara at the Serapeum. This was done from the reign of Amenhotep III onwards, well into the Greco-Roman Period. Because there was only one sacred bull at a time, an Apis bull burial occurred only once every 12 to 15 years. Ramses II created a long underground gallery in which the bulls could be placed, called the ‘Lesser Vaults’, which reached a length of 68m long. A second gallery was added in the 26th dynasty (called the ‘Greater Vaults’) by Psammeticus I, and this gallery reached a length of 198 meter and was cut in a right angle with the other gallery. The ‘Greater Vaults’ was used into the Greco-Roman Period. Saqqara is a well-known sacred animal necropolis because not just sacred bulls were buried here, also mummified cows, falcons, ibises and baboons were found in the vicinity of the Serapeum.
The Late Period and Greco-Roman Period
All most all of the tombs from these two periods are near the Step Pyramid of Djoser. To the north of the pyramid is the Serapeum and tombs of the 30th dynasty and later. To the south, and close to the pyramid of Wenis), is mostly 26th and 27th dynasty tombs, the east are mostly 26th dynasty tombs and lastly in the west are mostly Greco-Roman tombs.
1. Step Pyramid of Djoser
2. Map of Saqqara
3. Inscription of Horemheb receiving a necklace of honour
4. Detail of inscription in tomb of Horemheb
5. Relief from tomb of Horemheb
Ancient Egyptian light-green glazed limestone miniature version of an actual coffin with four legs. Removable top lid with a vertical line of hieroglyphs. Inside the coffin, a removable mummy form statue, also with a vertical line of hieroglyphs. 18th Dynasty
(via thatlittleegyptologist)Source: sadighgalleryegypt.com
A lack of security across Egypt’s archaeological sites has taken a toll in the town of Akhmim, near Sohag governorate. The area where a huge limestone head of Pharaoh King Ramses II was discovered six years ago was rendered a garbage dump. According to prior surveys, the area may house a vast temple to Ramses II, and more larger than life statues of the pharaoh could be unearthed.
Because the head of the pharaoh king was uncovered within a modern cemetery in the town, residents were ordered not to bury their dead there for a few months until the cemetery could be relocated. The area was then proclaimed an archaeological site under the jurisdiction of Egypt’s antiquities law. The government, as well as the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) at the time (now the Ministry of State of Antiquities), provided the required funds to relocate a group of modern tombs to another area. As the relocation of the cemetery continued, archaeological excavation discovered more items belonging to the temple beneath. Read more.
still love this movie
Was thinking of blogging about this. Whoever did the glyphs for this scene made some… odd choices.
Line one reads: [rnpt] 100,010 r qbHw -pw ra m itn
For starters, this text is supposed to be, at the youngest, c. 4500 years old, at oldest 10,000 years old. Yet it’s written in Middle Egyptian, spoken probably c.1800-1650 BC. With signs which don’t develop until at least the later Old Kingdom, like the deteriminative to ‘Ra’, which is here the seated sun god with a sun-disk on his head. Given that depicting gods as a seated figure is a development of the 5th/6th Dynasty, this is anachronistic, to say the least.
Then there’s the use of the particle -pw here to form an A -pw B sentence, which is really a Middle Egyptian structure, since in Old Egyptian, -pw is a demonstrative.
Then there’s the decision to write ‘million’ with the hundred-thousand frog over a ten (which as far as I know makes 100,010, not a million), rather than the god Heh, which would actually spell ‘million’, or possibly ‘countless’.
Then there’s “Ra, the sun-god”. The text actually says “Ra, (being) the sun-disk”. Whoever wrote this chose this text to actually refer to the sun, not the sun-god. Of course, this presents a slight problem with Egyptian, since the word for the sun (ra) is the same as the name of the sun-god (Ra). itn (Aten), however, refers to the solar disk, so it remains… anomalous when used here.
Line 2 reads: m xtm.n=f qrs=f n Dt r nHH
Here, the text appears to say “In his having sealed and buried for eternity and everlastingness”. Because of the initial m, I would be most likely to read both verbs here as nominal forms. It’s very odd, given that the film suggests it was the people on Earth who buried the Stargate, that here the text suggests that was Ra.
Line 3 can’t be seen here, but reads: sb3=n sb3w=f
This is quite a clever pun on the Egyptian words for door (sb3) and star (sb3), and the Egyptians probably would have approved. Unfortunately, the n between the two, which should be a genitive particle (rendering the phrase ‘door of stars’), has had plural strokes added underneath, rendering the whole phrase mean “our door of his stars”.
Daniel also reads line one, contra most Egyptological manuals as it’s written (“A is B” rather than “B is A”), which is… unusual.
In conclusion, what the glyphs here actually say is:
100,010 years into the sky is Ra, the solar disk,
In his having sealed and buried for eternity and everlastingness,
Our gate of his stars.
As a postscript, teh film does contain a real line of ancient Egyptian in the scene right at the start of the film when Daniel gives a talk: he rights on the board h3 ppy -pw Ssp.n=k tp=k, which is a quotation from the Pyramid Texts of the Sixth Dynasty, and means “Ho there to this Pepi! You have received your head”. (Don’t worry, no-one knows what that means). Daniel also begins to write the cartouche of the Fourth Dynasty king Khufu in cursive hieroglyphs when he realises his last audience member has gone (as, most likely, my last reader has. Bye.)
There may be other glyphs in the film which are legible, but they scrolled past too quickly for me to read. What didn’t were the books on Daniel’s desk, which include Christopher Frayling’s The Face of Tutankhamun (why Daniel has a book on the 18th Dynasty boy-king on his desk, I don’t know - probably totally useless to him), and Michael A. Hoffman’s (likely more useful) Egypt Before the Pharaohs.
The dialogue on Abydos is not particuarly easy to understand, but the first thing said to them sounds like naturu aya, which sounds very like the phrase nTr aA: “the great gods!”. Which makes sense, given that the entire village then prostrates themselves.
Kasuf’s introduction is virtually unintelligible (at least to me), but as he walks forward it sounds like he says something like yuyu, which might derive from the verb iw, meaning to come (his actions seem consistent with saying “come along” or similar at that point), and his initial speech to the travellers definitely ends with ianak Kasuf, “I am Kasuf”.
Later in the film when daniel starts to understad Shau’ri’s dialect, she pronounces the word nTr, “god” as “nater”, nTrw (gods) as “naturu”, and also says words “nufi”, which may be nfr (good, beautiful, perfect), and “naney” (possibly nn(i), “no”).
When Daniel speaks to Ra, he asks “what are you going to do?”, for which he says something like y3 iry=k, (“indeed, you shall act!”). ix (“ikh” or “ish”) iry=k would have been a question.
Pedantic rant over.
In which Huw says everything I was thinking about the scene but didn’t want to freak the OP out! (Sorry OP! I actually love Stargate!)
I love that I follow the sort of people who would take the time to translate this.Source: spockemon
Female Portrait Mask from Egypt, 2nd century (Roman Imperial), made of encaustic (wax, pigments) on wood, cloth.
Hairstyles can be used to date female portrait masks. Here, the braids wound over the top of the head place the mask close to the period of the Roman emperor Trajan (AD 98-117). The painting of a portrait was an occasion for all finery to be displayed, and this woman is seen wearing a pearl and emerald necklace and earrings.
Courtesy & currently located at the Walters Art Museum, USA.
A private company is now cleaning Giza Plateau, the world famous archaeological site, removing garbage accumulated in the area and attempting to recapture its serenity.
Visitors to the plateau, where the three pyramids of ancient Egyptian kings Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure are located, along with the Sphinx, will be pleasantly surprised with the change.
Due to a lack of security and the absence of police on the plateau, the site, like other archaeological sites, was subject to encroachment. Horse and camel owners violated the law and entered the archaeological safe zone in an attempt to find clients. After the revolution, the number of tourists to Egypt has decreased, leading to greater competition in the Egyptian tourism trade. Read more.
For more than 50 years a tiny Egyptian mummy, no bigger than a hand, has sat in storage in the WA Museum — an ancient tightly wrapped mystery whose contents would remain sealed for ever by the mottled brown linen wound around it.
But thanks to modern technology some of the secrets of Perth’s “cat mummy” have finally been unravelled, to reveal what appears to be an elaborate 90-year-old scam.
Up until 30 years ago WA Museum staff believed they had a 2500-year-old mummified cat, donated by Perth man Reginald Wadham in 1930, and it was displayed as a sacred artefact like the type the ancient Egyptians used to offer up to the goddess of fertility, Bastet. Read more.
The builders of the famous Giza pyramids in Egypt feasted on food from a massive catering-type operation, the remains of which scientists have discovered at a workers’ town near the pyramids.
The workers’ town is located about 1,300 feet (400 meters) south of the Sphinx, and was used to house workers building the pyramid of pharaoh Menkaure, the third and last pyramid on the Giza plateau. The site is also known by its Arabic name, Heit el-Ghurab, and is sometimes called “the Lost City of the Pyramid Builders.”
So far, researchers have discovered a nearby cemetery with bodies of pyramid builders; a corral with possible slaughter areas on the southern edge of workers’ town; and piles of animal bones. Read more.
Cleopatra’s Underwater Palace, Egypt
I still don’t get why no one is LOSING THEIR FUCKING SHIT OVER THIS FIND
iT SURVIVED THE EARTHQUAKE THAT LEVELED THE REST OF THE CITY IN 365 A.D.
CLEOPATRA’S FUCKING PALACE
WITH INTACT FUCKING STATUARY
NOT TO MENTION THE REST OF THE FUCKING ENTIRE GODDAMN ISLAND OF ANTIRRHODOS INCLUDING THE ANCIENT PORT OF ALEXANDRIA
AND THEY’RE GONNA BUILD A MOTHERFUCKING UNDERWATER MUSEUM
can I be a mermaid tour guide there or some shit, you don’t even have to pay me i will just live there forever oh my fucking god
that’s really exciting
oh my god hahaha
(via blueandbluer)Source: wliabl
Fayum-portrait of a man
The Fayum is an oasis in Egypt where people have always lived because of its fertile area. In the burial area over 750 of these Fayum-portraits were found on the mummies. These are individual paintings of people on wooded panels made during life. These portraits would hang in peoples houses untill their death and then used on the mummy.
Made from wood, found in the oasis of Fayum in Egypt.
Roman Period, 175 - 225 AD
Source: Leiden Museum of Antiquities
A Very Special page of Living History, complete with a guest artist, ancient Egyptian history and a make-up tutorial!! Check it out!
(via living-history)Source: teawithbiscuit
Source: museumsadnauseumNo statue of a pharaoh has ever been found further south of Egypt than this one. At the height of his reign, King Taharqa controlled an empire stretching from Sudan to the Levant.
Black market trade of Egyptian artifacts thriving amid post-revolution chaos
Antiquity smuggling has witnessed an unprecedented surge in the two years since the 25 January Revolution since it is an easy way to make immediate money, even if it is on the account of Egypt’s heritage and history.
The fragile security situation in the country and the financial and economic ordeals the population is suffering from are considered the main reasons behind this phenomenon. Given that a small, wooden, carved Pharaonic statue or a marble bust can be sold for a large sum of US dollars, there are many who take advantage of this immediate influx of cash that can immediately improve their standard of living.
Consequently many historic antiquities are found missing from museums throughout Egypt and sealed historic areas are subjected to random excavations carried out by inhabitants looking for any hidden or unknown antiquities.
The Egyptian Council for Culture and Arts mentioned in its report last year that the amount of stolen Egyptian antiquities reached about 3,000 artefacts, probably now residing outside Egypt in the hands of private collectors.
The Ministry of Interior and the security forces have proven to be incapable to stand against and stop this heritage drain in Egypt and the Ministry of Antiquities refuses to publicise which parts of Egypt’s heritage are missing.
Read more here.