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Figure 6. Dr Granville's Mummy, from Thebes, 600BC

The Significance of the Crossed Arms Pose in the New Kingdom – Part 1

Amongst the many miracles through which delicate objects are preserved from ancient Egypt down into modern times, perhaps the most remarkable is the survival of the mortal remains of a virtually complete sequence of New Kingdom rulers. These kings, along with a number of queens and lesser royalty – who date from the end of the Seventeenth Dynasty through to the start of the Twenty-Second Dynasty – are generally referred to as the Royal Mummies, and were for the most part recovered from the Royal Cache of 1881 (in tomb TT320), and the Second Royal Cache of 1898 (in tomb KV35, the tomb of Amenhotep II). [more…]

The goddess Neith in the Early Dynastic period

The goddess Neith in the Early Dynastic period

The goddess Neith was one of Egypt’s oldest deities, very well documented from the Early Dynastic period, when Egypt was first brought together as a unified country. She is very familiar from later periods, particularly in the New Kingdom and Third Intermediate periods (figure 1). Over the millennia she was endowed with numerous attributes: a creation goddess, a sky goddess, a protector of the king (with Isis, Nephthy and Serket), protector of one of the Four Sons of Horus, the mother of Sobek, and the consort of Seth, occasionally associated with snake, cow and pig. So where did this great deity come from? The earliest evidence to allow the formation of a coherent picture is Early Dynastic. [more…]

An Exploration of the term ‘inw’  from the Early Dynastic Period to the New Kingdom

An Exploration of the term ‘inw’ from the Early Dynastic Period to the New Kingdom

The term inw has been described as ‘vexatious’ in its complexity, touching as it does on a range of intricate subjects outside the scope of this article. The following article does not claim to cover all aspects of inw. A reading list for those who wish to explore the subject in more detail, is provided at the end. [more…]

In his book ‘The Official Gift in Ancient Egypt’ (1996) Edward Bleiberg notes that there are thirty eight different interpretations for the term ‘inw’ in English, French and German. As Bleiberg notes ‘The Egyptians could not have been as vague as the numerous translations suggest’  [more…]

Book Review: Dawn of Egyptian Art

Book Review: Dawn of Egyptian Art

The United States was blessed with two exhibitions about the Predynastic in the last two years: Before The Pharaohs at the Oriental Institute in Chicago (March 29th to December 31st 2011) and Dawn of Egyptian Art at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art (April 10th – August 5th 2012). Both museums produced books to both accompany the exhibition and serve as standalone works, edited by their curators, with contributions by a number of well-known scholars in Predynastic and Early Dynastic research. In this edition I will look at will look at Dawn of Egyptian Art. In Edition 9 I will review Before the Pharaohs. [more…]

Figures 5 and 6.  The seal of Heqanakht and Letter III

Revisiting Heqanakht

Heqanakht’s ‘letters’ consist of a number of related papyri which have been dated to the early part of the Twelfth Dynasty (2025-1700 BC). The papyri deal with the day-to-day concerns of a well-to-do, land owning farmer who lived near Thebes and who carried out his professional duties as a kA-priest near Memphis. The letters and accounts which make up the papyri were found unopened and, apparently unread, ‘in the condition of their original shipping’ (Goedicke, 1984, p.5). In two instances, the letters still bore their original clay seals [more…]

Plan of Tomb Y at Umm el Qaab

Merneith – The First Queen of Egypt?

Merneith: The First Queen of Egypt? With considerable attention lavished upon the Eighteenth Dynasty, popular TV documentaries, and with a much-visited Mortuary Temple at Deir el-Bahri, many people are aware that the female ruler Hatshepsut reigned as “King” and Pharaoh during the New Kingdom. Many people also know that Queen Cleopatra (Cleopatra VII Philopator) ruled […] [more…]

Figure 1. Painted burial chamber in the tomb of Tutankhamun

Replicating the tomb of Tutankhamun. Conservation and sustainable tourism in the Valley of the Kings

The closure of the tomb of Tutankhamun, to be replaced by an exact facsimile, has been much reported in the UK media and highlights a number of issues and raises some interesting questions. Although this is largely a discussion about the tomb of Tutankhamun, the tomb cannot be discussed in isolation and is put into the wider context of conservation issues across the royal cemeteries of the West Bank and broader globally-relevant issues of sustainable tourism. [more…]