Month: February 2015

Details on lost Ancient Egyptian queen’s tomb emerge

“Details on lost Ancient Egyptian queen’s tomb emerge”

via “Daily News Egypt

Czech archaeological team and AUC professor discover tomb of an Ancient Egyptian queen at the Abusir necropolis, southwest of Cairo

The inscriptions on the tomb identified the queen  as “king’s wife” as well as “mother of the king” (Photo handout from AUC)

New insights have come to light into the history of a lost ancient queen discovered earlier this year at the Abusir necropolis, southwest of Cairo.

The insights come as part of work done by Salima Ikram, a professor of Egyptology and head of the Egyptology unit at the American University in Cairo (AUC) and a Czech archaeological team.

The site of the queen’s tomb, which the Czechs have been excavating for the past 55 years, now offers insight into understanding the royal family’s history during the Old Kingdom.

“What is fascinating about the tomb are the inscriptions, because they show that this is a completely new member of the royal family of the Fifth Dynasty,” said Miroslav Barta, director of the Czech Institute of Egyptology.

Within the tomb, the inscriptions identified her as “king’s wife” as well as “mother of the king” according to an AUC press release. The inscriptions on her burial chamber also bore the name “Khentkaus”, which means “the one foremost of her souls”. The fact that two previous queens had the same name, along with the aforementioned inscriptions, indicates that the women who was laid to rest was in fact a queen.

The archaeological team discovered 24 limestone vessels, copper tools and small fragments of bone. (Photo handout from AUC)

Adding the queen to the lineage of ancient Egyptian royalty makes her Queen Khentkaus III, who, according to Barta, was most likely married to King Raneferef because of the proximity of her tomb is his.

Further investigation of the tomb has helped archaeologists understand the role that women held in ancient Egypt.

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3,300-year-old Mycenaean tomb and precious artifacts found in Central Greece

“3,300-year-old Mycenaean tomb and precious artifacts found in Central Greece”

by April Holloway via “Ancient Origins

Newly-discovered Mycenaean tomb near Amfissa, Greece

Archaeologists have announced the discovery of a vaulted Mycenaean tomb near Amfissa, central Greece, containing human remains and a hoard of treasures. The 3,300-year-old tomb is the first of its kind to be found in the region, and one of only a few that have been found untouched.  The finding is expected to provide valuable information regarding the habitation, burial customs, and possessions of the Mycenaeans in the 2nd millennium BC. According to the Greek Reporter, the ancient tomb was found during an irrigation project that required excavation in the area. A preliminary analysis of the monument revealed that grave robbers had tried to gain access to the interior of the tomb in the past, but had failed, allowing the precious grave goods to remain untouched over the millennia. The tomb is a tholos, or beehive tomb, characterized by a vaulted ceiling created by the superposition of successively smaller rings of mudbricks or, more often, stones. In Greece, the vaulted tholoi are a monumental Late Bronze Age development. After about 1500 BCE, tholoi became more widespread and are found in every part of the Mycenaean heartland. They are typically cut into the slope of a hillside so that only the upper third of the vaulted chamber was above ground level. This masonry was then concealed with a relatively small mound of earth.   After a burial, the entrance to the tomb was filled in with soil, leaving a small mound with most of the tomb underground.  One of the finest examples is the Treasury of Atreus in Mycenae. The Treasury of Atreus in Mycenae, Greece (public domain) Lamiastar.gr reports that the newly-discovered tomb is 9 meters (30ft) long with a circular burial chamber measuring 5.9 meters (19ft) in diameter. The vaulted ceiling had collapsed but the walls of the chamber are well-preserved and maintained a height of almost 3 meters (10ft). Within the burial chamber, archaeologists found a large number of human bones. The dead had been buried in the floor with their personal belongings until complete decomposition. Their bones had then been pushed near the walls of the tomb in order to create space for newer burials and a few of these were better preserved than the rest.  The research team, led by chief archaeologist Athanasia Psalti, unearthed many unique and valuable artifacts inside the tomb, including more than forty pieces of painted pottery, bronze vases, small vessels for storing aromatic oils, gold and bronze rings, one of which had an engraved decoration, buttons made of semi-precious stones, two bronze daggers, spearheads, female and zoomorphic idols and a large number of seals with animal, floral and linear motives. . . .

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Mummified Buddha Statue Contains Actual Monk Mummy

“Mummified Buddha Statue Contains Actual Monk Mummy”

by James Maynard via “Modvive

Mummified Buddha Statue Contains Actual Monk Mummy

A Buddha statue in China examined by researchers using a CT scan, like those in medical facilities, was found to contain the remains of an actual mummy.

The 1,000-year-old monument is painted in gold, and the body inside discovered when examinations of the artifact started, soon after its discovery. The latest investigation involved studies of samples from the body itself, as well as the CT scan.

monk_mummy_statueHowever, the mummy discovery contrary to some reports is not as shocking as it may seem, as The History Blog notes: “It was known to be inside the statue all along … that’s why it was sent to the Drents Museum in the first place as part of the Mummies exhibition.”

Inside the statue, the body may be the remains of a well-respected monk who may have achieved status as an enlightened being. The artifact was likely stored in southeastern China for several centuries, housed at a monastery.

During the Cultural Revolution, which began in China in 1966, Mao Zedong encouraged Chinese citizens to seize private property, in an effort to rid the nation of bourgeois cultural influences. Investigators believe the statue may have left China during this time, before being sold in the Netherlands, to a private buyer. When the new owner decided to have the artifact restored in 1966, the restorer first noticed the statue appeared to be kneeling on a pair of pillows.

When these were removed, the human remains inside were first seen. The mummy was sitting on a rolled pillow, inscribed with writing.

“He looked right into the bottom of this monk. You can see part of the bones and tissue of his skin,”  said Vincent van Vilsteren, archaeology curator at the Drents Museum in Holland.

The outer shell of the statue is composed of a form of papier-mâché, covered in lacquer.

monk_mummy_ct_scanSamples from the artifact were examined by researchers, looking for ratios of different isotopes of carbon, in order to determine its age. This investigation revealed that the monk likely lived sometime in the 11th or 12th centuries, while the carpet on which he sat was found to be about two centuries older than the body.

The mummy was studied with CT scans at both Meander Medical Center in Amersfoort, Netherlands, as well as Mannheim University Hospital in Germany.

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Coming Exhibition: Connecting continents: Indian Ocean trade and exchange

“Connecting continents:Indian Ocean trade and exchange”

Who:  

The British Museum

When: Nov. 27, 2014 – May 31, 2015 (Hours Vary)

Where: 

The British Museum
Great Russell Street
London, WC1B 3DG

More Information: Here.

This small display features objects showing the long and complex history of Indian Ocean trade and exchange, from ancient times to the present.

For thousands of years, the Indian Ocean has been a space through which people, objects and ideas have circulated. The navigable monsoon winds enabled merchants to travel between Africa, the Middle East and Asia, exchanging valuable commodities such as textiles, spices and ceramics. From early coastal trade between the great ancient civilisations of the Indus Valley and Mesopotamia through to the heyday of European East India Companies and to the present, the Indian Ocean has remained a dynamic economic maritime zone.

This display presents objects from across different sections of the British Museum’s collection, including a 19th-century boat from Indonesia, created entirely from cloves and a Roman necklace made from sapphires and garnets, to tell this long and fascinating history of global interaction.

Ohio Art Museum to Return Likely Stolen Artifact to Germany

“Ohio Art Museum to Return Likely Stolen Artifact to Germany”

via “ABC News

A 450-year-old German artifact that was used to tell time and to make astronomical calculations will be returned to a German museum from which it was likely stolen, according to the Toledo Museum of Art.

The device, called an astronomical compendium or astrolabe, disappeared from the Gotha Museum in Gotha, Germany, sometime in 1945.

“This was a one-of-a-kind scientific device,” said Brian Kennedy, president and director of the Toledo museum. “It’s sad to see it go, but it’s not ours.”

Americans occupied Gotha during the war and many of the museum’s collections were moved in 1945 to the former Soviet Union once authority over the area was transferred from United States.

The astronomical device, though, was one of the few items from the museum that didn’t end up in the Soviet Union. Instead, it landed in the hands of a New York art dealer before it was sold for $6,500 in 1954.

The museum in 2013 received a letter from the director of the Gotha Museum, saying that it found out about the piece in Toledo and believed it was theirs.

Kennedy said they reviewed documentation, including photographs, from the Gotha Museum and determined that the piece on display in Toledo was “most likely one and the same.”

The two museums then reached an agreement to get the historically valuable piece back to its rightful owner, Kennedy said. . . .

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