Monday, September 21, 2009

Mysteries of the Ancient World

Smithsonian Magazine has just published a special edition magazine entitled "Mysteries of the Ancient World". The magazine consists of thirteen articles dealing with different aspects of ancient history. The articles are written for a lay audience and are not meant for experts in the field.

There are several articles on Ancient Egypt, including one on Hatshepsut, another on the underwater archaeology being done at Alexandria and another discussing the recent CAT scan done on King Tutankhamen's mummy in an attempt to determine the probable cause of his death.

The most interesting article in the magazine (to me anyway) is one describing the ongoing excavation of the funerary temple of the Eighteenth Dynasty Pharaoh Amenhotep III. When I was last there, the only portion of the temple that was visible were the huge "Colossi of Memnon" statues that originally stood at the front entrance of the temple. The article describes the finds that have been made there, including the discovery of numerous statues of the goddess Sekhemkhet (as if there were not already enough of these statues in museum collections around the world!). The article also has a well done computer reconstruction of what the temple probably looked like in ancient times.

The magazine also includes articles on Petra (in modern Jordan), Machu Picchu (Peru), Easter Island, The Parthenon (Athens), the vikings and the Anasazi (southwest United States).

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