Monday, March 26, 2012

The Tomb of Meketre

Copyright John Freed 2012
Copyright John Freed, 2012
Meketre was an Egyptian official who lived in the late Eleventh Dynasty. His tomb was found (accidentally!) at Thebes.

The tomb is famous for its well preserved wooden statues. These statues showed boats, scenes of running an estate (loading grain into a granary, force feeding cattle to make them fatter, making beer, etc.) and servants bringing food offerings to Meketre. These statues were split between the Cairo Museum and the Metropolitan Museum.

The statue that I especially like is that of a servant girl carrying food. It is about 1/2 life-size and is displayed in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The body of the statue is made of wood and is very gracefully carved. The arms were made of separate pieces of wood that have been attached to the body. The statue was covered with a thin coat of plaster and beautifully painted.

Also note how she is holding a bird by it's wings in her right hand. I have seen women in Cairo (on the bus that runs from Tahrir Square to the pyramids at Giza) doing exactly the same thing. It really brings home the fact that, in some ways, people have not changed much since ancient times.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hatshepsut's Mummy

Back on March 31, 2009, I reported on this blog that a news story claimed that the mummy of the Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut had been identified. However, an article in the current issue of KMT magazine (Spring 2012), casts some doubt on the claim that the mummy found in tomb KV60 is that of Hatshepsut.

The article, written by Dennis Forbes, also casts doubt on some of  the other recently "identified" royal mummies. It is an interesting read. If you can turn up a copy of KMT (Barnes and Nobles carries the magazine), then by all means read it.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The"Not So New" Newly Discovered King of Egypt

Discovery News published a story today with a headline about a "newly discovered" Pharaoh of Egypt's Seventeenth Dynasty. The headline is somewhat less than accurate.

The story tells of the recent discovery of a door jamb found at Karnak bearing the name of the Pharaoh Senakhtenre. The story below the headline accurately states that there are references to Senakhtenre but that this is the first actual monument known that can be dated to his reign. Other references to him come from documents written long after his death.

Senakhtenre had the second name of Tao and was the first of the two Tao's mentioned in papyri dealing with tomb robbery in the Late New Kingdom. The second (and far better known) Tao was Sekenenre, who seems to have died in combat against the Hyksos and whose mummy is now in the Cairo Museum.