Saturday, November 26, 2016

New Pre-Dynastic to Early Dynastic Find in Egypt

     As always, there are many things going on in Egyptian archaeology. One of them is the discovery of a pre-dynastic site at Abydos, near the temple of Seti I. The site dates to around 3300 B. C., which makes it a fairly late Pre-Dynastic settlement. Some of the tombs may also belong to the First Dynasty and could be the burial place of the officials who oversaw the construction of the tombs of the First Dynasty Pharaohs located nearby. For some photographs and more information follow this link.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

New Ptolemaic Galleries at the Met

     The newly re-installed Ptolemaic Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum are getting some positive buzz since they opened. The new issue of KMT magazine has published a nine page article on the galleries. The article has the usual great photos that KMT is well known for publishing. The galleries are very nice and the papyri have been re-installed a little lower on the wall then they were previously, which makes them much easier to see.

     Speaking of papyri, Dr. Janice Kamrin gave a lecture at the New York chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt on November 17. Her topic was "Imhotep Comes Forth by Day" and  the lecture focused on the Book of the Dead of Imhotep, which is one of the papyri re-installed in the Met's Ptolemaic gallery. Dr. Kamrin had a photo of the papyrus, which is extremely long, mounted on a backing board. The case that it went into had several glass doors that needed to be opened so that the papyrus could be slid in. Judging from the photos, it must have been a tricky task, especially given the risk of damaging the papyrus.

     The papyrus has many interesting vignettes, but the one that caught my eye was a portrayal of the Opening of the Mouth Ritual which showed the deceased seated. This is not a common portrayal of this ritual.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Oriental Institute Satirical Ostracon

Fig. 1 - Oriental Institute Satirical Ostracon
     One of my favorite objects that has survived from ancient Egypt is a limestone chip (called an ostracon) with its delightful painting of a young boy being judged by a mouse dressed like an Egyptian official. The boy has obviously been found guilty and his punishment is administered by a stick wielding cat.

     There are also papyri with similar satirical scenes on them. One famous one shows a lion playing a game of senet with a gazelle and a cat herding a flock of birds with a shepherd's crook. Yet another papyrus shows a female mouse having her hair done by a cat servant.

     This like this New Kingdom painting remind us how people have not changed so much in thousands of years.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Upcoming Events

     If you are in the New York City area on Thursday, November 17, there will be a meeting of the New York Chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt at 6:00, at the Institute for the study of the Ancient World (15 East 84th St.). You can click here for more information or to RSVP if you plan to attend. The lecture is "Imhotep Comes Forth by Day" and will discuss a Book of the Dead Papyrus in the recently re-installed Ptolemaic galleries in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The lecture is free and open to the public, but you do need to RSVP if you would like to attend.

     If you are in Philadelphia on December 7th, the Penn Museum will host Dr. Jennifer Houser Wegner who will give a lecture entitled "The Strong Silent Type: The Sphinx" at 6:00 pm. Space is limited, so if you would like to attend, please pre-register here.