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InENPWW RESEARCH SEMINAR, 23 November 2017

Sacred Landscapes and Legitimation in the New Kingdom Eastern Desert.

Anna Garnett (Curator at the Petrie Museum of Archaeology, UCL).

The Eastern Desert creates a setting where the mutual interaction between people and the landscape, as expressed though rock art, graffiti and monumental construction, developed over time, leaving behind narrative reminders of their authors’ journeys through the desert landscape. Royal cultic enclosures for the worship of local and national deities, and the cult of the divine king, were constructed at specific sites in the Eastern Desert during the New Kingdom (c. 1550-1069 BC) as visible markers of the pacification of the chaotic desert and integral components of conceptual ‘desertscapes’.

A number of desert shrines are well preserved as a result of the favourable environmental conditions in which they were built, forming memorials to specific deities whilst also expressing the divine role of the pharaoh in the peripheral regions of Egypt and serving as a constant reminder of the king’s domain, even when he himself was so far removed from the sites.

This paper will provide an overview to two of these sites (Wadi Hellal and Wadi Mia) and present the evidence for royal and divine legitimation in these desertscapes.

Location: SURF Room, Fulton House, Swansea University, Singleton Park Campus.

Time: Thursday, 23 November 2017, 4.30–6.00 pm. Presentation begins at 5:00 pm.

Free entry; all welcome! The lecture will be in English.

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NEWS: 4000 year old wooden head discovered in Sakkara

The wooden head (Source: Luxor Times).

“A wooden head, probably of the sixth dynasty queen Ankhnespepy II, has been unearthed in the area located to the east of her Pyramid in Sakkara necropolis during excavation work carried out by a French-Swiss team from Geneva University.

Dr. Mostafa Waziry, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities announced today. 

Dr. Waziry explains that the head is almost human proportions with a small part of the neck which reached 30 cm tall. The ears are decorated with wooden earrings.
Professor, Philip Collombert, Head of the French-Swiss mission said that the head was found in a disturbed layer to the east of the queen’s pyramid near the area where the pyramidion was uncovered early this week. 
The mission has uncovered a large upper part of a granite obelisk that may belongs to the queen’s funerary temple.
Dr. Collombert said that the head is not in good conservation condition and it will be subjected to restoration.
“It is a promising area that could reveal more of its secrets soon,” said Dr. Waziri. He added that the mission is to continue its excavations in an attempt to discover the queen’s pyramid surroundings and the rest of its funerary complex and collection” – via Luxor Times.

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NEWS: Czech archaeologists discover Ramses II temple remains south of Cairo

(Source: Luxor Times).

“The Egyptian-Czech Archaeological Mission uncovered remains of King Ramses II Temple during the excavation works carried out at Abusir.

Dr. Mostafa Waziry, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of
 Antiquities announced the discovery.
Dr. Waziry explains that the discovery comes after the mission had found in 2012
archaeological evidences that shows the existence of a temple in this area,
a fact that encourages the mission to resume its excavations in this area and the neighborhood along the last four years.

Dr. Mohammed Megahed, Deputy director of the mission, said that the temple is 32 x 51 meters wide and consists of mud brick foundations of one of its pylons, a large forecourt that leads to the pillars hall whkch parts of its halls are painted in blue.
At the rear end of the court, the mission found a staircase or a ramp
leading to a sanctuary whose back part is divided into three parallel chambers. The remains of this building were covered with by huge deposits of sand and chips of stones of which may bore fragments of polychrome
reliefs.
 

(Source: Luxor Times).

Dr. Miroslav Barta, The head of the Czech mission explains that the different titles of King Ramses II were found engraved on a relief fragments which is connected to the cult of the solar deities.

In addition, relief fragments depicting scenes of the solar gods ”Amun”, “Ra and Nekhbet”
He continues that this temple is the only evidence of the King Ramses II presence in Memphis necropolis and confirms at the same time the continuation of the worshipping of the sun god “Ra” in the region of Abusir, which began since the 5th dynasty and continued until the era of the New Kingdom” – via Luxor Times.

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NEWS: Old Kingdom pyramid peak discovered in Saqqara

A granite pyramid peak, probably belonging to Queen Ankhnespepy II, was unearthed in Saqqara (Source: Ahram Online).

“A Swiss-French archaeological mission directed by Professor Philippe Collombert from the University of Geneva has unearthed a large granite pyramidion, or pyramid peak, probably belonging Queen Ankhnespepy II, in the Saqqara necropolis.

This is the second discovery in a week by the Swiss-French mission, according to the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziri.

The team previously unearthed the largest obelisk fragment ever discovered from the Old Kingdom, measuring 2.5 meters tall.

This week’s discovery measures 1.3 metres high and 1.1 metres wide on its sides.
Its upper part is partly destroyed, but shows that it had been covered by metal foil, either gold or copper.
“The surface of the pyramidion’s lower part is not clean, as if it had been reused, or better, as if it had been left unfinished,” Collombert pointed out, adding that the area under the pyramidion is clearly smooth, and also shows the usual carved recesses that permit its fixation of top of the pyramid.
“We think that it is the pyramidion of the satellite pyramid of Queen Ankhnespepy II, as it was found near the place where we should expect the satellite pyramid to have been located,” Collombert told Ahram Online.
He asserted that this fragment comrpised the only part of this secondary pyramid yet to be found. The queen’s main burial pyramid was discovered in Saqqara in 1998.
The Head of the Ancient Egyptian Sector at Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities, Ayman Ashmawy, said that the mission is progressing well this archaeological season, and that the new discovery suggests the team will soon locate the queen’s complete funerary complex.
Queen Ankhnespepy II (ca. 2288-2224 BC) was a 6th Dynasty consort of King Pepy I and the mother of King Pepy II” – via Ahram Online.

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NEWS: The lower part of 26th Dynasty king Psamtik I colossus uncovered in Cairo’s Matariya

One of the toes (Source: Ahram Online).

“The Egyptian-German Archaeological Mission uncovered most of the remaining parts of the recently discovered colossus of 26th Dynasty King Psamtik I (664-610 BC) while excavating at the temple of Heliopolis in the Souk Al-Khamis area of Matariya district in east Cairo.

Aymen Ashmawy, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department and leader of the Egyptian excavation team, told Ahram Online that the joint mission has unearthed around 1,920 separate quartzite blocks comprising the lower part of King Psamtik I colossus.

The mission is composed of archaeologists from the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, the Georg Steidorff Egyptian Museum at the University of Leipzig and the University for Applied Sciences, Mainz.
“Early studies carried out on the newly found blocks of the colossus reveal that most comprise parts of the pharaoh’s kilt, legs and three toes,” Ashmawi pointed out.
The studies also suggest that the buried colossus was constructed in a standing position, not a seated one, he stated.
The excavations were focused around the location in which the upper body of Psamtik’s colossus had been found back in March 2017, according to Dietrich Raue, the head of the German archaeological team which participated in the mission.
The statue’s first part was found just to the north of its more recently uncovered lower part.
Evidence suggests the sculpture had been destroyed at an uncertain date and its fragments scattered around a 20-meter diameter area” – via Ahram Online.
To read more (with pictures), click here.

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NEWS: Archaeologists unearth largest-ever discovered obelisk fragment from Egypt’s Old Kingdom

The newly discovered obelisk fragment (Source: Ahram Online).

“A Swiss-French archaeological mission at the Saqqara necropolis, directed by Professor Philippe Collombert from the University of Geneva, has unearthed the upper part of an Old Kingdom obelisk that belonged to Queen Ankhnespepy II, the mother of King Pepy II (6th Dynasty, Old Kingdom, around 2350 BC).

Collombert said that the part of the obelisk that was unearthed is carved in red granite and is 2.5 metres tall; the largest fragment of an obelisk from the Old Kingdom yet discovered.

“We can estimate that the full size of the obelisk was around five metres when it was intact,” he said.  
Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the artefact was found at the eastern side of the queen’s pyramid and funerary complex, which confirms that it was removed from its original location at the entrance of her funerary temple.
“Queens of the 6th dynasty usually had two small obelisks at the entrance to their funerary temple, but this obelisk was found a little far from the entrance of the complex of Ankhnespepy II,” Waziri pointed out, suggesting it may have been dragged away by stonecutters from a later period.
Most of the necropolis was used as a quarry during the New Kingdom and Late Period.
Waziri said that the obelisk also bears an inscription on one side, with what seems to be the beginning of the titles and the name of Queen Ankhnespepy II.
“She is probably the first queen to have pyramid texts inscribed into her pyramid,” Waziri said.
He explains that before her, such inscriptions were only carved in kings’ pyramids. After Ankhnespepy II, some wives of King Pepy II did the same.
Collombert says that at the top of the obelisk, there is a small deflection that indicates that the pyramidion (the tip) was covered with metal slabs, probably of copper or golden foil, to make the obelisk glint in the sun.
The main goal of the mission, which was established in 1963 by Jean-Philippe Lauer and Jean Leclant, is to study the pyramid texts of the Old Kingdom.
Since 1987, the mission has also been excavating the necropolis of the queens buried in pyramids around the pyramid of Pepy I.
This year, the mission is continuing work on the funerary complex of Queen Ankhnespepy II, the most important queen of the 6th dynasty.
Ankhnespepy II was married to Pepy I, and upon his death, she married Pepy I’s son, Merenre, from her sister Ankhnespepy I.
Ankhnespepy II gave birth to the future King Pepy II. Merenre died when Pepy II was around six years old.
Ankhnespepy II then became regent, and the effective ruler of the country, but did not go as far as to become pharaoh, as Hatshepsut did later on.
“This is probably why her pyramid is the biggest of the necropolis after the pyramid of the king himself,” he said” – via Ahram Online.

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NEWS: Gypsum head of King Akhenaten statue unearthed in Egypt’s Minya

(Source: Ahram Online).

“A British-Egyptian archaeological mission from Cambridge University has discovered a gypsum head from a statue of King Akhenaten (around 1300 BC) during excavation work in Tel El-Amarna in Egypt’s Minya governorate.

The head – which is 9cm tall, 13.5 cm long and 8 cm wide – was unearthed during excavation work in the first hall of the Great Atun Temple in Tel El-Amarna, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri told Ahram Online.

Waziri says the discovery is important because it sheds more light on the city that was Egypt’s capital during the reign of King Akhenaten, the 10th pharaoh of the 18th dynasty whose reign was among the most ‎controversial in ancient Egyptian history.
The Cambridge University mission is led by archaeologist Barry Kemp, who started excavations in Tel El-Amarna in 1977 at several sites including the grand Aten Temple, the Al-Ahgar village, the northern palace, and the Re and Banehsi houses, according to director-general of Antiquities in Middle Egypt Gamal El-Semestawi.
The mission has also carried out restoration works at the Small Atun Temple and the northern palace.
Tel El-Amarna, which lies around 12 kilometers to the southwest of Minya city, holds the ruins of the city constructed by King Akhenaten and ‎his wife Queen Nefertiti to be the home of the cult of the sun god ‎Aten. ‎ ‎
The ruins of this great city include magnificent temples, palaces and tombs” – via Ahram Online.