Dr Michel Baud of the Louvre Museum in Paris gave an interesting lecture last week about his excavations of a pyramid at Abu Roash. The monument was badly preserved and its stone had been quarried in Roman times, but the certain details, such as its apparent solar connections, were still discernable. Earlier, Vassil Dobrev stated that the pyramid may actually be a solar temple. However, Baud dismisses these claims…. Nearly 4,500 years ago, in the time of the Old Kingdom, the pharaoh Khufu built one of the greatest monuments on earth – the Great Pyramid. His pyramid was actually a complex of monuments at Giza. Using up 2.7 million cubic meters of stone, it incorporated three queens’ pyramids, a satellite pyramid and hundreds of mastaba tombs for his officials. At a height of nearly 147 meters it was the tallest human-made monument in the world – up until the construction of the Lincoln Cathedral in the 14th century AD.
A new study shows that Tutankhamun, Egypt’s famous “boy-king” who died around the age of 18, suffered a “massive crushing tearing injury to his chest” that likely would have killed him. X-rays and CT scans have previously shown that the pharaoh’s heart, chest wall, the front part of his sternum and adjacent ribs, are missing. In Ancient Egypt the heart was like the brain and removing it was something that was not done. “The heart, considered the seat of reason, emotion, memory and personality, was the only major organ intentionally left in the body,” writes Dr. Robert Ritner in the book Ancient Egypt.
Archaeologists have discovered a large structure – to the northeast of the 4,600 year old Bent Pyramid – which may be the remains of an ancient harbour. It connects to one of the pyramid’s temples by way of a 140 meter long causeway. The discoveries were made by a team from the Cairo department of the German Archaeological Institute, and the Free University of Berlin. The team used magnetic survey and drill cores soundings to make the finds. The structure is mostly unexcavated and only a portion of the causeway has been unearthed. The structure itself is U-shaped, 90 meters by 145 meters. It was built with mud brick and has no wall on its east side. “Maybe this structure can be interpreted as (a) harbour or something like that,” said Dr. Nicole Alexanian of the German Archaeological Institute, Cairo. She said that it may have been beside water, “it’s possible that ships could enter by a canal in this area.”
Nefertiti and the Aten in Colour! 16,000 Amarna Art Talatat blocks in Luxor with Original Pigment Preserved
Archaeologists are examining a cache of talatat blocks in Luxor that depict Amarna period art in their original colour. “The amount of detail which is shown, where the colour had been preserved, it’s just amazing,” said Dr. Joceyln Gohary. “Some of the most striking details are in the clothing – particularly of the queen, Nefertiti – details of the dress and jewellery that she’s wearing,” she said. Dr. Gohary is leading an American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) project that is documenting, cleaning and conserving them.
Nearly 4,600 years ago a third dynasty pharaoh named Snefru launched one of the greatest construction projects in human history. He decided, for reasons that are unknown to us, to build four pyramids scattered at different places across Egypt. He constructed two of them at Dashur (the Red and Bent pyramids), one at Meidum and another at a place called Seila. Together they used up more material than Khufu’s pyramid at Giza. Casing stones were used to give them a smooth appearance – in other words make them into “true pyramids.” This was the first time in Egyptian history that this was done. Today a team from Brigham Young University, in Utah, is investigating these pyramids, trying to figure out why Snefru would build four of them in the way he did. One of the puzzles the team is trying to decipher involves a cemetery not far from the Seila Pyramid. It’s a 40 minute hike away and research indicates that it has an enormous number of mummies. “We estimate over a million bodies in this cemetery,” said Professor Kerry Muhlestein in an interview with Heritage Key. It’s “very very densely populated by mummies.”
One of the most perplexing mysteries that Egyptologists and Aegean experts are tackling is that of the frescoes of Tell el-Dab’a, also known as Avaris.This site was used as the capital of the Hyksos, at a time when they ruled much of Egypt, from 1640 – 1530 BC. It is on the Nile Delta and would have provided access to the Sinai, Levant and southern Egypt. The site appears to have been abandoned for a time after the Hyksos were driven out. However, by the end of the 18th dynasty (when the Egyptians were back in control of their land), the site was in use and sported with three – yes three – large palaces. They were ringed by an enclosure wall. The whole complex was about 5.5 hectares in size.
Throughout their history the ancient Egyptians recorded making voyages to a place called the ‘Land of Punt’. To the Egyptians it was a far-off source of exotic animals and valuable goods. From there they brought back perfumes, panther skins, electrum, and, yes, live baboons to keep as pets. The voyages started as early as the Old Kingdom, ca. 4,500 years ago, and continued until just after the collapse of the New Kingdom 3,000 years ago. Egyptologists have long argued about the location of Punt. The presence of perfumes suggests that it was located somewhere in Arabia, such as Yemen. However the depiction of a giraffe, at a temple built by Queen Hatshepsut, tells archaeologists that Punt is likely somewhere in Africa – perhaps around Ethiopia, Eritrea or Somalia.
A new translation of a Roman victory stele, erected in April 29 BC, shows Octavian Augustus’s name inscribed in a cartouche (an oblong enclosure that surrounds a pharaoh’s name) – an honour normally reserved for an Egyptian pharaoh. Octavian’s forces defeated Cleopatra and Mark Antony at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC. His forces captured Alexandria soon afterwards and Cleopatra committed suicide in 30 BC, marking the end of Egyptian rule. Historians believe that although Octavian ruled Egypt after the death of Cleopatra, he was never actually crowned as an Egyptian pharaoh. The stele was erected at a time when Octavian was still paying lip service to restoring the Roman Republic. He would not be named “Augustus” by the Roman Senate until 27 BC. In the years following that, he would gradually acquire more power.
Why Super-Cements May Hold Secrets of the Pyramid Builders Cement is quite literally the foundation on which modern civilization is built. It’s mankind’s most common building material, and has been a key component in most of the world’s construction projects for over a century. Its origins are certainly ancient, and stretch back at least far as the Romans, and probably older still. The Romans may have learned cement-making from the Greeks.
Thomas Schneider is exploring a subject that has never been studied before. The University of British Columbia professor is examining the history of German Egyptology during the Nazi era. The period that lasted from when Hitler became chancellor of Germany in 1933 – until he committed suicide in his bunker in 1945.The research is a work in progress and Professor Schneider continues to receive new archival documents and information. He plans to turn his work into a book length manuscript. While popular fiction, such as the Indiana Jones trilogy, depicts action packed films about this topic, the real story is far more complex. Professor Schneider generously took the time to talk about his research with me. He also provided me with detailed written notes, that outline his research, to help me write this story.