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Showing posts from August, 2010

The Curse of the Mummy - 1935 vs. 2009

We already knew your future and safety couldn't be guaranteed if you were one of the 58 persons present at the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb - just look at Lord Carnarvon, who fell victim to a mosquito bite and a razor, as well as the current state Highclere Castle is in - but it seems that being a visitor to one of the exhibitions about King Tut can get quite dangerous too:

Nearly a century after Tutankhamun's tomb was dug up, a man says he was severely injured by electrical shock and chemical fumes at a display of the ancient Pharaohs stuff.

Carman Fields sued the Franklin Institute Science Museum and Mandell Center in state court. He claims the state of disrepair of display cases in the "Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs" exhibit was so negligent that he received a severe electrical shock and was overcome by chemical fumes in September 2007. Fields says he suffered severe pain that radiated from his head through his torso and into his extremities. S…
The Curse Of The Mummy

Suspicious Circumstances

In 1922, the death of Lord Carnarvon sparked one of the most mysterious and captivating stories of its time. Howard Carter’s discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun was followed by a number of strange events and grissly deaths, prompting speculation that the mummy was cursed. News spread across the world that explorers had accidently unleashed an ancient curse, capable of striking dead anyone or anything in its path. It was bad news for man and beast alike.


The deathmask of King Tut.
Carter and his financial backer Lord Carnarvon entered the tomb in November. Five months later Carnarvon was dead. Story has it that at the exact moment of his death, all the lights went out in Cairo, and Carnarvon's dog, back home in England, suddenly and dramatically dropped dead too.

Carnarvon's death was attributed to a mosquito bite on his cheek which was aggravated, leading to septicemia. When King Tut's mummy was unwrapped, years after the media f…

The External Trappings of King Tut

The King's magnificent gold death mask is recognized the world over as the definitive icon of Ancient Egypt and the wonderful richness and dram of the tomb's treasures. The fact is that the mask was only one part of several nested layers of protection for the king, which included various beautiful external trappings found sewn into the mummy’s outermost linen bandages.

These fabulous trappings consist of eight golden mummy bands used instead of linen to hold the final layer of bandages in place, a pair of eerily life-like golden hands gripping a crook and flail, a scarab hung from a gold chain, and an exquisite pectoral in the shape of a human-headed bird.

Mummy Bands

The cartouches - king's names - had been cut out of King Tut's mummy bands
Each mummy band is a series of plaques decorated with hieroglyphs inlaid in coloured glass. The texts carry the names of the king and include protective spells spoken by different deities such as the sky goddess Nut, the embalming god…

Leg fracture and brain malaria cause King Tut's death

Pharoah Tutankhamun died of complications from a broken leg aggravated by malaria. And his family? 'Most likely' (still) Akhenaten is the daddy, with one of Akhenaten's sisters being Tutankhamun's mum (and thus also his aunt!).

The article - to be published tomorrow in the Journal of the American Medical Association alongside the press conference - contains results of over two years of research in two different dedicated 'mummy labs'.

It was already (though maybe not that widely) known that King Tut was not murdered, and most likely died because of complications after a leg fracture. CT-scans and DNA tests by the team of scientists now confirm this, adding that the young king was already weakened, and his condition after fracturing his leg was aggravated by a nasty case of cerebral malaria.

Tutankhamun suffered from a cleft palate (like his presumed father, Akhenaten) and had a club foot (like presumed grandfather, Amenhotep III). In combination with Kohler's…

The Irrepressible Legacy of Hatshepsut

Holding the symbols of office, she ascended the throne. Once the place where her husband sat, it was now hers, by a right that she was about to assert... Turning, she chuckled to herself as the long beard attached to her chin brushed her chest. She'd put on all of her dead husband's regalia, knowing that despite her female form, thttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifhe symbols would connote their own power.

“By order of the god Khnum who made the gods out of clay, and who appeared to me in a dream last night, I was told to assume the rule of Egypt. 'I will make you to be the first of all living creatures,' he said. 'You will rise as king of Upper and of Lower Egypt, as your father Amon, who loves you, did ordain.' For he told me that Amon himself, in the guise of my father the king Tuthmose, came to my mother Aahmes and gave her his essence to bear me."

Power-dressing

The natural amphitheatre of the cliffs creates an ideal backdrop to the temple.
In the …

Huge' structure discovered near Snefru's Bent Pyramid in Egypt may be an ancient harbour

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.”

Harbors are known from later Egyptian pyramids and may have served as a receivi…

Tourism 'harming Egyptian sites'

Egypt's ancient sites are attracting rising tourist numbers
Tourism is damaging Egypt's ancient cultural sites and placing them at serious risk, experts have warned.

Famed sites such as the Valley of the Kings have been hit by a rising number of visitors, domestic and foreign.

Tourists are scuffing walls and wearing away paintings, Michael Jones of the American Research Center in Egypt told a conference in London.

Humidity caused by tourists' breathing and perspiration was also harming the fabric of buildings, he said.

Mr Jones was speaking at an Anglo-Egyptian conference in London to mark 50 years since the Suez crisis.

He said action was needed to prevent further damage to important sites.

'Must act now'

Another expert, Professor Fekri Hassan of University College London, cited Tutankhamun's tomb as an example.


We all gain from tourism, but seeing the damage it's causing makes you feel very sorry
Gaballa Ali Gaballa
Former head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Anti…

A colossal red granite head of one of Egypt's most famous pharaohs has been unearthed in the southern city of Luxor

The 3,000-year-old head of Amenhotep III - grandfather of Tutankhamun - was dug out of the ruins of the pharaoh's mortuary temple.

Experts say it is the best preserved example of the king's face ever found.

The 2.5m (8ft) head is part of a larger statue, most of which was found several years ago.

Antiquities officials say the statue is to be reconstructed.

"Other statues have always had something broken - the tip of the nose, or the face is eroded," said Dr Hourig Sourouzian, who has led the Egyptian-European expedition at the site.

"But here, from the top of the crown to the chin, it is so beautifully carved and polished, nothing is broken."

Vast empire

Egypt's antiquities chief, Zahi Hawass, described it as "a masterpiece of highly artistic quality".

Amenhotep III ruled Egypt from about 1387 to 1348 BC and presided over a vast empire stretching from Nubia in the south to Syria in the north. Scientists using DNA tests and CT scans on several mummies …

the first zoo in the world

Strange animal burials at the ancient Egyptian capital of Hierakonpolis point to the existence of a large, exotic menagerie around 3500 B.C. The 2009 field season produced 10 dogs, a baby hippo, a Harte beast, a cow and calf, and an elephant. The tally for this Predynastic period zoo now stands at 112 critters, including 2 elephants, 3 hippos, 11 baboons, and 6 wildcats. Hierakonpolis, on the Nile south of Luxor, was settled by 4000 B.C., and by the time these animals were buried around 500 years later, was Egypt's largest urban center. The animal burials are in the city's elite cemetery, where rulers and their family members, along with retainers--some possibly sacrificed--were interred. Hierakonpolis Expedition director Renee Friedman found evidence indicating that the city's powerful rulers kept the animals in captivity, almost as in a zoo. Baboons (including the one at left), a wild cat, and a hippo show signs of bone fractures that can only have healed in a protecte…