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Showing posts from November 1, 2011

Advanced painting techniques in ancient Egypt

The paintings once decorated the tomb chapel of Nebamun, an accountant at the Temple of Amun at Karnak, who died around 1350 BC. They were intended to impress and entertain Nebamun's friends and relatives, who would visit the chapel to pay their respects, and so ensure his place in the afterlife.

Nebamun hunting in the marshes

This is a fragment of a scene from the tomb-chapel of Nebamun, Thebes, Egypt, Late 18th dynasty, around 1350 BC.

One of the most famous of all ancient Egyptian paintings, this shows a young, fit Nebamun on a reed boat with his wife and daughter nearby.

The marshes are bursting with animal life, including easily identifiable birds (egrets, Egyptian goose and a pied wagtail among others), fish (tilapia) and a tabby cat. During the project,  the cat was discovered to have a gilded eye.

Detail of Nebamun hunting in the marshes

The artist made Nebamun stand out from other figures by painting his skin white and stippling over it with red, making …

Tutankhamen 'killed by sickle-cell disease'

King Tutankhamen, Egypt's boy king, was killed by the inherited blood disorder sickle-cell disease – not malaria. So says a German team in what appears to be the best shot yet at solving the mystery of the pharaoh's early demise. From falling off a chariot to murder by poison, the cause of Tutankhamen's death has been a source of avid speculation since his mummified youthful remains were discovered in 1922. He was 19 when he died around 1324 BC after ruling for just nine years. The first extensive scientific investigation of the mummy was reported by Egypt's chief archaeologist Zahi Hawass and colleagues earlier this year (JAMA, vol 303, p 638). After running a battery of tests, including X-rays and genetic analysis, they concluded that an inherited bone disorder weakened the king, before an attack of malaria finished him off. Key pieces of evidence were severe necrosis in the bones of Tutankhamen's left foot, and the detection of genes from Plasmodium falc…

New twist in the tale of Tutankhamun's club foot

Connolly has found an image that appears to settle the controversy over whether the boy king Tutankhamun had a club foot. As with many mysteries related to the famous mummy, the truth is hard to pin down.
The argument started last year when a team led by Egypt's then-chief of antiquities, Zahi Hawass, reported that Tutankhamun's left foot was severely deformed. Hawass's team CAT-scanned the mummy in January 2005. Their subsequent paper, published in 2009, noticed no foot-related problems. Then a reanalysis concluded that Tutankhamun's left foot was in a sorry state. The authors diagnosed club foot, two diseased metatarsals, and a missing toe bone (Journal of the American Medical Association, DOI: 10.1001/jama.2010.121). The finding that Tutankhamun was disabled made headlines around the world. But Connolly - a researcher at the University of Liverpool, UK, and part of a te…