Dear Readers: 2010 is starting out with a bang in the wonderful world of Egyptian archeology as well. Here is some exciting news I found in my “inbox” yesderday!
(Hat-tip: Dr Jacobus van Dijk, Ass. prof. of Egyptology- Faculty of Religious Studies in University of Groningen states: The piece of limestone that Zahi Hawass is holding in the photo is … a New Kingdom fragment, probably part of a column panel, beginning with the text “Praise be to you, Sokar.”).
Two large 26th Dynasty tombs have been found in Saqqara by an Egyptian excavation mission from the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), Culture Minister Farouk Hosni announced today.
Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the SCA and the head of the mission, said that the two newly discovered tombs were found at the Ras El Mudir area at Saqqara, near the entrance point of the archaeological site. He explained that both tombs are cut into the limestone rock of the hill and the first one is the largest yet found at Saqqara. It is composed of a large rock-hewn hall followed by a number of small rooms and corridors. Outside the tomb on its eastern side are two large walls, the first is made of limestone while the other is of mud brick.
Dr. Hawass said that during excavation the team found two rooms full of dust that lead to another hall where a number of coffins, skeletons and pots were found. This hall has a corridor that leads to a smaller room with a seven-meter deep burial shaft. At the tomb’s northern end the team found a room full of clay pots and fragments along with ancient coffins and mummies of eagles.
Early investigations, said Dr. Hawass, reveal that the tomb can be dated to the 26th Dynasty and it was reused several times during its history and was likely robbed at the end of the Roman period.
As for the second tomb, continued Dr. Hawass, the team found a number of Saite Period clay pots and coffins scattered inside a sealed limestone room.
Two 2,500-year-old tombs discovered at a necropolis near Cairo promise to reveal more about ancient Egypt’s middle class, Egypt’s chief archaeologist said on Tuesday.
Dating from the 26th dynasty, which ruled Egypt from about 664 BC to 525 BC, the tombs were found near the entrance to the archaeological site at the Saqqara burial ground, 30 km (20 miles) south of Cairo.
“These tombs belonged to middle class Egyptian families, not royalty, and had no names on them. They were reused by many people and can give us lots of information on burial customs and religion at the time,” Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s head of antiquities who led the all-Egyptian archaeological team, told Reuters.
One tomb, the largest discovered to date in Saqqara, consists of a complex of rooms and corridors linked to a large hall hewn into the rock.
“We were not expecting to discover any tombs in this area,” Hawass said. “These discoveries prove that the importance of Saqqara extends beyond the Old Kingdom of the 3rd to the 6th dynasty and can tell us so much about the 26th dynasty.”
Likely looted at the end of the Roman period, the tombs have been opened several times but nonetheless still contain a number of coffins, human remains, mummified animals such as eagles, and clay pottery.
Finding unlooted chambers in such a well-known burial center as Saqqara, which served the nearby city of Memphis, is rare.
“Saqqara has many secrets still,” Hawass said.
I have a personal fondness for the 26th Dynasty, also known as the Saite period (because the political capital at that time was the Delta city of Sais). Essentially, the leaders and artisans of that time looked back to the Golden period of Egypt’s past, and paid homage to the Old Kingdom. Many of the artistic treasures of that period are hard to distinguish from pieces actually created in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th dynasties. More information on the 26th dynasty can be found by clicking HERE.
MUT’s News and Views:
JOHN STOSSEL: CITIZEN POWER! A great piece on the Citizen Power campaign from an exceptional pundit.
Ed Morrissey’s Hot Air: WH: Hey, we inherited this terrorist recidivism
W.C. Varones: Geithner’s NY FED Told AIG to Cover Up.
Kimberly Dvorak: The Terminator rescinds support of Obamacare.
Beers with Demo: Community organizer update
Pajamas Media: Sunshine, Vitamin D, and Death by Scientific Consensus
Voting Female Speaks: Sarah Palin Crushes Barack Hussein Obama Junior; Updated
Dr. Zero: Kind Hearts and Bitter Enemies (a great compare and contrast piece on the left/right approach to celebrity opposition).
Last, but but not least, the Anchoress has a wonderful recommendation concerning a young film-maker: A Young Filmmaker of Promise. Please check the link, as it has some excellent clips worth viewing. A snippet:
Longtime readers may remember my posting a couple of film shorts written and directed by a Notre Dame student named Joe Gleason, a young man with an eye for beauty and a way of communicating great depth of feeling in small moments.
My first exposure to Gleason came from Fausta’s blog, where she called Gleason’s The Dinner Guest “…a wonderful combination of familiarity and yearning.”. She was exactly right. I called the film “an exquisite little gem.” It gave me chills the first time I watched, and the comments and emails on it suggested it resonated with many viewers, who encountered in the film a real depth of longing within themselves.
I will probably enjoy Gleason’s films much more than the highly touted James Cameron’s recent contribution.