Giant Sarcophagus Leads to Discovery of Previously Unknown (and Normal-Sized) Pharaoh

News of this discovery (also here) has been circulating around the web today. An archaeological team from the University of Pennsylvania (on of my alma matres) has uncovered a Second Intermediate Period necropolis at Abydos, Egypt. The discovery includes the remains of a previously unknown pharaoh named Woseribre Senebkay.

I thought it noteworthy to point out that the sarcophagus was over-sized (probably in the 8-9 foot range), but the actual remains of the Pharaoh tell us he was about 5′ 10″. You’ll often see large sarcophagi like this one touted as evidence that the occupant was a giant. Not so. You can’t tell anything about a person’s height from the box he’s buried in. The photos below come from the links above.

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28554skel_egypt

 

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Graham Hancock and Bad Archaeology

Professional archaeologist Keith Fitzpatrick-Matthews, the force behind the Bad Archaeology blog, recently posted a series of articles detailing the (poor) research techniques and (flawed) argumentation of Graham Hancock. Here are the links to the series:

Some of the posts are lengthy — Hancock’s archaeology is, well, bad.

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Scholarly Online Bibliographies for the Study of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia

One word for this site: wow.

The above link leads to a gateway site for online bibliographies related to the study of the ancient Near East. It’s an amazing resource.

You’re welcome!

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E. A. Wallis Budge Resources

Many readers will be familiar with E. A. Wallis Budge, perhaps mostly with respect to his books on Egyptology. Much of Budge’s work in Egyptian language is today very outdated, as is his other work in Egyptology. Nevertheless, there is still good material to be found in his works, most of which are available at this University of Pennsylvania site for free. The collection is heavily stilted toward Egyptology and Coptic.

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Pyramidiocy and Common Sense (And a Little Grasp of Ancient Religion)

I was just sent the image below from a friend who asked for my opinion.

pydmap

I often get pictures like this that people think “prove” certain ideas about ancient alien influence on world civilizations. Asinine. Pardon my yawn.

Let me summarize what this proves:

All ancient cultures believed the gods lived where humans did not and could not – mountains, the depths of the sea, the waters above the sky, below the earth, etc. They also believed the gods lived in the best possible places – hence also the luxuriant garden idea, known best in arid cultures where finding an oasis was a big deal.

Taking the “gods live on mountains” idea, to localize a deity so that you can worship it and offer sacrifice, in return for blessing and barter, you’d build the deity a vacation home – in the shape of a mountain, like his or her real home. A home away from home.

Consequently, such images make me think “whoop-dee-do.” What other architectural shape would you use to build an artificial mountain / home / meeting place for a deity? It’s no surprise that the common shape occurs all over the world. It’s quite understandable.

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Extraterrestrial Hippies? New Research on Egyptian Technology Tries to Get Noticed Online

A few days Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) posted a link online to an article entitled, “Extraterrestrial Elements in Egyptian Equipment.” Ancient astronaut believers (and Giorgio Tsoukalos’ hairdresser) no doubt saw the title and got pretty excited about the possibilities.

Sounds startling, doesn’t it? The word “elements” conjures up mental imagery about physics, metallurgy, and “space age” technological knowledge on the part of the Egyptians. It’s nice titling if you want to generate hits online. At least someone working at BAR isn’t a crusty field archaeologist in their seventies. But when you actually read the article you’ll find out it’s about iron beads.

You read that correctly. Beads.

The focus of the essay is about the extraterrestrial source of the iron in certain Egyptian beads. No, the iron didn’t come from a UFO crash, or alien gods trading advanced material in exchange for . . . something. Rather, the iron came from meteorites.

Rocks that the Egyptians saw fall from space, not intelligent visitors from space. But still interesting.

 

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Egyptological: Unfortunate News

I just saw the news that the e-journal Egyptological, which I have blogged about several times on this blog, has had to suspend operations due to radicalized hackers in Egypt. Here is the announcement, part of which reads as follows:

Kate and Andrea are very sad to announce that Egyptological will be unavailable for the forseeable future.  It has been targeted by a professional hacking group as part of an onslaught on Egypt-related web sites during the current unrest in Egypt.

Although we have been in negotiations with the hackers, which seemed to be going well, they have now announced their intention of resuming hostilities against us.  They apparently see Egyptology sites such as ours as representing a form of political threat.

 

Egyptology enthusiasts worldwide can thank the Muslim Brotherhood and their ilk for this. While the recent backlash against Egypt’s president for decreeing himself Pharaoh shows that there is truly a desire for democracy amid the chaos in Egypt (Morsi was forced to reverse his self-declared omnipotence), this sort of thinking (I use the term loosely) is sadly not uncommon. Hopefully Egyptological will be back online sooner than supposed.

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Mummies and Other Dead Ancient Egyptians

As is my practice, I try to post things periodically that aren’t paleobabble. Sure, the archeo-bunk is fun and entertaining, but I need to do something useful now and again.

I recently came across two online resources for research on Egyptian mummies, courtesy of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Centre for Egyptological Studies (CESRAS; Moscow):

G. Elliot Smith, The Royal Mummies, Catalogue Général du Musée du Caire. 1912

  • This resource has an index where you can search for and find information on specific mummies (pharaohs and otherwise). For example, when we click on the index page for mummy # 61066 (Thutmose II) we are taken to the page(s) in Smith’s book discussing that mummy.
  • The same site also posted an update index here.

CESRAS also posted a brief online Directory of Ancient Egyptian Persons (mummy or not).

Enjoy!

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Ancient Astro-Nuttiness, Al-Maqrizi, and Giorgio Tsoukalos’ Pseudo-Research

Jason Colavito has called Giorgio Tsoukalos’ bluff — precisely what needs to be done to all ancient astronaut BSers. The research they produce is impressive only to non-specialists and those who never check their work. It’s pure paleobabble. Here’s the introductory paragraph of Jason’s post:

Ancient astronaut proponent Giorgio Tsoukalos claims that the fourteenth century Al-Khitat of Al-Maqrizi (1364-1442 CE) contains evidence that ancient astronauts assisted human beings in the construction of Egypt’s pyramids. This book, the most significant collection of medieval Arabian and Coptic pyramid lore ever assembled, has never been translated into English, so I have translated the passages dealing with pyramids to make this text accessible to interested readers. The following contains all of the significant references to the pyramids in the volume, though some minor allusions have been omitted. A fair review of the voluminous legends collected by Al-Maqrizi reveals no extraterrestrials, and no coherent story. In reading this material, I could come to no better conclusion that Al-Maqrizi himself: “There is no agreement on the time of their construction, the names of those who have raised them, or the cause of their erection. Many conflicting and unfounded legends have been told of them.”

Readers can click here to read the translations of these texts.

So it’s put up or shut up time for Giorgio and other purveyors of ancient astronaut paleobabble. Jason deserves thanks from all of us who care that the intellectual heritage of the ancient world isn’t raped and pillaged to put forth modern myths.

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Ancient Chronology Critiques: Not Always PaleoBabble

I used to be really into ancient chronology (Near East, biblical). The chronology of the ancient Near East prior to 1000 BC and its basis has genuine uncertainties. Consequently, this is one area where alternative theorists have some real contributions to make. While I don’t buy a number of the proposed reconstructions, the notion that there’s nothing that merits new approaches and re-investigation is wishful thinking on the part of the academy.

In light of all that, I recommend the archive to ISIS, the journal of the ancient chronology forum. The contributors are all serious scholars with good credentials. I’ve read a number of the articles in this journal and there’s a lot of good stuff here that challenges consensus thinking with real data – not the hokum that so often comes with alternative research.

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