Tag Archives | Egyptology

Papyri Reveal Ancient Egyptians Practiced Voluntary Eternal Slavery To Holy Temples

I bet the church today wishes it could still do this. Sci-News writes:

About one hundred of 2,200-year-old papyrus slave contracts have revealed that ancient Egyptians voluntarily entered into slave contracts with a local temple in the Egyptian city Tebtunis for all eternity, and even paid a monthly fee for the privilege.

“I am your servant from this day onwards, and I shall pay 2,5 copper-pieces every month as my slave-fee before Soknebtunis, the great god,” say the papyri from the temple city of Tebtunis, as translated by egyptologist Dr Kim Ryholt of the University of Copenhagen.

“Many chose to live as temple slaves because it was the only way of avoiding the harsh alternative [of forced manual labor]; the temple was simply the lesser of two evils for these people. And for the temples, this was a lucrative practice that gave them extra resources and money.”

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Eight Million Dog Mummies Uncovered In Egyptian Chamber

We were not the first culture to deify our pets. Ahram Online reports:

During routine excavations at the dog catacomb in Saqqara necropolis, an excavation team led by Salima Ikram, professor of Egyptology at The American University in Cairo (AUC), and an international team of researchers led by Paul Nicholson of Cardiff University have uncovered almost 8 million animal mummies at the burial site.

“We are recording the animal bones and the mummification techniques used to prepare the animals,” Ikram said. “We are trying to understand how this fits religiously with the cult of Anubis, to whom the catacomb is dedicated,” she added.

Saqqara dog catacomb was first discovered in 1897 when well-known French Egyptologist Jacques De Morgan published his Carte of Memphite necropolis, with his map showing that there are two dog catacombs in the area.

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Secret Room Discovered in Great Pyramid?

Picture: Nina (PD)

Science Ray reports on rumors that a team of scientists has succeeded in inserting a mini camera into a sealed-off room in the Great Pyramid. The room is located inside one of the pyramid’s shafts. Prior to now, scientists seeking to open the door have been stymied by both a lack of adequate technology and social unrest. If the rumors are true, this will be the first time eyes have been laid on the room’s contents since the pyramid was constructed sometime around 2500 BC.

Supposedly, this is a list of the room’s contents:

  1. Several small statues were spotted on the video camera but no details on what exactly they represent were able to be seen.
  2. A gold or copper chain was spotted in the corner of the chamber
  3. Small pottery and stone jars are spread throughout the floor of the chamber
  4. In the center of the chamber lies a gold or copper box which is closed and its contents are unknown.
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Did Temporal Lobe Epilepsy Cause The Birth Of Monotheism?

Via New Scientist, a new theory claims that a specific form of genetically-inherited epilepsy among several generations of Egyptian pharaohs is responsible for the sun-inspired visions that led to humanity’s belief in a single supreme god:

Tutankhamun’s mysterious death as a teenager may finally have been explained. And the condition that cut short his life may also have triggered the earliest monotheistic religion, suggests a new review of his family history.

Tuthmosis IV had a religious experience in the middle of a sunny day, recorded in the Dream Stele – an inscription near the Great Sphinx in Giza. But his visions were nothing compared with those experienced by Akhenaten. They encouraged Akhenaten to raise the status of a minor deity called the “sun-disk”, or Aten, into a supreme god – abandoning the ancient Egyptian polytheistic traditions to start what is thought to be the earliest recorded monotheistic religion. If Hutan Ashrafian’s theory is correct, Akhenaten’s religious experiment and Tutankhamun’s premature death may both have been a consequence of a medical condition.

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Aleister Crowley May Have Been Behind The ‘Curse of Tutankhamun’

Aleister-Crowley_2050261cIn post-WWI London, the public’s attention was gripped by a string of mysterious deaths of people linked in one way or another to the unsealing of Tutankhamun’s tomb. Was the “pharaoh’s curse” in fact carried out by Aleister Crowley? Via the Telegraph:

Six mysterious London deaths famously attributed to the ‘Curse of Tutankhamun’ were actually murders by notorious Satanist Aleister Crowley, a historian claims in a new book. Incredible parallels between Crowley and Jack the Ripper have also been discovered during research by historian Mark Beynon.

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, London was gripped by the mythical curse of Tutankhamun, the Egyptian boy-king, whose tomb was uncovered by British archaeologist Howard Carter. More than 20 people linked to the opening of the pharaoh’s burial chamber in Luxor in 1923 bizarrely died over the following years – six of them in the capital.

Victims included Carter’s personal secretary Captain Richard Bethell, who was found dead in his bed from suspected smothering at an exclusive Mayfair club.

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Zahi Hawass Conflicts Of Interest Exposed

Zahi Hawass in northern Egypt on 8 May 2010Kate Taylor’s front page article for the New York Times suggests that Dr. Hawass, the controversial Egyptian antiquities minister, is on the way out. I know more than a few people who think it’s more than past due:

Until recently Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s antiquities minister, was a global symbol of Egyptian national pride. A famous archaeologist in an Indiana Jones hat, he was virtually unassailable in the old Egypt, protected by his success in boosting tourism, his efforts to reclaim lost artifacts and his closeness to the country’s first lady, Suzanne Mubarak.

But the revolution changed all that.

Now demonstrators in Cairo are calling for his resignation as the interim government faces disaffected crowds in Tahrir Square.

Their primary complaint is his association with the Mubaraks, whom he defended in the early days of the revolution. But the upheaval has also drawn attention to the ways he has increased his profile over the years, often with the help of organizations and companies with which he has done business as a government official.

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Egypt’s Zahi Hawass Gets Jail Term

Zahi Hawass in northern Egypt on 8 May 2010The soap opera saga of History Channel’s swashbuckling Egyptologist continues. Dr. Hawass appeared to have survived the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, but now finds himself sentenced to a year in jail. He’s appealing of course, but it seems that the controversial Egyptian is on the ropes. Alan Shahine reports for Bloomberg:

Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s minister of state for antiquities, said he will appeal a one-year jail sentence imposed on him yesterday.

The sentence is related to a lawsuit accusing him of refusing to carry out a court ruling, the state-run Middle East News Agency said today. The court had ordered a halt to bidding from companies to run a bookstore in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Hawass said today in his blog.

“Tomorrow, the head of the legal affairs department at the Ministry of Antiquities will go to the court to file our appeal,” Hawass said in the Web log.

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Now We Know What Killed King Tutankhamun. Or Do We?

Tuthankhamun_Egyptian_MuseumI’ve just returned from the International Conference on Ancient Studies in Dubai. By the time I left I was almost deliriously tired, enough perhaps to find a passionate and fiery exchange between two wonderful speakers from the conference, Ahmed Osman and Andrew Collins, debating who or what killed Egypt’s King Tut as we drove to the airport, highly comical. I can already hear in my mind Mr. Osman’s contempt for this report in the New York Times (he firmly believes that the boy king was murdered):

King Tutankhamun, the boy pharaoh, was frail, crippled and suffered “multiple disorders” when he died at age 19 in about 1324 B.C., but scientists have now determined the most likely agents of death: a severe bout of malaria combined with a degenerative bone condition.

The mummified feet of King Tutankhamun in a 2007 photograph. Scientists have now determined that the boy pharaoh most likely died of a severe bout of malaria combined with a degenerative bone condition.

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