Saturday, August 12, 2006

Approximately 1090 BC

Djutmose and Butehamun:
Djutmose inherited the title of "Scribe of the Tomb" from his father Khaemhedjet at the age of 33. Djutmose had a wife named Baketamun and a son and daughter around the age of 13 and 14 called Butehamun and Hatia. During the following years Butehamun was taught his father's profession, while his father was in charge of grain taxes, meaning he was sometimes required to personally travel away. Djutmose held this title during the reign of Ramessu (XI), but this was also a time of civil war causing a noticable plundering of tombs, and the job of recovering stolen goods and protecting the tombs fell to Djutmose and his son, Butehamun. This work was continued by Butehamun long after his father's death. All tombs that were located by Butehamun were checked, whatever remained of their grave goods were collected, and the mummies were re-wrapped. Coffins were stripped of their precious jewels and metals so that the mummies - in some cases - could be replaced into their coffins. The dead were then placed into caches with very minimal grave goods, this was to try to ensure their ancestors safety from further looting. The precious metals and jewels were kept, to try to enrich the country at this time of civil war. The restoration of this period is known because of inscriptions that were found in the wrappings of various mummies that had been re-wrapped, as well as after the - now empty - tombs had been restored, they were inscribed with the details of when the tomb had been opened for inspection, and by whom it was inspected, then they were resealed. Before Butehamun died in around 1056 BC, he had just attended of what was to be his last osirification of King Ramessu (III). Butehamun's eldest son Ankhefenamun, buried his father and continued his work. The works of this family of scribes during what were Egypt's difficult times, have proved to have been incredibly important to modern archaeologists, because without the mummies having been cached in ancient times, many of the bodies of the ancient Egyptian's would have been destroyed, and would have been lost to modern eyes forever.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Approximately 1250 BC

Khaemwaset was the fourth son of Ramessu (II), and became known as 'the first Egyptologist.' He had a huge interest in preserving the history of Egypt, which he actively took part in through his many renovation projects throughout the country. It is known that he restored the Unis Pyramid at Saqqara (which during Khaemwaset's lifetime, was already over 1000 years old), because of a hieroglyphic inscription, that states he had restored the pyramid by the orders of his father, and had reapplied the name of the 4th dynasty ruler Unis, which had disappeared. Remnants of Prince Khaemwaset's restoration texts have also been discovered on some of the casing blocks, belonging to the mastaba of Shepseskaf, also at Saqqara dating to the 4th dynasty. Khaemwaset's passion for the time-honoured constructions of the past were mainly concentrated with the buidings in the north of Egypt, which he again continued with this work by having the Sun-Temple of Nyuserra restored. Nyuserra's temple is located at Abu Ghurob (north of Abusir), and was constructed during the 5th dynasty. Another restoration text belonging to Prince Khaemwaset is inscribed on a limestone block, that was discovered in the courtyard at the front of the southern side of King Djoser's Step Pyramid, from the third dynasty. The work of the prince was all done in his role as the High Priest of Memphis. There are also indications of Khaemwaset having worked on repairing the Pyramid of Sahure and the Pyramid of Userkaf. It seems that Khaemwaset was an extremely intelligent, gifted and well loved man, he was also very well respected during his lifetime as well as after his death, even into the Late Period when tales were written that are considered to be loosely based on him. His devotion to his own ancestry, has made him a very admirable man, even to the present day!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Approximately 1400 BC

Djehutymes (IV):
The first known excavation in Egypt, was instigated by Djehutymes (IV) - 8th pharaoh of the 18th dynasy - he recorded the reason for this event on the Dream Stela
, which he later had erected between the paws of the great Sphinx.
The stela tells of the young prince (Djehutymes) out hunting in the desert, when he stops to rest in the shade beneath the Sphinx's head, which at the time was the only part of the Sphinx poking out from under the sand, as over the past 1000 years the sand had blown around it and buried it. Sleep overcame the prince and he started to dream:
The great god (Sphinx) spoke to him ''Behold me, look at me, thou, my son Djehutymes. I am your father Horemkhu, Kheper, Ra, Tmu. The kingdom shall be given to you .... and you shall wear the white crown and the red crown on the throne of the earth-god Seb, the youngest (among the gods) .... The sand of the district in which I have my exsistence has covered me up. Promise me that you will do what I wish in my heart; then shall I know whether you are my son, my helper.'' The young prince took this to mean that, if he removed the sand which had collected around the body of the Sphinx, - therefore restoring it to its oiginal beauty - the god would make Djehutymes the next Pharaoh of Egypt.
Some Egyptologists believe that Djehutymes may not have been formally introduced as the heir to the throne by his father - Imenhotep (II) - at this time, because he had an elder brother that had died before he could inherit the throne. Therefore the Dream Stela is often seen as an act of propaganda.
Djehutymes did, however, excavate the sand from around the Sphinx, restoring it, and he did become the next Pharaoh of Egypt. During his first year on the throne he had the Dream Stela erected, where it still stands today.

In 1906 Arthur E P B Weigall (English Egyptologist 1880-1934) and Ernesto Schiaparelli (Italian Egyptologist 1856-1928) discovered the tomb of Kha and his wife Meryet. Kha was the architect of the pharaoh - Imenhotep (II), and he lived from the reign of Imenhotep (II) to the reign of Imenhotp (III). The tomb was found at Set Ma'at 'The Place of Truth', or Deir el-Medina, as it is now better known, and it was allocated TT8. In this tomb they found many items, including clothing, pottery, and in one of Kha's coffins there was a copy of the 'Book of the Dead.' The items of most importance in this tomb had been covered with a dust-sheet.

Here are some links to my favourite archaeology themed websites:
Archaeology Wordsmith - gives definitions of many archaeological phrases.
Emuseum - has detailed descriptions of the works of many famous archaeologists
Zahi Hawass - his official website, complete with the latest updates
Deir el-Medina database - details of the village, and link to the Theban Mapping Project

Picture's links are from: Egyptarchive and Pyramids and Sphinx.

Egyptian Dreams

Scribes_of_Thoth Forum