ARCENCPostings

Friday, May 27, 2022

Former head of Louvre charged in Egyptian artefacts trafficking case | France | The Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/26/former-louvre-head-jean-luc-martinez-charged-egyptian-antiquities-trafficking-case

Former head of Louvre charged in Egyptian artefacts trafficking case

Jean-Luc Martinez is accused of conspiring to hide origin of works taken out of Egypt during Arab spring

Jean-Luc Martinez,                    who stepped down as president of the Louvre museum in                    Paris last year.
Jean-Luc Martinez stepped down as president of the Louvre museum in Paris last year. Photograph: Christophe Ena/AP
in Paris and agencies
Thu 26 May 2022 11.17 EDT Last modified on Thu 26 May 2022 11.39 EDT

The former president of the Louvre museum in Paris has been charged with conspiring to hide the origin of archaeological treasures that may have been taken out of Egypt during the Arab spring uprisings, in a case that has shocked the world of antiquities.

Jean-Luc Martinez was charged this week after he was taken in by police for questioning, a French judicial source told Agence France-Presse. Martinez ran the Paris Louvre, the most visited museum in the world, from 2013-21.

Martinez, who stepped down as the Louvre's president last year, serves as an ambassador for international cooperation in the field of heritage. The case threatens to embarrass the French culture ministry and ministry for foreign affairs.

Two French specialists in Egyptian art were also questioned this week but released without charge.

The case was opened in July 2018, two years after the Louvre Abu Dhabi bought a rare pink granite stele depicting the pharaoh Tutankhamun and four other ancient works for €8m (£6.8m).

Boats anchored                      outside the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Boats anchored outside the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Photograph: Jon Gambrell/AP

Martinez has been charged with complicity in fraud and "concealing the origin of criminally obtained works by false endorsement", a judicial source confirmed to AFP. A report in Le Canard enchaîné (the Chained Duck) investigative weekly said this could have involved turning a blind eye to fake certificates of origin for the pieces, a fraud thought to involve several other art experts.

Martinez has been charged with complicity in fraud and "concealing the origin of criminally obtained works by false endorsement", a judicial source confirmed to AFP.

Martinez previously told The Art Newspaper that he denies any wrongdoing.

The German-Lebanese gallery owner who brokered the sale was arrested in Hamburg in March and extradited to Paris for questioning in the case.

French investigators suspect that hundreds of artefacts were pillaged during the Arab spring protests that engulfed several Middle Eastern countries in the early 2010s. These were then believed to have been sold to galleries and museums that did not ask too many questions about previous ownership, nor look closely enough at potential incoherences in the works' certificates of origin.

Several countries are thought to have been affected by artefacts being pillaged, including Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria.

Another prized Egyptian work, the gilded coffin of the priest Nedjemankh, which was bought by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2017, was at the centre of a separate inquiry by New York prosecutors. Afterwards the Met said it had been the victim of false statements and fake documentation, and that the coffin would be returned to Egypt.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Gorgeous paintings of ancient Egyptian goddesses revealed under layers of bird poop | Live Science

https://www.livescience.com/colorful-ceiling-ancient-egyptian-temple

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Call for Applications, May 31 Deadline (!): ARCE-NC $1000 Student Grant


2022 Marie Buttery Student Grant


Call for Applications





The Board of Directors of the American Research Center in Egypt, Northern California chapter, is offering one $1,000 grant to a qualified student. The deadline for submission is Tuesday, May 31, 2022 with the winner to be recognized at our August 21 meeting.

To qualify for this grant, the applicant must be an undergraduate or graduate student who is enrolled at a Northern California college or university (Monterey County to the Oregon border) or who has a home address in this area. They must be pursuing a degree that incorporates Egyptian anthropology, archaeology, art, history, museum studies or language, or Coptic or Arabic studies in any period. Proof of enrollment may be required.

Applicants are to submit 1) a brief summary (250-500 words) describing how they will use the grant and 2) a 1-2 page CV. The grant will be awarded by the Board based on merit. Possible uses include but are not limited to research, travel, or preparation of an exhibition or program. Proposals involving work with research materials should secure any permissions required for that work before the application is sent.

Students should apply by email (Word or PDF file) to ARCENorCal@gmail.com. If possible, the winner is expected to attend the August 21 ARCE meeting – via Zoom if it is held virtually, and at the University of California, Berkeley if it is held in person.

The grant honors the memory of Marie Buttery, founding president of our chapter.

ARCE Northern California also offers a $1,500 student grant each fall in memory of its former member Professor Eugene Cruz-Uribe. Call for applications for this grant will go out later in 2022.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Scientists Recreate Cleopatra's Favorite Perfume | Smart News| Smithsonian Magazine

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/scientists-recreated-cleopatra-favorite-perfume-180980126/

Scientists Recreate Cleopatra's Favorite Perfume

Reconstructing the scentscapes of bygone civilizations is anything but simple

Ancient hieroglyphs from Egypt's Book of the Dead
Researchers want to recreate the smells of civilizations like ancient Egypt.  Photo by AMIR MAKAR/AFP via Getty Images

Bit by bit, modern researchers are helping reveal what living in ancient societies looked and felt like. But though those studies emphasize taste, as in a cooking museum in Italy that recreates ancient Roman dishes, and sound, as in another that recreated how Stonehenge would have amplified voices and music, smell isn't usually included in the equation.

Now that's slowly changing—and scientists are slowly starting to uncover, and recreate, the scentscape of the ancient world. That includes engineering a perfume thought to be used by Cleopatra, the female pharaoh who ruled Egypt between 51 and 30 B.C.E.

But, as ScienceNews' Bruce Bower reports, actually determining which ingredients made up real ancient perfumes isn't as easy as it might seem.

Archaeologists Robert Littman and Jay Silverstein, both from the University of Hawai'i, uncovered a perfume factory outside of Mendes in 2012 filled with perfume bottles and amphorae containing perfume residue. The pair asked the other authors, Dora Goldsmith, a Berlin-based Egyptologist, and Sean Coughlin, a Prague-based professor of Greek and Roman philosophy, to use "experimental archaeology" to try to recreate the perfume produced there.

As Smithsonian's Jason Daley reported in 2019, they were able to create "strong, spicy, faintly musty scents that tended to linger longer than modern fragrances." The trial-and-error process involved ingredients like desert date oil, myrrh, cinnamon, and pine resin.

In Cleopatra's day, the concoction was known as Mendesian perfume, so named for the city in which it originated, Mendes. Due to its immense popularity among the Egyptian upper crust, the written recipe survived in ancient Greek and Roman.

In a September 2021 paper in the journal in Near Eastern Archaeology entitled "Eau de Cleopatra," researchers describe how they used both classical sources and the very modern technique of paleobotany to both identify and recreate the scent.

"One constellation of variables produced a scent that was extremely pleasant, with a spicy base note of freshly ground myrrh and cinnamon and accompanied by sweetness. It has remained potent for nearly two years, a quality associated with Egyptian perfumes already in Theophrastus's time," they write.

But creating a good-smelling, long-lasting perfume is only part of the puzzle. Hyperallergic's Elaine Velie reports that, while it's likely the team got at least very close to the exact scent of Cleopatra's eau de toilette, it's unclear whether the surviving Roman and Greek descriptions of the Mendesian perfume are exactly the same as the Egyptian recipe. Even in Egyptian descriptions for other perfumes, some of the exact ingredients are unclear. For example, when a recipe calls for pine resin, should that come from pine or cedar trees?

A painting of Cleopatra sitting on a throne
Cleopatra loved perfumes, and likely wore the scent recreated by modern researchers. Pi3.124 via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

To ameliorate the issue, the team now plans to gather residue samples from the perfume factory site that they can analyze to determine the exact scent. It's a process similar to the one used by Barbara Huber, an archaeologist with the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, in the ancient settlement of Tayma in Saudi Arabia, per ScienceNews. Huber and her group successfully analyzed the charred resins they found in incense burners in the city, which was located on an ancient trade route that transported frankincense and myrrh from southern Arabia to the Mediterranean. Sure enough, the analysis revealed evidence of both burnt frankincense and myrrh.

But, as ScienceNews reports, not all residue analysis is so successful. A team led by Jacopo La Nasa, an analytical chemist from the University of Pisa in Italy, studied 46 vessels, jars, cups, and bits of organic material from the tomb of an ancient Egyptian architect and his wife. Publishing their findings this month in the Journal of Archaeological Science, the team describes finding residues of oil, fat and beeswax—all of which would have been scentless bases for perfumes with fragrant ingredients like juniper berries and nut grass. Ultimately, however, the analysis didn't uncover any specific scents, Goldsmith tells ScienceNews.

As research on Cleopatra's perfume continues, smell's importance lingers even longer than the scents she favored. Of the five senses, smell is the one most closely linked to emotions and memory. The only sense to fully develop in fetuses while in the womb, the olfactory experience gives food its flavor and can trigger decades-old memories or associated emotions. Those emotions might enable scents of the past to trigger empathy and understanding for the way people used to live.

A 2021 exhibition at the Mauritshuis in The Hague experimented with that by sending scent bottles that correlated with 17th-century Dutch paintings available to view at home via a virtual tour, Artnet News' Menachem Wecker writes. Curators tell Artnet News that the exhibition, which featured the scents of everything from Amsterdam's canals to the smell of a building where an artwork was painted, was an attempt to explore the past while drawing perfumed connections to the present.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Fwd- Wep Wa-ut in Westwood: Ancient Egypt at UCLA, 2022 edition



Dear All,

The 2022 version of our Undergraduate and Graduate presentations is this Saturday, May 21 from 10.00-1.00 in Kaplan Hall A51, UCLA campus. You are welcome to hear some wonderful presentations on this year's theme: Ptolemaic Temples (see flyer for the program).

Best regards,

 

Willeke Wendrich

 

Director Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA

Joan Silsbee Chair of African Cultural Archaeology

Professor of Egyptian Archaeology and Digital Humanities

NELC office: 397 Kaplan Hall, Tel. +1 310 206 1496

Cotsen office: A207 Fowler Bld.    Tel. +1 310 267 5579

Preferred pronouns: she/her/hers

 

UCLA acknowledges the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (Los Angeles basin, So. Channel Islands). As a land grant institution, we pay our respects to the honuukvetam (ancestors) 'ahiihirom (elders), and 'eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present, and emerging.

 

Monday, May 16, 2022

Tomb of ancient Egyptian dignitary who read top secret documents discovered | Live Science

https://www.livescience.com/ancient-egyptian-tomb-royal-official

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Call for Applications: ARCE-NC Marie Buttery $1000 Student Grant


Marie Buttery $1000 Student Grant


Call for Applications



 


The Board of Directors of the
American Research Center in Egypt, Northern California chapter, is offering one $1,000 grant to a qualified student. The deadline for submission is Tuesday, May 31, 2022 with the winner to be recognized at our August 21 meeting.

To qualify for this grant, the applicant must be an undergraduate or graduate student who is enrolled at a Northern California college or university (Monterey County to the Oregon border) or who has a home address in this area. They must be pursuing a degree that incorporates Egyptian anthropology, archaeology, art, history, museum studies or language, or Coptic or Arabic studies in any period. Proof of enrollment may be required.

Applicants are to submit 1) a brief summary (250-500 words) describing how they will use the grant and 2) a 1-2 page CV. The grant will be awarded by the Board based on merit. Possible uses include but are not limited to research, travel, or preparation of an exhibition or program. Proposals involving work with research materials should secure any permissions required for that work before the application is sent.

Students should apply by email (Word or PDF file) to ARCENorCal@gmail.com. If possible, the winner is expected to attend the August 21 ARCE meeting – via Zoom if it is held virtually, and at the University of California, Berkeley if it is held in person.

The grant honors the memory of Marie Buttery, founding president of our chapter.

ARCE Northern California also offers a $1,500 student grant each fall in memory of its former member Professor Eugene Cruz-Uribe. Call for applications for this grant will go out later in 2022.


Sunday, May 15, 2022

Remembering the Unsung Egyptians Who Helped Discover King Tut's Tomb | Smart News | Smithsonian Magazine

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/remembering-unsung-egyptians-who-helped-find-king-tut-tomb-180980074/

Smart News |

Remembering the Unsung Egyptians Who Helped Discover King Tut's Tomb

A exhibition celebrates the 100th anniversary of the archaeological find by spotlighting the overlooked workers who made it possible

British archaeologist Howard Carter and a crew of 60 Egyptian men and children discovered the tomb of King Tutankhamun in 1922. © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford

In November 1922, British archaeologists made history when they found the long-sought-after tomb of King Tutankhamun in Egypt's Valley of the Kings.

They didn't do it alone. Many skilled Egyptian workers made the discovery possible to begin with.But though dozens of unnamed Egyptian men and children performed much of the intense physical labor at the site—and shared their local knowledge and specialized skills—self-taught British archaeologist Howard Carter got all of the credit for the find.

To this day, historians are unable to match the names of the few Egyptian workers they do know to the faces of local men who were present at every stage of the painstakingly photographed discovery.

Now, a new exhibition in England shines a light on the Egyptian workers who made the find possible—most of whom were left out of the historical record.

Removal of the wall between the antechamber and the burial          chamber
Removal of the wall between the antechamber and the burial chamber (© Griffith Institute, University of Oxford
Image of dismantling the outer shrine
Image of dismantling the outer shrine (© Griffith Institute, University of Oxford

"Tutankhamun: Excavating the Archive" goes beyond "colonialist popular stereotypes" to showcase the "humanity of the modern and ancient people who worked on the tomb," says Richard Bruce Parkinson, an Egyptologist at Oxford and the exhibition's co-curator, in a statement.

Though the exhibition, on view through February 5, 2023 at the University of Oxford's Weston Library in Oxford, England, celebrates the 100th anniversary of the find, it also criticizes and interrogates the prevailing narrative.

"The excavation was not achieved by a solitary heroic English archaeologist but by the modern Egyptian team members, who have so often been overlooked and written out of the story," says Parkinson in the statement.

Carter's life story is the stuff of archaeological legend. Born in London in 1874, he was drawn to the field when his father, a successful artist, painted an Egyptologist. At 17, young Carter headed to Egypt for the first time, working at several archaeological sites while perfecting his craft as an illustrator.

His reputation as an experienced Egyptologist got around and, in 1907, English aristocrat George Herbert, the fifth earl of Carnarvon, tapped Carter to lead an expedition to search for the tombs of Egyptian royalty, including that of Tutankhamun, a young king who ruled over Egypt from 1333 to 1323 B.C.E. and died at age 19.

Though World War I interrupted the search, Carter and a crew of workers spent several years searching for the tomb without any luck. In 1922, the same year Egypt declared independence from Britain after 40 years of direct colonial control, Herbert gave Carter an ultimatum: Find the tomb that season, or the expedition was over.

Photograph an Egyptian boy wearing a heavy jeweled          pectoral
Photograph an Egyptian boy wearing a heavy jeweled pectoral © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford
A small garland of cornflowers and olive leaves, on the          royal insignia of cobra and vulture on the forehead of          Tutankhamun's outer coffin
A small garland of cornflowers and olive leaves, on the royal insignia of cobra and vulture on the forehead of Tutankhamun's outer coffin © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford

Carter's luck turned after that: On November 4, 1922, Carter and his men found a flight of stone stairs that led to a sealed chamber. Three weeks later, they entered the four-room tomb and discovered thousands of items meant to accompany the young king into the afterlife. After two months of careful excavation, they finally found a stone sarcophagus with three nested coffins inside. The final coffin—the one containing Tutankhamun's 3,000-year-old mummified body—was made of solid gold.

The tomb, and Carter, became international sensations. The Egyptian men and children hired to work on the expedition, however, received almost no recognition. Carter thanked his four Egyptian foremen—Ahmed Gerigar, Gad Hassan, Hussein Abu Awad and Hussein Ahmed Said—in books about the expedition "assiduously, if patronizingly," as historian Christina Riggs notes in Photographing Tutankhamun: Archaeology, Ancient Egypt, and the Archive. However, he never mentioned the other Egyptian members of his 60- to 100-person crew.

"They are invisible," Daniela Rosenow, an archaeologist and the co-curator of the exhibition, tells the Telegraph's Lucy Davies. "These people did not write diaries like Carter; many couldn't read or write at all. They probably went home each evening and told their families what they'd seen, but those stories are lost."

The exhibition does what it can to fill in the blanks, with help from dramatic images captured by Harry Burton (nicknamed "the pharaoh's photographer" for his work in Egypt), letters, diary entries, plans, drawings, record cards and other archival material.

One of Howard Carter's record cards showing his drawing of          the jackal god Anubis, with notes and measurements
One of Howard Carter's record cards showing his drawing of the jackal god Anubis, with notes and measurements © Griffith Institute, University of Oxford

Even today, curators cannot match the names of Carter's four foremen with the Egyptian men shown in the photographs, nor do they know the names of any of the other men and children Burton captured with his camera. So while Carter may have appreciated the Egyptian workers, his respect for them was "very much within a very colonial context," Parkinson tells the National's Paul Peachey.

The artifacts themselves are still among the most famous ever displayed. Today, the artifacts from Tutankhamun's tomb are primarily housed at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, though they're expected to be relocated to the new Grand Egyptian Museum, which is slated to open later this year.

King Tut's Egyptian co-discoverers remain silent. The exhibition is an attempt to put them back into the picture—literally. The photographs, which show them performing a variety of tasks at every stage of the excavation, from opening shrine doors to carefully brushing dust from artifacts, make the extent of their work clear.

Even without knowing their names, viewers to the exhibition can see for themselves the vitally important role the unnamed men played in the discovery.

"Tutankhamun: Excavating the Archive" will be on view at the University of Oxford's Weston Library through February 5, 2023.

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In Photos: Ancient engravings, reliefs uncovered during restoration of Temple of Esna - Ancient Egypt - Antiquities - Ahram Online

https://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/9/40/466145/Antiquities/Ancient-Egypt/In-Photos-Ancient-engravings,-reliefs-uncovered-du.aspx

In Photos: Ancient engravings, reliefs uncovered during restoration of Temple of Esna

Nevine El-Aref , Friday 13 May 2022

The Egyptian-German archaeological mission has uncovered original reliefs and engravings on the walls and ceilings of Temple of Esna in Luxor, Upper Egypt during ongoing restoration work.

Temple of Esna
 

The mission uncovered a distinguished relief on top the entrance gate of the temple showing 46 eagles standing in two rows, with some bearing the heads of the Upper Egypt goddess Nekhbet, and others bearing the head of the Lower Egypt goddess Wadget.

"This is the first time to find this relief," said Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. "It was not seen or mentioned in the works published by the French Egyptologist Serge Soniron, who documented the temple's reliefs in 1963 and 1975, Waziri added.

Hisham El-Leithy, the head of the Central Department for Egyptian Documentation Centre and head of the mission from the Egyptian side, explained that the uncovered reliefs and engravings at the Esna temple were hidden beneath dust and accumulation of salts and birds deposits over the last 2000 years.

This discovery made it important for us to begin a restoration project, funded by the American Research Centre in Cairo, to protect the temple and uncover its decorations, El-Leithy stressed.

Meanwhile, the mission also found a Roman engraving in red ink at the western side of the temple dating from the era of the Roman Emperor Domitian, 81-96 CE, who might have completed the construction of the temple.

More studies will be carried out on these engraving to show more details.

Construction on the Temple of Esna, which is dedicated to the ram god Khnum and his divine consorts, began in the Roman era during the reign of Emperor Claudius (41-54 AD) and its decoration was completed during the reign of Emperor Decius (249-251 AD).

During the 19th and 20th centuries, the Temple of Esna suffered from urban encroachment, which limited access to the site only through one of the houses built around it.

During the reign of Mohamed Ali Pasha (1805-1840 AD), the temple is reported to have been used as a storage facility for the cotton crop.





Short link:

 



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Restoration work reveals original colour and patterns in Ancient Egyptian temple - HeritageDaily - Archaeology News

https://www.heritagedaily.com/2022/05/restoration-work-reveals-original-colour-and-patterns-in-ancient-egyptian-temple/143605

Restoration work reveals original colour and patterns in Ancient Egyptian temple

egypt1
Image Credit : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

A joint German/Egyptian archaeological mission at the Esna Temple in Egypt has revealed some of the original colour and patterns within part of the temple complex during restoration works.

The Esna Temple is dedicated to the Ancient Egyptian god, Khnum, and his consorts Menhit and Nebtu, their son, Heka, and the goddess Neith.

Khnum was one of the earliest-known Egyptian deities, originally the god of the source of the Nile and the creator of the bodies of human children (which he made at a potter's wheel). He was later described as having moulded the other deities, and he had the titles "Divine Potter" and "Lord of created things from himself".

The construction of the Esna Temple dates from Ptolemaic times, however, most of the parts that survive today are from the Roman period.

egypt2
Image Credit : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

The restoration project found the original colours and patterns under the middle ceiling above the entrance to the temple. A careful process of cleaning revealed a painting that depicts 46 vultures in a row, 20 of which have a vultures head (representing Upper Egypt), whilst the remainder the head of a cobra (representing Lower Egypt).

Dr. Hisham El-Lithy, head of the Central Administration for Egyptian Archaeology Registration and Head of the Egyptian Archaeological Mission said: "The colourful inscriptions have suffered over the past centuries from the accumulation of thick layers and impurities."

Whilst cleaning the western wall of the temple, the researchers also found Greek inscriptions drawn in red ink that dates from the Roman period during the reign of Emperor Domitian (AD 81-96). The inscription records the day and eleventh month of the ancient Egyptian and Coptic calendars – "EPIPHI 5" which corresponds to around the time the temple was likely completed.

Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities 


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Friday, May 13, 2022

Star of Met Opera ‘Akhnaten’ Is Offered Egyptology Fellowship at Oxford - Bloomberg

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-05-12/star-of-met-opera-akhnaten-is-offered-egyptology-fellowship-at-oxford

Akhnaten Opera Star Is Offered an Egyptology Fellowship at Oxford

Anthony Roth Costanzo takes the role, which he's been playing since 2016, so seriously that it's been academically recognized.

relates to Akhnaten Opera Star                  Is Offered an Egyptology Fellowship at Oxford

Photographer: Karen Almon/Met Opera


The first time Richard Bruce Parkinson saw Philip Glass's opera Akhnaten, in 1985, he left unimpressed. The tale of Pharaoh Tutankhamun's father and his doomed quest to change Egypt's belief system from polytheism to monotheism struck him as "quite a romantic, quite an idealistic view."

Thirty years and one production later, Parkinson, a professor of Egyptology at the University of Oxford and a former curator at the British Museum, is now a superfan. So much so that he's made Anthony Roth Costanzo, the opera's star, a visiting fellow at Oxford's Research Centre in the Humanities.

The current steampunk-inflected version of Akhnaten, from director Phelim McDermott with sets by Tom Pye and costumes by Kevin Pollard, has been running since 2016. It will be back at the Metropolitan Opera in New York on May 19 after a season's hiatus, returning with a Grammy win in April for best opera recording. "As an Egyptologist, I should probably be a bit shocked at the liberties it takes," Parkinson says. "But it's done with such imaginative conviction, it's a brilliant approach."

relates to Akhnaten Opera Star Is Offered an                  Egyptology Fellowship at Oxford
Costanzo as Akhnaten.
Source: The Metropolitan Opera

"When they told me about the fellowship," Costanzo says, "I was like, 'You guys know I'm not a real pharaoh, right?' " Upon reflection, he says, "I think it was implicit—and this sounds kind of ridiculous—that I've become somewhat synonymous with Akhnaten at this point."

It's not all that ridiculous, actually. Costanzo is one of opera's rare countertenors (a man who sings in a woman's traditional register) and has starred in the role since the current production's 2016 premiere at the London Coliseum. Plus, he even looks kind of like the pharaoh himself. Parkinson says, "If you look at photographs of Anthony during performances and compare them with one of the busts of Akhnaten in the Berlin museum, it's a very good likeness."

More to the point, Parkinson says, Costanzo was given the fellowship (which will take place in November) because Akhnaten and Costanzo's efforts to promote it are helping to change long-held historical biases. "[Ancient] Egyptian culture is beginning to escape from the stereotypes that have surrounded it for so long," Parkinson says. "It's about time. Think of The Mummy. Think of Indiana Jones. They're really, really offensive." Akhnaten, in contrast, positions the pharaoh "as a modernist figure who should be treated seriously as a thinker and human being," Parkinson says.

relates to Akhnaten Opera Star Is Offered an                  Egyptology Fellowship at Oxford
Gauzy robes and headdresses are imbued with a Victorian sensibility.
Source: The Metropolitan Opera

The best way to describe this production's aesthetic may be soft-edged steampunk with a splash of modernism. It emphasizes Akhnaten's gender fluidity and religious rebellion. And the fairly minimal sets dodge ancient Egyptian clichés: no hieroglyphs or palm trees. Instead, a troupe of jugglers provides the visual drama—a choice that's historically accurate, Parkinson says: "Juggling is very, very clever as an effect. As has often been said, juggling is an art practiced by the ancient Egyptians, so that is in no way anachronistic."

As for the costumes, Costanzo spends the first six minutes of the opera stark naked, a fresh take on the traditional underwear-in-front-of-an-audience nightmare. The rest of the time, Costanzo and the cast are in gauzy robes and headdresses imbued with a Victorian sensibility—a nod to the period of Western culture when ancient Egypt was fetishized. But it was the second-act climax, in which Costanzo sings an aria based on an ancient poem and then ascends a staircase to worship a massive glowing orb, that left Parkinson, a specialist in ancient Egyptian poetry, in raptures. It was "fresh and modern and a serious work of art," he says. "It's a very high-artistic approach to an ancient text that doesn't happen very often."

Audiences agree. When the show opened in London and traveled to Los Angeles, most performances sold out. When it went to New York's Metropolitan Opera in 2019, almost every night was a completely full house. "What I find very inspirational is the idea that what an academic is doing with historic data is the same as what Anthony is doing," Parkinson says. By bringing attention to this role, he adds, "it's different forms of re-creating the ancient experience, but they're the same vision of giving a bit of life back to the past."

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Monday, May 9, 2022

Mummification Museum in Luxor celebrates its silver jubilee - EgyptToday


Mummification Museum in Luxor celebrates its silver jubilee

BY

Sun, 08 May 2022 - 08:17 GMT


Mummification Museum in Luxor - Min. of Tourism            & Antiquities

Mummification Museum in Luxor - Min. of Tourism & Antiquities

CAIRO – May 8 2022: On May 7, the Mummification Museum in Luxor celebrated its 25th anniversary.

Head of the Museums Sector at the Supreme Council of Antiquities Moamen Othman explained that on the sidelines of the celebration, free guided tours and workshops were organized for museum visitors to acquaint them with the history of the museum and its archaeological holdings, adding that the workshops presented archaeological models that simulate the mummification process in ancient Egypt.

For his part, Director General of the Museum Mohamed Shehata said that the museum consists of one exhibition hall that include 73 artifacts giving a comprehensive explanation of the mummification process in ancient Egypt, and shedding light on the religious significance of mummification as well as the rituals associated with it from the Old Kingdom to the Late Period. Many mummification tools, canopic utensils, coffins, amulets, statues of deities, funerary paintings, and a number of human and animal mummies are exhibited in the museum.

 

Mummification Museum in              Luxor - Min. of Tourism & Antiquities
Mummification Museum in Luxor - Min. of Tourism & Antiquities

 

Mummification Museum in              Luxor - Min. of Tourism & Antiquities
Mummification Museum in Luxor - Min. of Tourism & Antiquities


Mummification Museum in              Luxor - Min. of Tourism & Antiquities
Mummification Museum in Luxor - Min. of Tourism & Antiquities

The museum also houses a conference hall that accommodates about 200 people, equipped with the latest technological means, a hall for museum education and cultural development, and another for film screenings and a cafeteria.

It should be noted that the museum was opened on May 7, 1997. It covers an area of about 2000 square meters and is considered one of the most important specialized museums in Egypt.

Call for Applications: ARCE NorCal Marie Buttery $1000 Student Grant



$1000 Marie Buttery Student Grant


Call for Applications





The Board of Directors of the American Research Center in Egypt, Northern California chapter, is offering one $1,000 grant to a qualified student. The deadline for submission is Tuesday, May 31, 2022 with the winner to be recognized at our August 21 meeting.

To qualify for this grant, the applicant must be an undergraduate or graduate student who is enrolled at a Northern California college or university (Monterey County to the Oregon border) or who has a home address in this area. They must be pursuing a degree that incorporates Egyptian anthropology, archaeology, art, history, museum studies or language, or Coptic or Arabic studies in any period. Proof of enrollment may be required.

Applicants are to submit 1) a brief summary (250-500 words) describing how they will use the grant and 2) a 1-2 page CV. The grant will be awarded by the Board based on merit. Possible uses include but are not limited to research, travel, or preparation of an exhibition or program. Proposals involving work with research materials should secure any permissions required for that work before the application is sent.

Students should apply by email (Word or PDF file) to ARCENorCal@gmail.com. If possible, the winner is expected to attend the August 21 ARCE meeting – via Zoom if it is held virtually, and at the University of California, Berkeley if it is held in person.

The grant honors the memory of Marie Buttery, founding president of our chapter.

ARCE Northern California also offers a $1,500 student grant each fall in memory of its former member Professor Eugene Cruz-Uribe. Call for applications for this grant will go out later in 2022.


Thursday, May 5, 2022

Ancient Egyptian mummy forgotten in storage turns out to be sacred bird often sacrificed to Thoth | Live Science

https://www.livescience.com/ancient-egypt-ibis-bird-mummy

Ancient Egyptian mummy forgotten in storage turns out to be sacred bird often sacrificed to Thoth

By Callum McKelvie
published about 15 hours ago

The bird may be an Ibis, often sacrificed by the ancient Egyptians to the god Thoth.

 Carol Ann Barsody and Frederic Gleach examine the over          1,500-year-old mummy bird.
Carol Ann Barsody and Frederic Gleach examine the over 1,500-year-old mummy bird. (Image credit: Cornell University)

An ancient Egyptian bird mummy, long forgotten in storage and mislabeled as a hawk, is finally getting its due now that researchers have digitally peered inside its wrappings.

The 1,500-year-old mummy, scientists learned, is not a hawk but likely a sacred ibis (Threskiornis aethiopica) — a wading bird with stilt-like legs and a long curved beak that the ancient Egyptians often sacrificed to Thoth, the god of the moon, reckoning, learning and writing.

"Not only was this once a living creature that people of the day may have enjoyed watching stroll through the water," Carol Ann Barsody, a masters student in archaeology at Cornell University, who spearheaded the project, said in a statement. "It also was, and is, something sacred, something religious."

Cornell University has no record of the mummy's arrival into its collections. Barsody initially suspected that the mummy arrived as part of an 1884 freight of objects, which included the human mummy Penpi, a Thebian scribe. However, after doing further research, she discovered that no other Egyptian artifacts arrived with Penpi. 

Barsody now believes the mummy to have been part of a 1930 donation by a Cornell alumnus John Randolph, but she is still playing detective to determine the mummy's true origins. Barsody worked at Cornell as an employee at the Center for Technology licensing and, while pursuing her degree in archaeology, became interested in the mummy as a case study for how technology could be used to unwrap the mystery. 

Barsody decided to learn all she could about the mummy without disturbing the animal inside. Along with Frederic Gleach, a senior lecturer and curator of Cornell's Anthropology Collections, she took the mummy to the College of Veterinary Medicine where the lightweight 2-pound (942 grams) mummy underwent a CT scan in order to determine that it was, in fact, a bird. The scan revealed that a leg had been fractured prior to the mummification process and that feathers and soft tissue were still preserved. They were also able to discern that the bird's broken beak had occurred post mummification.

The pair then consulted Vanya Rohwer, the curator of Birds and Mammals at the Cornell Museum of Vertebrates who identified the remains as those of an ibis. This wasn't too surprising, as ibises in ancient Egypt were bred in large numbers due to their popularity, particularly in their use as offerings.

Initially, this particular mummy perplexed the team because of the way the ancient Egyptians had prepared the bird. When examining the CT scan, they were unable to see how the bird had been folded into its current shape. It was only when using the museum's collection of study skins and skeletons, carefully copying the bird's shape by fitting pieces together, that they were able to conclude that the ibis's head had been twisted around and bent back against its body. The sternum and ribcage had also been removed — a practice that isn't common among bird mummifications. 

The ibis was a bird that originated in Africa and was venerated not only in ancient Egypt but also Greece and Rome, according to AviBirds. Thoth was regularly depicted as having a human body and the long-beaked head of a bird. Millions of ibises have been found in Egyptian necropolises, according to a 2019 study published by the journal Plos One.

Currently, Barsody is working with Jack Defay, an electrical and computer engineering student at Cornell, to scan the mummy in order to construct a virtual 3D model of the bird. 

This bird has "had multiple lives," Barsody said. "I look at what I'm doing as another form of extending its incredible life."

Barsody will soon launch a website, www.birdmummy.com, which will focus on using the mummy in order to increase the museum's educational outreach. She also plans to open an exhibition of the bird, its 3D model and a hologram at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell in October. 

Callum McKelvie is features editor for All About History Magazine. He has a both a Bachelor and Master's degree in History and Media History from Aberystwyth University. He was previously employed as an Editorial Assistant publishing digital versions of historical documents, working alongside museums and archives such as the British Library. He has also previously volunteered for The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum, Gloucester Archives and Gloucester Cathedral

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