A joint Italian-Polish archaeological mission working in the Abu Gorab necropolis, south of Egypt's Giza pyramids, found the remains of a building believed to be one of four lost sun temples built in the Old Kingdom, the country's antiquities ministry said.
The unearthed structure is thought by Egyptologists to have been built during the reign of the fifth dynasty of ancient Egypt which ruled from 2465-2323 BCE, making it one of the oldest buildings in the area.
If the structure is confirmed as one of the four lost temples, as preliminary investigations suggest, it would make it one of the oldest structures in the relic-rich area.
Archaeologists and workers at the site of a complex of tombs, including one of a Pharaonic princess, in the Abusir region south of Cairo. Reuters
According to the antiquities ministry's statement, the remains of the lost temple were found buried beneath a newer temple built during the rule of King Nyuserre.
A prolific builder who reigned as the sixth pharaoh of the fifth dynasty, Nyuserre also built six pyramids during his reign: three for himself and his queens and another three for his father, mother and brother, all in Giza's Abusir necropolis.
Furthermore, he constructed the largest surviving temple to the sun god Ra built during the Old Kingdom, as well as the Nekhenre, another Sun temple built to honour Userkaf, another fifth dynasty pharaoh, and the valley temple of Menkaure in Giza.
He is credited with reviving activity in the Giza area after his fifth dynasty predecessors had halted most activities in the area since the end of the fourth dynasty.
One of the most well-preserved Old Kingdom relics in the area, the newer temple was discovered in the early 1900s by a German mission working in Giza and covers a surface area of 7,600 square metres.
The remains of the recently-unearthed older temple were only accessible through a limestone doorway that leads into a long shaft paved with mud brick, which contains slabs of quartz rock embedded in the floor beneath the surface temples.
Dr Ayman Ashmawy, a prominent archaeologist who heads the Egyptology department of the country's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said in a statement that all signs point to Nyuserre having removed parts of the lost temple while constructing his prominent sun temple.
He said that pottery fragments found between the foundation of the newer temple and the remains of the buried temple have been interpreted as part of a foundation ritual where builders laid down ceramics before they began their work as a way to bless the site.
The ceramics comprised various kinds of vessels including ones for drinking beer, serving food and others that had red-painted edges, the significance of which was unknown, said the ministry's statement.
The mission also found a number of fragments from clay seals bearing the name of King Shepseskare, an important find, according to Rosanna Birley, who heads the Italian part of the mission. Little is known about this fifth dynasty ruler and the finding could uncover more about his life and reign.
More excavations will be carried out at the site in the coming months, said the antiquities ministry, as the mission hopes to unearth the lost temple in its entirety.
New discovery may be one of the four lost Ancient Egyptian "sun temples"
Archaeologists excavating in Abusir, south of Cairo near Saqqara, Egypt, have discovered the ruins of what may be one of the four lost Ancient Egyptian "sun temples".
Abusir is a necropolis of the Old Kingdom period that served as one of the main cemeteries for the Ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis.
The site consists of 14 royal pyramids, mastabas and tombs that date from the 5th Dynasty during the early 25th century BC until the mid-24th century BC.
Excavations were conducted by a Polish and Italian archaeological mission at the temple of Pharoah Nyuserre Ini, the 6th ruler of the 5th Dynasty.
In a context layer that pre-dates the temple, the team found evidence of a mud-brick building and quartz blocks, that according to officials from the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, could be the remains of one of the four lost sun temples.
Six sun temples are thought to have been built, but only two have been uncovered until now.
Sun temples were built in dedication to the Ancient Egyptian deity, Ra, the god of the sun, order, kings and the sky, who is often portrayed as a falcon with a sun-disk inside a cobra.
Archaeologists theorise as to the purpose of sun temples, since their design seems to have more than royal funerary purposes, instead likely being part of the cultic worship of kingship.
According to a press release issued by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities on the discovery: "The building is accessible through an entrance built in limestone rock, leading to an area with a paved floor and containing huge blocks of quartz."
Excavations also uncovered ceramic vessels, beer pots and red rimmed containers, which were likely used in temple rituals and ceremonies.
The ARCEDC chapter has devised a virtual lecture targeted at younger people in the hopes of interesting some in Egyptology. We are playing off the very popular Marvel Moon Knight characters of Tawaret and Ammit.
If you could assist by passing this along, especially to college age folk, we'd be grateful. One of our board members designed the flyer, Dr. Louise Rasnake.
Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered a 2,600-year-old tomb belonging to a man of high status: a "commander of foreign mercenaries" named "Wahibre-mery-Neith."
The tomb's embalming cache, found in 2021, includes more than 370 pottery storage jars containing materials used in the commander's mummification, making it the "largest embalming cache ever found in Egypt," a team of Egyptian and Czech researchers said in a statement (opens in new tab). The tomb is buried at Abusir (also spelled Abū Ṣīr), a few miles south of the giant necropolis at Saqqara.
Grave robbers stole Wahibre-mery-Neith's mummy in antiquity, but archaeologists located remains of his sarcophagus that have hieroglyphs inscribed on them. The glyphs give his identity and quote part of chapter 72 of the Book of the Dead that describes "the resurrection of the deceased and his departure to the afterlife," according to the statement.
In his role as commander of ancient Egypt's mercenary troops, Wahibre-mery-Neith would have "supervised and commanded mercenaries coming from the Aegean islands and Asia Minor," the statement said.
We describe the consequences of a stroke in an adult mummy from ancient Egypt including the differential diagnosis. To our knowledge this is the oldest hemiparalysis to be published in the scientific literature.
The mummy, from the 25th Dynasty (c. 747−656 b.c.), was found during excavation of the tomb chapel of Hery (TT 12) and Baqi, of the early 18th Dynasty (c. 1550−1292 b.c.). Seventeen mummified bodies were found in a small corridor connecting the 2 tombs. The mummy labeled Individual 6833 was studied macroscopically and radiologically and was unique in its positioning, the presence of a crutch, and the use of sticks as supports.
The body belonged to a woman, between 25 and 40 years of age. The type of mummification was of a high level, with excerebration and evisceration carefully performed.
The woman suffered a stroke late in life, with left hemiparalysis after bone growth was completed, and she lived with the results for several years.
Strokes occur when blood supply is disrupted, resulting in necrosis of brain parenchyma. They represent the second cause of mortality in patients older than 60 years old and are a main cause of disability.1 Indubitably strokes have occurred historically. The first conclusive anatomically proven diagnosis of a stroke was reported in 2017 in the body of an 18th century 73-year-old Italian priest,2 Don Giovanni Arcangeli (1677/78−1751). In their macroscopic examination, the authors described "an eye-catching unilateral gryposis of the left hand, absent in the contralateral limb. … Additionally, the left hand seems to show a rather striking degree of contracture of the tendons of the dorsum of the hand." Furthermore, the Church's documentary sources state that "the Reverend don Giovanni Arcangeli, as a result of his poor health caused by an apoplectic illness … ."
We have identified one of the, if not the, earliest examples of a stroke in an Egyptian mummy, tentatively dated to Egypt's 25th Dynasty (c. 747−656 b.c.) and the focus of this report. This is the twilight of Egyptian history, when Egypt was ruled by Nubian pharaohs who had appropriated pharaonic religion and customs.
Material and Methods
The Spanish Archaeological Mission to Dra Abu el-Naga (Proyecto Djehuty) has been working on the west bank of the Nile at Luxor (Egypt) since 2002. Excavations revealed dozens of well-preserved mummies including Individual 6833, missing only the feet. This mummy was studied macroscopically and radiographically on site with portable radiographs using the 9020 HF Clarox Equino, of 1.35 kW, 90 kV, and 15 mA. Due to Egyptian law, it was impossible to remove the mummy from the site for computed
Radiography identified the body as female, based on pelvic features,4 between 25 and 40 years of age.
The individual was positioned straight, with the legs together. The right arm is stretched alongside the body with the palm facing the femoral trochanter. The left arm was flexed in the elbow with the forearm over the chest and the left hand hyperflexed. The head was facing down, with contracted shoulders. Although the head of children's mummies are often thus positioned5 (and personal
The position of the shoulders, head, flexed arm, and, to a lesser extent, the probable inward turning of the left foot suggests that the woman was suffering from a right brain insult.
The typical pattern of neuromusculoskeletal involvement in individuals affected is characterized by 1) painful shoulder in adduction and internal rotation (due to a scapulohumeral subluxation, causing an abnormal position of the head); 2) elbow flexed, forearm in pronation, wrist in flexion and claw fingers
The radiologic examination of this female mummy, aged 25−40 years, who died about 2700 years ago, reveals an abnormal position of her body, with indications that she suffered a right cerebral stroke with the expected left hemiplegia. During the mummification process an attempt was made to correct the position of her head and chest by including 2 sticks at her back, giving her an erect posture for eternity. A stick or a crutch was also provided for her, most likely the one she used in life. The
CRediT authorship contribution statement
Jesús Herrerín: Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Supervision, Visualization, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing. Miguel A. Sánchez: Formal analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing. Salima Ikram: Formal analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing.
This article is part of the research project HAR2017-88671-R, situated within the Spanish National Program for Scientific Research, Technology, and Innovation. We are grateful to José M. Galan, director of the Proyecto Djehuty, for his support and encouragement, and Francisco Bosch-Puche for his archeologic expertise.
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From apoplexy to stroke—review of medical literature on stroke over previous 2,000 years, especially sources from 18th and 19th centuries
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Intriguing Egyptian tomb was made for the "Commander of Foreign Soldiers"
Nathan Steinmeyer July 22, 2022 0 Comments 2729 views Share
Excavations at Wahibre-mery-Neith's ancient Egyptian shaft tomb. Courtesy Petr Košárek, the Czech Institute of Egyptology, Charles University.
An intriguing Egyptian tomb has been discovered just south of Cairo, belonging to the "Commander of Foreign Soldiers." The tomb, discovered by a Czech archaeological team from Charles University in Prague, was uncovered in Abusir, an important necropolis of the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis. Despite having been looted in antiquity, the tomb's incredible finds shed new light on Egypt during the Persian period, when Egypt, like biblical Judah, had come under the control of a foreign power.
The Resting Place of an Egyptian Dignitary
The partly destroyed inner sarcophagus decorated with chapter 72 of the Book of the Dead. Courtesy Petr Košárek, the Czech Institute of Egyptology, Charles University.
The tomb of the Egyptian dignitary, named Wahibre-mery-Neith, dates to the Persian Period (c. 525–332 B.C.E.), during the late 26th or early 27th Dynasty. At this time, the Persian Empire had spread across the Near East, destroying Babylon and conquering Egypt. Among the many accolades and titles attributed to the tomb's owner is "Commander of Foreign Soldiers," a position that would have supervised Aegean and Anatolian mercenaries. Despite the difficult circumstances of the period, which saw the gradual decline of Egypt's ancient traditions and culture, the tomb still features many distinct aspects of traditional Egyptian art and religious belief.
Among the finds from the Egyptian tomb were the sarcophagus of Wahibre-mery-Neith and the largest cache of embalming goods ever discovered in Egypt. The cache included more than 370 pottery jars containing material used in the mummification process. The team also found two wooden boxes containing hundreds of faience shabtis, small figurines that were believed to serve the deceased in the afterlife. Other finds included alabaster canopic jars, model cups, and an ostracon inscribe with excerpts from the Book of the Dead, written in hieratic script.
A collection of shabtis figurines from the tomb. Courtesy Petr Košárek, the Czech Institute of Egyptology, Charles University.
While more elaborate funerary goods were likely also once in the tomb, they were robbed around the fourth or fifth century C.E., as evidenced by two early Coptic vessels found in the tomb. Additional evidence for this ancient looting is found in the sarcophagus itself, which was damaged when the looters opened it. The outer sarcophagus was made of two massive white limestone blocks. Inside was an inner sarcophagus of black basalt. This inner sarcophagus was inscribed with the 72nd chapter of the Book of the Dead, which describes the resurrection of the dead and the journey to the afterlife. The inner coffin, which measures 7.5 feet long, contained a single uninscribed scarab and an amulet.
Two canopic jars and other objects made of Egyptian alabaster. Courtesy Petr Košárek, the Czech Institute of Egyptology, Charles University.
A Unique Burial Structure
The final resting place of Wahibre-mery-Neith was constructed as a deep, rectangular shaft tomb. The main shaft, which descends 20 feet, measures 2,100 square feet. At the bottom of the main shaft, a secondary shaft was cut into the bedrock, which descends another 33 feet into the earth. It was at the bottom of this shaft that archaeologists found the double sarcophagus of Wahibre-mery-Neith. There are no exact parallels to the tomb's structure and design, though it does have similarities to the nearby tomb of Udjahorresnet and the so-called Campbell's tomb in Giza.
Looking down the long shaft of an Egyptian tomb. Courtesy Petr Košárek, the Czech Institute of Egyptology, Charles University.
Based on the condition of the tomb and its grave goods, it is thought that Wahibre-mery-Neith may have died unexpectedly before his tomb was finished. Researchers hope the tomb will provide a snapshot of tomb construction during the period and reveal new details about burial equipment and tomb decoration.
The temple ruins were found in the Tell el-Farma archaeological site in northwestern Sinai
Excavations at the area date back to early 1900 when French Egyptologist Jean Clédat found ancient Greek inscriptions that showed the existence of the Zeus-Kasios temple
CAIRO: Egyptian archaeologists unearthed the ruins of a temple for the ancient Greek god Zeus in the Sinai Peninsula, antiquities authorities said Monday. The Tourism and Antiquities Ministry said in a statement the temple ruins were found in the Tell el-Farma archaeological site in northwestern Sinai. Tell el-Farma, also known by its ancient name Pelusium, dates back to the late Pharaonic period and was also used during Greco-Roman and Byzantine times. There are also remains dating to the Christian and early Islamic periods. Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said archaeologists excavated the temple ruins through its entrance gate, where two huge fallen granite columns were visible. The gate was destroyed in a powerful earthquake in ancient times, he said. Waziri said the ruins were found between the Pelusium Fort and a memorial church at the site. Archaeologists found a set of granite blocks probably used to build a staircase for worshipers to reach the temple. Excavations at the area date back to early 1900 when French Egyptologist Jean Clédat found ancient Greek inscriptions that showed the existence of the Zeus-Kasios temple but he didn't unearth it, according to the ministry. Zeus-Kasios is a conflation of Zeus, the God of the sky in ancient Greek mythology, and Mount Kasios in Syria, where Zeus once worshipped. Hisham Hussein, the director of Sinai archaeological sites, said inscriptions found in the area show that Roman Emperor Hadrian (117-138) renovated the temple. He said experts will study the unearthed blocks and do a photogrammetry survey to help determine the architectural design of the temple. The temple ruins are the latest in a series of ancient discoveries Egypt has touted in the past couple of years in the hope of attracting more tourists. The tourism industry has been reeling from the political turmoil following the 2011 popular uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. The sector was also dealt further blows by the coronavirus pandemic and most recently Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
When most of us think of social networks, we think of connecting digitally with others through sites like Facebook, TikTok or Twitter. A new book by Dr. Kathleen Sheppard, an associate professor of history at Missouri University of Science and Technology, discusses a different type of social network – a physical network of archaeologists, Egyptologists, tourists and other travelers who were drawn to Egypt in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
In Tea on the Terrace: Hotels and Egyptologists' social networks, 1885-1925, Sheppard examines how "small, ephemeral communities" emerged among travelers to Egypt during the height of exploration of its pyramids and ruins. For archaeologists, Egyptologists, tourists and other travelers of this era, the European-style hotels of Alexandria, Cairo and Luxor served as places to gather after long days at dig sites. These travelers would mix and mingle informally in hotel dining rooms and ballrooms to exchange knowledge, debate ideas and even find work on an archaeological dig. Sheppard says these social interactions formed an overlooked yet integral part of the process of disseminating the knowledge unearthed by archaeologists and their crews.
"Egyptian hotels represent an important locus for the creation of archaeological knowledge and the networks necessary for that knowledge," Sheppard writes in the introduction to Tea on the Terrace. The book, published by Manchester University Press, will be released Tuesday, Aug. 2.
"The work Egyptologists did in the social spaces of hotels reveals more about how scientific inquiry is done in the field: it has never been all about the trowel, the artefacts, or the subsequent reports," writes Sheppard, who also holds the Lawrence O. Christensen Endowed Faculty Fellowship at Missouri S&T. "Egyptology is social; participation is decided in the spaces in which power is exercised."
The book's title refers to a common ritual among these hotel denizens. "Egyptologists and archaeologists met on the terrace for tea, in ballrooms during dances, in dining rooms for meals, and in their private rooms, all to discuss scientific matters," Sheppard writes. "In doing so, they turned hotels into scientific institutions."
In Tea on the Terrace, Sheppard takes readers on a journey up the Nile River, from the city of Alexandria on the northern coast of Egypt – the starting point for most travelers – to Cairo and Luxor, where the famous archaeological sites are located.
At Cairo, archaeologists and tourists of that era would venture to the Giza pyramid complex or the ancient cities of Memphis and Heliopolis. At Luxor – once the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes – visitors would cross the Nile to explore the temples and tombs of the Theban Necropolis, the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. The Valley of the Kings is where Egyptologist Howard Carter found King Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922.
Sheppard draws on a broad array of archival materials, including the diaries and journals of archaeologists, Egyptologists and other travelers, to illustrate how their hotel encounters influenced their research, led to long-lasting friendships and, for some, provided opportunities for work. For example, one budding Egyptologist, E. Harold Jones, who traveled from England in hopes the dry climate would heal his tuberculosis, "took advantage of the wide network of Egyptologists staying in hotels all over Luxor and Cairo in order to find a new job," Sheppard writes.
Sheppard's book includes numerous vignettes about the famous and not-so-famous characters on the scene in Egypt during that 40-year period. "I'm a biographer at heart," she says, "so I wanted to tell their stories."
Many of the characters are familiar to those familiar with Egyptology. They include Carter, who found King Tutankhamun's tomb, and James Henry Breasted, who was "a wet-behind-the-ears Ph.D." – and the first American to earn a Ph.D. in Egyptology – when he first traveled to Egypt in the late 1800s but was a leading Egyptologist by the time he returned in the 1920s to support Carter.
Sheppard also discusses the mostly overlooked role of women in the discipline. For example, Emma Andrews, a partner and companion of self-taught archaeologist and patron Theodore Davis, was just as wealthy as the millionaire Davis and was financing excavations on her own.
"If a man were doing this, that would not have been surprising," Sheppard says. "But for a woman to pay for the cost of excavating a site was unexpected. The roles of women in the field at the time were often the same as men. We just didn't hear about them."
The 40-year period from 1885 through 1925 represents the height of exploration of the Egyptian ruins, as well as a rise in interest among archaeological tourists, Sheppard says. The era coincides with the British conquest of Egypt in 1882 and its subsequent occupation of the land as a British protectorate until 1922, although the British presence in Egypt continued into the 1950s.
The timing of Sheppard's book coincides with many important anniversaries related to Egypt's history: Carter's discovery of King Tutankhamun's tomb 100 years ago, the 140th anniversary of the founding of the Egyptian Exploration Society, the 140th anniversary of the British bombardment of Alexandria, and the 200th anniversary of decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphics.
Sheppard began teaching at Missouri S&T in fall 2011 following two years teaching at American University in Cairo, where she first became interested in the relationship between hotels and archaeologists. But her interest in Egyptology began much earlier.
"When I was 9 years old my dad showed me a copy of a 1979 National Geographic that had King Tutankhamun's mask on the cover," she says. "I was more interested in Howard Carter and what he was doing" than about the boy king. "But as I looked at this magazine I also wondered, 'Where are the girls?'"
Sheppard's previous books include The Life of Margaret Alice Murray: A Woman's Work in Archaeology, published in 2013, and My Dear Miss Ransom: Letters between Caroline Ransom Williams and James Henry Breasted, published in 2018.
Sheppard earned her Ph.D. and Master of Arts degrees in the history of science from the University of Oklahoma. She also holds a Master of Arts degree in Egyptian archaeology from University College, London, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology and sociology from Truman State University.
In addition to Egyptology, Sheppard also conducts research on women in the history of science. This fall, she will teach History of Medieval and Early Modern Science at Missouri S&T.
About Missouri University of Science and Technology
Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a STEM-focused research university of over 7,200 students. Part of the four-campus University of Missouri System and located in Rolla, Missouri, Missouri S&T offers 101 degree programs in 40 areas of study and is among the nation's top 10 universities for return on investment, according to Business Insider. S&T also is home to the Kummer Institute, made possible by a $300 million gift from Fred and June Kummer. For more information about Missouri S&T, visit www.mst.edu.