THE Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, as first recorded by Philo of Byzantium in 225 BCE in his work, `On The Seven Wonders’, were: The Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt; The Hanging Gardens of Babylon; The Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Greece; The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus; The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus; The Colossus of Rhodes and the Lighthouse at Alexandria, Egypt. 

Of these seven, only the Great Pyramid still stands today. 

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Info by Joshua J. Mark on Ancient History Encyclopedia 

Archaeology: A Secret History - BBC Four

Episode 2 “The Search for Civilisation”

The beginnings of archaeology; “imperialist plunder”

The Younger Memnon -in the British museum- is a colossal granite statue from the ancient Egyptian mortuary temple, the Ramesseum at Thebes. It depicts the pharaoh Ramesses II, “the Great” (ruled 1279-1213 BC). The statue lost its body and lower legs and it is one of a pair which originally flanked the doorway of the Ramesseum. The head of its pair is still at the Ramesseum (picture n. 3) -its body is restored. The statue was cut from a single block of two-coloured granite.

The Younger Memnon was retrieved from the Ramesseum by the italian explorer Giovanni Belzoni in 1816. He removed the bust and then shipped it to England. It took him 17 days and 130 men to tow it to the river. He used levers to lift it onto rollers. Then he had his men distributed equally with 4 ropes drag it on the rollers.

The hole on the right of the torso is said to have been made by members of Napoleon Bonaparte’s expedition to Egypt at the end of the 18th century, in an unsuccessful attempt to remove the statue. The 18th century would see Britain rise to be the world’s dominant colonial power, and France becoming its main rival. Both countries wanted to outdo each other, from empire to archaeology. They strived to build the very best collections in the entire world. This was about national pride.

When the Younger Memnon arrived to England they had nowhere to put it. It sat out in the rain and in the pollution of London. It was later acquired in 1821 by the British Museum and was at first displayed in the old Townley Galleries (now demolished) for several years, then installed in 1834 in the new Egyptian Sculpture Gallery. It was the first public collection of Egyptian antiquities and it had a massive impact on the public. People looked at these objects not as antiquities, but as symbols of British victory. One of the obelisks indeed
had engraved down the side “Captured by the British Army”.

Pictures n. 4, 5: Belzoni’s drawings: The Younger Memnon being hauled from Thebes

The British Museum, London, UK

modern queens | nefertiti

nefertiti, whose name means “the beautiful one has come,” was the queen of egypt and wife of pharaoh akhenaten during the 14th century b.c. she and her husband established the cult of aten, the sun god, and promoted egyptian artwork that was radically different from its predecessors. little is known about the origins of nefertiti, but her legacy of beauty and power continue to intrigue scholars today. her name is egyptian and means “the beautiful one has come.”

the exact date when nefertiti married amenhotep III’s son, the future pharaoh amenhotep IV, is unknown. it is believed she was 15 when they wed, which may have been before akhenaten assumed the throne. they apparently ruled together and had six daughters, with speculation that they may have also had a son. the king and his head queen seem to be inseparable in reliefs, often shown riding in chariots together and even kissing in public. it has been stated that the couple may have had a genuine romantic connection, a dynamic not generally seen in pharaoh depictions.

Alabaster (Calcite) Cup - so called wishing cup

Bowl of floral form, carved in low relief on exterior to represent the calyx or whorl of sepals and petals of a lotus flower. It is supported by a hollow stem and foot of inverted trumpet shape. Flanking the bowl are buds and flowers of the lotus, in open-work, which spring from the base of the foot, and support neb-signs upon which are symbols hh holding ankhs signifying “eternal life”.

The inscription on the rim of the chalice reads: 

May your ka live, may you spend millions of years, you, who love Thebes, sitting with your face to the north wind, your eyes beholding happiness

The first documented cases of cancer were found on papyrus manuscripts in Egypt dating to around 3000 BCE. This particular papyrus is a copy of part of an ancient Egyptian textbook on trauma surgery. It lists eight cases of breast tumors or ulcers, and that they attempted to remove the cancer by cauterization with a tool called the fire drill. The writing says about the disease, “There is no treatment.”


The Ancient Egyptian City of Cats

In Ancient Egypt the cat was more than just a domesticated feline pet, it was a holy animal which represented the goddess Bastet.  By the New Kingdom of Egypt, cat worship became common place among Egyptians, and there was even a special “Cult of the Cat” dedicated to Bastet and the veneration of kitties.  In the 9th Century BC the Egyptian Pharaoh Shoshenq I made the City of Bubastis the capital of his empire, and dedicated the city to the worship of Bastet and of cats.  At the center of the city was a temple dedicated to Bastet, described as one of the most attractive temples in all of Egypt.  However it was not the temple itself that caught the eye.  After the time Egypt had become a part of the Hellenic (Greek) world Cult of the Cat continued to flourish in Egypt.  In 450 BC the Greek traveler and historian Herodotus visited Bubastis and the temple.  What he saw was shocking.  Thousands upon thousands of cats, all of which were venerated as sacred animals and cared for by priests. To control the cat population (in an age before spaying, neutering, or Bob Barker) periodic culling of the cat heard through ritual sacrifices conducted by the priests.  The mummified cats were then sold to pilgrims as relics.  Herodotus goes on further to report that the annual Festival of Bastet was held in the city every year, drawing as many as 700,000 people from all around Egypt, who would spend the time drinking, partying, and having sex, all because of the cats.  

While many may scoff at the idea of thousands of sacred cats occupying a holy temple, there is real evidence to back such a claim.  In the late 19th century a tomb containing the mummies of 80,000 cats was discovered near the Temple of Bastet in modern day Beni Hasan.  Peashooter is amazed by the thought of so many cats, but wonders how badly that temple must have smelled.

QUEEN TIYE, Ghurab, Egypt, 18th Dynasty

The miniature head of Queen Tiye, mother of Akhenaton, is a moving portrait of old age. Although not of royal birth, Tiye was the daughter of a high ranking official and became the chief wife of Amenhotep III. Tiye appears as an older woman with lines and furrows, consistent with the new relaxation of artistic rules in the Amarna age. Her portrait is carved of dark yew wood, possibly to match her complexion. The sculptor inlaid her heavy-lidded slanting eyes with alabaster and ebony, and painted the lips red.

Detail of Tutankhamen’s Outermost Coffin, photographed by Harry Burton, 1926. The golden vulture and cobra goddesses of Upper and Lower Egypt were wrapped in a wreath of cornflowers clasped in olive leaves, which fell to pieces when it was removed, after 3,000 years.