It is very hot in Luxor right now, so the team often takes a break under the marquee that the Hopkins University team has loaned us (thank you, Betsy!). From left to right are Dr. Jacobus van Dijk of Groningen, who is studying the Sakhmet statues and their epithets with me; our senior Egyptian inspector, Mme Shemaa Mahmoud Ahmed; our second inspector, Mr. Yusuf Mohamed Ahmed; and me. Mary McKercher, of course, is behind the camera as usual.
While we’re not excavating this year (the season is too short), we are carrying out a few useful, small projects. First, at the request of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) we began on March 4 to cut back the reeds that have once again taken over the northern ends of the sacred lake, particularly on the east side. You can see how thick and tall they have grown in the past year.
Our second project is to clean off the dirt that has accumulated over the past 35 years or so on a Ramesses II doorjamb that we discovered lying on what’s left of the mud brick core of Temple A’s 2nd Pylon. We’ll build a small wall around it to prevent further encroachment. We decided to remove the large undecorated block standing beside it because it obscured a re-used relief in the pylon’s stone facing.
This was no easy task as the rock is not only heavy but awkwardly shaped. However, our workers were able to get it up and out fairly quickly; they do this kind of thing all the time. We admire both their strength and their skill.
To our surprise, we found that the bottom of the Ramesses II block, which we had never cleared, was also decorated! The way the block is lying, the “new” scene, probably from the east face of the 25th Dynasty pylon, is upside down. Seen right side up here, it consists of the crowns of 2 facing figures and several columns of text. The tall plumes on the right probably belong to Amun, and the plumes and sun disk are probably a king. Unfortunately no names are preserved.
You are looking southeast at Temple A’s 2nd Pylon, built in Dynasty 25. The blocks came almost entirely from earlier monuments, including the Ramesses III temple southwest of the sacred lake, which was no longer in use. The reliefs and sculptures were split apart when necessary and their rear surfaces smoothed to form the face of the pylon. This is most obvious in the pylon’s north wing (bottom of picture) where the decay of the mud brick core has made the blocks more visible. The south wing seems to have been built entirely of stone.
Here’s a more detailed view of the inner side of the east facing. The two torsos and upside down head came from the Ramesses III temple. Other reliefs date from earlier in the New Kingdom. The relief on the left, by the way, is the one that was partially hidden by the block we moved.
At the end of a long, hot day, we sit on our hotel balcony and watch the sun set. One evening recently, this enormous flock of ibises flew by heading north. There must have been hundreds altogether.
At the end of a long, hot day, we sit on our hotel balcony and watch the sun set over the Nile. It is a sight that never fails to awe and amaze us.
‘Magic’ Ushabti of Djehuty-mose (Tothmes), Overseer of the Cattle in the Temple of Amun, Egypt, 19th Dynasty, 1292-1190 BC
The present ushabti is one of a very small group of private ushabtis (all for different owners) inscribed with the hallowed Khamuas formula. The Khamuas formula (or spell) takes its name from the ushabtis of prince Khamuas or Khaemwaset, a son of Ramesses II on whose ushabtis this magical spell appears for the first time. As an antiquarian and magician, Khaemwaset is thought to have devised the formula himself in order to facilitate the entry of the deceased into Roset-au (the domain of Osiris), the freedom to move within its boundaries, and the securing of land and workers therein. The spell, which the owner speaks to the ushabti, usually runs as follows:
May your face be opened so that you see the sun-disk and that you adore the Sun in life. May you be summoned in Roset-au, and circle the mound of Tja-mut, traverse the valley of Upper Roset-au and open the Secret Cavern. May you take place upon your seat which is in Ta-djeser, like the great crew members who are in Re.
can you tell us more about Tut and his love for his wife? please please please
OH GOD OKAY. Sit
down kids, Tiny has stories.
NOW, before I go ANY
FURTHER, as visually pleasing and admittedly entertaining as the
Miniseries Tut was (Helllllo Avan Jogia) it was a work of pure
There was no Suhad,
no Ka, no one was cheating on anyone and passing off children as
someone else’s etc etc. Tutankhamun and Ankhesenamun had two
stillborn daughters, not sons as they say in the show, one born at
around 5 or 6 months and one fairly close to term. They were both mummified and buried with their father. At least those are
the pregnancies we know of. It’s entirely possible she had other
pregnancies that ended in miscarriages, but they weren’t far enough
along to be able to have the same treatment. (Again we have no way of
knowing this though).
There is no evidence
WHATSOEVER that Tut had any other wives during his short reign. He
was married to his half sister Ankhesenamun shortly after he became
Pharaoh, and she remained his only wife. Yes she was his sister, and yes that is incestuous which to our modern sensibilities is squicky and distasteful. This was a different era though, and the VAST majority of Ancient Egyptian Royal marriages were between close family members. Neither of them would have thought there was anything odd about this.
NOW, on to the main
part of this rant.
Did he love his
Let’s just take a
look at a few of the things in his tomb shall we?
The Karnak Temple Complex was built at Thebes, on the Nile’s east
bank. It was the cult centre of Amun (chief of the gods), so it was
the religious focus of Egypt during the New Kingdom. This may have
influenced the choice of the the Theban west bank for the Valley of
Karnak was the largest religious complex the ancient world. Various
pharaohs added to it over a long period, from the Middle Kingdom to
the Ptolemaic Dynasty. The most major construction period was during
the 18th Dynasty (first dynasty of the New Kingdom).
During the Amarna Period (1570-1314 BC), the capital was moved to
Middle Egypt, a new religion worshipping only Amun-Ra was enforced,
and the power of the priests was reduced. But when Akhenaten (18th
Dynasty) died, these changed were reversed, and Karnak began
flourishing again. Temples increased in size & grandeur, and
also became less accessible to the general population.
By now, temples had surpassed pyramids as the focus of monumental
work programs (and the pharaohs were being buried in rock-cut tombs,
rather than pyramids). Karnak housed the sacred triad of Amun, Mut
(mother goddess of Thebes) and Khonsu (god of the moon).
Within the enclosure wall was the main temple, a sacred lake, other
temples, housing, educational centres, and various other buildings.
The temple complex was thus a religious & social focus for the
city of Thebes.
Aerial view of Karnak.
Virtual aerial view of Karnak.
There were six pylons, and “a first courtyard
large enough to withstand the encroachment of a smaller temple on the
south”. The Precint of Amun-Re has the largest-known hypostyle
Precint of Amun-Re diagram. After the “Great Court” is the hypostyle hall.
The complex was built mostly with limestone and sandstone. Granite
and quartzite were used for the obelisks and statues.
Behind the first pylon & on its right, you can see the remains of a mud ramp which
was used in the construction & decoration of the complex. The
ramp was raised for the construction of the pylon, and then gradually
demolished as artists decorated the stone, working their way
An avenue of criosphinxes leads to the temple entrance, providing a
symbolic escort to those entering the temple, and also allowing a
transition to the spiritual realm.
The criosphinxes (ram-headed lions, manifestations of Amun) hold
pharaohs protected between their paws.
Column capitals imitating natural plant forms (lotus, palm and
papyrus) were used throughout monumental architecture. Their form
may have been derived from archaic reed-built shrines. They were
carved from stone, and highly-decorated with carved & painted
hieroglyphic texts, ritual images, and natural motifs.
The Great Hypostyle Hall has 134 columns supporting a roof made of
huge stone slabs. It was built during Ramesses II’s reign. A
central aisle of tall, papyriform columns is flanked by shorter,
lotus-form columns. The roof above the papyrus columns is raised
higher, and the taller wall sections have windows.
Diagram of the original hall.
The hall today.
An obelisk is a monolithic square stone pillar, ending in a point.
They were often made of granite, and could weigh up to 350 tonnes.
Obelisks were transported to the temple, and decorated once placed in
their position. The best 18th-Dynasty obelisks had inlaid
gold hieroglyphs honouring Ra.
An obelisk at Karnak.
The Temple of Khonsu followed the New Kingdom design for cult
temples. The floor-level rises in a series of steps, while the
ceiling lowers, until the sanctuary is reached. This creates a sense
of intimacy, which reflects the fact that only the priest &
pharaoh were allowed into the sanctuary.
okay so i just spent a good 10 minutes analysing the AC Origins trailer because the Egyptologist in me needs to know things so i thought i’d share w/ y’all what I think i’ve gleaned
its set sometime between 280BC and 30BC (and looking online it says the 1st Century BC so booyah)
There’s a lighthouse - most probably the Pharos Lighthouse in Alexandria. Which also means Alexandria is a visitable place
Siwa and the Temple of Amun is prominent and it’s a ram-themed Amun. Siwa was like the equivalent of say, the Vatican (not quite but you get the idea) in that it’s oracle was the most revered through the entire Egyptian and Hellenistic world. You probably won’t fistfight the Siwa Oracle tho.
Slightly petty note - Siwa was called Sekht-am by the Egyptians but I’m gonna guess thats handwavey translation.
Anubis is mentioned - he only really became popular in later times and while I can understand the links between assassins/anubis i thought i’d add it.
possible enemies: Rome
honestly Rome’s in everyone’s grill but they’ve annihilated Carthage by this time and they’re most definitely eyeing up Egypt (except julius caesar’s gotta put his dick in Cleopatra first, and then Mark Antony has to, and then-)
The Seleucid Empire (Persia) is having its own troubles with Rome and depending on when its set is also dependant on whether said Empire is still around.
also it’s very plausible for their to be ruins and suchlike of the old temples because the pyramids are literally 2000 years old. The Sphinx may also be buried in sand again.
Main dude is called “medjay” which is a term that had died out long before the time period stated. It was used in the Old/Middle Kingdom as a sorta… desert scout and in the New Kingdom it was a term for the police force.
So unless they’re The Mummying this thing and just saying “medjay” is what the assassins were before they were assassins then. yea
Pottery ostracon (an inscribed
potsherd), with 11 lines of Demotic inscription on one side; the text is
a receipt for a rent payment on land owned by the temple of Amun at
Thebes (modern Luxor); it is dated to 102 BC, in the reign of Cleopatra
III and Ptolemy X Alexander I, and signed by witnesses.
‘Herakleitos, son of Aristippus, has paid for the rent of his garden in
the grain fields of Ophi (Karnak temple lands), which was leased before
Amun-Re, king of the gods, the great god, together with his wine tax (?)
for a garden, two keramia (measures) of wine for his garden, and for
the … of the produce half a keramion of wine, making two-and-a-half
keramia of wine. They are received by reckoning. Written by … son of
Khapokhonsis, year 15 = year 12, the month of Thoth, day 25. Written by
Horus son of …-khons. Written by Onnophris son of Horus. Written by
Teos son of Khapokhonsis.’ Translation adapted from H. Thompson, in
Theban Ostraca (London 1913).
opened in 1935 and
designed by Alexey Dushkin and Ya. Likhtenberg.
The station was originally planned to serve the enormous Palace of the Soviets (Dvorets Sovetov), which was to rise nearby on the former site of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Kropotkinskaya was therefore designed to be the largest and grandest station on the first line. However, the Palace project was cancelled by Nikita Khrushchev in 1953, leaving the Metro station as the only part of the complex that was actually built.
Since it was to serve as the gateway to the Palace of Soviets, great care was taken to make Kropotkinskaya suitably elegant and impressive. The station has flared columns faced with white marble which are said to have been inspired by the Temple of Amun at Karnak.
открыта 15 мая 1935. Получила название по бывшей площади Кропоткинские Ворота и Кропоткинской улице, названных в честь Петра Алексеевича Кропоткина — географа и путешественника, теоретика анархизма, родившегося в этом районе.
До 8 октября 1957 года называлась «Дворец Советов». Рядом со станцией на месте снесённого в 1931 году Храма Христа Спасителя намечалось воздвигнуть грандиозный Дворец Советов. Станционный зал метро был задуман как подземный вестибюль Дворца. Строительство Дворца началось в 1939 году, но перед войной было прервано, а во время войны металлический каркас уже построенных семи этажей здания пустили на изготовление противотанковых ежей. Проект так и не был осуществлён. В дизайне станции использованы колонны, облицованные белым мрамором. На создание колонн архитекторов вдохновил храм Амона в Карнаке.
(circa 1550 to circa 1069 BC)
This solid gold signet ring is exceptional for its size and the quality of its workmanship. Spirals are added toward the rounded ends of the very thick ring, and the four faces of the rectangular, rotating bezel are deeply engraved with a crocodile, a scorpion, a lion, and the coronation name of Horemheb, the last king of the 18th Dynasty.
The use of such a ring
The size of the ring indicates that it was not designed to be worn. It probably served as a seal for applying official stamps—a hypothesis supported by the deeply engraved designs. Signet rings of this type, which first appeared in the Middle Kingdom, were common during the New Kingdom.
A specific iconography
One of the larger faces of the rectangular bezel bears a cartouche containing the coronation name of the Pharaoh Horemheb (Djeser-kheperu-re Setep-en-re); the other features a majestic lion—symbol of royal power—together with the hieroglyphs “neb khepesh,” meaning lord of strength, an epithet attributed to the king on other monuments. The smaller faces are engraved with a crocodile and a scorpion.
This iconography, frequently used in association with a royal name, can be variously interpreted. The lion and crocodile—images of dangerous elements mastered by the Pharaoh, the guarantor of order—were also symbols of royalty. Moreover, they were believed to have apotropaic qualities, as was the scorpion. Associations such as these doubtless provided sealed documents with further security against disobedience of royal orders. These animals were later represented on the steles of “Horus on the crocodiles.”
Horemheb and the end of the 18th Dynasty
The reign of Horemheb brought the splendid 18th Dynasty to a close. Although this king’s origins and early life are somewhat obscure, he had a brilliant military career under the reign of the famous Tutankhamun. After the brief reign of Ay, Horemheb came to the throne and took control of Egypt, initiating a period during which order was restored to Egypt after the disruption caused by the reforms of Amenophis IV (Akhenaten) during the Amarnian period. He was quick to demolish Amarnian buildings, reusing the blocks in constructions of his own—notably the temple of Amun-Ra at Karnak. In his determination that the Amarnian period should be consigned to total oblivion, he even substituted his own name for that of his immediate predecessors. Having no children to succeed him, he appointed another soldier his heir—Ramesses, founder of the 19th Dynasty. In addition to a huge tomb in Saqqara, built at a time when he was just a simple officer, Horemheb was also granted a splendid tomb, befitting his royal status, in the Valley of the Kings.
In Ancient Egypt, there were three main versions of creation myths, all mutually exclusive. Yet, all three beliefs of how the world was created still managed to co-exist harmoniously, even despite their differences.
The most well-known version, centered around the sun god, Re-Atum.
This myth originated from the Old Kingdom Pyramid Texts.
This version features the “Great Ennead”, a group of nine gods including Ra, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Nephthys.
Shu, Tefnut, Geb, and Nut were considered to be personifications of the elements required to allow creation. Shu was air, Tefnut moisture, Geb the earth, and Nut the sky.
This myth sees Ra transforming into a bennu bird (an Ancient Egyptian form of the phoenix) and landing on a pillar associated with the sun god.
Unlike the Heliopolitian version, the Memphite version of creation centres around Ptah. It was in this version they believed Ptah was originally Nun, the personification of Chaos (i.e. the emptiness existing before creation).
Ptah was worshipped as the supreme creator god at Memphis.
Ptah/Nun begets a daughter, Naunet, and copulated with her to produce Ra himself.
In this version, creation was thought to have been brought about by Ptah’s thoughts and his will. Basically it was Ptah’s word that created everything.
This version never really had widespread appeal during Ancient Egypt.
This one centres around Thoth, who was the god of wisdom.
There were several versions of this alternate creation myth.
One version features the Hermopolitan Ogdoad, a group of eight gods, with gods paired with consorts. The four male gods were Nun (primeval water), Huh (eternity), Kuk (darkness), and Amun (air). Their consorts, respectively, were Naunet, Hauhet, Kauket, and Amaunet.
Each male in the Ogdoad had the heads of frogs and the females had heads of serpents.
The pre-existing Ogdoad eventually passed from this mortal coil, and continued living in the underworld, where they ensured the Nile’s continual flowing and the sun’s rising each morning.
A second version had a cosmic egg rather than the primordial ocean as the source of life. Either a goose (“the great cackler”) or an ibis (Thoth) laid this egg on the island.
On cracking open, the egg contained either air or Ra in the form of a bird.
A third version of this myth has the Ogdoad creating a lotus flower that rose from the “Sea of Knives”. On opening, the petals revealed the child Ra, who created the world, or a scarab that morphed into a weeping boy whose tears became men and women.
Emerged in the New Kingdom, developing in Karnak at the Temple of Amun-Ra.
Claimed that the origin of creation was sited at Thebes, where the creator god–Amun Ra–had created all mankind and other gods.
A later myth detailed Khnum modelling men and women on his potter’s wheel.