Detailed analysis of a 2,000-year-old bronze warship ram has shed new light on how the object was created and used. Discovered by British divers off the coast of Tobruk, Libya, in 1964, the Belgammel Ram weighs 20kg (44lb) and would have been part of a small Greek or Roman warship called a tesseraria. The 65cm (2’2″) [...]
Given the importance that the Ancient Egyptians placed on entering the afterlife intact, it is unsurprising that replacement body parts have been found in tombs. Whether these were used in life, or had a purely cosmetic purpose, has long been the subject of debate, however. Now an experimental archaeology project at the University of Manchester’s [...]
Egyptian blue, the world’s oldest artificial pigment, could have a range of modern uses from medical imaging devices to remote controls for televisions. First produced 5,000 years ago by the ancient Egyptians, the pigment was used to decorate tombs, sculptures, furnishings, and jewellery until the 4th century AD. Now, chemical analysis led by Tina Salguero [...]
Ongoing excavations at Sedeinga, a 2,000-year-old necropolis in northern Sudan, have uncovered the remains of at least 35 densely-clustered pyramid burials – and an inscription asking the gods to ‘take care of Granny’. Identified by the French Archaeological Mission, the pyramids were built as part of a burial ground probably containing several hundred monuments, during [...]
Stylised scenes of boats and animals etched into rocks on the banks of the River Nile include the oldest known depictions of a pharaoh yet discovered. Stan Hendrickx tells CWA how a Victorian drawing and an old photograph led archaeologists to these extraordinary carvings just north of Aswan.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, Timbuktu was the epitome of Islamic spiritual and intellectual learning. Today, modern conflict threatens to destroy Mali’s past. Here, Kevin MacDonald takes a look at the history, heritage, and invaluable legacy of this legendary city.
Another mummy recently identified as a victim of ancient Egyptian violence is Gebelein Man, one of the best-known occupants of the British Museum’s Early Egypt gallery. Found in 1896 at Gebelein, about 40km (25 miles) south of Thebes, the individual had been buried in a shallow pit, his crouched body wrapped in linen and matting. [...]
Ramesses III was murdered, probably during an attempted coup, say archaeologists following new analysis of the Egyptian king’s mummified remains. They believe they have also identified his son, one of the conspirators. The Turin Judicial papyrus records an attempt on the life of the 20th-Dynasty pharaoh in 1155 BC, the final year of his reign. [...]
A 37-year project to compile a dictionary of Demotic – the language of ordinary ancient Egyptians – has been completed, opening a window on everyday life 2,500 years ago. Taking its name from the Greek demos, or ‘common people’, Demotic was used between 500 BC-AD 500. Its flowing script was much faster and easier to [...]
A hundred years after its first Egyptian exhibition, Manchester Museum has reopened its Ancient Egypt and Archaeology collections to the public following a £1.57m revamp. Three new ‘Ancient Worlds’ galleries showcase the museum’s collections, ranging from prehistoric Egypt (c.10,000 BC) to the Byzantine era (c.AD 600), introducing the people and stories behind the ancient objects, [...]
High-resolution CT scans of an ancient Egyptian mummy have revealed that the young man suffered from terrible dental problems – and that he used a unique treatment to try to soothe his toothache. Aged in his 20s or early 30s, the man had a mouth full of cavities and abscesses that would have caused him [...]
Excavations at Abusir, south of Cairo, have identified the 4,500-year-old tomb of an ancient Egyptian princess called Sheretnebty. More than a mile from the burials of the rest of her dynasty, she had been laid to rest in a complex of rock-cut tombs, in a part of the site dedicated to the graves of non-royal [...]
An undisturbed tomb in the Valley of the Kings reveals its 3,000-year-old secret
Margaret Maitland British Museum Press, £9.99 ISBN 978-0714119984 This small book takes on a huge subject: the role of the pharaoh as head of state, as divine intermediary to the gods, and as military leader. It is a concise, scholarly, yet highly accessible introduction to the subject that aims to ‘look beyond the pharaoh’s dazzling [...]
Ed. Morris L Bierbrier Egypt Exploration Society, £35 The Egypt Exploration Society has updated their compendium of Egyptologists after a gap of nearly 20 years. Andrew Robinson puts this long-awaited edition to the test. More so than any other ancient civilisation, that of Egypt has been explored, collected, and studied by an amazing variety of [...]
Tales of the French Foreign Legion in the deserts of North Africa have fired the imagination of many an adventurous school boy. Richard Jeynes was one. Now, as a (grown-up) archaeologist, his investigation of an abandoned fort of the French colonial empire is bringing those stories to life.
A fossilised face and two lower jaws excavated in Kenya may confirm that Homo erectus, our direct ancestor, coexisted with multiple species of early humans 2 million years ago. Palaeoanthropologists agree that both Homo erectus and Homo habilis inhabited East Africa during the Pleistocene epoch, but these new discoveries, published in Nature, could settle a [...]
Garry J Shaw Thames & Hudson, £24.95 ISBN 978-0500051740 Garry Shaw’s guide to ancient Egyptian kingship is beautifully illustrated with colour photographs of sculpture, artefacts – including stunning royal regalia – and details of temples and palaces. From the role’s semi-mythological origins with Menes, the ‘first unifier of Egypt’, to its eventual extinguishing amid Roman conquest, [...]
What was life like under the shadow of the pharaohs? The realities of life and death under Egypt’s rule