Category Archives: AFRICA

3,300-Year-Old Tomb with Pyramid Entrance Discovered in Egypt

3,300-Year-Old Tomb with Pyramid Entrance Discovered in Egypt

Archaeologists believe a tomb recently excavated at an ancient cemetery in Egypt would have boasted a pyramid 7 metres (23 feet) high at its entrance.

Dating back around 3,300 years this tomb was discovered recently at an ancient cemetery at Abydos in Egypt. At left the rectangular entrance shaft with massive walls served as a base for a small pyramid that was an estimated 23 feet (7 meters) high.

Found on the site of Abydos, the tomb dates back some 3,300 years. A team of archaeologists discovered a finely carved sandstone sarcophagus, painted red inside one of its vaulted burial chambers, which was created for a scribe named Horemheb. The sarcophagus has images of several Egyptian gods on it and hieroglyphic inscriptions recording spells from the Book of the Dead that helped one enter the afterlife.

There is no mummy in the sarcophagus, and the tomb was ransacked at least twice in antiquity. Human remains survived the ransacking, however. Archaeologists found disarticulated skeletal remains from three to four men, 10 to 12 women and at least two children in the tomb.

The chambers that the archaeologists uncovered would have originally resided beneath the surface, leaving only the steep-sided pyramid visible.

“Originally, all you probably would have seen would have been the pyramid and maybe a little wall around the structure just to enclose everything,” said Kevin Cahail, a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania, who led excavations at the tomb.

In one of the burial chambers, the archaeologists found a sandstone sarcophagus, painted red, which was created for a “scribe” named Horemheb.

The pyramid itself “probably would have had a small mortuary chapel inside of it that may have held a statue or a stela giving the names and titles of the individuals buried underneath,” Cahail told Live Science, all that remains of the pyramid are the thick walls of the tomb entranceway that would have formed the base of the pyramid. The other parts of the pyramid either haven’t survived or have not yet been found. 

Military ties

It was not uncommon, at this time, for tombs of elite individuals to contain small pyramids, Cahail said. The tomb was excavated in the summer and winter field seasons and Cahail will be presenting results at the annual meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt, to be held in Portland.

Cahail believes that Horemheb’s family had military ties that allowed them to afford such an elaborate tomb. Another burial chamber, this one missing a sarcophagus, contains shabti figurines that were crafted to do the work of the deceased in the afterlife. Writing on the figurines say that they are for the “Overseer of the Stable, Ramesu (also spelled Ramesses).” This appears to be a military title and it’s possible that Ramesu was the father or older brother of Horemheb, Cahail said.

He noted it’s interesting that both Horemheb and Ramesu share names with two military leaders, who lived at the same time they did. Both of these leaders would become pharaohs.

“They could actually be emulating their names on these very powerful individuals that eventually became pharaoh, or they could have just been names that were common at the time,” Cahail said.

Multiple wives?

The bones the team discovered in the tomb indicate that considerably more women than men were buried in the tomb. This brings up the question of whether Horemheb and Ramesu had multiple wives at the same time. Cahail said that polygamy was a common practice among the pharaohs, but it’s uncertain if it was practised among non-royalty.

Another possibility is that the tomb was used for multiple generations by the same family and contains the remains of daughters, mothers and other female relatives. Yet another possibility is that the tomb was re-used, without permission, at a later date.

Radiocarbon tests, which can provide a date range for the bones, may be done in the future to help solve the mystery.

“You’re left with the question, who are all these people?” Cahail said.

A Jasper treasure

One of the most interesting artefacts the team found was a heart amulet, made of red and green jasper. The hard stone amulet was broken into three pieces.

“It’s a beautiful object and possibly one of the best-carved examples of these very rare type of amulets,” Cahail said. “It was probably on the chest of one of the deceased individuals and there probably would have been some sort of necklaces and gold and things like that.”

The purpose of this heart-shaped amulet was probably related to spells from the Book of the Dead that tell the heart of the deceased not to lie. The ancient Egyptians believed that, after death, their hearts would be put on a scale and weighed against a feather representing ma’at, an Egyptian concept that includes truth and justice. If their heart weighed the same or less they could obtain eternal life, but if it weighed more they were destroyed.

“Essentially, your heart and your good deeds and everything that you’ve done in your life are weighed against the measure of truth,” Cahail said.

‘Oldest tattoo’ found on 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummies

‘Oldest tattoo’ found on 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummies

The village of Deir el-Medina in ancient Egypt, 3,000 years ago, housed a community of artisans, all of whom lived and worked together on tombs in the Kings’ Valley. But new evidence has emerged that tombs were not their only creative outlet.

A number of tattoos on the previously unstudied mummified bodies of seven women have been discovered by infrared imaging. The ink was scattered across their bodies, with a range of different motifs.

This is evidence that in ancient Egypt, the art of tattooing might have been more common than we understood, according to University of Missouri anthropologist Anne Austin. At the American Schools of Oriental Science annual meeting in November, she discussed her findings.

The work has been several years in the making. It started in 2014 when Austin and her colleague Cedric Gobeil noticed markings on the neck of a female Deir el-Medina mummy. Closer inspection revealed that the marks were not, as she first thought, painted on – they were tattoos.

But, as we saw with the 5,000-year-old mummies from Gebelein, which had been sitting in a museum for over 100 years before their tattoos were discovered, tattoos on mummies aren’t always easy to see.

Mummified skin becomes discoloured and darkened, especially with mummification resins added to the mix; and tattoos can lighten over time.

Such hidden tattoos can, however, be revealed with infrared photography, which works in wavelengths usually invisible to the human eye.

So, that’s what the researchers did. On that initial female mummy, they catalogued a whopping 30 tattoos, most of which would not have been hidden by clothing, and would have required a second person to perform the tattooing – placed on the neck, back, and behind the shoulders.

The subject of the tattoos included sacred motifs such as Wadjet eyes, baboons, cobras, cows, scarab beetles, and lotus flowers. This combination of motifs and visibility led the researchers to the conclusion that the woman could have been a healer or a priestess of some kind.

But that mummy was just the first. By 2016, Austin had identified three more tattooed mummies from Deir el-Medina. Now, as reported by Science News, she’s added another three to that count, bringing the total to seven.

“The distribution, display, and content of these tattoos reveal how they were used both in religious practice and to forge permanent, public identities,” Austin wrote in her abstract.

“The extensive tattoos on one female mummy demonstrates the use of tattoos for identifying and enabling this woman to act as a key religious practitioner to the Deir el-Medina community. Additional tattoos found and analysed during the 2016 and 2020 seasons using infrared photography indicate that many more individuals were likely tattooed at Deir el-Medina.”

This is pretty significant. Although evidence for tattooing exists in the archaeological record from ancient Egypt, it’s primarily in art and figurines. Actual mummies that have tattoos have been found rarely; in addition to the seven Deir el-Medina mummies, only six other tattooed Egyptian mummies have been identified.

What this research shows is that maybe we haven’t been looking with the right tools.

It also shows that – just like people who get tattooed today – maybe there’s no one single reason the ancient Egyptians tattooed themselves. In addition to the woman’s inferred religious role, some of the motifs on the other mummies suggest healing or protection. (And, well, maybe they just thought the ink looked badass.)

Tattoos have been found on other mummies around the world. The Siberian Ice Maiden and unnamed warrior who died 2,500 years ago on the Ukok Plateau, for instance, had tattoos that anthropologists think signified age and status.

And evidence suggests the 61 tattoos found on Ötzi the Iceman, a mummified man who lived in Europe between 3400 and 3100 BCE, could have been a form of prehistoric acupuncture.

We can learn more about the tattooing practices of ancient Egypt by uncovering more tattooed mummies. And who knows – maybe they’re already sitting in museums, waiting for someone with an infrared camera to find them.

A Lost Roman City Has Been Found 1,700 Years After a Tsunami Sank It

A Lost Roman City Has Been Found 1,700 Years After a Tsunami Sank It

After several years of archaeological discovery in quest of the ancient city of Neapolis, a vast 1,700-year-old Roman settlement has been found off the coast of Tunisia.

As mentioned by a Roman soldier and historian, Ammien Marcellin, Neapolis is believed to have been drowned after a tsunami in the 4th century AD destroyed much of it. Alexandria in modern Egypt and the Greek island of Crete were both severely affected by the natural catastrophe.

Very little has been recorded about the city because the citizens of Neapolis sided with Carthage rather than Rome during the Third Punic War in 149–146 BC, which ultimately destroyed the rival civilisation and brought its territory under Roman control.

A Lost Roman City Has Been Found 1,700 Years After a Tsunami Sank It
A handout picture released by the Tunisian National Heritage Institute and the University of Sassari shows archaeologists diving off the coast of Nabeul in northeastern Tunisia at the site of the ancient Roman city of Neapolis.

There are so few references to Neapolis over an extended period of Roman literature it is thought the city was punished for its allegiances.

A joint Tunisian-Italian archaeological mission has been looking for evidence of Neapolis since 2010. Their work was finally rewarded after good weather conditions this summer allowed divers in Nabeul to glimpse the more than 20 hectares site for the first time in centuries.

“It’s a major discovery,” the mission’s leader Mounir Fantar told AFP, which confirms Marcellin’s theory about the city’s fate.

Ancient Roman estate found in Jerusalem

The team not only found streets and monuments showing the city’s sophistication and wealth but 100 tanks which were used to make garum, a fish-based fermented condiment which was a delicacy in the ancient Roman world, the AFP said.

“This discovery has allowed us to establish with certainty that Neapolis was a major centre for the manufacture of garum and salt fish, probably the largest centre in the Roman world,” Mr Fantar added.

“Probably the notables of Neapolis owed their fortune to garum.”

Founded by the Phoenicians in the 9th Century BC in what is now modern Tunisia, the ancient civilisation of Carthage developed into a great trading empire.

Over the course of the three Punic Wars with Rome, its power was eventually weakened and ultimately submitted to Roman control in the 2nd Century AD.

Emerald Tablets Of Thoth, 50,000-Year-Old Tablets Reportedly From Atlantis

Emerald Tablets Of Thoth, 50,000-Year-Old Tablets Reportedly From Atlantis

The Thoth Tablets are imperishable, resistant to all elements, acids, and corrosion. According to Bibliotecapleyades, in truth, the atomic and cellular structure is set and no change can take place, thus violating the material law of ionization.

Upon them are engraved characters in the Ancient Atlantean language;
characters who respond to the attuned thought waves of the reader and which release much more wisdom and information than the characters do when merely deciphered.

The Tablets are fastened together with hoops of a golden-colored alloy suspended from a rod of the same material. Dr. M. Doreal has translated this Work and has published through the Brotherhood of the White Temple, a translation of ten of these twelve Tablets.

He has divided the ten into thirteen parts for the sake of convenience. The last two Tablets are found in the “Interpretation of The Emerald Tablets”, also by Dr. Doreal.

THOTH, THE ATLANTEAN

When Thoth, the Atlantean and Master raised the people of Khem (Egypt) to a great civilization, and when the time came for him to leave Egypt, he erected The Great Pyramid over the entrance of the Great Halls of Amenti.

In the Pyramid, he posited his records and appointed Guards for his secrets from among the highest of his people. In later times, the descendants of these guards became the Pyramid Priests, while Thoth was deified as the God of Wisdom, the Recorder, by those in the age of darkness which followed his passing.

In legend, the Halls of Amenti became the underworld, the Halls of the Gods, where the soul passed after death for judgment.

During later ages, the ego of Thoth passed into the bodies of men
in the manner described in The Emerald Tablets, a Book of Record and Occult Wisdom, which he wrote and left in the Pyramid for those of a future Age of Light.

This is the first episode on the Emerald Tablets and its engravings by Lou Benedetto, written by Thoth, the Atlantean from the Lost city in Time of Atlantis. Thoth is an immortal who was once a very long time ago a regular human being who lived in a time over 50,000 years ago.

Second Video release of the Emerald Tablets by Lou Benedetto. Like all the Tablets they are written by an Atlantean King-Priest who ruled and lived in the Great Lost City in Time of Atlantis, over 50,000 years ago.

Thoth is a Human being that lived in a time long ago during an age now lost to us at present. Atlantis was a great civilization that thrived & flourished for many Tens of Thousands of Years.

Not only were they rulers of the sky and the land around them. But they were beings of peace, wisdom, and most importantly, a people with Great Soul Force.

Originally published in mimeographed form in the 1930s by a mysterious “Dr. M. Doreal,” these writings quickly became an underground sensation among esotericists of the time.

Tablets 1-13 are part of the original work; tablets 14 and 15 are supplemental. No one has ever seen the original tablets mentioned here, and in all likelihood, these writings would be considered channeled material today.

Dr. M. Doreal is a spiritual teacher of a multitude of seekers of light, having founded the metaphysical church and college. Doreal is the author of all of the organization’s writings and teachings and was granted permission for the esoteric wisdom to be remitted in the public forum, by the Great White Lodge and the Elder Brothers of mankind who shape and form the spiritual evolution for mankind.

Dr. M. Dorea

Doreal writes of the secrets of the symbolism of all mystery schools and gives a precisely and beautifully written step by step progression all seekers have searched for in their quest for oneness with God and attainment of the cosmic consciousness.

After traveling the world for knowledge of the light and truth, Doreal began publishing his findings in a spiritual retreat in Colorado named Shamballa.

Doreal studied the ancient teachings of the emerald tablets, the wisdom of the Kabbalah, and the light Jesus brought to mankind.

He has translated many ancient texts into English and other languages for the masses to read in order for all of us to reach atonement within ourselves and the cosmic universe. All his publications are available through the brotherhood of the white temple publication office.

However, the Emerald Tablets of Thoth the Atlantean are still part of the modern Corpus Hermeticum, for they elaborate and deepen the meaning of the historical Emerald Tablet and writings of Thoth/Hermes.

This 4,500-Year-Old Ramp Contraption May Have Been Used to Build Egypt’s Great Pyramid

This 4,500-Year-Old Ramp Contraption May Have Been Used to Build Egypt’s Great Pyramid

In a 4,500-year-old quarry in Egypt, archaeologists have uncovered an ancient ramp structure that could justify how the ancient Egyptians constructed the pyramids.

According to researchers from the University of Liverpool and Cairo’s French Institute for Oriental Archaeology, the Daily Mail says, the sloping ramp lined with two staircases and wooden poles may have been the location of a pulley device intended to make it easier to move large blocks of stone.

In a statement, Yannis Gourdon, co-director of the project, said This system is composed of a central ramp flanked by two staircases with numerous post holes.”

“Using a sleds which carried a stone block and were attached with ropes to these wooden posts, ancient Egyptians were able to pull up the alabaster blocks out of the quarry on very steep slopes of 20 per cent or more.”

The ancient ramps, which are located in the Hatnub quarry, are steeper than archaeologists expected.

This 4,500-year-old system used to pull alabaster stones up a steep slope was discovered at Hatnub, an ancient quarry in the Eastern Desert of Egypt. Two staircases with numerous postholes are located next to this ramp. An alabaster block would have been placed on a sled, which was tied by ropes to the wooden poles.

Previous calculations had suggested that ramps could not have been steeper than a 10 per cent grade in order to raise the blocks to the necessary height, which would have required ramps of absurdly long distances.

But by using the post holes, workers would have been able to move the stones with more force, and without dragging the massive blocks behind them.

The world has long marvelled at the construction of the Egyptian pyramids, the last of the Seven Wonders of the World that still exists.

Many archaeologists favour the theory that ramps were used to move the massive stone blocks that comprise the pyramids, but the exact nature of such a system has long remained a mystery.

“Since this ramp dates to the reign of Khufu (builder of the Great Pyramid at Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the World), our research offers the exciting possibility for offering further insights into the logistics and technologies used in constructing that astonishing building,” said Roland Enmarch, an Egyptologist who worked on the project, in a statement.

A new graphic reveals the complex system of ramps and pulleys that may have been used by the Egyptians to construct the ancient pyramids. The system raised stone blocks weighing several tonnes hundreds of feet into the air via enormous sleds, archaeologists believe

Other experts, however, aren’t so sure. Although the blocks removed from the quarry would have been about the size of those used to construct the pyramids, the site’s alabaster is much softer than the pyramids’ hard granite stone.

“It’s a stretch to take an alabaster quarry and say this is how the pyramids were built because the pyramids weren’t built out of alabaster,” Kara Cooney, a professor of Egyptian art and architecture at the Los Angeles’s University of California, told the History Channel.

“The way that the ancient Egyptians cut and moved stone is still very mysterious.”

2,000 Years old Colourful Artworks Revealed in Egypt’s Temple of Esna

2,000 Years old Colourful Artworks Revealed in Egypt’s Temple of Esna

According to a statement released by the University of Tübingen, a team of Egyptian and German researchers has removed layers of soot and bird excrement from the 2,000-year-old decorations in the surviving pronaos, or vestibule, at the Temple of Esna.

The temple of Esna, seen from the east.

Reliefs and inscriptions are now freed from dark soot and soil deposits in bright colours. The project led by Egyptologist Professor Christian Leitz also discovered new inscriptions that reveal the ancient Egyptian names of constellations for the first time.

The restoration work is a cooperation between the Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Studies (IANES) at the University of Tübingen and the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

The temple is in Esna, 60 kilometres south of Luxor in Egypt. Only the vestibule (called the pronaos) remains, but it is complete. At 37 meters long, 20 meters wide and 15 meters high, the sandstone structure was placed in front of the actual temple building under the Roman Emperor Claudius (41-54 AD) and probably eclipsed it.

The roof is supported by 24 columns, the capitals of the 18 free-standing columns are decorated with different plant motifs. “In Egyptian temple architecture this is an absolute exception,” says Tübingen Egyptologist Daniel von Recklinghausen.

The work on the elaborate decorations probably took up to 200 years. The temple of Esna is famous for its astronomical ceiling and especially for the hieroglyphic inscriptions.

They are considered to be the most recent coherent hieroglyphic text corpus that has been preserved today and which de-scribes the religious ideas of the time and the cult events at the site.

Its location in the middle of the city centre probably contributed to the fact that the vestibule was preserved and was not used as a quarry for building materials as other ancient edifices were during the industrialization of Egypt. Indeed, the temple had become part of the modern city.

Houses and shacks were built directly against some of its walls, in other places, it protruded from a mountain of rubble, as can be seen on postcards from the 19th and early 20th centuries. In the first half of the 19th century, the hall served temporarily as a warehouse for cotton.

2,000 Years old Colourful Artworks Revealed in Egypt’s Temple of Esna
A restored column capital (spring 2019) shows the decoration in color.
Detail of a frieze (autumn 2019). The cartouche contains the name of Hadrian, framed by the local god Khnum (left) and the solar god Behedeti (right).
A column abacus before restoration.

As early as in Napoleon’s time, the pronaos attracted attention in expert circles, as it was considered an ideal example of ancient Egyptian temple architecture.

The real wealth, the inscriptions, was recognized by the French Egyptologist Serge Sauneron (1927-1976), who pushed ahead with the excavation of the temple and published the inscriptions in full. But without the original colours—Sauneron could not recognize them under the layers of soot and bird excrement.

Now the layers have been removed and the temple looks in part as it may have done some 2,000 years ago. In addition, it now offers new approaches for Egyptology research, says Christian Leitz, “The hieroglyphics that Sauneron explored were often only very roughly chiselled out, the details only applied by painting them in colour.

This means that only preliminary versions of the inscriptions had been researched. Only now do we get a picture of the final version.” In the area of the astronomical ceiling, many inscriptions were not executed in relief but only painted in ink.

“They were previously undetected under the soot and are now being exposed piece by piece. Here we have found, for example, the names of ancient Egyptian constellations, which were previously completely unknown,” says Leitz.

Since 2018, the two Tübingen researchers have been working with Egyptian authorities to uncover, preserve and document the paint layers.

Even during the coronavirus pandemic, the work is being continued by an Egyptian team of 15 restorers and a chief conservator from the Egyptian Ministry.

At regular intervals, the results are documented photographically in documentation campaigns. At the University of Tübingen, the finds are evaluated in terms of content and made available to the public via publications.

Cooperation partners on the Egyptian side are Dr Hisham El-Leithy, Mohamed Saad, Ahmed Amin, Mustafa Ahmed, Ahmed Emam. The project is supported by the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the Ancient Egypt Foundation and the Santander Bank.

Nearly 100 coffins buried over 2,500 years ago found in Egypt

Nearly 100 coffins buried over 2,500 years ago found in Egypt

On 14 November, Egyptian antiquities officials declared the discovery. Some of the coffins had mummies inside them, the officials said.

Archaeologists discovered as many as 13 coffins from a burial ground in Egypt back in September that was believed to have been sealed for 2,500 years.

The large burial complex was buried deep in the desert necropolis of Saqqara, according to sources. The site is situated 30 km south of Cairo. Many scholars celebrated the finding because the coffins, which are considered to be over 2,500 years old, are well preserved.

An ancient coffin is seen on the site of the discovery in Giza province, Egypt, on Nov. 14, 2020.

About a few weeks later, the archaeologists unsealed one of the 2,500-year-old coffins in front of a live audience in Egypt. The mummy was wrapped in an ornate burial cloth, which had been decorated to resemble the deceased priest’s face.

According to a press release by Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, initially, three burial wells at different depths between 10 and 12 metres, with 13 coffins, were discovered in Saqqara. Then another 14 coffins were revealed until the total number of coffins reached 59.

Nearly 100 coffins buried over 2,500 years ago found in Egypt
The discovery dates back to the Ptolemaic dynasty that ruled Egypt for some 300 years from around 320BC to about 30BC.

Now, another ancient haul of more than 100 coffins and around 40 glided statues have been unearthed for the first time in 2,500 years in Egypt.

According to reports, Egyptian antiquities officials announced the discovery on 14 November. The officials added that many of the coffins had mummies inside them.

The massive hail was found in a vast necropolis south of Cairo. Recently, they were opened for the first time since they were buried nearly 2,500 years ago.

The officials said the coffins belonged to top officials of the Late Period of the Ptolemaic period of ancient Egypt. The discovery was made as deep as 40 feet below the surface in three burial shafts.

The coffins and other recovered artefacts are now being displayed at a makeshift exhibition in Saqqara.

Like last month, an archaeologist opened one of the coffins to reveal a well-preserved mummy.

“Saqqara has yet to reveal all of its contents. It is a treasure.

Excavations are still underway. Whenever we empty a burial shaft of sarcophagi, we find an entrance to another,” Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anany said at the event.

Skull of two-million-year-old human ‘cousin’ unearthed in South Africa

Skull of two-million-year-old human ‘cousin’ unearthed in South Africa

In an archaeological excavation deep in a South African cave system led by Australian, a 2-million-year-old cranium from a big dented remote human cousin was discovered.

The finding is the oldest known and best-preserved case of Paranthropus robustus, a small-brained hominine called Paranthropus robustus, La Trobe University researchers say.

The almost complete male skull, found in the Drimolen cave system near Johannesburg in 2018, may also lead to a new understanding of human microevolution.

Paranthropus robustus walked the Earth at roughly the same time as our direct ancestor Homo erectus, palaeoanthropologist Angeline Leece said, referring to hominins, a small-brained member of the human family tree.

“But these two vastly different species — Homo erectus with their relatively large brains and small teeth, and Paranthropus robustus with their relatively large teeth and small brains — represent divergent evolutionary experiments,” she said.

“While we were the lineage that won out in the end, two million years ago the fossil record suggests that Paranthropus robustus was much more common than Homo erectus on the landscape.”

Until recently, scientists believed Paranthropus robustus existed in social structures similar to gorillas, with large dominant males living in a group of smaller Paranthropus robustus females.

This rare male fossil is closer in size to female specimens previously found at the site, providing the first high-resolution evidence for microevolution within early hominin species.

Researchers argue this discovery could lead to a revised system for classifying and understanding the palaeobiology of human ancestors — a significant development for their field.

The face of the skull is put back together for the first time

Archaeologist Andy Herries said the skull, which was painstakingly reconstructed from hundreds of bone pieces, represented the start of a very successful Paranthropus robustus lineage that existed in South Africa for a million years.

“Like all other creatures on Earth, to remain successful our ancestors adapted and evolved in accordance with the landscape and environment around them,” he said.

“We believe these changes took place during a time when South Africa was drying out, leading to the extinction of a number of contemporaneous mammal species.

“It is likely that climate change produced environmental stressors that drove evolution within Paranthropus robustus.”

Findings from the new discovery in South Africa’s Cradle of Humankind were published in Nature Ecology and Evolution on Tuesday.