Category Archives: AFRICA

Archaeologist Discover Paintings of Goddess in 3,000 year old mummy’s coffin

Archaeologist Discover Paintings of Goddess in 3,000-year-old mummy’s coffin

In the coffin of an Egyptian mummy, paintings were found after she was taken out for the first time in over a hundred years.

In the campaign to preserve Ta-Kr-Hb – pronounced “takerheb” – a priestess or princess from Thèbes, a Scottish conservative made this discovery.

Despite having been robbed by serious robbers throughout history, the mummy, almost 3000 years old, was in a fragile state.

The research was done before her remains are exhibited at Perth’s new City Hall Museum, Scotland to ensure that her condition didn’t further deteriorate.   The conservatives were shocked that when Ta-Kr-Hb was removed, painted figures from the Egyptian goddess were found on the inner and outer bases of the trough.

Both figures are representations of the Egyptian goddess Amentet or Imentet, known as the ‘She of the West’ or sometimes ‘Lady of the West’.

Conservators at Perth Museum and Gallery cleaning the 3,000 old mummy Ta-Kr-Hb’s coffin

‘It was a great surprise to see these paintings appear,’ Dr. Mark Hall, collections officer at Perth Museum and Art Gallery, told the PA news agency. 

‘We had never had a reason to lift the whole thing so high that we could see the underneath of the trough and had never lifted the mummy out before and didn’t expect to see anything there.

Photo issued by Perth Museum and Art Gallery showing paintings of the Egyptian goddess Amentet discovered inside the coffin. Amentet, meaning ‘She of the West’, was a goddess in Ancient Egyptian religion

‘So to get painting on both surfaces is a real bonus and gives us something extra special to share with visitors.’ 

Further research will be carried out on the paintings to find out more about the history of the mummy, believed to date from somewhere between 760 and 525 BC. The painting on the interior base of the coffin trough was previously hidden by Ta-Kr-Hb and is the best preserved of the two.

The underside of the coffin, which is slightly less well preserved, also shows a portrait of Amentet

It shows Amentet in profile, looking right and wearing her typical red dress. Her arms are slightly outstretched and she is standing on a platform, indicating the depiction is of a holy statue or processional figure.

Usually, the platform is supported by a pole or column and one of these can be seen on the underside of the coffin trough. The mummy was donated to Perth Museum by the Alloa Society of Natural Science and Archaeology in 1936. 

It was presented to the society by Mr. William Bailey, who bought it from the curator of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. In 2013, Ta-Kr-Hb was transferred temporarily for a ‘check-up’ at Manchester Royal Children’s Hospital, which included a CT scan and X-rays of her coffin.

Radiographic examinations revealed that her skeleton had suffered extensive damage to the chest and pelvis, sometime after the body had been mummified, according to SCBP Perth.

While the skull remains intact, radiography revealed that as part of the mummification process the brain mass was removed through the sinuses. 

But the full removal of Ta-Kr-Hb’s remains this year allow today’s researchers to closely observe the paintings beneath.  Perth Museum and Art Gallery are now hoping to save ‘Ta-Kr-Hb’ – as written in hieroglyphics on the lid of her coffin – for future generations.  

‘The key thing we wanted to achieve was to stabilize the body so it didn’t deteriorate any more so it has been rewrapped and then we wanted to stabilize the trough and upper part of the coffin which we’ve done,’ said Dr. Hall.  

‘Doing this means everybody gets to find out a lot more about her.

‘One of the key things is just physically doing the work so we have a better idea of the episodes Ta-Kr-Hb went through in terms of grave robbers and later collectors in the Victorian times so we can explore these matters more fully and we can share that with the public.’

Conservators Helena Jaeschke and Richard Jaeschke have been working closely with Culture Perth and Kinross on the project, which started work in late January.  Culture Perth and Kinross are campaigning to raise money for the conservation of Ta-Kr-Hb as she prepares to go on display at the Perth City Hall Museum, which is set to open in 2022.  

The Tarkhan Dress Confirmed to Be the World’s Oldest Dress

The Tarkhan Dress Confirmed to Be the World’s Oldest Dress

This tattered V-neck linen shirt, currently on display in the UCL Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, is the world’s oldest woven garment.

The Tarkhan Dress likely was worn by a young or slim female member of the royal court, and then placed in the tomb as a funerary object. Although the bottom does not survive, it may once have been full-length.

A recent radiocarbon testing conducted by the University of Oxford has established with 95% accuracy that the dress was made between 3482-3102 BC.

While garments of similar age have survived to the present day, but those were simply wrapped or draped around the body.

The Tarkhan dress, on the other hand, is a tailored piece with long sleeves, V-neck and narrow pleats, that looks surprisingly modern.

The Tarkhan dress was excavated by Egyptologist Flinders Petrie in 1913 from a First Dynasty tomb at Tarkhan, an Egyptian cemetery located 50 km south of Cairo.

Petrie had found a quantity of linen cloth under the sand alongside other artifacts. Instead of discarding away the linen as worthless, as most archaeologists at that time did, Petrie decided to preserve everything he found as evidence that would someday help throw light on the daily life of the ancient Egyptians.

The bundle of filthy rags Petrie recovered was stored away and forgotten for sixty-five years. It was not until 1977 when conservation experts at the Petrie Museum were sorting through the bundle did they stumble across the garment.

As textile conservator Sheila Landi carefully removed the caked mud from the dress, she was excited to see creases in the sleeves at the elbow and under the arms indicating that the dress had been worn in life.

The garment was also found inside-out, as it would be if one were to pull it out over the head.

The Tarkhan dress is made from three pieces of sturdy hand-woven linen with a natural pale grey stripe, which complements the neatly knife-pleated sleeves and bodice.

The lower part of the dress is missing so it’s difficult to say how the long the dress originally was or whether it was for a man or a woman, but its dimensions indicates that it fitted a young teenager or a slim woman.

At the time of its rediscovery in the late seventies, radiocarbon dating was not carried out as it would have required the destruction of a large piece of the dress fabric.

Instead of dating the fabric itself, the associated artifacts from the Tarkhan site was dated. Results indicated that the dress belonged to the First Dynasty which began in 3100 BC, making it the world’s earliest example of a woven garment.

Advancement in radiocarbon dating has now allowed researchers to date the textile directly by taking a tiny 2.24mg sample of the dress.

The new results not only confirm the dress’s antiquity but also suggest that it may be older than previously thought, pre-dating the First Dynasty.

1.5-Million-Year-Old Footprints Reveal Human Ancestor Walked Like Us

1.5-Million-Year-Old Footprints Reveal Human Ancestor Walked Like Us

Homo erectus last walked through the Earth for thousands of years, but our fossil ancestors likely had a few behaviours in common with humans today.

In a new study, researchers have examined a set of 1.5-million-year-old footprints discovered in Kenya, revealing new insight on how they moved and interacted.

The international team discovered that Homo erectus was able to go along in the same manner as modern humans and had human-like social behaviour, using innovative analytical techniques.

This 1.5-million-year-old footprint suggests that Homo erectus, an early human ancestor, had feet that were very similar to those of modern humans.

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, along with an international team of scientists, investigated ancient hominin footprints discovered in 2009 near the town of Ileret, Kenya.

The continued efforts since the initial discovery revealed an unprecedented set of trace fossils, consisting of 97 tracks from at least 20 different individuals, all thought to be Homo erectus.

These were found over five distinct sites.

The researchers say the footprints are indistinguishable from those of a modern barefoot human, with similar foot anatomies and mechanics.

‘Our analyses of these footprints provide some of the only direct evidence to support the common assumption that at least one of our fossil relatives at 1.5 million years ago walked in much the same way as we do today,’ says Kevin Hatala, of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and The George Washington University.

Habitual bipedal locomotion sets modern humans apart from other primates, and researchers have long debated the question of when this giant first emerged among hominins.

Determining these types of answers are difficult using traditional forms of paleoanthropological data, but the findings in Kenya and the use of new experimental techniques have provided a unique look at the locomotion patterns and social structures of Homo erectus.

The researchers also calculated body mass estimates based on the tracks, allowing them to infer the sexes of multiple individuals.

This revealed that there may have been several adult males at each of the sites, which suggests Homo erectus groups had developed some degree of tolerance and maybe even cooperation.

According to the researchers, this trait also separates modern humans from other primates.

‘It isn’t shocking that we find evidence of mutual tolerance and perhaps cooperation between makes in a hominin that lived 1.5 million years ago,’ says Hatala, ‘especially Homo erectus, but this is our first chance to see what appears to be a direct glimpse of this behavioural dynamic in deep time.’

The 200,000-year-old city found in Southern Africa may rewrite history

The 200,000-year-old city found in Southern Africa may rewrite history

In South Africa, about 150 km west of port Maputo, Mozambique, a giant stone city has been discovered. It became possible to determine the age of the site by measuring the erosion rate of the dolerite.

The 1500 square kilometer metropolis was believed to have been built between 160,000 and 200,000 years ago!

The ruins consist of huge stone circles, most of which are buried in the sand and can be seen only from the air or with the help of satellite imagery.

This ancient town is thought to be part of a larger network of 10,000 square kilometers. The organized nature of this ancient community and a road network connecting it to the terraced agriculture suggest that the metropolis was home to a highly advanced civilization.

The geology of the site is quite interesting too because of the numerous gold mines located in the area. According to researchers, this ancient civilization could have practiced gold mining.

What is quite curious, no one has ever wondered about the origin and the age of these stone circles before, despite the fact that local residents have encountered them multiple times.

In 2007, Michael Tellinger, researcher and writer passionate about human origins, and Johan Heine, a local fireman and pilot, decided to explore the site. Later, the results of their research inspired Tellinger to write a book titled Temples Of The African Gods.

According to Tellinger, the evidence they found suggests a completely different perspective on the history of humankind. 

According to the conventional version of human history, the first civilization on Earth was Sumer and emerged in southern Mesopotamia about 6000 years ago.

But what if there was another, earlier civilization that was then lost in the mists of time? “The photographs, artifacts and evidence we accumulated, point towards a lost civilization that has never before been and precedes all others – not for a few hundred years, or a few thousand years … but many thousands of years,” he said.

Tellinger believes that this ancient African metropolis is the oldest structure built by the human on Earth. In fact, he thinks that the Sumerians and the Egyptians inherited knowledge from this advanced civilization.

This hypothesis is based on the fact that there are carvings of the Egyptian Ankh on the rocks of the ancient city.

How could there possibly be an image of the Egyptian god thousands of years before the Egyptian civilization emerged? “These discoveries are so staggering that they will not be easily digested by the mainstream historical and archaeological fraternity, as we have already experienced. It will require a complete paradigm shift in how we view our human history,” Tellinger said.

Tellinger’s findings raise more questions than answers, but we can hope that this incredible ancient city will attract more researchers in the future and that one day more light will be shed on this lost civilization and the unknown aspects of human history in general.