Small Sphinx Uncovered at Egypt’s Necropolis of Khumun

Small Sphinx Uncovered at Egypt’s Necropolis of Khumun

On Saturday, 14 December in the archeological area of Tuna El-Gebel at Minya, Upper Egypt, a small royal statue of a sphinx was uncovered.

A small royal statue of a sphinx uncovered in Tuna El-Gebel
A small royal statue of a sphinx uncovered in Tuna El-Gebel

The recently found sphinx of limestone stone has been revealed by SayedAbdel-Malek’s Egyptian Archeological Team.

Middle Egypt’s Director General of Antiquities Gamal El-Samastawy said the sphinx was about 35 cm tall and 55 cm width on Saturday.

In addition to pottery of different shapes and sizes, the Mission also found collections of ancient amulets.

The area of Tuna el Gebel is part of the archeological sites of the Minya governorate, which contain numerous ancient Egyptian treasures not yet revealed.

Tuna el-Gebel in the city of Mallawi was the necropolis of Khmun. It contains monuments from the Greek and Roman eras, as well as the Late Middle Ages.

The area hosts the Boundary Stelae of Akhenaton, catacombs of falcons, baboons and ibises, and the tombs of Petosiris and Isadora.

Tuna el-Gebel village is famous for having many archaeological tombs, which contributed greatly to the revival of archaeological and touristic life and helped drive Arab and foreign tourists to the region once again. It is an archaeological village located in Al Minya Governorate. It has a population of more than 20,000 people.

A unique royal bust of King Ramses II made of red granite was unearthed on a private land in Mit Rahina village in Giza by an Egyptian archaeological mission from the Ministry of Antiquities on Wednesday, December 11.

The newly discovered bust is emblazoned with the “Ka,” a symbol of power, life force and spirit.

King Ramses II bust is carved in red granite and depicts Ramses II wearing a wig with the symbol of the “Ka” over his head. The bust is 105 cm tall, 55 cm wide and 45 cm thick.

The mission discovered this unique bust during excavations on privately owned land in Giza, after the landowner was caught carrying out illegal excavation work at his land.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, announced that the uncovered King Ramses II bust is one of a kind because the only similar bust is one carved in wood and belongs to 13th Dynasty King Hor Awibre, which is now on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

The mission has also discovered a group of huge red granite and limestone blocks engraved with scenes showing Ramses II during the Heb-Sed religious ritual, which indicates that these blocks could belong to a great temple dedicated to the worship of the deity Ptah.

The bust and the blocks have been transferred to Mit Rahina open air museum for restoration, and excavations will continue at the site.

One of the main achievements of King Ramses II is building Abu Simbel temple to impress Egypt’s southern neighbors, and also to reinforce the status of the Egyptian religion in the area.

Abu Simbel was one of six rock temples erected in Nubia during the ruling period of Ramses II and its construction took 20 years from 1264 BC to 1244 BC.

Abu Simbel is made up of two temples. The smaller one was built for Queen Nefertari and has two statues of her and four pharaohs; each about 33 feet (10 meters) in height.

According to many scholars, this great temple was created to celebrate the victory of Ramses II over the Hittites at the Battle of Qadesh in 1274 BC. This means that the temple was situated on the border of the conquered lands of Nubia after many military campaigns were carried out by the Pharaoh against Nubia.

Female Remains Found at Strictly Male-only Greek Monastery

Female Remains Found at Strictly Male-only Greek Monastery

The Guardian reported that American anthropologist Laura Wynn-Antikas was asked to investigate some bones found in the burial site while the church of St. Athanasius was restored on Mount Athos, only to declare they were those of a female.

The surprise assessment is surprising for the centuries-old strictly male monastic community where women even today, are not permitted to access the peninsula which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Laura Wynn-Antikas told Guardian representative Helen Smith, that “a forearm, a trunk, and a sacred bone were among those found which were very different in morphology from the rest of the males.

“Bones never lie. They will reveal the way a person lived and probably how that person died. You are prepared to see everything,” she commented.

The bones have now been sent to the Democritus Carbon Radiocarbon Research Centre to confirm their dating, with genetic analysis for gender identification expected.

Some of the bones found at the Chapel of Athanasios seem to be female.

“If we talk about one woman or even more than one woman, this will raise many questions,” the scientist added. But few among the monks are willing to learn the truth.

After all, the entry of women into the autonomous status of Mount Athos has been banned since the 10th century, despite the fact that the EU considers the fact illegal.

In fact, even female animals are banned, with the exception of cats. If tests confirm Wynn-Antika’s assertion, it will be the first time that a woman has been buried in Mount Athos, according to architect Faidon Chatziantoni, who called on the experts.

Monastery of Pantokrator, Mount Athos.

“What is certain is that [the bones] would not be [buried] there if these people were not important to the monastery,” he noted.

In all, seven people were re-buried at the site, according to Wynn-Antica, who explained that no skulls could be found but that there were seven jaws and added that the process is not easy as the bones were moved from the original landfill, resulting in lost information.

“Once we have the dating, another piece of the puzzle will be solved,” the anthropologist noted. Finally, the director of the Democritus lab, Yiannis Maniatis, said that “the whole process is likely to take three months”.

Breakthrough in Translating Proto-Elamite, World’s Oldest Undeciphered Writing

Breakthrough in Translating Proto-Elamite, World’s Oldest Undeciphered Writing

Specialists claim that the world’s oldest undeciphered writing system will be decoding 5,000-year-old secrets

Jacob Dahl, a fellow at Oxford Wolfson’s College and director of Ancient World Research Cluster, said, “I hope we’re actually about to make a breakthrough.

Live Science has confirmed that Dahl’s secret weapons can see this writing more clearly than ever.

Experts working on proto-Elamite hope they are on the point of ‘a breakthrough’

In a room high up in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, above the Egyptian mummies and fragments of early civilizations, a big black dome is clicking away and flashing out the light.

This device is providing the most detailed and high-quality images ever taken of these elusive symbols cut into clay tablets.

It’s being used to help decode a writing system called proto-Elamite, used between around 3200 BC and 2900 BC in a region now in the southwest of modern Iran.

The Oxford team thinks that they could be on the brink of understanding this last great remaining cache of undeciphered texts from the ancient world.

Dahl, from the Oriental Studies Faculty, shipped his image-making device on the Eurostar to the Louvre Museum in Paris, which holds the most important collection of this writing.

The clay tablets were put inside this machine, the Reflectance Transformation Imaging System, which uses a combination of 76 separate photographic lights and computer processing to capture every groove and notch on the surface of the clay tablets.

It allows a virtual image to be turned around, as though being held up to the light at every possible angle.

So far Dahl has deciphered 1,200 separate signs, but he said that after more than 10 years study much remains unknown, even such basic words as “cow” or “cattle”.

Dahl believes that the writing has proved so hard to interpret because the original texts seem to contain many mistakes – and this makes it extremely tricky for anyone trying to find consistent patterns.

“The lack of a scholarly tradition meant that a lot of mistakes were made and the writing system may eventually have become useless,” Dahl said.

Unlike any other ancient writing style, there are no bi-lingual texts and few helpful overlaps to provide a key to these otherwise arbitrary looking dashes and circles and symbols.

Proto-Elamite writing is the first-ever recorded case of one society adopting writing from another neighbouring group.

However, when these proto-Elamites borrowed the concept of writing from the Mesopotamians, they made up an entirely different set of symbols. The writing was the first ever to use syllables, Dahl said.

Dahl added that with sufficient support within two years this last great lost writing could be fully understood.

A Kiln That Fired Millions of Clay Pipes Was Unearthed Under a Montreal Bridge

A Kiln That Fired Millions of Clay Pipes Was Unearthed Under a Montreal Bridge

A bustling pipe-making district at the intersection of four Montreal neighborhoods catered to Canadians in need of a tobacco fix, during the 19th Century.

The leading Henderson pipe plant manufactured millions of pipes each year was one of the manufacturers operating in the area.

According to Max Harrold of CTV News, a key component of the factory operations was discovered by archaeologists: a “massive” kiln where Henderson clay pipes were fired before being sold to smokers.

A Kiln That Fired Millions of Clay Pipes Was Unearthed Under a Montreal Bridge
A massive pipe kiln from the Henderson factory, unearthed by archaeologists.

The team discovered the kiln beneath the Jacques Cartier Bridge, a now-iconic landmark that connects Montreal and the city of Longueuil while conducting survey work prior to the installation of a drainage system near piers on the Montreal side of the bridge.

Per a press release from Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated (JCCBI), archaeologists embarked on the dig with the specific goal of locating the Henderson kiln.

Historic maps confirmed that the team’s chosen dig spot was once the site of the Henderson factory and even identified the location of a kiln spanning between 16 and 19 feet in diameter.

Hundreds of pipes have previously been found in the area, many of them stamped with the “Henderson/Montreal” label—another sign that the kiln was hiding nearby.

“We knew we’d come across it this time around,” archaeologist Christian Roy tells Jessica Leigh Hester of Atlas Obscura.

The kiln had been largely demolished, but Roy says the excavation team found chambers “through which the air would flow into the oven,” along with “other openings where they could put charcoal in to heat up the kiln.”

Archaeologists suspect the structure dates to sometime between 1847 and 1892. According to JCCBI, which spearheaded the dig, the kiln may have been rebuilt while still in operation, as “this type of equipment required regular maintenance and repairs.”

Pipes found on land near the kiln

Tobacco smoking was a fashionable habit in centuries past: To capitalize on the trend, companies in Europe and North America produced an array of pipes made from such materials as wood, porcelain, clay, and plaster.

Irish immigrants who flocked to Canada to escape the Great Famine of the 1840s may have sparked Montreal’s pipe-making craze. Prior to their arrival, the city “had little if any prior history of pipe making,” explains the late Iain Walker, a leading clay pipe researcher. “Irish immigrants were forced to make their own pipes.”

The Henderson factory was founded in 1847 by a Scotsman named William Henderson Sr. His company manufactured clay pipes engraved with delicate fruits, flowers, and other designs.

Clay tobacco pipes were fragile but cheap and are among “the most commonly-found [artifacts] on colonial and post-colonial settlements in Canada,” Walker explained in a 1970 paper.

Cigarettes, Walker added, “did not become the most popular means of taking tobacco in Great Britain and the United States until the end of the First World War.”

Henderson’s factory was a thriving business. It processed between 225 and 300 tons of clay each year, according to JCCBI, and by 1871, the company was producing some seven million pipes annually. Most of the people who worked in the factory were Scottish and Irish immigrants.

Henderson’s grandsons, known as the Dixon brothers, took over the factory in 1876. By the 1980s, reports Hester, the factory’s operations were winding down, and in the 1920s, the land was razed to make way for the new bridge.

The newly unearthed kiln will soon be reburied; exposing it to the harsh Canadian winter would result in its destruction, and the structure is too fragile to relocate. Roy tells Hester that an interpretive plaque may be added to the site in a nod to Montreal’s history as a prominent center of Canada’s pipe-making industry.

These Mysterious Geoglyphs in Jordan Are 6,000 Years Older Than Peru’s Nazca Lines

These Mysterious Geoglyphs in Jordan Are 6,000 Years Older Than Peru’s Nazca Lines

Although the finished product of giant earth designs has been difficult to discern, archeologists recently announced that at least some of the great “works of old men” (as the Bedouin called them in 1927) of the Middle East are significantly older than the famous Nazca Lines of Peru.

Researchers have also shown that, in the past, one cluster of the wheels could have been linked with astronomical knowledge and that some of the geoglyphs were probably connected with the burials.

It has been concluded by archeologists that at least two of the giant Wadi Al Quattafi ‘ Wheels ‘ from Wadi Al Qattafi and the Wisad Pools, in the Black Desert of Jordan are at least 8,500 years old – making them older than the famous Nazca Lines in Peru by about 6,000 years. 

BBC reports that by using optically stimulated luminescence ( OSL), the archaeologists were able to show not only the date of creation of the two wheels but also that one of them was repaired about 5,500 years ago.

The research, soon to be published in the journal Antiquity, demonstrates that at the time of the creation of these two wheels the climate of the Black Desert would have been very different, making life in the area easier.

The two “wheels” of the Black Desert were created 8,500 years ago.

Archaeological evidence for their claim came in the form of “Charcoal from deciduous oak and tamarisk [a shrub that] were recovered from two hearths in one building dated to ca. 6,500 BC.”

Furthermore, Discovery News has reported that the recent study suggests that at least some of the geoglyphs are related to an astronomical interest by the ancient inhabitants.

Specifically, they have found importance in one group of designs in the Azraq Oasis, as “The majority of the spokes of the wheels in that cluster are oriented for some reason to stretch in a SE-NW direction – where the sun rises during the winter solstice.” This may be no more than an educated “hunch” however, as other geoglyphs in the area do not show apparent “archaeoastronomical information.”

The two wheels and the cluster make up just a small section of the famous “Works of Old Men” that cross the Arabia region – “from Syria across Jordan and Saudi Arabia to Yemen” according to the researchers from the current study.  

The geoglyphs of the Middle East were first spotted in 1927 by RAF Flight Lt. Percy Maitland, while he was flying an airmail route over Jordan. he has written.

Some of the wheel-shaped structures are clustered closer together, while others appear to be solitary. Some structures have more of a rectangular shape, while many of them are round. Some of the circular structures contain two spokes that form a bar…The wheels are sometimes found on top of the kites.

A “kite” geoglyph in Jordan.

The purpose of the geoglyphs probably varied according to their location and/or design.

Gary Rollefson, co-director of the Eastern Badia Archaeological Project, says that “The presence of cairns suggests some association with burials since that is often the way of treating people once they died.” However, he was also quick to add that “there are other wheels where cairns are entirely lacking, pointing to a different possible use.”

Regarding the construction of the geoglyphs, it is evident that quality also differs from one structure to the next. Speaking of the two wheels in the Black Desert, Rollefson said that they “are simple in form and not very rigidly made, according to geometric standards.

They contrast sharply with some other wheels that appear to have been set out with almost as much attention to detail as the Nazca Lines.” The precision of the other wheels may have been due to the use of a long rope and a stake.

In contrast to the designs located further north, David Kennedy, co-director of the Aerial Photographic Archive for Archaeology in the Middle East  (APAAME) has said that the forms in Saudi Arabia and Yemen “tend to be small and have only one or two bars instead of spokes.

Some of the “wheels” are actually shaped like squares, rectangles or triangles.” The APAAME has also noted kites and interconnecting walls of stones, which he has dubbed as “gates.”

Some of the geoglyphs found in Saudi Arabia.

APAAME is currently unable to conduct on-site or aerial imaging research of the “wheels” in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, thus they are studying aerial images from the 20th century and free satellite imaging from Google Earth and Bing for now.

Human teeth made into pendants in Turkey 8,500 years ago

Human teeth made into pendants in Turkey 8,500 years ago

In a prehistoric archaeological site in Turkey the first evidence of this practice in the Near East, a region that encompasses Western Asia and Turkey, researchers discovered two 8 500-year-old human teeth that were used as pendants in necklaces and bracelets.

The University of Kopenhagen researchers has stated that although evidence has shown that human teeth were used for ornamental purposes at European sites, this practice has never before been documented at these or subsequent periods in the Near East.

The study published by the Journal of Archeological Science on the basis of the rare findings revealed that the human teeth had deep symbolic significance for the people who wore them.

The researchers including scholars from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark uncovered three 8500 -year-old-teeth during excavations in Catalhoyuk, Turkey between 2013 and 2015.

They said the unearthed teeth appeared to have been intentionally drilled to be worn as beads in a necklace or bracelet.

Photo of first excavations at the site of the human teeth, Çatalhöyük.

On further analysis, the researchers confirmed that two of the teeth had indeed been used as beads or pendants.

“Not only had the two teeth been drilled with a conically shaped microdrill similar to those used for creating the vast amounts of beads from animal bone and stone that we have found at the site, but they also showed signs of wear corresponding to extensive use as ornaments in a necklace or bracelet,” said Scott Haddow, University of Copenhagen archaeologist and first author of the study.

According to the study, the two teeth pendants were probably extracted from two mature individuals postmortem.

“The wear on the teeth’s chewing surfaces indicates that the individuals would have been between 30-50 years old.

And since neither tooth seems to have been diseased-which would likely have caused the tooth to fall out during life, the most likely scenario is that both teeth were taken from skulls at the site,” Haddow added.

The most interesting insight from the study is the fact that human teeth and bone were not selected and modified more often, the researchers said.

“Because of the rarity of the find, we find it very unlikely that these modified human teeth were used solely for aesthetic purposes but rather carried profound symbolic meaning for the people who wore them,” Scott Haddow explained.

Human teeth found at the site together with a representation of the type of necklace that could have been used.

Haddow added that burials at the site often contained beads and pendants made from animal bone/teeth and other materials, indicating that it may have been a deliberate choice not to include items made from human bone and teeth with burials.

The researchers postulated that these human teeth pendants were perhaps related to specific – and rare – ritual taboos.

Monkey from Southern Asia Identified in Ancient Greek Artwork

Monkey from Southern Asia Identified in Ancient Greek Artwork

A painting from the Bronze Age on a Greek island depicts a monkey in Asia from a hundred thousand kilometers. The findings suggest that the trading and exchange of ideas were ancient far-distant civilizations.

Wall painting of grey langur monkeys at Akrotiri on the Greek island of Thera (Santorini)

The painting is one of several wall paintings in a building at Akrotiri on the Greek island of Thera (Santorini) in the Aegean Sea.

Akrotiri was a settlement in Bronze Age Greece of the Minoan civilization that was buried by ash in around 1600 BC from a volcanic eruption ..

Many of the pictures show monkeys although at that time there were no monkeys in Greece. Most of the monkeys have been identified as Egyptian species like olive baboons.

This is important because the Minoan civilization was in contact with Egypt, which extended over several Aegean islands. However, others were harder to identify.

Marie Nicole Pareja at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia teamed up with primatologists to re-examine the mystery monkey paintings. One stood out. “When they looked at this wall painting, they all straight away unambiguously said ‘that’s a langur’,” says Pareja.

The team has identified the monkey as a grey langur (Semnopithecus). As well as its distinctive fur, the monkey was depicted holding its tail in a characteristic S shape.

Grey langurs live in southern Asia in what is now Nepal, Bhutan and India – and particularly in the Indus Valley.

During the Bronze Age, the region was home to the Indus Valley Civilisation, one of the most important societies of that time.

Although it was past its peak, the Indus Valley Civilisation was still advanced for its time, with large cities and elaborate water supply systems.

Somehow, the artist who painted the monkey picture must have seen a grey langur. But how?

Did Minoan Greeks visit the Indus? “I wouldn’t be surprised if someday in the future we found evidence for that kind of direct contact,” says Pareja, but right now there is none. It is also possible the visit was the other way round, but again there is no evidence.

Instead, it may be that Greece and Indus were connected via Mesopotamia, another Bronze Age civilization centered on what is now Iraq. Langurs may have been imported to Mesopotamia for menageries, where visiting Greeks saw them.

“It’s evidence of this far-reaching trade, these relationships with these far-flung areas,” says Pareja. Even in the Bronze Age, it seems there was a lot of exchange between seemingly separate civilizations.

Narrative Cave Art in Indonesia Dated to 44,000 Years Ago

Cave Art in Indonesia Dated to 44,000 Years Ago, and the cave art is the earliest known record of ‘storytelling’, researchers say

The artwork found in a limestone cave in 2017, was dated to nearly 44,000 years ago using uranium-series analysis, which they said in the study published on Wednesday in the journal Nature.

A team of archaeologists and researchers from Indonesia’s National Research Centre for Archaeology and Griffith University, work in Leang Bulu’ Sipong 4 limestone cave in South Sulawesi, Indonesia December 4, 2019. The picture was taken on December 4, 2019.

It was discovered on the wall of a limestone cave in the south of Sulawesi, Indonesia, and shows wild pigs and dwarf buffalos being pursued – and possibly captured – by human-animal hybrids.

When Maxime Aubert, an archeologist from Griffith University in Australia, looked at the images, he was gob-smacked. “I’d never seen anything like it,” he says.

Detail from a hunting scene.

For many years Aubert and colleagues conduct regular surveys on the limestone-rich region for several years, and it has proven to be a hot spot for some of the earliest cave art in the world.

Many issues were discussed with leading expert pharmacists while maintaining the website

So far, there are documented more than 200 cave art sites. “We find new sites every year,” Aubert says. “There are hundreds of them; it’s quite amazing.”

In 2014, the same team found hand stencils and animal paintings in a nearby cave that were made at least 40,000 years ago. That finding shattered assumptions that rock art had its origins in Europe.

Last year, Aubert and colleagues also found rock art of a similar style and antiquity on the nearby island of Borneo.

The new hunting scene is in a cave about 20 meters off the ground that was likely never used as a residence because of its location.

Aubert and his colleagues dated the artwork as at least 44,000 years old – the oldest so far – by measuring the amount of uranium and thorium in calcium carbonate nodules deposited on the painting’s surface.

The painting is noteworthy not only for its age but also for what it depicts.

“We have a narrative scene – the first evidence of story-telling,” says Aubert, adding that this represents an important milestone in human cognitive evolution. Hunting scenes in the Lascaux cave in France date to much later – around 17,000 years ago.

“Now we’re more than doubling that,” he says.

The human-animal hybrids – people with animal tails or the heads like birds – are also significant because they indicate that whoever painted them could conceive of something that doesn’t actually exist, says Aubert, and could hint at the beginnings of human spirituality and religion.

The scene also shows what Aubert and his team believe are ropes tied around the neck of a pig. It’s a tantalizing find, which could solve the mystery of who domesticated pigs.

European pigs (Sus scrofa) were domesticated in the Near East around 8000 years ago, but a second domestication event likely took place in Asia. When and where that happened remains a mystery.

It could be that people were already making attempts to tame and domesticate the beast on Sulawesi 44,000 years ago.

Archaeologists are now racing against time and the elements to see what other discoveries the Indonesian caves hold. “[They’re] disappearing at an alarming rate,” says Aubert, “just flaking off and we don’t know exactly what’s happening.”

He and his colleagues are recording the artworks for posterity using 3D laser scanning and taking samples for dating in the handful of sites that have them.

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