Showing posts with label Saqqara necropolis discovery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saqqara necropolis discovery. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

New Discovery , Sakkara "2": Secrets of mummy's portrait exposed under microscope after 1,800 years.

ANALYSIS of an ancient speck of paint has exposed the secrets of a portrait buried alongside an Egyptian mummy more than 1,800 years ago.

The striking painting, known as The Portrait of a Bearded Man, hails from the second century AD when Egypt was under Roman control.

Consequently, the painting does not resemble Egypt's two-dimensional murals that adorned the walls of its numerous temples and tombs. Instead, it is a very life-like depiction of the person it was buried alongside nearly 2,000 years ago. 

The portrait was discovered in Faiyum, some 62 miles southwest of Cairo. Experts have dated it to between 170 and 180 AD, and the painting one of about 1,100 similar works of art from the Roman period of Egypt's history. The portraits were painted onto wooden boards and wrapped up into the linens used to hold their mummified owners together.

Archaeologists believe these depictions not only represent a likeness of their owner but also hold clues about their status in life - one they held or aspired to hold before death. And according to a team of researchers who analysed microscopic amounts of purple pigment from the portrait, status played a big role in how these portraits were assembled.

Darryl Butt, a material scientist at the University of Utah, US, who co-authored a study of the portrait, said: "We're very interested in understanding the meaning and origin of the portraits, and finding ways to connect them and come up with a cultural understanding of why they were even painted in the first place." A small part of the Faiyum portrait shows purple marks on the man's Roman toga or robe - a symbol of status known as the clavi.

Glenn Gates of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, where the portrait is housed, said: "Since the purple pigment occurred in the clavi - the purple mark on the toga that in Ancient Roman indicated senatorial or equestrian rank - it was thought that perhaps we were seeing an augmentation of the sitter's importance in the afterlife."
But according to Dr Butt, the purple pigment has only raised more questions about the Egyptian mummy.

In some cultures, the colour purple is viewed as a symbol of death, while others consider it a symbol of life. Purple was also often associated with royalty in ancient times and is still thought of such today. Queen Elizabeth I, for instance, forbade everyone but royalty from wearing the colourAnd purple is believed to have been particularly revered in the Byzantine Empire as a symbol of power.

Dr Butt said: "So the presence of purple on this particular portrait made us wonder what it was made of and what it meant. The colour purple stimulates many questions."

To better unlock the secrets hidden within the portrait's pigments, Dr Gates sents a microscopic particle to Dr Butt and his team to analyse. The speck of paint was about the same width as a human hair - 50 microns across.

Dr Butt said: "The process of analysing something like this is a bit like doing surgery on a flea." However, the expert and his colleagues were able to determine the purple pigment was synthetic in nature, and not naturally from the glands of the Murex sea snails as most purple dyes were at the time.

Instead, the researchers have suggested the purple was an accident - possibly made by mixing together red and blue indigo dyes together. The dye was then likely mixed with clay or a silica material into a pigment that was bound with beeswax. Pigments made this way are known as lake pigments.

Dr Gates said: "Lake pigments were thought to be without crystallinity prior to this work.
Source:express

Thursday, November 12, 2020

New Discovery Saqqara "2': Ancient Egyptian coffins unearthed 400 years ago ‘virtually’ opened to reveal ‘bodies buried with organs’ and gold coins.

Scientists were able to peer inside the ancient coffins without opening them thanks to a few CT scans.
Two of the coffins were found 400 years ago in a rock cut tomb at the Saqqara necropolis in Egypt.
Only three of these coffins are known to still exist and the third one was also found at Saqqara at a later date.
They're known as 'stucco-shrouded portrait mummies' because the outside of the coffin supposedly depicts what the people inside looked like when they were alive.
One contains a male and the other two contain females, one of which is a teenager girl.
These mummies were unusual because they were placed on wooden boards, wrapped in decorative shrouds and then covered in plaster on which a whole-body portrait and gold was added.
CT scans showed that the teenage girl mummy was definitely buried with all of her organs inside.
That includes the brain, which was often removed during standard mummification.
Researchers think all of the mummies may have been left with their organs inside, which then decayed.
Both women were buried wearing multiple necklaces and all of the coffins contained artefacts that Egyptians may have thought were useful in the afterlife.
These include coins that might have been intended for paying Charon, a god believed to carry souls across the river.
All the mummies date to the late Roman period in Egypt, which was around 30 BCE to CE 395.
It's thought they were all fairly wealthy when they were alive.
The two famous mummies found together in Saqqara were X-rayed before in the 1980s but the CT scans revealed much more.
For example, we now know the woman died in her 30s and was around 4'11".
She is also thought to have suffered with arthritis.
The teenage girl died between the ages of 17 and 19 and had a benign tumour in her spine.
The male was around 5'4" inches, died around the age of 25 and had some quite bad dental issues.
The teenage mummy is on display at the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, Cairo, Egypt.
The other two can be found at an exhibition in Dresden in Germany.
This research has been published in the journal PLOS One
Source:thesun

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

New Discovery , Saqqara "4": Egypt to announce biggest archaeological discovery of 2020 soon.

Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities will announce the biggest archaeological discovery of 2020 at a press conference in the Saqqara necropolis in the next few days.
The Egyptian archaeological mission announced that, in the past few years, a number of important archaeological discoveries in Saqqara have been made. 
The last of these was the discovery of 59 well-preserved, painted coffins of top officials and priests from the 26th Dynasty, with mummies still inside.
The discovery was announced at an international press conference early last October.
The excavations of the Egyptian archaeological mission, which is working in the Saqqara necropolis, discovered new shafts filled with a huge number of intact, painted and anthropoid coffins buried inside.
Such is the size of the new discovery, that it exceeds even the huge number of coffins that were discovered and announced in early October. The shafts, which have been closed for over 2,500 years, include a number of gilded artefacts, including wooden statues and coloured and gilded masks
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New discovery, Sakkara: Hawass Announces New Archaeological Discovery in Saqarra

The Egyptian Mission working in the Saqqara antiquities area next to the pyramid of King Teti, the first king of the Sixth Dynasty of the ...