Posts Tagged ‘archeaology’


Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
The tomb of Mehu opened for the public near the Saqqara necropolis, in Giza, Egypt, on Sept. 8, 2018.

I have never been to Egypt, but members of my extended family grew up there. My experience of visiting an Egyptian tomb is pretty much limited to the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

But it seems new tombs keep being discovered, and after getting thoroughly studied, are being opened to the public. The tomb of Mehu, a top official under King Pepi I, was found in 1940 but was only opened to the general public in September of this year.

Josh K. Elliott writes at Canada’s GlobalNews, “Egypt has opened the doors of an ornate 4,000-year-old tomb to the public. … The Tomb of Mehu, in the Saqqara necropolis near Giza, features dozens of vibrant paintings from Egypt’s sixth dynasty, dating back approximately four millennia. …

” ‘Mehu, a top official under King Pepi I, … was a vizier, the chief of the judges and the director of the palace at the time of King Pepi, the first king of the sixth dynasty,’ archeologist and Egyptologist Zahi Hawass told [Reuters].

“The tomb includes two chambers with wall inscriptions that depict Mehu hunting, gathering a bountiful harvest and dancing acrobatically. It also lists Mehu’s 48 titles as pictures on the walls

“Hawass says the tomb contains several unique images from the sixth dynasty, including a portrait of two crocodiles getting married.

“The Tomb of Mehu was first discovered by Egyptologist Zaki Saad in 1940, but remained off-limits to the public until this month. …

“ ‘We opened this previously discovered tomb to invite ambassadors and show the media that Egypt is safe,’ he told Reuters in Arabic. …

“Egypt’s tourism industry has struggled in the wake of the Arab Spring uprising in 2011. … Tourism numbers rebounded in 2017, when they jumped up to 8.2 million foreign tourist arrivals, the UNTWO [UN World Tourism Organization] data shows. …

“Archeologists have found several high-profile sites in Egypt recently, including a massive, sealed sarcophagus, an ancient village and a giant statue of Ramses II.”

More at the GlobalNews, here.

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Some fourth graders in New York are experiencing a real archaeological dig: under the floor of the classroom closet.

Paul Lukus reports at the NY Times, “Bobby Scotto, a fourth grader at the Children’s Workshop School on 12th Street in the East Village, wants to be an archaeologist when he grows up, and he is already off to a good start. In the past few months he has excavated dozens of old coins, a toy watch and other artifacts, all from an unlikely dig site: his classroom’s closet.

“Bobby, an earnest 10-year-old with a mop of dark hair and saucerlike brown eyes, was bitten by the archaeology bug four or five months ago, when his class read a book about a migrant farmworker who found old coins in a field. Bobby decided he wanted to collect old coins of his own, and he had noticed a small gap between the floorboards in the closet. So he reached into that gap as far as he could and, voilà, out came a bunch of wheat pennies (minted from 1909 to 1958), a buffalo nickel and other treasures. …

“And so began an improbable exercise in hands-on archaeology that soon attracted all 21 students in the class. ‘There’s something about the degree of difficulty that’s just perfect,’ said the class’s teacher, Miriam Sicherman, 43, who has been teaching at the school for 15 years. ‘You can’t just reach in and grab something, but it is possible to get something. There’s just enough gratification.’  …

“The variety of finds, including candy wrappers, ticket stubs, an old baseball card and a 1921 Red Cross service pin, has made the students more curious about the previous occupants of their classroom, and about history in general. …

“Along the way, the students have also become adept at research (when they find something, they try to learn more about it on the web); cataloging (each object is logged on a sheet that Ms. Sicherman helped the students design); preservation (the artifacts are kept in plastic bags); and documentation (Ms. Sicherman posts photos of the artifacts on an Instagram account).” More here.

That’s a smart teacher, adapting to her students’ interests. I can imagine some long-ago teachers or some of today’s stressed-out teachers putting a stop to the exploration. Like the policemen in comic books who stop kids trying to salvage a quarter in a grate using chewing gum on the end of a stick. (Such stories of city life always intrigued me as a comic-reading child who grew up in the country.)

Photo: Todd Heisler/The New York Times
Bobby Scotto, 10, left, a student at the Children’s Workshop School in the East Village, mining his classroom’s closet for treasures. 

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There is always something new to learn about Stonehenge, a site shrouded in mystery for centuries.

Rossella Lorenzi writes at Discovery News, “Using noninvasive technologies such as ground-penetrating radar and geophysical imaging, a team from the University of Birmingham’s IBM Visual and Spatial Technology Centre, known as VISTA, and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology in Vienna, discovered evidence of two huge pits positioned on a celestial alignment at Stonehenge. …

” ‘This is the first time we have seen anything quite like this at Stonehenge,’ said project leader Vince Gaffney, an archaeologist from the University of Birmingham. ‘When viewed from the Heel Stone, a rather enigmatic stone which stands just outside the entrance to Stonehenge, the pits effectively mark the rising and setting of the sun at midsummer days.’ ”

Read more here.

On YouTube you can find both boring videos about Stonehenge and funny ones. A comedy routine by Eddie Izzard made me laugh, but it’s a bit too naughty for Suzanne’s Mom’s Blog. You can check out a few of Spinal Tap singing “Stonehenge” in the movie This is Spinal Tap. And here is a great scene about Druids from that movie.

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