Petrie Museum Unofficial Page

Petrie Museum Unofficial Page This page celebrates a great museum - the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, UCL, and the work of the Friends of the Petrie Museum (PMF) to promote the Museum, organise lectures and events, and raise funds for conservation of objects in the museum.
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'Some significant new Amarna research just out in the latest issue of Bioarchaeology International - Gretchen Dabbs pres...
11/02/2020
Amarna Project

'Some significant new Amarna research just out in the latest issue of Bioarchaeology International - Gretchen Dabbs presents the preliminary analysis of skeletal remains from the North Tombs Cemetery: 'Coupled with the demonstrable lack of care for the dead exhibited in the burial practices, these physical findings suggest the NTC skeletal sample represents an isolated workforce that was likely participating in ancillary activities related to stone quarrying in the desert cliffs surrounding the city.'

Some significant new Amarna research just out in the latest issue of Bioarchaeology International - Gretchen Dabbs presents the preliminary analysis of skeletal remains from the North Tombs Cemetery: 'Coupled with the demonstrable lack of care for the dead exhibited in the burial practices, these physical findings suggest the NTC skeletal sample represents an isolated workforce that was likely participating in ancillary activities related to stone quarrying in the desert cliffs surrounding the city.'

Two papers of specific Egyptian interest but lots more of general interest re looting and restitution. Booking details a...
10/02/2020

Two papers of specific Egyptian interest but lots more of general interest re looting and restitution. Booking details at bottom of post. 12 March, 4-8.20, tickets £12.

The Society for the History of Collecting together with the V & A Museum present: 'Violated National Heritage: Theft, Traffic & Restitution'

About this Event
This conference, with a dynamic list of international speakers, will address how collecting has developed since the 16th century, and how, over the centuries, it has been regulated, even circumvented in various ways. It will also look beyond the boundaries of legal trade of art and artefacts to consider how the criminal orbit operates, how heritage-rich countries confront the trafficking of their patrimony and how museums are involved in such debates.

This conference will not tackle the Parthenon marbles debate nor war booty, but it will raise issues around patrimony laws, looting, trafficking, faking provenance and money laundering. Presentations on particular historical contexts will be followed by talks focusing on the contemporary situation, including the policing and voluntary restitution versus surrender of objects as the result of investigative evidence. Trafficking takes many forms and may include forgeries in order to satisfy demand. Both source and receiving countries have sharpened their laws, policing and prosecutions.

This conference is aimed not only at students but also art world and museum professionals, indeed at anyone interested to hear the latest information, much of which is unpublished, and to learn more about the realities behind these key issues.

Programme:

Vernon Rapley (Director of Cultural Heritage Protection and Security) & Laura Jones (Cultural Heritage Preservation Lead): The V&A’s Culture in Crisis Programme;

Barbara Furlotti (The Courtauld), on the Roman Antiquities Market during the Renaissance;

Hilke Thode Arora, Keeper Oceanic collections (Museum Fünf Kontinente, Munich), on Pacific ‘gifts’;

Eleni Vassilika, Former museum director (Hildesheim and Turin), on the operations of placing illicit Egyptian antiquities in museums;

Christos Tsirogiannis, Assoc. Prof. and AIAS-COFUND Research Fellow, Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Aarhus, formerly at the Archaeological Unit at Cambridge, as well as the Greek Ministry of Culture and the Greek Police Art Squad, on recent restitutions to Greece;

Omniya Abdel Barr, V&A researcher and project director for the documentation of Mamluk patrimony in Cairo, on the theft of elements from mosques (minbar);

Ian Richardson, Registrar for Treasure Trove (The British Museum), on how the TTAct functions;

Roland Foord, Senior Partner, Stephenson Harwood LLP, on procedures for restitution.

The day will end with a Drinks Reception.

The Society for the History of Collecting is grateful to the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards and the Gilbert Trust for the Arts for their support in making this event possible.
The image above: detail for a coloured lithograph after L. Boilly, 1823, Wellcome Collection. CC BY.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/violated-national-heritage-theft-trafficking-and-restitution-tickets-89083947485?ref=enivtefor001&invite=MTg4MTk1MzcvZWxlbmkudmFzc2lsaWthQGdtYWlsLmNvbS8w%0A&utm_source=eb_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=inviteformalv2&utm_term=attend
"

I'm not sure if these are the same beads found in a Bronze Age Danish burial as reported a year or so ago, but this arti...
09/02/2020

I'm not sure if these are the same beads found in a Bronze Age Danish burial as reported a year or so ago, but this article comes with the results of the scientific analysis placing their manufacture at Amarna, so I'm posting it here. The web-link is posted at the bottom for the full story.

"All 23 of the blue beads were analyzed using plasma-spectrometry, which is a technique that enables comparison of trace elements in the beads without damaging or destroying them but while still offering plenty of information.

The results of the analysis showed that the blue beads buried with the women actually originated from the same glass workshop in Amarna that adorned King Tutankhamun at his funeral in 1323 BCE.

King Tuts’ golden deathmask contains stripes of blue glass in the headdress, as well as in the inlay of his false beard. This proves that there was some sort of trade link between the two areas at that time.

In ancient Egypt, Glass beads were a bit of a luxury adornment and were not prevalent, except in the graves of the elite where the selection was choice but limited in quantity. So, how did cobalt beads designed for Kings and Queens end up in Nordic burial sites? Well, there is some speculation that the two ancient lands traded the luxury glass beads for amber, an element that Denmark is rich in.

Both the Egyptian and Mesopotamian glass beads which were found in the graves in Denmark suggest that there were trade routes already established 3,000 years ago.

It works the other way around too – Nordic amber has also been found as far south as in Mycenae, Greece and at Qatna, near Homs in Syria, suggesting that they were trading for one another’s precious stones and beads.
Amber was associated with the Sun God – in both ancient Egypt and the Nordic areas.

Couple this with other finds such as Cypriot copper found in Sweden and picture of an elaborate trade system begins to form. In addition to this, Nordic amber beads, as well as beads made of Egyptian glass and copper ingots, formed part of the precious cargo of the ship which was wrecked at Uluburun, outside the coast of Turkey."

https://www.archaeology-world.com/beads-found-in-3400-year-old-nordic-graves-were-made-by-king-tuts-glassmaker/

Happy weekend
07/02/2020

Happy weekend

What do you think?The Twitter storm that followed the 'speaking mummy' and the 'European mummy' in recent weeks, led to ...
06/02/2020
New research into Egyptian mummies leads to calls for major ethical review | Museums Association

What do you think?
The Twitter storm that followed the 'speaking mummy' and the 'European mummy' in recent weeks, led to this article in the Museums Association journal. Follow link for the full article, but I include here Angela Stienne's comments which offer much food for thought. What do you think?
"Angela Stienne, an honorary research fellow in museums studies at Leicester University, and founder of Mummy Stories, a participatory project on mummies in museums, questioned this defence as “some very patchy reading of ancient funerary beliefs”.

Speaking to Museums Journal, Stienne says: “Our historical and current relationship with Egyptian mummies is still very problematic. We need a more human approach to this topic – we talk about scientific research but we forget we are dealing with cadavers, with human remains.

“A major ethical review is needed. We are aware of unethical studies in the past, such as unwrapping and race research, but this is still happening. And we need to talk about issues of repatriation.”

Talking specifically about Ulster Museum’s mummy, Takabuti, Stienne says she was concerned that press announcements reference her DNA but fail to provide any context on migration to ancient Egypt and Greek and Roman invasions. She warns this echoes Victorian research that set out to prove ancient Egyptian were white, and plays into the hands of the right-wing media.

“With research like these, we need to ask is it needed?” she says. “What do we gain from this, and is it worth the time, resources and money invested? New technology has lots of potential but it also risks creating areas for research where none is needed and the findings are not that interesting.” "

Interesting blog from Margaret Patterson - I like a pic of happy shabtis....
04/02/2020
Here Am I!

Interesting blog from Margaret Patterson - I like a pic of happy shabtis....

Ancient Egyptian afterlife beliefs throughout their history are a wide-ranging mix of the esoteric and the pragmatic. The king might travel to the stars, or eat the gods to gain their powers, or a…

A story in Haaretz, link at the end. Extraordinary survival![NOT A ] ‘Mysterious’ Egyptian Artifact From the Bronze Age ...
04/02/2020

A story in Haaretz, link at the end. Extraordinary survival!

[NOT A ] ‘Mysterious’ Egyptian Artifact From the Bronze Age Found Off Israeli Coast
"A veterinarian taking a morning swim found what turned out to be an anchor engraved with hieroglyphs on the seafloor. But who defaced the Egyptian goddess?
What Rafi Bahalul, a 55-year-old animal doctor and artist from the village of Ein Hod, had stumbled upon underwater turned out to be a 3,400-year-old Egyptian stone anchor, and a highly unusual one at that. The anchor bore beautiful decorations, featuring the image of an ancient goddess and hieroglyphic writing as well. It had evidently sunk into the sand, which preserved it for millennia until getting washed off by recent stormy weather. The vet called in experts from the Israel Antiquities Authority to examine his find, which was made just off Atlit, a town near Haifa.
“This was a known site from which other finds have emerged, but we were not digging there at the time,” says Jacob Sharvit, head of the IAA’s maritime archaeology unit. “Sometimes the sea does our job for us, and fortunately a member of the public saw it and alerted us.” The stone was raised from the sea last January and is now on display in an exhibition on Egyptian writing at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
Its function is quite mundane and easily identifiable: it was a typical anchor used by ships during the Bronze Age, which ended some 3,200 years ago, says Shirly Ben-Dor Evian, curator of Egyptian archaeology at the museum. These anchors were shaped like a trapezoid with rounded corners, with a hole drilled near the top end to secure a rope.
Similar anchors from the period have previously emerged on the coasts of the Levant, including at Atlit itself. But what is unique about this anchor is the amount and quality of the decoration, the curator says.
It isn’t however that the ancient stonemason decided to make a decorative anchor. It is a case of what archaeologists call secondary use, essentially a form of recycling, Sharvit explains.
The anchor likely originated in a larger decorative relief located in a temple or royal precinct somewhere in Egypt. The chisel marks that separated it from the rest of the original limestone block, cutting the inscription and shaping it into an anchor, are still clearly visible today.
Stone was a precious commodity in the alluvial Nile Valley and it makes sense that every pebble would be recycled, no matter how important its original function was, Ben-Dor Evian says. Which begs the question of whence the engraved stone came and what was its initial purpose.
The most telling part of the decoration is the image at the bottom showing a woman writing on a tablet. The symbol above her head identifies her as the goddess Seshat, the ancient Egyptian deity of writing, Ben-Dor Evian explains.
This goddess did not have separate temples dedicated to her but usually appeared on the walls of other major shrines, recording the pharaoh’s regnal years, taking note of the booty brought back from military campaigns or helping the king take measurements for the establishment of a new holy site. “She was this sort of divine scribe, librarian, record-keeper and engineer,” the curator says.
The identification of the goddess is also strengthened by the hieroglyphs that accompany her image and proclaim Seshat’s traditional divine attribute: “Mistress of the house of books.” Because it is incomplete, the rest of the inscription is difficult to decipher, but Ben-Dor Evian thinks it may have something to do with the recording of war loot.
Based on the style of the hieroglyphics, it was carved around the 15th century B.C.E, that is more than 3,400 years ago, Ben-Dor Evian says. This would have been during the 18th Dynasty, the pharaohs who founded the New Kingdom and led to ancient Egypt’s maximum expansion. So the Seshat inscription could have adorned one of the many royal reliefs that were set in temples across Egypt, she says. Which temple that might be is still being investigated.
All we can say for now is that at some point that shrine was renovated, abandoned or destroyed and the relief was deemed obsolete, allowing for the reuse of the raw material.
This must have still happened in the Late Bronze Age, that is between the 15th and 12th centuries B.C.E., because anchors in later periods were shaped differently, Ben-Dor Evian says. So it is possible that not a lot of time passed between the carving of the relief and its repurposing.
What is even more interesting is that while most of the inscription is perfectly preserved, the face of Seshat has been clearly chiseled away. But why deliberately deface just that part of the inscription?
One theory, which Ben-Dor Evian favors, is that this was done actually as an act of respect for the deity: sort of the equivalent of Christians deconsecrating a church before the building can be reused for non-religious purposes.
“When you take something sacred and reuse it for a secular purpose you have to make it non-sacred first,” the curator says. “You cannot use the image of a goddess as an anchor, so you deface it and then it’s no longer a goddess.”
Another possible scenario is that the Seshat relief was caught on the wrong side of a political or religious struggle and fell victim to an iconoclastic campaign, she says. This happened several times in ancient Egyptian history, during periods of religious conflict or when new pharaohs tried to erase the memory and works of rival predecessors. ....
In fact, Sharvit speculates that the ship that carried the anchor may have been part of one of Thutmosis III’s military expeditions in Canaan, a territory he finally secured for the Egyptian Empire at the Battle of Megiddo, around 1456 B.C.E.
......
The most similar discovery was an anchor that was found in 1982 off the coast of Megadim, just north of Atlit. This artifact also came from a repurposed Egyptian engraving – but in this case only the legs of two unknown figures are visible.
The fact that several anchors were lost at sea in the vicinity of Atlit does not necessarily mean that all the ships that carried them sank. The Atlit bay was a common anchorage point for merchant ships in the Bronze Age and it is likely that periodically a vessel would lose an anchor that had been badly secured or got stuck at the bottom of the sea, Ben-Dor Evian says. In fact, we know from actual shipwrecks of the period that vessels carried spare anchors just for such an eventuality.
However, in the case of the Seshat anchor, it is likely that the entire ship was lost because of the presence of other ancient finds at the site, Sharvit says. The marine archaeologist does not reveal what those discoveries are, saying that his unit is still combing the area looking for other remains from the possible shipwreck.
If it did come from a merchant ship, the Seshat anchor would also give us information about the nature of international trade in its time, Ben-Dor Evian says.
“During the Late Bronze Age, there was an explosion of trade, but there is always a question of who was doing all the trading, was it the Egyptians themselves, or was it say, Canaanites who were licensed by the Egyptians,” she says. “This find clearly identifies at least some of the traders as Egyptians who were under the direct control of the pharaohs, because otherwise they wouldn’t have had access to the stones of whatever sacred precinct this relief was taken from.”

https://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/.premium-mysterious-ancient-egyptian-artifact-found-off-israeli-coast-1.8477804

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University College London, Malet Place
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WC1E 6BT

Nearest Tube Stations: Russell Square, Goodge St, Warren St, Euston, Euston Square Buses: 10, 24, 29,59, 68, 73, 168

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Just five minutes from the British Museum! Leave by the Montague Place exit, travel up Malet Street, across Torrington Place by the Waterstones book shop and into Malet Place. A bright red banner hangs above the entrance

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Thursday 13:00 - 17:00
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The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology has been innovating for many years, using digital platforms to make their collections and background information accessible to anyone with a computer, tablet or smartphone. This is a really nice smartphone app that provides introductory information about the Petrie and its collections. I've played with it, and it works really well.
Call for papers on ancient Egyptian architecture and related matters
UC11099 -> 3D print -> mold -> wax casting
Egypt's Heartland Colloquium: Egypt's Heartland: Regional Perspectives on Hierakonpolis, Elkab and Edfu - July 18, 2019, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford * * Colloquium Abstracts and flyer now online * * Visit the Hierakonpolis-online website for more information
I always enjoy trawling through the Petrie Museum's online catalogue (http://petriecat.museums.ucl.ac.uk/). Lots of treasures to be found, of which this tiny little vessel of hippopotamus ivory is one.
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