Egypt: Land of the Gods, Pharaohs, and Wonderful Things‘ with Dr Ken Griffin, The Egypt Centre

Egypt: Land of the Gods, Pharaohs, and Wonderful Things‘ with Dr Ken Griffin,  The Egypt Centre

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thank you [Applause] well thank you very much for that introduction and uh as you said this is the first time that I've ever given a lecture in Northern Ireland um those of you and I know Marie's here one of my students that I usually teach online and I usually start off with my courses by saying apologies for my accent because if I talk too fast you won't be able to understand me I don't even need to do that tonight because at least I hope that you will all understand me in fact my accent has mellowed a little bit but as you can probably tell I'm originally from here I'm from Belfast but I moved to Swansea in 2000 in order to to pursue a degree in egyptology because there's nowhere on the island of Ireland that you can study egyptology why did I want to do egyptology well I'm sure many of us will be very familiar with this lady taka booting and it was takabudi that really inspired me to be an egyptologist well now he's in certainly my earliest memory that I have for this is when I was in P2 going to the Ulster Museum as part of a school group and seeing the small Egyptian collection including the mummy of takaburi it always fascinated me and it was something that I wanted to do that and dinosaurs and I think that kind of fascinated most kids and still does and uh when we were talking about the mummy that was brought over in the bag today it wasn't a real mummy it was actually a dummy mummy which we use at the Egypt Center in order for the kids school groups who visit the the museum in Swansea to carry out a mummification on this Ragdoll again very inspiring but also educational for them at the same time so here we are um in 2000 going to the uh the the Egypt Center at Swansea where they have a collection of around 6 000 objects we lad from Belfast going there very young as you can see in the photograph from the left-hand side when I started off as a volunteer in the museum to a photograph that was taken this year uh where I am neither curator of the collection of 6000 plus objects from ancient Egypt so this is a dream for me to really be an egyptologist to be working in a museum and it's also a real privilege to be back in Northern Ireland and given the talk uh in the place I was born so the talk today is really a general one about ancient Egypt which I'm sure many of you are quite fascinated about out of curiosity though how many people have been to Egypt if you want to stick your hands up so probably about 15 or so people have been here still time for a lot of years yeah so hopefully you can make it out there it's a fantastic place to visit and I'd certainly highly recommend it as I'm sure you all know Egypt is located in Africa on the Mediterranean coast and here we can see some of the sites in the geography of the country it's one of the largest countries in Africa but also of course the most well-known in terms of its history its geography its location Etc in the ancient world the um country of Egypt that we know today was surrounded by neighboring regions and for the ancient Egyptians they divided the world into different different areas um with which early egyptologists would classify as being the four races of mankind because that's what you actually see on the walls of the Egyptian tombs so you can see figures who are identified as Egyptians as so-called asiatics as Nubians and libyans and that's the four areas that we have in and around Egypt Egypt is dominated well not dominated but it's surrounded by these areas and of course the Mediterranean Sea in the North that was the known world at the time the Egyptians also like to divide the country itself into different areas so the the two main words that you have for Egypt or to refer to the land of Egypt are the ones that are on the screen here Kemet Kemet means the Red Land uh sorry the um the the black land and it refers to this the fertile soil that you have on the banks of the Nile which the Egyptians relied on heavily without the inundation the annual flooding of the Nile they wouldn't have been able to be this successful civilization that we all know and the opposite of um the the black land is the Red Land and that refers to the mountainous deserty region that we have there keep that in mind because I'll be coming back to that uh in a little bit of course Egypt is dominated by the nail the nail that runs through it the longest river in the world without the annual flooding I could say the Egyptians would really not have been this great civilization so every year around about the middle of July the monsoon rains from Southern Africa which we have down here uh overflowing the Lakes would then push northwards into Egypt and would lead to the inundation in which the waters would overflow the banks and deposit a rich fertile soil which the Egyptians used for farming they were very much an agricultural Community as you'll see with a few of the slides coming up in a little bit that's what we know today how the nail was formed but for the ancient Egyptians of course who were very much um deep in mythology and the worship of the Gods Etc it was a God who created the Nile and here is a representation of the God happy who's shown there with two jugs in his hand pouring water from his cave which leads to the inundation so for the ancient Egyptians there was always a meaning behind the geography the scenes the events that took place on Earth we know mainly about the ancient Egypt from The Monuments that have been left behind but also from the writings that were left behind I'm sure these are all very familiar with this object which is in the British museum the so-called Rosetta Stone which was discovered over 100 over 220 20 years ago now but it was only 201 years ago that the Egyptian hieroglyphs that we see at the top were deciphered people couldn't read it but they could read these two texts it's written in three texts hieroglyphs demotic and demotic is a kind of uh type of a shorthand of Egyptian hieroglyphs and Greek and Greek of course could be red many people could read it at the time small handful of people could read demonic but those that could realize that the Demonic and the the Greek said exactly the same thing so if they say the same thing then the hieroglyph should also say the same thing and so by working it out and it took 20 20 plus years for the great champollion a French scholar to crack the code and to start with the the decipherment of hieroglyphs so in a way the decipherment of hieroglyphs is still very young it's only been 200 years since people have been able to read the language we're still found in developments new words new understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs in order to advance our knowledge of the this great civilization and the language can be written in multiple scripts those of you that seen the exhibition downstairs will be aware of that so we have hieroglyphs the classical hieroglyphs that you see on the left hand side these are ones that dear to about 1200 BC and then we have a curse of hieroglyphs that we have there again a little bit of a shorthand that can be done very quickly written on Papyrus rather than carved onto the walls of an Egyptian tomb and if you did see the exhibition you will have seen these three objects that are fantastic and it I have to say it's a really great thing to see this exhibition here in lisburn because I think it's a real coup for for Northern Ireland to actually have the exhibition here as has already been said this is only in three places throughout the UK so to be here is fantastic if you haven't had the chance to see it I'd highly recommend you do so I think it finishes the 16th visit 12th of October so you've got around about three four weeks or so in order to do so some of the objects we've got include this large lintel of Ramesses III a pharaoh who ruled around about 1150 BC or we have a small ostracon which is basically a piece of limestone in which some of the workmen from probably Daryl Medina the workman's Community uh wrote little notes but certainly one of the most spectacular objects there is this paparis belonging to a lady called nessitanib ishiru and she lived around about 900 BC this Papyrus when it was originally discovered in 1881 was 20 I was 37 meters long but it was cut into 90 plus pieces as far as I know this is probably the first time that it's ever traveled abroad um so in fact I don't even think it's been displayed in the in the British museum much uh it was 10 years or so ago for an exhibition on the Book of the Dead But to have this here is really something because with it being Paris and the pigment on there it's very susceptible to light damage so it's an object that they don't display very often because of that now here we have a little bit of a quiz for people did you know that there are some words in English that actually can be traced back to the ancient Egyptian so I showed you the first word earlier a nice easy one deshret what do you think deshret means I said earlier desert so a nice easy one here we have the word for desert and you can see really how it sounds exactly the same yet this is a word to the Egyptians we're using 5000 years ago that's where we get the word Desert from what about the next word we've got on there per ah it's the It's associated with the King let's say to give you a little clue what do we usually call the king in the ancient Egypt pharaoh and it comes from the word which means the great ice so that's actually coming from the ancient Egyptian language that we've got there the next word what do you think ebony might be ebony I heard someone say it there and you can see we have this little determinative of a stick uh uh a wood a branch so the word ebony actually comes from ancient Egypt there's actually quite a lot of words that come from it here's the next one that we've got on here sesh now I I'll give you a little clue this determinative indicate indicates that it's a piece of textile so sesh sash the word sash comes from ancient Egypt so and then the last one that I've got on here this is a personal name this is somebody's name session what does that sound like Susan any Susan's in the the room we've got our Susan do you know what Susan means Lily exactly and you can see here that the Egyptian word for Lily is actually session that's where the word Susan comes from and then it's later used in the Hebrew the Hebrew is probably borrowing it from the Egyptian although there's the argument that perhaps the Egyptians are borrowing it from the Hebrew but possibly with Egyptian language being older this is actually where the word Susan is coming from did you know that no no there so it's really good that there's actually a lot of hieroglyphs and not hieroglyphs but Egyptian words that are still used today that you may not actually realize there's the the word Oasis and uh Ivory and a few other other ones that I I won't go into but for the ancient Egyptians they like to organize things they were very good at classifying uh things objects Etc and they also liked to organize their year we have 365 and a quarter days a year the ancient Egyptians actually had 365. it wasn't until much later that they developed that extra or recognized the extra quarter and had an extra day on top of it but they divided their year into 12 months and they had three seasons each of four months and here's a nice little representation from a tomb in which you see these three figures these three figures represent the three seasons uh we have the one over here called aket the next one is called peret and then we have Shamu and you can see inside their hands they hold um a little um oval ship uh object there it's not quite a Cartouche but it looks like it and each of them inside has a little hieroglyph written four times that's the word for month so they're holding four months each so the Egyptians like to categorize but also depict everything and the same goes for their gods the Egyptians had hundreds if not thousands of gods when you add in all of the different manifestations and these Gods could take many different forms so if you look at the three pictures that I've got here they all look very different than one another the one in the center is human-headed looks a bit like us the one on the left you've got um a private individual here who's holding a crocodile while the one on the right hand said you can see a pharaoh amanhita III who's next to a God who has the head of a crocodile these are actually all the same God called Sobek who's a crocodile God but they can depict them in many different ways they can even depict them in composite form have a look at this deity here this is a form of the god Bess who's shown with wings multiple Wings he's got multiple heads uh he's even got these little Jackal feet so Gods can be depicted in many different ways which again I think is why a lot of people are fascinated by it and they see these weird and wonderful images and some of the gods that you might be familiar with include for example ozarus on the left hand side and his brother Seth I'll give you a quick little story ozarus was the king of the Gods this is before humans really occupied the Earth he was the king of the Gods and all the gods were living living there happily and content everybody loved azaris except for his brother Seth Seth was very jealous of his brother because everybody liked him he was the king of Egypt etc etc so Seth decided Well I want to be king of Egypt and he devised a plan he made a sarcophagus or commissioned a sarcophagus for anybody who would fit exactly inside this sarcophagus he said I will give you this for your funeral because the Egyptians believe that the gods would die and this was the most beautiful sarcophagus ever made and he held a big banquet and he said whoever can lie in this perfectly will have the sarcophagus everybody tries all the gods none of them can fit then it comes to the turn of viserys he got inside and he fits exactly because his um Seth has managed to get the measurements probably knows him as his brother but also from his wife and has this coffin made exactly for him as soon as he's inside it he shuts the lid seals it shut throws it into the Nile and basically kills azaris there's a lot more to the story but we don't have time to go into but basically then you have Seth who becomes to a certain extent the ruler of Egypt for a brief period of time until you have Horus the son of azerus who takes over from his father or takes over from himself as the king of Egypt and each Furrow is seen as being an incarnation of the god Horus the Egyptians believed that they could communicate with the Gods in multiple ways so it wasn't just the pharaoh who we have here on the right hand side this is the Pharaoh seti the first from his Temple at abidos who's making an offer in burning incense towards the goddess Eris but you could also have private individuals this is one of the objects downstairs in the exhibition in which you have this really nice lady who's got a big table of offerings in front of the god Ray haracti a form of the sun god while if you look in the center you can see this individual whose kneeling down in adoration while you have the double images of the Goda moon at the top and you've got multiple ears well you may think why is there so many ears here sometimes you can get Steeler like this that have a hundred plus ears why well because the more ears on there the more chance the God is gonna hear your Purge at least that's how the ancient Egyptians believed so it's quite clever there's always logic behind what the ancient Egyptians do and they build these fantastic monuments such as temples this is the greatest Temple of all that was constructed in Egypt at the site of Karnak Karnak is I would say my favorite place to visit in Egypt I've been there probably uh a hundred times but every time I go to Karnak I see something new it's around about 180 Acres I think in terms of the size it's it's absolutely enormous that's just to give you a slightly aerial shot of it and then of you looking at John just one of the courtyards that we have there and it's built over a period of 2000 years furrows expanding upon it doesn't demolishing monuments of their predecessors and rebuilding it uh bigger and better than it had ever previously done before so the visit Karnak is really one of the great highlights from ancient Egypt and another monument that you should really visit if you get the opportunity is the Great temple of Abu symbol which was constructed carved directly out of the Rock so not built but carved it's the largest rock cut temple in Egypt so it was built around about 1250 BC by the furrow Ramesses II also known as Ramesses the Great and it contains these four large statues of the king one of which has unfortunately fallen down due to an earthquake but the amazing thing about this is not necessarily just the ancient engineering but the fact that in the 1960s during the construction of the dam at Aswan at this Monument was going to be flooded and it had to be completely demolished it was cut into fragments if you look closely you may even see some lines every now and again this Temple was cut into pieces and it was moved to a higher ground in order to to preserve it so it's amazing to see it in its location today Egyptian artwork is of course very famous the scenes that you find on the walls of the Egyptian tombs it's hard to believe that this image is 3400 years old it hasn't been repainted it hasn't been touched up yes it's been conserved in order to consolidate it so that the plaster won't fall off but that is all the original pigment and it depicts a man here called Neighbor Moon accompanied by his wife and their daughter out hunting in the marshes it's anybody got cats a few people do your cats bring your birds back yeah does any of your cats bring three birds back at one time this is quite a clever cat that one you can see that he's jumped in the air and he's caught three cats all at once so it's not your average cat and in fact it's not really an average cat because recent analysis that were carried out on this object I'd say recent about 20 years ago at the British museum actually revealed that this cat yes it might be a pet but for the ancient Egyptians it was also a representation of a God or a goddess because her eye is actually gilded with gold so it's not simply painted but it's the eye of Rey the manifestation of probably one of the goddesses bastet or segment who could take the form of a cat so it's a really stunning piece as is this one that object is four and a half thousand years old so it's even older than this but again you would think that this was created just just yesterday it's perfect but it hasn't been um added to or improved uh in recent years and it's a stealer belonging to a man called weapon neffer who's seated there in front of a large table of offerings ensuring that he's going to receive daily Provisions that he can survive in the afterlife because just like today that we need Provisions food water other sustenance the ancient Egyptians did likewise so the hieroglyphs actually show that we have one thousand the bread one thousand a beer one thousand of cattle one thousand a file one thousand of alabaster linen Etc everything that you need in the afterlife and just to show you a few close-ups of the hieroglyphs and I think this little toad you can see the detail on it some people actually believe that the Egyptians had no concept of Art they didn't have a word for art so it means that they had no appreciation of Art and I think if you look at this you could kind of really see that they must have because they could have simply drawn a toad very quickly without all the internal details Etc that you've got there but this person who's created this has gone to the attention and detail that you've got there to produce this beautiful image then we come to Egyptian Festival so I've mentioned the gods the hundreds of gods that were worshiped now if you've got hundreds of gods that obviously means you've got hundreds of festivals and in fact it does the Egyptians like the Good Festival they like the party uh Herodotus tells us that they had a festival one in every three days now that doesn't mean that every member of the population would have been involved in these some of them would have been localized not throughout the whole of the country some of them may have lasted for 15 days the priests been involved in 12 of them maybe the public and three of them so it's not as if the Egyptians are partying all year round but we do have Festival calendars such as this one at uh Medina Colombo which show us the different dates who they were associated with and we have a lot of pictorial representations so the first one that I'm going to talk about here is the beautiful Festival of the valley this was one of the most important festivals for Egyptians particularly in the area of Luxor modern-day Luxor or ancient Thebes as it was also called I put the Egyptian name up there and inet that's what they called which basically means the beautiful Festival of the valley that's the literal translation of it and I said first of all like I say that was associated with the theban region that took place from at least the Middle Kingdom possibly even earlier and the Middle Kingdom starts around about 2000 BC so this is an old Festival taken place in the country we've got a lot of information about it from tomb paintings this is actually a scene coming from a tomb uh I've um I've taken the image of these two two girls dancing there was a lot of partying dancing Etc that was taking place at it so more specifically It Started from the site of Karnak Karnak the Great temple on the East Bank of the Nile and during this Festival what would happen is the images of the local Gods who were worshiped within this Temple Amun along with his wife Mutt and their son konsu would travel across the river in Boots directly across up here to the Temple of hachip suit at Daryl bakri or in the Middle Kingdom to the Temple of montuhotep II just next door to it and they would stay there for a number of days have a nice time and then they would depart and go southwards to a place called Medina taboo now along the way they would be passing lots of temples as well as the tombs of the Nobles the individuals who were buried there and people could participate within this and then it would be back across the river again this time to Luxor Temple and to complete the full circle back up to Karnak again so it was a journey that took several days almost two weeks really for this whole festival depending on which period of time we are dealing with and we have lots of people celebrating here's a nice depiction from an early 18th Dynasty Tomb at a place called el cab so we're talking around about 1500 BC what do you think these people are doing someone say drink in there they are drinking and in fact you can see that we have little captions above their heads and they're going to tell us exactly what they're doing this one says drink until you're drunk make Festival the other one next to it says give me 18 jars of wine to be drunk is what I uh continually desire the place within me is of straw so they think think that they can drink so much because they've got a nice sturdy stomach for it and that's what the little captions will give her uh telling us what is actually happening now the beer and the way in ancient Egypt wasn't very strong so yes 18 jars of wine you would be thinking well you'd be totally drunk at that point but it's probably not very strong and it could be very small a jars of wine that they're also dealing with but that being said the Egyptians like to over indulge sometime in in drink and they even have a festival of drunkenness so which fits in with that why a festival of drunkenness well again this connects in with Egyptian mythology and I'll tell you a little story again there's a basically when when the gods are slightly ruling over the country they're still mankind here around because the Egyptians believed that the gods couldn't resist it couldn't exist without people because you needed people to worship the gods and so you've got people on Earth and they are worshiping the gods but the sun god Ray who's the most powerful God of all he starts to grow old his hair is gray his bones are a little bit weak and according to the Egyptian myth people start laughing at him they're not they're not um respecting him anymore so he gets his counsel of gods together and he says what shall we do and the smartest God of all Thoth he says well why don't you get your daughter your daughter um secmut who takes the form of a lioness now the Egyptians didn't worship animals they didn't worship cats Cows as many people think but they worship the concept of those animals so sakhmet is the goddess of war and destruction who takes the form of a lioness because it's the lionesses that go out hunting they're not worshiping the Lioness it's just the form that she takes and she's basically hungry for killing people so the godsend sent her out to kill lots and lots of people to punish them and then the gods relays actually if she keeps continuing we're going to have no people left and there's nobody going to be able to worship the gods and if nobody can worship the gods then we're gonna die because that will happen eventually and so the gods tell segment to stop but she's so thirsty for blood she doesn't want to stop and she continues and then they go to Thoth again the god of wisdom and knowledge and he says get lots and lots of wine mix it with red ocher so that it looks like blood and pour it out over the fields they do that and SEC mode sees all of this blood and she starts drinking it until she gets violently drunk and she decides she's got the worst hangover ever I never want to drink again I'm not going to kill anybody and the human race is saved so every year to mark this occasion the Egyptians have a festival of drunkenness as you do I see some years looking I'm probably thinking I'm making this up I'm not making this up this is true here's another scene of some people at a festival enjoying themselves lots of music and dancing Etc and drinking I'm sure on the top row there um some people what happens when you drink too much just like poor hathor here our segment you can see someone has had a little bit too much and has turned around and thrown up unfortunately on top of her um collie almost yeah and that does happen you do have representations of people being sick so yeah like everybody and of course it's a Friday night I'm sure everybody is going to be nice and responsible a little bit later but going back to the the gods now we know that the Egyptians had hundreds of gods here and I have a pharaoh here who's worshiping a God on the right hand side but who is that God and this is quite interesting because this is the Pharaoh Ramesses II but he's actually making an offering to the god Ramesses II he's making an offering to himself because the Egyptians believe that the Pharaoh was also in incarnation of the god Horus but in his own right the Pharaoh was a God you don't see it depicted so often the two main furrows that do so are Ramesses II and amanhita III two of the greatest rulers in Egyptian history but it does seem a little strange when you've got the king making an offering to himself there's this Cartouche directly in front of it but this time he's got a little disc on top of his head to show us that it's his Divine form that we're dealing with and with the furrows we're very fortunate that we know lots about them because their names have survived on monuments this is a Kings list that was written around about 1290 or so BC during the reign of seti the first and it gives us the names of 76 Kings some of the greatest rulers in Egypt are mentioned on here so we have Khufu the builder of the great pyramid at Giza his son jadefrey cafre the builder of the second Pyramid of Giza mankare etc etc these are all the fourth Dynasty and fifth Dynasty kings that we've got up there from 2600 at BC it's not given us any details about them except for their name there but we have other monuments other objects which do give us details this is one of the most important objects coming from ancient Egypt from the very beginning of Egyptian history this dates to about 3100 BC this has been the first furrows started to emerge from Egypt and it belongs to a man called namur namur whose name is written up there meaning something like Angry catfish not the most impressive name in English but perhaps it was in ancient Egypt uh and he's depicted here were in the white crown I'm smitting this enemy probably a rival King from the north of the country and on the opposite side he's Sean wearing the red Chrome these are the two crones of Upper and Lower Egypt and egyptologist used to believe that this was a representation of a king who had reunified the car or unified the country for the first time we now know from other archaeological information that the unification of Egypt took place uh several decades if not 100 plus years before this event so it's mainly commemorating it and we know about the Egyptian tombs something that the Egyptians are most famous for this is the settlement of Daryl Medina where you've got this pyramidal ship tomb Chapel outside of the Tomb itself and this community was responsible for carving the tombs in the Valley of the Kings of which there are 65 tombs I'll be coming on to in a little bit but what's really interesting is that the Egyptians often are often said to have this obsession with death everything is death orientated the tombs the objects Etc that's not the truth they're not obsessed with death they don't want to die they actually want to live which is why they believe that when they do die their life is a continuation of their current life everything is going to be the same but of course in order to get to the next life not everybody can be there is a selection process you have to have led a good life not told Any Lies not killed anybody not done this and that and that's what you have on this for Paris from The Book of the Dead in the British museum it's part of the negative confession chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead where these 42 gods that you have represented well ask a different question have you ever told Any Lies have you ever killed anybody have you ever done this and of course the answer is always no because if you have you won't have an afterlife but to make sure that you're telling the truth your heart is weighed against the feather of truth if your heart is heavier than the feather then it means that you've told a lie or you that you're not an honest person and so this monster called amut the Devourer she will eat your heart and you will die a second death you will not make it into the Afterlife so Egyptian religion and mythology is a little bit scary in a way what's really interesting though is that the Egyptians don't like to talk about death you never really see any texts or very rarely that such and such a person has died they don't use the word dead and there's lots of different words that they use instead I'm just putting some up on the screen here so they use the word moot that's the word to die but they very rarely use it unless they're talking about enemies it's okay to say that your enemy has died but you don't want to be centered about your family member or anything like that instead you'll use quite positive terms to refer to it so they use words such as meaning to Moor like a boat that has landed on the other side had to have to be a peace or to be at rest they use uh Habit and so Edge which means to pass away those who are Yonder indicating that the deceased have gone somewhere far away um the the weary ones that they're tired that they're they're not dead but they're simply in a state of sleep and the last one there senka F to go to one's car your car being your um kind of a bit like um a double in a way you're that that's connected to you so you're kind of going to your car who's going to receive the nourishment is this any different than us today what happens when one of our relatives or anything like that die you very rarely say here's some of the words that you've got very rarely say someone has died we may say um that they're passed on passed over passed away resting fell off his twig crooked it snuffed it kicked the bucket pushing up daisies things like that I'm sure you can think of lots of different terms that that we would use today why is it our kind of fear of talking about death and it's quite interesting that in 5000 years not much has changed between the ancient Egyptians and ourselves so something to really keep in mind when looking at that but the Egyptians also believe that they could communicate with their dad it wasn't the case of somebody had died you're never going to speak to them again because the Egyptians could or at least they believed that they could what we have on the left hand side is what's known as a letter to the dead and I'll come back to that in just a second and what we have on the right hand side is an ancestor bust and this is on display downstairs in the gallery it's a fantastic item I would say that this is really the highlight of the exhibition downstairs I would love it in Swansea love it in swanty but unfortunately it's never going to happen this is so a so-called ancestor Steeler and this would have been our ancestor statue or Boston would have been set up inside somebody's house uh this one is quite special in a way because it actually gives the name of the owner that you have on here ipet it doesn't always give you the name of the person but in this case we do have the name and it's shown us the name of an ancestor who has died a bit like um people in houses today and certainly during or shortly after the first world war but often have images of soldiers who had died in the first world war to memorialize them to remember them this is exactly what the ancient Egyptians are doing they of course didn't have photography so that's the closest thing that they would do but in order to communicate with the gods there were a number of different ways dreams especially and I'm sure you've all had dreams about relatives who have perhaps died that's the Egyptians way that's what they thought that they were doing that they were communicating with their deceased ancestors and they may learn something in that dream that they think is true and they try to communicate back because of course they can't really speak to them in the dream so instead they leave these behind letters to the dead you can see that this Pottery is inscribed with hieroglyphs and it's in a nice little bowl because the whole way that these worked is that you would write a letter to your deceased ancestor a relative and you would fill it with food and then you would place it in the Tomb and the deceased person would eat the food and then they would find the latter and think oh my relatives looking after me give me lots of food so they've written me a letter how nice of them but usually what you find with these letters it says how are you I hope you're well in the afterlife and everything is taken care of you but that thing that I did to you that made you ill forget about it look after me and stuff like that so it's often someone with a guilty conscious when they think oh well I must be hunted by this uh this relative of mine and they're trying to bribe them basically with food they're trying to hope that this ancestor is going to look after them so they're quite fascinating letters there's not many of them that have been found only around about 30 but they do give us a little bit of an insight into the mind of the ancient Egyptians and that's the word the ancient Egyptians thought that they would go when they died you saw the term earlier those who are younger which suggest that it's far away but it's also at the same place because the Egyptians were as I mentioned earlier very much an Agricultural Society and they believe that they would go to the fields the fields of reads fields of malachite Etc and you can see that there's a lot of agricultural scenes within the tombs of the Tomb owners this is um Cena German his wife um Nefertiti farming in the fields they would never be farming in the fields but they believed in the afterlife that just as in life there was the potential that you would have to be doing agricultural work so they're often depicted in such a capacity there's just a few of the terms that are used for the afterlife for the ancient Egyptians and with the tombs themselves there's lots of different types that we have this one is five thousand years old one of the earliest tombs in Egypt belonging to a ruler just at the end of the first dynasty around 2900 BC what you're looking at is the bit underground it's made out of mud brick so it's not of stone like the pyramids that you're familiar with today the Great Pyramids of Giza and the ones next to it of the queen Queens Etc what I'm going to do very quickly now because I know that I'm running out of time is just skip or just go through a few slides of some of the wonderful things because I'm sure you know wonderful things is in relation to Howard Carter and what he's seen when he looked through the doorway in the Tomb of Tutankhamun in November the 26th 1922 just over a hundred years ago now and Howard Carter supposedly asked him what did you see or what can you see and he responds wonderful things um actually in Carter's Dairy he says that he responds by saying it is wonderful so slightly different but it doesn't matter too much yes it was wonderful things and we'll see some of the pictures of those in just a second the Valley of the Kings is the Royal necropolis for 500 years on the West Bank of Luxor where there are 65 numbered tombs that have been discovered Tutankhamun's tomb number 62 was discovered in 1922 it wasn't until just 15 years ago that number 63 was discovered so people thought after Tutankhamun was found there was nothing left to find but in the last 15 years three terms have been identified albeit the last one is the weather there's a debate as to whether it's a an actual tumor or not but we'll leave that aside um and Tutankhamun's tomb is just here it's right next to a number of tombs in the Valley of the Kings particularly that of Ramesses the fifth and sixth that were built later and so during the building of Ramesses the fifth and sixth they had to excavate a lot of the debris or the the the the stone in order to uh really carve this tomb all that debris was placed on top of Tutankhamun's which is high remained buried for three and a half thousand years I mean they went inside or found the steps they uncovered the Royal seals with the name of Tutankhamun hard Carter on the 4th of November writes to Lord carnarvon his financial backer then at last made wonderful Discovery in Valley a magnificent tomb with seals intact recovered CM for your arrival congratulations so he actually had to cover up this tomb for three weeks while he waited for Lord carnarvon to come which I'm sure must have been absolutely both terrifying and frustrating that you have to wait so long to see what is inside because it was very clear from the seals that nobody had been in this tomb for three thousand plus years and in the Valley of the Kings that's pretty much unheard of in fact most of Egypt it's almost unheard of but when they did go inside and open the doorway this is the site that they saw this is the anti-chamber as it's referred to filled with all of this these objects the various couches at the back which are lined with gold uh you have food offerings down at the bottom to ensure that this is plenty of nourishment you have various chariots food stools boxes and what I've done over the next few pictures I'm going to show you some of the colorized images that have been done recently there were no color photography at the time but they've been digitally remastered in order to show you what it may have looked like this is the doorway that leads through to the burial chamber which is guarded by these two Guardians representations of Tutankhamun on either side there's um Lord Howard Carter as he's breaking through into the burial chamber and you can just about see the gold shrines that are directly behind fill in the whole room beyond that of course a lot of work had to be done in packing up the objects it took Howard Carter 10 years to completely excavate the tomb it's one of the smallest tombs in the valley the size wasn't the problem it was the fact that there were around about 5000 plus objects that were in there and of course they're three and a half thousand years old so a lot of them are quite fragile they have to be carefully packed oh what have I pushed I think I pushed the wrong button there um they had to be carefully packed with linen uh they may have had to be Consolidated by one of the conservators and stuff who was on site there and here you can see the conservator who is working on this uh in order to ensure that the object is going to survive the journey because it has to travel to Cairo rather than stay in Luxor all of the well most of the objects are in the Cairo museum at the minute they are going to be moved to the Grand Egyptian museum which is a new Museum in Egypt which is Duty open potentially at the end of this year so that's at least the latest news but let's see it's going to be the biggest Museum in the world and it'll contain all of the objects from Tutankhamun's tomb ah and this is the site that reached them when they got to the burial chamber and they started opening the shrines and they found again that it was nicely sealed with the stamp of Tutankhamun or the stamp of the necropolis here again indicating that nobody had ever been here before and they're about to enter into the burial chamber looking into the shrines there were four shrines completely covering the sarcophagus containing the body of Tutankhamun and the coffins were nested inside one another a bit like a Russian doll so it wasn't just one coffin that he was inside but several made out of either solid gold are made out of wood which was then gilded uh depending on the one and then coming down onto the mask of Tutankhamun this gold mask that is actually covered with all of this jewelry there were over a hundred items of jewelry on his body there was a wreath that was around his neck probably placed there by his young wife Uncle Cena moon on the day of his burial he was only around about 20 years of age when he died quite young we still don't really know why there's a lot of different suggestions out there and medical examinations of his body have been undertaken but it is very much debatable there's other rooms this room here is often referred to as the treasury by egyptologists because it did contain some real Treasures in the air this chest of Anubis which contained some of the linen some of the clothing that the boy king would have worn the shrine that you see in the background which contained his internal organs here it is this the shrine contained the canopic jars that were used for the embalming ritual you've got each side protected by one of these goddesses this is the Goddess selket that you have there absolutely stunning a piece of um piece of art and this is one of the canopic jar lids that you have there you had four jars that would have protected his internal organs his intestines his liver stomach and lungs uh another close-up of one of the Anubis statues that you you had there you can see the detail on this look at the rib cage and stuff that you've got there this isn't just something that is made very very quickly but there's a lot of Art and craftsmanship that has given into the production of this particular piece and I'm going to skip through the other slides very quickly his uh his throne that was probably his coronation Throne because it's got his early name Tutankhamun actually had an older name he used to be called toot ankh atan because the aten was The God Who was worshiped at the time that he came to the throne and then they reverted back to the god Amun so it's got tutank art in there indicating that this is a child's Throne indicating that it was when he within the first two to three years of his life so it was probably the The Throne that he sat on during his coronation boxes that are beautifully produced containing elements of clothing all the linen and there was a lot of linen that was found within his tomb so a nice connection here with uh with the museum some board games in case he gets a little bored this is a board game of Senate uh quite well known a bit like drafts in the way the aim of the game to get all your your counters off the board the first person who does so wins lots of statues of various different gods shop T figures there were 415 of these found within the tomb Shakti figures are basically a bit like often referred to as servant figures to do all the work for you in the afterlife and even though the king is um is obviously a king the Shakti spell that you have on here requests that it basically says oh you shabti if I am called upon to do any of the work in the afterlife to irrigate the feels to move sand from the East to the West etc etc as a man of his duty you must say here I am and this little Shakti figure will jump up and he will do all the work for you in the afterlife I'm sure everybody would love a shop tea for their housework what if I was to say that the idea of shaptis and the whole belief that these shaktis could do the work for you in the afterlife inspired a Disney movie anybody know what Disney movie no yes The Sorcerer's Apprentice yeah Fantasia where you have the broomsticks doing all the work in the kitchen yeah so kind of going back to ancient Egyptian it actually goes back to the Greek but the Greeks were taken it it seems from ancient Egypt so a lot of kind of connections that you may not necessarily see beautiful jewelry that was found on the king's body no of course there's this conception that egyptology and Archeology is all about Indiana Jones Carrying Your Weapon your gun and hat and a nice leather jacket that never gets dusty or anything like that in reality that's not quite uh what it's like I've been fortunate enough to have worked in Egypt since 2010 on a number of archaeological missions and a lot of work that is done nowadays is often done on the computer and also not just archeology but conservation research publication all of that goes into it it's not treasure hunting which people might see so this is a photograph taken of me in July this year working on a project known as the saith conservation project where I'll explain about the team in just a second I'm using a computer in order to help identify the text and to publish them in fourth common Publications on the tomb the South as a thief conservation project where I've been working since 2010 is on the West Bank of Luxor and it's underneath these houses that's a village that was built on top of it probably about 150 years ago the houses were removed in 2008 by the Egyptian government and the necropolis we're not working on so you can see one of the tombs there there's another one just here and the other one is directly under the houses if you've been to Egypt some of these may have been to the ramosium which is just here and here's an aerial view that was taken of it around about six or seven years ago where you've got these three large Monumental tombs the tomb that I'm primarily working on is this one belonging to a man called karaka Moon who lived around about 750 years ago and he was a Nubian he was from Sudan modern-day Sudan today when the Nubian Kings were ruling over the country now you can see that the roof is completely missing from this and that is because the tomb collapsed probably because of the weight of the houses above but also through flooding through Corian that was taking place in the Tomb so when we get into oh here's a photograph of one of the coffins that we found in the Tomb the neighboring one um carabascan just over here this is a 10 ton sarcophagus which nobody had seen in several thousand years and we found I think in 2017 when we were working at the site so absolutely massive but this official would have been buried inside there you can see from me standing next to it just the scale of this particular piece now when we got into the tomb of cargo Moon we were finding that the walls and the pillars and the architecture was largely destroyed you can see here that the walls are really only preserved to 30 40 sometimes 50 centimeters in height there's not much there but what we did find is around about 20 to 30 000 fragments of stone Limestone carved with hieroglyphs with depictions what do you do with all that well we decided we were going to build it put it all back together again so here's a photograph taken in 2000 where we actually rebuilt that pillar and added this scene we're now two and a half meters up in the air that's the top of a pillar that would have held up the first pillard Hall with the Egyptian colleagues conservators fantastic group of people at working at the site we couldn't do this work without them so that photograph that I showed you back here that's the false door you've just got the feet of the goddesserys in the false door that's what it looks like now so the feet are just down there we've completely rebuilt um the pillars around it put on a wooden roof and we're actually working now on putting a stone roof on there because we have so much of a stone fragments that have survived whereas if we look in the first pillared Hall that's what it looked like in 2009 pillars that are virtually non-existent but we've rebuilt them with new Limestone you can see the new Limestone there but what we're actually doing is identifying the fragment and when we do we simply cut a pocket and put the fragment in there so every year we're identifying new ones and we're helping to bring this tomb back to life again which is a unique project there's not many that do that so it's not all archeology is not all about looking for Treasure but it's also about preservation restoring uninsuring that these monuments are going to survive for thousands and thousands of years into the future so just to finish off I'd like to thank everybody for coming today and of course like to thank takabuti because without takabudi I wouldn't be here today given this talk and I probably wouldn't be in Swansea as an egyptologist so mummies certainly do inspire people I know there is the whole ethics of whether mummies should be displayed or not in museums which is something that perhaps some of you want to ask a question about but we'll I guess find out have a thank you everyone for coming [Applause] what is the price thing the beauty in that tank what is the modern thing working at the site or anything may have to come back to that one I mean I suppose getting my PhD in egyptology becoming a doctor of the subject and thinking back to the time that I was a young boy here in Belfast going to school getting a levels which was a c and two e's not very good terrible to be honest not something to be proud of but I managed to get into Swansea to do egyptology my writing was awful it still is probably um but I've improved year by year and I managed to get a PhD and I think that is probably one of the protest achievements that I have so my question would be out of everything you've done whilst you were in Egypt what moment do you revisit when you are trying to convince yourself that actually you've done these things um yeah another really difficult question I I mean it would probably have to be the tomb of carcamoon because of the achievements that we've done there and when I'm out there with the project and we always every year we say we could never have imagined what this was like in 2010 when we sat in the first the second pillar at Hall when we were Excavating at so much debris finding virtually nothing of the architecture at that stage we had no plan to reconstruct the tomb and to think 13 years later here we are with the tomb that's structurally nigh intact again it was never part of the plan back then but to see it and to walk into that to him every time it's it's still mind blown yeah to think that we've done that thank you you're very welcome um I just was noticing the um photograph of of Tutankhamun's fears and I wondered how did they do that I mean how it's so lifelike well I mean this is the thing that um which one are you talking about now the mask this one here yeah um there's a whole debate as to whether it's life-like or not um it's very clear that the ancient Egyptians did have a different portraiture for each Furrow whether that's what they really looked like or not we can never really say but The Artisans that you had at the time these are really highly skilled metal workers or stone workers who don't have distractions from TVs or mobile phones or anything like that who take real quality in the job and the execution that they're doing um and I think that's why they can do it they are highly highly skilled people and that's something that we can't really forget that they are the best of the best that are producing these works of art and they are works of art for the king of Egypt so it's going to be the best Craftsman in Egypt who's producing that hopefully that's answered the question ties into working within the tombs of people and the sort of like moral and ethics obviously you we build in the Tomb um you know rebuilds the tomb for that person and how does that play in with your work in Egypt specifically yeah very good questions and there's a couple of couple of things there that you've highlight first of all there's the ethics of the display of of human remains and I should say at the Egypt Center where we work we've had a policy since the museum opened up not displaying human remains uh that was a policy that was introduced by our curator at the time Carolyn Graves Brown when she took over in 1997 and it's been like that ever since uh what I would say certainly at the Egypt Center is we don't have any human remains like takaburi that is a complete body but instead we have arms legs heads bits that are a little bit too gruesome to really put on display on their own it's more of a type of Cabinet of Curiosities in a way that would have been done 100 150 years ago I've certainly seen where you've gone to museums and you have school groups who run around and they often go to the British Museum and they have them uh the the remains of ginger as he's been called in there and they they point and laugh and giggle and stuff like that and that's definitely something that we don't want uh and I think that's why a lot of museums have moved away from Putin human remains on display and even moving away from the term mummy that should we be used in the term mummy which is more of a western concept should we be calling them instead human remains human body and given uh identifying this person not as an object but as an actual person and I think that's important um I have seen mummies or human remains that have been displayed with dignity and I think certainly takabuti has done in a very good way as are mummies and human remains in the Cairo Museum Luxor Museum and elsewhere and another good example is Bristol Museum what they've got there is a human remains on display but they're in the glass case that you can't actually see the the the remains until you push two buttons so you have to actually consciously push those buttons in order to see the human remain so that it is done with dignity there's also the issue that the ancient Egyptians believe that in order to uh in order for someone to have an afterlife their body needed to survive uh but also their name needed to survive now let's look at the case of takaburi if takabuti wasn't on display in the Ulster Museum would her name survive would we know of the existence of takabudi I'm sure many of us are familiar with it um I know like I said a lot of school kids when I was growing up they all knew who takaburi was because they'd seen her mummy if she was in storage there would be no signage to say that there's a lady called takaburi and her name is unique there's no other individual that we are aware of who has the name takaburi it's a it's a really interesting name as to what the origins might be it's possibly even a Nubian name not a

2023-10-27 11:45

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