Ancient Egypt Boat Ship Building Nile Barge Navy Fishing Ports Yards Khufu Giza

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Seller: ancientgifts (4,777) 100%, Location: Lummi Island, Washington, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 382506989533 "Egyptian Bookshelf: Boats" by Dilwyn Jones. NOTE: We have 75,000 books in our library, almost 10,000 different titles. Odds are we have other copies of this same title in varying conditions, some less expensive, some better condition. We might also have different editions as well (some paperback, some hardcover, oftentimes international editions). If you don’t see what you want, please contact us and ask. We’re happy to send you a summary of the differing conditions and prices we may have for the same title. DESCRIPTION: Softcover. Publisher: University of Texas (1995). Pages: 96. Size: 9½ x 6¾ inches; 1 pound. Summary: Drawing on archaeological and literary evidence, Dilwyn Jones examines the importance of the boat in Egyptian ritual and belief, as well as in everyday life. The sun god was thought to travel across the sky in a solar boat, and Egyptians believed that the deserving might join the god Osiris in his divine bark after death. Boats played an important part in funerary ritual; models were often placed in tombs to provide the deceased with safe passage through the Winding Waterway in the underworld. Also, boats are frequently depicted in tomb paintings. The Nile has always been a vital transport artery for Egypt and boats the principal means of travel. Early papyrus skiffs gradually gave way to wooden craft of increasing size and sophistication, ranging from fishing boats and barges to seagoing warships, splendid ships of state and enormous obelisk barges used to transport stone to temples and monuments. Dilwyn Jones traces the development of the different types of boats and the techniques of their construction through the Old, Middle, and New Kingdom periods. The book is illustrated with photographs of boat models and paintings and with line drawings. CONDITION: LIKE NEW. Unread oversized softcover. University of Texas (1995) 96 pages. Unread and "new" in that sense, but "remaindered" and slightly shelfworn. Looks like a surplus book from a university bookstore. Has an inked stamp to the bottom surface of the closed page edges "hurt books". The ink stamping is not visible of course on individual opened pages, only to the mass of closed page edges. Inside the book is pristine, pages are clean, crisp, (otherwise) unmarked, unmutilated, tightly bound, unambiguously unread. Outside the book is clean and unsoiled but does evidence mild edge and corner shelfwear to the covers, principally in the form of very mild "crinkling" to the cover spine head and heel, as well as the cover "tips" (the four open corners of the covers, top and bottom, front and back). The top corner of the back cover evidences a "stress mark"; not a sharp crease from being folded; just the faint stress mark/crease "shadow" where the cover was perhaps caught when being shelved between two books, and bent a bit (but not folded), resulting in a faint stress mark which can best be observed when holding the book up to a light source and intently inspecting it. There's also very faint "crinkling" here and there to the open edges of the covers, again, discernible if you hold the book up to a light source and scrutinize it closely (yeah, we're nitpicking). Condition is entirely consistent with a new (albeit "remaindered", or surplus) book from a bookstore environment wherein new books might show mild indications of shelfwear consequence of routine handling and simply the ordeal of being shelved and re-shelved (university bookstores are especially active environments). Satisfaction unconditionally guaranteed. In stock, ready to ship. No disappointments, no excuses. PROMPT SHIPPING! HEAVILY PADDED, DAMAGE-FREE PACKAGING! #1577d. PLEASE SEE DESCRIPTIONS AND IMAGES BELOW FOR DETAILED REVIEWS AND FOR PAGES OF PICTURES FROM INSIDE OF BOOK. PLEASE SEE PUBLISHER, PROFESSIONAL, AND READER REVIEWS BELOW. PUBLISHER REVIEWS: REVIEW: Examines the importance of the boat in Egyptian ritual and belief as well as in everyday life. Traces the development of the different types of boat and the techniques of their construction through the Old, Middle and New Kingdom periods. Illustrated with photos of boat models (8 color plates), paintings and line drawings. Glossary, illustration acknowledgements and index. TABLE OF CONTENTS: 1) Boats in Ritual and Belief. --Ships in Funerary Beliefs. --Funerary Texts and Underworld Books. --Funerary Journeys. --Sacred Books. 2) Sources of Evidence:. --Boat Models. --Boat Pits. 3) Ancient Egyptian Boats. --Old Kingdom. --Middle Kingdom. --New Kingdom. --Late New Kingdom. --King’s Ship of State. --Obelisk Barges. --Decoration. --Paddling/Rowing. --Equipment. --Ballast. --Crew Members. 4) Boat Building. --Woodworking Techniques. --Boat Building. --Dockyards/Harbors. --Dockyard and Port Personnel. Conclusion. Glossary of Terms. Further Reading. Appendix. Reisner Types. Tutankhamun Types. Index. PROFESSIONAL REVIEWS: REVIEW: The author traces the development of the different types of boats and the techniques of their construction through the Old, Middle, and New Kingdom periods. From the Egyptian Bookshelf series. A well-written and vital study. REVIEW: Examines the different types of boats, their methods of construction, and an analysis of their use, both for practical and ritual purposes. Compact yet informative, superbly written. READER REVIEWS: REVIEW: This brief gem is out of print and hard to get. Jones gives a detailed verbal description of boat construction in Egypt, based on model boats found in tombs and the few known remains of real boats, including Khufu's magnificent funeral barge at Giza. The bipod mast is explained as a device to reduce structural stress on the earliest papyrus craft. Boats are distinguished by purpose--ceremonial boats remained "papyriform," with incurved stem and stern, even though made of wood, while cargo boats had a more practical design. The crew roles of "caller at the front," rowers, and others are reconstructed from texts and iconography. REVIEW: A study of boats and ships in ancient Egypt. Based on archaeological and literary evidence, an examination of the importance of the boat in Egyptian ritual and belief. Absolutely compelling and fascinating if you are a serious enthusiast of the archaeology of ancient Egypt. Wonderful models as well as copies of ancient depictions of Nile river craft. Highly recommended to be a part of any serious Egyptophile’s library! REVIEW: Five stars! Not many books available about boats in Ancient Egypt. I teach elementary school students about ancient history. I try to change crafts approach to history to keep my students happy about the subject. Excellent explanatory text and great illustrations, could not ask for more ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND: REVIEW: A great video which describes Egyptian shipbuilding and seafaring techniques. The Egyptians were advanced shipbuilders and these details are examined. ( REVIEW: Ancient Egyptians pioneered the development of river craft and various types of Egyptian Boats and ships were built. The Nile provided an excellent means of transport and every corner of the city could be reached by boats. Need for an efficient navy was recognized by Pharaohs like Senefru who had a fleet of 40 ships. Ships and Egyptian Boats were built for fishing, trade, transportation, processions and travel. Agricultural produce, troops, cattle, stone and funeral processions were all carried on the Nile and its canals. Animals and goods were transported. For Egyptians, both building and rowing a boat were not easy jobs. The wood was cut with a chisel. Mainly three types of Egyptian boats for different purposes were made in ancient Egypt. Simple reed rafts were used mostly for hunting in marshes. Eventually, stronger wooden boats were used for lengthy ocean excursions as well as to transport boulder blocks weighing many tons. The third type of boat was the papyri from the boat. Papyrus boats were used for daily activities like hunting or religious ceremonies. These boats were made of bundles of bound papyrus reeds, and were lashed together into a long thin hull form in the style of a slight crescent. Sailboats were also in use which had one square sail. The elegant Funeral boats were used to carry the dead across Nile river. They were buried along with the dead. When this became expensive, models of boats were buried. Military ships gradually evolved. Model boats for the symbolic journey of the sun god were also found. The earliest record of a ship under sail is depicted on an Egyptian pot dating back to 3200 B.C. These Egyptian boats were made of either native woods or conifers from Lebanon. Cedar was important as a boat building material. Boats were often named. The world’s oldest boat is found in the pyramid of King Khufu. It is a good example of papyri from a boat. The pieces were found unassembled. Some believe it was for the king to use in his afterlife. The Abydos boats were discovered in 2000. They are a great white, ‘ghostly’ fleet of 14 boats. They were about 25 meters long, two to three meters wide and about sixty centimeters deep, seating 30 rowers. The pharaohs prided themselves on their pleasure boats with multiple decks containing cabins, kitchens, dining rooms and lounges. [AncientEgyptianArtifacts.Com]. REVIEW: Several Ancient Egyptian solar ships and boat pits were found in many Ancient Egyptian sites. The most famous is the Khufu ship now preserved in the Giza Solar boat museum beside the Great pyramid at Giza. The full-sized ships or boats were buried near Ancient Egyptians' Pyramids or Temples at many sites. The history and function of the ships are not precisely known. They might be of the type known as a "solar barge", a ritual vessel to carry the resurrected king with the sun god Ra across the heavens. However, some ships bear signs of being used in water, and it is possible that these ships were a funerary "barge". Seven boat pits have been identified around the Great Pyramid. Five of which belong to the Great Pyramid proper. The other 2 are associated with the pyramid of Hetepheres and the pyramid of the Ka. Khufu's boat pits are located on the eastern side of the pyramid and the southern side. The Khufu ship is an intact full-size vessel from Ancient Egypt that was sealed into a pit in the Giza pyramid complex at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Giza around 2500 B.C. It was thus identified as the world's oldest intact ship and has been described as "a masterpiece of woodcraft" that could sail today if put into water. The Khufu ship is one of the oldest, largest, and best-preserved vessels from antiquity. It measures 43.6 m (143 ft) long and 5.9 m (19.5 ft) wide. The ship was one of two rediscovered in 1954 by Kamal el-Mallakh – undisturbed since it was sealed into a pit carved out of the Giza bedrock. It took years for the boat to be painstakingly reassembled, primarily by the Egyptian Department of Antiquities’ chief restorer, Ahmed Youssef Moustafa (later known as Haj Ahmed Youssef). The ship is today housed in The Khufu Boat Museum, a small modern facility built in 1982 resting alongside the Great Pyramid. In one of the southern boat pits a disassembled wooden barge was discovered in 1954. It has been reconstructed and resides in the boat shaped museum.In 1987, the western boat pit at the Great Pyramid was examined by a microprobe inserted through a hole drilled into the pit, confirming the presence of a second wooden boat similar to the first. It was originally decided that the second boat should remain in its pit, in conditions which made its preservation near perfect. The second solar boat of Khufu is being excavated in 2012-2013 and is going to be reconstructed. Sakuji Yoshimura, a Waseda University professor who is leading the restoration project with Egypt's Antiquities Council, said (June 2011) that scientists discovered that this second ship is inscribed with Khufu's name. Khafre’s pyramid has five pits that once contained funeral boats. One known boat pit is alongside the east face of Khafre’s pyramid Another two of the covered boat pits of Khafre lie on the east side of the pyramid and covered boat pit lies on the south side of the mortuary temple of Khafre. A few hundred meters to the north of Abusir, about six miles southwest of Cairo is the sun temple known as Abu Gorab. There lies the ruins of Niuserre's temple, Outside the temple proper and near its southern side, the German expedition also discovered a large building in the shape of a boat. This was a pit, lined with mud bricks which was at one time plastered, whitewashed and colored. This structure was augmented with several other elements made from different materials such as wood. This structure is believed to have been purely symbolic, representing a "solar boat" in which the sun god was supposed to have floated across the heavenly ocean. The pit might have contained a boat. A wooden funerary boat thought to have once belonged to First Dynasty King Den has been discovered at Abu Roash, the place of the pyramid of Khufu’s son, Djedefre. Unearthed in the northern area of Mastaba number six (a flat-roofed burial structure) at the archaeological site, boat consists of 11 large wooden planks reaching six metres high and 150 metres wide. Two boats were discovered at Abu Rawash. At the complex of Djedefre, Emile Chassinat, between 1900 and 1902, discovered the remains of a funerary settlement and a boat pit. The solar boat pit is situated on the east side of the pyramid. It is a ditch 35 meters long cut out of the living limestone. It is destined for the royal boat. The beautiful heads carved into the likeness of Djedefre were found there. Neferirkare's pyramid at Abusir was the largest structure in the region. Large wooden boats were buried outside the pyramid in its courtyard on the north and south sides. Archaeologists discovered them by their mention in a cache of papyrus found within the mortuary temple, but unfortunately, when they excavated the southern boat pit, only dust remained of the boat itself. In 1991 in the desert near the temple of Khentyamentiu near Abydos, archaeologists uncovered the remains of the 14 ships dating back to the early first dynasty (2950-2775 B.C.), possibly associated with Hor-Aha. These 75-foot-long ships are buried side by side and have wooden hulls, rough stone boulders which were used as anchors, and "sewn" wooden planks. Also found within their desert graves were remains of the woven straps that joined the planks, as well as reed bundles that were used to seal seams between planks. Abydos had at least a dozen boat graves adjacent to a massive funerary enclosure for the late Dynasty II (circa 2675 B.C.) Pharaoh Khasekhemwy. Their age should be more than 400 years older than Khufu's (Cheops) ships. The boats were 25 meters long, 2.5 meters wide and about 0.5 meters deep, seating about 30 rowers. They had narrowing sterns and prows and they were painted. They are in meaning and function the direct ancestors of the boat recovered at Khufu's Great Pyramid at Giza. The ships are possibly associated with King Aha, the first ruler of that dynasty. The length of the structures varied from nearly 20 to 27 meters. These are the world's most ancient planked hulls. The traditions of the hull construction seen in all the excavated vessels continued through the end of the sixth century B.C. and, with the substitution of nails for mortise-and-tenon joints, into the present. An abandoned freighter, stripped of its internal timbers and left on a small branch of the Nile near Mataria (ancient Heliopolis, north of modern Cairo) provides the first instance of pegged mortise-and-tenon joints in an Egyptian hull. Not all joints were through-fastened, and the pegs, or treenails, may also have fastened frames to the hull, but for this marks a dramatic departure from previous shipbuilding techniques. Six boats of Middle Kingdom date were found at Dahshur. They are about 10 meters long each. In 1893 Jacques de Morgan discovered six boats near the Middle Kingdom pyramid of Senwosret III at Dashur. He made drawings and measurements of only one boat (the White boat) from the cache at Dahshur. One of the ships measure 18 meters. Excavations conducted in A.D. 1894 and 1895 by French archaeologist Jean-Jacques de Morgan at the funerary complex of Senwosret III on the plain of Dahshur revealed five or six small boats. Today, only four of the "Dahshur boats" can be located with certainty; two are in the United States, one in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh and one in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. The remaining two are on display in The Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Since their excavation these boats remained relatively inconspicuous until the mid-1980s when a study of the two hulls in the United States was conducted. Amenemhat III's Solar ship pit was discovered at the south perimeter of his pyramid, it measured 15 meter by 5.57 meters. At Saqqarah a 'model estate' and funerary boat was found by W. Emery (in 1957-8; tomb S 3357). At least 3 mud-brick boat graves were associated with First Dynasty rulers and high-ranking officials. The Unas pyramid at Saqqarah has two boats. One the boat pits is 44 meter long and is located 150 meter away from the remains of the funeral temple. Lined with limestone blocks these boat pits are thought to have been simulacra of solar boats. Remains of Old Kingdom boats were found at Tarkhan. Archaic boats had been found at Helwan by Z. Saad. In total 4 or 5 boat burials were found at Helwan, as well as at the northerly Abydos site of the Royal enclosures. Forty timbers were found in excavations near the Pyramid of Senusret I in Lisht. They were identified as part of vessel or vessels. Amenemhat I's Pyramid Solar boat is present at the Western Perimeter of the wall of Amenemhat I pyramid at Lisht. A mudbrick boat pit has also been found outside Amenemhat I’s pyramid western perimeter wall. Excavation of the remains of seagoing ships at Wadi/Mersa Gawasis, south of Safaga on the Egyptian Red Sea coast, in 2004–05 and 2005–06 provides extensive physical evidence for construction techniques, wood selection, and recycling and re-use practices of the ancient Egyptians. Discoveries at Gawasis prove that common Egyptian river-oriented design and construction techniques were successful both on the Nile and at sea. [Wikipedia]. REVIEW: The Abydos boats were discovered in October 2000. Initially, they appeared to be a white, ‘ghostly’ fleet of 14 boat images in the desert sand. They are not the oldest boat remains to be discovered in Egypt as is sometimes proclaimed, but they have proved to be important to the history of Egyptian boat design and nautical architecture. On October 31, 2000 the University of Pennsylvania Museum and Yale University Expedition to Abydos, Egypt issued a press release in which they described the discovery of the royal solar boats at Abydos. At a site a mile distant from the royal tombs, lines of mud brick uncovered by blowing sand were first noticed in 1988. Although the Abydos boats are not the oldest boat remains to be discovered in Egypt, nor are they the world's first boats as is sometimes proclaimed, they are extremely important to the history of boat design and nautical architecture. Understandably, these brick remains at Abydos were first thought to be walls. In 1991, an important clarification was made. A research consensus decided these bricks were remnants of ancient walls after all, but not in the usual sense. They were actually the boundaries for more than a dozen ship burials from an early dynasty. Each ship grave had its own brick boundary walls. The outline of each grave was in the shape of a boat, and the surface of each was covered with mud plaster and white wash. Small boulders at the prow or stern of each grave represented anchors. Because of the fragility of the boat remains, almost no excavation was done initially as the situation had to be carefully studied for future conservation. The one exception to the supposed 'look but don't touch' policy was the so-named boat no. 10, which was slowly appearing due to apparent soil erosion. For five days, archaeologists carefully examined the midsection of the ship. They uncovered wooden planks, disintegrated rope, and reed bundles. Wood-eating ants had reduced much of the ship's hull to frass (ant excrement), but the frass had retained the shape of the original hull. The midsection of this boat revealed the construction methods used and confirmed the oldest ‘planked’ constructed boat yet discovered. The boat's construction revealed it had been constructed from the outside in, as there was no internal frame. Averaging 75 ft long and 7–10 ft wide at their greatest width, these boats were only about two feet deep, with narrow prows and sterns. Several boats were white-plastered, as were the Abydos tombs, and no. 10 was painted yellow. “One of the most important indigenous woodworking techniques was the fixed Mortise and tenon joint. A fixed tenon is made by shaping the end of one timber to fit into a mortise (hole) that is cut into a second timber. A variation of this joint using a free tenon eventually became one of the most important features in Mediterranean and Egyptian shipbuilding. It creates a union between two planks or other components by inserting a separate tenon into a cavity (mortise) of the corresponding size cut into each component." Seams between planks were filled with reed bundles, reeds also covered the floor of each Abydos boat. Without internal framing, some of these boats became twisted, as was unavoidable without an internal skeleton for support when out of the water. The wood of the Abydos boats was local Tamarix - tamarisk, salt cedar - not cedar from Lebanon which was used for Khufu’s Solar Barque and favored for shipbuilding in Egypt in later dynasties. Lebanon cedar was used for the poles and beams of the Umm el-Qa'ab tombs and had already been imported earlier; pigment residues hinted at bright colors. The wood planks were painted yellow on their outside and traces of white pigment have also been found. “A part of the mud brick casing suggests that there could have been a support for poles/pennants on top of the boats, as in the boats depicted on pottery or atop the archaic shrines onto some mace heads/palettes.” This technology for ship construction persisted in Egypt for more than one thousand years and the standardization of this earliest phase of plank boat construction in Egypt is striking. To scholars, the use of unpegged joints seems odd, if not eccentric, and is not found in well established, ancient Mediterranean shipbuilding traditions. This approach allowed Egyptian boats used in trade to be easily disassembled, the planks transported long distances through the desert and then re-assembled to be used on important trading routes such as those in the Red Sea. There are pictographs of boats dating from Predynastic Egypt and the First Dynasty along the first half of the route in the desert known to be used to reach the Red Sea from Upper Egypt. A sketch on an ostracon found at depicts priests carrying the Solar Bark of Amun across the desert. This rock art is not only evidence for take apart, portable boats, but has magical significance as well. The Abydos boats were found in boat graves with their prows pointed towards the Nile. Experts consider them to have been the royal boats intended for the Pharaoh in the afterlife. Umm el-Qa'ab is a royal necropolis that is about one mile from the Abydos boat graves where early pharaohs were entombed. The Abydos boats are the predecessors of the great solar boats of later dynasties upon which the Pharaoh joined the Sun God Ra and together journeyed down the sacred Nile during the day. They would have had many of the important attributes and metaphors that were attached to the Solar Barks of later dynasties, and indeed perhaps should be called Solar Boats of an earlier design. The Khufu ship, built for the Pharaoh Khufu - Cheops - ca. 2500 BC., is usually identified as the earliest Solar Ship. It was buried in a pit at the foot of the Great Pyramid at Giza. The Abydos boat graves were adjacent to a massive funerary enclosure for the late Dynasty II (circa 2675 B.C.) Pharaoh Khasekhemwy at Abydos which is 8 miles from the Nile. Umm el-Qa'ab is a royal necropolis at Abydos, Egypt where early pharaohs were entombed. However, these boat graves were established earlier than late in Dynasty II, perhaps for the afterlife journeys of Hor-Aha, the first king (circa about 2920–2770) of the First Dynasty of Egypt, or Pharaoh Djer also of Dynasty I. Two more recently located mortuary discoveries have been identified as those of King Aha, who may have been the son of the famous King Narmer, to whom the first unification of Upper and Lower Egypt is often attributed. The Abydos boats are not the only find of First Dynasty ships. 19 boat burials were found at Helwan by Z. Saad, but only four out of these were poorly published. Six boat graves were found at Saqqara by Walter Bryan Emery of which again only four were published. Finally two full-sized model boats made out of clay are known from Abu Roash Hill. Helwan (a suburb of Cairo on eastern side of Nile) contain a huge cemetery field 20 km south of Cairo adjoining Saqqara in which at least 10,000 tombs have been cataloged. The size of Helwan indicates a very large population for Early Dynastic Memphis. Almost all the tombs date from Dynasty 0 through the Third Dynasty. There are 19 elite tombs where 1st Dynasty funeral boat burials have been discovered that resemble those at Abydos, but little published information is available. [Wikipedia]. REVIEW: The Abydos boats are a fleet of ships discovered in the sands of Abydos, Egypt. Sea vessels played an important role in ancient Egypt, not only in the everyday life of its people, but also in its religion and mythology. The flowing of the Nile from the south to the north of this civilization meant that boats were an indispensable mode of transportation. Additionally, the ancient Egyptian god, Ra, was believed to travel across the sky in a solar-boat. Although there are numerous artistic depictions of boats and ships, not many actual boats from this ancient civilization are known to have survived the ravages of time. Thus, the Abydos boats are considered to be a significant discovery. In October 2000, it was reported that a 5000-year-old hull of a wooden boat was excavated by archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania Museum and Yale University Expedition to Abydos. To date, 14 vessels have been discovered at the site, and they are believed to have been built around 3000 B.C. The existence of at least a dozen boat graves had already been known as early as 1991 by archaeologists working at Abydos. These boat graves were located adjacent to a massive funerary enclosure for a late 2nd Dynasty pharaoh, Khasekhemwy. Yet, they were not excavated at that time, perhaps due to conservation concerns. Although they were located next to the funerary enclosure of Khasekhemwy, experts have determined that these boats were placed there many years before this enclosure was built, and that they had been intended for an earlier pharaoh, perhaps one from the 1st Dynasty. On average, the Abydos boats measured from 18-24 meters (60-80 feet) in length, 2-3 meters (7-10 feet) in width, and about 60 cm (2 feet) deep. Scholars speculate that these boats could have accommodated up to 30 rowers each. Therefore, it has also been determined that these boats were not just models, but could have been vessels used for sailing. It is unclear, however, if these boats had been used prior to their burial, or were built specifically for funerary purposes. Nevertheless, this is a rare find indeed, as models were commonly used in lieu of the real thing for mortuary purposes. For example, 35 boat models were found in the tomb of Tutankhamun. It has also been claimed that the Abydos boats are the earliest surviving examples of ‘built boats.’ These are boats that are constructed out of planks fitted together, as opposed to reed vessels or dugout logs. Thus, the Abydos boats also represent a major development in the history of boat-building. Due to the complex technology required to build these vessels, it has been suggested that the Abydos boats are a reflection of a pharaoh’s wealth and power. By extension, these ships have the potential to provide scholars with more information about the power, wealth, and technological prowess of ancient Egypt’s earliest dynasties. Apart from practical uses, the Abydos boats may have also had a more symbolic function. In the religion of the ancient Egyptians, the sun god, Ra, was believed to travel through the sky by day and the netherworld by night in a solar boat. This daily journey represents the regenerative cycle of Ra. Therefore, by burying boats near the tomb of a pharaoh, it was hoped that the pharaoh would also enjoy this eternal cycle of regeneration in their afterlife. This symbolism of the boat is also visible in the famous Khufu ship, which was discovered at Khufu’s pyramid at Giza, and was possibly constructed about 4 centuries after the Abydos boats. The Abydos boats could be the direct ancestors of this ship – transporting the pharaohs on their journey to regeneration. [AncientOrigns.Net]. REVIEW: In ancient Egypt, sacred boats called barques were believed to ferry the dead to the afterlife, the sun god Ra across the sky, and various other gods and royalty up and down the Nile River. Now a barque resting place made of stone blocks from the time of Queen Hatshepsut has been discovered on Elephantine Island and will give scholars some insight on the religion of her time, the Ministry of Antiquities announced on its Facebook page. The ancient Egyptian barque resting station that was part of a sacred building dating back to the time of Hatshepsut has been discovered on the island in the Nile River at Aswan. The German Archaeological Institute has found a number of blocks upon which the sacred boat would have rested when it was not being used in a procession, said Mahmoud Afify of the ministry. “According to Dr. Felix Arnold, the field director of the mission, the building served as a way station for the festival barque of the god Khnum,” the ministry’s press release states. “The building was later dismantled and about 30 of its blocks have now been found in the foundations of the Khnum temple of Nectanebo II. Some of the blocks were discovered in previous excavation seasons by members of the Swiss Institute, but the meaning of the blocks has only now become clear.” Queen Hatshepsut is represented as a woman on some of the blocks, so they must have been carved during the early years of her reign because in later years she was represented as a king, the ministry wrote in the press release. This is one of very few buildings from the early period of her reign to have been discovered so far. The only other buildings dating to the early period of Hatshepsut’s rule were discovered at Karnak. Hatshepsut was in power from 1508 to 1458 B.C. “The newly discovered building thus adds to our knowledge of the early years of Queen Hatshepsut and her engagement in the region of Aswan,” the statement says. “In the reign of Thutmosis III. all mentions of her name were erased and all representations of her female figure were replaced by images of a male king, her deceased husband Thutmosis II.” Experts believe they can reconstruct the building’s appearance based on the blocks found so far. The building would probably have had a chamber lined on all four sides by pillars in which rested the god Khnum’s barque. The pillars bear representations of Khnum and other gods, including Imi-peref, which means “He who is in his house”; and Nebet-menit or “Lady of the mooring post”; and Min-Amun of Nubia. So, the discoveries add not just to the knowledge of Queen Hatshepsut but also help Egyptologists understand the religious milieu and beliefs on Elephantine Island during Hatshepsut’s reign, the press release states. The barque station was probably watched over and guarded by priests when the boat was not in procession, says Heritage Daily in an article about the discoveries. Barques were used from the beginning of recorded history in Egypt. There are many depictions of them in reliefs and paintings. Ancient Egyptians believed barques were used to transport people to the afterlife, and images of the boats are depicted in many temples and tombs. Also, the Egyptian god Ra was believed to have traveled in a barque. According to the Egypt Art Site: "One legend states that each day, Ra was born and began a journey across the sky. Ra was believed to travel in the Manjet-boat. or the 'Barque of Millions of Years'. He was joined on this daily journey by a crew of many gods. The Manjet-boat would sail through the twelve provinces, representing the twelve hours of daylight. At the end of each day Ra was thought to die and embarked on his night voyage. For this journey he was called Auf, which means 'corpse.' Ra sailed in a boat called the Mesektet-boat or night-barque on his journey through the twelve hours of darkness." The page has an article titled “Solar Ships and Funerary Boats” that says “Some of the divine vessels belonged wholly in the realm of mythology like the sun barks; the bark of the other world; or the bark of the gods.” [AncientOrigns.Net]. REVIEW: Beneath the golden sands west of the Nile, at the ancient Egyptian sacred site of Abydos, archaeologists have made an extraordinary discovery: a whole fleet of boats that were sketched onto the interior walls of a subterranean mud-brick boat chamber in about 1840 B.C. The structure was part of the mortuary complex of a 12th-dynasty king named Senwosret III, whose tomb lies nearby. This unique find reveals new details about how the rituals of the king’s funeral may have played out. It also suggests that an age-old royal burial tradition was still honored here, though that would soon fade as radically different funerary practices came into fashion. The structure was first noticed during the winter of 1901-02, when British archaeologist Arthur Weigall exposed the barrel-vaulted roof as well as the tops of the interior walls. There he got the first glimpse of the building’s boat-themed decoration. But the central part of the roof collapsed as his crew excavated the sand from under it, putting an end to the project. Now archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania, working with Egypt’s Ministry of State for Antiquities, have exposed the ruins of what was once a grand hall some 70 feet long and 13 feet wide. This work was partly funded by a grant from the National Geographic Society. The finely plastered, whitewashed walls were decorated with more than 120 incised drawings of boats, each slightly different from the next. Some were simple outlines of hulls curved like crescent moons. Others were more elaborate, showing a mast and sails and oarsmen. Most were crowded together, with many touching or overlapping. At first, Wegner and his team had no idea what this building might have been used for. “We were quite mystified,” he says. “We were expecting it to be a tomb.” But the clues they’ve uncovered suggest it was constructed to bury a large wooden boat that had been used in a royal funeral, in line with a tradition that stretches back to the earliest days of dynastic Egypt. As a graduate student, Wegner participated in an excavation at Abydos that found 14 wooden vessels—some as long as 75 feet — from about 3000 B.C. All lay in mud-brick structures arrayed outside the funerary complex of a 1st-dynasty king. Wegner sees evidence of a similar scheme at this site, known as south Abydos. When his crew dug a test trench to find the floor of the building with the boat sketches, they found a gentle curve—the perfect shape to cradle a boat’s hull. They also found a few pieces of wood that were badly decayed and ravaged by insects. Wegner believes these are the remaining scraps of a boat that was looted in antiquity for its lumber. Since the boat had a royal connection, the lumber probably included expensive cedar planks imported from Lebanon—very much worth stealing, especially in a country where trees of any kind are scarce. The boat would have been built at the height of the 12th dynasty, when Egypt sent military campaigns to both the Levant in the north and Nubia in the south. During this period of great wealth and power, the king must have had money to burn on any number of monumental projects—including more than one potential burial place. Each required an enormous investment of resources and reflected very different designs. The 5,000-year-old wooden boats from Abydos are the oldest planked craft ever found. Arranged like a fleet moored at a wharf, they lie in mud-brick graves beside a 1st-dynasty king’s funerary enclosure at Abydos. The recently discovered boat tomb continued this same tradition some 1,200 years later. Senwosret III ruled from the north of the country, and he has one burial place there. His capital, Itjtawy [pronounced itch-TAU-wee], lay somewhere near the Fayum, a region about 280 miles north of Abydos. Its exact location was one of Egypt’s many mysteries until National Geographic explorer Sarah Parcak identified a likely site recently through satellite imagery. Following tradition, the king had a pyramid tomb built at the nearby site of Dashur, not far from the famous 4th-dynasty pyramids at Giza. But it doesn’t look like he was buried there. He also had a tomb, mortuary temple, and associated funerary buildings prepared at the already ancient site of Abydos, far to the south. That spot was the mythical location of the tomb of Osiris, the god of the afterlife, and had long been an important pilgrimage site. “Senwosret III had a personal interest in the cult of Osiris, who was worshipped in the main temple at Abydos,” Wegner says. In fact, at the same time the king was building his own final resting place, he assigned a commission of high officials to completely renovate the god’s temple. The royal tomb was dug deep into the bedrock under a cliff known in antiquity as the Mountain of Anubis, the jackal-headed god associated with mummification. Wegner’s crew has been excavating there, too. Among other things, they’ve found a magnificent stone sarcophagus. It was empty and not in its original location. But together with other clues, it leads them to believe Senwosret III was, indeed, buried in Abydos. The king most surely died somewhere else, so his body had to have been brought to Abydos. The logical route was the fluid highway of the Nile. Wegner envisions a great procession of boats traveling along the river, all accompanying the great craft that carried the mortal remains of the recently departed ruler. As part of the funerary ceremonies, at least one of those boats was probably dragged across the sand and maneuvered into an underground chamber of mud brick. And then, perhaps, each of the many people who had participated in this ritual left an individual piece of art—the image of a boat quickly scratched into the chamber wall to commemorate the king’s passing. Senwosret III’s preparations for his own demise foreshadowed big changes in burial customs. Although kings would continue to build pyramids until about 1500 B.C., the idea of a hidden tomb gained momentum. By the time of the New Kingdom, Egypt’s next golden age, rulers were hiding their tombs beneath the Valley of the Kings, and the tradition of burying funerary boats had entirely died out. The most famous discovery there, King Tut’s tomb, included exquisite model boats that served a similar function to Senwosret’s full-size ones. They were supposed to become available magically for the use of the deceased king in the next world. Those preparations for a life everlasting endured for 30 dynasties and almost 3,000 years, even as the details changed with the passage of time. [National Geographic]. REVIEW: More than 120 images of ancient Egyptian boats have been discovered adorning the inside of a building in Abydos, Egypt. The building dates back more than 3,800 years and was built near the tomb of pharaoh Senwosret III, archaeologists reported. The tableau, as the series of images is called, would have looked upon a real wooden boat said Josef Wegner, a curator at the Penn Museum at the University of Pennsylvania, who led the excavation. Only a few planks remain of the wooden boat, which would have been constructed at Abydos or dragged across the desert, Wegner said. In ancient Egypt, boats were sometimes buried near a pharaoh's tomb. Archaeologists found that the tableau was incised on the white plaster walls of the building. The largest images are nearly 5 feet (1.5 meters) in length and show "large, well-rendered boats depicted with masts, sails, rigging, deckhouses/cabins, rudders, oars and in some cases rowers," wrote Wegner in an article published in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. Some images are small and simple, the smallest reaching only about 4 inches (10 centimeters) in length, wrote Wegner. Some of the larger boats are highly detailed, showing masts, sails, rigging, cabins, rudders and oars. Though 120 boat images survive today, there would have been more incised on the building walls in ancient times, Wegner wrote. In addition to the boats, the tableau contains incised images of gazelle, cattle and flowers, he noted. Near the entranceway of the building — whose interior is about 68 feet by 13 feet (21 by 4 m) — archaeologists discovered more than 145 pottery vessels, many of which are buried with their necks facing toward the building's entrance. "The vessels are necked, liquid-storage jars, usually termed 'beer jars' although probably used for storage and transport of a variety of liquids," wrote Wegner in the journal article. The existence of the building was first noted in a 1904 report by an Egypt Exploration Fund (EEF) team that worked at Abydos between 1901 and 1903. However, that team didn't have time to excavate the building and didn't know what was in it; "they came down on the very top of the boat building. They saw the vault of it but abandoned work," Wegner said. The discoveries leave archaeologists with a series of mysteries that future excavations may help solve. The archaeologists don't know who drew the tableau or why they created it. "We can't conclusively answer that on the basis of what's preserved," Wegner told Live Science. However, the researchers think multiple people created the tableau within a short period of time, he added. One possibility is that the people who built the boat also created the tableau, he said. Or, perhaps, a group of people taking part in a funerary ceremony after the death of pharaoh Senwosret III etched the images onto the building walls. Yet another possibility is that a group of people gained access to the building after the pharaoh died and created the tableau. Archaeologists found that a group of individuals entered the building at some point after the pharaoh's death and took the boat apart, reusing the planks. Archaeologists are also puzzled over the purpose of all the pottery found near the entrance of the building. It's possible that those attending a funerary ceremony could have spilled liquid from the pots on the ground on purpose. "Potentially a massive decanting of liquid, likely predominantly water, at the entrance of the building was a way of magically floating the boat," Wegner wrote in the paper. The boat would not have been literally floated if this ceremony took place. Another possibility is that the wooden boat was transported on a wooden sledge across the desert. In that case, "water and other liquids may have been used to lubricate and solidify the ground along the path of the boat as it was pulled from the floodplain to its desert resting place," wrote Wegner, adding that "the ceramic vessels used in this journey may themselves have taken on a ritual significance, and both boat and jars were then buried together as ceremonial interment of objects associated with royal mortuary rites." The team plans to carry out excavations in the future that may help solve the various mysteries, he said. Wegner's team, in cooperation with Egypt's Ministry of State for Antiquities, carried out the excavations of the building between 2014 and 2016. [LiveScience.Com]. REVIEW: Over the past three years, archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology have been excavating an ancient Egyptian boat burial in Abydos. Although very little of the actual vessel survives, it was originally interred in a vaulted subterranean mudbrick building. The site dates to around 1850 B.C., and is believed to have been part of the elaborate funerary complex of the 12th Dynasty king Senusret III. “Boats were used during funerary ceremonies and took on a magical significance,” says lead archaeologist Josef Wegner. “The boats used in this way were ritually buried as a means of emphasizing this symbolic connection with the deceased.” The team recently uncovered a decorative tableau that was incised into the white plaster walls along the interior of the boat building. The surviving scene extends for over 80 feet and depicts more than 120 ancient Egyptian watercraft, along with animals and floral motifs. The renditions of the boats range in size and complexity, with the largest measuring five feet long, with finely detailed masts, sails, rigging, and deckhouses. Researchers are still unsure who made these etchings, as the images do not compose a single unified scene, but appear to have been created by several different hands of varying talent. It is likely that the carvings were left by individuals who were involved in the funerary ceremonies and participated in depositing the boat. [Archaeological Institute of America]. REVIEW: Egyptologist Yann Tristant was reading a 1914 excavation report on a First Dynasty (circa 3150–2890 B.C.) tomb at the elite cemetery of Abu Rawash when he noticed something strange. The author, legendary French archaeologist Pierre Montet, wrote that just north of the mudbrick tomb, or mastaba, he had uncovered a wooden floor. That seemed bizarre to Tristant, of Macquarie University in Sydney, because he knew that no other archaeologists have reported finding wooden floors around mastabas. Sensing a mystery, he directed his team to excavate at the same spot Montet had almost a century before. The hunch paid off and led Tristant to a pit bounded by a brick wall that held the oldest boat found in Egypt, a 20-footlong vessel dating to 2950 B.C. It’s clear the boat played some role in the burial ceremonies of the tomb’s owner, a high-ranking official. Tristant uncovered artifacts nearby that point to a lavish funerary feast, including ceramic beer jars and bread molds. Ceremonial boats have been found at tombs at royal cemeteries; they were intended to symbolically carry pharaohs into the afterlife. But since so few boats have been found at nonroyal tombs, Tristant hesitates to speculate exactly what religious function the Abu Rawash vessel served. “It’s a good example of why we must sometimes re-excavate sites,” says Tristant. “I never would have expected to find a boat at a tomb like this.” [Archaeological Institute of America]. REVIEW: Archeologists Find a Rare 4,500-Year-Old Egyptian Funerary Boat. The watercraft is so well preserved that it still has the pegs, ropes and plant fibers that once held it together. Desert sand has long buried the area surrounding the Abusir pyramids, a necropolis known for its royal burials from Egypt’s Fifth Dynasty, circa 2480 B.C. But that sand has also helped preserve the artifacts there. Now, Czech archeologists have uncovered an ancient funerary boat, a unique find, seeing as its wooden planks had to last through millennia. The 62-foot-long boat, dating back more than 4,500 years, was found in a tomb or mastaba made of mud bricks, reports Archaeology magazine. The discovery is unusual not just because it is so well preserved but also because the practice of boats burials, which began in Egypt’s Early Dynastic Period, was thought to be reserved for members of the royal family. The Abusir discovery, however, was not located close enough to a royal pyramid to suggest that its owner was royal. The size of the tomb, however, indicates that whoever was buried in it was an elite, a press release from Charles University in Prague writes. The millenia-old planks’ wooden pegs are still visible in their original positions. Even plant fiber battens that covered the boat’s seams are also still there, as are some of the ropes that held the boat together. ”All these minute details are of the highest importance, since most of the ancient Egyptian boats and ships have survived either in poor state of preservation, or were dismantled in pieces,” the press release notes. Egyptologists still don’t know exactly why boats were buried in tombs. They may have been the barges that bore the deceased into the afterlife or a form of transportation the dead could use once they arrived to the underworld. In Egypt’s Old Kingdom, royals often had several boats buried inside their pyramids. Most of these boats have been lost thanks to the inexorable grind of time. Only “brown dust in the shape of the original boat” remains in some of the pits designed to hold them, according to the press release. “It is by all means a remarkable discovery,” says director of the excavations at Abusir, Miroslav Bárta. “The careful excavation and recording of the Abusir boat will make a considerable contribution to our understanding of ancient Egyptian watercraft and their place in funerary cult.” One of the only other surviving ancient Egyptian boats is a ship that was buried in pieces, found in the Great Pyramid of King Khufu in 1954. That 144-foot-long vessel was carefully reconstructed and put on display. Researchers hope this smaller vessel will help them learn more about the purpose of these boats and perhaps indicate the possibility of future discoveries in the area. As Bárta puts it, ″Where there is one boat, there very well may be more.” [Smithsonian.Com]. REVIEW: Back in January, we had talked about some 5,000 years old hieroglyphs that allude to the Ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis along with depictions of boats. Intriguingly enough, archaeologists have also been able to salvage actual boat structures from the Giza complex. And this time around, the boat analogy has once again come to fruition – with Czech archaeologists uncovering an actual an 18 m (59.1 ft) long ship near an ancient tomb in Abusir, Egypt. Probably belonging to some noble from the Old Kingdom, the extant boat specimen is interestingly almost contemporary to the Great Pyramid, with its presumed date of ‘crafting’ being at around 2550 B.C. And the good news is, this marine craft was found to be in a relatively well preserved condition. This hints at the possibility of more comprehension and understanding as to why boats/ships had played a significant part in Ancient Egyptian funerary traditions. Extraordinarily, the desert sand has preserved the plant fiber battens which covered the planking seams. Some of the ropes that bound the boat together are also still in their original position with all their details intact, which is a unique discovery in the study of ancient Egyptian boats. All these minute details are of the highest importance, since most of the ancient Egyptian boats and ships have survived either in poor state of preservation, or were dismantled in pieces. The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities have also confirmed the find by denoting its actual resting place atop a pile of stones. They have also analyzed artifacts like pottery present inside this craft, and have determined that the boat is from the end of Third or beginning of the Fourth Dynasty. Now the question as to whom this boat was dedicated to (i.e., the occupant of the mastaba) still remains unanswered. The historians however hypothesize that the man in spite of being a noble, was probably not related in blood to the royal family. In other words, he might have been a very high ranking official who was close to the king, but was not a member of the royal family. [RealmofHistory.Com]. REVIEW: A 60-foot-long boat dating to about 2550 B.C. has been discovered to the south of a large mudbrick tomb in the Old Kingdom necropolis at Abusir. Its wooden planks, joined with wooden pegs, are intact, as are the plant fibers that covered the planking seams. Ropes that bound the boat together are also well preserved. Most of the ancient Egyptian boats uncovered by archaeologists have been poorly preserved or were dismantled in antiquity, so this vessel offers a unique opportunity to examine how ships were built 4,500 years ago. The name of King Huni from the Third Dynasty has been found on a stone bowl in the tomb, but the name of the tomb’s high-status occupant is unknown. “In fact, this is a highly unusual discovery since boats of such a size and construction were, during this period, reserved solely for top members of the society, who usually belonged to the royal family. This suggests the potential for additional discoveries during the next spring season,” Miroslav Bárta, director of the mission for the Czech Institute of Archaeology at Charles University, said in a press release. [Archaeological Institute of America]. REVIEW: The mission of the Czech Institute of Egyptology, Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague has recently made an unexpected discovery at Abusir South that once again highlights the importance of this cemetery of the Old Kingdom officials. Work commenced in 2009 on a large mastaba, followed by several seasons of excavations. Its exceptional size (175 x 75 feet), orientation, architectural details, as well as the name of king Huni (Third Dynasty,) discovered on one of the stone bowls buried in the northern underground chamber, indicate the high social standing of the person buried in the main (so far unlocated) shaft. Unfortunately, his name remains unknown due to the bad state of preservation of the cruciform chapel. Clearing the area south of the Mastaba revealed an 60 foot long wooden boat during the 2015 excavation season. It was lying on tafla, covered with the wind-blown sand. Although the boat is situated almost 12 miles south of the Mastaba, its orientation, length, and the pottery collected from its interior, make a clear connection between the structure and the vessel, both dating to the very end of the Third or beginning of the Fourth Dynasty, circa 2550 B.C. While extremely fragile, the roughly 4,500 year old planks will shed new light on ship building in ancient Egypt. The wooden planks were joined by wooden pegs that are still visible in their original position. Extraordinarily, the desert sand has preserved the plant fiber battens which covered the planking seams. Some of the ropes that bound the boat together are also still in their original position with all their details intact, which is a unique discovery in the study of ancient Egyptian boats. All these minute details are of the highest importance, since most of the ancient Egyptian boats and ships have survived either in poor state of preservation, or were dismantled in pieces. During the 2016 season, the Czech Institute of Egyptology will launch a project, together with experts from the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) at Texas A&M University, to study the techniques used in the hull’s construction. The construction details are not the only features that make the boat unique. The habit of burying boats beside mastabas began in the Early Dynastic Period. This phenomenon has been well documented for royal structures, as well as for some tombs belonging to members of the royal family, the elite of society. Dr. Miroslav Bárta, director of the mission notes: “In fact, this is a highly unusual discovery since boats of such a size and construction were, during this period, reserved solely for top members of the society, who usually belonged to the royal family. This suggests the potential for additional discoveries during the next spring season.” Scholars debate the purpose of Egyptian boat burials. Did they serve the deceased in the afterlife, or might they have functioned as symbolical solar barques, used during the journey of the owner through the underworld. The Old Kingdom kings adopted the earlier tradition, and often had several boats buried within their pyramid complexes. Unfortunately, most of the pits have been found already empty of any timber, others contained little more than brown dust in the shape of the original boat. The only exception were the two boats of Khufu that have survived, and were reconstructed or are in the process of reconstruction. However, there was no boat of such dimensions from the Old Kingdom found in a non-royal context, until the new discovery at Abusir. “It is by all means a remarkable discovery. The careful excavation and recording of the Abusir boat will make a considerable contribution to our understanding of ancient Egyptian watercraft and their place in funerary cult. And where there is one boat, there very well may be more.” adds director of the excavations, Miroslav Bárta. The boat by the southern wall of the Mastaba indicates the extraordinary social position of the owner of the tomb. Since it is not located adjacent to a royal pyramid, the owner of the mastaba was probably not a member of the royal family: both the size of the tomb, as well as the presence of the boat itself, however, clearly places the deceased within the elite of his time with strong connections to the reigning pharaoh. [Charles University, Prague]. REVIEW: Archaeologists and restorers traveled to the Giza Plateau to investigate the condition of one of the beams of a solar boat buried along with the pharaoh Khufu, which was damaged during an excavation, according to a report from Ahram Online. A Japanese-Egyptian team has been working since 2010 to lift, restore, and reconstruct the boat, which was buried around 4,500 years ago as part of Khufu’s burial rites. In all, 745 out of 1,264 pieces of the boat have been removed so far from the excavation pit. One of the boat’s beams was damaged by a malfunctioning crane. According to Ayman Ashmawi, head of the Ancient Egyptian Department at the Ministry of Antiquities, the damage appears to be easily reparable. The boat will ultimately be reconstructed and put on display alongside a previously excavated Khufu boat. Both boats were part of the pharaoh’s extensive grave goods, intended for use in the afterlife. [Archaeological Institute of America]. REVIEW: While excavating an underground storage system cut into bedrock at Wadi el-Jarf, nearly 110 miles south of Suez and close to the Red Sea, archaeologists discovered fragments of boats, ropes, and pottery. The artifacts date to the reign of the 4th Dynasty King Khufu, or Cheops, builder of the Great Pyramid of Giza, who ruled from 2551 to 2528 B.C. Beginning on the shore and continuing underwater, an assembly of large blocks and limestone slabs inscribed with Cheops’ name form the remains of an L-shaped jetty. Limestone anchors from numerous large ships testify to voyages launched to export copper and stones from the Sinai Peninsula to the Nile Valley. “Ancient inland harbors are known on riversides, but the jetty of Wadi el-Jarf predates by more than 1,000 years any other known structure of this kind,” says expedition leader Pierre Tallet, a University of Paris-Sorbonne Egyptologist, about the 4,500-year-old harbor. Tallet and colleagues also found 10 very well-preserved papyri among hundreds of fragments. The documents, which are proving difficult to reassemble, are the oldest papyri ever found in Egypt. One fragment is a diary written by Merrer, an Old Kingdom official involved in the building of the Great Pyramid. Though actual details of the pyramid’s construction are scarce, Tallet says, "the journal provides a precise account for every working day." [Archaeological Institute of America]. REVIEW: Metal hooks discovered during excavations of Khufu’s second solar boat, near the Great Pyramid of Giza, proves that ancient Egyptians had much more advanced technology for boat building than was once believed. According to, a piece of wood revealed during the excavations near the Great Pyramid of Giza sheds new light on the story of ship building in Ancient Egypt. The artifact contains the oldest example of when people near the Nile used metal in their boats. Archaeologists have revealed that the circular and U-shaped metal hooks were discovered in one of the pieces of a boat which was found in 1954 by Kamal el-Mallakh, along with the famous solar ship of Khufu. Both boats were undisturbed since the day when they were buried in Giza. They are both so-called “solar ships”, which were buried in pits next to royal burials. It is believed that they were used for a pharaoh’s funeral rituals, perhaps as a part of the procession. They have also been related to the Egyptian belief about travel to the afterlife. The piece of wood is 8 meters (25 feet) long and 40 cm (almost 16 inches) wide. It is four centimeters (1.57 inches) thick. According to Mohamed Mostafa Abdel-Megeed, an official from the Ministry of Antiquities, it is the first example of a piece of an ancient Egyptian boat which contains metal pieces. Sakuji Yoshimura, an Egyptologist from Japan, said that the hooks were used "to place the paddles to prevent friction of wood against wood". The solar ship of Khufu is one of the oldest and the largest boats of the ancient times. It is 43.6 meters (143 ft.) long and 5.9 meters (19.5 ft.) wide. It is a masterpiece of the ancient craft of shipbuilding. Discoveries of ancient Egyptian boats are rare, but there are a few well known examples of these kinds of ritual ships. Their discovery has helped researchers to understand something about the boats’ construction, which was similar to the creation of ships used on the Nile. Some of them were discovered recently. As Alicia McDermott from Ancient Origins reported in February 1, 2016: “Czech archaeologists have unearthed an 18 meter (59.1 ft.) long boat near a tomb of an unknown member of the Old Kingdom’s elite class in Abusir (Abu-Sir), Egypt...The archaeologists...have said that the boat is unique and in good condition - many of the boards and pegs have even been found in their original positions. The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities told the press that the remains of the ship were found on top of stones, and its orientation, length, and the pottery collected from its interior have led the team to date the boat to the very end of the Third or beginning of the Fourth Dynasty, approximately 2550 B.C.” April 2016 brought another discovery, which was a barque resting place made of stone blocks from the time of Queen Hatshepsut discovered on Elephantine Island. As Mark Miller wrote: “According to Dr. Felix Arnold, the field director of the mission, the building served as a way station for the festival barque of the god Khnum. […] The building was later dismantled and about 30 of its blocks have now been found in the foundations of the Khnum temple of Nectanebo II. Some of the blocks were discovered in previous excavation seasons by members of the Swiss Institute, but the meaning of the blocks has only now become clear.” [AncientOrigns.Net]. REVIEW: An ancient king—heralded by standard bearers and trailing a retinue of soldiers, fan bearers, powerful beasts and deities—projects power and military might in elaborate scenes carved into the very rock in the Egyptian desert. Rock art tableaux at the ancient site of Nag el-Hamdulab, created some 5000 years ago, are thought to have been done by the hands of professional artists close to the royal court. They are the earliest known depictions of a pharaoh wearing the “white crown” of dynastic power, and they represent the transition between pre-Dynastic Egypt’s religious processions into the tax-collecting tour of a triumphant monarch. Interpreted and presented for the first time by an international team of experts in the journal Antiquity, the “most important iconographic source for the period of state formation in Egypt” is revealed through symbols of power and ritual across seven sites on the west bank of the Nile. Study authors Stan Hendrickx, John Coleman Darnell, and Maria Carmela Gatto explore the historical significance of the rock art gallery at the sandy site, west of Nag el-Hamdulab village, about six kilometers (3.7 miles) north of Aswan, in Egypt. The Narmer Palette, dating from about the 31st century BC, contains some of the earliest hieroglyphic inscriptions ever found. It depicts the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the king Narmer. He holds a mace and wears the White Crown, as seen in the petroglyphs at Nag el-Hamdulab. British Assyriologist and linguist, Archibald H. Sayce stumbled upon some of the rock art in the early 1890s, and recorded his find through simple drawings. The sketches and the rocks themselves would not be examined again for over a century, until 2008, when the site was rediscovered by archaeologists. The old sketches and the newly identified tableaux—seven in all, forming an ancient gallery of scenes—when brought together presented a unique record of a royal celebration and tax collection dating between 3200 and 3100 B.C. Hieroglyphic texts beneath the carefully pecked images explain the intent of the scenes. John Coleman Darnell, director of the Yale Egyptological Institute in Egypt, and professor of Egyptology told YaleNews that the Nag el-Hamdulab cycle is significant as it’s the first of such images with hieroglyphic annotation. The team of international researchers, including Egyptologists and archaeologists from institutions in America, Europe and Egypt have used high-tech digital reconstruction to analyze the images and texts. Showcasing a series of vignettes, the rock art inscriptions of Nag el-Hamdulab represent a cycle. Interpreting the images, archaeologists believe the scenes of hunting, animals, boats, warfare, soldiers, prisoners, and an anonymous king wearing the White Crown are highly symbolic. Though the scenes have been heavily damaged within recent history, the styles and techniques of the artists are evident, and suggest to researchers that all the works were the creations of only one or two individuals, and that it was created with an overarching ‘grand scheme’, and was not added to, piecemeal, over time. Antiquity reports that the scene at Site 1 is dominated by boats. Near several reed boats a figure wearing feathers lies prostrate—possibly a prisoner or a foreign ally. Three prisoners follow a boat (they’re shown with their hands bound behind their backs and ropes around their necks.) It is the boats which symbolize power and military might, rather than humans. Sites 2 through 5 are located very close to each other, nestled within cliffs at the center of the Nag el-Hamdulab plain. The first tableaux has a military theme wherein bowmen and prisoners are seen next to a boat upon which two figures stand. The two elevated figures each hold a staff. Who they are or what they represent is unclear. A unique individual stands between bowmen. His arm is shown bent behind his back, and his other arm is “upturned before the chest, in a manner unlike any other representation at Nag el-Hamdulab.” Before the boat stands a single bowman with a very large bow. Bows were symbols of power and could be found often in Egyptian art appearing by themselves without an archer. The second tableaux at Site 2 shows boats with many oarsmen and oars. An ancient sickle-shaped boat has a unique element – it is decorated with a bull standard. The king wears the White Crown or hedjet, the tall crown of Upper Egypt. In front of the king a dog is seen, a canine deity related to hunting and warfare, and his name “Wepwawet” means “the opener of ways” meaning the choices of life or the paths to death and the underworld. Site 3 has been mostly destroyed, and is only available via archive photographs. In the two scenes at the site the presence of a boat forms a connection to the other locations, but the king here is portrayed as a powerful ruler, rather than a symbolic religious placeholder. A man leads a wild bull or calf, and this is followed by the image of a large knife, suggesting that these are sacrificial animals for offerings. A feast is presented in the rock art at Site 4. The festival scene shows brewing, and a figure sitting and drinking. What is thought to be a Nubian figure (by his distinctive bow) is depicted as bigger, perhaps signifying an important presence of Nubians in the Aswan region during pre-Dynastic times, the study notes. Site 5 is unfortunately heavily damaged, but an interesting depiction of a bull’s head and a female dancer can be seen. The dancer sports a long braid, the end of which has an oval shape that is said to be a weighted ball or disc found in hairstyles of female dancers during the Old Kingdom, effectively dating the scene. The bull and dancer communicate the rituals of hunting, butchering, feasting, music and dance of the Old Kingdom. A scene of cattle being controlled by humans and dogs is shown at Site 6. This isolated tableau in the south of Nag el-Hamdulab highlights both wild and domesticated animals. The researchers note that hunting was important iconography of the pre-Dynastic era; it was part of an elite lifestyle and done not necessarily for survival, but for important festivals or burials. The hunting scenes are said to represent the wealth of local, likely Nubian, cattle-herding groups. Site 7 is believed to be the most important of the series, the culmination of the cycle. Composed of four tableaux, one the largest of them all, the pecked rock images depict many boats in a row, with one notably higher than the others. An obvious ruler figure is followed by a fan bearer, and is preceded by standard bearers and a canine. This king figure stands on a decorated cabin, wears the White Crown, and holds a scepter. He is flanked by standards of falcons and bull horns, royal symbols. A shrine, or divine boat, is seen below this, lending the scene a religious context. Four bearded men tow the divine boat with a rope. The ritual procession is under the supervision of the king, and represents royal power. Other scenes portray groups of animals—real and mythological—such as dogs, lions, ostriches, ibex, and animals whose heads radiate strange lines. Antiquity writes, “The ultimate meaning of the tableau is the royal, human assurance of control, the triumph of order over chaos on a cosmic level, referring eventually also to regeneration. The link between site 7 and those previously described is not only made by the royal image, the boats, and the concept of ritual processions, but also by a small—and unfortunately poorly preserved—hunting scene close to the royal boat procession.” In all, researchers believe these rare panels are meant to highlight and extol the power of the first Egyptian pharaohs and their grand tax collection tours. Symbolic images drive home the royal domination over humans and a chaotic natural world. This ensemble sheds light on very early state formation in Egypt. [AncientOrigns.Net]. REVIEW: The Nile River spans almost 4,175 miles (6719 km), crosses nine countries throughout Africa, and is widely regarded as the longest river in the world. While all this might be considered common knowledge, the winding waters of the famous river have many intriguing facts that you might not know. Here are ten of the most fascinating ones. 1. Without the Nile, the Ancient Egyptian Civilization May Never Have Existed. The Nile River was considered the source of life by the ancient Egyptians and played a vital role in the country's history and rich culture. The river was also a very important factor in the socioeconomic development and success of ancient Egypt. Without the Nile River, the great ancient civilization may have never existed, since rainfall was almost non-existent in Egypt and the Nile River was the only source of moisture to sustain crops. 2. The Real Source of the Nile River Remains Unknown. Some might tell you that Lake Victoria, Africa’s main lake, is the source of the Nile River. Others will say the Kagera River and its tributary the Ruvubu, having its headwaters in Burundi, is the real source. The truth is, however, that the source of the Nile River remains a mystery to this day. 3. The Nile “Highway”. The Nile River was the highway that joined the country together and was essential for trade and transportation. Up until the 19th century, travel by land was virtually unknown in the region. Ships and boats were the main means of transporting people and goods around the country. 4. Nile, The Life-Giver. Other than providing water, the Nile offered an excellent soil for growing food, which is the main reason why so many Egyptians lived near it. Locals used spears and nets to catch fish and trap different birds that flew close to the surface of the water. 5. Contributing to the Production of Papyrus. So much of what we know about ancient Egypt comes from the plethora of written records left behind on papyrus. The Nile was responsible for providing this papyrus. It came from the reeds growing on the side of the river. 6. The Flooding of the Nile. Melting snow and heavy summer rain within the Ethiopian Mountains sent a torrent of water, causing the banks on the River Nile in Egypt to overflow in this flat desert land, causing massive floods every year. The reason why it does not flood now is because of the construction of the Aswan High Dam in the 1960’s. 7. Akhet: The Inundation. Until the Aswan High Dam was built, the yearly inundation of the Nile happened between June and September, in a season the Egyptians called akhet: the inundation. This was seen by the Egyptians as a yearly coming of the deity Hapi, bringing fertility to the land. The goddess of the flood was the goddess Mehet-Weret, “The Great Flood.” 8. Osiris: The Nile’s Most Sacred God. Despite Hapi being the local deity in a way, the god most closely associated historically and culturally with the Nile was Osiris, who was killed by his brother Seth on the riverbank and then became the king of the Underworld. For that reason, the Nile River was an important part of Egyptian spiritual life as well. The Egyptians believed that it was the passageway between life and death. That’s why all Egyptian tombs are built on the west side of the Nile - the west was considered the place of death since the sun god Ra set in the west each day. 9. A Popular Ancient Sport was Played on the Nile’s Waters. Ancient Egyptians practiced a popular river sport - water jousting. Modern knowledge of this sport comes from studying ancient Egyptian tomb reliefs, thus it is limited. These depictions show that vessels held a small group of men, each one wielding a long pole. While most of the crew used theirs to maneuver the boat, a few of them would stand upright, wielding their poles to knock opponents off their respective boats. 10. The Nile’s Oldest “Residents”. Crocodiles have been living in the Nile Rivers’ waters for thousands of years and they don’t really like it when humans get close to them. They are known to attack humans regularly, usually people washing clothes or fishing at the shore. It’s estimated that there are 200 attacks a year from Nile crocodiles in Africa. [AncientOrigns.Net]. REVIEW: Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in the place that is now the country Egypt. It is one of six historic civilizations to arise independently. Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3150 B.C. (according to conventional Egyptian chronology) with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under Menes (often identified with Narmer). The history of ancient Egypt occurred as a series of stable kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age. Egypt reached the pinnacle of its power in the New Kingdom, during the Ramesside period, where it rivalled the Hittite Empire, Assyrian Empire and Mitanni Empire, after which it entered a period of slow decline. Egypt was invaded or conquered by a succession of foreign powers, such as the Canaanites/Hyksos, Libyans, the Nubians, the Assyrians, Babylonians, the Achaemenid Persians, and the Macedonians in the Third Intermediate Period and the Late Period of Egypt. In the aftermath of Alexander the Great's death, one of his generals, Ptolemy Soter, established himself as the new ruler of Egypt. This Greek Ptolemaic Kingdom ruled Egypt until 30 B.C., when, under Cleopatra, it fell to the Roman Empire and became a Roman province. The success of ancient Egyptian civilization came partly from its ability to adapt to the conditions of the Nile River valley for agriculture. The predictable flooding and controlled irrigation of the fertile valley produced surplus crops, which supported a more dense population, and social development and culture. With resources to spare, the administration sponsored mineral exploitation of the valley and surrounding desert regions, the early development of an independent writing system, the organization of collective construction and agricultural projects, trade with surrounding regions, and a military intended to defeat foreign enemies and assert Egyptian dominance. Motivating and organizing these activities was a bureaucracy of elite scribes, religious leaders, and administrators under the control of a pharaoh, who ensured the cooperation and unity of the Egyptian people in the context of an elaborate system of religious beliefs. The many achievements of the ancient Egyptians include the quarrying, surveying and construction techniques that supported the building of monumental pyramids, temples, and obelisks; a system of mathematics, a practical and effective system of medicine, irrigation systems and agricultural production techniques, the first known planked boats, Egyptian faience and glass technology, new forms of literature, and the earliest known peace treaty, made with the Hittites. Egypt left a lasting legacy. Its art and architecture were widely copied, and its antiquities carried off to far corners of the world. Its monumental ruins have inspired the imaginations of travelers and writers for centuries. A new-found respect for antiquities and excavations in the early modern period by Europeans and Egyptians led to the scientific investigation of Egyptian civilization and a greater appreciation of its cultural legacy. The Nile has been the lifeline of its region for much of human history. The fertile floodplain of the Nile gave humans the opportunity to develop a settled agricultural economy and a more sophisticated, centralized society that became a cornerstone in the history of human civilization. Nomadic modern human hunter-gatherers began living in the Nile valley through the end of the Middle Pleistocene some 120,000 years ago. By the late Paleolithic period, the arid climate of Northern Africa became increasingly hot and dry, forcing the populations of the area to concentrate along the river region. In Predynastic and Early Dynastic times, the Egyptian climate was much less arid than it is today. Large regions of Egypt were covered in treed savanna and traversed by herds of grazing ungulates. Foliage and fauna were far more prolific in all environs and the Nile region supported large populations of waterfowl. Hunting would have been common for Egyptians, and this is also the period when many animals were first domesticated. By about 5500 B.C., small tribes living in the Nile valley had developed into a series of cultures demonstrating firm control of agriculture and animal husbandry, and identifiable by their pottery and personal items, such as combs, bracelets, and beads. The largest of these early cultures in upper (Southern) Egypt was the Badari, which probably originated in the Western Desert; it was known for its high quality ceramics, stone tools, and its use of copper. The Badari was followed by the Amratian (Naqada I) and Gerzeh (Naqada II) cultures, which brought a number of technological improvements. As early as the Naqada I Period, predynastic Egyptians imported obsidian from Ethiopia, used to shape blades and other objects from flakes. In Naqada II times, early evidence exists of contact with the Near East, particularly Canaan and the Byblos coast. Over a period of about 1,000 years, the Naqada culture developed from a few small farming communities into a powerful civilization whose leaders were in complete control of the people and resources of the Nile valley. Establishing a power center at Hierakonpolis, and later at Abydos, Naqada III leaders expanded their control of Egypt northwards along the Nile. They also traded with Nubia to the south, the oases of the western desert to the west, and the cultures of the eastern Mediterranean and Near East to the east. Royal Nubian burials at Qustul produced artifacts bearing the oldest-known examples of Egyptian dynastic symbols, such as the white crown of Egypt and falcon. The Naqada culture manufactured a diverse selection of material goods, reflective of the increasing power and wealth of the elite, as well as societal personal-use items, which included combs, small statuary, painted pottery, high quality decorative stone vases, cosmetic palettes, and jewelry made of gold, lapis, and ivory. They also developed a ceramic glaze known as faience, which was used well into the Roman Period to decorate cups, amulets, and figurines. During the last predynastic phase, the Naqada culture began using written symbols that eventually were developed into a full system of hieroglyphs for writing the ancient Egyptian language. The Early Dynastic Period was approximately contemporary to the early Sumerian-Akkadian civilisation of Mesopotamia and of ancient Elam. The third-century B.C. Egyptian priest Manetho grouped the long line of pharaohs from Menes to his own time into 30 dynasties, a system still used today. He chose to begin his official history with the king named "Meni" (or Menes in Greek) who was believed to have united the two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt (around 3100 B.C.). The transition to a unified state happened more gradually than ancient Egyptian writers represented, and there is no contemporary record of Menes. Some scholars now believe, however, that the mythical Menes may have been the pharaoh Narmer, who is depicted wearing royal regalia on the ceremonial Narmer Palette, in a symbolic act of unification. In the Early Dynastic Period about 3150 B.C., the first of the Dynastic pharaohs solidified control over lower Egypt by establishing a capital at Memphis, from which he could control the labour force and agriculture of the fertile delta region, as well as the lucrative and critical trade routes to the Levant. The increasing power and wealth of the pharaohs during the early dynastic period was reflected in their elaborate mastaba tombs and mortuary cult structures at Abydos, which were used to celebrate the deified pharaoh after his death. The strong institution of kingship developed by the pharaohs served to legitimize state control over the land, labour, and resources that were essential to the survival and growth of ancient Egyptian civilization. Major advances in architecture, art, and technology were made during the Old Kingdom, fueled by the increased agricultural productivity and resulting population, made possible by a well-developed central administration. Some of ancient Egypt's crowning achievements, the Giza pyramids and Great Sphinx, were constructed during the Old Kingdom. Under the direction of the vizier, state officials collected taxes, coordinated irrigation projects to improve crop yield, drafted peasants to work on construction projects, and established a justice system to maintain peace and order. Along with the rising importance of a central administration arose a new class of educated scribes and officials who were granted estates by the pharaoh in payment for their services. Pharaohs also made land grants to their mortuary cults and local temples, to ensure that these institutions had the resources to worship the pharaoh after his death. Scholars believe that five centuries of these practices slowly eroded the economic power of the pharaoh, and that the economy could no longer afford to support a large centralized administration. As the power of the pharaoh diminished, regional governors called nomarchs began to challenge the supremacy of the pharaoh. This, coupled with severe droughts between 2200 and 2150 B.C., is assumed to have caused the country to enter the 140-year period of famine and strife known as the First Intermediate Period. After Egypt's central government collapsed at the end of the Old Kingdom, the administration could no longer support or stabilize the country's economy. Regional governors could not rely on the king for help in times of crisis, and the ensuing food shortages and political disputes escalated into famines and small-scale civil wars. Yet despite difficult problems, local leaders, owing no tribute to the pharaoh, used their new-found independence to establish a thriving culture in the provinces. Once in control of their own resources, the provinces became economically richer—which was demonstrated by larger and better burials among all social classes. In bursts of creativity, provincial artisans adopted and adapted cultural motifs formerly restricted to the royalty of the Old Kingdom, and scribes developed literary styles that expressed the optimism and originality of the period. Free from their loyalties to the pharaoh, local rulers began competing with each other for territorial control and political power. By 2160 B.C., rulers in Herakleopolis controlled Lower Egypt in the north, while a rival clan based in Thebes, the Intef family, took control of Upper Egypt in the south. As the Intefs grew in power and expanded their control northward, a clash between the two rival dynasties became inevitable. Around 2055 B.C. the northern Theban forces under Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II finally defeated the Herakleopolitan rulers, reuniting the Two Lands. They inaugurated a period of economic and cultural renaissance known as the Middle Kingdom. The pharaohs of the Middle Kingdom restored the country's prosperity and stability, thereby stimulating a resurgence of art, literature, and monumental building projects. Mentuhotep II and his Eleventh Dynasty successors ruled from Thebes, but the vizier Amenemhat I, upon assuming kingship at the beginning of the Twelfth Dynasty around 1985 B.C., shifted the nation's capital to the city of Itjtawy, located in Faiyum. From Itjtawy, the pharaohs of the Twelfth Dynasty undertook a far-sighted land reclamation and irrigation scheme to increase agricultural output in the region. Moreover, the military reconquered territory in Nubia that was rich in quarries and gold mines, while laborers built a defensive structure in the Eastern Delta, called the "Walls-of-the-Ruler", to defend against foreign attack. With the pharaohs' having secured military and political security and vast agricultural and mineral wealth, the nation's population, arts, and religion flourished. In contrast to elitist Old Kingdom attitudes towards the gods, the Middle Kingdom experienced an increase in expressions of personal piety and what could be called a democratization of the afterlife, in which all people possessed a soul and could be welcomed into the company of the gods after death. Middle Kingdom literature featured sophisticated themes and characters written in a confident, eloquent style. The relief and portrait sculpture of the period captured subtle, individual details that reached new heights of technical perfection. The last great ruler of the Middle Kingdom, Amenemhat III, allowed Semitic-speaking Canaanite settlers from the Near East into the delta region to provide a sufficient labour force for his especially active mining and building campaigns. These ambitious building and mining activities, however, combined with severe Nile floods later in his reign, strained the economy and precipitated the slow decline into the Second Intermediate Period during the later Thirteenth and Fourteenth dynasties. During this decline, the Canaanite settlers began to seize control of the delta region, eventually coming to power in Egypt as the Hyksos. Around 1785 B.C., as the power of the Middle Kingdom pharaohs weakened, a Western Asian people called the Hyksos had already settled in the Eastern Delta town of Avaris, seized control of Egypt, and forced the central government to retreat to Thebes. The pharaoh was treated as a vassal and expected to pay tribute. The Hyksos ("foreign rulers") retained Egyptian models of government and identified as pharaohs, thus integrating Egyptian elements into their culture. They and other invaders introduced new tools of warfare into Egypt, most notably the composite bow and the horse-drawn chariot. After their retreat, the native Theban kings found themselves trapped between the Canaanite Hyksos ruling the north and the Hyksos' Nubian allies, the Kushites, to the south of Egypt. After years of vassalage, Thebes gathered enough strength to challenge the Hyksos in a conflict that lasted more than 30 years, until 1555 B.C. The pharaohs Seqenenre Tao II and Kamose were ultimately able to defeat the Nubians to the south of Egypt, but failed to defeat the Hyksos. That task fell to Kamose's successor, Ahmose I, who successfully waged a series of campaigns that permanently eradicated the Hyksos' presence in Egypt. He established a new dynasty. In the New Kingdom that followed, the military became a central priority for the pharaohs seeking to expand Egypt's borders and attempting to gain mastery of the Near East. The New Kingdom pharaohs established a period of unprecedented prosperity by securing their borders and strengthening diplomatic ties with their neighbours, including the Mitanni Empire, Assyria, and Canaan. Military campaigns waged under Tuthmosis I and his grandson Tuthmosis III extended the influence of the pharaohs to the largest empire Egypt had ever seen. Between their reigns, Hatshepsut generally promoted peace and restored trade routes lost during the Hyksos occupation, as well as expanding to new regions. When Tuthmosis III died in 1425 B.C., Egypt had an empire extending from Niya in north west Syria to the fourth waterfall of the Nile in Nubia, cementing loyalties and opening access to critical imports such as bronze and wood. The New Kingdom pharaohs began a large-scale building campaign to promote the god Amun, whose growing cult was based in Karnak. They also constructed monuments to glorify their own achievements, both real and imagined. The Karnak temple is the largest Egyptian temple ever built. The pharaoh Hatshepsut used such hyperbole and grandeur during her reign of almost twenty-two years. Her reign was very successful, marked by an extended period of peace and wealth-building, trading expeditions to Punt, restoration of foreign trade networks, and great building projects, including an elegant mortuary temple that rivaled the Greek architecture of a thousand years later, a colossal pair of obelisks, and a chapel at Karnak. Despite her achievements, Amenhotep II, the heir to Hatshepsut's nephew-stepson Tuthmosis III, sought to erase her legacy near the end of his father's reign and throughout his, touting many of her accomplishments as his. He also tried to change many established traditions that had developed over the centuries, which some suggest was a futile attempt to prevent other women from becoming pharaoh and to curb their influence in the kingdom. Around 1350 B.C., the stability of the New Kingdom seemed threatened further when Amenhotep IV ascended the throne and instituted a series of radical and chaotic reforms. Changing his name to Akhenaten, he touted the previously obscure sun deity Aten as the supreme deity, suppressed the worship of most other deities, and attacked the power of the temple that had become dominated by the priests of Amun in Thebes, whom he saw as corrupt. Moving the capital to the new city of Akhetaten (modern-day Amarna), Akhenaten turned a deaf ear to events in the Near East (where the Hittites, Mitanni, and Assyrians were vying for control). He was devoted to his new religion and artistic style. After his death, the cult of the Aten was quickly abandoned, the priests of Amun soon regained power and returned the capital to Thebes. Under their influence the subsequent pharaohs Tutankhamun, Ay, and Horemheb worked to erase all mention of Akhenaten's heresy, now known as the Amarna Period. Around 1279 B.C., Ramesses II, also known as Ramesses the Great, ascended the throne, and went on to build more temples, erect more statues and obelisks, and sire more children than any other pharaoh in history. A bold military leader, Ramesses II led his army against the Hittites in the Battle of Kadesh (in modern Syria) and, after fighting to a stalemate, finally agreed to the first recorded peace treaty, around 1258 B.C. With both the Egyptians and Hittite Empire proving unable to gain the upper hand over one another, and both powers also fearful of the expanding Middle Assyrian Empire, Egypt withdrew from much of the Near East. The Hittites were thus left to compete unsuccessfully with the powerful Assyrians and the newly arrived Phrygians. Egypt's wealth, however, made it a tempting target for invasion, particularly by the Libyan Berbers to the west, and the Sea Peoples, a conjectured confederation of seafarers from the Aegean Sea. Initially, the military was able to repel these invasions, but Egypt eventually lost control of its remaining territories in southern Canaan, much of it falling to the Assyrians. The effects of external threats were exacerbated by internal problems such as corruption, tomb robbery, and civil unrest. After regaining their power, the high priests at the temple of Amun in Thebes accumulated vast tracts of land and wealth, and their expanded power splintered the country during the Third Intermediate Period. Following the death of Ramesses XI in 1078 B.C., Smendes assumed authority over the northern part of Egypt, ruling from the city of Tanis. The south was effectively controlled by the High Priests of Amun at Thebes, who recognized Smendes in name only. During this time, Berber tribes from what was later to be called Libya had been settling in the western delta, and the chieftains of these settlers began increasing their autonomy. Libyan princes took control of the delta under Shoshenq I in 945 B.C., founding the Libyan Berber, or Bubastite, dynasty that ruled for some 200 years. Shoshenq also gained control of southern Egypt by placing his family members in important priestly positions. In the mid-ninth century B.C., Egypt made a failed attempt to once more gain a foothold in Western Asia. Osorkon II of Egypt, along with a large alliance of nations and peoples, including Persia, Israel, Hamath, Phoenicia/Canaan, the Arabs, Arameans, and neo Hittites among others, engaged in the Battle of Karkar against the powerful Assyrian king Shalmaneser III in 853 B.C. However, this coalition of powers failed and the Neo Assyrian Empire continued to dominate Western Asia. Libyan Berber control began to erode as a rival native dynasty in the delta arose under Leontopolis. Also, the Nubians of the Kushites threatened Egypt from the lands to the south. Around 730 B.C. Libyans from the west fractured the political unity of the country Drawing on millennia of interaction (trade, acculturation, occupation, assimilation, and war) with Egypt, the Kushite king Piye left his Nubian capital of Napata and invaded Egypt around 727 B.C. Piye easily seized control of Thebes and eventually the Nile Delta. He recorded the episode on his stela of victory. Piye set the stage for subsequent Twenty-fifth dynasty pharaohs, such as Taharqa, to reunite the "Two lands" of Northern and Southern Egypt. The Nile valley empire was as large as it had been since the New Kingdom. The Twenty-fifth dynasty ushered in a renaissance period for ancient Egypt. Religion, the arts, and architecture were restored to their glorious Old, Middle, and New Kingdom forms. Pharaohs, such as Taharqa, built or restored temples and monuments throughout the Nile valley, including at Memphis, Karnak, Kawa, Jebel Barkal, etc. It was during the Twenty-fifth dynasty that there was the first widespread construction of pyramids (many in modern Sudan) in the Nile Valley since the Middle Kingdom. Piye made various unsuccessful attempts to extend Egyptian influence in the Near East, then controlled by Assyria. In 720 B.C., he sent an army in support of a rebellion against Assyria, which was taking place in Philistia and Gaza. However, Piye was defeated by Sargon II and the rebellion failed. In 711 B.C., Piye again supported a revolt against Assyria by the Israelites of Ashdod and was once again defeated by the Assyrian king Sargon II. Subsequently, Piye was forced from the Near East. From the 10th century B.C. onwards, Assyria fought for control of the southern Levant. Frequently, cities and kingdoms of the southern Levant appealed to Egypt for aid in their struggles against the powerful Assyrian army. Taharqa enjoyed some initial success in his attempts to regain a foothold in the Near East. Taharqa aided the Judean King Hezekiah when Hezekiah and Jerusalem was besieged by the Assyrian king, Sennacherib. Scholars disagree on the primary reason for Assyria's abandonment of their siege on Jerusalem. Reasons for the Assyrian withdrawal range from conflict with the Egyptian/Kushite army to divine intervention to surrender to disease. Henry Aubin argues that the Kushite/Egyptian army saved Jerusalem from the Assyrians and prevented the Assyrians from returning to capture Jerusalem for the remainder of Sennacherib's life (20 years). Some argue that disease was the primary reason for failing to actually take the city; however, Senacherib's annals claim Judah was forced into tribute regardless. Sennacherib had been murdered by his own sons for destroying the rebellious city of Babylon, a city sacred to all Mesopotamians, the Assyrians included. In 674 B.C. Esarhaddon launched a preliminary incursion into Egypt; however, this attempt was repelled by Taharqa. However, in 671 B.C., Esarhaddon launched a full-scale invasion. Part of his army stayed behind to deal with rebellions in Phoenicia, and Israel. The remainder went south to Rapihu, then crossed the Sinai, and entered Egypt. Esarhaddon decisively defeated Taharqa, took Memphis, Thebes and all the major cities of Egypt, and Taharqa was chased back to his Nubian homeland. Esarhaddon now called himself "king of Egypt, Patros, and Kush", and returned with rich booty from the cities of the delta; he erected a victory stele at this time, and paraded the captive Prince Ushankhuru, the son of Taharqa in Nineveh. Esarhaddon stationed a small army in northern Egypt and describes how "All Ethiopians (read Nubians/Kushites) I deported from Egypt, leaving not one left to do homage to me". He installed native Egyptian princes throughout the land to rule on his behalf. The conquest by Esarhaddon effectively marked the end of the short lived Kushite Empire. However, the native Egyptian rulers installed by Esarhaddon were unable to retain full control of the whole country for long. Two years later, Taharqa returned from Nubia and seized control of a section of southern Egypt as far north as Memphis. Esarhaddon prepared to return to Egypt and once more eject Taharqa; however, he fell ill and died in his capital, Nineveh, before he left Assyria. His successor, Ashurbanipal, sent an Assyrian general named Sha-Nabu-shu with a small, but well trained army, which conclusively defeated Taharqa at Memphis and once more drove him from Egypt. Taharqa died in Nubia two years later. His successor, Tanutamun, also made a failed attempt to regain Egypt for Nubia. He successfully defeated Necho, the native Egyptian puppet ruler installed by Ashurbanipal, taking Thebes in the process. The Assyrians then sent a large army southwards. Tantamani (Tanutamun) was heavily routed and fled back to Nubia. The Assyrian army sacked Thebes to such an extent it never truly recovered. A native ruler, Psammetichus I was placed on the throne, as a vassal of Ashurbanipal, and the Nubians were never again to pose a threat to either Assyria or Egypt. With no permanent plans for conquest, the Assyrians left control of Egypt to a series of vassals who became known as the Saite kings of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty. By 653 B.C., the Saite king Psamtik I (taking advantage of the fact that Assyria was involved in a fierce war conquering Elam and that few Assyrian troops were stationed in Egypt) was able to free Egypt relatively peacefully from Assyrian vassalage with the help of Lydian and Greek mercenaries, the latter of whom were recruited to form Egypt's first navy. Psamtik and his successors however were careful to maintain peaceful relations with Assyria. Greek influence expanded greatly as the city of Naukratis became the home of Greeks in the delta. In 609 B.C. Necho II went to war with Babylonia, the Chaldeans, the Medians and the Scythians in an attempt to save Assyria, which after a brutal civil war was being overrun by this coalition of powers. However, the attempt to save Egypt's former masters failed. The Egyptians delayed intervening too long, and Nineveh had already fallen and King Sin-shar-ishkun was dead by the time Necho II sent his armies northwards. However, Necho easily brushed aside the Israelite army under King Josiah but he and the Assyrians then lost a battle at Harran to the Babylonians, Medes and Scythians. Necho II and Ashur-uballit II of Assyria were finally defeated at Carchemish in Aramea (modern Syria) in 605 B.C. The Egyptians remained in the area for some decades, struggling with the Babylonian kings Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar II for control of portions of the former Assyrian Empire in The Levant. However, they were eventually driven back into Egypt, and Nebuchadnezzar II even briefly invaded Egypt itself in 567 B.C. The Saite kings based in the new capital of Sais witnessed a brief but spirited resurgence in the economy and culture, but in 525 B.C., the powerful Persians, led by Cambyses II, began their conquest of Egypt, eventually capturing the pharaoh Psamtik III at the battle of Pelusium. Cambyses II then assumed the formal title of pharaoh, but ruled Egypt from his home of Susa in Persia (modern Iran), leaving Egypt under the control of a satrapy. A few temporarily successful revolts against the Persians marked the fifth century B.C., but Egypt was never able to permanently overthrow the Persians. Following its annexation by Persia, Egypt was joined with Cyprus and Phoenicia (modern Lebanon) in the sixth satrapy of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. This first period of Persian rule over Egypt, also known as the Twenty-seventh dynasty, ended after more than one-hundred years in 402 B.C., and from 380 to 343 B.C. the Thirtieth Dynasty ruled as the last native royal house of dynastic Egypt, which ended with the kingship of Nectanebo II. A brief restoration of Persian rule, sometimes known as the Thirty-first Dynasty, began in 343 B.C., but shortly after, in 332 B.C., the Persian ruler Mazaces handed Egypt over to the Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great without a fight. In 332 B.C., Alexander the Great conquered Egypt with little resistance from the Persians and was welcomed by the Egyptians as a deliverer. The administration established by Alexander's successors, the Macedonian Ptolemaic Kingdom, was based on an Egyptian model and based in the new capital city of Alexandria. The city showcased the power and prestige of Hellenistic rule, and became a seat of learning and culture, centered at the famous Library of Alexandria. The Lighthouse of Alexandria lit the way for the many ships that kept trade flowing through the city—as the Ptolemies made commerce and revenue-generating enterprises, such as papyrus manufacturing, their top priority. Hellenistic culture did not supplant native Egyptian culture, as the Ptolemies supported time-honored traditions in an effort to secure the loyalty of the populace. They built new temples in Egyptian style, supported traditional cults, and portrayed themselves as pharaohs. Some traditions merged, as Greek and Egyptian gods were syncretized into composite deities, such as Serapis, and classical Greek forms of sculpture influenced traditional Egyptian motifs. Despite their efforts to appease the Egyptians, the Ptolemies were challenged by native rebellion, bitter family rivalries, and the powerful mob of Alexandria that formed after the death of Ptolemy IV. In addition, as Rome relied more heavily on imports of grain from Egypt, the Romans took great interest in the political situation in the country. Continued Egyptian revolts, ambitious politicians, and powerful Syriac opponents from the Near East made this situation unstable, leading Rome to send forces to secure the country as a province of its empire. The Fayum mummy portraits epitomize the meeting of Egyptian and Roman cultures. Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire in 30 B.C., following the defeat of Marc Antony and Ptolemaic Queen Cleopatra VII by Octavian (later Emperor Augustus) in the Battle of Actium. The Romans relied heavily on grain shipments from Egypt, and the Roman army, under the control of a prefect appointed by the Emperor, quelled rebellions, strictly enforced the collection of heavy taxes, and prevented attacks by bandits, which had become a notorious problem during the period. Alexandria became an increasingly important center on the trade route with the orient, as exotic luxuries were in high demand in Rome. Although the Romans had a more hostile attitude than the Greeks towards the Egyptians, some traditions such as mummification and worship of the traditional gods continued. The art of mummy portraiture flourished, and some Roman emperors had themselves depicted as pharaohs, though not to the extent that the Ptolemies had. The former lived outside Egypt and did not perform the ceremonial functions of Egyptian kingship. Local administration became Roman in style and closed to native Egyptians. From the mid-first century AD, Christianity took root in Egypt and it was originally seen as another cult that could be accepted. However, it was an uncompromising religion that sought to win converts from Egyptian Religion and Greco-Roman religion and threatened popular religious traditions. This led to the persecution of converts to Christianity, culminating in the great purges of Diocletian starting in 303, but eventually Christianity won out. In 391 the Christian Emperor Theodosius introduced legislation that banned pagan rites and closed temples. Alexandria became the scene of great anti-pagan riots with public and private religious imagery destroyed. As a consequence, Egypt's native religious culture was continually in decline. While the native population certainly continued to speak their language, the ability to read hieroglyphic writing slowly disappeared as the role of the Egyptian temple priests and priestesses diminished. The temples themselves were sometimes converted to churches or abandoned to the desert. The pharaoh was the absolute monarch of the country and, at least in theory, wielded complete control of the land and its resources. The king was the supreme military commander and head of the government, who relied on a bureaucracy of officials to manage his affairs. In charge of the administration was his second in command, the vizier, who acted as the king's representative and coordinated land surveys, the treasury, building projects, the legal system, and the archives. At a regional level, the country was divided into as many as 42 administrative regions called nomes each governed by a nomarch, who was accountable to the vizier for his jurisdiction. The temples formed the backbone of the economy. Not only were they houses of worship, but were also responsible for collecting and storing the nation's wealth in a system of granaries and treasuries administered by overseers, who redistributed grain and goods. Much of the economy was centrally organized and strictly controlled. Although the ancient Egyptians did not use coinage until the Late period, they did use a type of money-barter system, with standard sacks of grain and the deben, a weight of roughly 91 grams (3 oz) of copper or silver, forming a common denominator. Workers were paid in grain; a simple laborer might earn 5½ sacks (200 kg or 400 lb) of grain per month, while a foreman might earn 7½ sacks (250 kg or 550 lb). Prices were fixed across the country and recorded in lists to facilitate trading; for example a shirt cost five copper deben, while a cow cost 140 deben. Grain could be traded for other goods, according to the fixed price list. During the fifth century B.C. coined money was introduced into Egypt from abroad. At first the coins were used as standardized pieces of precious metal rather than true money, but in the following centuries international traders came to rely on coinage. Egyptian society was highly stratified, and social status was expressly displayed. Farmers made up the bulk of the population, but agricultural produce was owned directly by the state, temple, or noble family that owned the land. Farmers were also subject to a labor tax and were required to work on irrigation or construction projects in a corvée system. Artists and craftsmen were of higher status than farmers, but they were also under state control, working in the shops attached to the temples and paid directly from the state treasury. Scribes and officials formed the upper class in ancient Egypt, known as the "white kilt class" in reference to the bleached linen garments that served as a mark of their rank. The upper class prominently displayed their social status in art and literature. Below the nobility were the priests, physicians, and engineers with specialized training in their field. Slavery was known in ancient Egypt, but the extent and prevalence of its practice are unclear. The ancient Egyptians viewed men and women, including people from all social classes except slaves, as essentially equal under the law, and even the lowliest peasant was entitled to petition the vizier and his court for redress. Although slaves were mostly used as indentured servants, they were able to buy and sell their servitude, work their way to freedom or nobility, and were usually treated by doctors in the workplace. Both men and women had the right to own and sell property, make contracts, marry and divorce, receive inheritance, and pursue legal disputes in court. Married couples could own property jointly and protect themselves from divorce by agreeing to marriage contracts, which stipulated the financial obligations of the husband to his wife and children should the marriage end. Compared with their counterparts in ancient Greece, Rome, and even more modern places around the world, ancient Egyptian women had a greater range of personal choices and opportunities for achievement. Women such as Hatshepsut and Cleopatra VII even became pharaohs, while others wielded power as Divine Wives of Amun. Despite these freedoms, ancient Egyptian women did not often take part in official roles in the administration, served only secondary roles in the temples, and were not as likely to be as educated as men. The head of the legal system was officially the pharaoh, who was responsible for enacting laws, delivering justice, and maintaining law and order, a concept the ancient Egyptians referred to as Ma'at. Although no legal codes from ancient Egypt survive, court documents show that Egyptian law was based on a common-sense view of right and wrong that emphasized reaching agreements and resolving conflicts rather than strictly adhering to a complicated set of statutes. Local councils of elders, known as Kenbet in the New Kingdom, were responsible for ruling in court cases involving small claims and minor disputes. More serious cases involving murder, major land transactions, and tomb robbery were referred to the Great Kenbet, over which the vizier or pharaoh presided. Plaintiffs and defendants were expected to represent themselves and were required to swear an oath that they had told the truth. In some cases, the state took on both the role of prosecutor and judge, and it could torture the accused with beatings to obtain a confession and the names of any co-conspirators. Whether the charges were trivial or serious, court scribes documented the complaint, testimony, and verdict of the case for future reference. Punishment for minor crimes involved either imposition of fines, beatings, facial mutilation, or exile, depending on the severity of the offense. Serious crimes such as murder and tomb robbery were punished by execution, carried out by decapitation, drowning, or impaling the criminal on a stake. Punishment could also be extended to the criminal's family. Beginning in the New Kingdom, oracles played a major role in the legal system, dispensing justice in both civil and criminal cases. The procedure was to ask the god a "yes" or "no" question concerning the right or wrong of an issue. The god, carried by a number of priests, rendered judgment by choosing one or the other, moving forward or backward, or pointing to one of the answers written on a piece of papyrus or an ostracon. A combination of favorable geographical features contributed to the success of ancient Egyptian culture, the most important of which was the rich fertile soil resulting from annual inundations of the Nile River. The ancient Egyptians were thus able to produce an abundance of food, allowing the population to devote more time and resources to cultural, technological, and artistic pursuits. Land management was crucial in ancient Egypt because taxes were assessed based on the amount of land a person owned. Farming in Egypt was dependent on the cycle of the Nile River. The Egyptians recognized three seasons: Akhet (flooding), Peret (planting), and Shemu (harvesting). The flooding season lasted from June to September, depositing on the river's banks a layer of mineral-rich silt ideal for growing crops. After the floodwaters had receded, the growing season lasted from October to February. Farmers plowed and planted seeds in the fields, which were irrigated with ditches and canals. Egypt received little rainfall, so farmers relied on the Nile to water their crops. From March to May, farmers used sickles to harvest their crops, which were then threshed with a flail to separate the straw from the grain. Winnowing removed the chaff from the grain, and the grain was then ground into flour, brewed to make beer, or stored for later use. The ancient Egyptians cultivated emmer and barley, and several other cereal grains, all of which were used to make the two main food staples of bread and beer. Flax plants, uprooted before they started flowering, were grown for the fibers of their stems. These fibers were split along their length and spun into thread, which was used to weave sheets of linen and to make clothing. Papyrus growing on the banks of the Nile River was used to make paper. Vegetables and fruits were grown in garden plots, close to habitations and on higher ground, and had to be watered by hand. Vegetables included leeks, garlic, melons, squashes, pulses, lettuce, and other crops, in addition to grapes that were made into wine. The Egyptians believed that a balanced relationship between people and animals was an essential element of the cosmic order; thus humans, animals and plants were believed to be members of a single whole. Animals, both domesticated and wild, were therefore a critical source of spirituality, companionship, and sustenance to the ancient Egyptians. Cattle were the most important livestock; the administration collected taxes on livestock in regular censuses, and the size of a herd reflected the prestige and importance of the estate or temple that owned them. In addition to cattle, the ancient Egyptians kept sheep, goats, and pigs. Poultry, such as ducks, geese, and pigeons, were captured in nets and bred on farms, where they were force-fed with dough to fatten them. The Nile provided a plentiful source of fish. Bees were also domesticated from at least the Old Kingdom, and provided both honey and wax. The ancient Egyptians used donkeys and oxen as beasts of burden, and they were responsible for plowing the fields and trampling seed into the soil. The slaughter of a fattened ox was also a central part of an offering ritual. Horses were introduced by the Hyksos in the Second Intermediate Period. Camels, although known from the New Kingdom, were not used as beasts of burden until the Late Period. There is also evidence to suggest that elephants were briefly utilized in the Late Period but largely abandoned due to lack of grazing land. Dogs, cats, and monkeys were common family pets, while more exotic pets imported from the heart of Africa, such as Sub-Saharan African lions, were reserved for royalty. Herodotus observed that the Egyptians were the only people to keep their animals with them in their houses. During the Predynastic and Late periods, the worship of the gods in their animal form was extremely popular, such as the cat goddess Bastet and the ibis god Thoth, and these animals were bred in large numbers on farms for the purpose of ritual sacrifice. Egypt is rich in building and decorative stone, copper and lead ores, gold, and semiprecious stones. These natural resources allowed the ancient Egyptians to build monuments, sculpt statues, make tools, and fashion jewelry. Embalmers used salts from the Wadi Natrun for mummification, which also provided the gypsum needed to make plaster. Ore-bearing rock formations were found in distant, inhospitable wadis in the eastern desert and the Sinai, requiring large, state-controlled expeditions to obtain natural resources found there. There were extensive gold mines in Nubia, and one of the first maps known is of a gold mine in this region. The Wadi Hammamat was a notable source of granite, greywacke, and gold. Flint was the first mineral collected and used to make tools, and flint handaxes are the earliest pieces of evidence of habitation in the Nile valley. Nodules of the mineral were carefully flaked to make blades and arrowheads of moderate hardness and durability even after copper was adopted for this purpose. Ancient Egyptians were among the first to use minerals such as sulfur as cosmetic substances. The Egyptians worked deposits of the lead ore galena at Gebel Rosas to make net sinkers, plumb bobs, and small figurines. Copper was the most important metal for toolmaking in ancient Egypt and was smelted in furnaces from malachite ore mined in the Sinai. Workers collected gold by washing the nuggets out of sediment in alluvial deposits, or by the more labor-intensive process of grinding and washing gold-bearing quartzite. Iron deposits found in upper Egypt were utilized in the Late Period. High-quality building stones were abundant in Egypt; the ancient Egyptians quarried limestone all along the Nile valley, granite from Aswan, and basalt and sandstone from the wadis of the eastern desert. Deposits of decorative stones such as porphyry, greywacke, alabaster, and carnelian dotted the eastern desert and were collected even before the First Dynasty. In the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods, miners worked deposits of emeralds in Wadi Sikait and amethyst in Wadi el-Hudi. The ancient Egyptians engaged in trade with their foreign neighbors to obtain rare, exotic goods not found in Egypt. In the Predynastic Period, they established trade with Nubia to obtain gold and incense. They also established trade with Palestine, as evidenced by Palestinian-style oil jugs found in the burials of the First Dynasty pharaohs. An Egyptian colony stationed in southern Canaan dates to slightly before the First Dynasty. Narmer had Egyptian pottery produced in Canaan and exported back to Egypt. By the Second Dynasty at latest, ancient Egyptian trade with Byblos yielded a critical source of quality timber not found in Egypt. By the Fifth Dynasty, trade with Punt provided gold, aromatic resins, ebony, ivory, and wild animals such as monkeys and baboons. Egypt relied on trade with Anatolia for essential quantities of tin as well as supplementary supplies of copper, both metals being necessary for the manufacture of bronze. The ancient Egyptians prized the blue stone lapis lazuli, which had to be imported from far-away Afghanistan. Egypt's Mediterranean trade partners also included Greece and Crete, which provided, among other goods, supplies of olive oil. In exchange for its luxury imports and raw materials, Egypt mainly exported grain, gold, linen, and papyrus, in addition to other finished goods including glass and stone objects. The Egyptian language is a northern Afro-Asiatic language closely related to the Berber and Semitic languages. It has the second longest history of any language (after Sumerian), having been written from circa 3200 B.C. to the Middle Ages and remaining as a spoken language for longer. The phases of ancient Egyptian are Old Egyptian, Middle Egyptian (Classical Egyptian), Late Egyptian, Demotic and Coptic. Egyptian writings do not show dialect differences before Coptic, but it was probably spoken in regional dialects around Memphis and later Thebes. Ancient Egyptian was a synthetic language, but it became more analytic later on. Late Egyptian developed prefixal definite and indefinite articles, which replaced the older inflectional suffixes. There was a change from the older verb–subject–object word order to subject–verb–object. The Egyptian hieroglyphic, hieratic, and demotic scripts were eventually replaced by the more phonetic Coptic alphabet. Coptic is still used in the liturgy of the Egyptian Orthodox Church, and traces of it are found in modern Egyptian Arabic. Hieroglyphic writing dates from circa 3000 B.C., and is composed of hundreds of symbols. A hieroglyph can represent a word, a sound, or a silent determinative; and the same symbol can serve different purposes in different contexts. Hieroglyphs were a formal script, used on stone monuments and in tombs, that could be as detailed as individual works of art. In day-to-day writing, scribes used a cursive form of writing, called hieratic, which was quicker and easier. While formal hieroglyphs may be read in rows or columns in either direction (though typically written from right to left), hieratic was always written from right to left, usually in horizontal rows. A new form of writing, Demotic, became the prevalent writing style, and it is this form of writing—along with formal hieroglyphs—that accompany the Greek text on the Rosetta Stone. Around the first century AD, the Coptic alphabet started to be used alongside the Demotic script. Coptic is a modified Greek alphabet with the addition of some Demotic signs. Although formal hieroglyphs were used in a ceremonial role until the fourth century, towards the end only a small handful of priests could still read them. As the traditional religious establishments were disbanded, knowledge of hieroglyphic writing was mostly lost. Attempts to decipher them date to the Byzantine and Islamic periods in Egypt, but only in 1822, after the discovery of the Rosetta stone and years of research by Thomas Young and Jean-François Champollion, were hieroglyphs almost fully deciphered. Writing first appeared in association with kingship on labels and tags for items found in royal tombs. It was primarily an occupation of the scribes, who worked out of the Per Ankh institution or the House of Life. The latter comprised offices, libraries (called House of Books), laboratories and observatories. Some of the best-known pieces of ancient Egyptian literature, such as the Pyramid and Coffin Texts, were written in Classical Egyptian, which continued to be the language of writing until about 1300 B.C. Later Egyptian was spoken from the New Kingdom onward and is represented in Ramesside administrative documents, love poetry and tales, as well as in Demotic and Coptic texts. During this period, the tradition of writing had evolved into the tomb autobiography, such as those of Harkhuf and Weni. The genre known as Sebayt ("instructions") was developed to communicate teachings and guidance from famous nobles; the Ipuwer papyrus, a poem of lamentations describing natural disasters and social upheaval, is a famous example. The Story of Sinuhe, written in Middle Egyptian, might be the classic of Egyptian literature. Also written at this time was the Westcar Papyrus, a set of stories told to Khufu by his sons relating the marvels performed by priests. The Instruction of Amenemope is considered a masterpiece of near-eastern literature. Towards the end of the New Kingdom, the vernacular language was more often employed to write popular pieces like the Story of Wenamun and the Instruction of Any. The former tells the story of a noble who is robbed on his way to buy cedar from Lebanon and of his struggle to return to Egypt. From about 700 B.C., narrative stories and instructions, such as the popular Instructions of Onchsheshonqy, as well as personal and business documents were written in the demotic script and phase of Egyptian. Many stories written in demotic during the Greco-Roman period were set in previous historical eras, when Egypt was an independent nation ruled by great pharaohs such as Ramesses II. Most ancient Egyptians were farmers tied to the land. Their dwellings were restricted to immediate family members, and were constructed of mud-brick designed to remain cool in the heat of the day. Each home had a kitchen with an open roof, which contained a grindstone for milling grain and a small oven for baking the bread. Walls were painted white and could be covered with dyed linen wall hangings. Floors were covered with reed mats, while wooden stools, beds raised from the floor and individual tables comprised the furniture. The ancient Egyptians placed a great value on hygiene and appearance. Most bathed in the Nile and used a pasty soap made from animal fat and chalk. Men shaved their entire bodies for cleanliness; perfumes and aromatic ointments covered bad odors and soothed skin. Clothing was made from simple linen sheets that were bleached white, and both men and women of the upper classes wore wigs, jewelry, and cosmetics. Children went without clothing until maturity, at about age 12, and at this age males were circumcised and had their heads shaved. Mothers were responsible for taking care of the children, while the father provided the family's income. Music and dance were popular entertainments for those who could afford them. Early instruments included flutes and harps, while instruments similar to trumpets, oboes, and pipes developed later and became popular. In the New Kingdom, the Egyptians played on bells, cymbals, tambourines, drums, and imported lutes and lyres from Asia. The sistrum was a rattle-like musical instrument that was especially important in religious ceremonies. The ancient Egyptians enjoyed a variety of leisure activities, including games and music. Senet, a board game where pieces moved according to random chance, was particularly popular from the earliest times; another similar game was mehen, which had a circular gaming board. Juggling and ball games were popular with children, and wrestling is also documented in a tomb at Beni Hasan. The wealthy members of ancient Egyptian society enjoyed hunting and boating as well. The excavation of the workers' village of Deir el-Madinah has resulted in one of the most thoroughly documented accounts of community life in the ancient world that spans almost four hundred years. There is no comparable site in which the organization, social interactions, working and living conditions of a community were studied in such detail. Egyptian cuisine remained remarkably stable over time; indeed, the cuisine of modern Egypt retains some striking similarities to the cuisine of the ancients. The staple diet consisted of bread and beer, supplemented with vegetables such as onions and garlic, and fruit such as dates and figs. Wine and meat were enjoyed by all on feast days while the upper classes indulged on a more regular basis. Fish, meat, and fowl could be salted or dried, and could be cooked in stews or roasted on a grill. The architecture of ancient Egypt includes some of the most famous structures in the world: the Great Pyramids of Giza and the temples at Thebes. Building projects were organized and funded by the state for religious and commemorative purposes, but also to reinforce the wide-ranging power of the pharaoh. The ancient Egyptians were skilled builders; using only simple but effective tools and sighting instruments, architects could build large stone structures with great accuracy and precision that is still envied today. The domestic dwellings of elite and ordinary Egyptians alike were constructed from perishable materials such as mud bricks and wood, and have not survived. Peasants lived in simple homes, while the palaces of the elite and the pharaoh were more elaborate structures. A few surviving New Kingdom palaces, such as those in Malkata and Amarna, show richly decorated walls and floors with scenes of people, birds, water pools, deities and geometric designs. Important structures such as temples and tombs that were intended to last forever were constructed of stone instead of mud bricks. The architectural elements used in the world's first large-scale stone building, Djoser's mortuary complex, include post and lintel supports in the papyrus and lotus motif. The earliest preserved ancient Egyptian temples, such as those at Giza, consist of single, enclosed halls with roof slabs supported by columns. In the New Kingdom, architects added the pylon, the open courtyard, and the enclosed hypostyle hall to the front of the temple's sanctuary, a style that was standard until the Greco-Roman period. The earliest and most popular tomb architecture in the Old Kingdom was the mastaba, a flat-roofed rectangular structure of mudbrick or stone built over an underground burial chamber. The step pyramid of Djoser is a series of stone mastabas stacked on top of each other. Pyramids were built during the Old and Middle Kingdoms, but most later rulers abandoned them in favor of less conspicuous rock-cut tombs. The Twenty-fifth dynasty was a notable exception, as all Twenty-fifth dynasty pharaohs constructed pyramids. The ancient Egyptians produced art to serve functional purposes. For over 3500 years, artists adhered to artistic forms and iconography that were developed during the Old Kingdom, following a strict set of principles that resisted foreign influence and internal change. These artistic standards—simple lines, shapes, and flat areas of color combined with the characteristic flat projection of figures with no indication of spatial depth—created a sense of order and balance within a composition. Images and text were intimately interwoven on tomb and temple walls, coffins, stelae, and even statues. The Narmer Palette, for example, displays figures that can also be read as hieroglyphs. Because of the rigid rules that governed its highly stylized and symbolic appearance, ancient Egyptian art served its political and religious purposes with precision and clarity. Ancient Egyptian artisans used stone to carve statues and fine reliefs, but used wood as a cheap and easily carved substitute. Paints were obtained from minerals such as iron ores (red and yellow ochres), copper ores (blue and green), soot or charcoal (black), and limestone (white). Paints could be mixed with gum arabic as a binder and pressed into cakes, which could be moistened with water when needed. Pharaohs used reliefs to record victories in battle, royal decrees, and religious scenes. Common citizens had access to pieces of funerary art, such as shabti statues and books of the dead, which they believed would protect them in the afterlife. During the Middle Kingdom, wooden or clay models depicting scenes from everyday life became popular additions to the tomb. In an attempt to duplicate the activities of the living in the afterlife, these models show laborers, houses, boats, and even military formations that are scale representations of the ideal ancient Egyptian afterlife. Despite the homogeneity of ancient Egyptian art, the styles of particular times and places sometimes reflected changing cultural or political attitudes. After the invasion of the Hyksos in the Second Intermediate Period, Minoan-style frescoes were found in Avaris. The most striking example of a politically driven change in artistic forms comes from the Amarna period, where figures were radically altered to conform to Akhenaten's revolutionary religious ideas. This style, known as Amarna art, was quickly and thoroughly erased after Akhenaten's death and replaced by the traditional forms. Beliefs in the divine and in the afterlife were ingrained in ancient Egyptian civilization from its inception; pharaonic rule was based on the divine right of kings. The Egyptian pantheon was populated by gods who had supernatural powers and were called on for help or protection. However, the gods were not always viewed as benevolent, and Egyptians believed they had to be appeased with offerings and prayers. The structure of this pantheon changed continually as new deities were promoted in the hierarchy, but priests made no effort to organize the diverse and sometimes conflicting myths and stories into a coherent system. These various conceptions of divinity were not considered contradictory but rather layers in the multiple facets of reality. Gods were worshiped in cult temples administered by priests acting on the king's behalf. At the center of the temple was the cult statue in a shrine. Temples were not places of public worship or congregation, and only on select feast days and celebrations was a shrine carrying the statue of the god brought out for public worship. Normally, the god's domain was sealed off from the outside world and was only accessible to temple officials. Common citizens could worship private statues in their homes, and amulets offered protection against the forces of chaos. After the New Kingdom, the pharaoh's role as a spiritual intermediary was de-emphasized as religious customs shifted to direct worship of the gods. As a result, priests developed a system of oracles to communicate the will of the gods directly to the people. The Egyptians believed that every human being was composed of physical and spiritual parts or aspects. In addition to the body, each person had a šwt (shadow), a ba (personality or soul), a ka (life-force), and a name. The heart, rather than the brain, was considered the seat of thoughts and emotions. After death, the spiritual aspects were released from the body and could move at will, but they required the physical remains (or a substitute, such as a statue) as a permanent home. The ultimate goal of the deceased was to rejoin his ka and ba and become one of the "blessed dead", living on as an akh, or "effective one". For this to happen, the deceased had to be judged worthy in a trial, in which the heart was weighed against a "feather of truth". If deemed worthy, the deceased could continue their existence on earth in spiritual form. The ancient Egyptians maintained an elaborate set of burial customs that they believed were necessary to ensure immortality after death. These customs involved preserving the body by mummification, performing burial ceremonies, and interring with the body goods the deceased would use in the afterlife. Before the Old Kingdom, bodies buried in desert pits were naturally preserved by desiccation. The arid, desert conditions were a boon throughout the history of ancient Egypt for burials of the poor, who could not afford the elaborate burial preparations available to the elite. Wealthier Egyptians began to bury their dead in stone tombs and use artificial mummification, which involved removing the internal organs, wrapping the body in linen, and burying it in a rectangular stone sarcophagus or wooden coffin. Beginning in the Fourth Dynasty, some parts were preserved separately in canopic jars. By the New Kingdom, the ancient Egyptians had perfected the art of mummification; the best technique took 70 days and involved removing the internal organs, removing the brain through the nose, and desiccating the body in a mixture of salts called natron. The body was then wrapped in linen with protective amulets inserted between layers and placed in a decorated anthropoid coffin. Mummies of the Late Period were also placed in painted cartonnage mummy cases. Actual preservation practices declined during the Ptolemaic and Roman eras, while greater emphasis was placed on the outer appearance of the mummy, which was decorated. Wealthy Egyptians were buried with larger quantities of luxury items, but all burials, regardless of social status, included goods for the deceased. Beginning in the New Kingdom, books of the dead were included in the grave, along with shabti statues that were believed to perform manual labor for them in the afterlife. Rituals in which the deceased was magically re-animated accompanied burials. After burial, living relatives were expected to occasionally bring food to the tomb and recite prayers on behalf of the deceased. The ancient Egyptian military was responsible for defending Egypt against foreign invasion, and for maintaining Egypt's domination in the ancient Near East. The military protected mining expeditions to the Sinai during the Old Kingdom and fought civil wars during the First and Second Intermediate Periods. The military was responsible for maintaining fortifications along important trade routes, such as those found at the city of Buhen on the way to Nubia. Forts also were constructed to serve as military bases, such as the fortress at Sile, which was a base of operations for expeditions to the Levant. In the New Kingdom, a series of pharaohs used the standing Egyptian army to attack and conquer Kush and parts of the Levant. Typical military equipment included bows and arrows, spears, and round-topped shields made by stretching animal skin over a wooden frame. In the New Kingdom, the military began using chariots that had earlier been introduced by the Hyksos invaders. Weapons and armor continued to improve after the adoption of bronze: shields were now made from solid wood with a bronze buckle, spears were tipped with a bronze point, and the Khopesh was adopted from Asiatic soldiers. The pharaoh was usually depicted in art and literature riding at the head of the army; it has been suggested that at least a few pharaohs, such as Seqenenre Tao II and his sons, did do so. However, it has also been argued that "kings of this period did not personally act as frontline war leaders, fighting alongside their troops." Soldiers were recruited from the general population, but during, and especially after, the New Kingdom, mercenaries from Nubia, Kush, and Libya were hired to fight for Egypt. In technology, medicine, and mathematics, ancient Egypt achieved a relatively high standard of productivity and sophistication. Traditional empiricism, as evidenced by the Edwin Smith and Ebers papyri (circa 1600 B.C.), is first credited to Egypt. The Egyptians created their own alphabet and decimal system. Even before the Old Kingdom, the ancient Egyptians had developed a glassy material known as faience, which they treated as a type of artificial semi-precious stone. Faience is a non-clay ceramic made of silica, small amounts of lime and soda, and a colorant, typically copper. The material was used to make beads, tiles, figurines, and small wares. Several methods can be used to create faience, but typically production involved application of the powdered materials in the form of a paste over a clay core, which was then fired. By a related technique, the ancient Egyptians produced a pigment known as Egyptian Blue, also called blue frit, which is produced by fusing (or sintering) silica, copper, lime, and an alkali such as natron. The product can be ground up and used as a pigment. The ancient Egyptians could fabricate a wide variety of objects from glass with great skill, but it is not clear whether they developed the process independently. It is also unclear whether they made their own raw glass or merely imported pre-made ingots, which they melted and finished. However, they did have technical expertise in making objects, as well as adding trace elements to control the color of the finished glass. A range of colors could be produced, including yellow, red, green, blue, purple, and white, and the glass could be made either transparent or opaque. The medical problems of the ancient Egyptians stemmed directly from their environment. Living and working close to the Nile brought hazards from malaria and debilitating schistosomiasis parasites, which caused liver and intestinal damage. Dangerous wildlife such as crocodiles and hippos were also a common threat. The lifelong labors of farming and building put stress on the spine and joints, and traumatic injuries from construction and warfare all took a significant toll on the body. The grit and sand from stone-ground flour abraded teeth, leaving them susceptible to abscesses. The diets of the wealthy were rich in sugars, which promoted periodontal disease. Despite the flattering physiques portrayed on tomb walls, the overweight mummies of many of the upper class show the effects of a life of overindulgence. Adult life expectancy was about 35 for men and 30 for women, but reaching adulthood was difficult as about one-third of the population died in infancy. Ancient Egyptian physicians were renowned in the ancient Near East for their healing skills, and some, such as Imhotep, remained famous long after their deaths. Herodotus remarked that there was a high degree of specialization among Egyptian physicians, with some treating only the head or the stomach, while others were eye-doctors and dentists. Training of physicians took place at the Per Ankh or "House of Life" institution, most notably those headquartered in Per-Bastet during the New Kingdom and at Abydos and Saïs in the Late period. Medical papyri show empirical knowledge of anatomy, injuries, and practical treatments. Wounds were treated by bandaging with raw meat, white linen, sutures, nets, pads, and swabs soaked with honey to prevent infection, while opium thyme and belladona were used to relieve pain. The earliest records of burn treatment describe burn dressings that use the milk from mothers of male babies. Prayers were made to the goddess Isis. Moldy bread, honey and copper salts were also used to prevent infection from dirt in burns. Garlic and onions were used regularly to promote good health and were thought to relieve asthma symptoms. Ancient Egyptian surgeons stitched wounds, set broken bones, and amputated diseased limbs, but they recognized that some injuries were so serious that they could only make the patient comfortable until death occurred. Early Egyptians knew how to assemble planks of wood into a ship hull and had mastered advanced forms of shipbuilding as early as 3000 B.C. The Archaeological Institute of America reports that the oldest planked ships known are the Abydos boats. A group of 14 discovered ships in Abydos were constructed of wooden planks "sewn" together. Discovered by Egyptologist David O'Connor of New York University, woven straps were found to have been used to lash the planks together, and reeds or grass stuffed between the planks helped to seal the seams. Because the ships are all buried together and near a mortuary belonging to Pharaoh Khasekhemwy, originally they were all thought to have belonged to him, but one of the 14 ships dates to 3000 B.C., and the associated pottery jars buried with the vessels also suggest earlier dating. The ship dating to 3000 B.C. was 75 feet long and is now thought to perhaps have belonged to an earlier pharaoh. According to professor O'Connor, the 5,000-year-old ship may have even belonged to Pharaoh Aha. Early Egyptians also knew how to assemble planks of wood with treenails to fasten them together, using pitch for caulking the seams. The "Khufu ship", a 143 foot vessel sealed into a pit in the Giza pyramid complex at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Giza in the Fourth Dynasty around 2500 B.C., is a full-size surviving example that may have filled the symbolic function of a solar barque. Early Egyptians also knew how to fasten the planks of this ship together with mortise and tenon joints. Large seagoing ships are known to have been heavily used by the Egyptians in their trade with the city states of the eastern Mediterranean, especially Byblos (on the coast of modern-day Lebanon), and in several expeditions down the Red Sea to the Land of Punt. In fact one of the earliest Egyptian words for a seagoing ship is a "Byblos Ship", which originally defined a class of Egyptian seagoing ships used on the Byblos run; however, by the end of the Old Kingdom, the term had come to include large seagoing ships, whatever their destination. In 2011 archaeologists from Italy, the United States, and Egypt excavating a dried-up lagoon known as Mersa Gawasis have unearthed traces of an ancient harbor that once launched early voyages like Hatshepsut's Punt expedition onto the open ocean. Some of the site's most evocative evidence for the ancient Egyptians' seafaring prowess include large ship timbers and hundreds of feet of ropes, made from papyrus, coiled in huge bundles. And in 2013 a team of Franco-Egyptian archaeologists discovered what is believed to be the world's oldest port, dating back about 4500 years, from the time of King Cheops on the Red Sea coast near Wadi el-Jarf (about 110 miles south of Suez). In 1977, an ancient north-south canal dating to the Middle Kingdom of Egypt was discovered extending from Lake Timsah to the Ballah Lakes. It was dated to the Middle Kingdom of Egypt by extrapolating dates of ancient sites constructed along its course. The earliest attested examples of mathematical calculations date to the predynastic Naqada period, and show a fully developed numeral system. The importance of mathematics to an educated Egyptian is suggested by a New Kingdom fictional letter in which the writer proposes a scholarly competition between himself and another scribe regarding everyday calculation tasks such as accounting of land, labor, and grain. Texts such as the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus and the Moscow Mathematical Papyrus show that the ancient Egyptians could perform the four basic mathematical operations—addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division—use fractions, compute the volumes of boxes and pyramids, and calculate the surface areas of rectangles, triangles, and circles. They understood basic concepts of algebra and geometry, and could solve simple sets of simultaneous equations. Mathematical notation was decimal, and based on hieroglyphic signs for each power of ten up to one million. Each of these could be written as many times as necessary to add up to the desired number; so to write the number eighty or eight hundred, the symbol for ten or one hundred was written eight times respectively. Because their methods of calculation could not handle most fractions with a numerator greater than one, they had to write fractions as the sum of several fractions. For example, they resolved the fraction two-fifths into the sum of one-third + one-fifteenth. Standard tables of values facilitated this. Some common fractions, however, were written with a special glyph—the equivalent of the modern two-thirds is shown on the right. Ancient Egyptian mathematicians had a grasp of the principles underlying the Pythagorean theorem, knowing, for example, that a triangle had a right angle opposite the hypotenuse when its sides were in a 3–4–5 ratio. They were able to estimate the area of a circle by subtracting one-ninth from its diameter and squaring the result. The golden ratio seems to be reflected in many Egyptian constructions, including the pyramids, but its use may have been an unintended consequence of the ancient Egyptian practice of combining the use of knotted ropes with an intuitive sense of proportion and harmony. A team lead by Johannes Krause managed the first reliable sequencing of the genomes of 90 mummified individuals in 2017. Whilst not conclusive, because of the non-exhaustive time frame and restricted location that the mummies represent, their study nevertheless showed that these Ancient Egyptians "closely resembled ancient and modern Near Eastern populations, especially those in the Levant, and had almost no DNA from sub-Saharan Africa. What's more, the genetics of the mummies remained remarkably consistent even as different powers—including Nubians, Greeks, and Romans—conquered the empire." Later, however, something did alter the genomes of Egyptians. Although the mummies contain almost no DNA from sub-Saharan Africa, some 15% to 20% of modern Egyptians’ DNA reflects sub-Saharan ancestry. The culture and monuments of ancient Egypt have left a lasting legacy on the world. The cult of the goddess Isis, for example, became popular in the Roman Empire, as obelisks and other relics were transported back to Rome. The Romans also imported building materials from Egypt to erect Egyptian-style structures. Early historians such as Herodotus, Strabo, and Diodorus Siculus studied and wrote about the land, which Romans came to view as a place of mystery. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Egyptian pagan culture was in decline after the rise of Christianity and later Islam, but interest in Egyptian antiquity continued in the writings of medieval scholars such as Dhul-Nun al-Misri and al-Maqrizi. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, European travelers and tourists brought back antiquities and wrote stories of their journeys, leading to a wave of Egyptomania across Europe. This renewed interest sent collectors to Egypt, who took, purchased, or were given many important antiquities. Although the European colonial occupation of Egypt destroyed a significant portion of the country's historical legacy, some foreigners left more positive marks. Napoleon, for example, arranged the first studies in Egyptology when he brought some 150 scientists and artists to study and document Egypt's natural history, which was published in the Description de l'Égypte. In the 20th century, the Egyptian Government and archaeologists alike recognized the importance of cultural respect and integrity in excavations. The Supreme Council of Antiquities now approves and oversees all excavations, which are aimed at finding information rather than treasure. The council also supervises museums and monument reconstruction programs designed to preserve the historical legacy of Egypt. [Wikipedia]. REVIEW: Ancient Egyptian culture flourished between circa 5500 B.C. with the rise of technology (as evidenced in the glass-work of faience) and 30 B.C. with the death of Cleopatra VII, the last Ptolemaic ruler of Egypt. It is famous today for the great monuments which celebrated the triumphs of the rulers and honored the gods of the land. The culture is often misunderstood as having been obsessed with death but, had this been so, it is unlikely it would have made the significant impression it did on other ancient cultures such as Greece and Rome. The Egyptian culture was, in fact, life affirming, as the scholar Salima Ikram writes: "Judging by the numbers of tombs and mummies that the ancient Egyptians left behind, one can be forgiven for thinking that they were obsessed by death. However, this is not so. The Egyptians were obsessed by life and its continuation rather than by a morbid fascination with death. The tombs, mortuary temples and mummies that they produced were a celebration of life and a means of continuing it for eternity…For the Egyptians, as for other cultures, death was part of the journey of life, with death marking a transition or transformation after which life continued in another form, the spiritual rather than the corporeal." This passion for life imbued in the ancient Egyptians a great love for their land as it was thought that there could be no better place on earth in which to enjoy existence. While the lower classes in Egypt, as elsewhere, subsisted on much less than the more affluent, they still seem to have appreciated life in the same way as the wealthier citizens. This is exemplified in the concept of gratitude and the ritual known as The Five Gifts of Hathor in which the poor labourers were encouraged to regard the fingers of their left hand (the hand they reached with daily to harvest field crops) and to consider the five things they were most grateful for in their lives. Ingratitude was considered a `gateway sin’ as it led to all other types of negative thinking and resultant behaviour. Once one felt ungrateful, it was observed, one then was apt to indulge oneself further in bad behaviour. The Cult of Hathor was very popular in Egypt, among all classes, and epitomizes the prime importance of gratitude in Egyptian culture. Religion was an integral part of the daily life of every Egyptian. As with the people of Mesopotamia, the Egyptians considered themselves co-labourers with the gods but with an important distinction: whereas the Mesopotamian peoples believed they needed to work with their gods to prevent the recurrence of the original state of chaos, the Egyptians understood their gods to have already completed that purpose and a human’s duty was to celebrate that fact and give thanks for it. So-called `Egyptian mythology’ was, in ancient times, as valid a belief structure as any accepted religion in the modern day. Egyptian religion taught the people that, in the beginning, there was nothing but chaotic swirling waters out of which rose a small hill known as the Ben-Ben. Atop this hill stood the great god Atum who spoke creation into being by drawing on the power of Heka, the god of magic. Heka was thought to pre-date creation and was the energy which allowed the gods to perform their duties. Magic informed the entire civilization and Heka was the source of this creative, sustaining, eternal power. In another version of the myth, Atum creates the world by first fashioning Ptah, the creator god who then does the actual work. Another variant on this story is that Ptah first appeared and created Atum. Another, more elaborate, version of the creation story has Atum mating with his shadow to create Shu (air) and Tefnut (moisture) who then go on to give birth to the world and the other gods. From this original act of creative energy came all of the known world and the universe. It was understood that human beings were an important aspect of the creation of the gods and that each human soul was as eternal as that of the deities they revered. Death was not an end to life but a re-joining of the individual soul with the eternal realm from which it had come. The Egyptian concept of the soul regarded it as being comprised of nine parts: the Khat was the physical body; the Ka one’s double-form; the Ba a human-headed bird aspect which could speed between earth and the heavens; Shuyet was the shadow self; Akh the immortal, transformed self, Sahu and Sechem aspects of the Akh; Ab was the heart, the source of good and evil; Ren was one’s secret name. An individual’s name was considered of such importance that an Egyptian’s true name was kept secret throughout life and one was known by a nickname. Knowledge of a person’s true name gave one magical powers over that individual and this is among the reasons why the rulers of Egypt took another name upon ascending the throne; it was not only to link oneself symbolically to another successful pharaoh but also a form of protection to ensure one’s safety and help guarantee a trouble-free journey to eternity when one’s life on earth was completed. According to the historian Margaret Bunson: "Eternity was an endless period of existence that was not to be feared by any Egyptian. The term `Going to One’s Ka’ (astral being) was used in each age to express dying. The hieroglyph for a corpse was translated as `participating in eternal life’. The tomb was the `Mansion of Eternity’ and the dead was an Akh, a transformed spirit. The famous Egyptian mummy (whose name comes from the Persian and Arabic words for `wax’ and `bitumen’, muum and mumia) was created to preserve the individual’s physical body (Khat) without which the soul could not achieve immortality. As the Khat and the Ka were created at the same time, the Ka would be unable to journey to The Field of Reeds if it lacked the physical component on earth. The gods who had fashioned the soul and created the world consistently watched over the people of Egypt and heard and responded to, their petitions. A famous example of this is when Ramesses II was surrounded by his enemies at the Battle of Kadesh (1274 B.C.) and, calling upon the god Amun for aid, found the strength to fight his way through to safety. There are many far less dramatic examples, however, recorded on temple walls, stele, and on papyrus fragments. Papyrus (from which comes the English word `paper’) was only one of the technological advances of the ancient Egyptian culture. The Egyptians were also responsible for developing the ramp and lever and geometry for purposes of construction, advances in mathematics and astronomy (also used in construction as exemplified in the positions and locations of the pyramids and certain temples, such as Abu Simbel), improvements in irrigation and agriculture (perhaps learned from the Mesopotamians), ship building and aerodynamics (possibly introduced by the Phoenicians) the wheel (brought to Egypt by the Hyksos) and medicine. The Kahun Gynaecological Papyrus (circa 1800 B.C.) is an early treatise on women’s health issues and contraception and the Edwin Smith Papyrus (circa 1600 B.C.) is the oldest work on surgical techniques. Dentistry was widely practised and the Egyptians are credited with inventing toothpaste, toothbrushes, the toothpick, and even breath mints. They created the sport of bowling and improved upon the brewing of beer as first practised in Mesopotamia. The Egyptians did not, however, invent beer. This popular fiction of Egyptians as the first brewers stems from the fact that Egyptian beer more closely resembled modern-day beer than that of the Mesopotamians. Glass working, metallurgy in both bronze and gold, and furniture were other advancements of Egyptian culture and their art and architecture are famous world-wide for precision and beauty. Personal hygiene and appearance was valued highly and the Egyptians bathed regularly, scented themselves with perfume and incense, and created cosmetics used by both men and women. The practice of shaving was invented by the Egyptians as was the wig and the hairbrush. By 1600 B.C. the water clock was in use in Egypt, as was the calendar. Some have even suggested that they understood the principle of electricity as evidenced in the famous Dendera Light engraving on the wall of the Hathor Temple at Dendera. The images on the wall have been interpreted by some to represent a light bulb and figures attaching said bulb to an energy source. This interpretation, however, has been largely discredited by the academic community. In daily life, the Egyptians seem little different from other ancient cultures. Like the people of Mesopotamia, India, China, and Greece, they lived, mostly, in modest homes, raised families, and enjoyed their leisure time. A significant difference between Egyptian culture and that of other lands, however, was that the Egyptians believed the land was intimately tied to their personal salvation and they had a deep fear of dying beyond the borders of Egypt. Those who served their country in the army, or those who travelled for their living, made provision for their bodies to be returned to Egypt should they be killed. It was thought that the fertile, dark earth of the Nile River Delta was the only area sanctified by the gods for the re-birth of the soul in the afterlife and to be buried anywhere else was to be condemned to non-existence. Because of this devotion to the homeland, Egyptians were not great world-travellers and there is no `Egyptian Herodotus’ to leave behind impressions of the ancient world beyond Egyptian borders. Even in negotiations and treaties with other countries, Egyptian preference for remaining in Egypt was dominant. The historian Nardo writes, "Though Amenophis III had joyfully added two Mitanni princesses to his harem, he refused to send an Egyptian princess to the sovereign of Mitanni, because, `from time immemorial a royal daughter from Egypt has been given to no one.’ This is not only an expression of the feeling of superiority of the Egyptians over the foreigners but at the same time and indication of the solicitude accorded female relatives, who could not be inconvenienced by living among `barbarians’." Further, within the confines of the country people did not travel far from their places of birth and most, except for times of war, famine or other upheaval, lived their lives and died in the same locale. As it was believed that one’s afterlife would be a continuation of one’s present (only better in that there was no sickness, disappointment or, of course, death), the place in which one spent one’s life would constitute one’s eternal landscape. The yard and tree and stream one saw every day outside one’s window would be replicated in the afterlife exactly. This being so, Egyptians were encouraged to rejoice in and deeply appreciate their immediate surroundings and to live gratefully within their means. The concept of ma’at (harmony and balance) governed Egyptian culture and, whether of upper or lower class, Egyptians endeavoured to live in peace with their surroundings and with each other. Among the lower classes, homes were built of mud bricks baked in the sun. The more affluent a citizen, the thicker the home; wealthier people had homes constructed of a double layer, or more, of brick while poorer people’s houses were only one brick wide. Wood was scarce and was only used for doorways and window sills (again, in wealthier homes) and the roof was considered another room in the house where gatherings were routinely held as the interior of the homes were often dimly lighted. Clothing was simple linen, un-dyed, with the men wearing a knee-length skirt (or loincloth) and the women in light, ankle-length dresses or robes which concealed or exposed their breasts depending on the fashion at a particular time. It would seem that a woman’s level of undress, however, was indicative of her social status throughout much of Egyptian history. Dancing girls, female musicians, and servants and slaves are routinely shown as naked or nearly naked while a lady of the house is fully clothed, even during those times when exposed breasts were a fashion statement. Even so, women were free to dress as they pleased and there was never a prohibition, at any time in Egyptian history, on female fashion. A woman’s exposed breasts were considered a natural, normal, fashion choice and was in no way deemed immodest or provocative. It was understood that the goddess Isis had given equal rights to both men and women and, therefore, men had no right to dictate how a woman, even one’s own wife, should attire herself. Children wore little or no clothing until puberty. Marriages were not arranged among the lower classes and there seems to have been no formal marriage ceremony. A man would carry gifts to the house of his intended bride and, if the gifts were accepted, she would take up residence with him. The average age of a bride was 13 and that of a groom 18-21. A contract would be drawn up portioning a man’s assets to his wife and children and this allotment could not be rescinded except on grounds of adultery (defined as sex with a married woman, not a married man). Egyptian women could own land, homes, run businesses, and preside over temples and could even be pharaohs (as in the example of Queen Hatshepsut, 1479-1458 B.C.) or, earlier, Queen Sobeknofru, circa 1767-1759 B.C.). The historian Thompson writes, "Egypt treated its women better than any of the other major civilizations of the ancient world. The Egyptians believed that joy and happiness were legitimate goals of life and regarded home and family as the major source of delight.” Because of this belief, women enjoyed a higher prestige in Egypt than in any other culture of the ancient world. While the man was considered the head of the house, the woman was head of the home. She raised the children of both sexes until, at the age or four or five, boys were taken under the care and tutelage of their fathers to learn their profession (or attend school if the father’s profession was that of a scribe, priest, or doctor). Girls remained under the care of their mothers, learning how to run a household, until they were married. Women could also be scribes, priests, or doctors but this was unusual because education was expensive and tradition held that the son should follow the father's profession, not the daughter. Marriage was the common state of Egyptians after puberty and a single man or woman was considered abnormal. The higher classes, or nobility, lived in more ornate homes with greater material wealth but seem to have followed the same precepts as those lower on the social hierarchy. All Egyptians enjoyed playing games, such as the game of Senet (a board game popular since the Pre-Dynastic Period, circa 5500-3150 B.C.) but only those of means could afford a quality playing board. This did not seem to stop poorer people from playing the game, however; they merely played with a less ornate set. Watching wrestling matches and races and engaging in other sporting events, such as hunting, archery, and sailing, were popular among the nobility and upper class but, again, were enjoyed by all Egyptians in as much as they could be afforded (save for large animal hunting which was the sole provenance of the ruler and those he designated). Feasting at banquets was a leisure activity only of the upper class although the lower classes were able to enjoy themselves in a similar (though less lavish) way at the many religious festivals held throughout the year. Swimming and rowing were extremely popular among all classes. The Roman writer Seneca observed common Egyptians at sport the Nile River and described the scene: "The people embark on small boats, two to a boat, and one rows while the other bails out water. Then they are violently tossed about in the raging rapids. At length, they reach the narrowest channels…and, swept along by the whole force of the river, they control the rushing boat by hand and plunge head downward to the great terror of the onlookers. You would believe sorrowfully that by now they were drowned and overwhelmed by such a mass of water when, far from the place where they fell, they shoot out as from a catapult, still sailing, and the subsiding wave does not submerge them, but carries them on to smooth waters." Swimming was an important part of Egyptian culture and children were taught to swim when very young. Water sports played a significant role in Egyptian entertainment as the Nile River was such a major aspect of their daily lives. The sport of water-jousting, in which two small boats, each with one or two rowers and one jouster, fought each other, seems to have been very popular. The rower (or rowers) in the boat sought to strategically maneuver while the fighter tried to knock his opponent out of the craft. They also enjoyed games having nothing to do with the river, however, which were similar to modern-day games of catch and handball. Gardens and simple home adornments were highly prized by the Egyptians. A home garden was important for sustenance but also provided pleasure in tending to one’s own crop. The labourers in the fields never worked their own crop and so their individual garden was a place of pride in producing something of their own, grown from their own soil. This soil, again, would be their eternal home after they left their bodies and so was greatly valued. A tomb inscription from 1400 B.C. reads, “May I walk every day on the banks of the water, may my soul rest on the branches of the trees which I planted, may I refresh myself under the shadow of my sycamore” in referencing the eternal aspect of the daily surroundings of every Egyptian. After death, one would still enjoy one’s own particular sycamore tree, one’s own daily walk by the water, in an eternal land of peace granted to those of Egypt by the gods they gratefully revered. [Ancient History Encyclopedia]. REVIEW: Ancient Egyptian Cosmetic Arts: It's clear from wall-paintings that 4,000 years ago make-up was worn in the upper Nile. Now we find that skilled chemists created cosmetics for men, women and children - for health reasons. When Cleopatra seduced Mark Antony, she wielded powers subtler than piling stones into pyramids. Chief among the Queen's feminine wiles would have been the cosmetic arts. Now scientists are also being attracted to the strong, dark lines of ancient Egyptian eye make-up. Studies are showing that the ancient Egyptians may have possessed a knowledge of complicated chemistry that was far further advanced than anyone previously suspected. "For us it was very surprising that the Egyptians could create such complex chemical reactions without knowing the laws of chemistry," says Patricia Pineau, director of research communication for the cosmetics giant L'Oreal, which has spent two years analyzing 4,000-year-old Egyptian cosmetics with scientists from the Louvre. The 49 alabaster, wood and reed jars of make-up that form the focus of the study were brought back to France by Napoleon as part of the loot from his invasion of Egypt. Eventually the containers ended up in the subterranean storage vaults of the Louvre's laboratories. What has baffled scientists is that the ancient Egyptians were using "wet" chemistry: chemical reactions involving moist, typically watery ingredients. It is commonly thought that most of wet chemistry's rules were not fully understood prior to the last few hundred years. Pauline Martinetto, a student with the research laboratory of the Museums of France, says that we knew about ancient Egyptians using "fire" chemistry, employing heat and fire to manipulate materials, but the discovery of their use of wet chemistry was totally unexpected. In an elementary way, most cooking involves wet chemistry. Mix eggs, flour, milk, cocoa and sugar, and you end up with a chocolate cake. Because the chemical reactions are quick, wet chemistry in cooking is easy to work out. The astonishing thing about the Egyptian wet chemistry is the long time it took to get a result, and the complex procedures necessary for success. The Egyptians mixed salt water, lead oxide and sodium chloride to produce lead chloride crystals for eye make-up. The process took several weeks of filtering water and maintaining chemical balances. "Without knowing much chemistry, how did they have the foresight to know that a chemical reaction started on one day would produce such and such a result after several weeks?" Ms. Pineau wonders. "And everything had to be the same each day. Change one factor, and the product would have been ruined." The compounds are far too rare in Egypt to have been supplied naturally over the eight centuries they were in use. Pauline Martinetto works among the hieroglyphs and microscopes in the maze of research labs beneath the Louvre. She says it was only recently that scientists had the time and tools to take a new look at these very old cosmetics. They also turned to a 2,000-year-old recipe from Greco-Roman texts, to re-create compounds similar to those found in Egyptian cosmetics. From this they speculate that the Romans may have been drawing on Egyptian knowledge. The research team was also surprised to see how well-preserved the cosmetics were. As Marie Verdiere, a cosmetician working in a perfumery on the Champs- Elysees, explains, modern make-up is good only for about a year. "After that, many lipsticks or creams will start to smell bad and will burn your skin if you try to use them," she says. Eventually the animal fats and other oils in make-up start to break down. Part of the reason why the dry powders of the Egyptians' cosmetics have lasted as long as 40 centuries is that they were buried in the dry, dark air of ancient Egyptian tombs. Ms. Pineau says that this highlights the importance of make-up for the ancient Egyptian woman - and indeed man. The tomb was meant to contain things needed to live well in the afterlife. And people didn't take cosmetics to the grave just to look good in the world beyond. The make-up was used for its therapeutic value. Medical instructions on papyrus tell how the products were used for eye problems. This burgeoning ancient Egyptian pharmaceutical industry had more than a hundred prescriptions for the eyes alone. Ms. Pineau says that the medicinal value of cosmetics meant that men and children used the green, white or black make-up as well as women. Make- up was far from being just a female preserve. [Independent (UK)]. REVIEW: According to Dr. Janet Davey from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine in Australia, some ancient Egyptians were naturally blonde or red haired. Her research has brought an answer to an intriguing question connected with Egyptian mummies and the effects of the mummification process. An article published recently by The Sydney Morning Herald says that the mystery of the red and blonde hair discovered on some ancient Egyptian mummies may finally be solved. The new research was necessary to check the common perception that no ancient Egyptians had hair that wasn’t colored dark brown or black. Until now, most researchers had claimed that the different colors of the mummy hair were a result of the mummification process itself. Dr. Davey decided to do innovative experiments, which she accomplished with the support of her friend, a retired industrial chemist named Alan Elliot. They prepared a quantity of synthetic natron, and used it on 16 hair samples. Natron was a kind of a salt that was used during the process of mummification to dry out the remains and has often been linked to a supposed hair color “change.” Davey and Elliot covered samples in the salty powder for 40 days. It is believed that this was the same amount of time that was needed in ancient times to dry out the bodies. The donors of the hair were men and women aged from 4 to 92 years old. Most of the samples were dark hair, with one grey, one fair, and one with henna on it for comparison. After 40 days, all the hair was removed from the salty powder and they appeared unchanged. Microscopic analysis also showed no change in the hair. Dr. Davey is convinced that there were fair-haired Egyptians, but believes that the fair-haired mummies are just very rare. This is why Egyptologists used to believe that lighter hair color was created during the mummification process. Moreover, Davey suggests that there were blondes living in Egypt during the Graeco-Roman Period (332 B.C. – 395 A.D.). "Some ancient Egyptians could have been blue-eyed blondes or brown-eyed blondes. I wouldn't say ancient Egypt was multi-cultural like Australia today but certainly there were various mixes". The secret of mummies with differently colored hair is as old as the Egyptian civilization itself. For example, the oldest known mummy with dyed hair is dated back to 3400 B.C. It was the Late Pre-dynastic period of Egypt, a very mysterious time in the history of the country. The well-preserved mummy of a man was excavated by Wallis Budge in the end of the 19th century. Nowadays, it is exhibited in the British Museum. The mummy was nicknamed "The Ginger" due to the color of its hair. The man was mummified naturally, without the use of natron. He was buried at the desert necropolis in Gebelein, Egypt. The mummy of “The Ginger” sheds light on the very early history of Egypt, and suggests that people who created the Egyptian civilizations could have been blonde or red haired too. Moreover, one of the greatest pharaohs in history, Ramesses II, had red hair. For many decades, researchers believed that his color was caused by natron applied to the mummy. Another theory said that fair hair in Egyptian mummies was a result of marriages with women from Anatolia. The Hittite prince Zannanza, who was sent from Hattusha to Thebes to marry princess Ankhesenamun, had light skin and hair. The father of the powerful queen Tiye (wife of Amenhotep III), Yuya was blonde as well. On December 14, 2014 Ancient Origins reported on a remarkable discovery in Fag el-Gamous necropolis, which lies along the eastern edge of the Fayum depression near Seila in Egypt and dates to the time when the Roman or Byzantine Empire controlled Egypt, from the 1st to the 7th century A.D. It is an enormous cemetery that is believed to contain over one million burials of ordinary Egyptian citizens that were naturally mummified by the hot and dry desert sands over 1,500 years ago. Over three decades of excavations by Brigham Young University in Utah revealed some incredible finds, such as the remains of large male over 7 feet (2.13 meters) tall, an infant child that was discovered wearing a tunic and jewelry, and unique groupings of burials clustered according to hair color, including blond and redheaded mummies. [AncientOrigins]. I always ship books Media Mail in a padded mailer. This book is shipped FOR FREE via USPS INSURED media mail (“book rate”). All domestic shipments and most international shipments will include free USPS Delivery Confirmation (you might be able to update the status of your shipment on-line at the USPS Web Site) and free insurance coverage. A small percentage of international shipments may require an additional fee for tracking and/or delivery confirmation. If you are concerned about a little wear and tear to the book in transit, I would suggest a boxed shipment - it is an extra $1.00. Whether via padded mailer or box, we will give discounts for multiple purchases. International orders are welcome, but shipping costs are substantially higher. Most international orders cost an additional $9.99 to $37.99 for an insured shipment in a heavily padded mailer, and typically includes some form of rudimentary tracking and/or delivery confirmation (though for some countries, this is only available at additional cost). There is also a discount program which can cut postage costs by 50% to 75% if you’re buying about half-a-dozen books or more (5 kilos+). Rates and available services vary a bit from country to country. You can email or message me for a shipping cost quote, but I assure you they are as reasonable as USPS rates allow, and if it turns out the rate is too high for your pocketbook, we will cancel the sale at your request. ADDITIONAL PURCHASES do receive a VERY LARGE discount, typically about $5 per book (for each additional book after the first) so as to reward you for the economies of combined shipping/insurance costs. Your purchase will ordinarily be shipped within 48 hours of payment. We package as well as anyone in the business, with lots of protective padding and containers. All of our shipments are sent via insured mail so as to comply with PayPal requirements. We do NOT recommend uninsured shipments, and expressly disclaim any responsibility for the loss of an uninsured shipment. Unfortunately the contents of parcels are easily “lost” or misdelivered by postal employees – even in the USA. That’s why all of our domestic shipments (and most international) shipments include a USPS delivery confirmation tag; or are trackable or traceable, and all shipments (international and domestic) are insured. We do offer U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail, Registered Mail, and Express Mail for both international and domestic shipments, as well United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (Fed-Ex). Please ask for a rate quotation. We will accept whatever payment method you are most comfortable with. If upon receipt of the item you are disappointed for any reason whatever, I offer a no questions asked return policy. Send it back, I will give you a complete refund of the purchase price (less our original shipping costs). Most of the items I offer come from the collection of a family friend who was active in the field of Archaeology for over forty years. However many of the items also come from purchases I make in Eastern Europe, India, and from the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean/Near East) from various institutions and dealers. Though I have always had an interest in archaeology, my own academic background was in sociology and cultural anthropology. After my retirement however, I found myself drawn to archaeology as well. Aside from my own personal collection, I have made extensive and frequent additions of my own via purchases on Ebay (of course), as well as many purchases from both dealers and institutions throughout the world - but especially in the Near East and in Eastern Europe. I spend over half of my year out of the United States, and have spent much of my life either in India or Eastern Europe. In fact much of what we generate on Yahoo, Amazon and Ebay goes to support The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, as well as some other worthy institutions in Europe connected with Anthropology and Archaeology. I acquire some small but interesting collections overseas from time-to-time, and have as well some duplicate items within my own collection which I occasionally decide to part with. Though I have a collection of ancient coins numbering in the tens of thousands, my primary interest is in ancient jewelry. My wife also is an active participant in the "business" of antique and ancient jewelry, and is from Russia. I would be happy to provide you with a certificate/guarantee of authenticity for any item you purchase from me. There is a $2 fee for mailing under separate cover. Whenever I am overseas I have made arrangements for purchases to be shipped out via domestic mail. If I am in the field, you may have to wait for a week or two for a COA to arrive via international air mail. But you can be sure your purchase will arrive properly packaged and promptly - even if I am absent. And when I am in a remote field location with merely a notebook computer, at times I am not able to access my email for a day or two, so be patient, I will always respond to every email. Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE." Condition: LINE NEW (unread but r"remaindered" from university bookstore). See detailed condition description below., Material: Paper, Provenance: Ancient Egypt, Publisher: University of Texas (1995), Format: Oversized softcover, Length: 96 pages, Dimensions: 9 1/2 x 6 3/4 inches; 1 pound

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