Pre-dynastic tomb sheds light on Egyptian life before Pharaohs

Pre-dynastic tomb sheds light on Egyptian life before Pharaohs



We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Earlier this month, archaeologists announced the discovery of an extremely rare tomb containing a preserved mummy and numerous artifacts, which date back to a period which predates the First Pharaonic Dynasty. Now researchers have released more details of the discovery and have revealed how the incredible finding is shedding new light on the ancestors of the pharaohs, according to a National Geographic report.

The Pre-dynastic Period of Ancient Egypt (prior to 3,100 BC) is traditionally the period between the Early Neolithic and the beginning of the Pharaonic monarchy beginning with the rule of King Narmer, the founder of the First Dynasty who unified Upper and Lower Egypt. With the First Dynasty, the capital moved from Abydos to Memphis where the Egyptian ‘god-king’ ruled a unified polity that extended from the Nile Delta to the first cataract at Aswan.

The newly discovered pre-dynastic tomb dates back to around 3,600 BC and was found at the ancient site of Nekhen, Hierakonpolis, a vibrant and bustling city that stretched over 3km along the Nile River. Nekhen was the religious and political capital of Upper Egypt at the end of the Predynastic period (c. 3200 – 3100 BC), although some experts suggest occupation began thousands of years earlier. The tomb contained the remains of a young man, as well as a hoard of artifacts, including a rare figurine carved from a single hippopotamus tusk, combs, spearheads, and arrowheads, making it one of the richest predynastic burials ever uncovered.

Ivory combs, tools, blades and arrowheads discovered in the tomb. Credit: AFP.

The grave goods suggest the man was an elite member of society and held an important position, though interestingly, evidence suggests his grave had been desecrated soon after burial, indicating that he may also have held a few enemies. According to Renee Friedman, a British Museum archaeologist who is director of the expedition, the occupant's skeleton had been scattered, and the tomb's wood posts show evidence of fire damage. The many grave goods left inside indicate that the vandals’ goal wasn't to loot, but was done as some sort of act of vengeance.

"The owner of the tomb had been yanked out, while the other objects had been left alone," Friedman says. "That's not plundering—this was an act of aggression. The point wasn't to take goodies, it was to destroy this person."

Also supporting the view that this was an elite burial was the discovery of twenty additional burials surrounding the man’s tomb, believed to have been human sacrifices made upon his death. They also found a plethora of exotic animals buried around him, including a leopard, an ostrich, a hartebeest, six baboons, nine goats, and ten dogs with leather leashes.

Archaeologists at the Egyptian site of Hierakonpolis have uncovered evidence of the ancestors of the pharaohs. Credit: Renee Friedman

The presence of social divisions, including elite tombs with rich artifacts versus burials of ordinary citizens, as well as grave goods that suggest a belief in the afterlife, demonstrates the foreshadowings of the mighty civilization that followed and shows that the roots of ancient Egyptian civilization stretched back many centuries.

Featured image: Artistic representation of the pre-dynastic settlement of Nekhen. Photo source .


Pharaoh's Tomb Sheds Light on Shadowy Egyptian Dynasty

A newly found pharaoh's tomb in Egypt has historians scrambling to rewrite the chronicles of the ancient kings of the Nile.

Researchers with the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology recently discovered intricate and vibrantly colored pictures in the tombs of Abydos in the Egyptian desert, and what they read in the pictographs astounded them.

The team leader found the name of a previously unknown pharaoh who ruled the area 3,600 years ago, and the first proof of the suspected but shadowy Abydos Dynasty.

Josef Wegner, working with the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities, discovered a previously looted tomb that unusually still had its pictures and writing in tact. The pharaoh's name is Woseribre Senebkay, described as the "king of upper and lower Egypt."

"It's exciting to find not just the tomb of one previously unknown pharaoh, but the necropolis of an entire forgotten dynasty," Wegner said in a statement from the Penn Museum, where he is associate curator in the Egypt Section.

Tomb raiders had looted the chambers of any valuable gold and left the bones of the pharaoh's mummy scattered about. That gave the team the opportunity to reassemble most of the body, along with his funeral mask.

It turns out Woseribre Senebkay was 5 feet, 9 inches tall and died some time in his mid-40s, the team determined.

The discovery shows that during a fractured period of time around 1600 B.C. during which the north and south of the Nile were split into rival kingdoms, there was a middle kingdom that may have survived for several generations.

Wegner suspects there will be much more evidence to uncover at the sprawling site buried under the hot Egyptian sand.

"Continued work in the royal tombs of the Abydos Dynasty promises to shed new light on the political history and society of an important but poorly understood era of Ancient Egypt," said Wegner.


Early Dynastic Period (c.3000-2686 B.C.)

1st Dynasty

The pharaohs created state goods, shown by labels, used as part of a taxation system. Officials appointed by the king oversaw irrigation and began standardizing hieroglyphic writing. They also helped support the funeral programs and religious sites. Priests used certain funeral rites for the pharaoh only during this period.

Abydos was the site where many of the 1st Dynasty’s kings built their tombs but people plundered and burned them in antiquity. They had a unique feature found only in the tombs of these pharaohs: bodies of humans sacrificed to serve the pharaoh in the afterlife. Egyptologists excavated religious sites and artifacts including a compound for the goddess Neith. Priests established funerary cults to provide for the pharaoh's needs in the afterlife.

During this dynasty, many cultural changes exist in the archaeological record. Art styles became more formal and the pharaoh supported artisans and workers to make goods. Egyptologists found a bracelet made of amethyst, gold, lapis lazuli and turquoise. Copper from the Eastern Desert or the Negev/Sinai show mining or trading expeditions took place.

© Ashley van Haeften - Inscribed Marble, 1st dynasty

2nd Dynasty

Little evidence of many of these kings exists in the current archaeological record. The pharaohs established the economic and political foundations for a strong central state. Khasekhemwy’s tomb had a large gallery divided into at least sixty rooms. Limestone was the medium used to make his burial chamber which is the oldest stone building found in Egypt so far.

The Early Dynastic Period was a time when Egypt's government formed and built the society’s foundations. The pharaohs established trade with the Sinai, Palestine, Lebanon, Nubia and the Eastern Desert. Writing helped the Egyptian state organize and the pharaoh was Egypt's ultimate authority.


Death Became a Lucrative Business

The elaborate decorations on the coffins and the richness of the funerals reflect the wealth of the city and its officials at that time. The new revival of old traditions and late practices is evident in these coffins, as they have inscriptions replicating old religious texts and very fine decorations. As an international power at that time, Egypt was home to different ethnicities whose influences can be seen in the grave goods. Examples of this are silver masks made from imported metals, precious oils, pottery, and more.

The coffins themselves were made from expensive wood that was imported from Southern Europe. This indicates the extent to which death had become a big business and people would pay for a nice coffin and a burial spot in a sacred location. Archeologists predict that more of these discoveries are yet to come as more burial shafts wait to be unearthed.


Egyptologists uncover rare tombs from before the Pharaohs

Egyptian archaeologists working on the Nile Delta have uncovered dozens of rare predynastic tombs dating to the period before Egypt's Pharaonic kingdoms first emerged more than 5,000 years ago.

They also found tombs nearby from the later Hyksos period (1650 to 1500 BC), when Western Asian migrants took over the country, putting an end to Egypt's Middle Kingdom.

The findings in the Dakahlia province north of Cairo could shed light on two important transitional periods in ancient Egypt, Egyptologists said.

The tombs include 68 from the Buto period that began around 3300 BC and five from the Naqada III period, which was just before the emergence of Egypt's first dynasty around 3100 BC, according to a statement from the ministry of tourism and antiquities.

They also include 37 tombs from the time of the Hyksos, who first began migrating across the Sinai into Egypt around 1800 BC.

“This is an extremely interesting cemetery because it combines some of the earliest periods of Egyptian history with another important era, the time of the Hyksos,” said Salima Ikram, an Egyptologist at the American University in Cairo.

“Egyptologists are working to understand how the Egyptians and the Hyksos lived together and to what degree the former took on Egyptian traditions.”

The Buto tombs were oval-shaped pits with the corpses placed inside in a squatting position, mostly on their left sides with the head pointing west, the ministry statement said.

Some of the tombs from the Naqada period contained cylindrical and pear-shaped vessels.

The Hyksos tombs were mainly semi-rectangular with the corpses lying in an extended position and the head also facing west.

“The mission also found a group of ovens, stoves, remnants of mud brick foundations, pottery vessels and amulets, especially scarabs, some of which were made of semi-precious stones and jewellery such as earrings,” the statement said.


Advertisement

The Buto tombs were oval-shaped pits with the corpses placed inside in a squatting position, mostly on their left sides with the head pointing west, the ministry statement said.

Some of the tombs from the Naqada period contained cylindrical and pear-shaped vessels.

The Hyksos tombs were mainly semi-rectangular with the corpses lying in an extended position and the head also facing west.

“The mission also found a group of ovens, stoves, remnants of mud brick foundations, pottery vessels and amulets, especially scarabs, some of which were made of semi-precious stones and jewelry such as earrings,” the statement said. (Editing by Mike Collett-White)


Egyptologists uncover rare tombs from before the Pharaohs

Older than the Pharoic kingdoms? It's insane how far back this civilization goes in time.

The amount of history just buried underneath things all over the world has to be insane.

I heard somewhere that ancient Egyptians were excavating ancient Egyptians. :-|

Gobekli Tepe. 12,000 until 9,000 BC. They buried that shit longer before the pyramids than the pyramids were before us.

my favourite quote about the length of humanity goes something like this "64000 years ago we evolved into the same basic form we are now. That's enough time that the entire history of Lord of the Rings could have happened, twice, and we would have been surprised both times."

The sphinx wasn't built by the Pharoahs of ancient Egypt, it was dug out

How do you know its the same civilization? The article even states that some that were found were from a different group.

They didn't find a big ring by any chance did they?

Haha! I just rewatched Stargate a couple weekends ago.

I always thought Naqada was just made up for the show. I never would have guessed it was a people.

When did Daniel uncover the Abydos gate? I mean Jack sent a family pack of tissues. Bad news if Apophis shows up.

If they did, Beyonce would be all over it.

I might go in for yearly rewatch next week

as dr.jackson said, even in his book, the pyramids are landing sites, I suspect if we search around geza some, we will find the Chapaɺi

edit: dhd is being held by russia, so we are going to need a crack team on this to build a dialing device, dont question this, I know the future.

"The mission also found a group of ovens, stoves, remnants of mud brick foundations, pottery vessels and amulets, especially scarabs, some of which were made of semi-precious stones and jewelry such as earrings," the statement said.

Interesting. It seems this far back the culture revered bread and cooking. was this because the culture itself was so new in terms of civilization that they revered items that showed humans conquering nature and stopping their nomadic life-style? Bread is often the marker of civilization. Or, was bread and oven featured in the tomb because bread = beer and beer was food water and payment- at least in the old kingdom.

But this is pre-dynastic Egypt. Some of the most weirdest, anomalous artifacts come from this period in Egypt

It is interesting that Scarabs were exalted even way the fuck back then, probably because they naturally gathered poo into little balls of fuel for the ovens


In the tombs of Saqqara, new discoveries are rewriting ancient Egypt’s history

SAQQARA, Egypt — Seated in a yellow plastic laundry basket attached to two thick ropes, I was lowered into the earth. The light got dimmer, the temperature colder. A musty smell filled the air. The only sound was from the workmen above handling the ropes and yelling “shweya” — slowly.

One miscue, and I could fall 100 feet.

I was inside a burial shaft in Saqqara, the ancient necropolis roughly 19 miles south of Cairo. In recent months, a series of discoveries have captivated the world of archaeology.

The most significant find came in January, when archaeologists came upon inscriptions showing that the temple they were unearthing belonged to a previously unknown ancient queen. Her name was Queen Neit. She was the wife of King Teti, the first pharaoh of the Sixth Dynasty, which ruled more than 4,300 years ago as part of Egypt’s Old Kingdom.

I was descending into the cemeterial netherworld below her funerary temple.

Midway down the shaft, the walls took on a honeycomb pattern, with large shelves carved into them. Thousands of years ago, they held painted coffins and mummies wrapped in linen and reeds. While I descended farther, the shaft narrowed as I passed through a wood frame that supports the walls. Just above the bottom, water glistened on the walls like jewels.

The basket touched ground.

The eyes adjusted to the dark. On the floor were two limestone coffins. Both damaged, their contents looted, perhaps more than 2,000 years ago. Who had been buried here? How and why were their coffins lowered so far into the earth? And how did the thieves know where to look?

“Our civilization is full of mysteries,” NeRmeen Aba-Yazeed, a member of the archaeological team, said afterward. “And we have discovered one of these mysteries.”

Before the inscription was found, King Teti was thought to have only two wives, Iput and Khuit. But the realization he had a third, Neit, with her own temple, was prompting a rethink of those ancient days.

“We are rewriting history,” Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s most well-known archaeologist and its former antiquities minister, would say later in the day.

An archaeological bonanza

/>Workers lift a team member out of a Saqqara shaft using a pulley and basket. (Sima Diab for The Washington Post)

Ancient history is being revealed in many parts of Egypt these days. In early February, archaeologists found 16 human burial chambers at the site of an ancient temple on the outskirts of the northern city of Alexandria. Two of the mummies had golden tongues, which Egyptian Antiquities Ministry officials said were to allow them to “speak in the afterlife.”

That same month, a massive 5,000-year-old brewery — believed to be the world’s oldest — was discovered in the southern city of Sohag. The beer, researchers hypothesize, was used in burial rituals for Egypt’s earliest kings.

Last month, ruins of an ancient Christian settlement were discovered in the Bahariya Oasis, nestled in Egypt’s Western desert. The find sheds new light on monastic life in the 5th century A.D.

And just last week, archaeologists announced they had unearthed a 3,000-year-old “lost golden city” in the southern city of Luxor, a discovery that could be the biggest since the tomb of the boy king Tutankhamen.

/>The ladder leading to the newly discovered sarcophagi in Saqqara. (Sima Diab for The Washington Post)

With every discovery, the government’s hopes rise that more tourists will arrive, bringing much-needed foreign currency and creating new jobs for millions. Egypt’s tourism-dependent economy has suffered in the past decade from the political chaos that developed after the 2011 Arab Spring uprising.

The Saqqara necropolis is at once a center of the country’s aspirations and of its subterranean secrets. It was part of the burial grounds for the ancient capital, Memphis, its ruins now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

In Saqqara, 17 Egyptian kings built pyramids to house their remains and possessions for what they believed was the transition to the afterlife. These pyramids include the world’s oldest, the Step Pyramid of Djoser, built in the 27th century B.C. Recent finds have drawn the world’s attention, depicted in the Netflix film “Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb” and National Geographic’s “Kingdom of the Mummies” TV series.

In November, for instance, archaeologists dug up more than 100 ornately painted wooden coffins, some with mummies, and dozens of other artifacts, including amulets, funeral statues and masks. Some of the coffins had been found on those shelves I had passed during my descent.

A king becomes a god

After I emerged from the burial shaft, Hawass explained how the discoveries were reshaping the understanding of Pharaonic times.

“Now we are writing a new chapter in the history of the Old Kingdom by adding the name of a new queen of Teti that he never announced before,” said Hawass, 73, standing in the temple’s ruins, wearing his trademark wide-brimmed Indiana Jones hat and a cream-colored safari jacket over a denim shirt and jeans.

But there was more to consider than just the emergence of a new queen. Could Neit have also been Teti’s daughter? Hawass’s team had found inscriptions that referred to Neit as the daughter of a pharaoh.

/>Hawass at the site where he and his team discovered evidence of Queen Neit. (Sima Diab for The Washington Post)

Incest would not be new for the ancients. In Egyptian lore, the god Osiris had married his sister Isis. Pharaohs were widely believed to have married their sisters and daughters, but that was during reigns later than Teti’s Sixth Dynasty.

“Is she a daughter of a king of the Fifth Dynasty, or is she a daughter of Teti?” Hawass asked. “If she is a daughter of Teti, it would be the first time in Egyptian history to have a king marrying his daughter.”

A short walk across the sand was another burial shaft where even more had been discovered about Teti’s legacy.

I followed Hawass down a ladder, 36 feet into the ground. At the bottom, in a space the size of a walk-in closet, were wooden coffins stacked in piles. They were painted in hues of blue and red, some with intricate images of gods and goddesses. They still contained mummies, Hawass said, and the names of the deceased were written on the decaying wood. His team had found 54 coffins here.

From inscriptions on the coffins, the team had traced the subterranean cemetery to the 18th and 19th dynasties of Egypt’s New Kingdom, from more than 3,000 years ago. The discoveries were shedding light on a little understood period of Saqqara, between 1570 and 1069 B.C.

Teti, it appears, had been worshiped as a god in the New Kingdom. Many of his followers wanted to be buried around his pyramid, often visiting coffin and mummification workshops in Saqqara, Hawass said.

The poor were placed in simple wooden coffins. But the colorful, ornately decorated ones that I was seeing had belonged to Teti’s wealthy followers.

/>The bones of an ancient Egyptian child at Hawass's site. (Sima Diab for The Washington Post)

A deep well of discovery — and mystery

Placed inside the coffins were miniature wooden boats, games, pottery and tiny gold pieces to carry and use in the afterlife. Little statuettes and amulets carry the shapes and names of gods and pharaohs.

Among the artifacts discovered were pieces of a 15-foot-long papyrus that included texts of the Book of the Dead, a collection of spells written by priests to help the deceased pass through the underworld and into the afterlife.

Inside a store room, Ahmed Tarek and Maysa Rabea are placing the jagged pieces of the papyrus together, like trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle. They are also restoring and studying artifacts to gain more understanding of how Egyptians prepared themselves for the afterlife.

Shards of pottery found in the rubble unveil new details of ancient life. Many were imported, evidence that trade flourished between Egypt and Palestine, Cyprus, Crete and Syria.

Mohamed Mahmoud reassembles pieces of pottery to make them whole. In the tent next door, Asmaa Massoud analyzes skulls and other bones to determine age and cause of death. Next to her, in a small wooden box, is the mummy of a child.

“The excavations and artifacts show how much Saqqara was important in the New Kingdom,” Hawass told me. “They tell us more about the beliefs, not only for the rich, but also for the poor.”

/>A camel usually used for tours of the Saqqara necropolis rests in front of the Step Pyramid of Djoser in February. (Sima Diab for The Washington Post)

Some of the discoveries, however, defy explanation.

In a burial shaft, this one 63 feet deep, a 20-ton sarcophagus the size of a Humvee and made of granite sits at the bottom. How did it get there? It, too, was looted by thieves. How did they know where to look?

Hawass expects to encounter more mysteries. It will take 20 years to fully uncover the secrets here, he says. “In Saqqara, we have found only 30 percent of what’s underneath,” he said. “It is a site that if you dig in any place, you’ll find something.”


1 Answer 1

Westcar Papyrus

According to the World History Encyclopedia there are ancient Egyptian writings named the Westcar Papyrus and regarding magic and miracles dating as far back as approximately 2040 BC.

The Westcar Papyrus, dated to the Second Intermediate Period of Egypt (1782 - c.1570 BCE), but most likely written during the Middle Kingdom (2040-1782 BCE), contains some of the most interesting tales from ancient Egypt. The papyrus takes its name from the man who first acquired it, Henry Westcar, who purchased the piece c. 1824 CE. Westcar never disclosed how he came into possession of the scroll nor where, and so no one knows in what context it was found or its original location.

These stories, which include a Wax crocodile which is brought to life by a magician to devour people, are believed to have simply been made up stories, though as the world history encyclopedia explains, this is just an opinion and speculation. "Perhaps they were meant to be taken literally".

There were originally five stories in the manuscript but the first is missing (and, according to some scholars, so is the conclusion of the papyrus). It is assumed that the work began with some kind of invitation by Khufu to his sons to tell stories about great wonders of the past or perhaps it was a competition among the sons to tell the best kind of story. This is, of course, speculation as no internal evidence in the texts suggests its beginning.

Execration texts

There is no doubt however that the Egyptians did believe in Magic to a certain degree.

According to the world history encyclopedia there was such a thing as the execration texts that were used to curse evil spirits and enemies of the Egyptian state.

'Execration' means to denounce or curse a person, entity, or object one finds detestable, dangerous, or offensive in some way. These texts were not only curses but specific formulae designed to ward off or destroy harmful entities before they had a chance to harm someone or, in the case of physical or mental illness, to drive the evil spirit out and banish it from returning.

Execration texts, therefore, are the earliest known form of exorcism and were used regularly. Over one thousand of these ritual texts have been excavated thus far in Egypt. The best-known execration texts in the modern day are the famous curses inscribed on tombs warning of punishment for any who entered the tomb unwelcomed or unpurified. The famous 'Curse of Tutankhamun' also known as 'the mummy's curse', well known from Hollywood movies, is the best example of an execration text.


  • The findings in the Dakahlia province north of Cairo could shed light on two important transitional periods in ancient Egypt

CAIRO: Egyptian archaeologists working on the Nile Delta have uncovered dozens of rare predynastic tombs dating to the period before Egypt’s Pharaonic kingdoms first emerged more than 5,000 years ago.

They also found tombs nearby from the later Hyksos period (1650 to 1500 B.C.), when Western Asian migrants took over the country, putting an end to Egypt’s Middle Kingdom.

The findings in the Dakahlia province north of Cairo could shed light on two important transitional periods in ancient Egypt, Egyptologists said.

The tombs include 68 from the Buto period that began around 3300 B.C. and five from the Naqada III period, which was just before the emergence of Egypt’s first dynasty around 3100 B.C., according to a statement from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

They also include 37 tombs from the time of the Hyksos, who first began migrating across the Sinai into Egypt around 1800 B.C.

“This is an extremely interesting cemetery because it combines some of the earliest periods of Egyptian history with another important era, the time of the Hyksos,” said Salima Ikram, an Egyptologist at the American University in Cairo.

“Egyptologists are working to understand how the Egyptians and the Hyksos lived together and to what degree the former took on Egyptian traditions.”

The Buto tombs were oval-shaped pits with the corpses placed inside in a squatting position, mostly on their left sides with the head pointing west, the ministry statement said.

Some of the tombs from the Naqada period contained cylindrical and pear-shaped vessels.

The Hyksos tombs were mainly semi-rectangular with the corpses lying in an extended position and the head also facing west.

“The mission also found a group of ovens, stoves, remnants of mud brick foundations, pottery vessels and amulets, especially scarabs, some of which were made of semi-precious stones and jewelry such as earrings,” the statement said.


Watch the video: Άγνωστα Μυστήρια της Αρχαίας Αιγύπτου