Rah-rah, Senenmut – Lover of the Egyptian Queen?

Campbell@Manchester:

Upcoming lecture on Senenmut

Originally posted on Museum Meets:

Collection Bites: Rah-rah, Senenmut – Lover of the Egyptian Queen?

Wed 4 Feb, 1-2pm. In 2013, an unassuming stone fragment in the Egyptology stores was identified as part of a statue of one of ancient Egypt’s most famous personalities: Senenmut, chief minister and possible lover of Queen Hatshepsut, Egypt’s female pharaoh. Dr Campbell Price will explain the significance of the statue, and tell the story of an incredible personality from the past – as heard on BBC Radio 4’s “In Our Time”!

Book online at mcrmuseum.eventbrite.com or phone 0161 275 2648, free, adults

View original

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Biblical migrations: Re-telling the Story of Exodus

A modern view of Tell el-Maskhuta, the EEF's first excavated site

A modern view of Tell el-Maskhuta, the EEF’s first excavated site

Migration is a central theme in the Biblical story of Exodus. Quite apart from the debated historicity of the account of the departure of Hebrews from Egypt, the story of the Exodus has played an important role in the popular perception of ‘Ancient Egypt’.

For many people who were aware of Pharaonic history in the 18th and 19th Centuries, much of their information derived from the Bible. This is a major reason why the Manchester Museum has such an important collection of archaeologically-sourced objects from Egypt. In 1882, an organisation called the Egypt Exploration Fund was set up to preserve the remains of Egypt’s ancient past through archaeological recording. The first site chosen for the Fund’s work was Tell el Maskhuta, in the eastern Nile Delta – believed to be a store-city mentioned in Exodus. An account of findings from the site was published in 1885, under the title ‘The Store-City of Pithom and the Route to Exodus.’ The newly-formed Fund tapped into widespread popular interest in the supposed route of the Hebrews, and received donations specifically to investigate Biblical sites. The Fund’s founder, the redoubtable Miss Amelia B. Edwards, even wanted to give early subscribers the chance to own a genuine mudbrick, ‘made without straw, by an Isrealite in bondage’.

Thus, several monumental pieces of granite from the Delta sites came to Manchester as a result of the Egypt Exploration Fund’s focus on the area of putative Biblical events; perhaps unsurprisingly the Museum’s major Egyptological benefactor, Jesse Haworth, was a keen churchman.

Ridley Scott's new film

Ridley Scott’s new film

The appeal of the Exodus narrative continues today; the latest cinematic adaptation by Ridley Scott – Exodus: Gods and Kings – cost an estimated $140 million to produce. The presentation of ‘Ancient Egypt’, the backdrop to most of the film, is a fantastical conflation of surviving archaeological evidence and different degrees of misinterpretation of that evidence. Other commentators have elsewhere addressed the question of why ancient Egypt is so misrepresented, and which aspects of a film like ‘Exodus’ might have been improved.

For me, one particularly problematic cliché that the film perpetuates is of the ancient Egyptians as one-sided, whip-cracking slave drivers. Although most would scoff at the idea aliens built the pyramids – and, incongruously, there seem to be several pyramids under construction at once in the new Exodus film – it is still difficult for the modern Western mind to conceive of a large group of people accomplishing monumental feats such as building pyramids without cruel coercion.

The Manchester Museum preserves a world-class collection of objects that challenge the notion that ‘slaves built the pyramids’. These come from a town of specialist craftsmen who were paid, and well looked after, for their task of preparing the king’s tomb. This is one of many reasons why museums are so important. Hollywood presents a skewed version of reality, but one that has – as it is so fond of telling us – a basis in real places, amongst real people.

Museums preserve and present the artefactual evidence of living people who inhabited ancient Egypt, without the cinematic gloss (although not always without bias). One of a number of research projects currently at work on our Museum’s collection of 18,000 objects from ancient Egypt and Sudan attempts to chart the migration of people and cultural motifs from around the ancient Mediterranean into Egypt. This work is as meticulous as it is fascinating, using the latest advances in analytical scientific techniques to understand the lives of people in the past.

Dr Valentina Gasperini of the Liverpool University, examining imported pottery from New Kingdom Egypt

Dr Valentina Gasperini of the Liverpool University, examining imported pottery from New Kingdom Egypt

Perhaps one day, someone will make a film about the remarkable commonplace discoveries in museums that, among other things, help us understand the movement of people around the ancient Mediterranean – rather than repeating a lazy, monolithic vision of ‘Ancient Egypt’ that has been around for at least 200 years.

I suspect our stories would be a lot more interesting.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Texts in Translation # 14: The stela of Ramose (Acc. no. 1759)

G2.06_Guide2

Detail of Ramose from his stela

This finely carved limestone stela (60.5cm in height) comes from the Ramesseum, the mortuary temple of King Ramesses II. The stela was dedicated by an important man named Ramose, who held the title of Senior Scribe in the workmen’s village of Deir el-Medina during the reign of Ramesses II (c. 1279-1213 BC).

Ramose is known from over 40 individual monuments from the Theban area. According to accounts on ostraca, he was appointed by the Vizier Paser as Scribe of the Tomb in year 5 of Ramesses II – a role in which he served until at least year 38 of that king. His position afforded him the opportunity to commemorate himself in a range of monuments. The large number may have been motivated by the desire of Ramose and his wife for a child; the couple eventually adopted a son called Kenhirkhopeshef – a scribe well-known to Egyptologists as a keen collector of papyri. Ramose might also have received an income from outside the Village, and his association with the cult of Ramesses II seems to have made him particularly prominent amongst the workmen.

Stela of Ramose (Acc. no. 1759)

Stela of Ramose (Acc. no. 1759)

In the Manchester stela, Ramose addresses Ptah, the ‘patron’ god of craftsmen, and his daughter Maat, the personification of cosmic justice.

Caption above Ptah and Maat:

Ptah, lord of Truth, king of the Two Lands, beautiful of face, who fashioned the gods, great god, lord until eternity. Maat, daughter of Re […]

Purity, purity for your Kas, in every good thing.

Text in front of Ramose:

Giving praise to Ptah, lord of Truth, king of the Two Lands, with beautiful [face], [who is on] his great throne, lord of destiny, who creates fortune, who sustains the two lands with his crafts, and kissing the earth for Maat, daughter of Re, mistress of the sky, mistress(?) of all the gods, eye of Ra, who is before him, with beautiful face, who is in the barque-of-millions, lady of the Estate of Amun, so that they may give a good burial after old age in the Theban necropolis, the district of the Two Truths, for the Ka of the Osiris, true scribe in the Place of Truth, Ramose, justified.

Ramose_outlineThe original context of this stela is not clear. It may have been moved to the Ramesseum long after Ramose’s death. Interestingly, however, Quibell recorded finding parts of the nearby temple of Tuthmose IV reused in the Ramesseum; Ramose appears to have held an important position in the mortuary temple of Tuthmose IV prior to becoming Senior Scribe at Deir el-Medina – implying that building material was perhaps already being taken from the temple of Tuthmose IV whilst there was still an active cult there. Ramesses II is certainly well-known as a recycler of the monuments of his ancestors; the creation of his own “temple of millions of years” seems to have sealed the fate of others.
The reading of this text has benefited greatly from the suggestions of Angela McDonald, and is based on a new annotated translation by Mark-Jan Nederhof.

Leave a comment

Filed under Texts in Translation

Manchester TAG 2014 – Cataloguing Magic: Papers abstracts

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Guest Post From Our Museum Beekeepers

Back in 2012,  Campbell’s blog post Beekeeping in ancient Egypt and today mentioned that we hoped that the Museum would soon have its own beehive – and now it does!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Keen eyed visitors to our Ancient Worlds galleries may have spotted the inscriptions of bees on display but we also now have a rooftop hive.

In fact we’ve just   come to the end of the season for beekeeping for 2014. We’ve put them to bed for the winter.

The bees worked really hard to produce 3 supers (one of the boxes that hold the honeycombs in the hive) of honey.
Their numbers will reduce, though a core group will remain. Gathering round the queen fanning with their wings to regulate the temperature for the queen. We extracted the honey and have left one super with them to see them through the winter months.

The winter can be a tough time for bees so it’s the honey will be needed to fuel this activity as they can’t forage during winter. Hopefully this honey will see them through until the more clement weather in the spring.

The honey they have produced is a delicious and citrusy crop flavoured by the foraging from the lime trees across campus.
While we haven’t yet had enough honey to share widely it’s been a really good year for our bees, we have seen the arrival of a new queen and the colony has grown and gone from strength to strength.
We’re hoping for a short and mild winter to give them a good start for the new year.

One of the Museum’s two objectives is ‘Working towards a sustainable world’ which is a big part of why we support the bees as they’re essential to the pollination process and a healthy environment.

Ours is one of a number of hives across the Manchester PartnershipManchester Art Gallery have two, we have one and the Whitworth is set to join the fun in March 2015 – following the opening.

While we don’t have enough honey to sell this year you can still win some by suggesting a name (with a link to Manchester Museum and our collections)  via our Facebook or Twitter by this Sunday

Sam, Sally & Steve
(with thanks to Campbell)

 

 

Leave a comment

by | November 19, 2014 · 6:38 pm

10/11/14 Bob Partridge Memorial Lecture: Dr Renée Friedman on Hierakonpolis

Syenite vessel from the site of Hierakonpolis (Acc. no. 2755)

Syenite vessel from the site of Hierakonpolis (Acc. no. 2755)

The next Manchester Ancient Egypt Society Bob Partridge Memorial Lecture will be given by Dr. Renée Friedman (British Museum)

Everything in its Place: New Views of the Elite Predynastic cemetery at Hierakonpolis.

Monday 10th November, 7:30pm
Pendulum Hotel, Sackville Street, Manchester, M1 3AL
All welcome

Hierakonpolis is famous as the home of the Palette of King Narmer, but on-going work at the site is revealing the tombs of kings some 500 years earlier, who expressed their power not only in the size and wealth of their graves set with above-ground architectural compounds, but also with the people and intriguing array of wild and domestic animals they took with them to the afterlife. This unique collection of animals gives insight into the physical reality behind early symbols of power, while the architectural settings in which the burials are arranged is revealing how the early Egyptians understood and ordered their world. This lecture will present our current thoughts on this remarkable cemetery modified as required by the new discoveries to be made in the January-March 2014 season of excavation at the site.

Dr. Renée Friedman is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley in Egyptian Archaeology and has worked at many sites throughout Egypt since 1980.With special interest in the Predynastic, Egypt’s formative period, in 1983 she joined the team working at Hierakonpolis, and went on to become the director of the Hierakonpolis Expedition in 1996, a title she still holds. Currently the Heagy Research Curator of Early Egypt at the British Museum, she is the author of many scholarly and popular articles about all aspects of the fascinating site of Hierakonpolis.

3 Comments

Filed under Egypt events

Manchester Study Day 14/2/15 – ‘From Amulets to Golden Flies: Understanding Egyptian Jewellery’

The Riqqeh Pectoral. Acc. no. 5966

The Riqqeh Pectoral. Acc. no. 5966

‘From Amulets to Golden Flies: Understanding Egyptian Jewellery’

Saturday 14th February, 2015

Kanaris Lecture Theatre, Manchester Museum, Oxford Road

Presented by Egyptology Online in association with The Manchester Museum and the KNH Centre.

Programme

9.15 REGISTRATION: tea/coffee
9.45 Welcome and Introduction
10.00 5000 Years of Wonderful Things: Egyptian Jewellery Past and Present
Joyce Tyldesley
10.45 Amuletic Jewellery: Healing and Protection
Roger Forshaw
11.15 BREAK
11.45 Jewellery from Riqqeh Tomb 124: Forms and Functions
Campbell Price
12.30 The Curious Case of Ahhotep: a Warrior Queen or a Fondness for Flies?
Taneash Sidpura
1.00 LUNCH (please make own arrangements)
2.00 Bead Materials, Shapes and Manufacturing Methods
Denys Stocks
3.00 BREAK
3.30 Going for Gold: The Riches, Power and Influence of the Meroitic Rulers
Glenn Godenho
4.30 Conclusion

For details of fees, and to book this event, please visit the Egyptology Online website

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized