Texts in Translation #15: An offering table dedicated by Queen Tiye (Acc. no. 633)

Head of Queen Tiye in Berlin

Head of Queen Tiye in Berlin

Like so many seemingly unassuming objects, this small (25 x 11 cm) black granite offering table carries an interesting back-story. It comes from the excavations of W.M. Flinders Petrie at the site of Gurob, the ‘harem’ complex used to house royal women and children in part of the New Kingdom (c. 1400-1200 BC). Manchester Museum holds many objects from Petrie’s excavations at Gurob, which is currently being reinvestigated by a joint project of the Universities of Liverpool, Copenhagen and UCL.

One of the most famous finds to have come from the site is a small ebony head of Queen Tiye, the chief wife of Amenhotep III (c. 1390-1352 BC), now in Berlin.  It is likely that the queen spent a lot of time at Gurob, and the inscription on our offering table suggests she lived here as ‘Queen Mother’ after her husband’s death.

The hieroglyphs read:

An offering which the king gives (to) Osiris, Ruler of the West, that he may allow coming and going in Rosetau for the royal ka (of) the Osiris, Neb-maat-re;

An offering which the king gives (to) Osiris, Ruler of Eternity, that he may give all that comes out upon his altar for the royal ka of the Osiris, Neb-maat-re;

The Great Royal Wife, she made (it) as her dedication for her ‘brother’, her beloved, the perfect god, Neb-maat-re.

Offering table. Acc. no. 633

Offering table. Acc. no. 633

Petrie noted the importance of the piece when reviewing the inscribed finds from Gurob: “The black granite altar is of special interest. Though roughly cut it seems to have belonged to a class of funerary offerings made for Amenhotep III by his celebrated queen Thii. It follows the usual formulae to Osiris, for the royal ka of Amenhotep III, down each side ; and then along the base is a line stating that ” The great royal wife Thii made her monuments of her brother, her beloved, the good god Ra-ma-neb.’ The question of the parentage of Thii is one of the most important genealogies in Egyptian history.

Offering_table_633

Petrie’s interest focussed on the use of the Egyptian term ‘sen’, which implies kinship but is often rendered ‘brother’. In fact, Tiye’s statement need not mean that she was the sister of Amenhotep III; a more general sense of kinship may be meant (the word “husband” – written with a phallus sign – may have been inappropriate), and the affectionate sentiment of wife towards her spouse is appealing.

The fact that the offering table exists at all and the reference to the king as ‘the Osiris’ implies that Amenhotep III had died when this object was made and used. The appearance of the term ‘royal ka’ (ka nesu) is also fairly uncommon, and refers to an important (semi-)divine aspect of the king’s person, which could be separated from him and objectified for worship. Although Amenhotep III promoted his own divinity to an unusual extent during his own lifetime, it seems more likely that the ‘royal ka’ mentioned here is that of the deceased king.

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‘Teacup Travels’ – CBeebies series features our objects!

TEACUP TRAVELS ADSHEL (Manchester Museum)Manchester Museum has recently participated in a project to recreate ancient objects for children’s television. The TV series Teacup Travels tells a series of adventure stories, which aim at opening the door to ancient worlds and civilisations to young viewers. Each 14 minute episode revolves around Great Aunt Lizzie telling her fictional adventures in Ancient Egypt, Imperial China, Roman Italy and the Celtic Lands of Iron Age Britain. Each story features a replica of a historic artefact from museums across the UK.

Great Aunt Lizzie’s wondrous stories are told to her niece Charlotte and her nephew Elliot, who, whilst cradling one of Great Aunt Lizzie’s special teacups, can’t help but imagine themselves long ago and far away, in Great Aunt Lizzie’s old battered boots.

Brick mould from Kahun (Acc. no. 51). © Paul Cliff

Brick mould from Kahun (Acc. no. 51). © Paul Cliff

Manchester Museum worked with the makers of Teacup Travels to recreate historical artefacts on display at the museum: an Ancient Egyptian brick mould and wooden horse toy. Painstakingly re-made by highly experienced and skilled prop-makers, two unique stories were inspired by these objects from the collection at Manchester Museum.

  • Can Charlotte replace a broken brick mould before the Pharoah’s architect arrives?
  • Will Charlotte be able to convince a carpenter that people will love the wooden horse toys she makes?
Horse_replica

Replica of our Roman Period wooden horse (Acc. no. 6974)

The production team has been truthful to the original artefacts, ensuring that they look the part through a detailed process of recording how the items were found, the state they were in, how they were originally used so that the replica in the series could be portrayed accurately by the cast.

In support of the show, CBeebies has built a website to help children go on a journey of discovery. From watching the show on television, to clicking online, they can easily find out about the ancient artefacts by downloading a printable PDF of the Teacup Travels “museum map” which features an introduction to each of the artefacts – where they can be seen, how they were used and so on.

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‘From Mummies to Microchips: celebrating online Egyptology at Manchester’ – 23-24 July 2015

Online Diploma in EgyptologyTo mark the 10th Anniversary of the online Certificate in Egyptology, Egyptology Online @ Manchester is organising a two-day event at The University of Manchester on Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th July 2014. Speakers have all been associated with Egyptology Online, either as lecturers or examiners (or, in some cases, both). The two day event will end with a buffet reception. The event is open to anyone with an interest in Egyptology.

More information here

14:00 – 14:20 Registration (with tea and coffee)
14:20 – 15:00 Dr Joyce Tyldesley: Egyptology Online @ Manchester
15:00 – 15:40 Dr Glenn Godenho: Where Technology Meets Tradition: Digitising Hieroglyphic Inscriptions
15:40 – 16:00 Refreshments
16:00 – 17:00 Dr Campbell Price: Senenmut, Greatest of the Great
FRI 24th JULY
09:45-10:00 Registration
10:00 – 11.00 Prof. Rosalie David: Ancient Egyptian Women: biomedical perspectives on disease, diet, medical treatment and cosmetics
11.00 – 11.20 Refreshments
11:30 – 12:30 Dr Roland Enmarch: The Inscriptions from the Egyptian Alabaster Quarries of Hatnub
12:30 – 13.20 Buffet lunch
13:20 – 14:10 Dr Ashley Cooke: Title to be confirmed
14:10-15:00 Dr Steven Snape: May in Memphis
15.00 – 17.00 Poster session
17:00 – 17.30 Certificate/Diploma in Egyptology Awards Ceremony
17:30 – 19:00 Party

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Next MAES Lecture – 09 Feb 2015 – Dr Garry Shaw on ‘The Daily Life of the Pharaohs’

Granite column, with decoration of Ramesses II and Merenptah (Acc. no. 1780)

Granite column, with scene of Ramesses II offering (Acc. no. 1780)

The next Manchester Ancient Egypt Society lecture will be given by Dr. Garry Shaw

The Daily Life of the Pharaohs.

Monday 9th February, 7:30pm
Pendulum Hotel, Sackville Street, Manchester, M1 3AL
All welcome

What was life like for a Pharaoh? What did he wear? What did he eat? How involved was he in political decisions? And did he fight alongside his troops on the battlefield? In this talk, Dr Garry J. Shaw explores Egyptian palace life, the king’s daily duties, royal health, family, entertainment and sport, as well as the pharaoh’s role as war leader on campaign. Approaching the pharaohs as people, rather than as untouchable, ideal gods, we will become closer to the mortals who once wore the Double Crown of Upper and Lower Egypt.

Garry Shaw

Garry Shaw

Dr Garry J. Shaw received his PhD in Egyptology from the University of Liverpool, where he also taught Egyptian history. He has since lectured at the American University in Cairo, the Bloomsbury Summer School, and is a course tutor for the Egypt Exploration Society, London. He is the author of The Pharaoh: Life at Court and on Campaign (Thames and Hudson, 2012), writes on Egyptian heritage for The Art Newspaper, and is managing editor of the magazine Al Rawi: Egypt’s Heritage Review. His newest book, The Egyptian Myths, A Guide to the Ancient Gods and Legends (Thames and Hudson), is out now.

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