June 2015

Egypt Holiday 2014: Theban Tombs of Nobles

I must confess, I’ve been dreading writing about the various tombs we visited while in Egypt. My memories of the New Kingdom tombs blur together much more than my memories of the various temples and pyramids. And we got less of a guided tour of any of them – sometimes Medhat pointed out some interesting features, sometimes I went through the tomb with someone who knew what they were looking at, but mostly I was looking at the spectacular art as a broad sweep rather than picking up on interesting details. So I’m grouping them into three posts main posts – non-Royal, Kings and Queens – and discussing them in brief and en masse. This post will cover the tombs of the Nobles that we visited on the West Bank of Thebes (the other non-Royal tombs we visited will be talked about along with the site to which they’re attached).… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Theban Tombs of Nobles

“An Ancient Flash Flood and Stratigraphy in the Valley of the Kings” Stephen Cross (EEG Meeting Talk)

On Sunday Stephen Cross came to the Essex Egyptology Group to talk to us about his work in the Valley of the Kings. The research he was telling us about was started to answer one question: why was Tutankhamun’s tomb (KV62) discovered intact? Nearly every other tomb discovered in the Valley of the Kings was robbed, so what was different about Tutankhamun’s tomb. He immediately ruled out man-made causes – if the ancient Egyptians had figured out a certain way to prevent robbers getting in then they would’ve done it to all the subsequent tombs too. Of the potential natural causes a flash flood seemed the best candidate and so he investigated the geology of the Valley around KV62. What he found was that when he mapped the routes that flooding took through the Valley three different streams of water collided outside KV62. This creates the right conditions for the… Read More »“An Ancient Flash Flood and Stratigraphy in the Valley of the Kings” Stephen Cross (EEG Meeting Talk)

Egypt Holiday 2014: Temple of Mut at Karnak

Sacred Lake at the Temple of Mut, with Karnak in the background After visiting the main part of the Karnak Temple complex we returned to the coach briefly to go to the Temple of Mut. This is actually a part of the Karnak complex but it’s not possible to walk between the two sites (and it’s a different ticket). Hence the short coach ride. We were dropped off on the Avenue of Sphinxes that leads towards Luxor Temple and walked to the Temple of Mut. The goddess to whom this temple is dedicated was the consort of Amun and so one of the main three deities of the Karnak Temple complex. My photos are on flickr, click here for the full set or on any photo for the larger version of it. Plan of the Temple of MutMade by wikipedia user Markh This temple has only recently been opened to… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Temple of Mut at Karnak

Egypt Holiday 2014: Karnak Temple Complex

Sunrise Above Karnak Although it’s often referred to as “Karnak Temple” this huge site is actually composed of several temples. The primary one is dedicated to Amun-Ra and was once linked to Luxor Temple (which we visited earlier in the trip) by an avenue of sphinxes. Inside the enclosure walls are several other smaller temples, and to the south outside the walls is the Temple of Mut (which we visited afterwards & I’ll talk about in a separate post). The oldest structure that is still found on the site dates to the Middle Kingdom, but there’s archaeological evidence of occupation dating all the way back to prehistoric times. The various temples (particularly the main one) have been extended and/or rebuilt several times over the millennia that they were in use, making it not only an enormous site but also complicated. The main temple alone is the largest religious structure ever… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Karnak Temple Complex