Wednesday, January 25, 2012

OK, nothing to do with archaeology or ancient history but I have just been informed by a future colleague that you can see the NASA Space Station fly past the house at specific times of the day and month. I thought he was pulling my leg, so to speak, but no, he is quite correct. Go and take a look at the NASA website and it will tell you if and when the space station does a fly past your general abode. So cool....:)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The New Hermopolis (Thoth City) is an Independent Trust registered by the Charity Commission England and Wales. The main objective of the New Hermopolis is to develop middle Egypt, economically and culturally, through the active promotion of both conventional and alternative forms of tourism. For further details:

Seafaring before the Neolithic - circa 7th millennium BCE - is a controversial issue in the Mediterranean. However, evidence from different parts of the Aegean is gradually changing this, revealing the importance of early coastal and island environments. The site of Ouriakos on the island of Lemnos (Greece) tentatively dates to the end of the Pleistocene and possibly the beginning of the Holocene, circa 12,000 BP.
A team formed by N. Laskaris, A. Sampson and I. Liritzis from the Laboratory of Archaeometry, University of the Aegean, Department of Mediterranean Studies, Rhodes; and F. Mavridis from the Ephorate of Palaeo-anthropology and Speleology of Southern Greece suggested that obsidian sources on the island of Melos in the Cyclades could have been exploited earlier. Studies of material from Franchthi cave in the Argolid indicated Melos as its origin, but obsidian hydration dating was not applied to the artefacts recovered.
Obsidian, or 'volcanic glass', has been a preferred material for stone tools wherever it is found or traded. It also absorbs water vapour when exposed to air - for instance, when it is shaped into a tool - and absolute or relative dates can be determined for that event by measuring the depth of water penetration. In 10,000 years, the expected hydration depth is about 10 mm from the tool surface.
Two routes for the obsidian found at Franchthi have been considered: a direct one of around 120 kilometres with islets in between, and another one through Attica including crossings of 15 to 20 kilometres between islands. The presence of obsidian in mainland and island sites indicates that these voyages included successful return journeys.
Sites in Ikaria, in Sporades, and on Kythnos demonstrate that, during the Mesolithic, a well established system of obsidian exploitation and circulation existed - a phenomenon that has its routes even earlier, as dates from sites in Attica indicate. Furthermore, obsidian artefacts have recently been found in two other Mesolithic sites in Greece, one in the island of Naxos and the other one in the small island of Halki. Exchange systems therefore brought obsidian to the eastern and the north-west Aegean, and even reached coastal inland sites of mainland Greece such as Attica, though not yet found in mainland sites. Possibly through sites in this latter region obsidian was also brought to the Peloponnese.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


The tomb of Amun Re singer Ni Hms Bastet was discovered in the Valley of the Kings on Luxor’s West Bank. A deep burial well was found during a routine cleaning carried out by a Swiss archaeological mission on the path leading to King Tuthmosis III’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings. The well leads to a burial chamber filled with a treasured collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts.

Mohamed Ibrahim, Minister of State for Antiquities, said that further inside the chamber, excavators stumbled upon a wooden sarcophagus painted black and decorated with hieroglyphic texts, and a wooden stelae engraved with the names and different titles of the deceased.

Early studies carried out by the Swiss team revealed that the tomb dates back to the 22nd Dynasty (945-712 BC) and it belongs to the daughter of Amun Re, lecture priest in Karnak temples and also the singer of the God Amun Re.

Excavations are now in full swing in order to reveal more of the tomb’s treasured collection.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Some more fascinating footage.........

For those with a particular interest in Akhenaten and his city at Akhetaten, take a look at this very early film from the Egypt Exploration Society. Wonderful stuff!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Friday, January 06, 2012

Sir John Gardner Wilkinson

John Gardner Wilkinson was born in 1797, the son of John Wilkinson, a clergyman, of Hardendale in Westmorland, and Mary Anne Wilkinson (ne Gardner). Through his mother he was related to the Crewe family of Calke Abbey in south Derbyshire; Georgiana Crewe (ne Lovell, c.1824-1910), wife of the ninth baronet Sir John Harpur Crewe (1824-86), was his second cousin.

Wilkinson's mother and father had died by the time he was ten years old. He was entrusted to a guardian, and was educated at Harrow and at Exeter College, Oxford. His love of travel began with visits to the Continent in 1817 and 1818. In 1819 he set off on a 'Grand Tour' through France, Germany, and Italy, where he met the antiquarian and student of Egyptian hieroglyphics, Sir William Gell. Gell encouraged Wilkinson to engage in Egyptological study under his guidance; and in October 1821 Wilkinson left Italy for Alexandria.

Wilkinson remained in Egypt until 1833. He travelled extensively in that country, learnt Coptic and Arabic, continued his study of hieroglyphics, and surveyed and recorded the remains of ancient Egyptian society, notably the tombs at the site of Thebes. He began to publish his research, and continued to do so after his return to England. Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, his most extensive work, was first published by John Murray in two series in 1837 and 1841; a second edition appeared in 1847. This work enhanced Wilkinson's reputation as an Egyptologist, which resulted in his knighthood in 1839, and in membership of many learned societies.

He revisited Egypt four times: in 1841-2, 1843-4, 1848, and 1855-6. Partly because of these visits, as well as through undoubted inclination, he also travelled widely in Western Europe and the Mediterranean, and in the early 1840s toured Dalmatia and Montenegro, part of Asia Minor, the Levant and North Africa. (John Murray published Wilkinson's account of his travels in the Balkans as Dalmatia and Montenegro in 1848.)

In 1856 Wilkinson married Caroline Catherine Lucas (1822-81), a keen botanist and antiquarian, the companion of Augusta, Lady Llanover. The couple lived first at Tenby in Pembrokeshire, on the South Wales coast. In 1866 they moved to Brynfield House, at Reynoldston on the Gower peninsula. Brynfield and the surrounding area provided Wilkinson with ample opportunity to indulge his interest in ancient British remains; he had already published several articles on British archaeology and antiquities.

Wilkinson's Egyptological work contributed to the foundation of that discipline in Britain, but his research and publications ranged beyond Egypt into architecture, aesthetics, international relations and the classics, as well as travel and the study of ancient Britain. Moreover, in his detailed water-colours and drawings, as in his extensive notes and 'journals', he recorded his impressions of the architecture, costume and contemporary society of all the countries he visited.

On his death in 1875 Wilkinson's library and papers were bequeathed to Sir John Crewe and his family, and were sent to Calke Abbey. It was known that his publications represented only a small proportion of his work, and interest in his papers continued. In 1925 many of the manuscripts relating to Wilkinson's Egyptological research were lent to Francis Llewellyn Griffith, professor of Egyptology at Oxford; after Griffith's death in 1934, these items passed with his library to the Griffith Institute in Oxford. They were used by Bertha Porter and Rosalind Moss in the preparation of their Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs and Paintings (Oxford, 1927-51; revised and reissued, 1960-95), and were given reference numbers used in that work.

In 1984 the National Trust became the owner of Calke Abbey and its contents, including all Wilkinson's manuscripts, which were soon afterwards placed on deposit at the Bodleian and which this catalogue describes. (Wilkinson's library remains at Calke.) They were used by Professor Jason Thompson in his biography of Wilkinson (Sir Gardner Wilkinson and his Circle, Austin, Texas, 1992).

Further details with regards to his papers can be found at:

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Well it's a busy start to the New Year. Firstly, for those interested in Ancient Egyptian Warfare a colleague of mine, Sarah Shepherd, has just set up a new interest Group on Facebook. Called the Ancient Warfare Research Associates, I recommend those with a Facebook account to join us.