Tag Archives: Ancient Egypt

Papyrus of the Nile Delta


Papyrus of the Nile Delta

Papyrus was an early form of paper made from the pith of the papyrus plant, a wetland sedge that once flourished in the Nile Delta. Though its earliest use has been traced to Ancient Egypt, it was also widely used throughout the Mediterranean region, inland parts of Europe, and southwest Asia. Making a sheet of papyrus involves a complex process of layering the inner piths of the stems, then hammering, drying, and polishing them. What unlikely article of clothing was made from papyrus? More… Discuss

word: ultramarine


ultramarine

Definition: (noun) A blue pigment made from powdered lapis lazuli; a vivid or strong blue to purplish blue.
Synonyms: indigo, French blue
Usage: She found a piece of fabric dyed ultramarine, which would make a perfect sash for the light blue dress she was making. Discuss.

Ancient History, Really?!? Where Was the Land of Punt (and a inspired video on YouTube, by David S. Rosado


Where Was the Land of Punt

A relief depicting Hatshepsut's expedition to the Land of Punt.

The ancient Egyptians documented everything. Surviving paintings and writings show details about almost every aspect of life in that place and era. Wars and religion and rulers are all recorded in ways that have fortunately lasted into modern times.

Business and trade were no different–extensive documentation chronicled who the ancient Egyptians were doing trade with and what exactly that trade was.

According to information unearthed by archeologists, the land called Punt was a great source of riches and slaves and exotic spices and wild animals. From the descriptions that survived, the land of Punt was a peaceful and prosperous country that seemed to have a wide variety of highly valued goods to trade. The discovery of such a society would be a huge accomplishment for an archeologist.

The only problem is that nobody today knows where Punt was.

But people have looked. The first problem is that we have to rely solely on ancient Egyptian information. No other ancient civilization, so far, has unearthed a single reference to the land of Punt–which is unusual. This would imply that either Punt only dealt with Egypt (not likely), or else other societies referred to it by other names.

Any country with so many riches and expensive goods would be ripe for conquest, and yet there is no mention of Egypt (who went to war frequently with neighbors) ever going to war with Punt.

The most evidence about the land of Punt comes from a temple dedicated to the female Pharaoh Hatshepsut, who ruled for more than 20 years circa 1465 BCE. A large relief of a trading mission to Punt is featured on the walls of the temple. We even know the names of the rulers of Punt during Hatshepsut’s reign: King Parahu and Queen Ati. But the Egyptians either forgot to put concrete directions to Punt in their temples and such, or else we haven’t uncovered such evidence yet.

A wall relief in Egypt depicting a typical Punt House.

According to the art that has survived, men from the land of Punt, unlike ancient Egyptians, had long hair and little facial hair. The people of Punt lived in round houses built on stilts–most likely to avoid damage from flooding in their land.

Wherever that land was.

There are various clues. Animals living in Punt, according to the Egyptian paintings, lived primarily in the area around the Red Sea on the Arabian peninsula. But other scholars, due to the origin areas of some of the traded goods, have proposed a location south of ancient Egypt in Africa. The surviving evidence is just not clear.

No remains have been unearthed by archeologists showing a civilization that equates itself to the land of Punt.

Author Bill Price even questions whether Punt existed at all, or was the equivalent of an ancient Egyptian imaginary utopia. This is possibly reinforced by an alternate name of Punt that translates into “Land of the God(s).”

There are even some tantalizing allusions that the Egyptians believed they originally came from Punt and journeyed and founded ancient Egypt after leaving that homeland.

Punt may currently lie below mounds of earth and sand and we won’t know the location of this marvelous land until future excavations unearth an ancient paradise.

Hatshepsut. A travel to Punt

References:
Price, Bill. “History’s Greatest Mysteries”.
Punt“, Wikipedia, pulled June 11, 2014

historic People and places: The Ancient City of Susa


The Ancient City of Susa

Located about 15 miles (23 km) southwest of modern Dizful, Iran, ancient Susa was the capital of Elam and of the Persian Empire. Destroyed in the 7th century BCE, Susa was revived under the Achaemenid rulers of Persia. Excavations at Susa have uncovered the stele of Naram-sin and the code of Hammurabi, which were among many objects carried off by the Elamites from Babylonia. An unusual tomb found in the area marked by a white stone cone is believed to belong to what Biblical figure? More… Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: Carter Breaches Entrance to Tutankhamun’s Tomb (1922)


Carter Breaches Entrance to Tutankhamun’s Tomb (1922)

In 1922, British archaeologist Howard Carter had one last chance at a successful excavation in Egypt before his patron, Lord Carnarvon, withdrew financial backing. Luckily, the two soon became the first to enter the tomb of the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun in some 3,000 years. The tomb was almost completely intact, and its treasures made Tutankhamen perhaps the best-known of the pharaohs despite his early death and limited accomplishments. What did Carter reportedly say upon accessing the tomb? More… Discuss

today’s birthday: Mika Waltari (1908)


Mika Waltari (1908)

Finnish author Mika Waltari is best known for his 1945 historical novel The Egyptian, which is set during the reign of the Pharaoh Akhenaten and was hailed by Egyptologists for its accuracy in describing ancient Egyptian life. The themes explored in the book struck a chord with readers in the aftermath of World War II, and it became an international bestseller, serving as the basis for the 1954 Hollywood movie of the same name. Where—and when—are some of his other historical novels set? More… Discuss

Filigree


Filigree

Filigree is an ornamental work of fine gold or silver wire, often wrought into an openwork design and joined with matching solder under the flame of a blowpipe. It was made in ancient Egypt, China, and India. Saxons, Britons, and especially the Celts in Ireland were skilled at devising intricate and ingenious designs in the Middle Ages. Today, it is employed in Mediterranean areas, as well as in Mexico, India, and Scandinavian countries. What is the origin of the word “filigree“? More… Discuss

Egyptian Mummification Dates Back 6,000 Years


Egyptian Mummification Dates Back 6,000 Years

Mummification is an indisputably ancient practice, but new evidence suggests it emerged even earlier than experts previously thought. Funerary textiles from Egypt’s oldest-known cemeteries contain remnants of embalming substances, proof that mummification was being practiced as early as 4300 BCE, more than 1,500 years earlier than previously believed. Furthermore, the composition of the embalming agents on these textiles differed little from the agents used thousands of years later at the height of ancient Egyptian civilization. More… Discuss

ARTICLE: WHAT A RELIEF!


What a Relief!

In sculpture, the term “relief” refers to any work in which the figures project from a flat background. In alto-relievo, or high relief, the protrusion is great. Basso-relievo, or bas-relief, protrudes only slightly. Mezzo-relievo is intermediate between the two. Ancient Egyptian and Etruscan art also features cavo-relievo, literally “hollow relief,” in which the design is incised deeper than the background. What commonplace item found in many of our pockets features bas-relief?More… Discuss

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ARTICLE: MAKEUP: FROM KOHL TO COSMECEUTICALS


Makeup: From Kohl to Cosmeceuticals

Cosmetics have been used for millennia to simulate or enhance the appearance of youthfulness, health, and beauty—eye makeup and scented creams were used by the ancient Egyptians as early as the 4th millennium BCE—but they have not always been viewed favorably. In the 19th century, for example, Queen Victoria publicly declared the use of makeup by anyone other than actors to be improper and vulgar. Today, however, the cosmetics industry is thriving. How much is spent on cosmetics each year? More…Discuss

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THE STOUT SCARAB


The Stout Scarab

In the 1930s, aircraft designer William Stout envisioned an automobile that could double as an office on wheels. The resulting Scarab, widely considered the world’s first production minivan, was groundbreaking in its design. Stout eliminated the typical chassis and drive-shaft and placed the engine in the vehicle’s rear. He also gave the Scarab a removable table and movable seating. Still, the vehicle never really caught on, largely due to its hefty price tag. How much did it cost to own one? More… Discuss