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July 08 2014


November 06 2013


July 23 2013

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Construction workers building a road near the town of Gliwice in southern Poland this month came across four skeletons buried in a bizarre way. Their skulls had been cut off and placed between the knees or hands of the dead. Later, a further 13 skeletons arranged in a similar way were found.

Adding to the mystery, nothing — no jewellery, remains of clothing or coins, not even a button — was found on the bodies.

Archaeologists now believe that the bodies date from the 15th or 16th centuries, when the fear of vampires was widespread in Eastern Europe. Lukasz Obtulowicz, an archaeologist from the monument protection office in the nearby city of Katowice, said there were clear indications that this was the site of a vampire burial, noting that stones had been placed on the skulls. “All this served to prevent the vampires from returning to life," he said in a television interview.

The office’s chief archeologist, Jacek Pierzak, told Polish newspaper Dziennik Zachodni: “It was one of the most common forms of burying vampires." The office could not immediately be reached for comment.

It can’t be ruled out that the dead were executed, because the site lies close to where a gallows used to stand. So far, a total of 43 graves have been unearthed there, and historians hope to learn more about the skeletons by studying court files and church logs on executions. …

via Suspected Cemetery of Vampires Located in Poland - SPIEGEL ONLINE

April 14 2013

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An ancient Egyptian harbor has emerged on the Red Sea coast, dating back about 4,500 years.

“Evidence unearthed at the site shows that it predates by more than 1,000 years any other port structure known in the world,” Pierre Tallet, Egyptologist at the University of Paris-Sorbonne and director of the archaeological mission, told Discovery News.

Built at the time of the Fourth Dynasty King Khufu, [who built] the Great Pyramid of Giza, the port was discovered by a Franco-Egyptian team of archaeologists at Wadi el-Jarf, nearly 110 miles south of the coastal city of Suez.

The site was first explored in 1823 by British pioneer Egyptologist Sir John Garner Wilkinson, who found a system of galleries cut into the bedrock a few miles from the coast. He believed they were catacombs.

“The place was then described by French pilots working on the Suez Gulf during the 1950s, but no one realized that it concealed the remains of an ancient pharaonic harbor,” Tallet said.

Tallet has been excavating the area since 2011 with archaeologist Gregory Marouard, of the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, topographer Damien Laisney of the French National Center for Scientific Research, and doctoral students Aurore Ciavatti and Serena Esposito from the Sorbonne University. The team first focused on the most visible part of the site: the galleries described by Wilkinson.

The excavation revealed 30 of these galleries, measuring on average 65 feet long, 10 feet wide and 7 feet high.

Inside the galleries Tallet and his team found several fragments of boats, ropes and pottery dating to the early Fourth Dynasty. Three galleries contained a stock of storage jars, which probably served as water containers for boats.

Underwater exploration at the foot of the jetty revealed 25 pharaonic anchors — and pottery similar to that uncovered in the galleries — all dating from the Fourth Dynasty.

About 200 meters from the sea side, the archaeologists also found the remains of an Old Kingdom building where 99 pharaonic anchors had been stored.

“Some of them were inscribed with hieroglyphs, probably with the names of the boats,” Tallet said.

Most interestingly, the storage galleries also contained hundreds of papyrus fragments.

Among them, 10 were very well preserved.

“They are the oldest papyri ever found,” Tallet said.

Many of the papyri describe how the central administration, under the reign of Khufu, sent food — mainly bread and beer — to the workers involved in the Egyptian expeditions departing from the port.

But one papyrus is much more intriguing: it’s the diary of Merrer, an Old Kingdom official involved in the building of the Great Pyramid of Khufu. [AKA Cheops]

From four different sheets and many fragments, the researchers were able to follow his daily activity for more that three months.

“He mainly reported about his many trips to the Tura limestone quarry to fetch block for the building of the pyramid,” Tallet said.

“Although we will not learn anything new about the construction of Khufu’s monument, this diary provides for the first time an insight on this matter,” Tallet said.

  Via Most Ancient Port, Hieroglyphic Papyri Found : Discovery News

Reposted bywtfpantera wtfpantera

November 19 2012


When I mention archaeology and someone tells me it's awesome I'm digging up dinosaurs:


Archaeology≠Paleontology!!! Seriously.

Reposted bykilljillSaper86AncientEgyptiansiriusminervacraen

November 09 2012

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A golden horse-head, one of the artefacts among the Thracian treasures recently unearthed near Sveshtari, Bulgaria. Photograph: Bgnes/AFP/Getty Images

Bulgarian archaeologists have discovered bracelets with snake heads, a tiara with animal motifs and a horse-head piece in a hoard of ancient golden artefacts unearthed during excavations at a Thracian tomb in the north of the country.

The artefacts have been dated to the end of the fourth or the beginning of the third century BCE. They were found in the biggest of 150 ancient tombs of the Getae people, a Thracian tribe that was in contact with the Hellenistic world. The hoard also yielded a golden ring, 44 female figure depictions and 100 golden buttons.

“These are amazing findings from the apogee of the rule of the Getae,” said Diana Gergova, head of the archaeologist team and a researcher of Thracian culture with the Sofia-based National Archaeology Institute. “From what we see up to now, the tomb may be linked with the first known Getic ruler, Cothelas.”

The site is at the ancient Getic burial complex near the village of Sveshtari, about 250 miles north-east of Sofia. One of the tombs there, the Tomb of Sveshtari, is included in the Unesco world heritage list for its unique architectural decor showing half-human, half-plant female figures and painted murals.

The Thracians, ruled by a powerful warrior aristocracy wealthy for their gold treasures, [Ed. Note: Huh?] inhabited an area extending over modern Romania and Bulgaria, northern Greece and the European part of Turkey from 4000BCE. …

(via Bulgarian archaeologists find golden treasures in ancient Thracian tomb | World news |

August 27 2012

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“our” cat

An unofficial member of our team is a young cat, which has adopted the crew working in the palace as a source of entertainment and (mostly) food. He lives in the excavation house that was built next to the palace by the University of Pennsylvania Expedition in the 1970’s, and was later much enlarged by the French (which is why everyone calls it the French House).

The cat generally saunters out to greet us in the morning and then again when we have a bunch break at 10:00 a.m., when he rather impatiently demands any uneaten hard- boiled eggs. The rest of his day is spent chasing the birds that flit around the site, lolling under the shade of a palm tree or sidling up to people, particularly the ones who are either allergic to, or not very fond of cats!

Our small friend has a striped ‘tabby’ coat, exactly like the ancient Egyptian representations of cats. The cat was first domesticated in the ancient Middle East and was particularly revered in pharaonic Egypt. The ancient Egyptian name for cat was mau and it was a pet frequently represented in tombs and temples. Because of their value in catching snakes and rodents, cats were an integral part of households and the cat goddess, Bastet, became associated with the protection of the home and of the women who lived there. …

[Ed. Note:  The archaeologists who run this blog are excavating the 18th Dynasty king Amenhotep III's palace, now known as Malqata or Malkata.  Oh, and do click and embiggen the pics of this elegant creature  :)   ]

(via Dig Cat « iMalqata)

Reposted bycatsmondkroetedfyxrdr

June 19 2012

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An archaeologist says he has found the oldest piece of rock art in Australia and one of the oldest in the world: an Aboriginal work created 28,000 years ago in an outback cave.

The dating of one of the thousands of images in the Northern Territory rock shelter, known as Nawarla Gabarnmang, will be published in the next edition of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

The archaeologist Bryce Barker, from the University of Southern Queensland, said he found the rock in June last year but had only recently had it dated at the radiocarbon laboratory of New Zealand’s University of Waikato.

He said the rock art had been made using charcoal, so radiocarbon dating could be used to determine its age; most rock art is made with mineral paint, so its age cannot accurately be measured.

Barker said the work was “the oldest unequivocally dated rock art in Australia” and among the oldest in the world.

The oldest known rock art is in Spain, where hand stencils and red discs made by blowing paint on to the wall in El Castillo cave are at least 40,800 years old, according to scientists using a technique known as uranium-thorium dating.

Sally May, an archeologist from the Australian National University who is not involved with Barker’s research, said his find was “incredibly significant”.

“I don’t think it will surprise anyone that rock art is that old in Australia because we know people have been here a lot longer than that, and there’s no reason to believe they weren’t producing art,” she said.

Barker said he had found evidence that the cave where he found the rock art had been occupied for 45,000 years.

(via Rock of ages: Australia’s oldest artwork found | World news |

Reposted bysiriusminerva siriusminerva

May 11 2012


May 10 2012

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This chalice in the form of a lotus is decorated with a whorl of circles and sepals in low relief.

The handle is a lotus flower and bud supporting the symbol of eternal life.

The cup bears the names and titles of King Tutankhamun.

The text around the rim expresses wishes for the king to live millions of years and to enjoy great happiness.

On each side of the cup there are two birds.

(via The Global Egyptian Museum | JE 62125)

“May he live, Horus ‘Strong Bull fair of births,’ the Two Goddesses ‘Beautiful of ordinances, quelling the Two Lands,’ Horus of Gold ‘Wearing the diadems and propitiating the Gods,’ the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Lord of the Two Lands, Neb Kheperu Re, granted life.”

“Live, thy Ka, and mayst thou spend millions of years, thou lover of Thebes, sitting with thy face to the north wind, and thy eyes beholding felicity.”

Adapting to more contemporary English than Gardiner’s, I think the wish might read:

“May your ka live, and may you achieve millions of years, you who love Thebes, sitting with your face to the north wind, and your eyes seeing happiness.”

Because of this wish for Tutankhamun’s eternal life, Carter dubbed this chalice the king’s wishing-cup. In 1995 part of the cup’s inscription was placed on a new headstone for Carter in London.

The transluscent white drinking cup takes the form of a white lotus. Lotus buds with stems form a handle on two sides. On top of the buds the god Heh sits holding the hieroglyphs for years and life in each hand, above the signs for 100,000 and eternity, all together symbolizing eternal life. The hieroglyph for Heh stands for millions, seen above in the wish inscription.

The hieroglyph for the heavens surmounts a square on the front of the chalice’s bowl. Three columns give the king’s names and titles. Beginning with the middle column containing a cartouche, the hieroglyphs read from top to bottom:

“King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Neb Kheperu Re, given life.”

The left column and cartouche read:

“Son of Re, living image of Amun, ruler of Thebes forever and ever.”

The right column says:

“Beloved of Amun-Re lord of thrones, and of the two lands, lord of heaven.”

Innumerable photographs of Tutankhamun’s wishing cup can be found online and in print. …

Translation & accompanying commentary via

Reposted byAncientEgyptiansiriusminerva
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The throne of Tutankhamun is made of wood, covered with gold and silver, and ornamented with semiprecious stones and colored glass.

The scene on the back panel shows the queen anointing the king. The sun’s rays, terminating in hands, radiate towards the royal couple.

The king wears a composite crown and a broad collar and the queen wears a diadem.

The bodies and wigs of both of them are inlaid with exquisite colored glass and their linen robes are silver.

Two projecting lions’ heads protect the seat of the throne while the arms take the form of winged serpents wearing the double crown and guarding the names of the king.

A wooden footrest was also used to support the king’s feet. It is engraved with subjugated figures of the foes from the North and South, known as the “nine-bows,” lying bound.

The rekhyt birds, referring to the common people, are also shown here under the control of the king.

(via The Global Egyptian Museum | JE 62028, 62046)

Reposted byAncientEgyptiansiriusminerva
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This wooden chest with colored ivory panels shows a seated King Tutankhamun facing a pond and shooting wildfowl and fish.

The queen is sitting on a cushion with an arrow in her left hand waiting to pass it to the king.

On the lid, the king is seen with his queen, who is handing him bouquets of lotus and papyri. Flowers surround them.

(via The Global Egyptian Museum | JE 61477)

Reposted byAncientEgyptiansiriusminerva
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This silver trumpet with its golden mouthpiece was found with a decorated wooden core inside, probably to protect the thin metal from distortion, or to help in cleaning inside its tube with a piece of cloth.

The decoration on the bell shows incised scenes of the gods Amun-Re and Re-Horakhty before Ptah.

From experiments, the sound produced was described as “raucous and powerful” and it is likely that the trumpet signal code was a rhythmic one on a single pitch.

I most highly recco your checkin’ out the attachment on the webpage - a sound file of the trumpet’s being played is included!

(via The Global Egyptian Museum | JE 62007)

Reposted byAncientEgyptiansiriusminerva
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This alabaster vessel was probably used for perfumed ointments. The vessel and its base were formed in two pieces and joined together.

The base depicts an Ankh sign on either side of the jar stand. The vessel itself is part of an overall design signifying the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt as shown by the presence of the Sema-Tawy sign. There is a portrayal of a human face wearing a collar, perhaps Tutankhamun.

The traditional names and titles of the king are displayed on the body of the vessel. On both sides plant decorations are found.

(via The Global Egyptian Museum | JE 62118)

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Tutankhamun’s military trumpet is one of three known examples of this instrument preserved from ancient Egypt. It was fashioned from metal sheets covered with gold.

The mouthpiece is in the shape of a cylindrical sleeve with a silver ring at the outer end, fixed to a tube. On the outside of the bell is a panel depicting the king wearing the Blue Crown and holding the crook scepter “Heka”. He stands before a shrine containing the figure of the god Ptah in the form of a mummy.

The inscription reads, “The Great One, Ptah, south-of-his-wall, Lord of Truth, Creator of all that the king receives, Life from Amun-Re, King of all Gods. He who rests his other hand on the king’s shoulders, behind the falcon-headed god, Re-Horakhty, the good god, Lord of Gold”.

All the figures are shown standing under the hieroglyphic sign for heaven and the baseline symbolizes the earth.

Translation of text:
“The Great One, Ptah, south-of-his-wall, Lord of Truth, Creator of all that the king receives, Life from Amun-Re, King of all Gods. He who rests his other hand on the king’s shoulders, behind the falcon-headed god, Re-Horakhty, the good god, Lord of Gold”.

(via The Global Egyptian Museum | JE 6200)

Reposted byAncientEgyptian AncientEgyptian
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The vases found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun were commonly used to store precious oils and cosmetics for the king to use in the netherworld.

The theme of the decoration on the upper part is the union of the two lands, represented by the lotus and the papyrus. Along the upper part of the base, the environment in which the two plants grow is suggested.

On the left, the papyrus springs from a marshy bed, and on the right, a checkered pattern probably depicts a system of irrigated plots for the growing of lotus plants. This vase differs from others in the complicated knot that ties the various stems of the plants around its neck together.

The lower part of the vase is flanked by columns with papyrus capitals. The royal cartouches are inscribed on the body of the vase.

(via The Global Egyptian Museum | JE 62117)

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This beautiful vase has a long cylindrical neck with a circular lid, a rounded belly decorated in relief with many flower petals and two elegant handles.

The two sides of the vase are decorated with an identical openwork design, which represents lotus and papyrus flowers, the symbols of Upper and Lower Egypt.

On each side, three papyrus plants ending with three triangular papyrus flowers are shown emerging from a lotus flower at the bottom.

The vase and the openwork are placed on a large rectangular base with four legs, decorated with openwork geometrical motifs.

(via The Global Egyptian Museum | JE 62115)

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The upper part of this splendid alabaster vase is decorated with cornices and plants.

It is set on a pedestal in a form of a stool. The body of the vase is adorned with three cartouches bearing the name of King Tutankhamun and that of his consort, Queen Ankhesenamun.

The left side bears the figure of a uraeus, or royal cobra, wearing the Red Crown and holding the Was and Shen scepters.

(via The Global Egyptian Museum | JE 62123)

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