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Archaeologists discover Ancient Egyptian tombs and mummification workshops

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In a press conference by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Ahmed Issa, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, has announced the discovery of mummification workshops and decorated tombs at Saqqara in the Giza Governorate, Egypt.

Saqqara served as the necropolis for Ancient Egyptian royalty and their extended family during the Old Kingdom period. During the New Kingdom from the 18th Dynasty onward, the necropolis was used by many high-status officials from Memphis.

The mummification workshops have been described as “the largest and most complete”, for which the team found one that was used for embalming people, and the other for animals. Both workshops date from the end of the XXX dynasty (between 380 BC–343 BC) and the beginning of the Ptolemaic era.

The Ancient Egyptians saw the preservation of the body after death as an important step to immortality and living well in the afterlife. Within the Ancient Egyptian concept of the soul, the “ka”, which represented vitality, leaves the body once the person dies. Only if the body is embalmed in a specific fashion will the “ka” return to the deceased body, and rebirth will take place.

Image Credit : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

To attain eternal life and gain an audience with Osiris, the deceased was mummified in different fashions (depending on cost) to preserve the body. This allowed the soul to reunite with its physical form and find joy in the realm beyond.

The embalming workshop for people is a rectangular building constructed using mudbricks, consisting of several chambers containing beds that measure 2 metres long, by one metre in width. Archaeologists also found a number of ceramics, tools, ritual vessels, and a large amount of linen and black resin used during the embalming process.

The workshop for embalming animals is also a rectangular mud brick construction, which is divided into several chambers and halls with a central entrance lined with a limestone floor. Excavations found numerous ceramic vessels and animal remains, in addition to specialised tools for animal embalming.

Professor Sabri Farag, Director General of the Saqqara Antiquities Area, also announced in the press conference the discovery of two tombs. The first belonged to an official from the 5th Dynasty (around 2400 BC) who was called “Ni-Hesbast-Pa”, who held important religious and administrative titles such as Grand Overseer of the South and Priest of the gods, Horus and Maat.

The second tomb belonged to a person from the 18th Dynasty (around 1400 BC) who was called “Menjebu”. This individual held the title of Priest of the goddess Qadesh, a foreign deity of Canaanite origin from the Syrian region who was worshiped in the city of Qadesh.

Among the artefacts found during excavations are a group of stone statues of a person named “Ni Su Hanu” and his wife, as well as wooden and stone statues portraying an individual named “Shepseskaf”. Also uncovered are Osiris statuettes, fragments of clay seals, parts of a shroud, a human-shaped polychrome wooden coffin from the end of the New Kingdom, and various ceramics, some of which contain ancient Egyptian cheese (goat cheese) from 600 BC.

Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

Header Image Credit : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

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Archaeology

Giant catapult shots discovered from siege of Kenilworth Castle

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Archaeologists have uncovered eight 13th century catapult shots from the 1266 siege of Kenilworth Castle.

Kenilworth Castle, located in the town of Kenilworth in Warwickshire, England, is both a semi-royal palace and historic fortress.

Founded in the 1120s, the castle was the scene of the removal of Edward II from the English throne and the Earl of Leicester’s reception of Elizabeth I in 1575.

During the First Civil War (1642 to 1646), Kenilworth formed a useful counterbalance to the Parliamentary stronghold of Warwick. Following the defeat of royalist forces, Parliament ordered the slighting of Kenilworth 1649, leaving the castle a romantic ruin and popular tourist attraction over the centuries.

Recent works to improve a pathway on castle grounds has led to the discovery of eight giant catapult shots. According to the archaeologists, the shots date from the Siege of Kenilworth (1266), a six-month siege of the castle during the Second Barons’ War.

The conflict was between a number of barons led by Simon de Montfort (who had custody of Kenilworth Castle) against the royalist forces of King Henry III, and later his son, the future King Edward I.

Image Credit : English Heritage

According to historical accounts, the siege was the largest to occur in Medieval England and involved numerous “turres ligneas” (wooden towers), trebuchets, and catapults which fired the giant shots.

The shots are of varying sizes, with the largest weighing 105 kg and the smallest just 1 kg. “’These would have caused some serious damage when fired from war machines. Records show that one of Henry III’s wooden siege towers, containing around 200 crossbowmen, was destroyed by just one well-aimed missile,” said Will Wyeth, English Heritage’s Properties Historian.

Header Image Credit : English Heritage

Sources : English Heritage

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Sappers clear over 4,700 dangerous objects from WWII

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A team of sappers under archaeological supervision have cleared over 4,700 dangerous objects from WWII on the Westerplatte Peninsula in Gdańsk, Poland.

Situated at the mouth of the Dead Vistula on the Baltic Sea coast, the peninsula was the site of the Battle of Westerplatte, one of the initial clashes between Polish and German forces during the invasion of Poland in WWII.

The Polish garrison held out for seven days, repelling thirteen German assaults. The battle became a symbol of Polish resistance, tying up substantial German forces at Westerplatte and preventing over 3,000 German soldiers from providing fire support in the nearby battles of Hel and Gdynia.

Image Credit : The Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk

The Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk led the clearing of the Westerplatte area, working in conjunction with soldiers from the 43rd Naval Sapper Battalion, the Engineer Battalion Sapper Company from the 2nd Sapper Regiment from Kazuń Nowy, and a team of archaeologists to supervise and document any archaeological material.

The clearance works have uncovered over 4,700 dangerous objects in the duration of the project along with 180 historical artefacts.

“To date, specialists have penetrated an area of ​​over 13.5 hectares, resulting in the discovery of over 4,700 dangerous objects, including 3 air bombs, one of which weighing 500 kg was located only 30 cm below the ground surface ” – said the head of the Archaeological Department of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk, Filip Kuczma.

Some of these objects include almost 200 artillery shells, mortar and hand grenades, and small arms ammunition. Other WWII objects include elements from the soldier’s uniforms, lead seals, and parts of the railway infrastructure in Westerplatte.

The team also uncovered cannonballs, musket shells, coins, decorative stove tiles, and ceramics from the time of the War of the Polish succession (1733 to 1738) and the Napoleonic period (1799 to 1815).

Header Image Credit : The Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk

Sources : The Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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