14 December 2006

How to make it as an archaeologist

- Forget the bull whip
It might have got Indiana Jones out of a scrape or two, but then Indiana Jones has little if anything to do with real archaeology. Excavators these days are far more likely to be armed with a theodolite and laptop than a whip and pistol, so if you are working on the assumption that archaeology = glamour you're going to be sorely disappointed. Mind you, if you find yourself digging somewhere hot then an Indiana Jones Fedora might come in useful.

- Study hard, get the qualifications
Gone are the days of the enthusiastic amateur -- men such as 19th Century businessman Heinrich Schliemann who, having made a fortune contracting during the Crimean War, decided to turn his hand to excavating and, at Mycenae and Troy, made some of the most spectacular discoveries in the history of archaeology. These days archaeologists are highly qualified, technically skilled professionals -- simply being able to poke around in the ground with a trowel is no longer enough. Draughtsmanship, surveying, micro-botany, photography, material conservation, epigraphy, digital design, cartography, computing -- these are just a few of the skills that are required on a modern archaeological mission (although not all necessarily by the same person).
- Volunteer as "trowel fodder"
- Resign yourself to a lifetime of poorly-paid obscurity
- Find Nefertiti

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07 December 2006

Ancient Egyptian Titles (I)


"lord of the two lands" (nb tAw)
"great royal wife" (Hmt wrt nsw)
"son of the king, prince" (sA nsw)

"sovereign, ruler" (ity)

"majesty" (Hm)

"ruler of Upper and Lower Egypt" (nsw biti)

"hereditary prince" (rpa)

06 December 2006

Egypt finds 4,000-year-old doctor's mummy

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian archaeologists have discovered the funerary remains of a doctor who lived more than 4,000 years ago, including his mummy, sarcophagus and bronze surgical instruments.

The upper part of the tomb was discovered in 2000 at Saqqara, 20 km (12 miles) south of Cairo, and the sarcophagus came to light in the burial pit during cleaning work, state news agency MENA said on Tuesday, quoting Egyptian government antiquities chief Zahi Hawass.

The doctor, whose name was Qar, lived under the 6th dynasty and built his tomb near Egypt's first pyramid. The 6th dynasty ruled from about 2350 to 2180 BC.

Hawass said the lid of the wooden sarcophagus had excellent and well-preserved decoration and the mummy itself was in ideal condition. "The linen wrappings and the funerary drawings on the mummy are still as they were," he said.

"The mask which covers the face of the mummy is in an amazing state of preservation in spite of slight damage in the area of the mouth."

The tomb also had earthenware containers bearing the doctor's name, a round limestone offering table and 22 bronze statues of gods.