A round up of news highlights from Issue 125
An Egyptian Mission searching for the mortuary temple of Tutankhamun has discovered a settlement - “The Dazzling of Aten” - described as the largest city ever found in Egypt. Finds bearing the cartouches of Amenhotep III date the settlement to his reign, c. 1390-1352 BC – making it about 3400 years old.
The settlement, discovered in September 2020, lies on Luxor’s West Bank, between Medinet Habu and Kom el-Hettân (the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III). Only a small section has been excavated so far, with signs that the settlement extends further to the south, east and west.
Golden Parade of the Pharaohs
The cache of royal mummies at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo have been moved to their new home – the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization - in a spectacular multi-million dollar parade. Twenty-two mummies, including Seqenenra Taa, Ramesses II and a queen identified as Hatshepsut, were transported inside nitrogen-filled boxes in decorated vehicles with specially modified shock absorbers.
The world’s first industrial scale brewery dating to the Early Dynastic Period (c3100 BC), has been discovered at Abydos. The brewery, discovered by an American team, measures nearly 20 metres in length and was sectioned into 8 beer- producing units. Grains were boiled in 40 large clay vats that were held in place by clay rings attached to pillars. The team have calculated that up to 22,400 litres (5000 gallons) of beer could be produced at one time – the equivalent of 40,000 pints.
Two Discoveries at Berenike
Another World first: Polish excavators have discovered a 2000 year old pet cemetery at the Graeco-Roman port of Berenike on the Red Sea coast. 585 cats, dogs and monkeys were buried in individual graves, some protected by textiles or pottery covers.
In a separate study an American-Polish team working on the remains of a fortress gate and tower at the port have discovered a well that appears to have dried up between 220 and 200 BC, leading to Berenike being abandoned. The team believe a distant volcanic eruption in 209 BC is likely to have caused a failure in the summer rains at the head of the Nile. In turn, the annual flooding of the Nile failed to happen, leading to a severe drought lasting several years.
Christian Desert Settlement
A French-Norwegian team have found the ruins of a Christian settlement thought to be an early monastic community in a remote site in the Western Desert. The complex was in use from the fourth to eighth centuries AD. The team discovered three churches, each with adjacent living quarters for monks. Ostraca covered in Greek inscriptions were found in the dining hall of one of the churches, while two rock-cut chambers connected to a second church were decorated with Biblical texts and Coptic symbols written in Greek in yellow pigment.
Danish researchers have discovered the oldest known written guide to mummification, dating to 1450 BC. The papyrus lists various skin illnesses and herbal remedies but also details the different stages of mummification, revealing that embalmers worked on the body every 4 days, leaving time for the body to dry out resting on straw, with a red linen cloth placed over the face, both of which were infused with aromatic compounds to repel insects and scavengers.
For more on these and other news and discoveries check out the news section of issue 125
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