5 Important Egyptian Archaeological Discoveries that Provided Leaps in Our Knowledge of the Past

5 Important Egyptian Archaeological Discoveries that Provided Leaps in Our Knowledge of the Past


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When it comes to archaeological discoveries, very few countries can measure up to the wealth of Egypt. From the Rosetta Stone , to the Valley of the Kings, to the great ancient pyramids at Giza, Egypt holds a large trove of history which includes many important and mysterious discoveries. Rich tombs that date back to antiquity and ancient treasures, as well as an alluring assortment of magnificent temples are testament to the richness of the Egyptian dunes. Even though we are yet to see another wonder of the world, archaeologists continue to discover many important ancient artifacts and sites that precede the Middle Ages. Both old and new discoveries reveal that the country can still deliver unexpected historic gems and wonderful Giza-grade delights. With this in mind, we have decided to take an inventory of some of the most amazing findings that have come out from this great civilization. Below is a brief exposition on some of the oldest Egyptian archaeological discoveries.

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Tutankhamum’s tomb produced a wealth of items for archaeologists. Harry Burton: Tutankhamun tomb photographs ( Public Domain )

The Tomb of Tutankhamun

The tomb of Tutankhamun is arguably the “well” of ancient treasures which was discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter and his small team . Up till today, the tomb still remains the most popular historic gem to have ever come out from Egypt’s ancient past.

Among the treasures found in the tomb was the mysterious death mask that belonged to the “boy king” whose rulership was clearly committed to restoring the polytheistic religion of his people.

The death mask of Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun is made of gold inlaid with colored glass and semiprecious stone ( CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )

The huge quantity of artifacts found in the tomb of Tutankhamun gave great insights into culture, religion, design and even technology of the time.

Rosetta Stone

Discovered in 1799, the Rosetta Stone, an ancient artifact that dates back to the time of King Pharaoh Ptolemy V who began to reign at a very early age. Written on the stone is a law that confers the right of rulership on the young ruler who was thirteen at the time the decree was made.

Interestingly, the decree appears in three different languages and was written by a council of priests who were custodians of the law.

The most important fact worth mentioning is the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs occurred in the early 19 th century for which the Rosetta Stone supplied the most helpful clues. At that time, only a few Egyptians were capable of reading ancient hieroglyphic scripts and Rosetta Stone gave people an opportunity to extract missing information, thus solving many puzzles including “The riddle of the Sphinx”.

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Detail of two of the three languages on the Rosetta Stone ( CC BY 2.0 )

Without the Rosetta Stone, full deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphs could have been a long way off.

Oxyrhynchus Papyri

Starting from 1896, more than half a million papyri were discovered among the remains of Oxyrhynchus within the space of eleven years by two great archaeologists, Arthur Hunt and Bernard Grenfell. Further investigations revealed that the retro writing materials could have been introduced around 1,800 years ago. It is believed that the town's dry climate is the reason why the fragments were able to survive for so long.

Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 29

Administrative documents transcribed and assembled from the Oxyrhynchus excavation so far include:

  • various and sundry old recipes for hemorrhoids, cataracts and hangover treatment
  • the contract of a wrestler that agrees to throw his next match for a certain fee
  • information regarding a corn dole reflecting the same program in the Roman capital

Such titbits give a fascinating insight into the more everyday goings on in antiquity.

Meteoric Jewelry

Dated to 3200 BC, the Meteoric Jewelry were discovered in 1911 from two different tombs in a cemetery. The metal beads which are arguably the oldest iron artifacts on the planet were made by hammering and rolling the meteorite metal into tiny forms. These were mainly used on necklaces with other fine materials like gold and agate.

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Plague Of Cyprian

This horrific discovery was made at the same time the great city of Luxor was being excavated. This occurred between 1997 and 2012 at a funerary site in ancient Thebes, where a group of archaeologists were working. 'The Plague of Cyprian’ was the name given to a pandemic, probably of smallpox, that afflicted the Roman Empire from AD 250 onwards during the larger Crisis of the Third Century.

Entrance to the Luxor Temple in Egypt ( CC BY-SA 4.0 )

According to pottery, the complex came about when the whole Roman Empire was infected by a mysterious plague which took the life of many around the third century AD. From 250 to 266, 5000 people were said to have died in Rome. As Pontius of Carthage, Cyprian’s biographer said, this dreadful plague brought an excessive destruction from a hateful disease and invaded each and every house.

This discovery was the basis for further studies of hemorrhagic fever like Ebola and contributed the world’s medical field.

All of the mentioned discoveries made an impact on the world and its development from the ancient times to what we know it now. Each of the revelations greatly contributed and advanced the world of education and science. Every single day humanity establishes ways to progress and thrive and in a way – we are making a history right now!


The Quest to Decipher the Rosetta Stone

In July 1799, during Napoleon Bonaparte’s military invasion of Egypt, a group of French soldiers accidentally made a groundbreaking archaeological discovery. While working to strengthen the defenses of a sunbaked fort near the Nile Delta town of Rosetta (modern-day Rashid), they knocked down a wall and unearthed a 44-inch-long, 30-inch-wide chunk of black granodiorite.

It wasn’t unusual for the French troops to stumble upon Egyptian relics, but this particular slab caught the attention of Pierre-Francois Bouchard, the engineer in charge. When, upon closer inspection, he noticed that it was covered in ancient text, he halted demolition and sent word to his superior officer. Experts would soon confirm that the stone contained writing in three different scripts: Greek, demotic, or everyday, Egyptian and hieroglyphics.

Almost immediately, Bonaparte remarked on the stone’s potential. “There appears no doubt that the column which bears the hieroglyphs contains the same inscription as the other two,” he said before the National Institute in Paris that autumn. “Thus, here is a means of acquiring certain information of this, until now, unintelligible language.”

While the French soldiers couldn’t have known it at the time, the “Rosetta Stone” they pulled from the rubble would trigger one of history’s great intellectual odysseys. The meaning of Egyptian hieroglyphics had been lost since the dying days of the Roman Empire, but with its triple inscription, the stone offered scholars a chance to decipher the ancient symbols once and for all—making the find the key to this remarkable period in history. Yet it would take decades, and the work of two brilliant scholars, to unlock the stone’s secrets.

Soon after its discovery, the Rosetta Stone was already the subject on international intrigue when British forces seized it in 1801 after defeating the French in Egypt. By then, several casts and copies of its text had been made, allowing researchers across the globe to begin experimenting with potential translations. The first and easiest step, deciphering the Greek text, revealed that the Rosetta Stone contained a relatively mundane Egyptian decree praising the 2nd�ntury B.C. boy-king Ptolemy V Epiphanes. A rudimentary translation of the demotic text (a script rendering of the everyday Egyptian language) followed shortly thereafter. But when linguists tried to tackle the portions written in hieroglyphics, most were left scratching their heads.

Thomas Young. (Credit: Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo)

A clear understanding of how the ancient script functioned would ultimately take 20 years and involve two of the early 19th century’s greatest minds. The first major discoveries came courtesy of Thomas Young, a British polymath who had previously made contributions to physics, optics, medicine and mathematics. In 1814, the 41-year-old began tinkering with a copy of the Rosetta Stone’s inscriptions during what he described as “the amusement of a few leisure hours.” Piggybacking off previous research by Swedish scholar Johann Akerblad and Frenchman Silvestre de Sacy, Young eventually focused on the text’s �rtouches”—ovals that enclosed certain groupings of hieroglyphic script. After concluding that the cartouches were used to denote royal names, he matched one of them to the name “Ptolemy” in the Greek text and identified the phonetic properties of several hieroglyphic signs.

Young’s other inroads concerned the demotic Egyptian script. According to author Andrew Robinson’s book Cracking the Egyptian Code, Young proved that demotic script derived from hieroglyphics and contained individual phonetic letters as well as ideographic symbols. Demotic “was neither a purely conceptual or symbolic script, nor an alphabet, but a mixture of the two,” Robinson wrote. Crucially, however, Young did not apply these same revelations to hieroglyphics. Like most scholars at the time, he subscribed to the belief that hieroglyphics were almost entirely symbolic, and he theorized that the script only had phonetic properties when spelling out foreign names.

Young eventually set his aside his Rosetta Stone research in 1819 and took up other intellectual pursuits. Around that same time, the French scholar Jean-Francois Champollion began to give the ancient slab his full focus. Brilliant, eccentric and prone to occasional fainting fits, Champollion was a former child prodigy who had mastered half a dozen languages by his teens. He also harbored a lifelong fascination with the mysteries of Egypt. “I want to make a profound and continuous study of this ancient nation,” he vowed in an 1806 letter.

Jean-Francois Champollion. (Credit: Paul Fearn/Alamy Stock Photo)

In 1821, Champollion settled in Paris and began a personal quest to decipher the Rosetta Stone. The 30-year-old benefited from Young’s earlier research—in particular his work on the cartouches𠅋ut he also had the advantage of being fluent in Coptic, a language that was descended from ancient Egyptian. Following months of painstaking labor, Champollion succeeded in identifying some of the phonetic hieroglyphic signs used in foreign royal names such as 𠇌leopatra” and “Ptolemy.” He then applied the signs to the names in the cartouches found on the Rosetta Stone and elsewhere, using the discoveries from each new translation to fill in the gaps on the others.

Champollion’s cross-referencing technique allowed him to develop a working hieroglyphic alphabet, but his true eureka moment came in September 1822, when he realized that the hieroglyphic spelling of “Ramses”𠅊 traditional Egyptian name—was made up of symbols that all corresponded to spoken sounds. By applying these same phonetic symbols to other words on the Rosetta Stone that weren’t enclosed in cartouches, he made a discovery that had eluded all previous scholars: Rather than being a purely symbolic script, hieroglyphics included both conceptual symbols and phonetic signs.

Depending on their context, the symbols in the script could represent entire words and phrases or individual components corresponding to the sounds of spoken language. According to legend, Champollion was so floored by his revelation that he raced to his brother’s office and screamed, “I’ve done it!” before immediately fainting.

Notes on hieroglyphs in Jean-Francois Champollion notebook, c1806-1832. (Credit: Art Media/Print Collector/Getty Images)

Once he hit on its phonetic properties, Champollion was able to begin unraveling the mysteries of hieroglyphics. Following several years of additional study, he published research that outlined the underlying principles of the Egyptian writing system. Armed with his new knowledge, he made a pilgrimage to Egypt, where he became the first known person in more than 1,400 years to read the inscriptions on ancient Egyptian tombs and monuments. �ore Champollion, the ancient voices from the ancient world that could be heard were from the Greece, Rome and the Bible,” historian John Ray wrote in his book The Rosetta Stone and the Rebirth of Ancient Egypt. “Now the Egyptians were beginning to speak with their own voice.”

Champollion died in 1832 at the age of just 41. Today, he’s credited with creating the field of modern Egyptology by giving scholars access to ancient Egyptian literature and culture.

Just how much of a debt Champollion owed to Thomas Young’s earlier scholarship has long been a matter of debate. French researchers have traditionally tended to trumpet Champollion’s work, while British scholars highlight Young’s earlier discoveries. Still, most modern historians give the Frenchman the lion’s share of the credit. 𠇊ny decipherment stands or falls as a whole,” the Egyptologist Richard Parkinson wrote, 𠇊nd while Young discovered parts of an alphabet𠅊 key𠅌hampollion unlocked an entire written language.”

Equally important was the Rosetta Stone itself. By allowing scholars to compare hieroglyphics to known languages, it helped them decode a lost language. For more than 200 years, the original stone has been housed in London’s British Museum, where it receives millions of visitors annually. As the artifact responsible for rescuing ancient Egypt from the mists of time, the 2,200-year-old slab is often listed among history’s most important archaeological discoveries—the key that unlocked the secrets of a civilization.


More Mysteries Await?

Tomb robbers, treasure hunters, and archaeologists have been combing the Valley of the Kings for centuries—yet it continues to yield surprises.

Many thought that the 62 tombs discovered before 1922 represented all that would be found in the valley—until Howard Carter discovered the resting place of a boy king called Tutankhamun.

In 2005, a team led by archaeologist Otto Schaden discovered the valley's first unknown tomb since Tutankhamun's. The site, dubbed KV 63, was found only about 50 feet (15 meters) from the walls of Tut's resting place.

KV 63 had no mummy but housed sarcophagi, pottery, linens, flowers, and other materials. Some believe it heralds the presence of another as yet undiscovered tomb.

"KV 63 is an embalming cache there must be a tomb to go with it," Ikram says.

At least one late Ramesside pharaoh's tomb (Ramses VIII) is still undiscovered, and many believe it may be found within the valley.

Clues to such discoveries may be found in period Egyptian writings that mention notables who likely rated tombs but have not been identified.

"You try to find out what hasn't been discovered, and figure out where they might possibly be, and then look in those areas," said David P. Silverman, an Egyptologist at the University of Pennsylvania. "You never know what you are going to find."

But if more tombs are found, will they be as relatively unmolested as Tut's? The odds are against it.

Though their entrances were well hidden, nearly all of the valley's known royal tombs were likely robbed before the end of the 20th dynasty—Egyptian records testify to robbers' trials and to the harsh punishments handed down.

By the time the Greek writer Diodorus Siculus visited the valley's tombs (circa 60 B.C.) he wrote, "We found nothing there except the results of pillage and destruction."

It's possible, perhaps, that any tomb yet to be found was so well hidden that it also escaped the notice of ancient thieves. Only time will tell.


Recent Archaeological Discoveries at Hazor

By Dr. Jennie R. Ebeling
Lady Davis Fellow
Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

View of the main entrance to the Late Bronze
Age palace

Rising dramatically beyond a bend in the road linking the Sea of Galilee with Israel’s northern border, Tel Hazor stands as prominently on the landscape today as when the Canaanite city founded on the site was at the height of its prosperity and international influence some

3500 years ago. Our knowledge of the site’s history comes from intensive archaeological excavations, textual sources dating to the Middle and Late Bronze Ages, and important passages in the Hebrew Bible.

Hazor was the largest city in the southern Levant for much of the 2nd millennium BCE and closely associated with the large and powerful Bronze Age city-states in Syria. Texts unearthed at Mari, in Syria, Tel el-Amarna, Egypt, and in Hazor itself describe the Canaanite city’s role in international trade and diplomacy and suggest Hazor’s autonomy from Egypt during the New Kingdom period when most of Canaan was under Egyptian control. The Late Bronze Age city was destroyed sometime in the 13th century BCE, perhaps during the Israelite incursions into Canaan described in the Book of Joshua, which describes Hazor as the “head of all those kingdoms” (Joshua 11:10). After several centuries of limited occupation, Hazor was rebuilt in the 10th century BCE, probably as part of King Solomon’s building activities described in 1 Kings 9:15. The Israelite city prospered briefly before it was destroyed in 732 BCE by the Assyrians under Tiglath-Pileser III (2 Kings 15:29). This brief sketch of Hazor’s history during the Bronze and Iron Ages may now be filled in with the results of the current Hebrew University excavation project, which will enter its 13th season in the summer of 2002.

Hazor was first excavated for four seasons in the 1950s and again in 1968-1969 by the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem under the direction of one of the fathers of Israeli archaeology, Yigael Yadin. Yadin’s team opened excavation areas in both the 30-acre Upper City – the tel proper – and the 170-acre Lower City and identified an occupation sequence beginning in Early Bronze II (early 3rd century BCE) on the tel and Middle Bronze IIB (ca. 1800 BCE) in the Lower City. Although these excavations were quite successful in revealing the chronology, character, and physical extent of the site, they also raised a number of questions that could not be resolved without further excavation. Yadin planned to return Hazor until his untimely death in 1984.

Excavations in honor of Yigael Yadin were initiated in 1990 under the direction of Amnon Ben-Tor as a joint project of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Complutense University in Madrid, Spain. The past twelve seasons of excavation, confined to two large areas on the tel itself, have corroborated many of Yadin’s conclusions and greatly increased our understanding of the series of Canaanite and Israelite settlements at Hazor.

The renewed excavation project has focused much attention on the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1550-1200 BCE) remains at Hazor, especially a Canaanite palace discovered in Area A at the center of the tel. Yadin had uncovered a corner of this massive structure during his excavations and dated it to the Middle Bronze Age the current excavations have shown, however, that it should be dated to the Late Bronze Age. The palace exterior features decorative, Syrian-style basalt orthostats forming a zigzag-shaped outer wall, a paved outdoor courtyard with a cultic platform in its center, a raised entrance porch with the remains of two huge column bases, and two guard rooms flanking the entrance. The palace core, which is dominated by a central throne room, was constructed of mudbrick walls faced with basalt orthostats and a floor built of planks of costly cedar of Lebanon. Among the many artifacts recovered from the palace are fragments of ivory plaques and boxes, cylinder seals and beads, figurines, two bronze statues of kings or deities, and the largest Bronze Age anthropomorphic statue ever found in Israel, made of basalt and standing over three feet tall.

Middle Bronze
Age tablet
sent to a
Canaanite king
of Hazor

Three cuneiform tablets were also found in the palace core, which led the excavators to believe that an archive was close at hand. Indeed, in a palace built on almost the exact same plan at Alalakh, in Syria an archive room with the remains of hundreds of cuneiform documents was uncovered, and the location of this room roughly corresponds

to the spot in the Hazor palace where the three tablets were found. Unfortunately, no other direct evidence for a royal archive has come to light since these documents were excavated during the 1996 season, although a few other tablets have been found in random locations around the site. Some of the tablets date to the Middle Bronze Age and some to the Late Bronze Age, suggesting that two archives might still be buried somewhere on the tel. Most of these documents are concerned with economic and legal matters, while others consist of fragments of a bilingual (Akkadian and Sumerian) dictionary and a mathematical table. These latter texts suggest that a scribal school functioned at Hazor.

Late Bronze Age
cultic platform in
Area M

Excavations in the second area opened on the tel, Area M, also yielded important Late Bronze Age remains. Area M is located on the tel’s northern side in a spot where the tel gently slopes down to meet the Lower City excavators believed that this area must contain the main

passage between the Lower City and the tel during the Middle and Late Bronze Ages. In addition to the remains of staircases, drainage installations, and fragments of massive walls, archaeologists uncovered a cultic platform just inside a gateway with two small towers. The platform is made of a single dressed basalt block measuring about 5 x 5 feet and weighing over a ton, with four small symmetrical depressions on its surface probably used to support a throne or statue. This slab sat on a base of carefully cut orthostat blocks in the middle of an orthostat pavement and was set in front of a niche cut into a mudbrick wall. Ceramic and other artifacts found in the vicinity of the platform suggest that it may have been a gate shrine where those passing between the Lower City and the Upper City paid respects, taxes, or tribute to Hazor’s king or one of its patron deities.

The Late Bronze Age city was destroyed sometime during the 13th century BCE in a fire so intense that it cracked the basalt architectural elements of the palace, the gate shrine, and other structures and left a layer of ash up to three feet deep in places. Yadin attributed this destruction layer to the Israelite campaigns led by Joshua and dated it to 1230 BCE. Although his date for the final destruction of Canaanite Hazor is a bit too late, it now looks as though Yadin may have been correct in attributing the destruction to invading Israelites. Noting the intentional mutilation and destruction of a number of statues found at Hazor depicting Canaanite and Egyptian rulers and deities, Ben-Tor discounts both the Canaanites and the Egyptians as the destroyers of Late Bronze Age Hazor. The lack of evidence for the Sea Peoples at Hazor and the site’s location so far inland also make these invading groups from the Aegean world unlikely candidates. Invading Israelites, along with disenfranchised elements in Canaan, seem to have been responsible for the devastation of Late Bronze Age Hazor, although this issue is far from resolved and likely to continue as a source of debate.

Bronze figurine of a Canaanite nobleman

If the Israelites did indeed destroy Canaanite Hazor, they did not establish a permanent settlement at the site for some time. The Iron Age I (ca. 1200-1000 BCE) occupation of Hazor left barely a trace, but for a number of refuse pits containing ashes, broken ceramic vessels and other artifacts dug directly into the last Canaanite level, and a small shrine. These remains seem to indicate that a semi-nomadic population inhabited the site either immediately after the Late Bronze

Age destruction or immediately before the 10th-century reestablishment of the site the pottery and other artifacts do not allow for a more secure dating of this ephemeral occupation. These semi-nomadic people may have been members of the early Israelite tribes described in the Books of Joshua and Judges in the Hebrew Bible, although the relationship between the destroyers of the Late Bronze Age city and the Iron Age I inhabitants of Hazor is still not completely understood.

One of the most controversial issues in biblical archaeology in recent years concerns the 10th century BCE and the archaeological evidence for the Israelite monarchy as described in the Hebrew Bible. Yadin first suggested that the nearly-identical six-chambered gates and casemate walls unearthed at Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer were evidence for King Solomon’s building activities in the 10th century BCE, as described in 1 Kings 9:15. Yadin’s conclusions have been challenged in recent years by biblical scholars (especially the biblical “revisionists”) who cast doubt on the historicity of David and Solomon and a few archaeologists who have dated these fortifications down to the 9th century BCE. The recent excavations at Hazor have shown definitively, however, that the six-chambered gate and casemate wall were built in the mid-10th century BCE, along with a large public building connected to the earliest phase of the casemate wall by a paved street. The ceramic assemblages found on the floors of this four-phased public building corroborate a 10th-century date for these constructions. This massive, well-planned building activity coincides with the accepted date for King Solomon’s reign, making this ruler of Israel’s United Monarchy the most likely candidate for the reestablishment of Hazor in Iron Age II (ca. 1000-732 BCE).

The Israelite city reached its height of prosperity during the 9th century BCE, perhaps during the reign of King Ahab of Israel. The population of Hazor more than doubled in size, and a number of large public buildings were constructed at the site along with an impressive water system. The city fell into decline in the 8th century under the threat of the Assyrian kings and Israel’s other enemies, and Israelite Hazor was finally destroyed in 732 BCE by the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III (2 Kings 15: 29-30). Although most of the population of Hazor was probably deported to Assyria, some Hazorites remained and continued to live both within the city limits and outside the ruined city wall. Hazor was never occupied on a large scale after the Assyrian conquest the subsequent Assyrian, Persian, and Hellenistic settlement of the site was limited mainly to defensive structures.

Bronze
figurine
of a
Canaanit
e 'smiting
​​​' god

As one of the largest and most important Bronze and Iron Age sites in the region, Hazor has the potential to answer a number of longstanding questions in archaeology and biblical studies and ask new ones. Analysis and publication of the results of the current excavation project will contribute a great deal to our understanding of Hazor’s history and the larger history of the southern Levant during this important period.

Bronze figurine of a Canaanite 'smiting' god

Dr. Jennie R. Ebeling is currently a Lady Davis Fellow at the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

For Further Reading:
A useful summary of the results of Yigael Yadin’s excavations at Hazor can be found in the New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land (Jerusalem, 1993). A survey of the results of the renewed excavations can be found in Biblical Archaeology Review vols. 25/2-3 (1999) and on Hazor’s website (address given below). Along with the author’s own knowledge of the results of the current excavations, these published sources provided much useful information for this article.

Call for Volunteers:
The 13th season of the Selz Foundation Hazor Excavations in Memory of Yigael Yadin is planned for the summer of 2002. The dig season will run from June 25 through August 6, and volunteers are invited to participate for either 3 or 6 weeks. More information and an application for prospective volunteers can be found at: http://unixware.mscc.huji.ac.il/

Photos are courtesy of Amnon Ben-Tor, Director of the Selz Foundation Hazor Excavations in Memory of Yigael
Yadin.


How Does Archaeology Contribute to Biblical Studies?

Whether for personal or professional study, inevitably you will come across something in the Bible that relates to its ancient persons, places, or events. How can you better understand this past context in order to understand the message in its historical context and apply it in our own time?

The historical and archaeological record, that’s how. And the new Zondervan Handbook of Biblical Archaeology is your guide to that record.

Written by archaeologist Randal Price with historian H. Wayne House, this handbook provides a window into the biblical past through the information available from the field of archaeology to aid your study of the Bible.

Consider these four specific ways that archaeology contributes to biblical studies—and your own study of God’s Word.

Confirms God’s Word

Although many assume the purpose of archaeology is to prove the Bible, instead its purpose is to “bring historical confirmation to the historical statements in the text of Scripture” (26).

From Job (Job 8:8) to Luke (Luke 1:3–4), Scripture affirms “it is appropriate for students of Scripture to pursue the archaeological evidence of the past that touches upon the peoples, places, and events of the Bible” (26) in order to confirm what the Bible says. Time and again it brings such confirmation.

One example is the route of the exodus. Based on Exodus 13:17, it has been understood that military opposition threatened Israel if they escaped north along the coastal plain. Although an Egyptian tale verified the biblical account, some scholars thought it to be fictional. Yet an archaeological excavation at the Philistine site of Deir el-Balah revealed an extensive Egyptian fortification along this northern route.

“This archaeological evidence brought new confirmation of the historicity of the Exodus account, at least with respect to this important detail concerning its route” (27).

Corrects our Wording of God’s Word

When it comes to accurately rendering the original text into English, archaeology provides “the basis for restoring the original form, grammar, and syntax of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words of the Bible as well as clarifying their precise meaning and usage in the time they were written” (28).

And sometimes correcting and clarifying our wording of God’s Word.

One of the most significant discoveries was a cache of a thousand ancient manuscripts in the caves of Qumran, known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. It contained the oldest known copies of the Old Testament, including fragments of every book except Esther and entire books like Isaiah. Its impact on our understanding of the wording of God’s Word was significant:

This discovery demonstrated how well the scribes had preserved the biblical text over time. It also provided variants that helped textual critics resolve textual problems, and it has enhanced our understanding of the biblical text reflected in versions such as the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) and the Samaritan Pentateuch. (28)

Clarifies the World of God’s Word

Not only does archaeology clarify the words of the Bible, it also sheds new light on the world of God’s Word. A cardinal rule of biblical interpretation is: “every text must have a context.” The problem is there is a considerable gulf between us and this context. As the authors note:

We do not live in the world of the Bible (even if some may geographically live in that region). We cannot anymore correctly reconstruct the customs of the patriarchs from local Bedouin tribes than we can the practices of first-century Judaism from the later traditions of the Jewish rabbis. We must have data directly from the times and places of the biblical world. (29)

Archaeology gives us this data, clarifying the Bible's world.

"The details of daily life, society, culture, and religion these archaeological discoveries have given us enable biblical students to understand the ancient context with greater clarity than at any previous time in history (since biblical times)…” (29).

Such clarity ensures we avoid misinterpreting and misapplying God’s Word.

Complements God’s Word

Finally, archaeology complements the Bible’s historical, cultural, and religious information “excavations in the biblical lands have added a complementary witness to the biblical authors that both enhance the biblical accounts and validate their accuracy” (31).

For example, archaeology has provided several similar creation and flood accounts from the ancient Near East that complement the Bible’s own account. Furthermore, archaeology has helped us reconstruct and better understand Jesus’ interactions with the Jewish religious sects of his day.

Returning to the Dead Sea Scrolls, this discovery “generally supported the accuracy of the New Testament accounts (as well as the extrabiblical accounts) and has provided extensive commentary on the messianic perspective that controlled the Dead Sea sect at the time of Jesus and the formation of the early church” (31).

Here, the authors quote Gonzalo Báez-Camargo

No longer do we see two different worlds, one the world of ‘sacred history’ and the other the world of ‘profane history.’ All of history is one history, and it is God’s history, for God is the God of all history.

"If the past is a key to the present, we hope that this resource will open to readers the real world of the Bible, reassuring our generation of the historicity of the people, places, and events it describes while enhancing their understanding and enjoyment of the Word of God" (16).

Want to understand more of the context in which the Bible was written? Buy your copy today on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Christian Book.

Can We Still Believe in Miracles Today? Should We?

Contents

Significant advances in ancient Egypt during the dynastic period include astronomy, mathematics, and medicine. Their geometry was a necessary outgrowth of surveying to preserve the layout and ownership of fertile farmland, which was flooded annually by the Nile River. [1] The 3,4,5 right triangle and other rules of thumb served to represent rectilinear structures, and the post and lintel architecture of Egypt. Egypt also was a center of alchemy research for much of the western world.

Paper, writing and libraries Edit

The word paper comes from the Greek term for the ancient Egyptian writing material called papyrus, which was formed from beaten strips of papyrus plants. Papyrus was produced in Egypt as early as 3000 BC and was sold to ancient Greece and Rome. The establishment of the Library of Alexandria limited the supply of papyrus for others. According to the Roman historian Pliny the Elder (Natural History records, xiii.21), as a result of this, parchment was invented under the patronage of Eumenes II of Pergamon to build his rival library at Pergamon. However, this is a myth parchment had been in use in Anatolia and elsewhere long before the rise of Pergamon.

Egyptian hieroglyphs, a phonetic writing system, served as the basis for the Phoenician alphabet from which later alphabets, such as Hebrew, Greek, and Latin were derived. With this ability, writing and record-keeping, the Egyptians developed one of the – if not the – first decimal system. [2] [3] [4]

The city of Alexandria retained preeminence for its records and scrolls with its library. This ancient library was damaged by fire when it fell under Roman rule, [5] and was destroyed completely by 642 CE. [6] [7] With it, a vast supply of antique literature, history, and knowledge was lost.

Structures and construction Edit

Materials and tools Edit

Some of the older materials used in the construction of Egyptian housing included reeds and clay. According to Lucas and Harris, "reeds were plastered with clay in order to keep out of heat and cold more effectually". [8] Tools that were used were "limestone, chiseled stones, wooden mallets, and stone hammers". [9] With these tools, ancient Egyptians were able to create more than just housing, but also sculptures of their gods.

Buildings Edit

Many Egyptian temples are not standing today. Some are in ruin from wear and tear, while others have been lost entirely. The Egyptian structures are among the largest constructions ever conceived and built by humans. They constitute one of the most potent and enduring symbols of ancient Egyptian civilization. Temples and tombs built by a pharaoh famous for her projects, Hatshepsut, were massive and included many colossal statues of her. Pharaoh Tutankamun's rock-cut tomb in the Valley of the Kings was full of jewelry and antiques. In some late myths, Ptah was identified as the primordial mound and had called creation into being, he was considered the deity of craftsmen, and in particular, of stone-based crafts. Imhotep, who was included in the Egyptian pantheon, was the first documented engineer. [10]

In Hellenistic Egypt, lighthouse technology was developed, the most famous example being the Lighthouse of Alexandria. Alexandria was a port for the ships that traded the goods manufactured in Egypt or imported into Egypt. A giant cantilevered hoist lifted cargo to and from ships. The lighthouse itself was designed by Sostratus of Cnidus and built in the 3rd century BC (between 285 and 247 BC) on the island of Pharos in Alexandria, Egypt, which has since become a peninsula. This lighthouse was renowned in its time and knowledge of it was never lost. A 2006 drawing of it created from the study of many references, is shown at the right.

Monuments Edit

The Nile valley has been the site of one of the most influential civilizations in the world with its architectural monuments, which include the Giza pyramid complex and the Great Sphinx.

The most famous pyramids are the Egyptian pyramids—huge structures built of brick or stone, some of which are among the largest constructions by humans. Pyramids functioned as tombs for pharaohs. In Ancient Egypt, a pyramid was referred to as mer, literally "place of ascendance." The Great Pyramid of Giza is the largest in Egypt and one of the largest in the world. The base is over 13 acres (53,000 m 2 ) in area. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the only one of the seven to survive into modern times. The ancient Egyptians capped the peaks of their pyramids with gold plated pyramidions and covered their faces with polished white limestone, although many of the stones used for the finishing purpose have fallen or been removed for use on other structures over the millennia.

The Red Pyramid (c.26th century BC), named for the light crimson hue of its exposed granite surfaces, is the third largest of Egyptian pyramids. Menkaure's Pyramid, likely dating to the same era, was constructed of limestone and granite blocks. The Great Pyramid of Giza (c. 2580 BC) contains a huge sarcophagus fashioned of red Aswan granite. The mostly ruined Black Pyramid dating from the reign of Amenemhat III once had a polished granite pyramidion or capstone, now on display in the main hall of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Other uses in Ancient Egypt [11] include columns, door lintels, sills, jambs, and wall and floor veneer.

The ancient Egyptians had some of the first monumental stone buildings (such as in Saqqara). How the Egyptians worked the solid granite is still a matter of debate. Archaeologist Patrick Hunt [12] has postulated that the Egyptians used emery shown to have higher hardness on the Mohs scale. Regarding construction, of the various methods possibly used by builders, the lever moved and uplifted obelisks weighing more than 100 tons.

Obelisks and pillars Edit

Obelisks were a prominent part of the Ancient Egyptian architecture, placed in pairs at the entrances of various monuments and important buildings such as temples. In 1902, Encyclopædia Britannica wrote: "The earliest temple obelisk still in position is that of Senusret I of the XIIth Dynasty at Heliopolis (68 feet high)". The word obelisk is of Greek rather than Egyptian origin because Herodotus, the great traveler, was the first writer to describe the objects. Twenty-nine ancient Egyptian obelisks are known to have survived, plus the Unfinished obelisk being built by Hatshepsut to celebrate her sixteenth year as pharaoh. It broke while being carved out of the quarry and was abandoned when another one was begun to replace it. The broken one was found at Aswan and provides the only insight into the methods of how they were hewn.

The obelisk symbolized the sky deity Ra and during the brief religious reformation of Akhenaten was said to be a petrified ray of the Aten, the sun disk. It is hypothesized by New York University Egyptologist Patricia Blackwell Gary and Astronomy senior editor Richard Talcott that the shapes of the ancient Egyptian pyramid and obelisk were derived from natural phenomena associated with the sun (the sun-god Ra being the Egyptians' greatest deity). [13] It was also thought that the deity existed within the structure. The Egyptians also used pillars extensively.

It is unknown whether the ancient Egyptians had kites, but a team led by Maureen Clemmons and Mory Gharib raised a 5,900-pound, 15-foot (4.6 m) obelisk into vertical position with a kite, a system of pulleys, and a support frame. [14] Maureen Clemmons developed the idea that the ancient Egyptians used kites for work. [14]

Ramps have been reported as being widely used in Ancient Egypt. A ramp is an inclined plane, or a plane surface set at an angle (other than a right angle) against a horizontal surface. The inclined plane permits one to overcome a large resistance by applying a relatively small force through a longer distance than the load is to be raised. In civil engineering the slope (ratio of rise/run) is often referred to as a grade or gradient. An inclined plane is one of the commonly-recognized simple machines. Maureen Clemmons subsequently led a team of researchers demonstrating a kite made of natural material and reinforced with shellac (which according to their research pulled with 97% the efficiency of nylon), in a 9 mph wind, would easily pull an average 2-ton pyramid stone up the 1st two courses of a pyramid (in collaboration with Cal Poly, Pomona, on a 53-stone pyramid built in Rosamond, CA).

Navigation and ship building Edit

The ancient Egyptians had knowledge to some extent of sail construction. This is governed by the science of aerodynamics. [15] The earliest Egyptian sails were simply placed to catch the wind and push a vessel. [16] Later Egyptian sails dating to 2400 BCE were built with the recognition that ships could sail against the wind using the lift of the sails. [16] [17] Queen Hatshepsut oversaw the preparations and funding of an expedition of five ships, each measuring seventy feet long, and with several sails. [ dubious – discuss ] [ citation needed ] Various others exist, also.

Egyptian ship, 1250 B.C. Egyptian ship on the Red Sea, showing a board truss being used to stiffen the beam of this ship

Egyptian ship with a loose-footed sail, similar to a longship. From the 5th dynasty (around 2700 BC)

Model ship from the Old Kingdom (2686–2181 BC)

Stern-mounted steering oar of an Egyptian riverboat depicted in the Tomb of Menna (c. 1422–1411 B.C.) Note that the sail is stretched between yards.

Loading Egyptian vessels with the produce of Punt. Shows folded sails, lowered upper yard, yard construction, and heavy deck cargo.

The ancient Egyptians had experience with building a variety of ships. [18] [19] [20] Some of them survive to this day as Khufu ship. [21] The ships were found in many areas of Egypt as the Abydos boats [22] [23] [24] and remnants of other ships were found near the pyramids. [23] [25] [26]

Sneferu's ancient cedar wood ship Praise of the Two Lands is the first reference recorded to a ship being referred to by name. [27]

Although quarter rudders were the norm in Nile navigation, the Egyptians were the first to use also stern-mounted rudders (not of the modern type but center mounted steering oars).

The first warships of Ancient Egypt were constructed during the early Middle Kingdom and perhaps at the end of the Old Kingdom, but the first mention and a detailed description of a large enough and heavily armed ship dates from 16th century BC.

And I ordered to build twelve warships with rams, dedicated to Amun or Sobek, or Maat and Sekhmet, whose image was crowned best bronze noses. Carport and equipped outside rook over the waters, for many paddlers, having covered rowers deck not only from the side, but and top. and they were on board eighteen oars in two rows on the top and sat on two rowers, and the lower – one, a hundred and eight rowers were. And twelve rowers aft worked on three steering oars. And blocked Our Majesty ship inside three partitions (bulkheads) so as not to drown it by ramming the wicked, and the sailors had time to repair the hole. And Our Majesty arranged four towers for archers – two behind, and two on the nose and one above the other small – on the mast with narrow loopholes. they are covered with bronze in the fifth finger (3.2mm), as well as a canopy roof and its rowers. and they have (carried) on the nose three assault heavy crossbow arrows so they lit resin or oil with a salt of Seth (probably nitrate) tore a special blend and punched (?) lead ball with a lot of holes (?), and one of the same at the stern. and long ship seventy five cubits (41m), and the breadth sixteen, and in battle can go three-quarters of iteru per hour (about 6.5 knots).

When Thutmose III achieved warships displacement up to 360 tons and carried up to ten new heavy and light to seventeen catapults based bronze springs, called "siege crossbow" – more precisely, siege bows. Still appeared giant catamarans that are heavy warships and times of Ramesses III used even when the Ptolemaic dynasty. [28]

According to the Greek historian Herodotus, Necho II sent out an expedition of Phoenicians, which reputedly, at some point between 610 and before 594 BC, sailed in three years from the Red Sea around Africa to the mouth of the Nile. Some Egyptologists dispute that an Egyptian pharaoh would authorize such an expedition, [29] except for the reason of trade in the ancient maritime routes.

The belief in Herodotus' account, handed down to him by oral tradition, [30] is primarily because he stated with disbelief that the Phoenicians "as they sailed on a westerly course round the southern end of Libya (Africa), they had the sun on their right – to northward of them" (The Histories 4.42) – in Herodotus' time it was not generally known that Africa was surrounded by an ocean (with the southern part of Africa being thought connected to Asia [31] ). So fantastic an assertion is this of a typical example of some seafarers' story and Herodotus therefore may never have mentioned it at all, had it not been based on facts and made with the according insistence. [32]

This early description of Necho's expedition as a whole is contentious, though it is recommended that one keep an open mind on the subject, [33] but Strabo, Polybius, and Ptolemy doubted the description. Egyptologist A. B. Lloyd suggests that the Greeks at this time understood that anyone going south far enough and then turning west would have the Sun on their right but found it unbelievable that Africa reached so far south. He suggests that "It is extremely unlikely that an Egyptian king would, or could, have acted as Necho is depicted as doing" and that the story might have been triggered by the failure of Sataspes' attempt to circumnavigate Africa under Xerxes the Great. [34] Regardless, it was believed by Herodotus and Pliny. [35]

Much earlier, the Sea Peoples was a confederacy of seafaring raiders who sailed into the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, caused political unrest and attempted to enter or control Egyptian territory during the late 19th Dynasty, and especially during Year 8 of Ramesses III of the 20th Dynasty. [36] The Egyptian Pharaoh Merneptah explicitly refers to them by the term "the foreign-countries (or 'peoples' [37] ) of the sea" [38] [39] in his Great Karnak Inscription. [40] Although some scholars believe that they "invaded" Cyprus and the Levant, this hypothesis is disputed.

Irrigation and agriculture Edit

Irrigation as the artificial application of water to the soil was used to some extent in ancient Egypt, a hydraulic civilization (which entails hydraulic engineering). [41] In crop production it is mainly used to replace missing rainfall in periods of drought, as opposed to reliance on direct rainfall (referred to as dryland farming or as rainfed farming). Before technology advanced, the people of Egypt relied on the natural flow of the Nile River to tend to the crops. Although the Nile provided sufficient watering survival domesticated animals, crops, and the people of Egypt, there were times where the Nile would flood the area wreaking havoc amongst the land. [42] There is evidence of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Amenemhet III in the Twelfth Dynasty (about 1800 BCE) using the natural lake of the Fayûm as a reservoir to store surpluses of water for use during the dry seasons, as the lake swelled annually with the flooding of the Nile. [43] Construction of drainage canals reduced the problems of major flooding from entering homes and areas of crops but because it was a hydraulic civilization, much of the water management was controlled in a systematic way. [44]

Glassworking Edit

The earliest known glass beads from Egypt were made during the New Kingdom around 1500 BC and were produced in a variety of colors. They were made by winding molten glass around a metal bar and were highly prized as a trading commodity, especially blue beads, which were believed to have magical powers. The Egyptians made small jars and bottles using the core-formed method. Glass threads were wound around a bag of sand tied to a rod. The glass was continually reheated to fuse the threads together. The glass-covered sand bag was kept in motion until the required shape and thickness was achieved. The rod was allowed to cool, then finally the bag was punctured and the sand poured out and reused . The Egyptians also created the first colored glass rods which they used to create colorful beads and decorations. They also worked with cast glass, which was produced by pouring molten glass into a mold, much like iron and the more modern crucible steel. [45]

Astronomy Edit

The Egyptians were a practical people and this is reflected in their astronomy [46] in contrast to Babylonia where the first astronomical texts were written in astrological terms. [47] Even before Upper and Lower Egypt were unified in 3000 BCE, observations of the night sky had influenced the development of a religion in which many of its principal deities were heavenly bodies. In Lower Egypt, priests built circular mudbrick walls with which to make a false horizon where they could mark the position of the sun as it rose at dawn, and then with a plumb-bob note the northern or southern turning points (solstices). This allowed them to discover that the sun disc, personified as Ra, took 365 days to travel from his birthplace at the winter solstice and back to it. Meanwhile, in Upper Egypt, a lunar calendar was being developed based on the behavior of the moon and the reappearance of Sirius in its heliacal rising after its annual absence of about 70 days. [48]

After unification, problems with trying to work with two calendars (both depending upon constant observation) led to a merged, simplified civil calendar with twelve 30-day months, three seasons of four months each, plus an extra five days, giving a 365-year day but with no way of accounting for the extra quarter day each year. Day and night were split into 24 units, each personified by a deity. A sundial found on Seti I's cenotaph with instructions for its use shows us that the daylight hours were at one time split into 10 units, with 12 hours for the night and an hour for the morning and evening twilights. [49] However, by Seti I's time day and night were normally divided into 12 hours each, the length of which would vary according to the time of year.

Key to much of this was the motion of the sun god Ra and his annual movement along the horizon at sunrise. Out of Egyptian myths such as those around Ra and the sky goddess Nut came the development of the Egyptian calendar, time keeping, and even concepts of royalty. An astronomical ceiling in the burial chamber of Ramesses VI shows the sun being born from Nut in the morning, traveling along her body during the day and being swallowed at night.

During the Fifth Dynasty six kings built sun temples in honour of Ra. The temple complexes built by Niuserre at Abu Gurab and Userkaf at Abusir have been excavated and have astronomical alignments, and the roofs of some of the buildings could have been used by observers to view the stars, calculate the hours at night and predict the sunrise for religious festivals. [ citation needed ]

Claims have been made that precession of the equinoxes was known in ancient Egypt prior to the time of Hipparchus. [50] This has been disputed however on the grounds that pre-Hipparchus texts do not mention precession and that "it is only by cunning interpretation of ancient myths and images, which are ostensibly about something else, that precession can be discerned in them, aided by some pretty esoteric numerological speculation involving the 72 years that mark one degree of shift in the zodiacal system and any number of permutations by multiplication, division, and addition." [51]

Note however that the Egyptian observation of a slowly changing stellar alignment over a multi-year period does not necessarily mean that they understood or even cared what was going on. For instance, from the Middle Kingdom onwards they used a table with entries for each month to tell the time of night from the passing of constellations. These went in error after a few centuries because of their calendar and precession, but were copied (with scribal errors) long after they lost their practical usefulness or the possibility of understanding and use of them in the current years, rather than the years in which they were originally used.

Medicine Edit

The Edwin Smith Papyrus is one of the first medical documents still extant, and perhaps the earliest document which attempts to describe and analyze the brain: given this, it might be seen as the very beginnings of neuroscience. However, medical historians believe that ancient Egyptian pharmacology was largely ineffective. [52] According to a paper published by Michael D. Parkins, 72% of 260 medical prescriptions in the Hearst papyrus had no curative elements. [53] According to Michael D. Parkins, sewage pharmacology first began in ancient Egypt and was continued through the Middle Ages, [52] and while the use of animal dung can have curative properties, [54] it is not without its risk. Practices such as applying cow dung to wounds, ear piercing, tattooing, and chronic ear infections were important factors in developing tetanus. [55] Frank J. Snoek wrote that Egyptian medicine used fly specks, lizard blood, swine teeth, and other such remedies which he believes could have been harmful. [56]

Mummification of the dead was not always practiced in Egypt. Once the practice began, an individual was placed at a final resting place through a set of rituals and protocol. The Egyptian funeral was a complex ceremony including various monuments, prayers, and rituals undertaken in honor of the deceased. The poor, who could not afford expensive tombs, were buried in shallow graves in the sand, and because of the arid environment they were often naturally mummified.

The wheel Edit

Evidence indicates that Egyptians made use of potter's wheels in the manufacturing of pottery from as early as the 4th Dynasty (c. 2613 to 2494 BC). [57] Chariots, however, are only believed to have been introduced by the invasion of the Hyksos in the Second Intermediate Period (c.1650 BC to c.1550 BC) [58] during the New Kingdom era (c.1550 BC to c.1077 BC), chariotry became central to Egypt's military.

Other developments Edit

The Egyptians developed a variety of furniture. There in the lands of ancient Egypt is the first evidence for stools, beds, and tables (such as from the tombs similar to Tutankhamun's). Recovered Ancient Egyptian furniture includes a third millennium BC bed discovered in the Tarkhan Tomb, a c.2550 BC. gilded set from the tomb of Queen Hetepheres I, and a c. 1550 BC. stool from Thebes.

Some have suggested that the Egyptians had some form of understanding electric phenomena from observing lightning and interacting with electric fish (such as Malapterurus electricus) or other animals (such as electric eels). [59] The comment about lightning appears to come from a misunderstanding of a text referring to "high poles covered with copper plates" to argue this [60] but Dr. Bolko Stern has written in detail explaining why the copper covered tops of poles (which were lower than the associated pylons) do not relate to electricity or lightning, pointing out that no evidence of anything used to manipulate electricity had been found in Egypt and that this was a magical and not a technical installation. [61]

Those exploring fringe theories of ancient technology have suggested that there were electric lights used in Ancient Egypt. Engineers have constructed a working model based on their interpretation of a relief found in the Hathor temple at the Dendera Temple complex. [62] Authors (such as Peter Krassa and Reinhard Habeck) have produced a basic theory of the device's operation. [62] The standard explanation, however, for the Dendera light, which comprises three stone reliefs (one single and a double representation) is that the depicted image represents a lotus leaf and flower from which a sacred snake is spawned in accordance with Egyptian mythological beliefs. This sacred snake sometimes is identified as the Milky Way (the snake) in the night sky (the leaf, lotus, or "bulb") that became identified with Hathor because of her similar association in creation.

Greco-Roman Egypt Edit

Under Hellenistic rule, Egypt was one of the most prosperous regions of the Hellenistic civilization. The ancient Egyptian city of Rhakotis was renovated as Alexandria, which became the largest city around the Mediterranean Basin. Under Roman rule, Egypt was one of the most prosperous regions of the Roman Empire, with Alexandria being second only to ancient Rome in size.

Recent scholarship suggests that the water wheel originates from Ptolemaic Egypt, where it appeared by the 3rd century BC. [63] [64] This is seen as an evolution of the paddle-driven water-lifting wheels that had been known in Egypt a century earlier. [63] According to John Peter Oleson, both the compartmented wheel and the hydraulic noria may have been invented in Egypt by the 4th century BC, with the Sakia being invented there a century later. This is supported by archeological finds at Faiyum, Egypt, where the oldest archeological evidence of a water-wheel has been found, in the form of a Sakia dating back to the 3rd century BC. A papyrus dating to the 2nd century BC also found in Faiyum mentions a water wheel used for irrigation, a 2nd-century BC fresco found at Alexandria depicts a compartmented Sakia, and the writings of Callixenus of Rhodes mention the use of a Sakia in Ptolemaic Egypt during the reign of Ptolemy IV in the late 3rd century BC. [64]

Ancient Greek technology was often inspired by the need to improve weapons and tactics in war. Ancient Roman technology is a set of artifacts and customs which supported Roman civilization and made the expansion of Roman commerce and Roman military possible over nearly a thousand years.

Arabic-Islamic Egypt Edit

Under Arab rule, Egypt once again became one of the most prosperous regions around the Mediterranean. The Egyptian city of Cairo was founded by the Fatimid Caliphate and served as its capital city. At the time, Cairo was second only to Baghdad, capital of the rival Abbasid Caliphate. After the fall of Baghdad, however, Cairo overtook it as the largest city in the Mediterranean region until the early modern period.

Inventions in medieval Islam covers the inventions developed in the medieval Islamic world, a region that extended from Al-Andalus and Africa in the west to the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia in the east. The timeline of Islamic science and engineering covers the general development of science and technology in the Islamic world.


5 Important Egyptian Archaeological Discoveries that Provided Leaps in Our Knowledge of the Past - History

Europe is a continent forming the westernmost part of the Eurasian super continent. Europe is bounded to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the west by the Atlantic Ocean, to the south by the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea, and to the east by the Ural Mountains and the Caspian Sea (for more detailed description see Geography of Europe.

In terms of area, Europe is the world's second smallest continent, with an area of 10,400,000 kmB2 (4,000,000 square miles), making it slightly larger than Australia.In terms of population it is the third largest continent after Asia and Africa. The population of Europe in 2001 was estimated to be 666,498,000: roughly one ninth of the world's population.

The theory and practice of archaeology in Europe changed rapidly in the years after 1950. The first focus of attention was on historic cities, such as Winchester, but it was soon realized that other projects, such as roads, railways, and pipelines, or mineral extraction, as well as industrialized agricultural operations, had a similarly destructive effect.

The growth of Environmental Archaeology has not only permitted a better understanding of the interaction between humans and their environment, but, with the development of new techniques for the recovery of items such as insect and parasite remains, has also given a new insight into living conditions, especially in towns.

More important than all the changes in the nature and scale of archaeological research were changes in the theoretical approach to the understanding of the past. In the early 1950s, a culture-historical approach was firmly established throughout much of Europe.

In ancient Greek mythology, Europa was a Phoenician princess who was abducted by a bull-shaped Zeus and taken to the island of Crete, where she gave birth to Minos. For Homer, Europa (Greek: . p?) was a mythological queen of Crete, not a geographical designation. Later Europa stood for mainland Greece and by 500 BC its meaning was extended to lands to the north.

The term Europe is generally derived from Greek words meaning broad (eurys) and face (ops). A minority, however, see a Semitic origin, pointing to the Semitic word ereb which means "sunset". From a Middle Eastern viewpoint, the sun sets over Europe: the lands to the west.

MODERN EGYPTOLOGY

The invasion of Egypt by Napoleon Bonaparte is paved the way to the beginning of Egyptology's modern history . Between the year 1809 and 1829 of immediate publication of Description de l'Égypte made numerous ancient Egyptian source materials brought to Europeans for the first time.[10] The some of the first Egyptologists of wide acclaim were Jean-François Champollion, Thomas Young and Ippolito Rosellini. The German Karl Richard Lepsius made the early participant in the investigations of Egypt in the exploration of mapping, excavating, and recording several sites. For the first time, Champollion announced his general decipherment i.,e.decryping the Egyptian ancient script, known as hieroglyphics which is actually a Logographic scripts, making use of the Rosetta Stone as his primary aid. The very important development of Egyptology was the Stone's decipherment , With subsequently ever-increasing knowledge of Egyptian writing and language, the study of Ancient Egyptian civilization was able to proceed with greater academic rigour and with all the added impetus that comprehension of the written sources was able to engender. Among all others,from the work of William Matthew Flinders Petrie Egyptology became more professional . Petrie introduced techniques of field preservation, recording, and excavating. Howard Carter's expedition brought much acclaim to the field of Egyptology.Now, even many of amateurs who are highly educated also travelled to Egypt, however, including women such as Harriet Martineau and Florence Nightingale, who both left philosophical accounts of their travels, which revealed learned familiarity with all the latest European Egyptology.

Europe has a long history of cultural and economic achievement, starting as far back as the paleolithic. Origins of Western democratic and individualistic culture are often laid in Ancient Greece the Roman Empire divided the continent along the Rhine and Danube for several centuries.

Following the decline of the Roman Empire, Europe entered a long period of stasis, referred to by Renaissance thinkers as the "Dark Ages" and by the Enlightenment and modern historians, as the Middle Ages. During this time isolated monastic communities in Ireland and elsewhere carefully safeguarded and compiled knowledge accumulated previously.

The Renaissance and the New Monarchs marked the start of a period of discovery, exploration, and increase in scientific knowledge. From the 15th century Portugal opened the age of discoveries soon followed by Spain. They were later joined by France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Britain, in building large colonial empires, with vast holdings in Africa, the Americas, and Asia. The Industrial Revolution started in England in the later 18th century, leading to much greater general prosperity and a corresponding increase in population. Many of the states in Europe took their present form in the aftermath of World War I. After World War II, and until the end of the Cold War, Europe was divided into two major political and economic blocks: Communist nations in Eastern Europe and capitalistic countries in Western Europe. Around 1990 the Eastern bloc broke up.

In terms of shape, Europe is a collection of connected peninsulas. The two largest of these are "mainland" Europe and Scandinavia to the north, divided from each other by the Baltic Sea. Three smaller peninsulas-Iberia, Italy and the Balkans-emerge from the southern margin of the mainland into the Mediterranean Sea, which separates Europe from Africa. Eastward, mainland Europe widens much like the mouth of a funnel, until the boundary with Asia is reached at the Ural Mountains.

Land relief in Europe shows great variation within relatively small areas. The southern regions, however, are more mountainous, while moving north the terrain descends from the high Alps, Pyrenees and Carpathian's, through hilly uplands, into broad, low northern plains, which are vast in the east. An arc of uplands also exists along the northwestern seaboard, beginning in the western British Isles and continuing along the mountainous, fjord-cut spine of Norway. This description is simplified. Sub-regions such as Iberia and Italy contain their own complex features, as does mainland Europe itself, where the relief contains many plateaus, river valleys and basins that complicate the general trend. Iceland and the British Isles are special cases. The former is a land unto itself in the northern ocean which is counted as part of Europe, while the latter are upland areas that were once joined to the mainland until rising sea levels cut them off. The few generalizations that can be made about the relief of Europe make it less than surprising that the continent's many separate regions provided homes for many separate nations throughout history.


Rosetta Stone

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Rosetta Stone, ancient Egyptian stone bearing inscriptions in several languages and scripts their decipherment led to the understanding of hieroglyphic writing. An irregularly shaped stone of black granite 3 feet 9 inches (114 cm) long and 2 feet 4.5 inches (72 cm) wide, and broken in antiquity, it was found near the town of Rosetta (Rashīd), about 35 miles (56 km) northeast of Alexandria. It was discovered by a Frenchman named Bouchard or Boussard in August 1799. After the French surrender of Egypt in 1801, it passed into British hands and is now in the British Museum in London.

What is the Rosetta Stone?

The Rosetta Stone is an ancient Egyptian stone bearing inscriptions in several languages and scripts. Their decipherment led to the understanding of hieroglyphic writing.

What is the shape of the Rosetta Stone?

The Rosetta Stone is an irregularly shaped stone of black granite 3 feet 9 inches (114 cm) long and 2 feet 4.5 inches (72 cm) wide. It was broken in antiquity.

Where is the Rosetta Stone currently located?

The Rosetta Stone is on display in the British Museum, London, having passed into British hands after the French surrender of Egypt in 1801.

Who decoded the Rosetta Stone?

The decoding of the Rosetta Stone was largely the work of Thomas Young of England and Jean-François Champollion of France. Champollion was the first Egyptologist to realize that some of the signs were alphabetic, some syllabic, and some determinative, standing for the whole idea or object previously expressed.

What languages are inscribed on the Rosetta Stone?

The inscriptions on the Rosetta Stone are in two languages, Egyptian and Greek, and three writing systems, hieroglyphics, demotic script (a cursive form of Egyptian hieroglyphics), and the Greek alphabet, which provided a key to the translation of the Egyptian hieroglyphic writing. They were apparently composed by the priests of Memphis.

The inscriptions, apparently composed by the priests of Memphis, summarize benefactions conferred by Ptolemy V Epiphanes (205–180 bce ) and were written in the ninth year of his reign in commemoration of his accession to the throne. Inscribed in two languages, Egyptian and Greek, and three writing systems, hieroglyphics, demotic script (a cursive form of Egyptian hieroglyphics), and the Greek alphabet, it provided a key to the translation of Egyptian hieroglyphic writing.

The decipherment was largely the work of Thomas Young of England and Jean-François Champollion of France. The hieroglyphic text on the Rosetta Stone contains six identical cartouches (oval figures enclosing hieroglyphs). Young deciphered the cartouche as the name of Ptolemy and proved a long-held assumption that the cartouches found in other inscriptions were the names of royalty. By examining the direction in which the bird and animal characters faced, Young also discovered the way in which hieroglyphic signs were to be read.

In 1821–22 Champollion, starting where Young left off, began to publish papers on the decipherment of hieratic and hieroglyphic writing based on study of the Rosetta Stone and eventually established an entire list of signs with their Greek equivalents. He was the first Egyptologist to realize that some of the signs were alphabetic, some syllabic, and some determinative, standing for the whole idea or object previously expressed. He also established that the hieroglyphic text of the Rosetta Stone was a translation from the Greek, not, as had been thought, the reverse. The work of these two men established the basis for the translation of all future Egyptian hieroglyphic texts.


10 Exciting Discoveries in Biblical Archaeology in 2018

Dennis Jarvis photo | Flickr

This past year brought numerous discoveries that supported biblical accounts and provided context for other scriptural knowledge. Here are 10 of the top discoveries from 2018.

10. Evidence for the Exodus? New Discoveries Support Biblical Account

Instead of how Exodus and Joshua describe the Israelites escaping Egypt, crossing the Jordan River, and conquering the land, many contend they were already part of an indigenous population in Canaan.

A recent discovery, however, provides physical evidence to support the biblical account.

Excavations in Khirbet el-Mastarah, an area in the Jordan Valley, have unearthed numerous nomadic or semi-nomadic enclosures and structures dating back to the time of the Exodus, according to an article in Biblical Archaeology Review from Ralph Hawkins and David Ben-Shlomo.

9. Lost Site of Jesus Feeding the Multitude Discovered

While they didn’t find any baskets of food, archaeologists believe they have evidence to reveal the location of one of Jesus’ most famous miracles.

According to The Jerusalem Post, a group of 20 archaeologists connected with Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem uncovered what they assert is the ancient city of Bethsaida, as it is known in the New Testament, or Zer, as it was called in the Old Testament.

8. Tiny Stone Helps Confirm and Clarify Bible

Archaeologists’ discovery of a small weight from the period of Israel’s monarchy helps confirm the Old Testament system of weights and the existence of Solomon’s Temple, two professors say.

A “beka,” a stone weight equivalent to about one-fifth of an ounce, was discovered by archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority in dirt taken several years ago from under Jerusalem’s Western Wall, the Times of Israel reported Nov. 21.

7. Historic Volcano May Have Covered Explosive Biblical Manuscripts

When Mt. Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79, the volcano covered the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. In the buried city of Herculaneum, archeologists discovered a library in the 1700s—the only intact library of the ancient world.

Scholars say it may include early Christian writings, “even the first references to Jesus,” according to 60 Minutes.

But the scrolls contained in it were so damaged by the heat that no one could open them. However, new computer scanning methods may be able to reveal what is beneath the charred outsides.

6. New Evidence Supports Biblical Account of Davidic Kingdom

What may look like simple pieces of broken pottery to most, paints a picture to archaeologist Gabriel Barkay that resembles the ancient kingdom of Israel ruled by David.

Barkay, adjunct professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University and co-director of the Temple Mount Sifting Project, recently shared some of the artifacts discovered in the mounds of dirt removed from the Temple Mount.

5. Sculpted Head, Thought to Be of Biblical Character, Found in Israel

Students of Scripture know that King Saul was a tall man and that David had a ruddy appearance. Outside of sparse physical descriptions like these found in the Bible, much about the appearance of biblical figures is left to the reader’s imagination.

But thanks to a new archaeological find at the site of Tel Abel Beth Maacah in Israel, people may now get to look into the face of one of the Bible’s kings.

4. Ancient Biblical Coins Discovered

They’re only 7 millimeters wide, but these coins are a big find.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project recently discovered five rare coins dating from the 4th century B.C. This doubles the number unearthed so far and provides some of the earliest evidence of Jewish coin minting in Israel.

According to The Times of Israel, the coins come from around the period of time described in Ezra and Nehemiah.

3. Did Naked Mole Rats Prove the Existence of King David?

Naked mole rats don’t show up in any biblical prophecy, but they may have played a role in a significant discovery in biblical archaeology.

In recent years, skeptics have denied that King David existed and that a united kingdom of Israel became a regional power during his reign.

Previously, a rock discovered in 1993 containing an inscription about the “House of David” was one of the few tangible, extrabiblical evidences for David.

That may change now, thanks to some mole rats.

Archaeologists working at the Tel ‘Eton excavation site have used the piles of dirt dug up by burrowing rodents to discover something surprising.

2. ISIS Accidentally Corroborates the Bible

Previously archaeological teams stopped digging under certain sites in Iraq, such as the traditional tomb of Jonah the prophet, for fear of destroying them.

When ISIS fighters took over Mosul and other Iraqi areas in 2014, they had no such qualms. They demolished the tomb of Jonah and dug tunnels looking for buried treasure or artifacts they could sell to finance their terrorist operations, according to the UK Telegraph.

Once the Iraqi army rooted out ISIS earlier this year, archaeologists began checking the historic sites to see how much damage had been done. They made some startling discoveries.

Tunnels dug by the terrorist group revealed a previously untouched Assyrian palace in the ancient city of Nineveh and several inscriptions that corroborate biblical accounts.

1. Archaeologists May Have Found the Prophet Isaiah’s Signature

According to National Geographic, the clay seal, or bulla, was one of 34 found during a 2009 excavation by Mazar.

Because the seal is broken, the text contains the Hebrew name of Isaiah “Yesha’yah[u]” followed by the word “nvy.” If the Hebrew letter aleph originally followed nvy, then it would be translated “Belonging to Isaiah the prophet.”


Notes:

( 1. ) It appears on a seal impression from the reign of Peribsen, the sole yet last king of the Second Dynasty, and reads: “The Ombite (Seth) he has united (?) the two lands for his son, the king of Upper and Lower Egypt” W. M. F. Petrie, The Royal Tombs of the Earliest Dynasties, Part II, Excavations Memoirs 21 (London: Egypt Exploration Society, 1901), pl. 22, 190 P. Kaplony, Die Inschriften der ägyptischen Frühzeit III, ÄA 8 (Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz, 1963) , fig. 368.

( 2. ) The national language of modern-day Egypt is Egyptian Arabic, which gradually replaced Coptic in the centuries after the Muslim conquest of Egypt. Coptic is still used as the liturgical language of the Coptic Church. It has several hundred fluent speakers today. On the disappearance of Egyptian, see Houston, Baines, and Cooper (2003), “Last Writing: Script Obsolescence in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Mesoamerica.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 45: 430–479.

( 3. ) For an overview of earlier work on early writing, see Regulski (2010), A Palaeographic Study of Early Writing in Egypt, 4–5.

( 4. ) For shorter treatments before the discovery of tomb U-j, see, for example, K. A. Bard (1992), “Origins of Egyptian writing,” In The Followers of Horus: Studies Dedicated to Michael Allen Hoffman (Oxford: Oxbow Books), 297–306 P. Vernus (1993), “La naissance de l’écriture dans l’Égypte ancienne,” Archéo-Nil 3: 75–108.

( 5. ) B. Kemp (2000), “The colossi from the early shrine at Coptos in Egypt,” Cambridge Archaeological Journal 10: 211–242 J. Kahl (2001), “Hieroglyphic writing during the fourth millennium BC: An analysis of systems,” Archéo-Nil 11: 116–126 F. A. K. Breyer (2002), “Die Schriftzeugnisse des Prädynastischen Königsgrabes U-j in Umm-el Qaab: Versuch einer Neuinterpretation,” JEA 88: 53–65 J. Kahl (2003a), “Die frühen Schriftzeugnisse aus dem Grab U-j in Umm el-Qa’ab,” CdE 78: 112–135 J. Baines (2004), “The earliest Egyptian writing: Development, context, purpose,” in The First Writing. Script Invention as History and Process (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press), 150–189 D. Morenz (2004), Bild-Buchstaben und symbolische Zeichen. Die Herausbildung der Schrift in der hohen Kultur Altägyptens (Göttingen, Germany: Academic Press, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht) A. Jiménez-Serrano (2007), “Principles of the oldest Egyptian writing,” LingAeg 15: 47–66 J. Wegner (2007), “From elephant-mountain to Anubis-mountain? A theory on the origins and development of the name Abdju,” in The Archaeology and Art of Ancient Egypt: Essays in honor of David B. O’Connor, vol. II (Cairo: Conseil Supreme des Antiquites de l’Egypte), 468–470 M. Höveler-Müller (2008), “Zu den frühzeitlichen Königen Fingerschnecke” und “Fisch” aus dem Grab U-j in Umm el-Qa’ab,” SAK 37: 159–167 . A. Stauder (2010), “The earliest Egyptian writing.” In Visible Language. Inventions of Writing in the Ancient Middle East and Beyond (Chicago: The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago) E. MacArthur (2011), “In search of the sDm=f: The conception and development of hieroglyphic writing through the reign of Aha,” in Egypt at Its Origins 3: Proceedings of the Third International Conference “Origin of the State: Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt,” London, 27th July–1st August 2008 (Leuven, Belgium: Peeters), 1195–1216 and the contributions in E. Teeter (2011), Before the Pyramids: The Origins of Egyptian Civilization (Chicago: Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago). This list is not exhaustive. For updates on Early Dynastic literature in general, see Hendrickx’s yearly contributions in the journal Archéo-Nil (since 2011 with Claes).

( 6. ) Based on the most recently published dates in S. Hendrickx (2006), “Predynastic-early dynastic chronology,” in Ancient Egyptian Chronology (Leiden, The Netherlands and Boston: Brill), 92 , table II. The date 3250 BC corresponds to Naqada IIIa2 (following Kaiser) and Naqada IIIA1 (following Hendrickx) more or less 150–200 years before the start of the First Dynasty (at around 3100–3050 BC) cfr. S. Hendrickx (1996), “The relative chronology of the Naqada culture: Problems and possibilities,” in Aspects of Early Egypt (London: BMP), 59 G. Dreyer (1998), Umm el-Qaab I. Das prädynastische Königsgrab U-j und seine frühen Schriftzeugnisse (Mainz, Germany: Philip von Zabern), 17–18 , and 40 cfr. R. M. Boehmer, G. Dreyer, and B. Kromer (1993), “Einige Frühzeitliche 14C-Datierungen aus Abydos und Uruk,” Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo 49: 65.

( 7. ) ‘Netjerikhet’ is used, however, because we also refer to all kings by their Horus names.

( 10. ) W. Helck (1985), “Gedanken zum Ursprung der ägyptischen Schrift.” in Mélanges Gamal Eddin Mokhtar. Vol. I (Cairo: Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale du Caire), 395–408 W. Helck (1987), Untersuchungen zur Thinitenzeit (Wiesbaden, Germany: O. Harrassowitz), 138–143 , argued that Syria and Lower Egypt had a language in common, different from that of Upper Egypt, and a culture that produced the first hieroglyphic writing on perishable material of which nothing survived, the so-called Butische Schrift cfr. D. B. Redford (1994), in “Some observations on the Northern and North-Eastern Delta,” in Essays in Egyptology in Honour of Hans Goedicke (San Antonio, TX: Van Siclen Books), 201ff. It is assumed that unfamiliar forms and orthography in some of the earliest inscriptions are to be explained by the adoption of this proto-hieroglyphic system by the Upper Egyptians when they conquered the Delta cfr. P. Vernus (1993), “La naissance de l’écriture dans l’Égypte ancienne,” Archéo-Nil 3: 75 H. Vanstiphout (1995), “Memory and literacy in ancient Western Asia,” in Civilizations of the Ancient Near East. Vol. IV (New York: Simon & Schuster and Prentice-Hall International), 2184 T. Kühn (2001), “Die Entstehung der ägyptischen Schrift in prädynastischer Zeitgeist,” Kemet 10.4: 31–35.

( 11. ) Likewise, the proto-cuneiform signs show little connection to the spoken language M. Van De Mieroop (2004), A History of the Ancient Near East ca. 3000–323 B.C. (Oxford: Blackwell), 31.

( 12. ) The uneven distribution of written sources is another reflection of the extremely centralized administration in which writing was used.

( 13. ) J. Baines and C. J. Eyre (1983), “Four notes on literacy,” in Götinger Miszellen 61: 67.

( 14. ) The powerful ideology of the afterlife was not transmitted in writing before the Old Kingdom.

( 15. ) Important work on nontextual marking systems has been collected in P. Andrassy, J. Budka, and F. Kammerzell (2009), Non-Textual Marking Systems, Writing and Pseudo Script from Prehistory to Present Times (Göttingen, Germany: Seminar für Ägyptologie und Koptologie).

( 16. ) The relationship with the potmarks applied to vessels prior to firing should be researched further. Most of these marks were probably applied by the potters themselves, which explains the crude and deviate form of the signs. Given the lower status of potters—when compared to scribes—we can assume that they could not write and were only imitating examples. Perhaps this was the reason that trained scribes were later added to pottery workshops. A list in the can we list the date of the papyrus here? Gebelein Papyri (Fourth Dynasty 2613–2494 BC) mention the attribution of a trained scribe to each group of potters P. Andrassy, “Pot marks in textual evidence?” in Non-textual Marking Systems in Ancient Egypt (and Elsewhere) (Lingua Aegyptia Studia Monographica 16), edited by J. Budka, F. Kammerzell, and S. Rzepka (Hamburg, Germany: Widmaier Verlag).

( 17. ) Especially with regard to the potmarks, a relation to phonetic writing has recently been illustrated by E-M. Engel (2015a), “Schrift oder Marke?” In Fuzzy Boundaries. Festschrift für Antonio Loprieno, Band I (Hamburg, Germany: Widmaier Verlag) . See also E. C. M. van den Brink (2008), “Potmark-Egypt.com.” In Egypt at Its Origins 2. Proceedings of the International Conference “Origins of the State,” Toulouse, 5th–8th September 2005 (Leuven, Belgium: Peeters), 237–242 N. Buchez (2004), “The study of a group of ceramics at the end of the Naqada period and socio-economic considerations.” In Egypt at Its Origins: Studies in Memory of Barbara Adams (Leuven, Belgium: Peeters), 682–685 G. Breand (2008), “Signes sur poteries et enregistrement comptable en Égypte pré- et protodynastique. L’example du signe des “batons brisés,” in Cahiers Caribéens d’ Égyptologie 11: 37–81 E-M. Engel (2015b), “The Early Dynastic Pot Mark Project—a Progress Report.” In Non-textual marking systems in Ancient Egypt (and elsewhere) (Hamburg, Germany).

( 18. ) For the name of this king, see P. Kaplony (1958), “Sechs Königsnamen der I. Dynastie in neuer Deutung,” Orientalia Suecana 7: 54–56 W. Kaiser (1964), “Einige Bemerkungen zur ägyptischen Frühzeit. III. Die Reichseinigung,” ZÄS 91: 93, n. 2. For a summary of available sources from the reign of Ka, see F. Raffaele (2003), “Dynasty 0,” in Basel Egyptology Prize 1 (Basel, Switzerland: Schwabe & Co. AG), 110–112.

( 19. ) Tomb B7 W. M. F. Petrie (1901), The Royal Tombs of the Earliest Dynasties. 1901. Part II (London: Egypt Exploration Fund) , pl. 13 (up.B 7, 11, 15, upper left, without number) W. M. F. Petrie (1902), Abydos. Part I. 1902 (London: Offices of the Egypt Exploration Fund) , pls. 1–3 B19 and between B 7 and B10 W. Kaiser and G. Dreyer (1982), “Umm el-Qaab. Nachuntersuchungen im frühzeitlichen Königsfriedhof. 2. Vorbericht,” Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo 38: pl. 58a. An unprovenanced parallel was published by Kaplony, Inschriften der ägyptischen Frühzeit III, fig. 848. During the more recent excavation of tomb U-j, another parallel was discovered by Dreyer, no doubt in secondary context Dreyer, Umm el-Qaab I, 166, fig. 98.247. A similar inscription from Tarkhan can also be considered W. M. F. Petrie (1913), Tarkhan I and Memphis V (London: School of Archaeology in Egypt), pl. 31.67.

( 20. ) On the foundation of the capital at Memphis, see, for example, S. Love (2006), “Stones, ancestors, and pyramids: investigating the pre-pyramid landscape of Memphis,” in The Old Kingdom Art and Archaeology: Proceedings of the Conference held in Prague, May 31—June 4, 2004 (Prague: Czech Institute of Egyptology, Faculty of Arts, Charles University), 209–219 E. C. Köhler (2008), “Early Dynastic society at Memphis,” in Zeichen aus dem Sand (Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz), 381–399 , and contributions in L. Evans (2012), “Ancient Memphis: ‘Enduring Is the Perfection.’” Proceedings of the international conference held at Macquarie University, Sydney on August 14-15, 2008 (Leuven, Belgium: Peeters).

( 21. ) The reconstruction by E. MacArthur, in Egypt at Its Origins 3, 1195–1216, of verb forms in the beginning of the First Dynasty is problematic. None of her argued cases show the endings of verb forms. Secondly, the examples are substantive verb forms, such as the infinitive and participles, at best. Her reconstruction of the subjunctive optative cDm=f (p. 1204) is not convincing.

( 22. ) Gardiner’s sign list is based on Middle Egyptian cfr. Baines, in The First Writing, 180.

( 23. ) In both Figures 1 and 2 “First Dynasty” and “Second Dynasty” include sources that could not be dated more specifically.

( 24. ) See the preliminary reports in Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo from 1998 onward.

( 25. ) For the tomb of Den, see the preliminary reports in Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo from 1990 onward.

( 26. ) In the linguistic sense of the word (morphological) that is, the identification, analysis, and description of the structure of a given language’s morphemes and other linguistic units, such as root words, affixes, parts of speech, intonations, and stresses, or implied context.

( 27. ) That is, the increase of representing written language using symbols or letters that reflect more directly or in a more regular manner the sounds of the spoken language.

( 28. ) Kahl’s devision of (Early Dynastic) graphemes incorporates determinatives with logograms under ‘Semogramme’ J. Kahl (1994), Das System der ägyptischen Hieroglyphenschrift in der 0.-3. Dynastie (Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz), 22, 52. See also W. Schenkel (1983), Aus der Arbeit an einer Konkordanz zu den altägyptischen Sargtexten (Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz), 38–39.

( 29. ) In fact, phonograms only function in a rebus principle W. Schenkel (1984), “Schrift.” In Lexikon der Ägyptologie Band V (Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz), 713–735 Kahl, Das System der ägyptischen Hieroglyphenschrift, 54.

( 30. ) The estimate is taken from J. P. Allen (2010), Middle Egyptian. An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press), 29.

( 31. ) Uncertain cases are not represented. When a sign could be used as logogram and determinative, it was counted twice. A very low number of “phonetic determinatives” was counted. Although it would be interesting to study this phenomenon per sign group, none of the categories yielded a higher number of phonograms than logograms. The same conclusion can be drawn for potmarks even if all the phonetic value presented by E-M. Engel are excepted, most of the signs function as logograms E-M. Engel (2015a), “Schrift oder Marke?” In Fuzzy Boundaries: Festschrift für Antonio Loprieno, Band I (Hamburg, Germany: Widmaier Verlag), 66.

( 32. ) And there is the interesting case that some logograms survive in the religious mortuary texts corpus of the old and Middle Kingdom only.

( 33. ) This development should not be confused with the examples where a phonetic spelling is later replaced by a logogram Kahl, Das System der ägyptischen Hieroglyphenschrift, 60–61.

( 34. ) The least favorable is a scenario, according to which the Afroasiatic language group gives up its mother tongue and shifted to Egyptian, as it would imply that Egyptian would have acquired its Afroasiatic straits only secondarily, which is not very plausible. It has to be noted also that Old Egyptian has several characteristics rather untypical of contact languages.

( 35. ) Obstruents are speech sounds formed by obstructing airflow.

( 36. ) The hieroglyph Y2, representing a sealed papyrus scroll, appears as early as the reign of Qaa Kahl, Das System der ägyptischen Hieroglyphenschrift, 36.

( 37. ) It is unfortunately impossible to distinguish whether provenance or destination is intended in this group, since grammatical relationships such as genitive or dative were not indicated.


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