Sunday, 27 February 2011

Hatshepsut - Visible Cartouche at Deir el Bahri

Originally uploaded by kairoinfo4u

Something i will look out for during my next visit to Deir el Bahri (hopeful thinking) are cartouches. When attempts were made to destroy traces of Hatshepsut's name, her eternal future was in jeopardy. It was only in recent centuries that her name was "found" again by early Egyptologists (not the same as Egyptologists today).

On this block, we see Hatshepsut's cartouche (Foremost of noble women, united with Amun) on the right. To the left we see her title "daughter of Re.

Although chiseled out, it can be read with relative ease. Due to this block not being situated within a wall/ door - i cannot say exactly where it comes from within Deir el Bahri. I may be able to find out in time.

Thanks again to Kairoinfo4u - i am extremely grateful to you for the wonderful images being shared on Flickr.


Qheen Ahmose- facsimile by Howard Carter

Qheen Ahmose; facsimile by Howard Carter
Originally uploaded by The Egypt Exploration Society

Howard Carter is known to some simply as the man who discovered the nearly intact tomb of Tutankhamun. Carter had a much larger impact in Egypt than just the Valley of Kings.

Deir el Bahri is one location where Carter's work is of note. His artistic skills came into play and he set about drawing a number of wonderful watercolour paintings. One of which is of Hatshepsut's mother, Queen Ahmose, seen in this copy.

I will locate more of these. I am sure that i saw a Hatshepsut watercolour when visiting Highclere Castle, so i will look into that.

I don't know exactly where this depiction comes from within Deir el Bahri, but i will find out. I suspect it is from the Hatshepsut shrine area (?) at the top of Hatshepsut's mortuary temple.

Thanks to the Egypt Exploration Society for sharing this image on Flickr.

Update: MMA site shows 2 Howard Carter watercolours:


Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Hatshepsut - Punt House Depiction

Hatshepsut Djeser-djeseru 3416
Originally uploaded by kairoinfo4u

This excellent photo shows us how Hatshepsut had the Puntite houses depicted. On stilts, surrounded by water and trees (some of which would be taken back to Egypt).

This links with a recent post on Punt and there are many more Punt photos to come.


Hatshepsut - Private Collections

Private collections of antiquities have been a concern of mine since i first learned of the great rush for Egyptian artifacts at the very early stages in the life of Egyptology. My concerns:

1) Acquisition - Some (not all) of these collections may have items acquired on the black- market and therefore could have been looted from tombs/ temples within Egypt.

2) Provenance - Many items within these collections may not have arrived through meticulous archaeology and therefore the locations of their finds, and the dating layers are lost to those of us who need this information. Many museum collections around the world have many tags which suggest "provenance unknown".

3) Preservation - Are 100% of the artifacts held in private auctions given the correct conservation, using non- evasive techniques (particularly concerning mummies)? I doubt it.

4) Shared knowledge - Is there a worldwide database of all the Egyptian artifacts in private collections? See this story posted by Paul Boughton on Egytotology News Network (these items were found by accident).

Without the ability to study artifacts, information is lost. Every scrap of information is vital- everything. We are not talking of course about gold. Gold is a distraction many Egyptologists could do without having to inform the authorities and stop working at a drop of a hat. We are talking about anything with hieroglyphic/ hieratic/ demotic inscriptions. Even seemingly insignificant wall fragments may be the key to understanding a scene.

At this stage i must add that not all private collections are illegal. Not by far. My concerns lie in those undocumented collections - hidden away in private where i feel time is absolutely NOT on their side.


Hatshepsut - From Queen to Pharaoh

Picture taken from:

This is the wonderful book which Anneke Bart used as the basis of the Hatshepsut Project article on Wiki

I do intend to add to Anneke's work, but i have my hands full currently, so that will follow in due course.

This is a book which is packed full of information on Hatshepsut and has helped wonders to locate museums and sites which have aided the Hatshepsut Project's progress.

The book itself follows a wonderful exhibition of Hatshepsut artifacts held in the museums of San Fransisco/ De Young from October 15th 2005- February 5th 2006; The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MMA) from March 28th to July 9th 2006; and the Kimbell Art Museum (Fort Worth) from August 27th to December 31st 2006.

I missed this particular exhibition, so i have been playing catch-up by reading this book. For anyone interested in Hatshepsut, this is a wonderfully enlightening book. We follow Hatshepsut from Queen to fully- fledged Pharaoh and follows the co-operation of many museums and organisations the world over. Items were lent specifically to be a part of the exhibition- many of which may not bee seen together again in one space.

I may not have been to any of the exhibitions, but the information supplied will aid my (and your?) future studies. I cannot recommend this book enough.

Main credits got to Catherine H Roehrig (MMA) with Renee Drayfus and Cathleen A Keller although many others helped.


Monday, 21 February 2011

Hatshepsut - The Queen of Punt

Queen & King of the Land of Punt
Originally uploaded by The Handler

Here is a copy of a depiction of the Queen of Punt from Deir el Bahri.

Although her husband is present - i read his name as Pa-r-h-w (Parehu) it is the queen who draws our attention.

Her depiction as an obese lady has caused much debate. In today's world, we have a syndrome named "Queen of Punt Syndrome".

Maybe this is how the Egyptians actually saw the Queen. If so then this is the first time i have seen any Egyptian depiction of someone so large. Sometimes Egyptian people were shown to have rolls of fat on their bodies to show they are established/ well off. The queen of Punt would was not Egyptian and therefore tribal tradition (large = beautiful) could be the answer.


Hatshepsut - British Museum Baboon mummies link to the land of Punt

From the Independent:

The actual location of the land of Punt has been the subject of discussion for some time. Hatshepsut's temple shows a well documented trading expedition to Punt. The decorations show the Queen of Punt and even names her as Itj/ Eti/Ati/Iti. We see depictions of Puntite housing- on stilts, the trees and animals which were brought back and of the Puntite people themselves.

What we do not have is a a clear description of where Punt is.

The above article is a year old, but the processes used give us an idea of what is being used to locate the land of Punt using modern technology.

There are other interesting articles and blogs on Punt, which i have read and saved. I will share these so that "Punt" as a tag will have more than just the Hatshepsut Mortuary temple depictions. Also I've spotted some great online photos which can be shared without copyright issues (always best to avoid those).

It would seem that they have ruled out the possibility of Punt being located in modern day Somalia and Yemen has also been ruled out. Modern day Eastern Ethiopia/ Eritrea have been found to be the closest match, according to results of oxygen isotope analysis (see link for description).

Furthermore a harbour has been located which may have been the harbour used by Hatshepsut's ships to load up and return to Egypt from Punt. It is located near modern day

This is all very interesting reading and there will be more to come according to the link.


Sunday, 20 February 2011

Hatshepsut - Beni Hasan

Beni Hasan in what is known as Middle Egypt (for obvious reasons) is home to an intriguing site known as the Speos Artemidos.

The Speos Artemidos (this is a Greek name, roughly meaning "Grotto of Artemis" (Artemis is a Greek god) is a rock-cut temple dedicated to the goddess Pakhet ("she who scratches"), although other deities appear in inscriptions.

Beni Hasan in Ancient Egypt was used as far back in Pharonic times as the Old Kingdom and continued well after the 18th Dynasty. The site appears to have been mainly used as a cemetery although the Speos Artemidos was not used as this at all. Hatshepsut seems to have used this particular area for something quite different, besides the worship of Pakhet (a local goddess to the Beni Hasan region).

Before Ahmose I, founder of the 18th Dynasty was Pharaoh, Egypt was in its second intermediate period. This is a period in Egyptian history where "foreigners" ruled Lower (Northern) Egypt and local native Egyptian rulers controlled Upper (Southern) Egypt. These foreigners are known to us as the Hyksos.

It is the Hyksos who make this temple so interesting. By the time of Hatshepsut's reign the Hyksos period was a piece of history (since then we had the reigns of Amenhotep I, Thutmose I and Thutmose II. I would suggest that this is like looking back at World War 1, as a very rough timescale.

Since then, Egyptians ruled all of Egypt. We see successful military campaigns, the Valley of the Kings was used for burial for the first time, trading expeditions, rebuilding projects across Egypt and much more.

So what makes Hatshepsut write the following quote in the walls of the Speos Artemidos?

Hear ye, all people and folk as many as they may be, I have done these things through the counsel of my heart. I have not slept forgetfully, (but) I have restored that which had been ruined. I have raised up that which had gone to pieces formerly, since the Asiatics were in the midst of Avaris of the Northland, and vagabonds were in the midst of them, overthrowing that which had been made.
From the Speos Artemidos Inscription
Pritchard, James B. ed. Ancient Near Eastern Texts, Princeton, 1969, p. 231


I would suggest a keen sense of her country's history to be the key here. As far as i have seen so far, her father Thutmose I did not refer back to the time of the Hyksos (but am happy to be corrected) so she was not following tradition.

We know from her building work mentioned on the Hatshepsut Project so far that Hatshepsut was a builder of note, commissioning so much in her reign. As far as for her claim to have "raised up that which had gone to pieces formerly" It seems Hatshepsut, as Pharaoh felt it necessary to record the Hyksos in the way she did to highlight her dislike for her country's former history and saying herself as a truly Egyptian ruler she will do what is necessary to stabilize Egypt and to allow it to move on from the past.

For more information i suggest:

Dr Karl Leser - go to Monuments> Speos Artemidos


Wiki on the Hyksos

Anneke Bart - 18th Dynasty family tree

Wiki on Beni Hasan

Kind Regards,

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Deir el Bahri - the work continues

I will follow up this short post in the next few days.

Whilst some of the Deir el Bahri team have returned home, work continues at the temple of Hatshepsut.

This wonderful news comes from one of the members of the team, Andrzej Cwiek who says:

But in fact only eight members of the Deir el-Bahari mission landed yesterday in Warsaw, five of them are still at the site and the mission is being continued.

Every day at Deir el Bahri could bring fresh information and insight to those us of who crave it. Let's wish the team a very successful season, however limited resources may be.

As i mentioned earlier, i will follow up this post shortly - with some exciting news....(i love cliff-hangers and i hope you do to).


Thursday, 3 February 2011

Hatshepsut - Deir el Bahri

Pharaoh Hatshepsut painted face
Originally uploaded by Mikey Stephens

This is a great shot of an Osiride (Osiris form) Hatshepsut statue head from her mortuary temple.

Thanks to Mikey Stephens for the photo.

I have a few items which i have been storing that i hope to share with you shortly. There also appears to be more and more studies on the land of Punt. More on that later.


A Message from Zahi Hawass

Many of us outside Egypt have expressed our sadness at the events which have unfolded over the last week and a half in Egypt.

Some emailed Dr Hawass directly to let him know that we are thinking of Egypt. Dr Hawass sends this message in response:

Dear friends and colleagues,

Thank you for your e-mails and expressions of concern. The internet was restored yesterday.

I am safe, and so are the museums and heritage sites of Egypt. Please keep an eye on my website for details and updates:

Best wishes,

Zahi Hawass


Wednesday, 2 February 2011

A morning with Dr Andrzej Cwiek by Jane Akshar

I have been meaning to post this for ages:

In March 2010, Jane Akshar of Luxor News visited Deir el Bahri and met up with Dr Andrzej Cwiek, who is "the Assistant director of the Polish Mission" - restoring and studying the temple complex.

Jane and Dr Cwiek walked to various spots around the temple complex and discussed erasures, head cloths, Senenmut and much more. Permission for Jane to go "back-of-house" was obtained through the correct methods (see article for details), so rather than just walking where the tourists are allowed, some VIP access was granted.

The article also contains some wonderful photographs, which i had not seen before, which i found to be very useful.

As an end note, Deir el Bahri is on the West Bank of Luxor. Events over the past week have not affected tourism in this area as it has in Lower (Northern) Egypt. As for the excavations/ restorations i do not know for sue, so I've emailed Dr Cwiek to try to obtain some information on the safety of his team at Deir el Bahri. I will let you know if/when i receive a response.