Jan
08
2010
0

What is the Step Pyramid of Saqqara?

Step Pyramid Saqqara - courtesy Paul Mannix - CC-BYThe Step Pyramid at Saqqara, the Pyramid of Zoser, is the oldest known free standing stone structure in the world and the first of the Egyptian Pyramids.  King Zoser’ name was Netjerykhet. The name Zoser was given by New Kingdom visitors to the monument, thousands of years later.  The original name of the Step Pyramid [&hel[more...]

Jan
06
2010
0

Is the Pyramid of Kufu (the Great Pyramid of today) really one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World?

Khafre domminates the horizon - courtesy Dale Gillard - CC-BYIs the Pyramid of Kufu (the Great Pyramid of today) really one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World? Actually, no. It was the Pyramid of Khafre, the second largest pyramid at Giza which was the Great Pyramid of the Seven Wonders, even though smaller in both height and volume than the Great Pyramid [&hel[more...]

Feb
08
2009
0

How many pyramids are in Egypt?

Egyptian Pyramids - courtesy strato56 - CC-BYAt the last counting, there are 110 Egyptian pyramids, most of which are relatively unknown to anyone who is not an ancient Egypt enthusiast. Almost all are found around and near the City of Cairo. Only one royal pyramid is known outside the region, in southern Egypt (at Abydos).  It was the one built by [&hel[more...]

Feb
07
2009
2

What is the Bent Pyramid?

bent pyramid - courtesy brogge1 - CC-BYThe Bent Pyramid is a unique example of early pyramid development in Egypt. This was the second pyramid built by Sneferu, his first pyramid having suffered catastrophic collapse. The lower part of the pyramid rises from the desert at a 55-degree angle, but the top section is built at a much shallower angle of 43 [&hel[more...]

Feb
07
2009
0

Was there ever the catastrophic failure of a pyramid?

Meidum Pyramid at Feyum - courtesy eviljohnius - CC-BYWhen it comes to catastrophic pyramid failures, the first attempt to build a ‘true’ pyramid in ancient Egypt was just that.  The mysterious Pyramid at Meidum is the one involved. The Meidum Pyramid was probably built during the reign of the 4th Dynasty King, Sneferu. At some point in its history this pyramid suffered a [&hel[more...]

Jan
29
2009
0

What is Luxor Temple?

Luxor temple at night - courtesy Argenberg - CC-BYThe earliest remains found at Luxor Temple date to the 13th dynasty and it is possible that there was a shrine or temple on this site during the Middle Kingdom.  However, it did not come into prominance till the time of empire in the 18th dynasty.  Hatshepsut first began the overland processional way which linked [&hel[more...]

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Jan
29
2009
0

What is the Temple of Karnak?

Columns of Hypostyle Hall in Karnak - courtesy ninahale - CC-BYThe Temple of Karnak is the largest temple site in Egypt.  Karnak Temple is actually composed of three main temples, several smaller enclosed temples, and several outer temples. The temple complex was built and enlarged over a a span of 1300 years and stands on 247 acres of land. Around thirty different kings contributed to [&hel[more...]

Jan
22
2009
1

What fruit and vegetables were grown in ancient Egypt?

Date farm outside of Cairo - courtesy CairoCarol - CC-BYVegetables and fruits were very basic in the ancient Egyptian diet and they had more of a variety than many modern people imagine. Common knowledge has it that the ancient Egyptians had dates, garlic and onions and little else.  Well, that just isn’t the case. Of course dates, onions and garlic really were staple foods.  [&hel[more...]

Jan
22
2009
0

What were ancient Egyptian gardens like?

Estate garden plan from ancient Egypt - Project Gutenberg LicenseGardens were very much a part of life in ancient Egypt and gardening was an honored profession. Ancient Egyptians designed and spent much time in garden houses, it was not some modern architect who invented the garden house idea.  Egyptian gardens (in the larger estates) were composed of both trees and flowering plants. Gardens with [&hel[more...]

Jan
13
2009
0

Are there other golden coffins from ancient Egypt besides that of King Tut?

The third and innermost coffin of Tjuyu - courtesy Hans Ollermann - CC-BYActually there are several though only one has been found which is ‘solid’ gold, that of Tutankhamun.  However, the Pharaoh  Sheshonq II had a solid silver coffin with gilded details in the form of the hawk-god, Sokar. Many ‘gilded’ coffins are found in the museum collections around the world.  The gilded coffin of Tjuya is [&hel[more...]

Jan
12
2009
0

Were the treasures in Tut’s tomb really his?

King Tut Papyrus (texture by pareeerica - CC-BY)As time passes, it would seem less likely that all the treasures in King Tut’s tomb were his or even made for him. It would seem that the officials who arranged Tutankhamun’s funeral, ‘borrowed’ a few things from Tut’s immediate predecessor, Smenkhkare, as well as others. Smenkhkare may have been Tutamkhamun’s step brother and held [&hel[more...]

Jan
12
2009
0

What was the Egyptian Labyrinth, a wonder that surpassed the pyramids?

hawara-pyramidAccording to the 5th-century BC Greek historian Herodotus, who stated that he had seen the building, the Egyptian Labyrinth was a vast structure on the shores of a large lake located seven days’ journey up the Nile from the Pyramids at Giza. Herodotus presents the building as a marvel or wonder (thaumata) that eclipsed the [&hel[more...]

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Jan
12
2009
0

What is Lake Moeris?

Wadi Ar-Rayyan: an Egyptian Desert Lake (photo by Dale Gillard - CC-BY)While Lake Moeris began as a natural lake in prehistoric times, the Egyptians built canals, dams and diversions to channel part of the flow of the Nile into the Fayoum Depression and create an inland sea.  Even today, with the lake in a greatly shrunken size, one can still stand on the shore and look [&hel[more...]

Jan
12
2009
0

What are the Fayum portraits?

A Fayum portrait - image public domain“Fayum portrait” is the modern name for a style of realistic painted portrait which was attached to mummies during the era of Roman Egypt. These mummy portraits have been found in all parts of Egypt, but are mostly concentrated in the Fayum Oasis, thus the name.  Fayum Oasis is also the site of the largest [&hel[more...]

Jan
12
2009
0

What was Greco Roman Egypt?

Pompey Pillar (Alexandria, Egypt) - courtesy efouché - CC-BYGreco Roman Egypt (or post-pharonic Egypt) was the time between the last of the native Egyptian kings with the conquest of Alexander the Great and Coptic Egypt.  The latest period was under the Byzantine, or Eastern Roman Empire which led into the Coptic era. It was an era which has an Egyptological discipline of its [&hel[more...]

Jan
11
2009
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What is the Temple of Hathor at Denderah?

Temple of Dendera - courtesy Argenberg - CC-BYThe Temple of Hathor was built between 30 BC and 14 AD, making it one of the youngest of Egyptian temples and is one of the best preserved temple complexes in Egypt.  Because of its late date, it is more a continuation of the ancient Egyptian culture, than a part of it. Dendera was an [&hel[more...]

Jan
11
2009
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What is the Island of Philae?

Temple of Isis in Philae - courtesy Argenberg - CC-BYPhilae, an island in the Nile River is the site of the Temple of Isis and was the final bastion of ancient Egyptian civilization. The Temple of Isis located there is considered a gem of Egyptian architecture and one of the most famous of Egypt's post-Pharonic institutions.  No native Egyptian Pharaoh ever saw this amazing [&hel[more...]

Jan
11
2009
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Which Pharaoh built the Temple of Horus at Edfu?

Temple of Horus at Edfu - courtesy Argenberg - CC-BYaste on line al ribasso The Temple of Horus at Edfu is the best preserved of the ancient Egyptian temples and one of the most famous of “pharoanic monuments.” However, no Egyptian Pharaoh ever laid eyes on it. It was built by the Greeks after the last native Egyptian Pharaoh ruled. Ancient Egyptian civilization had [&hel[more...]

Jan
03
2009
3

Who was Ramses the Great?

Ramses II - courtesy Le musée égyptien (Turin) - CC-BYFew pharaohs, or even later rulers, were ever associated with so many events and monumental building projects as User-maat-re Setepen-re Ramessu Meryamun, known to us today as Ramses the Great, or Ramses II. Ramses II”, reigned for almost 67 years during Egypt’s 19th dynasty during the 12th century BC.  His fame truly surpassed all other [&hel[more...]

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Jan
03
2009
0

What was the Benben Stone?

Obelisk of Heliopolis (photo by Boston Public Library - PD)The Benben stone was a massive, sacred solar obelisk in the Egyptian Old Kingdom temple of Heliopolis. It was designed to catch the first rays of the rising sun.  Legends had the Phoenix (the Benu Bird} living either on the stone or in a sacred willow tree. The Phoenix’s flight was said to represent the [&hel[more...]

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