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¡Se encontraron la tumba faraónica egipcia de la familia Elite e innumerables artefactos!


Los principales hallazgos arqueológicos en Egipto continúan siendo desenterrados y este involucra toda una tumba de entierro familiar de élite. Los arqueólogos han encontrado una nueva tumba faraónica del antiguo Egipto, perteneciente a un importante funcionario real, que tiene aproximadamente 2.500 años. La tumba faraónica egipcia recientemente desenterrada incluye las tumbas de miembros de la familia y un tesoro de importantes obras de arte funerarias y ajuares funerarios.

El equipo de arqueólogos egipcios hizo un descubrimiento notable mientras excavaba un sitio en el área de antigüedades de al-Ghuraifah en el centro de Egipto. Esta es su cuarta temporada excavando en la zona, que alguna vez fue una necrópolis, y hoy se conoce como Tuna el-Gebel. Ya han realizado varios hallazgos importantes en el lugar, incluido un ataúd de piedra caliza del sumo sacerdote de Djehuty, dios egipcio de la luna y la sabiduría. El reciente descubrimiento de la tumba faraónica egipcia en Tuna el-Gebel es uno de los hallazgos más importantes en Egipto este año, porque la tumba no ha sido saqueada por ladrones, a diferencia de muchos hallazgos del pasado.

Solo una pequeña selección de los artefactos y ajuares encontrados recientemente en Egipto. ( Ministerio de Turismo y Antigüedades )

Tumba faraónica egipcia del tesorero de un faraón

Mostafa Waziri, secretario general del Consejo Supremo de Antigüedades de Egipto, dijo a Albawaba.com que el equipo encontró un área de enterramiento que "consiste en un pozo de enterramiento de 10 metros de profundidad que conduce a una gran sala con nichos excavados en la roca". El pozo o pozo está revestido por bloques de piedra de forma regular. El Ministerio de Turismo y Antigüedades de Egipto informó en una publicación de Facebook que los expertos habían encontrado "La tumba del supervisor del tesoro real, 'Badi Eset'". Su nombre también se escribe como Badi Est o Pa Di Eset en algunas fuentes.

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  • Hacer que el cobre parezca oro: tumbas moche de 1400 años revelan ricos artefactos de la élite antigua

Como supervisor del tesoro real, Badi Eset habría sido uno de los hombres más poderosos de Egipto en ese momento, con una inmensa influencia en la sociedad real. Básicamente, Badi Eset habría estado a cargo de la riqueza personal del faraón. Sus responsabilidades habrían incluido la custodia del tesoro y el mantenimiento de la casa y los palacios del faraón.

En la tumba faraónica egipcia se encontró una estatua de un becerro de Apis, un toro sagrado, que se adoraba en Menfis. ( Ministerio de Turismo y Antigüedades )

La tumba faraónica egipcia de Badi Eset estaba llena de objetos funerarios

La antigua tumba faraónica fue fechada en el Período Tardío de la historia egipcia, que es la era del 26 th a los 30 th dinastía. También se encontraron en la tumba dos hermosas estatuas de piedra caliza. Uno tiene la forma del becerro Apis, un toro sagrado, que se adoraba en Memphis. La otra estatua es de una mujer, posiblemente una diosa. Las figuras se encuentran en un notable estado de conservación.

“También se encontró una vasija canopia, hecha de alabastro con la forma de los cuatro hijos de Horus”, según el egipcio Independent. Este es un frasco sellado que generalmente contenía las vísceras del difunto. La página de Facebook del Ministerio de Turismo y Antigüedades citó a Wazari diciendo que los frascos canopos, hechos de piedra caliza, son "algunos de los frascos más hermosos que se han encontrado". Estas eran figurillas funerarias y fueron enterradas con los muertos para que pudieran actuar como sirvientes en la otra vida.

La tumba también contenía casi 1000 estatuillas Ushabti hechas de cerámica vidriada con estaño. También se desenterraron en la tumba algunos amuletos, incluidos muchos escarabajos, que se cree que se utilizaron para ayudar a los difuntos en el más allá. Y también se encontró un conjunto de vasijas de cerámica, posiblemente utensilios de cocina, en la tumba de Badi Eset.

La tumba del supervisor del tesoro real también incluía los sarcófagos de miembros de la familia de Badi Eset.

Sarcófagos de piedra de la familia encontrados en la tumba faraónica egipcia

La página de Facebook del Ministerio de Turismo y Antigüedades informa que “Además, se encontraron 4 sarcófagos de piedra” en la tumba faraónica egipcia. Todos están intactos y aún sellados con mortero. Este es un hallazgo emocionante y puede indicar que hay más entierros intactos esperando ser descubiertos.

El descubrimiento de la tumba de Badi Eset y los sarcófagos de su familia es una oportunidad única para que los investigadores comprendan las costumbres funerarias del Egipto del Período Tardío y pueden proporcionar información sobre las relaciones sociales de la élite en este período. Según la página de Facebook del Ministerio de Turismo y Antigüedad, "aún hay más por descubrir y tesoros por revelar en El-Ghorefa". Las excavaciones continúan en el sitio.


Opciones de página

En el mito egipcio, la magia (heka) fue una de las fuerzas utilizadas por el creador para hacer el mundo. A través de heka, las acciones simbólicas podrían tener efectos prácticos. Se pensaba que todas las deidades y personas poseían esta fuerza en algún grado, pero había reglas sobre por qué y cómo se podía usar.

Los usuarios de la magia más respetados eran los sacerdotes lectores.

Los sacerdotes eran los principales practicantes de la magia en el Egipto faraónico, donde eran vistos como guardianes de un conocimiento secreto dado por los dioses a la humanidad para "protegerse de los golpes del destino". Los usuarios de la magia más respetados eran los sacerdotes lectores, que podían leer los antiguos libros de magia que se guardaban en las bibliotecas de los templos y palacios. En las historias populares, a estos hombres se les atribuía el poder de dar vida a los animales de cera o hacer retroceder las aguas de un lago.

Estatua de Sekhmet © Los sacerdotes lectores reales realizaron rituales mágicos para proteger a su rey y ayudar a los muertos a renacer. En el primer milenio antes de Cristo, su papel parece haber sido asumido por magos (hekau). La magia curativa era una especialidad de los sacerdotes que servían a Sekhmet, la temible diosa de la plaga.

De menor estatus estaban los encantadores de escorpiones, que usaban magia para librar un área de reptiles e insectos venenosos. Las parteras y enfermeras también incluían la magia entre sus habilidades, y se podía consultar a las mujeres sabias sobre qué fantasma o deidad estaba causando problemas a una persona.

Los amuletos eran otra fuente de poder mágico, obtenible de los "creadores de protección", que podían ser hombres o mujeres. Ninguno de estos usos de la magia fue desaprobado, ni por el estado ni por el sacerdocio. Solo a los extranjeros se les acusaba regularmente de usar magia maligna. No es hasta el período romano que hay mucha evidencia de magos individuales que practican magia dañina para obtener una recompensa financiera.


Contenido

Aunque no sobrevivió ningún escrito del período predinástico en Egipto (c. 6000 - c. 3150 a. C.), los eruditos creen que la importancia del cuerpo físico y su preservación se originó allí. Esto probablemente explica por qué la gente de esa época no siguió la práctica común de la cremación, sino que enterró a los muertos. Algunos también creen que pueden haber temido que los cuerpos se levantaran nuevamente si se los maltrataba después de la muerte. [3]

Los primeros cuerpos fueron enterrados en pozos ovalados simples y poco profundos, con algunos bienes funerarios. A veces, se colocaba a varias personas y animales en la misma tumba. Con el tiempo, las tumbas se volvieron más complejas. En un momento, los cuerpos se colocaron en una canasta de mimbre, pero finalmente los cuerpos se colocaron en ataúdes de madera o terracota. Las últimas tumbas que hicieron los egipcios fueron sarcófagos. Estas tumbas contenían artículos funerarios como joyas, comida, juegos y tablillas afiladas. [4]

Entre el período predinástico y la dinastía ptolemaica, hubo un enfoque constante en la vida eterna y la certeza de la existencia personal más allá de la muerte. Esta creencia en una vida después de la muerte se refleja en el entierro de ajuares en las tumbas. Las creencias de los egipcios en la otra vida se conocieron en todo el mundo antiguo a través del comercio y la transmisión cultural que influyeron en otras civilizaciones y religiones. En particular, esta creencia se hizo conocida a través de la Ruta de la Seda. Se creía que las personas eran admitidas en la otra vida sobre la base de que podían cumplir un propósito allí. Por ejemplo, se pensaba que al faraón se le permitía entrar en la otra vida debido a su papel como gobernante del Antiguo Egipto, que sería un propósito trasladado a su otra vida.

Los sacrificios humanos encontrados en las primeras tumbas reales refuerzan la idea de cumplir un propósito en el más allá. Los sacrificados probablemente estaban destinados a servir al faraón en su otra vida. Finalmente, las figurillas y las pinturas murales comienzan a reemplazar a las víctimas humanas. [5] Es posible que algunas de estas figuras hayan sido creadas para parecerse a ciertas personas, para que pudieran seguir al faraón después de que sus vidas terminaran.

No solo las clases bajas confiaban en el favor del faraón, sino también las clases nobles. Creían que cuando moría, el faraón se convertía en una especie de dios que podía otorgar a ciertos individuos la capacidad de tener una vida después de la muerte. Esta creencia existió desde el período predinástico hasta el Reino Antiguo.

Aunque muchos hechizos de los textos anteriores a la muerte se trasladaron, los nuevos Textos del ataúd también se agregaron nuevos hechizos adicionales, junto con leves cambios realizados para hacer que este nuevo texto funerario sea más fácil de relacionar con la nobleza. [6] En el Primer Período Intermedio, sin embargo, la importancia del faraón declinó. Los textos funerarios, anteriormente restringidos al uso real, se hicieron más accesibles. El faraón ya no era un dios-rey en el sentido de que solo se le permitía en la próxima vida debido a su estado aquí, ahora era simplemente el gobernante de la población que, a su muerte, sería nivelado hacia el plano de los mortales. . [7]

Prehistoria, Primeros entierros Editar

Los primeros funerales en Egipto se conocen en las aldeas de Omari y Maadi en el norte, cerca de la actual El Cairo. La gente de estos pueblos enterraba a sus muertos en una tumba simple y redonda con una olla. El cuerpo no fue tratado ni arreglado de una manera particular que cambiaría más adelante en el período histórico. Sin ninguna evidencia escrita, hay poca información que brinde información sobre las creencias contemporáneas sobre la vida después de la muerte, excepto por la inclusión regular de una sola olla en la tumba. Dadas las costumbres posteriores, la olla probablemente estaba destinada a contener comida para los difuntos. [8]

Periodo predinástico, desarrollo de costumbres Editar

Las costumbres funerarias se desarrollaron durante el período predinástico a partir de las del período prehistórico. Al principio, la gente excavó tumbas redondas con una olla en el Período Badarian (4400-3800 aC), continuando la tradición de las culturas Omari y Maadi. Hacia el final del período predinástico, había un número creciente de objetos depositados con el cuerpo en tumbas rectangulares, y existe una creciente evidencia de los rituales practicados por los egipcios del período Naqada II (3650–3300 a. C.). En este punto, los cuerpos se dispusieron regularmente en una posición agachada o fetal con la cara hacia el este, el sol naciente o hacia el oeste (que en este período histórico era la tierra de los muertos). Los artistas pintaron tinajas con procesiones fúnebres y quizás bailes rituales. También aparecieron figuras de mujeres con el pecho desnudo, rostros de pájaro y las piernas ocultas bajo faldas. Algunas tumbas eran mucho más ricas en bienes que otras, lo que demuestra los inicios de la estratificación social. Las diferencias de género en el entierro surgieron con la inclusión de armas en las tumbas de los hombres y paletas de cosméticos en las tumbas de las mujeres. [9]

Hacia el 3.600 a. C., los egipcios habían comenzado a momificar a los muertos, envolviéndolos en vendas de lino con aceites de embalsamamiento (resina de coníferas y extractos de plantas aromáticas). [10] [11]

Período dinástico temprano, tumbas y ataúdes Editar

En la Primera Dinastía, algunos egipcios eran lo suficientemente ricos como para construir tumbas sobre sus entierros en lugar de colocar sus cuerpos en simples fosas excavadas en la arena. La tumba rectangular de adobe con una cámara funeraria subterránea llamada mastaba se desarrolló en este período. Estas tumbas tenían paredes con nichos, un estilo de construcción llamado motivo de la fachada del palacio porque las paredes imitaban a las que rodeaban el palacio del rey. Sin embargo, dado que tanto los plebeyos como los reyes tenían tales tumbas, la arquitectura sugiere que, al morir, algunas personas ricas alcanzaron un estatus elevado. Más adelante en el período histórico, es seguro que el difunto se asoció con el dios de los muertos, Osiris.

Los artículos funerarios se expandieron para incluir muebles, joyas y juegos, así como armas, paletas de cosméticos y suministros de alimentos en frascos decorados conocidos anteriormente, en el período predinástico. Ahora, sin embargo, en las tumbas más ricas, el ajuar funerario se contaba por miles. Solo los ataúdes recién inventados para el cuerpo se hicieron específicamente para la tumba. También hay algunas pruebas no concluyentes de la momificación. Otros objetos en las tumbas que se habían utilizado durante la vida diaria sugieren que los egipcios que ya estaban en la Primera Dinastía anticiparon la necesidad en la próxima vida. Se puede encontrar una mayor continuidad de esta vida a la siguiente en la ubicación de las tumbas: aquellas personas que sirvieron al rey durante su vida eligieron entierros cerca de su señor. El uso de la estela frente a la tumba comenzó en la Primera Dinastía, lo que indica el deseo de individualizar la tumba con el nombre del difunto. [12]

Reino Antiguo, Pirámides y Momificación Editar

En el Reino Antiguo, los reyes primero construyeron pirámides para sus tumbas rodeadas de tumbas de mastaba de piedra para sus altos funcionarios. El hecho de que la mayoría de los altos funcionarios también fueran parientes reales sugiere otra motivación para tal ubicación: estos complejos también eran cementerios familiares.

Entre la élite, los cuerpos fueron momificados, envueltos en vendas de lino, a veces cubiertos con yeso moldeado, y colocados en sarcófagos de piedra o ataúdes de madera. Al final del Imperio Antiguo, también aparecieron las máscaras de momias en cartonaje (lino empapado en yeso, modelado y pintado). Los frascos canopicos ahora contenían sus órganos internos. Los amuletos de oro, loza y cornalina aparecieron por primera vez en varias formas para proteger diferentes partes del cuerpo. También existe la primera evidencia de inscripciones dentro de los ataúdes de la élite durante el Reino Antiguo. A menudo, los relieves de artículos cotidianos se grababan en las paredes como complemento de los ajuares funerarios, que los hacían disponibles a través de su representación.

La nueva puerta falsa era una escultura de piedra de una puerta que no funcionaba, que se encontraba dentro de la capilla o en el exterior de la mastaba, y servía como lugar para hacer ofrendas y recitar oraciones por los difuntos. Las estatuas de los difuntos ahora se incluyeron en las tumbas y se usaron con fines rituales. Las cámaras funerarias de algunos particulares recibieron sus primeras decoraciones además de la decoración de las capillas. Al final del Reino Antiguo, las decoraciones de la cámara funeraria mostraban ofrendas, pero no personas. [13]

Primer período intermedio, variación regional Editar

La situación política en el Primer Período Intermedio, con muchos centros de poder, se refleja en los muchos estilos locales de arte y entierro de esta época. Los muchos estilos regionales para decorar ataúdes hacen que sus orígenes sean fáciles de distinguir entre sí. Por ejemplo, algunos ataúdes tienen inscripciones de una línea y muchos estilos incluyen la representación de Wadjet ojos (el ojo humano con las marcas de un halcón). También hay variaciones regionales en los jeroglíficos utilizados para decorar ataúdes.

Ocasionalmente, los hombres tenían herramientas y armas en sus tumbas, mientras que algunas mujeres tenían joyas y objetos cosméticos como espejos. Las piedras de moler se incluían a veces en las tumbas de mujeres, quizás para ser consideradas una herramienta para la preparación de alimentos en el próximo mundo, al igual que las armas en las tumbas de los hombres implican la asignación de los hombres a un papel en la lucha. [14]

Reino Medio, Contenido de la nueva tumba Editar

Las costumbres funerarias en el Reino Medio reflejan algunas de las tendencias políticas de este período. Durante la undécima dinastía, se excavaron tumbas en las montañas de Tebas que rodeaban la tumba del rey o en cementerios locales en el Alto y Medio Egipto. Tebas era la ciudad natal de los reyes de la undécima dinastía, y prefirieron ser enterrados allí. Pero en la Duodécima Dinastía, los altos funcionarios sirvieron a los reyes de una nueva familia que ahora gobierna desde el norte en Lisht, estos reyes y sus altos funcionarios prefirieron el entierro en una mastaba cerca de las pirámides que pertenecían a sus amos. Además, la diferencia en la topografía entre Tebas y Lisht llevó a una diferencia en el tipo de tumba: en el norte, los nobles construyen tumbas de mastaba en las llanuras desérticas planas, mientras que en el sur, los dignatarios locales continuaron excavando tumbas en la montaña.

Para aquellos de rangos inferiores a los cortesanos reales durante la XI Dinastía, las tumbas eran más simples. Los ataúdes podrían ser simples cajas de madera con el cuerpo momificado y envuelto en lino o simplemente envuelto sin momificación, y la adición de una máscara de momia de cartonaje, una costumbre que continuó hasta el período grecorromano. Algunas tumbas incluían zapatos de madera y una estatua sencilla cerca del cuerpo. En un entierro solo había doce hogazas de pan, una pierna de ternera y una jarra de cerveza para las ofrendas de comida. Se podían incluir joyas, pero solo en raras ocasiones se encontraban objetos de gran valor en tumbas que no pertenecían a la élite. Algunos entierros continuaron incluyendo los modelos de madera que fueron populares durante el Primer Período Intermedio. En las tumbas de este período se han encontrado maquetas de barcos en madera, escenas de producción de alimentos, artesanos y talleres, y profesiones como escribas o soldados.

Algunos ataúdes rectangulares de la Duodécima Dinastía tienen breves inscripciones y representaciones de las ofrendas más importantes que el difunto requería. Para los hombres, los objetos representados eran armas y símbolos de oficio, así como comida. Los ataúdes de mujeres mostraban espejos, sandalias y frascos que contenían comida y bebida. Algunos ataúdes incluían textos que eran versiones posteriores de los Textos reales de las pirámides.

Otro tipo de modelo de loza del difunto como momia parece anticipar el uso de shabti figuritas (también llamadas shawabti o un ushabti) más tarde en la Duodécima Dinastía. Estas primeras figurillas no tienen el texto que dirija a la figura a trabajar en el lugar del difunto que se encuentra en las figurillas posteriores. Las personas más ricas tenían figurillas de piedra que parecen anticipar shabtis, aunque algunos eruditos los han visto como sustitutos de momias más que como figuras de sirvientes.

A finales de la XII Dinastía, se produjeron cambios significativos en los entierros, tal vez como reflejo de los cambios administrativos promulgados por el rey Senwosret III (1836-1818 a. C.). El cuerpo ahora se colocaba regularmente sobre su espalda, en lugar de su costado, como se había hecho durante miles de años. Los textos de los ataúdes y los modelos de madera desaparecieron de las nuevas tumbas de la época, mientras que los escarabajos de corazón y las figurillas con forma de momias ahora se incluían a menudo en los entierros, como lo serían durante el resto de la historia egipcia. La decoración del ataúd se simplificó. La XIII Dinastía vio otro cambio en la decoración. Se encontraron diferentes motivos en el norte y el sur, reflejo del poder gubernamental descentralizado en ese momento. También hubo un marcado aumento en el número de entierros en una tumba, algo raro en períodos anteriores. La reutilización de una tumba por parte de una familia durante generaciones parece haber ocurrido cuando la riqueza se distribuía de manera más equitativa. [15]

Segundo período intermedio, Entierros de extranjeros Editar

Las tumbas conocidas del Segundo Período Intermedio revelan la presencia de no egipcios enterrados en el país. En el norte, las tumbas asociadas con los hicsos, un pueblo semita occidental que gobierna el norte desde el delta noreste, incluyen pequeñas estructuras de adobe que contienen el cuerpo, vasijas de cerámica, una daga en las tumbas de un hombre y, a menudo, un entierro de burro cercano. Se cree que las tumbas simples en forma de sartén en varias partes del país pertenecen a soldados nubios. Estas tumbas reflejan costumbres muy antiguas y presentan fosas redondas y poco profundas, cuerpos contraídos y ofrendas mínimas de comida en macetas. La inclusión ocasional de materiales egipcios identificables del Segundo Período Intermedio proporciona las únicas marcas que distinguen estos entierros de los del Predinástico e incluso de períodos anteriores. [dieciséis]

Nuevo Reino, Nuevos propósitos de objetos Editar

La mayoría de las tumbas de élite en el Reino Nuevo eran cámaras excavadas en la roca. Los reyes fueron enterrados en tumbas excavadas en la roca de varias habitaciones en el Valle de los Reyes y ya no en pirámides. Los sacerdotes llevaban a cabo rituales funerarios para ellos en templos de piedra construidos en la orilla occidental del Nilo, frente a Tebas. A partir de la evidencia actual, la Dinastía XVIII parece ser el último período en el que los egipcios incluyeron regularmente múltiples objetos de su vida cotidiana en sus tumbas a partir de la Dinastía XIX, las tumbas contenían menos elementos de la vida cotidiana e incluían objetos hechos especialmente para el próximo mundo. . Así, el cambio de las dinastías XVIII a XIX formó una línea divisoria en las tradiciones funerarias: la dinastía XVIII recordaba más de cerca el pasado inmediato en sus costumbres, mientras que la dinastía XIX anticipó las costumbres del Período Tardío.

Las personas de la élite de la dinastía XVIII colocaron muebles, ropa y otros artículos en sus tumbas, objetos que sin duda usaron durante su vida en la tierra. En estas tumbas estaban presentes camas, reposacabezas, sillas, taburetes, sandalias de cuero, joyas, instrumentos musicales y arcones de madera. Si bien todos los objetos enumerados eran para la élite, muchas personas pobres no pusieron nada más que armas y cosméticos en sus tumbas.

Ninguna tumba de élite sobrevive sin saquear desde el período de Ramesside. En este período, los artistas decoraron tumbas pertenecientes a la élite con más escenas de eventos religiosos, en lugar de la escena cotidiana que había sido popular desde el Reino Antiguo. El funeral en sí, la comida funeraria con varios parientes, el culto a los dioses e incluso las figuras del inframundo eran temas de decoración de tumbas de élite. La mayoría de los objetos encontrados en las tumbas del período Ramesside fueron hechos para el más allá. Aparte de las joyas, que podrían haber sido utilizadas también durante la vida, los objetos de las tumbas de Ramesside se fabricaron para el próximo mundo. [17]

Tercer período intermedio editar

Aunque la estructura política del Imperio Nuevo colapsó al final de la Dinastía XX, la mayoría de los entierros en la Dinastía XXI reflejan directamente desarrollos del período anterior. Al comienzo de este tiempo, los relieves se parecían a los del período Ramesside. Solo al final del Tercer Período Intermedio comenzaron a verse nuevas prácticas funerarias del Período Tardío.

Poco se sabe de las tumbas de este período. La misma falta de decoración en las tumbas parece haber llevado a una decoración de ataúdes mucho más elaborada. El resto del ajuar funerario del período muestra una fabricación bastante barata. shabtis, incluso cuando el dueño era una reina o una princesa. [18]

Periodo tardío, monumentalidad y retorno a las tradiciones Editar

Los entierros en el Período Tardío podrían hacer uso de tumbas a gran escala, similares a templos, construidas para la élite no real por primera vez. Pero la mayoría de las tumbas en este período estaban en pozos hundidos en el suelo del desierto. Además de bellas estatuas y relieves que reflejan el estilo del Reino Antiguo, la mayoría de los ajuares funerarios se hicieron especialmente para la tumba. Los ataúdes continuaron portando textos y escenas religiosas. Algunos ejes fueron personalizados mediante el uso de estela con las oraciones y el nombre del difunto. Shabtis en loza para todas las clases se conocen. Los frascos canopicos, aunque a menudo no funcionan, continuaron incluyéndose. A menudo también se encontraban presentes varas y cetros que representaban el oficio del difunto en vida. Se pudo encontrar una figura de madera del dios Osiris [19] o de la deidad compuesta Ptah-Sokar-Osiris, [20] [21] junto con escarabajos de corazón, ejemplos de columnas de djed en oro y loza, amuletos del Ojo de Horus , figuras de dioses e imágenes de los difuntos licenciado en Letras. Se podrían incluir herramientas para el ritual de la tumba llamado "apertura de la boca", así como "ladrillos mágicos" en los cuatro puntos cardinales. [22]

Período Ptolemaico, Influencias helenísticas Editar

Tras la conquista de Egipto por Alejandro Magno, el país fue gobernado por los descendientes de Ptolomeo, uno de sus generales. La familia griega macedonia fomentó una cultura que promovía las formas de vida helenística y egipcia antigua: mientras que muchas personas de habla griega que vivían en Alejandría seguían las costumbres de la Grecia continental, otras adoptaron las costumbres egipcias, mientras que los egipcios continuaron siguiendo sus propias costumbres ya antiguas.

Se conocen muy pocas tumbas ptolemaicas. Las bellas estatuas de templos de la época sugieren la posibilidad de esculturas de tumbas y mesas de ofrendas. Los entierros de la élite egipcia todavía utilizaban sarcófagos de piedra. Los libros de los muertos y los amuletos también eran populares. [23]

Periodo romano, Influencias romanas Editar

Los romanos conquistaron Egipto en el 30 a. C., poniendo fin al gobierno del último y más famoso miembro de la dinastía ptolemaica, Cleopatra VII. Durante el dominio romano, se desarrolló un estilo de entierro híbrido de élite que incorpora elementos egipcios y romanos.

Algunas personas fueron momificadas y envueltas en vendas de lino. El frente de la momia a menudo se pintaba con una selección de símbolos egipcios tradicionales. Se podrían agregar a las momias máscaras de momias en estilo egipcio tradicional o estilo romano. Otra posibilidad era un retrato de momia de estilo romano, ejecutado en encáustica (pigmento suspendido en cera) sobre un panel de madera. A veces, los pies de la momia estaban cubiertos. Una alternativa a esto fue un sudario completo con motivos egipcios pero un retrato en estilo romano. Las tumbas de la élite también podrían incluir joyería fina. [24]

Los historiadores griegos Herodoto (siglo V a. C.) y Diodoro Siculus (siglo I a. C.) proporcionan la evidencia más completa que se conserva de cómo los antiguos egipcios se acercaron a la preservación de un cadáver. [25] Antes de embalsamar o preservar el cadáver para retrasar o prevenir la descomposición, los dolientes, especialmente si el difunto tenía un alto estatus, se cubrían la cara con barro y desfilaban por la ciudad mientras se golpeaban el pecho. [25] Si la esposa de un hombre de alto estatus moría, su cuerpo no era embalsamado hasta que habían pasado tres o cuatro días, porque esto evitaba el abuso del cadáver. [25] En el caso de que alguien se ahogara o fuera agredido, el embalsamamiento se realizaba inmediatamente sobre su cuerpo, de manera sagrada y cuidadosa. Este tipo de muerte se consideraba venerada y solo a los sacerdotes se les permitía tocar el cuerpo. [25]

Después del embalsamamiento, los dolientes pueden haber llevado a cabo un ritual que implicaba la ejecución del juicio durante la Vigilia de la Hora, con voluntarios para interpretar el papel de Osiris y su hermano enemigo Set, así como los dioses Isis, Neftis, Horus, Anubis y Thoth. . [26] Según cuenta la historia, Set tenía envidia de su hermano Osiris por haberle concedido el trono antes que él, por lo que planeó matarlo. La esposa de Osiris, Isis, luchó de un lado a otro con Set para apoderarse del cuerpo de Osiris, y a través de esta lucha, el espíritu de Osiris se perdió. [27] No obstante, Osiris resucitó y fue reinstalado como dios. [28] Además de la recreación del juicio de Osiris, se llevaron a cabo numerosas procesiones fúnebres a lo largo de la necrópolis cercana, que simbolizaba diferentes viajes sagrados. [26]

La procesión fúnebre hasta la tumba generalmente incluía ganado que tiraba del cuerpo en un carro tipo trineo, seguido de amigos y familiares. Durante la procesión, el sacerdote quemó incienso y vertió leche ante el cadáver. [26] Al llegar a la tumba, y esencialmente a la siguiente vida, el sacerdote realizó la ceremonia de apertura de la boca en el difunto. La cabeza del difunto se volvió hacia el sur y se imaginó que el cuerpo era una réplica de la estatua del difunto. Abrir la boca del difunto simbolizaba permitir que la persona hablara y se defendiera durante el proceso de juicio. Luego se ofrecieron bienes a los fallecidos para concluir la ceremonia. [26]

Embalsamamiento Editar

La preservación de un cadáver era fundamental si el difunto quería tener la oportunidad de ser aceptado en la otra vida. Dentro del concepto del alma del Antiguo Egipto, ka, que representaba vitalidad, abandona el cuerpo una vez que la persona muere. [29] Solo si el cuerpo es embalsamado de una manera específica ka regresa al cuerpo fallecido, y se producirá el renacimiento. [25] Los embalsamadores recibieron el cuerpo después de la muerte y de manera sistematizada lo prepararon para la momificación. Los familiares y amigos del fallecido tenían una variedad de opciones que variaban en precio para la preparación del cuerpo, similar al proceso en las funerarias modernas. A continuación, los embalsamadores escoltaron el cuerpo hasta ibw, traducido como "lugar de purificación", una tienda en la que se lavaba el cuerpo, y luego por nefer, "La Casa de la Belleza", donde tuvo lugar la momificación. [25]

Proceso de momificación Editar

Para vivir por toda la eternidad y ser presentado frente a Osiris, el cuerpo del difunto tenía que ser preservado por momificación, para que el alma pudiera reunirse con él y disfrutar de la otra vida. El principal proceso de momificación fue preservar el cuerpo deshidratándolo con natrón, una sal natural que se encuentra en Wadi Natrun. El cuerpo fue drenado de cualquier líquido y dejado con la piel, el cabello y los músculos preservados. [30] Se dice que el proceso de momificación tomó hasta setenta días. Durante este proceso, sacerdotes especiales trabajaron como embalsamadores mientras trataban y envolvían el cuerpo del difunto en preparación para el entierro.

El proceso de momificación estaba disponible para cualquiera que pudiera pagarlo. Se creía que incluso aquellos que no podían permitirse este proceso aún podían disfrutar de la otra vida con la recitación correcta de hechizos. La momificación existía en tres procesos diferentes, que iban desde el más caro, moderadamente caro y más simple o más barato. [25] El método de momificación más clásico, común y caro se remonta a la XVIII Dinastía. El primer paso fue extraer los órganos internos y el líquido para que el cuerpo no se pudriera. Después de colocarlo sobre una mesa, los embalsamadores sacaron el cerebro mediante un proceso llamado excerebración insertando un gancho de metal a través de la fosa nasal, rompiéndolo hacia el cerebro. Sacaron todo lo que pudieron con el anzuelo, y el resto lo licuaron con drogas y lo escurrieron. [25] Tiraron el cerebro porque pensaron que el corazón hacía todo el pensamiento. El siguiente paso fue extraer los órganos internos, los pulmones, el hígado, el estómago y los intestinos, y colocarlos en frascos canopicos con tapas en forma de cabezas de las deidades protectoras, los cuatro hijos de Horus: Imsety, Hapy, Duamutef y Qebhseneuf. Imsety tenía cabeza humana y protegía el hígado. Hapy tenía cabeza de simio y protegía los pulmones. Duamutef tenía cabeza de chacal y protegía el estómago. Qebhseneuf tenía cabeza de halcón y protegía los intestinos delgado y grueso. [25] A veces, los cuatro frascos canópicos se colocaban en un cofre canópico y se enterraban con el cuerpo momificado. Un cofre canópico se parecía a un "ataúd en miniatura" y estaba pintado de manera intrincada. Los antiguos egipcios creían que al enterrar a los difuntos con sus órganos, podrían reunirse con ellos en la otra vida. [26] Otras veces, los órganos se limpiaron y limpiaron, y luego se devolvieron al cuerpo. [25] The body cavity was then rinsed and cleaned with wine and an array of spices. The body was sewn up with aromatic plants and spices left inside. [25] The heart stayed in the body, because in the hall of judgement, it would be weighed against the feather of Maat. After the body was washed with wine, it was stuffed with bags of natron. The dehydration process took 40 days. [27]

The second part of the process took 30 days. This was the time where the deceased turned into a semi divine being, and all that was left in the body from the first part was removed, followed by applying first wine and then oils. The oils were for ritual purposes, as well as for preventing the limbs and bones from breaking while being wrapped. The body was sometimes colored with a golden resin, which protected the body from bacteria and insects. Additionally, this practice was based on the belief that divine beings had flesh of gold. Next, the body was wrapped in linen cut into strips with amulets while a priest recited prayers and burned incense. The linen was adhered to the body using gum, opposed to a glue. [25] The dressing provided the body physical protection from the elements, and depending on how wealthy the deceased's family was, the deceased could be dressed with an ornamented funeral mask and shroud. [25] Special care was given to the head, hands, feet, and genitals, as contemporary mummies reveal extra wrappings and paddings in these areas. [31] Mummies were identified via small, wooden name-tags tied typically around the deceased's neck. [25] The 70-day process is connected to Osiris and the length the star Sothis was absent from the sky. [28]

The second, moderately expensive option for mummification did not involve an incision into the abdominal cavity or the removal of the internal organs. Instead, the embalmers injected the oil of a cedar tree into the body, which prevented liquid from leaving the body. The body was then laid in natron for a specific number of days. The oil was then drained out of the body, and with it came the internal organs, the stomach and the intestines, which were liquefied by the cedar oil. The flesh dissolved in the natron, which left only skin and bones left of the deceased body. The remains are given back to the family. [25] The cheapest, most basic method of mummification, which was often chosen by the poor, involved purging out the deceased's internal organs, and then laying the body in natron for 70 days. The body was then given back to the family. [25]

Animal mummification Edit

Animals were mummified in Ancient Egypt for many reasons. Household pets that held a special important to their owners were buried alongside them. However, animals were not only viewed as pets but as incarnations of the gods. Therefore, these animals were buried to honor ancient Egyptian deities. Some animal mummifications were performed to serve as sacred offerings to the gods who often took the form of animals such as cats, frogs, cows, baboons, and vultures. Other animals were mummified with the intention of being a food offering to humans in the afterlife. Additionally, household pets that held a special important to their owners were buried alongside them.

Several kinds of animal remains have been discovered in tombs all around Dayr al-Barsha, a Coptic village in Middle Egypt. The remains found in the shafts and burial chambers included dogs, foxes, eagle owls, bats, rodents, and snakes. These were determined to be individuals that had entered the deposits by accident. Other animal remains that were found were more common and recurred more than those individuals that wound up accidentally trapped in these tombs. These remains included numerous gazelle and cattle bones, as well as calves and goats which were believed to have been in result of human behavior. This was due to finding that some remains had fragments altered, missing, or separated from their original skeletons. These remains also had traces of paint and cut marks on them, seen especially with cattle skulls and feet. Based on this, the natural environment of the Dayr al-Barsha tombs, and the fact that only some parts of these animals were found, the possibility of natural deposition can be ruled out, and the cause of these remains in fact are most likely caused by animal sacrifices, as only the head, foreleg, and feet were apparently selected for deposition within the tombs. According to a study by Christopher Eyre, cattle meat was actually not a part of the daily diet in Ancient Egypt, as the consumption of meat only took place during celebrations including funerary and mortuary rituals, and the practice of providing the deceased with offerings of cattle going back to the Predynastic Period. [32]

After the mummy was prepared, it would need to be re-animated, symbolically, by a priest. The opening of the mouth ceremony was conducted by a priest who would utter a spell and touch the mummy or sarcophagus with a ceremonial adze – a copper or stone blade. This ceremony ensured that the mummy could breathe and speak in the afterlife. In a similar fashion, the priest could utter spells to reanimate the mummy's arms, legs, and other body parts.

The priests, maybe even the king's successor, proceeded to move the body through the causeway to the mortuary temple. This is where prayers were recited, incense was burned, and more rituals were performed to help prepare the king for his final journey. The king's mummy was then placed inside the pyramid along with enormous amount of food, drink, furniture, clothes, and jewelry which were to be used in the afterlife. The pyramid was sealed so that no one would ever enter it again. However, the king's soul could move through the burial chamber as it wished. After the funeral the king becomes a god and could be worshipped in the temples beside his pyramid. [33]

In ancient times Egyptians were buried directly in the ground. Since the weather was so hot and dry, it was easy for the bodies to remain preserved. Usually the bodies would be buried in the fetal position. [34] Ancient Egyptians believed the burial process to be an important part in sending humans to a comfortable afterlife. The Egyptians believed that, after death, the deceased could still have such feelings of anger, or hold a grudge as the living. The deceased were also expected to support and help their living family. [35] They believed that the Ba y Ka are what enabled the dead to support their family. los Ba made it possible for an invisible twin to be released from the body to support the family, while the Ka would recognize the twin when it would come back to the body. [36] With the ideas of the dead being so valuable, it is clear why the Egyptians treated the deceased with respect. The less fortunate Egyptians still wanted their family members to be given a proper burial. A typical burial would be held in the desert where the family would wrap the body in a cloth and bury it with everyday objects for the dead to be comfortable. [37] Although some could afford mummification, most commoners were not mummified due to the expense. [38] Often the poor are found in mass graves where their bodies are not mummified and only with minimal household objects, spread out throughout the desert, often in areas that are now populated. [ cita necesaria ]

The tomb was the housing for the deceased and served two crucial functions: the tomb provided infinite protection for the deceased to rest, as well as a place for mourners to perform rituals in which aided the deceased into eternal life. Therefore, the ancient Egyptians were very serious about the way in which the tombs were built. [39] Two hallmarks of the tomb included: a burial chamber, which housed the physical body of the deceased (inside a coffin) as well as funerary objects deemed most important, and a "cult place," which resembled a chapel where mourners, family, and friends could congregate. The tomb of a king included a full temple, instead of a chapel. [39]

Typically, the tomb of a deceased person was located somewhere close by their home community. The ancient Egyptians opted to bury the deceased in land that was not particularly fertile or useful for vegetation. Therefore, tombs were mostly built in desert areas. Tombs were usually built near each other and rarely stood alone. For a deceased king, however, the tomb was located in a place of utmost sacredness. [39]

In the Prehistoric Egypt, bodies were buried in deserts because they would naturally be preserved by dehydration. The "graves" were small oval or rectangular pits dug in the sand. They could give the body of the deceased in a tight position on its left side alongside a few jars of food and drink and slate palettes with magical religious spells. The size of graves eventually increased according to status and wealth. The dry, desert conditions were a benefit in ancient Egypt for burials of the poor, who could not afford the complex burial preparations that the wealthy had.

The simple graves evolved into mudbrick structures called mastabas. Royal mastabas later developed into step pyramids and then "true pyramids." [40] As soon as a king took the throne he would start to build his pyramid. Rituals of the burial, including the "Opening of the mouth ceremony" took place at the Valley Temple. [33] [41] While a pyramid's large size was made to protect against robbery, it may also be connected to a religious belief about the sun god, Ra. [42]

A majority of cemeteries were located on the west bank of the Nile, which was metaphorically viewed as "the realm of the dead." The tomb was said to represent the deceased's place in the cosmos, which ultimately depended on the social class of the deceased. If the deceased was of a notably high-class, they were buried near the king, whereas middle and lower class individuals were simply buried near the communities in which they had lived. [39] In many cases, the tombs of the high-class were situated in accordance with the tombs of the lower classes so that they would be viewed as a "focal point." For example, one burial site was designed so that the tombs of the governors were placed alongside the slope of a hill, whereas the tombs of the governor's attendants were placed at the foot of the hill. [39]

After having been preserved, the mummy was placed into a coffin. Although the coffins that housed the deceased bodies were made simply of wood, they were intricately painted and designed to suit each individual. During the Old Kingdom, the following was included on each coffin: the title of the deceased, a list of offerings, a false compartment through which ka could pass through, and painted eyes so that the deceased could look through the coffin. [43] The decorations on the coffin usually fit the deceased's status.

During the Middle Kingdom, the coffin was treated as if it were a "miniature tomb" and was painted and inscribed like so. Goddesses Isis and Nephthys were painted on the coffins, and were said to guard the deceased in the afterlife. Along the sides of the coffins, the four sons of Horus were painted, amongst other gods. Prayers were often inscribed on the coffins as well. [43]

Anthropoid coffins soon emerged, which were tailored to the contour of the deceased's body. The deceased's face and hair was painted onto the coffin so to personalize it further. [43] A sarcophagus, which is a large, stone container, was used to house the coffin, and provide supplementary protection to the dead body. The Ancient Egyptians translated the word "sarcophagus" to mean "possessor of life," and therefore, the sarcophagus would aid the deceased into the afterlife. [44]

One of the funerary practices followed by the Egyptians was preparing properly for the afterlife. Ka, the vital force within the Ancient Egyptian concept of the soul, would not return to the deceased body if embalming was not carried out in the proper fashion. [29] In this case, the body decayed, and possibly became unrecognizable, which rendered the afterlife unattainable for the deceased person. [25] If the proper precautions were not taken, damnation would occur. Damnation meant that Egyptians would not experience the glories of the afterlife where they became a deified figure and would be welcomed by the Gods. [45] Instead, damnation was depicted in the books of the underworld. It was a place of opposites chaos, fire, and struggle. [45] Different pages of the books of the underworld depict different perspectives of what happens during damnation. It discusses cutting out humanity and individuality from the person and reversing the cosmic order. [45]

The idea of judgement went as follows: in order to be considered for the admittance into the afterlife, those who died were obligated to undergo a multi-step judgement by certain gods. [39] The concept and belief in judgement is outlined in the Book of the Dead, a funerary text of the New Kingdom. The Book of the Dead is composed of spells relating to the deceased and the afterlife. Spell 125, in particular, is understood to be delivered by the deceased at the outset of the judgement process. [39]

The visual picture of what judgement looks like has been discovered through ancient Egyptian ruins and artefacts. The procedure was depicted as follows: the deceased's heart was weighed in comparison to the feather of Maat, while Ammit awaited to eat the heart (if the deceased was found to be a sinner). [39] Osiris was the judge (among others), and represented an ideal output of the judgement process for the deceased who entered his judgement hall. This is because he resurrected and regained his godly status after he was justified against his brother Set, who wrongly murdered him. [28] The deceased pleaded to Osiris that they had not committed sin, which is known as a "negative confession." [28] The forty-two Assessors of Maat judged how virtuous the life of the deceased was, and this represented the principal element of the deceased entering the afterlife. After passing judgement, the family and friends of the deceased celebrated them and boasted about their righteousness to attain entry into the afterlife. [25]

Many mummies were provided with some form of funerary literature to take with them to the afterlife. Most funerary literature consists of lists of spells and instructions for navigating the afterlife. During the Old Kingdom, only the pharaoh had access to this material, which scholars refer to as the Pyramid Texts. The Pyramid Texts are a collection of spells to assure the royal resurrection and protect the pharaoh from various malignant influences. The Pharaoh Unas was the first to use this collection of spells, as he and a few subsequent pharaohs had them carved on the walls of their pyramids. [46] These texts were individually chosen from a larger bank of spells.

In the First Intermediate Period and in the Middle Kingdom, some of the Pyramid Text spells also are found in burial chambers of high officials and on many coffins, where they begin to evolve into what scholars call the Coffin Texts. In this period, the nobles and many non-royal Egyptians began to have access to funerary literature. Although many spells from the earlier texts were carried over, the new coffin texts also had additional spells, along with slight changes made to make this new funerary text more fit for the nobility. [6]

In the New Kingdom, the Coffin Texts became the Book of the Dead, or the Funeral Papyri, and would last through the Late Kingdom. The text in these books was divided according to chapters/ spells, which were almost two-hundred in number. Each one of these texts was individualized for the deceased, though to varying degrees. If the person was rich enough, then they could commission their own personal version of the text that would include only the spells that they wanted. However, if one was not so wealthy, then one had to make do with the pre-made versions that had spaces left for the name of the deceased.

If the scribe ran out of room while doing the transcription, he would just stop the spell wherever he was and would not continue. [47] It is not until the Twenty-sixth Dynasty that there began to be any regulation of the order or even the number of spells that were to be included in the Book of the Dead. At this time, the regulation is set at 192 spells to be placed in the book, with certain ones holding the same place at all times. [48] This makes it seem as if the order of the texts was not what was important, so the person could place them in an order that he was comfortable with, but rather that it was what was written that mattered.

Although the types of burial goods changed throughout ancient Egyptian history, their purpose to protect the deceased and provide sustenance in the afterlife remained.

From the earliest periods of Egyptian history, all Egyptians were buried with at least some goods that they thought were necessary after death. At a minimum, these consisted of everyday objects such as bowls, combs, and other trinkets, along with food. Wealthier Egyptians could afford to be buried with jewelry, furniture, and other valuables, which made them targets of tomb robbers. In the early Dynastic Period, tombs were filled with daily life objects, such as furniture, jewelry and other valuables. They also contained many stone and pottery vessels. [49] One important factor in the development of Ancient Egyptian tombs was the need of storage space for funerary goods.

As burial customs developed in the Old Kingdom, wealthy citizens were buried in wooden or stone coffins. However, the number of burial goods declined. They were often just a set of copper models, tools and vessels. [50] Starting in the First Intermediate period, wooden models became very popular burial goods. These wooden models often depict everyday activities that the deceased expected to continue doing in the afterlife. Also, a type of rectangular coffin became the standard, being brightly painted and often including an offering formula. Objects of daily use were not often included in the tombs during this period.

At the end of the Middle Kingdom, new object types were introduced into burials, such as the first shabtis and the first heart scarabs. Shabtis were little clay statues made to perform tasks on command for the pharaoh. Now objects of daily use appear in tombs again, often magical items already employed for protecting the living. Scarabs (beetles) collect animal dung and roll it into little balls. To the Egyptians, these balls looked like the life-giving Sun, so they hoped that scarabs would bring them long life. Scarabs have been found in tombs and graves. [51]

In the New Kingdom, some of the old burial customs changed. For example, an anthropoid coffin shape became standardized, and the deceased were provided with a small shabti statue, which the Egyptians believed would perform work for them in the afterlife. Elite burials were often filled with objects of daily use. Under Ramesses II and later all daily life objects disappear from tombs. They most often only contained a selection of items especially made for the burial. Also, in later burials, the numbers of shabti statues increased in some burials, numbering more than four hundred statues. In addition to these shabti statues, the deceased could be buried with many different types of magical figurines to protect them from harm.

Funerary boats were a part of some ancient Egyptian burials. [52] Boats played a major role in Egyptian religion because they were conceived as the main means by which the gods traveled across the sky and through to the netherworld. One type of boat used at funerals was for making pilgrimages to holy sites such as Abydos. A large funerary boat, for example, was found near the pyramid of the Old Kingdom Pharaoh Khufu. The funerary boats were usually made of wood the Egyptians used a collection of papyrus reeds and tied them together with the wood very tightly. [53] The most common route for funerary boats was the River Nile to the afterlife. The boat carried the coffin and often had a dog in the boat since they believed a dog would lead the deceased to the afterlife. [54] The boats usually measured about 20 feet or longer. These however did not match those of the great pharaohs like Pharaoh Khufu (who built the Great Pyramid). His funerary boat was approximately 144 foot long with 12 oars. Common funerary boats were smaller sized with few oars. [55]

At the Ure Museum, there is an Egyptian funerary boat on display that represents a typical tomb offering. This boat symbolizes the transport of the dead from life to the afterlife. In Ancient Egypt death was seen as a boat journey. More specifically, it was seen as a trip across their River Nile that joined the North and South. This funerary boat offering was added to the museum's collection in 1923 from the Liverpool Institute of Archaeology from the Tomb of the Officials at Beni Hassan.

Through the study of mummies themselves in addition to ancient writers and modern scientists, a better understanding of the Ancient Egyptian mummification process is promoted. The majority of what is known to be true about the mummification process is based on the writing of early historians who carefully recorded the processes-- one of which was Herodotus. Now, modern day archaeologists are using the writings of early historians as a basis for their study. The advancement of new technology including x-rays has allowed for the analysis of mummies without destroying the elaborate outer wrappings of the body. In addition to the use of x-rays, autopsies are also being performed in order to gain a better understanding of the diseases suffered by Ancient Egyptians as well as the treatments used for these diseases. A pregnant mummy sheds light on pregnancy complications and prenatal care and treatments. [56] [57] In learning their age of death, experts are able to create a timeline of the dates regarding the ruling of Egyptian kings. In looking at the bones of the mummified bodies, experts get a better idea of the average height and life span. Studying Ancient Egyptian Mummies, archaeologists are able to learn about the past.


Ancient genomes uncover Irish passage tomb dynastic elite

Archaeologists and geneticists, led by those from Trinity College Dublin, have shed new light on the earliest periods of Ireland's human history.

Among their incredible findings is the discovery that the genome of an adult male buried in the heart of the Newgrange passage tomb points to first-degree incest, implying he was among a ruling social elite akin to the similarly inbred Inca god-kings and Egyptian pharaohs.

Older than the pyramids, Newgrange passage tomb in Ireland is world famous for its annual solar alignment where the winter solstice sunrise illuminates its sacred inner chamber in a golden blast of light. However, little is known about who was interred in the heart of this imposing 200,000 tonne monument or of the Neolithic society which built it over 5,000 years ago.

The survey of ancient Irish genomes, published today in leading international journal, Naturaleza, suggests a man who had been buried in this chamber belonged to a dynastic elite. The research, led by the research team from Trinity, was carried out in collaboration with colleagues from University College London, National University of Ireland Galway, University College Cork, University of Cambridge, Queen's University Belfast, and Institute of Technology Sligo.

"I'd never seen anything like it," said Dr Lara Cassidy, Trinity, first author of the paper. "We all inherit two copies of the genome, one from our mother and one from our father well, this individual's copies were extremely similar, a tell-tale sign of close inbreeding. In fact, our analyses allowed us to confirm that his parents were first-degree relatives."

Matings of this type (e.g. brother-sister unions) are a near universal taboo for entwined cultural and biological reasons. The only confirmed social acceptances of first-degree incest are found among the elites -- typically within a deified royal family. By breaking the rules, the elite separates itself from the general population, intensifying hierarchy and legitimizing power. Public ritual and extravagant monumental architecture often co-occur with dynastic incest, to achieve the same ends.

"Here the auspicious location of the male skeletal remains is matched by the unprecedented nature of his ancient genome," said Professor of Population Genetics at Trinity, Dan Bradley. "The prestige of the burial makes this very likely a socially sanctioned union and speaks of a hierarchy so extreme that the only partners worthy of the elite were family members."

The team also unearthed a web of distant familial relations between this man and other individuals from sites of the passage tomb tradition across the country, including the mega-cemeteries of Carrowmore and Carrowkeel in Co. Sligo.

"It seems what we have here is a powerful extended kin-group, who had access to elite burial sites in many regions of the island for at least half a millennium," added Dr Cassidy.

Remarkably, a local myth resonates with these results and the Newgrange solar phenomenon. First recorded in the 11th century AD, four millennia after construction, the story tells of a builder-king who restarted the daily solar cycle by sleeping with his sister. The Middle Irish place name for the neighbouring Dowth passage tomb, Fertae Chuile, is based on this lore and can be translated as 'Hill of Sin'.

"Given the world-famous solstice alignments of Brú na Bóinne, the magical solar manipulations in this myth already had scholars questioning how long an oral tradition could survive," said Dr Ros Ó Maoldúin, an archaeologist on the study. "To now discover a potential prehistoric precedent for the incestuous aspect is extraordinary."

The genome survey stretched over two millennia and unearthed other unexpected results. Within the oldest known burial structure on the island, Poulnabrone portal tomb, the earliest yet diagnosed case of Down Syndrome was discovered in a male infant who was buried there five and a half thousand years ago. Isotope analyses of this infant showed a dietary signature of breastfeeding. In combination, this provides an indication that visible difference was not a barrier to prestige burial in the deep past.

Additionally, the analyses showed that the monument builders were early farmers who migrated to Ireland and replaced the hunter-gatherers who preceded them. However, this replacement was not absolute a single western Irish individual was found to have an Irish hunter-gatherer in his recent family tree, pointing toward a swamping of the earlier population rather than an extermination.

Genomes from the rare remains of Irish hunter-gatherers themselves showed they were most closely related to the hunter-gatherer populations from Britain (e.g. Cheddar Man) and mainland Europe. However, unlike British samples, these earliest Irelanders had the genetic imprint of a prolonged island isolation. This fits with what we know about prehistoric sea levels after the Ice Age: Britain maintained a land bridge to the continent long after the retreat of the glaciers, while Ireland was separated by sea and its small early populations must have arrived in primitive boats.

This work was funded by a Science Foundation Ireland/Health Research Board/Wellcome Trust Biomedical Research Partnership Investigator Award to Dan Bradley and an earlier Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Scholarship to Lara Cassidy.


Artifact Trove at Egyptian Tomb Illuminates Life Before Pharaohs

Archaeologist uncovers human sacrifices and evidence of strife.

A recently discovered tomb at a key Egyptian settlement has yielded the largest trove of artifacts ever found in a tomb there—including a young man's burned and scattered bones—and is shedding new light on the ancestors of the pharaohs.

Part of a cemetery complex that predates the formation of the ancient Egyptian state, the find is one of the richest "predynastic" burials archaeologists have ever seen.

The tomb, at the site known as Hierakonpolis, yielded 54 objects, including combs, spearheads, arrowheads, and a figurine made of hippopotamus ivory. Arrayed around the tomb are dozens more burials, including possible human sacrifices and exotic animals.

The latest find, announced earlier this month, is adding to the remarkable story coming out of the Hierakonpolis cemetery, which has been under investigation since 1979.

"It demonstrates the importance of this cemetery, with its high-status burials," says Boston University archaeologist Kathryn Bard. "They have some very interesting secondary burials of humans and animals and wooden structures that are unique to Hierakonpolis."

Hierakonpolis, located on the Nile River about 300 miles (500 kilometers) south of Cairo, was the most important settlement in Egypt's predynastic period, a five-century stretch that began around 3,500 B.C. and preceded the formation of the ancient Egyptian state.

The finds at Hierakonpolis show that the roots of ancient Egyptian civilization stretched back centuries. There are clear signs of social divisions, with elite tombs that are richer and larger than others. "There must have been a whole dynasty of predynastic kings," says Renee Friedman, a British Museum archaeologist who is director of the expedition.

The Hierakonpolis elite erected elaborate wooden structures over their tombs, parts of which have been preserved for more than 6,000 years by the dry climate. Their graves were surrounded by retainers, wild animals, and other accoutrements for their journey into the afterlife, foreshadowings of the mighty civilization that followed.

Human Sacrifices, Posthumous Desecration

The man buried in what's known at Hierakonpolis as Tomb 72 was between 17 and 20 years old when he died. His high status in life is reflected in the deadly ceremony that must have accompanied his death: He was buried with at least 20 people.

"It's unlikely their deaths were natural," Friedman says. Analysis of their skeletons suggests most were well nourished and unusually tall for the time, between five feet eight and five feet ten. Two of them were dwarfs, which were a fascination for ancient Egyptians.

Because the tomb hadn't been disturbed for many millennia, Friedman's team was able to reconstruct a shocking act of desecration that took place there.

The occupant's skeleton had been scattered, and the tomb's wood posts show evidence of fire damage. Friedman thinks the grave had been violated soon after the owner's death, and the body and the wooden structure over the tomb deliberately set on fire.

The many grave goods left inside indicate that the grave robbers' goal wasn't loot, but some sort of postmortem vengeance. "The owner of the tomb had been yanked out, while the other objects had been left alone," Friedman says. "That's not plundering—this was an act of aggression. The point wasn't to take goodies, it was to destroy this person."

The destruction may have had something to do with political and social changes Friedman says rocked the Egyptian world not long after the man in Tomb 72 died. "There are no more elite burials, and the middle class seems to be getting richer," Friedman says. "There's a real change in the status quo. There must have been some kind of revolution."

Could the destruction of Tomb 72 and its owner have been an early form of class warfare? "Maybe this is about anger at those who have kept you down," Friedman suggests. "Is there something going on where the elite at Hierakonpolis are being called to book?"

Others are more cautious. The evidence for social upheaval is limited, and Bard says it's a stretch to even call the man buried in the tomb a king.

With no inscriptions or other written evidence in the tomb, "no one knows his exact political role, other than that he was a very high-status person," she cautions. "There's no way you can attribute a political role to a prehistoric burial."


Ancient Egyptian Artifacts

los ancient Egyptian civilization has been blessed with a vast long history so when it comes to archaeological discoveries, very few countries can measure up to the ancient Egyptian artifacts.

For more than 4000 years the ancient Egyptian civilization created some of the most enchanting and beautiful artifacts the world has ever seen that remains virtually unchanged until over the current day.

The sense of artistic design was mainly affected by their profound reverence for the gods & holy pharaohs and was also used to tell the story of the elite upper class.

Egypt holds a massive trove of history which includes many incredible and mysterious discoveries within the tombs and temples of the Egyptian dunes.

All the ancient Egyptian artifacts were designed to fit an absolute vision of order, perfection, and symmetric imagery to showcase stories that would last forever.

Over the countless centuries, many archeologists and Egyptologists wondered across Egypt to search for the hidden heavenly treasures all across this holy country.

Many majestic artifacts have been discovered that attract travelers from all over the world which come in different shapes, functions, and sizes which can be found in the Egyptian museum such as:


Nut and Geb

Nut Raised Above Geb. Image © Bernard Perroud

Nut, the goddess of the night sky, and her brother Geb, the god of the earth, were originally thought to be in a constant state of love making. Ra grew angry with his grandchildren, and commanded their father Shu to separate the two lovers. The god of the air took his place, and trampled on the ithyphallic Geb, and lifted Nut high into the air. Nut was found to be pregnant, and was then cursed by Ra – she would never be able to bear her children on any month of the 360 day year. Thoth managed to win a game against Khonsu, god of the moon, and used some of the light of the moon to create five extra days (making the year 365 days). During those days Nut gave birth to her five children – Isis, Osiris, Nephthys, Set and Horus the Elder (not to be confused with Horus, the child of Isis and Osiris).


Rich legacy

Tomb painting of dignitary of ancient Egypt © Our fascination with ancient Egypt is, to a large extent, a product of the vast amount of material information available. We know so much about the daily lives of the ancient Egyptians - we can read their words, meet their families, feel their clothes, taste their food and drink, enter their tombs and even touch their bodies - that it seems that we almost know them. And knowing them, maybe even loving them, we feel that we can understand the very human hopes and fears that dominated their lives.

Some of these myths passed from Egypt to Rome, and have had a direct effect on the development of modern religious belief.

Preserved in their writings and coded into their artwork the Egyptians asked, and answered, the questions that all societies ask. What happens after death? How was the world created? Where does the sun go at night? Lacking any real scientific understanding they answered their own questions with a series of myths and legends designed to explain the otherwise inexplicable.

Some of these myths passed from Egypt to Rome, and have had a direct effect on the development of modern religious belief. Reading and understanding the ancient stories allows us to abandon our modern preconceptions, step outside our own cultural experiences and enter a very different, life-enhancing world.

But, by no means everything about ancient Egypt is fully understood. This lack of certainty over some issues simply adds to the subject's appeal. There are enough unanswered questions - How were obelisks raised? Who was Nefertiti? Where is the lost capital of Itj-Tawi? What exactly are the curious fat cones that élite Egyptian party guests wore on their heads? - and enough published reference books, to allow every Egyptologist, amateur or professional, the hope that he or she might one day solve one of the many outstanding puzzles.


Who Was Sattjeni? Tomb Reveals Secrets About Ancient Egyptian Elite

Two eyes painted on a newly discovered Egyptian coffin seem to stare out from across millennia, conveying the secrets of the ancient Egyptian elite.

The coffin, discovered this year in the necropolis at Qubbet el-Hawa across the Nile River from Aswan, belonged to an important local woman, Sattjeni, daughter of one governor, wife of another and mother of two more, said excavation leader Alejandro Jiménez-Serrano, an Egyptologist at the University of Jaén in Spain.

Sattjeni's mummified body was buried in two cedar coffins made of wood imported from Lebanon. Though the outer coffin had degraded over the nearly 4,000 years since Sattjeni's death, her inner coffin was in excellent condition, according to Egypt's antiquities ministry, which announced the discovery May 24. [See Photos of Sattjeni's Elaborate Burial]

Sattjeni was not a royal, but her family practiced royal strategies to hold on to their governing power: She married her sister's widower, and the family also associated itself with the ram-headed deity Khnum, much as pharaohs intermarried to keep power in the family and claimed to be descended from the gods.

In an email interview with Live Science, Jiménez-Serrano revealed more about the excavations at Qubbet el-Hawa and the life of Sattjeni.

Live Science: Tell us about the excavations at west Aswan. What kinds of artifacts and structures do you find at this site? What was this area used for during the Middle Kingdom (between about 2000 B.C. and 1700 B.C.)?

Jiménez-Serrano: Qubbet el-Hawa is one of the most important nonroyal necropolises of ancient Egypt. Its importance lies in the great quantity and quality of the biographical inscriptions carved in the façades of the funerary complexes. The necropolis was mainly used to bury the highest officials of the nearby town of Elephantine, the capital of the southernmost province of Egypt, at the end of the third millennium and the beginning of the second (2200 B.C. to 1775 B.C). The governors were buried together with their relatives the members of their courts (officials and domestic service) were buried in other smaller and less-decorated tombs. Thus, today, we know the existence of 100 tombs, of which only 80 have been completely cleared.

During the Middle Kingdom, especially during the 12th Dynasty (1950 B.C. to 1775 B.C.), the governors of Elephantine built giant funerary complexes in the necropolis of Qubbet el-Hawa. Some of them are beautifully decorated and have important inscriptions.

Live Science: How did you uncover the burial of Sattjeni? What was that moment like?

Jiménez-Serrano: In 2013, we discovered the upper part of a chamber, which belonged to a tomb that was probably quarried in the Byzantine period (fifth century A.D.). In the walls of this chamber, there was a Christian prayer painted by the Coptics. Thus, we thought that the area was disturbed. However, that chamber at the end was not a chamber, but the beginning of a shaft. During this year, we began the excavation of the shaft, and the more that we excavated, the more we got the sensation that a great discovery might appear . and it appeared!

The worker called me, and I went to the bottom of the shaft, where there was a tiny aperture. With a torch, I could have a look inside, and the first thing that I could see were hieroglyphs. Later, we could determine that those hieroglyphs were on the coffins of the Lady Sattjeni. [Photos: More Than 40 Tombs Discovered in Upper Egypt]

Live Science: Who was Sattjeni, and why was she an important figure?

Jiménez-Serrano: Sattjeni was the second daughter of one of the most important figures of the 12th Dynasty, the governor Sarenput II. Unfortunately, her brother Ankhu died shortly after his father, and there were no male successors. So she and her sister Gaut-Anuket had the rights of the rule in Elephantine. The latter married a certain official called Heqaib and converted him into the new governor of Elephantine: Heqaib II. However, we suspect that Gaut-Anuket did not live much time, because Sattjeni married Heqaib II. They had at least two children, who became the governors of Elephantine successively, as Heqaib III and Ameny-Seneb.

Live Science: What does this discovery tell you about 12th Dynasty society?

Jiménez-Serrano: This discovery shows that the local dynasties of the periphery of the State emulated the royal family. In this concrete case, we can confirm that women were the holders of the dynastic rights. Probably, the members of these families married as the royal family — brother with sister — in order to keep the divine blood "pure." We must not forget that Sattjeni's family declared themselves heirs of a local god.

Live Science: What were the coffins like, and was there anything interesting about their construction or preservation?

Jiménez-Serrano: We are still investigating why the outer coffin was so decayed compared to the inner [one], which was in perfect condition. Both were made with the same foreign wood: cedar from Lebanon. Perhaps the inner coffin was treated with an organic substance that we have not yet detected.


Ver el vídeo: Αίγυπτος: Φαραωνικός τάφος ετών παραδίδεται στο κοινό (Noviembre 2021).