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Nuevos hallazgos arqueológicos en Egipto






Mysterious case of death on the Nile, 4,000 years ago 
Excavations in Egypt have unearthed a grisly massacre at an ancient royal city 

- Excavaciones en Egipto desvelan una masacre ocurrida en una antigua ciudad real -
Archaeologists have begun to piece together the story of a mysterious massacre more than 4,000 years ago in the former royal city of Mendes, which flourished for 20 centuries on a low mound overlooking the green fields and papyrus marshes of the Nile delta north of Cairo.
Donald Redford of Pennsylvania State University had begun to excavate the foundations of a huge temple linked to Rameses II, the pharaoh traditionally linked to the biblical story of Moses, when he found an earlier structure destroyed by fire, and evidence of a grisly episode of death on the Nile, he told a Bloomsbury Academy conference in London on Saturday.
"We were under the misapprehension that it was a new temple on a new site," he said. "But in fact I sunk a trench below the existing temple and was really surprised beyond belief by what I found. There was a late Old Kingdom structure of some sort, a great mud brick platform 40 metres wide, on which a temple had once stood."
Under the fire-scorched rubble, the scientists discovered the first of at least 36 bodies, victims of some brutal event 40 centuries ago. "We thought they had died where they were. But it has now become apparent that they were killed elsewhere and thrown in front of the podium. The mud brick of the burning temple cascaded over them. They were covered up and never retrieved. So there is a certain amount of foul play here."
They found old and young, men and women, tumbled in disordered heaps. In a civilisation that made a cult of death, such discoveries are rare: even the poorest were interred formally, and with some provision for the afterlife.
The arid, baking climate of Egypt helps in preservation. But the discovery of human remains in one of the cities of the delta - annually flooded by the Nile, and in some parts inundated for 10 months of the year - astonished the researchers.
"The bones were in very bad condition. It was a wonder that the bioanthropologist discovered them at all. It would have been so easy to trowel through, and not recognise them. They are virtual powder in the mud. But once you do detect them, and are very careful, out comes the outline of a body," he said.
There is no obvious indicator of how the victims died. They may have been knifed, or poisoned, or smothered. There are no bludgeon marks on the surviving skeletons. The bodies were casually thrown in, one on top of another. The temple had been rebuilt somewhere between 2150 and 1950BC. The implication is that the mysterious murders must date from the collapse of the Old Kingdom, or the turbulence between 2250BC and 2150BC.
The fortunes of Mendes rose and fell for 25 centuries. The city was a centre of two cults, of the ram god and a fish goddess. It thrived as a trade centre, and early names suggest that semitic herdsmen must have frequently crossed the Sinai desert to visit the region. Scientists have slowly unearthed evidence of factory-scale brewing and baking, of a busy harbour, of a flourishing perfume industry in the Graeco-Roman years and of hasty burials, perhaps during an epidemic of plague.
Mendes reached its heyday during the ancient Greek era. It became a centre of resistance to Persian conquerors who held Egypt for 120 years - a freedom fighter called Neferites I founded a dynasty there - and Ataxerxes the Persian sacked the city in a punitive expedition in 343BC. The settlement survived into the early Christian era, but the Mendesian branch of the Nile meandered away altogether, leaving an enigmatic pattern of granite obelisks, limestone ruins and poor mud graves on a mound of dense sand above the water table in what is now a vast agricultural plain.
In about AD1,000, an Arab traveller reported that he had seen the temple enlarged by Rameses II still standing. The first European travellers during the Renaissance found it much as it is today. "It must have been during the middle ages that it was finally swept away," Professor Redford said.

Fuente: The Guardian 


En castellano:

Hallan rastros de una masacre ocurrida en Egipto hace 4.000 años
Un equipo de arqueólogos ha hallado restos humanos de una cruel masacre presuntamente ocurrida hace 4.000 años en la ciudad egipcia de Mendes, al norte de El Cairo, según informa hoy el diario ’’The Guardian’’. 
Mientras excavaban los cimientos de un templo del faraón Ramsés II, los científicos descubrieron treinta y seis cuerpos de víctimas de una brutal matanza. 
Donald Redford, arqueólogo de la Universidad de Pennsylvania (Estados Unidos), anunció su hallazgo en una conferencia en la academia de Bloomsbury, en Londres. 
Explicó que, aunque al principio creyeron que las treinta y seis personas habían muerto en ese lugar, investigaciones posteriores han demostrado que seguramente fueron aniquiladas en otra zona y luego depositados sus cuerpos frente al templo de Ramsés II, faraón del imperio egipcio. 
Más tarde, el templo se incendió y se cree que el lodo de los ladrillos derretidos cayó sobre los cadáveres, que quedaron sepultados hasta ahora. 
’’Algo horrible ocurrió allí’’, aseguró Redford en la conferencia. 
Los cuerpos hallados, de hombres y mujeres de distintas edades, estaban apilados de forma arbitraria, lo que resulta raro en una civilización que hacía culto a la muerte y enterraba a sus muertos ceremonialmente. 
Según el profesor, no queda claro cómo murieron las víctimas, que podrían haber sido ’’acuchilladas, envenenadas o asfixiadas’’. 
En todo caso, los suelos áridos y las altas temperaturas del clima de Egipto han ayudado a la preservación de estos restos humanos, afirma ’’The Guardian’’. 
La ciudad de Mendes, en el delta del Nilo, vivió su apogeo en la era de la Grecia clásica, cuando se convirtió en foco de resistencia a los persas que tomaron Egipto durante 120 años. 
Fuente: EFE



Archaeologists discover base of ancient lighthouse 

- Arqueólogos franceses descubren la base del Faro de Alejandría -
French diving archeologists have discovered the foundation of the ancient lighthouse of Pharos in Alexandria, the seventh wonder of the world. 
The director of the Alexandria national museum, Ibrahim Darwish, said Sunday that the lighthouse, which was destroyed by two earthquakes in the 11th and 14th centuries, had occupied an area of 800 sq m north of the city's eastern harbor. 
The lighthouse consisted of three towers stacked one on top of the other largest to smallest and reached 120-137 meters (390-450 feet) in height. On top of the lighthouse, there was a bronze chalice holding smoldering coal. A complicated system of mirrors made it possible for travelers to see the smoldering coal from a distance of tens of kilometers (up to 60 miles). 
The lighthouse was built by Greek architect Sostratus for King Ptolemy II (284-246 BC). It was erected on the eastern side of the island of Pharos at the entrance to the harbor of Alexandria. Earthquakes scattered the remains of the lighthouse all over the harbor, and only now have archeologists established its exact location. 
In July, Governor Salam El Mahgoub called on Egyptian and international organizations to restore the lighthouse, a project that will cost $100 million. 
Fuente: Ria Novosti



Ancient mummies discovered in Cairo

- Antiguas momias "descubiertas en el Museo de El Cairo -

Egyptian archaeologists recently found hundreds of amazing artifacts, which were lying under layers of dirt in the basement of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, reports the London-based daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat.
The artifacts, which include mummies and coffins, were found inside dusty cases, which were forgotten for decades in the museum's basement. Following the theft of several statues, the museum's management decided for the first time to compile a full list of all its artifacts. During the work on the list, the basements were searched, and the treasure was revealed.
"During the whole of the past century, the museum's managers sat on their chairs drinking tea, and did not fulfill their duties," said General Secretary of the High Council for Archaeology, Zahi Hawwas.
So far, some 600 coffins and 170 mummies have been found in the museum basement.
The museum was established 104 years ago, and contains some of the most important archaeological artifacts in the world, including the mummy of Ramses II who died in 1212 B.C. (B.C.E.)
Fuente: The Media Line.


Primate fossils shed new light on human evolution
- Fósiles de primates hallados en Egipto arrojan nueva luz sobre la evolución humana -

The fossilized upper molars of Biretia megalopsis appear with a one-pound British coin. The well-preserved fossil was discovered with other pieces of teeth, jaw, and facial bones by researchers working in the Egyptian desert. The fossil specimens belong to Biretia fayumensis and Biretia megalopsis, two ancient primate species previously unknown to science. © Erik Seiffert/Science.London: Palaeontologists from Britain, the US and Egypt are a step closer to understanding the origins of our primate ancestors following the discovery of the fossilised remains of two previously unknown species in Egypt. At 37 million years, the new species are some of the oldest human relatives  ever found, as well as some of the smallest.  Fossil evidence demonstrates that higher primates or anthropoids, which include monkeys, apes and humans, have been evolving on the Afro-Arabian landmass for at least 45 million years.  However, the evolution of early anthropoids in Afro-Arabia is poorly documented, with only a few isolated teeth.  The team of researchers from Oxford University, the US and Egypt have shed new light on this period of evolution with the discovery of two new  anthropoid species, Biretia fayumensis and Biretia megalopsis, which lived 37 million years ago.  The well-preserved pieces of teeth, jaw and facial bones were discovered at a site in the Fayum desert region in Northern Egypt.
As well as being among the oldest known anthropoids the new species, described in the Oct 14 edition of 'Science', also appear to be among the smallest. Biretia fayumensis is estimated to have weighed between 160 and 270  grams - about the weight of a pack of butter - and is the smallest anthropoid found in the Fayum region. A fossilised facial bone found by the team shows an unusually large eye socket, suggesting that one of the species, Biretia megalopsis, was nocturnal. The experts say this is a unique trait amongst early anthropoids and extremely unusual amongst living anthropoids - all of which are  day-living with the exception of one South American species. The  dental features of both species link the Biretia primates to the parapithecids - primitive anthropoids which first appeared around 35 million years ago - and the oldest undisputed Afro-Arabian anthropoid, the 45 million-year-old Algeripithecus.
This evidence suggests the existence of a diverse group of parapithecid relatives extending back as early as 45 million years ago, and is likely to add fuel to the debate over whether anthropoids originated in Africa or Asia.  Dr Erik Seiffert, curator of Geological Collections at the Oxford University  Museum of Natural History, who is the lead author of the paper, said: "These fossils not only fill a major gap in our understanding of early anthropoid  evolution, but also challenge prevailing views about the lifestyles of our Eocene relatives.  "With these discoveries we are much closer to understanding the time and  place of origin of the living anthropoid primates, but we also see that the story of anthropoid origins is turning out to be far more complex than  anybody imagined"

Fuente: New


Descubierta en Beiging una imagen de Cleopatra vestida de faraón masculino

En la universidad de Beiging se ha producido el sorprendente descubrimiento de una loseta con la figura de Cleopatra en relieve disfrazada de hombre. Es la tercera imagen de la reina egipcia que aparece bajo este atuendo, lo que hace pensar a los investigadores en su razón de ser. Algunos afirman que las reinas egipcias se disfrazaban de hombre para aumentar el efecto de su poder a través de la masculinidad. Según otros, Cleopatra aparece vestida de hombre por la simple pereza de los artistas que realizaron los grabados. En cualquier caso, desvela las dificultades de las mujeres influyentes en el  Antiguo Egipto. Por Marta Morales de Tendencias Científicas. Análisis recientes han demostrado que una imagen en relieve esculpida hace unos 2050 años en una antigua losa de piedra egipcia muestra a Cleopatra  vestida de hombre. Cleopatra VII es la reina de Egipto cuya vida y muerte, así como sus amores con los dos personajes romanos, Julio César y Marco Antonio, más han pasado a la historia, y han servido de inspiración a través de los tiempos a literatos y cineastas. La losa descubierta en la Universidad de Beiging (de la que no existen  todavía imágenes en la red) es una de las tres conocidas que representan a Cleopatra como varón. Las otras dos datan de aproximadamente la misma fecha (año 51 antes de Cristo), cuando comenzó el reino de este personaje histórico. Más recientemente (1914), en la ópera de Massenet que lleva su nombre, la reina egipcia aparece también disfrazada de hombre en la escena segunda del acto segundo. Los investigadores afirman que el descubrimiento de Beiging, una loseta de entre 34 y 25 centímetros, fue probablemente realizado en Tell Moqdam, una ciudad egipcia que los antiguos griegos llamaban Leonton Polis (ciudad de  leones), informa Pravda. La imagen muestra a Cleopatra vestida como un faraón que lleva una doble corona (característica de los faraones masculinos). En ella, la reina presenta un jeroglífico a un león situado sobre un pedestal. Por encima del  león, puede verse un jeroglífico con un texto que reza "Osiris el León". Con el león se identifica al dios del inframundo, Osiris. En la mitología egipcia, Osiris es el juez de los muertos y el jefe de la tríada de Tebas, formada por Isis, Horus y Osiris. Según el mito, fue el fundador de la nación egipcia. A Osiris se le representa siempre momificado. En los textos  funerarios, como el Libro de los muertos, el faraón difunto se identifica con Osiris, rey de los muertos. Este análisis ha sido realizado por Willy Clarysse, egiptólogo de la Universidad católica de Lovaina, en Bélgica. Clarysse afirma que el cambio de sexo de Cleopatra se debe seguramente a la pereza del artista que la recreó. Hasta el año 51 antes de Cristo, Ptolemaios XII, padre de Cleopatra,  fue el rey de Egipto. Cuando murió, algunas de las losetas ya habían sido grabadas, y sólo faltaba por añadir el nombre del nuevo soberano en ellas. Sin embargo, no se cambió la imagen del faraón por la de una mujer porque era muy difícil hacerlo y suponía un gran trabajo. En declaraciones a la cadena internacional ABC, Clarysse afirma que una de las piernas de Cleopatra fue retocada, lo que significa que tal vez alguien  comenzó a rehacer la imagen, pero abandonó pronto sus intenciones. Los resultados de este análisis saldrán publicados el próximo año en la revista alemana Antique World. Reafirmar el poder a través de lo masculino Otras reinas aparecen como hombres en las expresiones artísticas egipcias. Por ejemplo, la reina Hatshepsut, que vivió durante los siglos XV y XVI antes de Cristo, a menudo es representada sin pechos, con ropa de hombre y con barba. Algunos historiadores opinan que esta reina asumía así los símbolos de la masculinidad como reafirmación de su poder y para reclamar su derecho al trono, ya que la mayoría de las mujeres de la época no demostraban oficialmente su autoridad. Hay que tener en cuenta que de las treinta dinastías que se desarrollaron en el antiguo Egipto, sólo hubo una en la que una mujer tomó el título de faraón: Hatshepsut. Ascendió al trono a la muerte de su esposo y gobernó de 1479 a 1457 (a.C.). Durante ese período, Hatshepsut se hizo retratar en monumentos como hombre,  barba postiza y demás símbolos que correspondían al rey. Otro de los casos en los que se dio esa situación fue la de la reina Tausert, que gobernó Egipto entre 1188-1186 (a.C.). Esta incorporación de atributos masculinos a las figuras de las reinas egipcias puede estar relacionado con el hecho de que las mujeres que ostentaban el cargo cumplían con las mismas funciones de un faraón masculino. Clarysse afirma que, en el caso de Cleopatra, no había dudas acerca de su género, puesto que aparece como mujer en monedas y en dibujos. Además su nombre, al contrario que el de Hatshepsut, es un nombre femenino, porque termina en "a", como era típico tanto entre los griegos como entre los egipcios. El descubrimiento de Beiging confirma las dificultades de las mujeres para ejercer sus funciones en el Antiguo Egipto, así como los recursos empleados para vencer las resistencias culturales del entorno. La loseta de Cleopatra pertenece a la colección del museo Duan Fang, de la Universidad de Beijing. Fang fue un embajador chino que reunió numerosas obras de arte a lo largo de su vida, algunas de las cuales se encuentran en el Museo Field de Chicago. La loseta ha sido encontrada por Yan Haiying, un profesor asociado de historia en la universidad de Beijing, que encontró la loseta en un rincón de uno de los almacenes del museo,  para sorpresa de todos.



- Indiana Jones escocés encuentra la ruta ceremonial seguida hasta la pirámide escalonada de Saqqara -
Scottish 'Indiana Jones' finds ancient burial path

A VETERAN archaeologist, hailed as Scotland's "Indiana Jones", has discovered one of Egypt's most elusive ancient sites 3,000 years after it was buried in the desert sand. Ian Mathieson, 78, director of Saqqara Geophysical Survey Project, has located part of a seven-mile ceremonial burial route to the Step Pyramid of Djoser, near Cairo. Treasure hunters have long tried to pinpoint the Serapeum Way, and in 1798 Napoleon sent 1,000 men. According to legend, the Greek philosopher Strabo found a partially buried golden  sphinx while travelling in 24BC. A French archeologist, Mariette, unearthed part of the Way, and 134 sphinxes, in 1890 but his notes and the location were lost. Mr Mathieson, a former civil engineer and surveyor from Edinburgh, said the  road was the main ceremonial route lined with ornate sphinxes leading to the underground burial complex of the Serapeum in Saqqara. Mr Mathieson and his team use geophysical radar equipment which allows them  to search for relics without digging on a meagre budget of £10,000. Other European dig teams spend up to £1 million in Egypt alone. He said: "The images look like an aerial photograph but they are covered with five metres of sand."  In 2002, while looking for the Way, Mr Mathieson accidentally discovered the ancient buried town of Saqqara whose first inhabitants lived in 2500BC. He will return to Saqqara on Thursday to continue mapping the area.  He said: "Who knows what might be still buried under there?" 

Fuente: Scotsman

- Nuevo hallazgo arqueológico en el Oasis de Dakhla -
New archaeological find in New Valley

An Egyptian archaeological mission working in the New Valley's al-Dakhla Oasis unearthed pre-historic shark and reptile fossils in the now-desert area of Kliss. Stone utensils including knives and plain pottery were among the artifacts found. Fossils of lions, tigers were also excavated by the mission in the area.
Fuente: EOL


Egipto descubre tumba de cinco mil años antigüedad

EL CAIRO, 31 ago (Xinhuanet) -- Un grupo arqueológico egipcio-estadounidense ha descubierto un complejo funeral de cinco mil años de antigüedad en el Alto Egipto, informó hoy el diario " Egyptian Gazette". La tumba fue descubierta en la región de Kom al-Ahmer cerca de Edfu, 97 kilómetros al sur de la famosa ciudad de Luxor, a la orilla occidental del río Nilo, anunció Zahi Hawass, secretario general del Consejo Supremo Egipcio de Antigüedades. Tres momias fueron encontradas en el interior de la tumba al lado de una estatua de piedra con cabeza de vaca y una máscara cerámica funeraria, añadió. Se estima que la tumba pertenece a uno de los primeros gobernadores de la  ciudad griega de Apollinopolis Magna, nombre antiguo de Edfu. Edfu fue la capital de la segunda provincia (Horus) del Alto Egipto, donde se localiza el templo de Horus, considerado como el templo de culto mejor conservado en Egipto.



- Gemas del Antiguo Egipto en una isla de Italia -

Ancient Egypt gems on Italian isle

Archaeological bonanza continues on Pantelleria (ANSA) - Pantelleria, August 25 - A priceless set of ancient jewellery, probably from Egypt, is the latest archaeological jackpot experts have struck on this southern Italian island .
Excavations at the 16th-century BC settlement of Mursia, on the north-western part of the isle, have uncovered a beautiful oriental style ring, necklace and pair of ear-rings .
The discovery comes on the back of a string of spectacular recent finds made here which date back to ancient Roman times .
"We can say that they are jewels made with great craftsmanship and of major archaeological importance," said Sebastiano Tusa, a top Italian archaeologist and the Island's Sea Superintendent .
The finds provide further evidence that Pantelleria was a major trading and cultural crossroads between Italy, Africa, Greece, Crete and Asia Minor in ancient times .
The ear-rings are made of bronze, the ring is composed of a series of flat, convex-shaped pieces, while the necklace is a string of round glass beads with a pointed bronze pendant. "The raw materials probably came from Cyprus or Anatolia, but their style suggests they were made in Egypt," Tusa explained .
"This type of broad ring was worn a great deal by women in the Second Intermediate Period of Ancient Egypt (1700-1550 BC) .
"The necklace should be Egyptian too because of the cobalt-blue and golden yellow tones of the glass beads." The archaeologist said further research was necessary to be sure the objects were from Egypt and not another part of the Near East .
Tusa said the jewellery was found hidden in a cloth sack, probably to stop it being stolen by raiders like those who eventually burned down the Mursia settlement .
In recent weeks the dig has also unearthed vases, utensils and various other household objects at the site .
Earlier in the summer archaeologists found an ancient Roman temple, dating to the first or second century AD, on the island on a hill known as Cossyria .
Experts hit gold in the same area two years ago when they brought to light the marble busts of Caesar, the emperor Titus and a high-born court lady .
The busts were in an extraordinary state of preservation, allowing them to be immediately identified .
However, there are still some lingering doubts about whether the woman's head is that of Antonia Minor or her daughter-in-law Agrippina Major, since female sculpture in the early imperial age differed from the lifelike images produced for men .
Instead, models of ideal beauty were preferred, topped with the elaborate and trendy hairstyles that were in vogue among the aristocratic women of the time .
The woman's head is therefore without doubt that of an important member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty (14-68 AD), but there is still a slight question mark as to whether it is Agrippina, daughter of the Emperor Claudius .
Pantelleria, situated between Sicily and Tunisia, is also home to dozens of huge black 'Sesi' funeral mounts of piled rock, which show the island was inhabited in Neolithic times. photo: ancient doll found by Prof. Tusa during his team's excavations on Pantelleria

Fuente: ANSA



Egypt unearths ancient mosaic floor in Sinai

A multicolored mosaic floor dating back to the 2nd century has been unearthed in the Sinai peninsula, the Egyptian Gazette reported on Thursday.

The 9x15m floor was discovered 25 km east of the Suez Canal byan Egyptian-Polish excavation team working in Sinai, Zahi Hawass,secretary general of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities,was quoted as saying. Hawass said the floor, constructed of glass, pottery, limestone and marble, was "the most beautiful mosaic antiquity discovered in the area." The team is now working on the mosaic in order to move it to the el-Arish National Museum in northern Sinai, where it will be displayed alongside other antiquities discovered in the area, Hawass said. He said the discovery site in Sinai is already famous for the "Blosium" Roman theater, which is the biggest Roman theater in Egypt with a 110-meter-long stage. Mohammed Abdul-Maksoud, head of the Lower Egypt Antiquity Department and head of the excavation team, said the mosaic discovery was made during the ongoing restoration work being carried out on the theater. "Unfortunately, the mosaic floor was significantly damaged by the Israeli army which used it as a military camp during the occupation," Maksoud said. Israel seized Sinai during the 1967 Middle East War and returned it to Egypt after a peace treaty was signed in 1979.

Fuente: Xinhuanet.



- Arqueólogos desentierran varios restos de época Ptolemaica y Romana en el Egipto Medio -

Archaeological finds unearthed in Egypt 
A joint Egyptian-German mission have found wooden artefact, coins and old manuscripts in Minya governorate, 250 kilometers south of Cairo, Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni said on Thursday. 
The finds date back to the Polemic and Roman ages, said Culture Minister Farouk Hosni, noting that the wooden statues are in bad shape. 
Some of the coins, Hosni added, are in good shape, and they date back to the time of Cleopatra, an Egyptian queen noted for her beauty and charisma. 



- Hallados restos de un tesoro Hikso en la ciudad fortificada de Tharo, en el norte del Sinaí -

King of the wild frontier

the foundation of the fortified wall where the cachet was foundRemains of a Hyksos treasure found early last week in a cachet within the foundation of the fortified city of Tharo in North Sinai will shed more light on Ahmose I's strategy during his famous war of liberation. Nevine El-Aref reports

A team of archaeologists digging at Tel-Habuwa, near the town of Qantara East and three kilometres east of the Suez Canal, has made a significant discovery. The find comes as part of the search for more of the ancient forts that played a major role in protecting Egypt's eastern gateway to the Delta from foreign invasion.

Within the foundation structure of the Tharo fort, the starting point of Horus military road, Egyptian excavators this week chanced upon a cachet of limestone reliefs bearing names of two royal personalities and two seated statues of differing sizes. The larger statue is made of limestone and belongs to a yet unidentified personage, but from its size and features archaeologists believe that it could be a statue of Horus, the god of the city. In 2001 archaeologists unearthed remains of a mud-brick temple dedicated to the newly-discovered limestone reliefthis deity. The second is a headless limestone statue inscribed on the back with the name and title of its holder. This statue belongs to the person responsible for the Tharo gate during the Hyksos era.

"The discoveries have created great excitement among archaeologists," says Mohamed Abdel-Maqsoud, the leader of the excavation team and head of antiquities in Lower Egypt. Abdel-Maqsoud points out that this is a very important discovery, providing us with a better understanding of the Rind papyrus -- now on display in the British Museum -- and the military strategy used by the Pharaoh Ahmose I to liberate Egypt from the Hyksos. The Rind papyrus mentions that Ahmose attacked Tharo and imposed his authority on the town in order to lay siege to the Hyksos in their capital Avaris -- near the Delta town of Sharqiya -- and block any contact with their allies in the east.

Until 2003, when the fortified city of Tharo was found, nothing was known about this military town. At that time several objects were found denoting that Tharo dated from the New Kingdom, so Egyptologists believed that it was built by Ahmose I's successors in an attempt to protect Egypt's eastern gate from any further invaders. This latest discovery, however, proves that Tharo was built long before that, since the Hyksos took over it as a military base on Egypt's eastern border. The town expanded after the war of liberation, and forts were built throughout the period of the New Kingdom.

Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, says this discovery is concrete evidence of the events depicted on reliefs of Seti I engraved on the northern wall of the Hypostyle Hall in Karnak Temple. These relate to the military campaign led by Seti I in the first year of his rule to smash rebels. Hawass pointed out that the discovery also showed how ancient artists drew accurate topographical maps of the Horus Road, which stretched from Egypt to Palestine.

According to Seti I's relief, 11 forts were originally built on this section of the road, although excavations have so far unveiled only four.

Hawass believes that after the liberation from the Hyksos, the Pharaohs of the New Kingdom intentionally buried all the Hyksos structures within the structures of other buildings in order to obliterate the era of occupation.

The newly unearthed limestone relief shows for the first time ever a princess named Tani, whose nationality and lineage is unknown. This princess, along with a prince named Nahsy, stand before the god Baneb-Jed. "This relief is very perplexing because of this unknown princess," Abdel-Maqsoud says. However he believes that further study and excavation could lead to the unravelling of the enigma.

Beside the town of Habuwa are remains of dwellings, storehouses and administrative buildings dating back to the Hyksos and the New Kingdom periods, as well as a great many ovens for baking bread to feed a large number of soldiers.


Hallan en una momia un poema de Safo, la poeta del erotismo femenino. El texto, escrito hace 2.600 años, versa sobre el paso del tiempo en su cuerpo

Londres- Una conocida revista literaria británica publicó ayer un supuesto poema inédito de la poetisa griega Safo, descubierto el año pasado en un papiro empleado para recubrir una momia egipcia. El texto, de 101 palabras en su versión inglesa, aparece en la nueva edición de «The Times Literary Supplement» en la traducción de Martin West, un reputado experto en la Antigua Grecia y profesor del prestigioso College of All Souls de la Universidad de Oxford. De confirmarse la autenticidad de la pieza, sería un descubrimiento de enorme relevancia en este campo, pues hasta ahora sólo se conservaban otros tres poemas completos de la poetisa griega. El envejecimiento. En el texto, escrito hace unos 2.600 años, Safo aborda uno de sus temas más recurrentes: el paso del tiempo y los efectos del envejecimiento sobre su organismo. «Mi una vez tierno cuerpo ha alcanzado la  edad adulta/ Mi cabello se ha vuelto blanco en vez de oscuro/ Mi corazón se ha vuelto pesado, mis piernas ya no me sostienen», dicen tres de los versos rescatados por West. «No envejecer, siendo humanos, es  imposible», concluye luego. Las 101 palabras están estructuradas en doce versos que forman seis parejas. Aproximadamente el 90 por ciento del texto es original, y el traductor sólo ha tenido que rellenar varios huecos de las cuatro primeras  líneas. Nacida en Lesbos en el año 625 antes de Cristo, Safo es considerada una  de las mejores poetisas de la antigüedad, principalmente por sus textos de temática amorosa. Según «The Guardian», Platón llegó a decir que no sólo debe considerársela una gran poetisa, sino también una Musa, las diosas que  inspiran la producción artística. De hecho, su brillante reputación se debe principalmente a comentarios de este tipo, pues apenas se conservan muestras sustanciosas de su trabajo: además del texto publicado ayer, se conocen otros tres poemas completos, 63 versos aislados  y un total de 264 pequeños fragmentos. En un papiro. El poema ha tenido que sobrevivir una enrevesada existencia para llegar a las páginas del «Times Literary Supplement». Su  redescubrimiento comenzó con la aparición de un misterioso papiro en la cobertura de una momia egipcia. Tras intensas investigaciones, un equipo de expertos se dio cuenta de que diversas partes de uno de los poemas encajaban  con fragmentos de otra obra de Safo descubierta en Egipto en 1922. Al combinar ambos textos, se pudo rescatar una pieza casi al completo. Según  Martin West, se trata del manuscrito más antiguo que se conserva de un poema de Safo, pues fue copiado en el siglo III antes de Cristo, unos 300 años después de su redacción. «Este poema es una pequeña obra maestra: simple, conciso, perfectamente formado, una expresión honesta y nada pretenciosa del sentimiento humano, dignificada por su moderación», escribe el profesor de la Universidad de Oxford en el breve ensayo que acompaña el texto. «Emociona tanto por lo que dice como por lo que deja en silencio. No nos da ningún tipo de argumentos para pensar que la reputación poética de Safo no era merecida».  De la obra de Safo, que al parecer constaba de nueve libros de extensión variada, se han conservado algunos Epitalamios, cantos nupciales para los cuales creó un ritmo propio y un metro nuevo, que pasó a denominarse sáfico, y fragmentos de poemas dirigidos a algunas de las mujeres que convivían con  ella. En ellos se entrevé la expresión de una subjetividad que se recrea en sutiles oscilaciones de ánimo, en un intento de dar forma a la pasión. Presenta la pasión amorosa como una fuerza irracional, situada entre el bien y el mal, que se apodera del ser humano y se manifiesta en diversas formas. 

Fuente: La Razón Digital
Más información:,3604,1513390,00.html 
Egypt uncovers 3,200-year-old sarcophagus

A sarcophagus of more than 3,200 years old has been discovered by a mission of Cairo University's Faculty of Archaeology in Saqqara, southwest of Cairo, the official MENA news agency reported Tuesday. Egyptian Minister of Culture Farouq Hosni said the big sarcophagus dating back to the reign of King Ramses II (1279-1213 BC) was made of rosy granite, bearing hieroglyphic signs and different titles of the deceased. He added the sarcophagus belonged to an overseer of stables during the reign of Ramses II. Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the  Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the mission found the sarcophagus inside a tomb unearthed in the 1980s. Ramses II was given the throne at 20 and ruled for 67 years, which made him the second longest ruling Pharaoh in ancient Egypt.  Ramses II is famous for his love of architecture as he erected more monuments and temples than any other Pharaoh, one of them Abu Simbel temple in southern Egypt.
Fuente: Xinhua
Más información: 
En Castellano:
Descubren el sarcófago de un alto funcionario de la época de Ramses II
Arqueólogos egipcios han descubierto el sarcófago de un importante responsable de la época del faraón Ramses II (1279-1213 a.C.), en la localidad monumental de Saqara, a unos 40 kilómetros al sur de El Cairo. Según informó hoy un comunicado del Consejo Supremo de Antigüedades (CSA) de Egipto, expertos de la Facultad de Arqueología de la Universidad de El Cairo  encontraron la pieza arqueológica dentro de una tumba descubierta en la década de los años ochenta. EL sarcófago, fabricado de granito rosa, es antropomorfo, y tiene esculpido  inscripciones en alfabeto jeroglífico y los títulos que ostentaba en vida el fallecido. En el mismo lugar, los arqueólogos descubrieron dos féretros de piedra caliza, uno de los cuales tiene esculpido un texto en alfabeto demótico, en el que se ruega la vida eterna para el  alma del difunto. En excavaciones realizadas en la misma tumba, fueron descubiertos un centenar de "obatchi", estatuillas que eran colocadas junto al sarcófago para que sirvieran al muerto en el más allá. También, los arqueólogos  hallaron dos tinajas de cerámica, una de ellas de un metro de altura.  En Saqara, cuya área monumental cubre una extensión de siete kilómetros cuadrados, se ubicó la necrópolis de los primeros faraones, por lo que acoge las más antiguas tumbas de Egipto, entre ellas la pirámide escalonada del  faraón Zoser, que data de la primera dinastía del Imperio Antiguo, que reinó entre los años 2654 y 2590 antes de Cristo.
Fuente: ABC Sevilla
GLASS HALF-FULL. Ancient Egyptians heated glass in a ceramic crucible that's been partially recovered. Glass ingots (inset) from a Bronze Age shipwreck near Turkey fit Egyptian molds.18/06/05
Ancient Glassmakers: Egyptians crafted ingots for Mediterranean trade

When pharaohs ruled Egypt, high-status groups around the Mediterranean exchanged fancy glass items to cement political alliances. New archaeological finds indicate that by about 3,250 years ago, Egypt had become a major glass producer and was shipping the valuable material throughout the region for reworking by local artisans.  GLASS HALF-FULL. Ancient Egyptians heated glass in a ceramic crucible that's been partially recovered. Glass ingots (inset) from a Bronze Age shipwreck  near Turkey fit Egyptian molds. This discovery settles a more-than-century-old debate over whether ancient  Egyptians manufactured raw glass themselves or imported it from Mesopotamia, say Thilo Rehren of University College London and Edgar B. Pusch of the Pelizaeus-Museum Hildesheim in Germany in the June 17 Science.  The oldest-known glass remains come from a 3,500-year-old Mesopotamian site,  which some researchers took as an indicator that ancient Egypt's glass depot was located there. However, excavations at Qantir, a village on the eastern  Nile Delta, have yielded remnants o  a  glassmaking factory in operation just after that time, the two archaeologists report. "Rehren and Pusch convincingly show that the Egyptians were making their own  glass in large, specialized facilities that were under royal control," remarks archaeologist Caroline M. Jackson of  the University of Sheffield in England, in a commentary published with the new report.  Workers at Qantir have so far uncovered pieces of hundreds of pottery containers, some with glass chunks attached to them. Other finds include waste products from glass production. Chemical analyses of these materials  provided data about glass-making ingredients used at the site. This evidence reflects a two-stage glassmaking process, the scientists assert. In the first stage, Egyptians crushed quartz pebbles into an  alkali-rich plant ash and heated the mixture at relatively low temperatures in small clay vessels that were probably recycled beer jars. Next, they  removed the resulting glassy material from the jars and ground it into powder, then cleaned and colored it red or blue with metal oxides.  In the second stage, work rs poured this powder through clay funnels into  ceramic crucibles and melted it at high temperatures. After cooling, they broke the crucibles to remove puck-shaped glass ingots. Rehren and Pusch propose that Egyptians exported these ingots to workshops  throughout the Mediterranean, where artisans reheated the glass and fashioned it into decorative items. The chemical composition of glass  vessels and other artifacts found at various elite Mediterranean sites dating to around the time of Rameses II matches that of the Egyptian ingots, Jackson points out. Indirect evidence of ancient Egyptian glassmaking also exists. For example,  at the ancient Egyptian city of Amarna, archaeologists found ceramic vessels from more than 3,300 years ago that may have served as ingot molds. Also, a Bronze Age shipwreck discovered off Turkey's coast in 1987 contained glass  ingots fitting the dimensions of the Amarna containers. 

Fuente: Science News

- Muros romanos desenterrados en Luxor -
Roman walls unearthed in Luxor

Segments of Roman walls surrounding Luxor and Karnak temples have been discovered, announced the Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni. He added that the two walls were built by the Romans early in the second century when Luxor Temple was turned into a Roman army camp. Commenting on the subject, Chairman of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, stated that blocks of sandstone were uncovered during cleaning operations. Egyptian archaeologists went on to discover a ground surface built from red stone, thus dating it back to the Greek era.
Fuente: EOL



- Más secretos salen a la luz en Karnak -

More secrets from Karnak

The discovery of a life-sized dyad statue of a Middle Kingdom Pharaoh and the reconstruction of two prestigious monuments are among the latest achievements of the Franco-Egyptian archaeological team working at Karnak Temple in Luxor. Nevine El-Aref tours the site 

At the Karnak Temple, history has a special scent and taste. Within its pylons is amassed an unsurpassed assembly of soaring obelisks, awe- inspiring chapels, and splendid sanctuaries reflecting the spectacular life and great civilisation of Ancient Egypt. Although most of Karnak has been thoroughly excavated, the temple still conceals and occasionally reveals more of the Pharaohs' secrets and mysteries. 

Last week, during the annual inspection tour carried out by the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) to check on the latest achievements of the French Egyptian mission at Karnak Temple, one part of a rare limestone dyad (pair statue) of the 13th- Dynasty Pharaoh Neferhotep I was announced. After being buried for nearly 3,600 years in the temple ruins, the statue of Neferhotep, whose name means "beautiful and good", was uncovered by archaeologists from the Centre Franco-Egyptien D'Étude des Temples de Karnak (CFEETK) in a niche 1.5m below the foundation pit of Hatshepsut's obelisk at the Wadjyt hall. It is a life-sized statue of the Pharaoh in the customary royal striding position, wearing the royal head-cloth nemes and holding a mace in one hand. The forehead bears an emblem of a cobra, which Ancient Egyptians used as a symbol on the crown of their Pharaohs. They believed that the cobra would spit fire at approaching enemies. 

The style of the statue is typical of Middle Kingdom royal art, as reflected in the pleats of the nemes, the large ears, and the stern expression. The second half of the statue is still buried in sand and waiting to be unearthed, but according to archaeologists there are several obstacles to be overcome. Architect François Larché, former head of the CFEETK, told Al-Ahram Weekly that uncovering the second part of the statue and lifting out the dyad would be a critical operation requiring accuracy and specialised techniques. 

The part of the statue already revealed suggests that the two figures are holding hands, and shows Neferhotep's cartouche carved between their shoulders. Larché said the uncovered part of the statue was blocked by the remnants of an ancient portico, while the second was still hidden under the foundations of Hatshepsut's obelisk. "In an attempt to raise it, the portico has to be dismantled. The obelisk might be removed temporarily from its current location until the process is completed," Larché said. 

Any question of lifting the statue sparks uproar among Egyptologists, who are divided into two groups; French architects and Egyptologists are totally in support of action, citing the fact that this is a unique statue of a Pharaoh of who has few representations, as well as its being a valuable addition to the overwhelming number of monuments at Karnak Temple. On the opposing side are Egyptian Egyptologists, who fear an unpredictable disaster that might lead to major damage to the obelisk or the portico. 

To put an end to the debate Zahi Hawass, secretary- general of the SCA, has assigned a professional committee of French and Egyptian architects, archaeologists and restorers to discuss the issue and decide on a solution. "We cannot remove a whole temple to unearth a statue," Hawass commented.

A similar statue ascribed to Neferhotep I was unearthed in 1904 in the Court of the Cachette and is now on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

According to Larché, the discovery suggests the existence of an important installation in this zone at some point before the New Kingdom (1569- 1081), along with the buried calcite base and Osirian sandstone statues excavated in the foundations of southern Wadjyt hall.

Holeil Ghali head of Upper Egypt Antiquities said the discovery came about during regular excavation work in the Wadjyt hall, which begun last October with a small sounding in disturbed areas of the courtyard pavement. The exploration was part of a comprehensive research programme being carried out since 2002 in the central zone of Karnak and aiming to clarify understanding of the various phases of construction of the sanctuary from the Middle Kingdom to the reign of Amenhotep III (1410-1372). It is also hoped to shed more light on the different stages of construction of this area during the 13th Dynasty, as well as to analyse the vestiges found in the foundations that testify to its former occupation.

Neferhotep was the 22nd ruler of the 13th Dynasty. The son of a temple priest in Abydos, he ruled Egypt from 1696-1686 BC. Experts believe that his father's position helped him to ascend the throne, since there was no royal blood in his family. Neferhotep was one of the few Pharaohs whose name did not invoke the sun god Re. It is written on a number of stones including a document on his reign found in Aswan. 

The inspection team also visited the temple's open- air museum where a number of royal chapels are on display after being dismantled, restored and re- erected. This year the calcite chapel of Amenhotep II (1454-1419), which has been re-erected at the entrance, is the highlight of the open-air exhibition. Blocks of this chapel were found within the walls of the Temple of Mut, which is far from its original location -- determined by analysts to be between Tuthmose I's two obelisks in front of the Fourth Pylon.

Amenhotep II chose this location in an attempt to make use of the obelisks' strength to hold and support the ceiling of his chapel. During the reign of Ramses II, blocks of the chapel were reused as plaques to describe the Pharaoh's marriage to the daughter of the Hittite king after the signing of the historic peace treaty between the two rulers.

Sabri Abdel-Aziz head of the Ancient Egyptian Department in the SCA said the conservation and preservation focussed on cleaning and checking the cohesion of the stones and treating them with auxiliary consolidation. The cleaning of the wall faces has been completed, while the installation of the coloured coatings is in process on both the chapel and the reproduction of the obelisks. 

Monuments built by Amenhotep I (1545-1525 BC) have their part in the reconstruction process. Some 1,400 blocks of his temple found within the structure of the Third Pylon, the Cachette Court and the north corner of the temple precinct are now being restored pending reconstruction in the open-air museum. Architectural study of the blocks will permit the reconstruction of Amenhotep I's temple and its transformation up to the reign of Hatshepsut. According to Emmanuel Laroze, the new head of CFEETK, once the plan is finished and the blocks restored the rebuilding project will be implemented.

The Karnak Temple's central zone was also on the inspection tour. There, another dismantling, restoration, photographing and rebuilding project is taking place, this time on the gate erected by Seti II. Larché said that while carrying out the work it was found that Tuthmose III had built walls on both sides of the axis of the Forth Pylon courtyard, their faces turned towards the axis and decorated with a large part of the text of the Pharaoh's Annals. Each wall was perforated by a door which gave access to two new courtyards, one on the north and one on the south. The wall enclosing the southern of the two courtyards was dismantled by Seti II and many of the blocks reused.

While archaeologists were taking apart the eastern part of Seti II's wall, several decorations dedicated to Tuthmose III were uncovered. The western end of the wall extending the periphery was also revealed. The exposed side was decorated with a very beautiful scene showing the Pharaoh in front of the god Amun. 

Houses used by the priests of Karnak and located beside the sacred lack have also been restored, as well as statues and entrances to the Fourth Pylon. In collaboration with Memphis University, the last part of a relief featuring military scenes found on the external south wall of the Hypostyle Hall has been restored and documented.

In an attempt to shed more light on the various construction stages of the area enclosed between the Middle Kingdom court and the Fourth Pylon, Rashid Migalaa, a member of the Egyptian team, has fabricated a wooden model of this area. This model will be put on display in a suitable place within the Karnak precinct.

At the end of the tour Laroze led the delegation to the Hypostyle Hall of Amun Re, where a century ago French archaeologist George Legrain found the splendid statues of the Karnak Cachette. Here a photographic exhibition shows 12 black and white photographs of the 1904 excavation. Workmen are shown in action removing limestone blocks, brushing the sand off a statue and pulling on a thick rope with a huge granite object attached to its end. Photographs of some of the statues are also exhibited.

"This is a new trend to be implemented," Laroze told the Weekly. He said the new exhibition revealed this unique discovery, one of the most important in Karnak, in a new light. It will also provide visitors to the temple with information about the objects that have been found and are now exhibited in both the Luxor and the Egyptian museums. More photographs will be added to the display in the future.

Over the next archaeological season the CFEETK will complete the excavation at the eastern side of Karnak Temple so as to provide a path for visitors which will enable them to admire the remains of the various epochs of Egyptian history.

Fuente: Al Ahram Weekly

- Desenterrada estatua de Neferhotep I en Karnak -
Hawas: Statue of Neferhotep unearthed at Karnak Temple

The statue of pharaoh Neferhotep was discovered at Karnak Temple on the outskirts of Luxor, 720 kilometres south of Cairo. At a news conference, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) Zahi Hawwas said a Franco-Egyptian excavation team had succeeded in unearthing the artifact. It was found beneath the ground near an obelisk of famed Queen Hatshepsut. Hawas said he decided to form a team of archaeological experts to decide whether to dig out the limestone statue or leave it where it was for fear its removal could  affect the obelisk. Neferhotep I was the 22nd king of the 13th Dynasty. He ruled Egypt from 1696 till 1686 BC. He was the son of a temple Priest in Abydos. His father's position helped him to gain the royal image as the king because he did not have any royal blood in his family. An earlier statue of Neferhotep was found in Karnak in 1904 and is currently in the Egyptian museum in Cairo.
Fuente: EOL

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- Descubrimientos en la "ciudad del halcón" -
Discoveries in 'falcon city'

New discoveries include a flint ibexA burnt ostrich eggshell and other objectsA segment from another flint ibex New finds are bringing added understanding to the way ancient communities in Upper Egypt functioned, and to the importance of commerce and cultural development. Nevine El-Aref has been finding out about a pre-dynastic funerary complex and new evidence concerning trade with the legendary land of Punt An American-Egyptian team working on the site of ancient Nekhen -- known in Greek times as Hierakonpolis -- in the area of Kom Al-Ahmar near the Upper  Egyptian city of Edfu has found what is believed to be the largest pre-dynastic funerary complex ever found. This major discovery, which dates  back to the period identified as Naqada II (c. 3600 BC), is expected to cast more light on the period when Egypt was first developing into a nation. The complex belonged to one of the early rulers of Nekhen, who undoubtedly also controlled a large portion of Upper Egypt. It was enclosed within a well- preserved wall of wooden posts, and comprised a large rectangular tomb  with the earliest known superstructure and a wooden offering table. Excavations of this important monument began in 2000 under the leadership of  the late Barbara Adams, and continued during the last archaeological season from December 2004 to April 2005 under the direction of Renee Friedman.  Although the tomb and its surroundings were severely plundered in antiquity, the excavators have unearthed  four bodies in situ on the stone floor at the tomb's western end. The first was found in a flexed position on its left  side facing magnetic west; the second was partly extended; while the third and fourth were perpendicular to the others. No grave goods or matting were  found with the bodies, which were in a very poor state of preservation.  The position of the bodies suggests that if they are not intrusive later additions, they may belong to sacrificed retainers or prisoners who were  buried at the foot end of the grave. Thus they would have been figuratively beneath the feet of the tomb owner, who would have been buried in the eastern part of the grave -- where Adams found several fine grave goods.  On the question of the practice of sacrificing retainers and burying them near their rulers, Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the  Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) noted that this was a practice during the First Dynasty  but was discontinued at the beginning of the Second Dynasty. While brushing sand off the longer sides of the burial chamber, workers  located eight deep holes, four on each side, st ll  bearing the remnants of  the ancient wooden posts. Friedman suggests that they could be the remains of the tomb's superstructure, the earliest known in Egypt. Six more post-holes to the east, in two rows, suggest the additional presence of an  offering chapel. A shallow subsidiary tomb found within the enclosure wall of the funerary complex may be a later addition, but is definitely associated with the main tomb. It houses the well-preserved remains of three adults as well as a large quantity of textiles used to wrap and pad the deceased before covering them with another, thicker layer of matting. At the northeast corner of the complex a deposit of burnt ostrich eggshell was discovered. This was probably a foundation deposit, traditionally linked with the desire to ensure a magical rebirth. The entrance to the complex appears to have been located on the northeast side, where a gap in the foundation trench is flanked by two sizeable post-holes. Inside one of these were found the bones of two newly-born animals, a sheep and a goat. They were laid in an ashy deposit along with fragments of  ritual vessels. Against the enclosure wall, also in an ashy and burnt deposit, excavators came across a complete figurine of a cow's head skillfully carved in flint. This appears to be the companion of a flint ibex figurine previously found  in the same tomb and now exhibited at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Such flint figurines are extremely rare, with only about 50 examples unearthed to date. "The discovery of two fine examples at one site is really a stroke of luck," Hawass says.  The team also unearthed a portion of a wooden handle -- possibly made of ebony -- for a mace head. The excavations produced other interesting finds, among them 46 limestone fragments of Egypt's earliest-known human life-size statue -- other fragments of which were earlier discovered, fragments of two  ceramic funerary masks, and a number of f ne pots which made it possible to estimate a date for the funerary complex. The most unusual find of all during the 2003 excavations was a pit grave for the burial of African elephants, which were used for transport during the lifetime of the owner of the complex. Early analysis  ating the funerary complex to the early Naqada II period means that it coincides with the time when this settlement was the largest urban centre anywhere along the Nile. It is estimated to have stretched for  about two kilometres along the edge of the floodplain and to have had more than 7,000 residents from all walks of society, ranging from masons and potters to farmers and officials. The new discovery may reveal conclusively whether ancient Nekhen was a centre for local craft production, a trade centre for exotic goods, or simply an important cult centre for the falcon-god Horus, symbol of the living king.
Fuente: Al Ahram Weekly


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