Asociación Andaluza de Egiptología (ASADE).

 Redescubiertos sellos de Tutankhamon (Tutanjamon) 

Tut still revealing secretsFormer Penn student returns to tell more.

In a back room closed to public view, Zahi Hawass spotted a cluster of reed boxes crammed with plaster fragments and limestone seals used to stamp hieroglyphs.

Intrigued, the scholar took a closer look and saw that both were marked with a trio of icons - sun, scarab and basket - whose meaning he recognized instantly:

Neb-kheperu-re, the throne name of the boy pharaoh.

Eighty-five years after his tomb was discovered, and after his treasures have been ogled by millions of museumgoers, King Tut is still revealing surprises.

In addition to the seals, apparently left behind by the original excavators in the early 1920s, Egyptian workers recently found 20 sealed jars with the pharaoh's name in an old storage facility nearby. Neither group of items is part of the official Tut inventory at the Egyptian antiquities museum in Cairo, Hawass said in a phone interview.

On Thursday, he comes to Philadelphia to speak about these surprises and another: For the first time, Tut's mummified body will go on public display, protected in a climate-controlled case in his tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Kings.

The lecture will be a homecoming of sorts for Hawass, whose trip coincides with the waning days of the blockbuster Tut exhibit at the Franklin Institute.

He got his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and lived in a one-bedroom apartment at 43d and Walnut Streets from 1980 to 1987. He said his studies here "changed my life," enabling him to serve his country.

The "new" seals and jars, meanwhile, will not be added to the exhibit, Hawass said. Though they are not the sort of gilded wonders that have drawn the museum crowds, they are of interest to archaeologists and historians, for whom much of the pharaoh's brief life remains a mystery.

Egyptologists were excited to hear of the rediscovered items.

"My God," David O'Connor, a professor of ancient Egyptian art at NYU's Institute of Fine Arts, said upon hearing from a reporter about the finds.

O'Connor, former head of the Egyptian collection at Penn's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, said he could easily see how the jars would have been forgotten. They were found a month ago when workers were transferring artifacts from a variety of past excavations to a modern storage facility.

Egypt is overflowing with antiquities, and the original finders of Tut's tomb may have thought some of the less spectacular objects were not worth taking to the Cairo museum, O'Connor said. More surprising is that the boxes of seals in the tomb itself were somehow overlooked, he said.

Penn's David Silverman, curator of the traveling Tut exhibit, said he had never seen the boxes in more than 30 visits to the tomb. That's probably because they were in the treasury room, which is located beyond the king's burial chamber and is typically not open even to scholars, he said.

Silverman said further analysis of the seals and plaster fragments was needed. But both he and James Allen, a Brown University Egyptologist, said they might well be the very seals that the ancients used to mark the king's name when they closed the tomb doors more than 3,300 years ago.

Silverman said he would be even more interested to learn the contents of the jars, which he speculated contain wine for the king to drink in the afterlife, or perhaps oils or unguents.

"It's nice that some of the mysteries remain," Silverman said, "because it spurs us on to do more research."

Hawass, who studied under Silverman at Penn, said he planned to open the jars after returning to his native Egypt following Thursday's lecture. The public talk will be 7 p.m. at Penn's Irvine Auditorium. Tickets are $15.

Opening the jars is just one of many projects on the agenda for Hawass, who in addition to his scholarly expertise has a flair for promotion. (Replicas of his trademark wide-brimmed hat are on sale for $45 at the Tut gift shop at the Franklin Institute, whose exhibit closes Sept. 30.)

He plans to continue DNA analysis of various mummies to sort out their tangled lineage. Scholars are not in agreement, for example, on the identity of Tut's father.

The antiquities chief also plans a search for the tomb of Ramses VIII, and he wants to further explore an unusual tunnel in the tomb of Sety I. Hawass said he had traveled more than 200 feet down the tunnel by rope recently, and he hopes a secret burial chamber lies at its end.

As he knows well, however, it is the treasures of Tutankhamun that have most captivated the public imagination.

Tut, who assumed the throne at age 8 or 9 and died about a decade later, is sometimes described as a minor pharaoh who became famous in modern times merely because so many of his treasures were recovered. But that undercuts his historical importance, said Penn's Silverman.

Under his leadership, Egypt's capital returned to the city of Thebes - now Luxor - and his subjects resumed official worship of their traditional gods after a brief period of monotheism.

Yet, more remains to be learned. Who were Tut's parents? What role did he play in actually running the kingdom?

Hawass vows to remain on the case.

"The mystery of Tutankhamun, in my opinion," said the antiquities minister, "will never end."

Fuente: The Independent

Tema:  Descubrimientos . Enviado el lunes, 03 de septiembre de 2007 a las 13:20

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