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AKHENATEN/TUTANKHAMUN

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Bianca
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« Reply #900 on: October 13, 2008, 10:04:53 pm »





             








                                                          More than a blink



              After 36 years of globetrotting the lost eye of Amenhotep III is back in its homeland







Nevine El-Aref
AlAhram Weekly,
Sept. 17, 2008

Amenhotep III -- his name means Amun is Satisfied -- succeeded to the throne on the death of his father Thutmose IV. Much of his reign was spent consolidating the home base, strengthening Egypt's borders and in construction. He was one of the great Pharaonic builders.

Though many of Amenhotep III's building projects no longer exist, his makeover of Karnak Temples has survived, including embellishments to the already monumental Temple of Amun, the new East Temple to the sun god and his own festival building. He had his workers dismantle the peristyle court in front of the Fourth Pylon and the shrines associated with it, using them to fill for a new pylon on the east- west axis. At the south end of Karnak he began construction on the Tenth Pylon and to balance the south temple complex he built a new shrine to Maat, daughter of the sun-god.

At Luxor Temple his innovations include building the colonnaded court, a masterpiece of balance for which credit should be given to Amenhotep's architect.

In 1970, during routine excavations in the area of Amenhotep's mortuary temple on the West Bank at Luxor -- built on the flood plain little beyond the ground plan of the temple has survived -- a large limestone statue of King Amenhotep III was found. In 1972 it was moved to the Luxor Museum, and at some point during the short journey the left eye was chipped off the statue. Its whereabouts remained a mystery until 2006 when it reappeared in an exhibition shown at the Museum of Antiquities and Ludwig Collection (MALC) in Basel, Switzerland.

Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Al-Ahram Weekly that after being removed from the statue the eye was smuggled out of Egypt and fell into the hands of an American antiquities dealer called Norbert Shem. It was subsequently sold to a German antiquities dealer who lent it to MALC.

Negotiations for the return of the eye began in December 2006.
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« Reply #901 on: October 13, 2008, 10:09:25 pm »

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    Egypt's Colossi of Memnon to be reunited with their twins
« on: April 17, 2008, 10:18:15 pm » Quote 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------






                            Egypt's Colossi of Memnon to be reunited with their twins





by Alain Navarro
Thu Apr 17, 2008
 
LUXOR, Egypt (AFP) - Towering like sentries above the necropolis of Ancient Thebes in southern Egypt, the world-famous Colossi of Memnon will see their number double from two to four from next year.

 
The painstaking work of 12 archaeologists and hundreds of workers is about to redefine the way visitors see and understand this mysterious site that has cast its spell over travellers for more than 2,000 years.

"It will be sensational, that's for sure!" Hourig Sourouzian, the project's enthusiastic director, enthused to AFP.

Next year two giant statues of the pharaoh Amenhotep III will begin to rise again, just a hundred metres (328 feet) behind his two existing colossi that mark the entrance to the temple.

Another two statues, still half-buried, will also be returned to their former upright position in the years to come.

Rising from green fields, the two 18-metre- (59-feet-) high stone giants seem to be watching over roads leading to the temples and pharaonic tombs built in the valleys and ochre mountains of Luxor's west bank.

The statues are all that remains of the funerary temple of 18th dynasty Amenhotep who ruled from 1391 to 1353 BC. He was the father of the iconoclastic pharaoh Akhenaton.

Rises in the water level of the River Nile, pillaging of the stone by other pharaohs and a 27 BC earthquake all took their toll of the temple at Kom el-Hitan whose builders meant it to last a million years.

But when what is left of the site began to suffer 10 years ago because of encroachment from irrigation works in neighbouring fields, renowned Armenian archaeologist Sourouzian decided to save it.

She worked with her husband Rainer Stadelmann, former director of the German Archaeological Institute who was responsible for creating the site's first photogrammetric pictures -- three-dimensional maps made from two-dimensional pictures.

Emergency measures were set in place at the site and enforced by the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
 
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« Reply #902 on: October 13, 2008, 10:11:03 pm »









In 1998 and 2004, the Luxor temple was listed as one of the world's 100 most endangered sites by the World Monuments Fund, an international NGO based in New York, and funding was provided to help save it.

French Egyptologist Alain Fouquet created the Association of the Friends of the Colossi of Memnon, which was generously funded by Monique Hennessy from the famous cognac family.

Ursula Lewenton's Forderverein Memnon also made an important contribution.

"From this moment onwards, everything became possible", Sourouzian said.

Annual excavations on the site began to bear fruit under the labours of an international team of experts and 250 Egyptian workers.

The team discovered pieces of four giant Amenhotep statues, two sphinxes, 84 statues of the war goddess Sekhmet depicted as a lioness, and a stele whose 150 fragments were spread across a site which has to be constantly drained.

It is planned that five years from now the statues of Sekhmet the lion-headed goddess will stand again.

The tenth annual dig, which ends this month, has already unearthed a 3.62-metre- (11.9 feet-) tall statue of Tiya, Amenhotep's wife.

"She has an extraordinary beauty", Sourouzian said.

When the two 15-metre red quartz colossi of Amenhotep become upright again in 2009 Tiya's statue will once again stand next to those of her spouse.

The two other giant statues that have been uncovered are not yet ready to reclaim their place alongside the others, however. They are made of alabaster and extremely rare because of the material's fragility.

Unlike other neighbouring funerary temples such as the Ramasseum, dedicated to Ramses II, and Ramses III's temple at Medinat Habu, "we will be able to admire the temple's content, not only its skeleton," said Sourouzian.

But is it right to try restoring such a site to its former splendour? For Sourouzian there is no question about it.

"We didn't invent anything. We just put something that was about to disappear for ever back in its original place. A living temple lay here, not just the colossi."
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« Reply #903 on: October 13, 2008, 10:12:48 pm »









                  Amenophis III was one of the greatest builders in the history of Egypt. 





Witness to this is borne especially by the temple of Luxor, by the double temple of
Soleb and Sedeinga in Nubia and by his mortuary temple on the west bank of Thebes;
the latter exceeded all its predecessors in size, but it was soon severely damaged by
an earthquake.  Where the monumental entrance to the temple once stood, now only
the two huge Colossi of Memnon (above), each more than 65feet in height and weigh-
ing 720tons, testify to the temple's original size, as well as to the king's tendency to
megalomania.


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« Reply #904 on: October 13, 2008, 10:25:08 pm »











                                      Tutankhamen's Roadshow Buys Egypt A New Museum





The spoils of the first Tutankhamun exhibition in the 1970s were earmarked to revamp the Egyptian

Museum in Cairo.

                                                    It never happened.

But on the back of the latest sell-out tour, the world's largest museum is being built next to the

Pyramids




Will Hobson
The Guardian,
Friday May 30 2008


The rest of the world has been going crazy for Egypt since circa 12BC when a Roman praetor named Caius Cestius chose to be buried in a marble-veneer pyramid just outside Rome's Ostian Gate.

More than a million people have now seen the Tutankhamun exhibition at the O2 Centre, a popular success that, although it has made fewer headlines, matches Tut's first extravaganza in the 1970s, which packed out the British Museum for six months (tickets 50p) and criss-crossed America for three years. Its triumphant progress then (twice the number of people saw it at Seattle Art Museum as were living in Seattle at the time, for instance) earned the Egyptian Government a tidy sum by the standards of the day - $7million on the American leg alone - which was officially earmarked for a revamp of the display facilities at the treasures' permanent home, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Thirty years on, it's hard to think any of the money actually reached its destination. In fact it's hard to think of change of any sort disturbing the dusty, eternal dreams of the Egyptian Museum for large stretches of the last century. This incredible building offers many delights, not least the world's most magnificent collection of pharaonic art, but display facilities are not obviously one of them. Captions, wall panels, organisation by themes – all but none of the trappings of the modern museum corral the contents of its vast halls and atrium modelled on the interior of an Ancient Egyptian temple. Instead, its vast mother lode of splendours mutely await discovery, like Ancient Egypt itself, one of the best documented and, at the same time, most enigmatic civilisations in history.




 Artist's impression of the proposed
Grand Egyptian Museum
next to the Pyramids.

Photograph: Amr Nabil/AP


All this may soon be about to change. A new museum, the Grand Egyptian Museum, is due at any moment to be built on a 100-acre site next to the Pyramids. Ground clearing has begun, the Japanese government has agreed a $300 million loan, the 36-feet-high statue of Rameses II has been moved into place - its 10-hour journey through Cairo's streets lined with thousands of onlookers was broadcast live on television. Plans for what will allegedly be the world's largest museum show a hi-tech modernist glass structure with a translucent alabaster façade and a network of "streets, piazzas and bridges" linking the mass of exhibition spaces that will house 100,000 artefacts. All in all, it promises to be another spectacular new dawn of which Cairo is so fond.
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« Reply #905 on: October 13, 2008, 10:26:53 pm »



http://bellsouthpwp.net/k/e/ken5sar/page3.html









But sooner or later it too will be faced with the basic problem of Egyptology – the sheer profusion and variety of the material. Some 3,500 objects were found in Tutankhamun's tomb, of which 1,700 are on display in the Egyptian Museum and the rest are stored in its basement (no more than 60 have ever left the country).

 

And yet he was only a minor king who died before he could accumulate a substantial fortune. All the obvious royal tombs have been stripped by thieves. But even so, with a regularity that virtually beggars belief, the finds keep on coming (try putting "tombs discovered Egypt" into Google).

In the last 20 years alone, the largest royal tomb complex has been discovered in the Valley of the Kings; a tourist's horse's stumble in the sands south of the Great Sphinx has revealed the mud-brick tombs of the labourers and overseers who built the Pyramids; the earliest examples of alphabetic writing have been found on cliffs in the desert west of the Nile; and thousands of mummies have been unearthed by an oasis in the so-called Valley of the Golden Mummies.

These are only the highlights, and, in true Egyptian style, the royal tombs are in fact a rediscovery: the complex was discovered in 1825, a few of its rooms were mapped, and its entrance was then promptly lost.

The Ancient Egyptians were obsessed by life rather than death. They were determined in every way they knew how to prolong the sheer sweetness and sensuousness and physicality of being alive – alive as perhaps you could only be when living on the plentiful banks of Nile in the midst of what, originally at least, you thought to be unending desert.

They wished their dead "bread, beer, and prosperity"; hard to think of anything further removed from the Judaeo-Christian tradition of an immortal self shedding its corporeal form, its "prison", at death. The body was a crucial part of their individual existence, hence the necessity of mummification, and their entire theology was designed not to justify death – for instance as God's revenge on us for our original sin – but to defeat it with the help of any one of their thousands of gods.
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« Reply #906 on: October 13, 2008, 10:29:25 pm »










At first, only the Pharaoh was thought to be able to enjoy the pleasures of this world in paradise, but as time passed, huge swathes of society became eligible.

Everything, depending of course on whether it was war or peacetime, became more elaborate and manifold: mummification techniques, spells, rituals, blithely contradictory myths, offerings, temples, pyramids, jewellery, literature.

And because they were such good craftsmen and the desert is so good at preserving things and their civilisation lasted so long, Egypt is both an archaeologist's dream and biggest challenge. Some simply give up.

Around two million mummified ibis are thought to be stored in the catacombs of Saqqara, but no one is prepared to spend any more time working out exactly how many. But, even more pressing, once you do find something, what on earth are you supposed to do with it?




The Egyptian Museum is vast,
but many exhibits remain in the basement.


The first purpose-built museum in the world, the Egyptian Museum, with its neo-classical façade and reinforced concrete walls, was the height of up-to-date cosmopolitanism when it opened in 1902. Designed to house collections that had already outgrown four previous homes, the building filled up immediately, but then the fun really began.

Tutankhamun's tomb, discovered in 1922, was the most spectacular find, but it was only the tip of the iceberg - the royal tombs at Tanis, for instance, produced wonderful gold face masks and silver coffins. Exhibits were shunted around, but most of the haul - around 80,000 artefacts - went straight into the basement.

Exactly how much is impossible to tell since, after a series of embarrassing thefts at the turn of the millenium,
Zahi Hawass, the general secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, ventured down into the basement to discover an incredible hodgepodge of grime-encrusted, unopened packing cases, coffins and mummies piled on
top of one another and human remains scattered over shelves.




"For the last 100 years, curators sat down to drink tea, but they did not do their jobs,"


the Indiana-Jones-hat-wearing Hawass exclaimed (he has a flair for the dramatic, as anyone who has seen
the introductory film on his website zahihawass.com will know).


"How many artifacts are in the basement?
It was awful."
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« Reply #907 on: October 13, 2008, 10:30:53 pm »









A full inventory, it turned out, hadn't been taken since the 1930s.

So until the new database commissioned is complete, a cloud of unknowing will continue to hang
over the museum, like the hazy gloaming in which parts of it are sunk.

The signage, such as it is, is a law unto itself: a percentage are in English or Arabic, some date from 1902, in rather impatient French, and some are too high to read. The building is arranged according
to the accepted chronology of Egyptian history in the 19th century, which leaves sizeable gaps.

And in room after room, you gaze at things thinking, what is that?

This makes for a unique, and in many ways, uniquely stimulating experience.

Every big museum - the Louvre, the Met, the Uffizi - needs a plan after all, and you can buy a map for LE40 (£3.80) or a guidebook (Illustrated Guide to the Egyptian Museum, AUC Press, LE180/£17) at the entrance and work your way round the highlights.





Tutankhamun's wonders at the far end of the first floor could be a museum in itself, with its incredible profusion of gold and precious jewels, and unending repetition – interlocking shrines and coffins like Russian dolls.

Fatigue, rather than any shortage of highlights, is the only potential problem, and that is when the other side of the museum kicks in: the ability to go off-piste and make wonderful discoveries.

Priest's wigs, the first boomerangs, the first documented use of the colon, undeciphered Nubian scripts. Amazing contrasts between the monumental and the diminutive, absolute power and private affection, the idealised and the naturalistic.

Egypt has always promoted the long view and, looking at the same forms repeated over centuries, in different states of repair is like watching stop-frame renditions of the effects of time.

Patience, artistry – it must be a wonderful place to sketch – and, above all, a delight in life in all its physical forms, the Egyptian Museum perfectly bears out Florence Nightingale's famous quote,


              "One wonders that people come back from Egypt and live lives as they did before."
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« Reply #908 on: October 13, 2008, 10:32:50 pm »










                                         T H E   H A P P I E S T   P H A R A O H





by Jimmy Dunn

Today, I have a vision of a sort of Pharaoh reunion.

Everyone is hanging about, many of whom are very much alive, while others are somewhat weaker, struggling for breath at times. Indeed, not all of  them are here. Many from the intermediate periods
did not make it and, apparently, even a few from other more prominent times have left the world of
the living for good.

Some of them, while strong and healthy, are not altogether pleased about the presence of some of
their companions. Clearly, Tuthmosis III really did not expect to see Hatshepsut so strong and alive,
and no one particularly wanted or expected to see Akhenaten, as healthy as ever.

Among the strongest and most healthy we find Ramesses II (he worked very hard for this), Djoser and Khufu. Tuthmosis III, perhaps the greatest empire builder in Egyptian history is strong enough, and Cleopatra (VII), though most of her Alexandria is now gone, survives very well.

But among their midst is an irony.

He was a child king, hardly living into adulthood, with probably nothing to show for his own efforts. Even though his reign was pivotal in the 3,000 year reign of ancient Egyptian religion most, if not all, of this was not his doing. He had not the time to establish himself, and some of his successors even tried to eliminate any possibility of his eternal life.

Yet, here he is, his chest heaving with pure air, his heart beating with the steady confidence of a
top athlete, stronger and healthier than even the most elite among the Pharaohs, for his name
is on everyone's tongues, and this is what matters most to all of the Pharaohs. Tutankhamun.

To the ancient Egyptians, an individual consisted of a number of different parts, which is not altogether different than those of religion view individuals today.

Even now, we think of a person as having a body and a soul, or spirit. The ancient Egyptians thought the same thing, but added to this mix was a persons name, his shadow and other elements (though this is a slightly simplified explanation of the ancient Egyptian's idea of a soul). All of these elements were important, but perhaps most important of all, at least for eternal life, was the name. If one's name was not remembered, there was little hope for the soul to live on after the physical death of the body. As long as the pharaoh's name was remembered, the king would live on through eternity, and none of their names are remembered better than that of King Tut.

Of this group of great men, he must be the happiest of all, not to mention very fond of Howard Carter, even though he did rob his tomb one last time.

In ancient Egypt, kings played the Pharaoh's game, though we should probably not call it a game, because they were dead serious about the outcome. They imagined that they could control their own fate, and the fate of their predecessors by usurping their names on statues, or sometimes by completely obliterating a foe's name from the historic record.

Hatshepsut more or less, mostly more, usurped the throne from her stepson, Tuthmosis III. It may have been good for him, allowing him to mature and become the great commander that he was, but it didn't please him. After her death, he went about methodically removing her name, and so he thought her chances for eternal life as well, from the monuments that she built while king (in ancient Egypt, a king was a king, female or male). What he couldn't remove, he built walls around, such as her Obelisk at Karnak. However, that act only helped to preserve her monument, and her name lives on today and so, according to the ancient Egyptian religion, so does she.

Everyone tried to kill off Akhenaten's hopes for an eternal life. He was the heretic king who, while attempting to radically alter ancient Egyptian religion, abandoned the priests of Amun and the other age old deities of Egypt. His successors tried to remove his name from every source, including the lists of Kings that were kept in holy places. But the city he built at modern el-Amarna was left to the desert sands which, in many ways, protected it for prosperity, and his radical beliefs found for him not oblivion but posterity. He may live on, healthy and viral, but perhaps not a favorite of the gods.
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« Reply #909 on: October 13, 2008, 10:35:07 pm »









And then...... there's King Tut.


After the death of his presumed father, Akhenaten, the old religion was restored, making his reign pivotal in Egyptian history, but this was almost certainly not his work.

Personally, he may not be able to claim a single building project of his own, and much of the wealth even in his tomb was not his, but gifts from others. It was surely Ay and Horemheb who held the reins of power during Tutankhamun's kingship, and after the young king's death, Horemheb took back much
of the work performed in the young king's name, by usurping inscriptions with his own name.

Like his father, Tut's name was also omitted from the various Kings' lists. In fact, were it not for Howard Carter, he might not have made the reunion of Pharaohs at all.

But fate plays strange tricks.

What little he had, compared to some of the greater kings of ancient Egypt, was discovered mostly intact in his tomb. Even the grave robbers played into this divine poker hand, not plundering his tomb completely, like so many others.


                         
                             


November 4th, 2007  marks the opening of the King Tut exhibit and not since Tutankhamun's tomb was
 
discovered has he been better known to the world. And since an attribute of ancient Egyptian religion

was that, indeed, fame lead to eternal life for the pharaoh, today King Tut must be one of the happiest

pharaohs who ever lived and,  LIVED ON..........



http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/tut.htm





FOR FULL, COMPLETE PHOTO AND VIDEO COVERAGE OF THE OPENING OF THE EXHIBIT, GO TO:



http://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php/topic,706.390.html
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« Reply #910 on: October 16, 2008, 05:35:18 pm »










                                                   The day of the foetuses






By Zahi Hawass
Oct. 16, 2008

Even today, Tutankhamun remains a mystery. When I mention his name, excitement fills the air because the press is fascinated by him. I, myself, have been quite happy to undertake various projects regarding the Golden Boy. I will never forget when I arrived at the Valley of the Kings in order to move Tut's mummy from the sarcophagus to a display case for restoration. Reporters from around the world were waiting to see the Boy King. For the latest project, I went to the University of Cairo and met with my friend Ahmed Samen, dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Cairo University. Faculty members cooperated with the SCA to carry out a CT-scan and to examine, for the first time, the foetuses buried with King Tut. Many stories have surrounded these foetuses over the years. Fawzi Gaballa, who has been taking good care of them, considers them to be the king's babies. Before I met Samen, I investigated the story of their discovery.

Howard Carter found the mummified foetuses buried in the tomb of King Tut. Douglas Derry, the anatomist working with Carter, was in charge of the study performed on the mummy of Tut when they opened the sarcophagus in November 1925. Carter's team discovered that the golden mask was fixed with resin to the face and chest of the king, and that about 15 different types of amulets had been inserted inside the mummy wrappings and placed on the outside. Derry and Carter took the mummy out of the tomb and placed it in the sun in the hope that the heat would melt the resin, but the mask never left the mummy. They then took the sarcophagus to the tomb of Seti II; their temporary laboratory. With the help of sharp, steaming hot tools, they removed the mask and the amulets. This operation damaged the mummy, and I believe that this is why Carter left Tut's mummy inside his tomb. It was the only identified mummy to be left behind in the valley. Carter, as the chief inspector of the West Bank at Luxor, transferred all the other known mummies from the valley to the Egyptian Museum. He also shipped two of Tut's golden coffins; the innermost coffin and the second outside coffin, to the Egyptian Museum and left behind the outer coffin above Tut's mummy in his tomb.
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« Reply #911 on: October 16, 2008, 05:36:44 pm »









We do not know exactly when the foetuses were transferred to the Faculty of Medicine, but it must have been after 1930. There are two foetuses; one was seven months old and the other five months. We are uncertain of their gender. I used to believe that they were not the children of King Tut and his queen Ankhesenamun, but rather that they were placed inside the tomb as symbols to represent the king's and queen's rebirth in the afterlife.

When I visited my friend Samen, it was the first time that I had seen the foetuses. I was surprised at the poor state of preservation of the first one -- only bones and ashes remained. Fortunately, the second one was in better condition.

The day of the investigation arrived. I took Ashraf Selim and his team as well as Yehia Zabara, a DNA specialist, with me to do the DNA tests and the CT-scans at the Faculty of Medicine. Most importantly, we had to guarantee the safety of the foetuses during their move to the CT- scanner in the university's radiology department, which was located about 200 metres away. I therefore also brought SCA experts who succeeded in moving the foetuses without damaging them. We put them under the CT-scanner and took DNA samples.

This examination will prove the lineage of the foetuses, and whether or not they were the children of King Tut. If they were his children, then we will be able to identify their mother from among the unidentified mummies of KV 35 or from among the two female mummies found in KV 21. If we succeed, then we will be able to identify the mummy of Queen Nefertiti, the mother of King Tut's wife.

The story behind the family members of King Tut will be very exciting to uncover for the first time. To discover if his father was Amenhotep IV, also known as Akhenaten, will be a great achievement by the Egyptian Mummy Project.



© Copyright Al-Ahram Weekly
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« Reply #912 on: October 18, 2008, 09:55:00 pm »








                                   King Tut Exhibit Prompts Debate on His Skin Color






by Joel Rose
NPR
Morning Edition,
August 28, 2007 ·

The King Tut exhibition has drawn millions of visitors to museums across the country since it opened two years ago. But some African-American scholars believe the exhibition makes King Tut look too white. The debate over Tut's race led the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia, where the show is on display, to sponsor a conference on the subject.

The show, Tutankhamen and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs has drawn a steady stream of protesters since it opened in Los Angeles. But nowhere have they been as persistent or vocal as in Philadelphia.

More than 500 people showed up to hear scholars discuss Tut's race at the Franklin Institute. The auditorium couldn't hold them all, so the museum had to set up big-screen TVs in the lobby. The three speakers said the exhibition on display upstairs gives the false impression that King Tut was white.

And worse, says Temple University professor Molefi Asante, it implies that Egypt is not a part of Africa.

"We asked the students as they were coming out of the museum, you've seen the exhibition of King Tut, 'Where is he from?'" Asante said. "You would discover that people can see the exhibition of Tutankhamen, and come out and not know that they have seen Africa."



A forensic reconstruction of Tut's head and shoulders at the Franklin Institute exhibit is remarkably lifelike, until you get right up close to it. On the side of the glass case, there is a disclaimer that reads, "The features of [Tutankhamen's] face are based on scientific data. But the exact color of his skin and the size and shape of many facial details cannot be determined with full certainty."
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« Reply #913 on: October 18, 2008, 10:05:42 pm »










"Our best guess is that he was neither lily white nor ebony black. He was probably somewhere in between," said Nina Jablonski, author of Skin: A Natural History.

Jablonski teaches anthropology at Penn State University. She also served as an advisor to the team from the National Geographic Society that produced the forensic reconstruction of King Tut that's currently on display. Jablonski points out that it's only a working hypothesis. Scientists have not been able to retrieve much DNA evidence from Tut or other mummies.

But they do have a good idea of who lived in Egypt 3,000 years ago — and she says they probably looked a lot like Egyptians today.

"Modern Egyptians are a very heterogeneous group," Jablonski said. "Some of them have very Arabic features. Others of them have very African or so-called Nubian features. This is because the Nile River itself was a tremendous byway for movement of people in the past and present."

Jablonski says Tut's skin probably looked like a mixture of those people, only lighter, because the Boy King would have spent most of his time inside, protected from the sun. The speakers at the Franklin Institute rejected that hypothesis. In fact, they seemed to enjoy making fun of it.

"Okay, now let's look what this really is about. This is shocking. See if you recognize the person on the right," said activist Maulana Karenga, who remain best known as the founder of Kwanzaa. He got a big laugh by comparing the reconstructed image of King Tut with a picture of a young Barbara Streisand.

The panelists believe the Egyptians of Tut's time had, for the most part, very dark skin, like people from sub-Saharan Africa. Charles Finch is the director of International Health at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.

"Whenever ancient writers, Hebrew or Greek, make any reference to ancient Egyptians' color, it's always black," Finch said. "There was no issue back then. There was no discussion. There was no debate. It only became a debate in the last 200 years."

For example, Greek historian Herodotus wrote in the fifth century BC that the Egyptians were "dark-skinned and woolly-haired."

But as anthropologist Nina Jablonski points out, it's hard to say exactly what ancient historians meant when they described the skin they saw as "dark." And she says much of the archeological evidence points to a different conclusion.

"When we look at the representation of the Egyptian royalty on the walls of tombs, we see a range of sort of moderate, tan-colored skin on the royalty," Jablonski said. "This probably is a fairly close approximation of what skin color these people actually had."

Jablonski speaks with the patience of someone who has answered this question many times before, and expects to keep answering it until more definitive evidence comes along. That's why she hopes the King Tut exhibition will inspire students to become interested in reconstructing the past.

That could let the students, Jablonski says, "make a better stab at this in 20 or 25 years' time."

Until then, we'll have to make do with an educated guess.



Joel Rose reports for member station WHYY

NPR
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« Reply #914 on: October 18, 2008, 10:21:28 pm »









                                                King Tut: African or European?






The Westside Gazette,
Commentary//
Analysis,
Niara Sudarkasa, Ph.D,
Posted: Dec 07, 2005

Debates over King Tut’s image and identity are not new. In 1922, Howard Carter, an English archeologist, “discovered” the tomb of this young king who had ruled Egypt about 3300 years ago, from 1336 to 1327 B.C. As soon as his reconstructed images began to appear, they sparked decades of debate over his identity. Most European and Euro-American scholars and others persuaded by their point of view claimed that King Tut was essentially a “caucasoid” ancestor of present day Europeans (referring to ”whites” generally).

Scholars of African origin and descent, along with those of their European colleagues and other scholars who disavow the Eurocentric worldview, argue that King Tut was an African, physically and culturally akin to the other dark-skinned people who populated the African continent at the time he lived.

The current controversy surrounding the exhibition coming soon to the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Art is a continuation of earlier debates over King Tut’s identity. The mummy has been given a new face, created by “forensic reconstruction” that makes him look as European as possible, so that the average person could not possibly consider him to be an African. This “forensic reconstruction”, featured on the cover of the National Geographic, was displayed at the Los Angeles County Museum along with artifacts from King Tut’s tomb, as if this reconstructed bust was also “a genuine article.”

The King Tut Exhibition in Los Angeles has drawn a mountain of criticism, especially from African and African American scholars. Dr. Maulana Karenga, the internationally known authority on Black Studies and creator of Kwanzaa, was among the first to speak out against the “new” King Tut. Few people know that Dr. Karenga’s second Ph.D. is in the field of Egyptology, with a specialization in ancient Egyptian Ethics. Dr. Karenga has written a masterful critique of the exhibition, entitled: “DeAfricanizing King Tut: A Forensic Fantasy”, published in the Los Angeles Sentinel, on June 23, 2005. Dr. Karenga will speak on this theme when he comes to the African American Research Library and Cultural Center (AARLCC) on Saturday evening, Dec. 3.

Professor Manu Ampim based in Oakland, Calif., has also disputed the exhibition’s claim to have reconstructed a historically accurate new face for King Tut. Dr. Ampim’s excellent overview of the King Tut controversy, with photographs showing various reconstructions of the king, was published in August 2005, under the title “The Vanishing Evidence of Classical African Civilizations, 2005 Update: Tutankhamen Fraud Alert." Some of Dr. Ampim’s earlier essays can be found in Ivan Van Sertima’s edited book entitled Egypt: A Child of Africa, published in 1994.

These two scholars, along with others, such as LeGrand Clegg II, the noted attorney who was one of the first scholars to write on the early migrations of African populations, sparked a wider protest and demonstration against the “deAfricanization or Europeanization” of King Tut.
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