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Monday, 31 May 2021

Aspects of the City of Amarna in Swansea

The blog post for this week is written by Yvonne Buskens-Frenken, from the Netherlands. She is a member of the Dutch Egyptology society Mehen and a former student of Egyptology at Manchester University (Certificate 2015 and Diploma 2017). While Yvonne has never been to the Egypt Centre before, she hopes to visit in the near future, perhaps with other Mehen members.

Love or hate?
Last week, a new online course was launched by the Egypt Centre called The Amarna Period, which is hosted by Dr Ken Griffin. The number of books and articles written about this period is extensive, but why are we drawn to this topic so much? Is it Nefertiti’s beautiful bust, Akhenaten and his appearance, or is it his religion? I cannot say that I explicitly love or hate the topic as Egyptology has many tastes, but I do have a preference for uncommon things and many aspects of the Amarna Period are definitely not common. This week’s topic of the course was the city of Amarna.

Fig. 1: Painted plaster from the North Riverside Palace

What, where, and why?
King Akhenaten moved away from Luxor because he had a plan. He wanted to create a new home for the Aten. In this new city, the Aten would be honoured in the way Akhenaten thought it should be: through extensive food offerings in open spaces (and not in the roofed temple complexes) on numerous offering tables. He managed to achieve this; in the so-called Long Temple and Small Temple of this new city, there were at least 940 offering tables! But the idea of building a new city for the Aten was actually not Akhenaten’s: it was the Aten itself who, according to Akhenaten, appeared before him and instructed the king to find a new place. Thus, Akhenaten did as he was instructed and established a new capital on virgin soil midway between Cairo and Luxor. He called it Akhetaten, “The Horizon of the Aten” (fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Plan of the city of Amarna

The building plan

Akhenaten’s intentions for the city, his “building plan” as it were, can be clearly seen on the so-called Boundary Stela (Stela U). The text of this stela, which is dated to year six, is
carved into the cliffs surrounding the area of the city and is 8.37 metres in height (fig. 3). Statues of Akhenaten, Nefertiti, and their daughters stand on either side. His plan reads as follows:
“At Akhetaten in this place shall I make the House of Aten for the Aten, my father.
At Akhetaten in this place shall I make the Mansion of Aten for the Aten, my father. At Akhetaten in this place shall I make the sunshade of the [Great Royal] Consort [Neferneferuaten Nefertiti] for the Aten, my father. In the “Island of Aten, whose jubilees are distinguished” at Akhetaten in this place shall I make the “House of Rejoicing” for the Aten, my father. In the “Island of Aten, whose jubilees are distinguished” at Akhetaten in this place shall I make the “House of Rejoicing in Akhetaten” for the Aten, my father [. . .]. (And) at Akhetaten in this place shall I make for myself the residence of Pharaoh (and) I shall make the residence of the Great Royal Consort.” 

Fig. 3: Boundary Stela U

This brand-new city is divided in different zones, which have been assigned names by modern excavators and Egyptologists. This includes the urban zone with the North City, North Palace, North Suburb, The Central City (temple, palatial, and administrative district), Main City (urban housing), and the South Suburb. There was also a mountainous zone and a desert zone, the latter containing a “Stone Village”, a Workmen’s Village, and desert altars.

Amarna in the Egypt Centre

The Egypt Centre has some wonderful objects from this city. They provide us a glimpse of the colourful appearance the city once had. For instance, W798 is a piece of wall painting from the North Riverside Palace, which is believed by some to be the main royal residence of the city (fig. 1). The painted plaster with the floral motive still has its vivid colours. It was excavated by the Egypt Exploration Society during the 1930–31 season. W801 is another beautiful piece of wall painting, also originating from the North Riverside Palace. The plaster is from a monumental gateway, thought to be the main entrance of the palace. The piece of plaster shows a design of lily flowers and grapes (fig. 4). Another stunning piece (W802), again from the North Riverside Palace, depicts an elbow of a figure and part of an eloquently painted sash, first thought to be part of a large chariot scene but now believed to be part of an offering scene. For more on this, see a previous Egypt Centre blog post.

Fig. 4: Painted plaster from the North Riverside Palace

In the eastern section of the North Suburb of Akhetaten (part of the city of which was still occupied into the reign of Tutankhamun) was a huge estate now labelled T36.11 (fig. 5). Excavators said it was “by far the finest and most sumptuous house of the whole of this part of the suburb” (
Frankfort & Pendlebury (1933, 24). The identity of its owner is unknown, but lots of rooms with painted plaster decoration, its exterior chapel, and granaries just outside the main house, are well preserved.

Fig. 5: Plan of house T36.11 (Frankfort & Pendlebury 1933, pl. 12

One of the heaviest objects within the Egypt Centre derives from house T36.11. W490 measures 1225mm long, 212mm in height, and 280 in its depth
(fig. 6). In figure fig. 7 you can see the object in-situ; a block with three receptacles/stands for vessels. In front of the block, you see a headrest or stool (W344). The large block was found beside the bathroom and said to contain “traces of grease”. It is not clear what the object was for. A similar item was possibly found at Deir el-Medina and benches with circular receptacles were found in Chapel 528 of the Workmen’s Village. Those from the Workmen’s Village had receptacles too close together to have been used as pottery stands. The block is described by excavators Frankfort and Pendlebury (1933, 25) as follows: “The bath is standing behind a screen wall in what we have called the ‘anointing room’ because we found a long block of limestone there with three cups with traces of grease; whether ointment or oil was poured into the cups or whether the cups merely served to steady vessels which were put on the blocks we cannot decide. The grease in the cups was not very extensive or deeply sunk in, so the last assumption is the most probable. The block fits exactly on a ridge on seven bricks which are plastered to the floor...which is not quite in line with any wall.”

Fig. 6: W490

Fig. 7: Excavation photo of W344 & W490 in-situ

Now, in this context, should W344 be interpreted as a stool or a headrest? W343 (fig. 8) is also from Amarna and was excavated in a private house in the North Suburb (T36.66). It is suggested that it is a headrest (comparable one now in Manchester Museum). From object W345 (fig. 9) we can conclusively say that it is a stool. It was found in North Suburb as well (T36.61) and is made of pottery. You can clearly see the imitation of a wooden rush-topped stool. This object has traces of blue, red, and brown paint. The feet of the stool appear to be painted to resemble lily flowers.

Fig. 8: Limestone stool (W343)

Fig. 9: Pottery stool (W345)

Readers to this blog who are interested in the Amarna Period might also be interested in the 2021 Amarna Fundraiser and Study Day, which takes place on the 17th July. This is an opportunity to hear from the people involved in the excavation of the site, while also supporting a fantastic project at the same time. For full details, see the following


Bomann, A. H. (1991) The private chapel in ancient Egypt: a study of the chapels in the Workmen’s Village at El Amarna with special reference to Deir el Medina and other sites. Studies in Egyptology. London; New York: Kegan Paul International Ltd.

Frankfort, H. and J. D. S. Pendlebury (1933) The city of Akhenaten. Part II: The north suburb and the desert altars. The excavations at Tell el Amarna during the seasons 1926–1932. MEES 40. London: Egypt Exploration Society.

Kemp, B. J. (2013) The City of Akhenaten and Nefertiti: Amarna and Its People. London: Thames & Hudson.

Peet, T. Eric and C. Leonard Woolley 1923. The city of Akhenaten. Part I: Excavations of 1921 and 1922 at el-'Amarneh. Memoir of the Egypt Exploration Society 38. London: Egypt Exploration Society.

Pendlebury, J. D. S. (1951) The City of Akhenaten. Part III: The Central City and the Official Quarters. The Excavations at Tell el-Amarna during the Season 1926–1927 and 1931–1936. 2 vols. Excavation Memoirs 44. London: Egypt Exploration Society.

Monday, 24 May 2021

An Introduction to the Amarna Collection at Swansea

Just over a week ago, I started running a new Egypt Centre short course, the seventh to have taken place during the COVID-19 Pandemic. These courses have been extremely popular, with a total of 978 participants to date. Income from the courses has also helped to offset the losses from our regular sources of income; shop sales, educational visits, and other events. We are grateful to everyone who has supported us over the past fourteen months!

The topic for this course is the Amarna Period, with a focus on the 300+ objects from Amarna in the Egypt Centre collection. As the COVID situation in the UK is gradually improving and places start to open up, the topic of the course is somewhat fitting. When the UK lockdown was implemented by in March 2020, I was in the middle of teaching an in-person course on the same topic, which had to be cancelled after six weeks (fig. 1). Therefore, it is great to return to the topic as it allows me to highlight the Egypt Centre collection to a much wider audience. Unfortunately, unlike during the in-person sessions, students will not be able to handle the objects, instead relying on photographs. This blog post will present a brief introduction to the Amarna collection at Swansea, which has always been one of our most popular displays.

Fig. 1: Examining a copy of the bust of Nefertiti pre-COVID

With the Egypt Centre closed, this time has been the ideal opportunity to refurbish our current displays. In August, we were informed that a collaborative project with our colleague Dr Ersin Hussein was successful in obtaining 
funding from the Institute on Classical Studies to create a new display called Egypt and Its Neighbours. Objects in the Amarna case were relocated to a larger one, which previously displayed objects relating to technology in order to free up space for the Egypt and its Neighbours display. Over the past few weeks, I have been preparing the Amarna objects for their new location, carrying out photography, and completing condition reports. I am pleased to say that all the objects from the old display have now been transferred to the new case, although work will continue with revamping it before we open to the public again. (fig. 2). Additionally, new photography of all the objects in the case can now be found on our online collection catalogue. The catalogue entries for these objects will also be updated over the coming weeks. Some of these objects will be featured in subsequent blog posts by class participants over the next four weeks.

Fig. 2: Preview on the new Amarna case (still a work in progress!)

We are particularly excited that the bigger case has provided the opportunity to display a large storage vessel (W193) from Amarna, which has recently been conserved at Cardiff University. This was part of a
Pilgrim Trust and AIM funded project, which we received in late 2019. Shortly before the lockdown started, Dr Ashley Lingle came to the Egypt Centre to disassemble the pot for transport to Cardiff. The vessel had been joined with cellulose nitrate and was showing signs of failing. Once in Cardiff, it was desalinated to remove the salts over a period of eight weeks, with water changes every two weeks. The vessel was removed from the water and airdried for four months due to the COVID pandemic. The vessel was then reconstructed with 50% Paraloid B-72 w/v in acetone. Small sherds and delaminated surface decoration from a bag kept inside the object were sorted and re-adhered with 20% Paraloid B-72 w/v in acetone as possible. Friable areas were consolidated with 5% Paraloid B-72 w/v in acetone. The vessel was packaged in a large storage container prior to its return to Swansea in October 2020 (fig. 3).

Fig. 3: W193 before and after conservation

Almost all of the objects from Amarna come from the excavations of the Egypt Exploration Society (EES) during the 1920–30s, with a few notable exceptions. As reported in an
earlier blog post, some small objects can be traced back to the excavations of Flinders Petrie, who was assisted by a young Howard Carter during his excavations of the site in 1891–92 (fig. 4). Those that were excavated by the EES fall into three categories:

Fig. 4: Model throwstick (W962)

(1) Objects given to Sir Henry Wellcome, a financial sponsor of the excavations, as part of the distribution of finds. Records in the Wellcome Collection and the EES reveal that Wellcome received a little under 300 objects. These were subsequently redistributed to various museums (including Swansea) in the UK between 1969–1971. This included a substantial amount of pottery, such as the aforementioned vessel, and painted plaster from the North Riverside Palace (fig. 5).

Fig. 5: Fragment of painted plaster from the North Riverside Palace

(2) Objects from Amarna donated to Swansea by the British Museum in 1978, which were part of the “disposable remains” of objects transferred from the EES two years previously. The exact amount of objects is uncertain, so the list at the time is rather vague. E.g., “box of faience ring bezels”. Work is currently ongoing to trace some of these objects amongst the extremely valuable Amarna
records cards, which are held at the EES offices and are also available online. The past week has seen some success, with one noteworthy example. While photographing objects, I noticed a tiny pendant bead with hieroglyphs on both sides, which was mixed in with eighteen other objects under the number EC1978. The excavation number on the side (26–7.280), which was only visible after photography, reveals that the object was excavated during the 1926–27 season in a large house (V37.1) in the North Suburb (Pendlebury & Frankfort 1933, 5–80). The EES object card for this item can be found here. Noteworthy is the fact that the inscription contains the name of Amun, which is written on both sides. One side possibly mentions a “Lector Priest of Amun”, while the other is potentially a personal name (fig. 6). Any thoughts on the readings here would be greatly appreciated!

Fig. 6: Fragment of a glass pendant

(3) The final group of objects from Amarna are those that were donated to the Egypt Centre collection by private individuals. The first of these was in 1973 by Cyril Aldred, the eminent Egyptologist and Amarna specialist, who sent a small number of faience pendants/amulets. These were part of Aldred’s “faience box”, with some being sent to Kate Bosse-Griffiths as comparison pieces for our Amarna collars (W8–W11). While the exact provenance of these items is unknown, it is possible they also originated from the EES excavations. The reason being that three subsequent donors of objects from Amarna purchased them from the EES offices in the 1960s, with many of the items still carrying their excavation numbers. The most recent of these occurred just a few months ago, when a limestone fragment containing a finely carved wig was transferred to the collection (fig. 7). The number 26 on the back was enough to identify it as TA.34–35.26, which was excavated by the EES during the 1934–35 season. The
object card notes that this item was found in the buildings south-west of the Great Palace (O.42.2).

Fig. 7: Limestone relief fragment

Although the Amarna collection in Swansea has been the subject of much research over the past fifty years (
Bosse-Griffiths 2001; Graves-Brown 2014), there is still so much for us to learn!


Bosse-Griffiths, Kate 2001. Amarna studies and other selected papers. Edited by J. Gwyn Griffiths. Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 182. Freiburg (Schweiz); Göttingen: Universitätsverlag; Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. 

Graves-Brown, Carolyn 2014. A gazelle, a lute player and Bes: three ring bezels from Amarna. In Dodson, A. M., John J. Johnston, and W. Monkhouse (eds), A good scribe and an exceedingly wise man: studies in honour of W. J. Tait, 113–126. London: Golden House.

Frankfort, H. and J. D. S. Pendlebury 1933. The city of Akhenaten. Part II: The north suburb and the desert altars. The excavations at Tell el Amarna during the seasons 1926–1932. Memoir of the Egypt Exploration Society 40. London: Egypt Exploration Society.

Monday, 17 May 2021

Fifty Year Anniversary Conference

Regular follows of this blog will be aware that this year represents fifty years since the objects from the Wellcome Collection were transferred to Swansea on long-term loan. This was part of dispersal of the Egyptian material at the Wellcome Collection, which probably amassed somewhere in the region of 20,000 objects. To celebrate this occasion, we will be hosting a conference focusing on Wellcome’s Egyptian and Sudanese collections, which were dispersed to numerous institutions following his death in 1936. This free event is scheduled to take place via Zoom over three days (Wednesday 15th–Friday 17th September), and will feature talks, virtual tours and handling sessions, as well as  other interactive elements. Full details of the event, including the programme, will be released in due course, with some initial details presented below. We are also delighted to officially reveal our new logo to mark this occasion, which was designed by our Events & Development Officer, Rex Wale (fig. 1).

Fig. 1: Logo to celebrate fifty years of the Wellcome collection at Swansea

Before providing the list of speakers, it is useful to give a little background to the dispersal of the Egyptian material. In 1959, David Dixon was appointed as Research Fellow at the Wellcome Institute, tasked with sorting through the Egyptian and Sudanese collection. Most of the material was subsequently transferred into the care of University College London (UCL) and the Petrie Museum in 1964. Due to a lack of space, the Trustees at the Wellcome authorised the distribution of collection, amounting to some 300 crates, between 1969–1971. The Petrie Museum retained some of the objects, while the remainder was distributed between Birmingham Museum (1969), Durham Oriental Museum (1971), Liverpool World Museum (1971), and Swansea (1971). Additional Egyptian material, including casts went to the Ashmolean Museum (1981), Bolton Museum & Art Gallery (1982), the British Museum (1946 & 1956), Fitzwilliam Museum (1981), Horniman Museum (1982), Hunterian Museum (1982), Ipswich Museums (1982), Manchester Museum (1981–1982), and the Science Museum (1980–1982).

While the programme for the event is still a work in progress, speakers include:

  • Rachel Barclay (Curator at Oriental Museum, Durham)
  • Stephanie Boonstra (Collections Manager at the Egypt Exploration Society)
  • Ashley Cooke (Lead Curator of Antiquities, World Museum Liverpool)
  • Alexandra Eveleigh (Collections Information Manager, Wellcome)
  • Carolyn Graves-Brown (Curator at the Egypt Centre)
  • Anna Garnett (Curator of the Petrie Museum)
  • Isabelle Vella Gregory (Deputy Director of the Jebel Moya excavations)
  • Ken Griffin (Collections Access Manager at the Egypt Centre)
  • Ruth Horry (Collections Curator – Exhibitions, Wellcome)
  • Selina Hurley (Curator of Medicine, The Science Museum)
  • Frances Larson (author of An Infinity of Things: How Sir Henry Wellcome Collected the World)
  • Lee McStein (Technical Director at Monument Men)
  • Campbell Price (Curator of Egypt and Sudan, Manchester Museum)
  • Helen Strudwick (Senior Assistant Keeper - Egyptian Antiquities, The Fitzwilliam Museum)
  • Ian Trumble (Curator of Archaeology, Egyptology and World Cultures, Bolton Museum)
  • Penny Wilson (Associate Professor in the Department of Archaeology, Durham University)

Please save the dates in your diary and keep an eye out for further details about this event and other anniversary related blog posts!

Monday, 10 May 2021

Pandemic 2020 and Egyptology

The blog post for this week has been written by Peter Rowland, who recaps his experience of Egyptology during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Peter is an enthusiast Egyptologist who in the early 1970s worked in Egypt, around the Suez area, as an engineer with Exxon International. There followed various organised and private visits during the 1990s and early 2000s, but the feeling was that visits like this are all well and good but sadly they are a bit of a scatter gun approach to a huge subject. Peter retired in 2011 and decided it was time to put some structure to the huge subject of ancient Egypt. By chance, the online Egyptology courses run by Exeter University and taught by Lucia Gahlin were discovered. This proved most fortuitous, and has led to a wonderful learning process since the start of Lucia’s courses. Sadly, Exeter have discontinued all their online presence. During the Exeter period, Lucia introduced him to the Kemet Klub and the Egypt Exploration Society. Peter says, “above all, the Egyptology family I now feel part of have been a godsend during the current pandemic and has made life so much more bearable, especially during the lockdown periods”.

The past twelve months or so have certainly seen dramatic changes in how we are able to live our lives. Pre-March 2020, everything was normal, and we were able to do what we wanted. Personally, in January I spent just over a week in Luxor as part of a small group headed by Professor Aidan Dodson looking at Seti I and Ramesses III (fig. 1). In February, it was a visit to Petra in Jordan, with the only concerns due to the severe storms in the UK and how long we would be delayed getting home. Fortunately, it was only a 24-hour delay. This was just a couple of weeks before the Coronavirus outbreak was upgraded to a Pandemic and all our lives changed with restrictions in movement and the first lockdown. The first unknown was what will happen to our next trip to Egypt with Ancient World Tours planned for May. Fortunately, the decision to move it forward to May 2021 was made fairly quickly, although this has now been delayed further to April 2022.

Fig. 1: Decoration in the tomb of Seti I

The big thing though was what to do with our free time? The weather was good, so the daily exercise regime was good, and the garden was there to do the many jobs that gardens demand. There was catching up on the scanning of pre-digital images that have sat there for years just waiting for an opportunity like this. All these options were OK, but it soon became a little bit mind-boggling. Then, bingo, an announcement by the Egypt Exploration Society (EES) that they will be setting up a series of lectures made available via the Zoom platform (fig. 2). Initially the number of attendees was quite small, so you needed to be pretty sharp in booking your place. What a brilliant way of learning the usual, but also the more obscure topics about a subject we love. Very quickly, it was obvious that this means of presentation was proving extremely popular so the EES upped the numbers of attendee places available and even arranged repeats.

Fig. 2: One of the many EES virtual lectures

After a few weeks, the
Kemet Klub in Bristol announced their intentions to set up their usual study days for the Zoom platform. Again, this proved very popular and well over 100 people were attending the events, many more than the usual thirty-five or so that the study days could allow in Bristol. All of this meant there were a number of events available virtually that would help to fill the void in our spare time.

Next, we hear from the Egypt Centre, Swansea who proposed to make their annual conference a virtual event. A program was released listing sixteen free lectures to be presented via Zoom, starting 30 April through to 10 July. A number of the talks would be presented by people connected with the Egypt Centre, but also a number of prominent Egyptologists who offered their time free of charge. These included Aidan Dodson, Aaron de Souza, Richard Johnson, Martina Minas-Nerpel, and Christian Knoblauch, to name just a few. Many of the talks used material housed in the Egypt Centre. Ken Griffin started the ball rolling giving an Introduction to the Egypt Centre, others included the Paddle Dolls, The Lintel of the Overseer of Craftsmen, Tjenti, The Diaspora of Cypriot Antiquities, A Call to Arms - Wooden funerary figures (fig. 3), and An Overview of the Shabti Collection. As with the Kemet Klub, the numbers attending these talks were over 100, a lot more than would have been able to attend in Swansea, meaning the virtual conference was a huge success.

Fig. 3: Screenshot of the Egypt Centre Zoom conference

Following these first free presentations came the first fundraising events. Professor Aidan Dodson gave an excellent presentation entitled History, Histories & Egyptology, which was all about the history of Egyptology and the people that set it all off. Professor Dodson is a well-known international speaker, with almost 200 people in attendance. Other speakers included Dr Ramadan Hussein on the latest discoveries at Saqqara, Dr Donald P. Ryan, on the Valley of the Kings, Reg Clark on Tomb Security, Tom Hardwick on Robert de Rustafjaell (fig. 4), and finally Ken Griffin on the

Fig. 4: Screenshot of the lecture by Tom Hardwick

Ken Griffin, the Collections Access Manager, has always been a keen educator using the collection he is looking after. He made the decision to offer short courses on various subjects. These have attracted approximately on average 150 attendees. To date, we have completed six of these: The Funerary Artefacts of Ancient Egypt, Religion of Ancient Egypt, The Valley of the Kings, Karnak, Deir el-Medina, and the recently completed Thebes: The City of 100 Gates. These courses run for five weeks, with sessions taking place on Sunday evenings and repeated live on Wednesday mornings. This format means as many people as possible from across the globe can attend. The next course will start this Sunday and will be devoted to the Amarna Period. Unlike regular courses on the Amarna Period, this one will heavily focus on the objects from Amarna in the Egypt Centre collection. It is still possible to book for this course

We have also seen a collaboration between the Interdisciplinary Egyptology group and the Egypt Centre. The museum hosted a series of twelve discussion panels, free of charge, during February and March 2021. Again, these sessions were well attended by people from around the world (fig. 5).

Fig. 5: Overview of the Interdisciplinary Egyptology discussion panels

In October, the Egypt Centre launched its new online collections catalogue, commonly named
Abaset. Although there is still work to be done here, it will eventually become a world class catalogue that will be used by everyone interested in Egyptology. This will include academics as well as enthusiasts. Already, a number of wonderful discoveries have been made, which include linking items in the Swansea collection with objects in other collections.

The Egypt Centre events listed above have proven extremely successful. People who have attended the various talks and courses have been grateful for the efforts made to arrange it all. Ken Griffin has been the driving force to make it all workable, and he was ably assisted by Sam Powell, an Egypt Centre volunteer. Without them, none of the above would have happened, so they must be commended and thanked. Above all, the main beneficiary is the Egypt Centre. The objects in Swansea was always a major collection, but now it is more accessible and widely known by professional Egyptologists and enthusiasts worldwide. Not only have Ken and Sam attracted notable foreign speakers, but their efforts have attracted many attendees from throughout the UK, and importantly from around the world. The worldwide Egyptology family are truly grateful. The situation has been desperate for the Egypt Centre as most sources of revenue have been impacted due to the Pandemic. Therefore, the money raised by the virtual events must be a godsend and hopefully keep it going and moving forward from strength to strength.

This all proves that something good can be born out of the desperate situation we have found ourselves in. Those of us who have been in this Egyptology loop are thankful for all the back-room efforts.  I hope that there may be a flicker of light showing a possible end to the Pandemic with the speedy distribution of vaccinations. We look forward to visiting our usual haunts, with the Egypt Centre high up on all of our lists. Hopefully the virtual lectures and course can continue well into the future as well.

Thank you everyone!

Sunday, 2 May 2021

أستعراض لدورة طيبة: مدينة المائة باب

The blog post for this week has been written by Noura Seada, who has always been passionate about ancient Egyptian History. Ever since she was a little girl, Noura remembers collecting a lot of Pharaonic souvenirs to build up her own museum collection and imagined being a tour guide and describing them to tourists. At that early stage, Noura knew very well that this is what she wanted to be, so she did an undergraduate degree in Tourism Guidance and is now perusing post-graduate studies. Her main areas of interest are religion, animals, and disabled people in ancient Egypt. We are very excited that this is our first blog post written in Arabic, which fulfils one of the Egypt Centre’s key principles of widening participation. Thank you Noura!

هذه ليست المرة الاولي التي أستمتع فيها بحضور أحدي دورات مركز مصر، وكالمعتاد كان عدد الحضور كبيريصل إلي ١٨٢شخص، الرقم الذي يستحيل تحقيقه في الحالات العادية والفضل هنا يرجع لوباء الكورونا برغم كل مساوءة إلا إنه دفعنا جميعا الي التوجه الي عالم التكولوجيا وأستخدام منصة زووم. أتمنى لجميع القراء الصحه والسلام ومحاولة رؤية كل ما هو إيجابي بهذه الفتره العصيبة.

 بدأ البروفيسور "كن جريفين" مدير مركز مصر بأعطاء مقدمة مختصره عنه وعن "سام” ودورها الفعال في مركز مصر.  مركز مصر يحتوي على ٦٠٠٠ قطعه أثار مصرية قديمة منهم ١٠٠ من طيبة، قام البروفيسور خلال الدورة بدمج القطع قدر الإمكان مع الشرح لإتاحة الفرصة للمشاهدين للتعرف على مجموعة مركز مصر مثل لوحه W1377 وتابوت W1982. لمعرفة مزيد من التفاصيل عليك بزيارة الكتالوج الألكتروني والذي يسهل أستخدامة سواء بالبحث بأسم أو رقم القطعة.


(W1982شكل ١: غطاء تابوت إوسن حست موت

قبل الدخول في محتوي هذه الدورة كان على أولا مشاركتكم ببعض التفاصيل الهامة، هذه الدورات تتألف من خمس محاضرات بمعدل محاضرة أسبوعيا، مدتها ساعتين ويتوسطهم خمس دقائق أستراحه. عليك بترك أي اسئلة لنهاية المحاضرة. ماهو رائع في دورات مركز مصر انه يمكنك الحضور بين يومي الأحد مساءا أو الأربعاء صباحا أو كليهما إذا ترغب في ذلك، كما يتم تزويدك بحساب شخصي لمشاهدة تسجيل المحاضرة في أي وقت أخر. يوجد متطوع إسبوعيا لكتابة مدونة على ما تم تداولة خلال المحاضرة لا تتعدي الألف كلمة والتي تنشر كل يوم أثنين. يقوم البروفيسور "كن" أسبوعيا بإرسال مقالات وكتب للإطلاع بإستفاضه وبالطبع ليس إلزاميا. في النهاية أنا أنصح الجميع لدعم مركز مصر بالأشتراك في هذه الدورات المثمرة للغاية. بالرجوع إلى محتوي الدورة تمكن البروفسور "كن" من إيجاد التوازن في طريقة التدريس بحيث تناسب الجميع، فهو على دراية كاملة بتنوع خلفيات الحاضرين.

 الأن على البدء في عرض محتوي الدورة وسأبرز لكم أهم النقاط التي تعرض لها البروفيسور "كن” خلال الخمس أٍسابيع بإيجاز. المحاضرة الأولي هي مقدمة مختصرة عن طيبة وجغرافيتها وخلفيتها التاريخية. بدأ من أن منطقة طيبة لديها أسماء عديدة، حيث أطلق المصريين القدماء عليها (نيوت) بمعني المدينة وأيضا (نيوت رسيت)  المدينة الجنوبية و(يونو شيما) بمعني جنوب هليوبليس والتي تقابل هليوبليس الشمالية. كما أطلق عليها (تا ايبت)  بمعني المعبد إشارهّ للكرنك بينما أطلق اليونانين عليها طيبة الأسم الذي تم إختياره للدورة واليوم يشار لها بالأقصر.


شكل ٢: موقع متعدد الأسماء

تنقسم طيبة إلى ضفتين شرقية وغربية، أشار المصريين القدماء للغرب بمدينه الموتي بينما للشرق بمدينه الاحياء القديمة. أسُتخدمت طيبة كجبانة منذ الدوله القديمة. أكثرأله طيبة شهرة هو الإله أمون، ثالوث طيبة يتكون من أمون و زوجته موت و الطفل خونسو، كما تعبد آلهه محلية بطيبة مثل ميريت سيجر وبتاح ومونتو. كما تم تأليه أحمس نفرتاري وأبنها أمنحوتب الأول و وأمنحوتب أبن حابو. يوجد بطيبة العديد من المعابد ، كما كانت مركز للأحتفالات و الأعياد مثل عيد الأوبت السنوي وعيد الوادي الجميل. للألهه أمون تاريخ طويل يبدأ من نصوص الأهرامات ثم زاد شائنه بمدينه الأقصر في الدولة الحديثة، دائما يظهر مرتديا الريشتان على رأسه وأحيانا يتوسطهم قرص الشمس.

 بلغ عدد سكان طيبة في مصر القديمة حوالي ٤٠ ألف، أزداد العدد إلي ١٢٠ ألف في عهد رمسيس الثاني . لدي طيبة تاريخ طويل يرجع لعصور ما قبل التاريخ كما يوجد العديد من تماثيل الدولة القديمة بمعبد الكرنك، و منطقه الخوخة التي تحتوي على مقابر الدولة القديمة. تليها فتره الأنتقال الأولي وإنهيار الدولة, دفن الحكام بمنطقه الصف بالطارف مثل أنتف الأول. ثم الدولة الوسطي وتوحيد الأرضين بواسطة منتحوتب التاني ، ثم خلال عصر الأنتقال التاني قسمت مصر مره أخري وأصبح لديها أحمس المعروف بالمحرر لطرده الهكسوس و مع الدولة الحديثة الفترة الذهبية في تاريخ مصرأصبحت طيبة العاصمة الدينية.  خلال فترة الأنتقال الثالثة بدأت طيبة في الإنهيار، وأصبح كهنة أمون هم حكام مصرخلال الأسرة ٢١. حكم النوبين مصر خلال الأسرة ٢٥ وأستمرت عمليات البناء بالكرنك مثل عمود طهرقا، بنهاية الأسرة ٢٥ قام أشربانبال حاكم الأشوريين بتدمير طيبة. ثم جاء بسماتيك الأول وحكم مصرمن العاصمة سايس، بني ملوك العصر المتاخر في الكرنك قليلأ. قام الأسكندر الأكبر بزيارة طيبة وبناء العديد من الأثار بالكرنك والأقصر، ثم خلال العصرالروماني كانت الديانة الأساسية المسيحية، عاش الرهبان في أديره كثيرة مثل دير المدينة ومع الفتح الإسلامي أغلقت الأديرة بالتدريج وأصبح الإسلام هو دين المنطقة، و تم بناء مسجد الحجاج.


شكل ٣: مسجد أبو الحجاج

بينما الأسبوع الثاني كان عن معابد الضفة الشرقية: معبدي الأقصر والكرنك بالطبع يصعب تغطيتهما في محاضرة واحدة. معبد الكرنك كان له أسماء عديدة، أطلق المصرين القدماء عليه إيبت سوت، هو المعبد الأساسي لعبادة أمون و يعد أكبر معبد في مصر وفي العالم كله. كان معبد الكرنك في بأدي الأمرعلى جزيرة منفصلة ثم حدث تغيرجغرافي للمنطقة. يرجع أصل معبد الكرنك إلي الدولة الوسطي. قام البروفيسور "كن" بجولة بالمعبد بدأ من الصرح الأول والذي يعود للأسرة ال ٣٠ عهد الملك نختنبو، ثم الساحة الأثيوبية والتي تحتوي علي أعمدة طهرقة، من أهم العناصر بداخلها معبد رمسيس الثالث وبوابة بوباستيس للملك شيشنق الأول والمقصورة الثلاثية للملك سيتي الثاني. الصرح الثاني يؤدي إلي بهو الأعمدة المكون من  ١٣٤ عمود، هناك مناظر المعارك التقليدي بمصر القديمة و مناظر صيد طيور كرمزية للقضاء علي الفوضي. الصرح الثالث لم يتبقي منه إلا الجزء الأسفل، بحتوي علي أحد مسلات تحتمس الأول، وصولا للصرح الرابع حيث مسلة الملكة حتشبسوت. ثم الصرح الخامس والسادس وقدس الأقداس لفيليب أرديس. ثم المضي قدما للوصول إلي فناء الدولة الوسطي و الأخمنو مكان أحتفال الملك تحتمس الثالث بعيده الثلاثين علي العرش، الذي تميز بأعمدة وتد الخيمة. كما مُثل أيضا الأسكندر الأكبرو هو يقدم القرابين للأله أمون.


شكل ٤: معبد الكرنك

يمكنك الوصول  من الصرح الثالث للصرح السابع المزين بمنظر أنتصار تحتمس الثالث علي الأعداء والتي تعد الأولي من نوعها. ثم الصرح الثامن الأقدم علي الأطلاق للملكة حتشبسوت يليه الصرح العاشر لأمنحوتب الثالث. كما يوجد معبد خونسو والمتحف المفتوح الذي يحتوي على المقصورة البيضاء لسنوسرت الأول والمقصورة الحمراء لحتشبسوت المزينة بمناظر أحتفال الأوبت. يربط طريق الكباش معبد أمون بمعبد موت. كما يؤدي طريق كباش أخر إلي معبد الأقصر، وعلى امتدادة ٦ مقاصير لأستراحة مراكب الأله.

 أطلق المصرين القدماء علي معبد الأقصر إيبت رسيت. كُرس المعبد لأمون الأقصر. ما يميزهذا المعبد إنه مُوجه لمعبد الكرنك و ليس ناحية نهر النيل كباقي المعابد. كما لعب دورا هاما في عيد الأوبت الذي يعقد يوم ١٩ من الشهر الثاني لفصل بيرت. ذكر عيد الأوبت بالتفصيل في معبد الأقصر. هدف العيد تجديد ودمج قوي الأله والملك وأيضا توحيد أمون الأقصر و أمون الكرنك سويا. يرجع المعبد لعهد أمنحوتب الثالث ورمسيس الثاني. بعد عمليات الترميم أصبحت واجهة  معبد الأٌقصر مكونه من مسلة واحدة وتمثالين جالسين وأربع تماثيل واقفة. تُزين جدران الصرح مناظرأنتصاررمسيس الثاني علي الحيثيين بمعركة قادش. ما هو رائع حقا أن واجهة معبد الأٌقصر ممثلة على أحد جدران الفناء الشمسي. هناك غرف أستخدمت للعبادة المسيحية خلال العصر الروماني مزينة بالفريسكو، كما مُثل الأسكندر الأكبر أمام أمون كاموت أف. يوجد على الحائط الخارجي للمعبد الإله أمون سامع الصلوات ويقع  مسجد الحجاج شمال شرق المعبد.


شكل ٥: مدخل معبد الأقصر

كان الأسبوع الثالث عن الجبانات الملكية، وقام البروفيسور "كن" بالتركيز علي أهمهم الطارف و ذراع أبو النجا ووادي الملكات ووادي الملوك. من حيث الترتيب الزمني أول جبانة ملكية ترجع للأسرة ١١ بمنطقة الطارف وتضم ٣ مقابر لملوك تحمل اسم أنتف, تعرف بمقابر الصف حيث يتقدمها صف من الأعمدة. أشهرهم مقبرة أنتف الثاني والمشهورة بلوحة الكلاب. ثم مقبرة منتوحتب الثاني بمعبده الدير البحري والتي تحتوي على مقصورة ألباستر و لوح من الجرانبيت. ثم مقابرحكام الأسرة ١٧ بذراع أبو النجا والتي يعلوها شكل هرمي وأكثرهم شهرة مقبرة أخحتب و المعروفة بقلادة الذباب التي عادة ما تقدم في الحالات العسكرية.

 ثم مقابر وادي الملكات وهي تسمية غير دقيقة لأنها لاتحتوي فقط علي مقابر الملكات ولكن أيضا الأطفال و رجال الدولة. أطلق عليها المصريون القدماء مكان الجمال. رغم صغر وادي الملكات إلى أنه يحتوي علي عدد أكبر بكثير من مقابر وادي الملوك.. يوجد مقابر الأسره ١٨الغير المزينة والأسرة ١٩-٢٠ المزينة. أول من دفن بالمنطقة الأميرة أحمس Q.V 49 و ما يثير الانتباه حقا نُدرة تصوير الملوك بوادي الملكات. بينما أول مقابر ملكات الأسرة ١٩ هي ست رع Q.V 38  زوجة رمسيس الأول ,ثم مقبرة الملكة نفرتاري Q. V 66 زوجة رمسيس الثاني و التي تعد أشهر مقبرة بالوادي لجمال التصاوير بها.  تظهر الملكة في غرفة دفن تلعب السنت بهدف العبور من عالم الأحياء إلي عالم الموتي. ثم تأتي مقابرالأسرة ٢٠ مثل مقبرة تي تي Q.V 52 الشهيرة بأستخدام اللون البمبي غير المعروف بالفن المصري. أنتهاءاً بمقبرة أمون حر حبشف الأبن التاسع للملك رمسيس الثالث.


شكل ٦: الملكة نفرتاري تكرس القرابين

وصولا إلي أكبر جبانة بالبر الغربي وهي وادي الملوك و التي تنقسم إلي فرع شرقي و فرع غربي, أطلق عليها المصريين القدماء جبانة ملايين السنين العظيمة. تم أستخدمها في الأسرة ١٨,معظمهم المقابر تحمل اختصارK.V وأخرين W.V . تعتبر المقابرمتشابهه لحد كبيرمن الناحية الهندسية. لذلك قام العلماء بتقسم وادي الملوك إما بترتيب زمني أو علي أساس تخطيط المقبرة. من الصعب معرفة أول من دفن هناك ولكن الأحتمالات تتضمن تحتمس الأول و الثاني و الملكة حتشبسوت و ذلك لوجود ثلاث توابيت بغرفة دفن مقبرة K.V 20. بعض مقابر وادي الملوك مزينة بكتب الدينية مثل كتاب الموتي والإيمي دوات. أفضل المقابر من حيث المناظر المصاحبة هي مقبرة سيتي الأولK.V 17 حيث أطلق عليها المقبرة الجميلة. أما أكبر مقبرة والتي تشمل ١٢٠ غرفة هي K.V 5. ثم مقبرة تاوسرت وست عنخ المعروفة ب بروس أو بعازف القيثارة  ومميزة بأحتواءها علي غرفتي دفن. ثم هناك مقابر غير مزينة يبلغ عددها ١١يهتم بدراستها عالم الأثار"راين" لأنها لا تقل أهمية عن المزينة.

 الأسبوع الرابع عن قصور ملايين السنيين، قبل البدء في المحاضرة تحدث معنا البروفيسور "كن" عن الأكتشاف الجديد لبعثة زاهي حواس المصرية، وأوضح لنا أنها إكتشاف جديدة كلياً بأستعراض أدلة تثبت ذلك. ثم بدء بالحديث أن هذه القصور تحمل تسميات عديدة مثل المعابد الجنائرية والمعابد التذكارية لدورها في تكريس عبادة الملك المتوفي والأله، كما تعلب دورا هاما في الأحتفالات الدينية مثل عيد الوادي الجميل. ليس بالضرورة كل المعابد التي تحمل لقب ملايين السنين أن تكون معابد تذكارية يمكن أن تكون معابد دولة مثل الكرنك.

 قام البروفيسور" كن" بالحديث عن سبع معابد بالترتيب الزمني كلا من هذه المعابد تحمل أسم خاصة بها. بدأ بمعبد منتوحتب الثاني والذي يقع بمنطقة باب الحصان بشمال معبد حتشبسوت والذي يتكون من طابقين .ثم يأتي من بعده معبد حتشبسوت, المستمد تصميمه من معبد منتوحتب الثاني. أطلق عليه المصريين القدماء دجسر جسرو, وقد أشرف علي بناءه المهندس سيننموت الرجل المؤثر في فترة حكم حتشبسوت و الذي مُثل داخل المعبد٦ مرات،. يعد معبدها نقطه محورية في عيد الوادي الجميل حيث يقضي ثالوث طيبة أيام بقدس الأقداس المعبد. يُعتبرالمعبد الجنائزي للملك تحتمس الأول حيث أقامت  له حتشبسوت مقصورة خاصة. من أهم المناظر التي تزين معبدها، منظر بعثة بلاد بونت ومنظرالولادة الملكية.


شكل٧: معبد الملكة حتشبسوت بالدير البحري

معبد تحتمس الثالث يعود لفترة الحكم المشتركة بين حتشبسوت و تحتمس الثالث,يقطع طريق سير السيارات الصرح الأول عن باقي المعبد, يوجد به باب مزيف نقل مؤخرا من مدينة هابو. ثم تحدث عن معبد أمنحوتب الثالث بمنطقة كوم الحيتان و الشهير بميمنون بسبب هذين التمثلين العملاقين بالمنطقة.وضع علماء الأثار خريطة مقترحة للمعبد و يُعتقد أنه أكبر حجما من الكرنك. يتميز المعبد بتوجه ناحية الشرق على عكس باقي المعابد كما يحتوي علي لوحتان يحملان تفاصيل بناءة. ثم معبد سيتي الأول بالجرنة, جزء كبير من المعبد مازال قائم ,بني الملك مقصورة لوالده رمسيس الأول لتكريس عبادته و أخري للإله أمون, كما صُورت الملكة أحمس نفرتاري ثلاث مرات .

  ثم معبد رمسيس الثاني المعروف بالرمسيوم وهو يشبه هندسيً معبد أمنحوتب الثالث. بني هذا المعبد كليا من الحجارة. يُزين المعبد بمناظرأنتصار الملك بمعركة قادش الشهيرة علي الحيثيين, بالأضافة إلي منظر تسجيل الألهه أسم الملك علي أوراق شجرة الإشد المقدسة . أختتمهم بمعبد رمسيس الثالث الشهير بمدينة هابو والذي يعد أكبر معبد جنائزي، بني علي غرار كلا من الرمسيوم و معبد امنحوتب الثالث و يتميز بحصن مجدول. المعبد مُزين بمناظر أنتصار الملك علي شعوب البحرو الليبين.


شكل ٨: نقوش معركة رمسيس الثالث بمدينة هابو

الأسبوع الخامس عن مقابر النبلاء والتي أشار إليهم المصريين القدماء بمنازل الأبدية، كانت منطقة غرب طيبة و شمال سقارة هما الجبانتين الأساسيتين في ذلك الوقت. قام البروفسيور"كن" بالتركيز علي ثمانية جبانات، بدأ من جبانة الدير البحري والتي تحتوي علي١٣مقبرة ثم أنتقل جنوباً لجبانة دير المدينة ٥٣ مقبرة وجبانة ذراع أبو النجا ٨٤ مقبرة ثم جبانة الشيخ عبد القرنة ١٤٥ مقبرة و جبانة الخوخة ٥٦ مقبرة و جبانة قرنة مرعي ١٧ مقبرة, و أخيرا جبانة العساسيف ٤٣ مقبرة, جنوب العساسيف ٣ مقابر. تختلف هذه المقابر عن المقابر الملكية بشكل كبيرفي النقوش ويُفضل الزوار مقابرالأفراد عن المقابر الملكية لما تحتوي عليه من مناظر الحياة اليومية. تم أستخدام عدة أنظمة ترقيم لمقابر طيبة مثل:  T.T و pKamp و البعض يحمل الأثنين سويا. هناك أيضا أختصار MMA كما يوجد ترقيم للمقابر المفقودة A-B.

  أستعرض بروفسيور "كن" مقبرة واحده لكل جبانة من الثمانية , مثل مقبرة حننوبالدير البحري و مقبرة سندجم TT1 بدير المدينة ومقبرة الكاتب الملكي  روي TT255 بذراع أبو النجا ومقبرة رخميري TT100 بالشيخ عبد القرنة و مقبرة جحوتي (براي )TT295 بالخوخة ومقبرة أمحوتب(حوي) بقرنة مرعي ومقبرة بتي امنباي  بالعساسيف و أنهي حديثة بمقبرة كراكمون بجنوب العساسيف.

شكل ٩: الحرف بمقبرة رخميرع

أنا متطلعة بشدة لزيارتي القادمة إلى منطقة طيبة في القريب العاجل وأنا مسلحة بكل هذه المعلومات!