martes, 19 de agosto de 2008

Lifting the lid on Roman secrets

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have lifted the lid on a second coffin discovered at a dig site in Newcastle.
Two Roman stone sarcophagi were uncovered on land earmarked for development.The 1,800-year-old sandstone coffins are the first such find – and arguably the most impressive – in the area for more than 100 years.They are thought to have been used to bury members of a rich and powerful family from the nearby fort of Pons Aelius.One tomb contained the poorly-preserved skeleton of a child and the second sarcophagus held the remains of a female.They have been removed from the site by experts from Durham University.Other discoveries in Forth Street include cremation urns, a cobbled Roman road and a medieval well, the remains of the foundations of Roman shops and workers' homes, and the remains of flint tools from Stone Age hunter-gatherers.All the finds from the site will eventually go to the new Great North Museum in Newcastle, where the sarcophagi will be preserved for the public to see.
The full article contains 179 words and appears in n/a newspaper.

martes, 12 de agosto de 2008

The Osirion at Abydos (Abtu)

by Sir William Flinders Petrieand Margaret Alice Murray1904

The discovery of the Osirion (Osireion or Osiron)In the winter of 1901-2 Mr. St. G. Caulfeild undertook the further examination of the temple of Sety (Seti I) at Abydos (Abtu or Abdju). Our work there resulted in finding the temenos (enclosure) wall, and showing the connection between the planning of that temple and the Royal Tombs of the early kings on the desert behind it. These results, and his careful study of the plan of the temple appeared in the last volume of the research account. But he also made other discoveries which have been followed up during the next winter by Miss Murray with the results here issued in this volume.When Mr. Caulfeild began to excavate, I noticed some thick masses of crude brick, and suggested that they might be mastabas. He cleared along them and found that they formed a continuous wall, which we then identified as the temenos wall of the temple. I observed that parallel with this there was a slight long hollow on the surface, and proposed that he should clear it out. Some time after, on looking at the site I was told the men had found desert a few feet down. This seemed strange, and on looking at it I saw there was only blown sand. So they were told to go deeper. Again, after some time, on going there again, the same story of desert at the bottom was repeated; only this time about fifteen feet down. On examining it I found blown sand. So a third time they were told to go down, and soon after they struck some great blocks of limestone. The final result was that we found the pavement of the hall was forty-one feet under the surface; a depth filled with some Roman rubbish and much blown sand over it.After the excavations by Miss Murray and my wife, we realized that these great stones which we first found were the remains of the doorway to a limestone chamber near the north-west corner of the temenos, which had been entirely carried away for lime burning in Roman times. From the place of this doorway Mr. Caulfeild carried on excavations, continually expecting to come to an end of the entrance passage to the south, and find a door of approach to the subterranean constructions; but after continuing for a couple hundred feet this seemed as far off as ever; and the season being at an end nothing more was done.Miss Murray, then, entered on the work, with the certainty of a long inscribed passage to be cleared and copied, and its terminations to be found. Various attempts were made to settle the beginning of it by surface workings, tracing the filling of made earth which lay over it. And these resulted in showing that it turned at right angles, and led up towards the back doorway of the temple. But it could not be found at it's beginning owing to the immense rubbish heaps thrown out in Mariette's clearing of the temple halls. The work was therefore concentrated on a point where the filling seemed to be undisturbed over the construction, hoping to find there the roof intact, and so enter an unbroken part of the passages.But on descending we found that the filling in had only been left because there was no roof under it there; and the whole of the ancient roofing had been removed, so far as we were able to ascertain, excepting one cracked lintel. Thus nothing short of removing the whole forty feet of stuff over the whole construction can ever clear it. This season only sufficed for the trial working, and clearing the great hall, one chamber, and part of a passage. To do the whole clearance is beyond the slight resources of the Egyptian Research Account; and it is much to be hoped that the Department of Antiquities will undertake to open and maintain this unique hypogeum of Osiris as a part of the great temple which is one of the main attractions of Egypt.It was most fortunate that we had the knowledge of Miss Murray and the artistic copying of Miss Hansard available for such a work, which required long and tedious facsimiles to be prepared, with due attention to the inscriptions. The elaborate study of Osiris which Miss Murray has issued will, it is hoped, serve to clear up and emphasize the various aspects and connections of one of the fundamental deities of the Egyptian worship and beliefs.W. M. F. P. (Sir William Flinders Petrie)

Uncovering the OsirionSection 1. The excavations this year were carried on by Mrs. Petrie and myself (Miss Murray). Mrs Petrie managed the actual excavations, overseeing the men, paying the wages, in short, all the dull and uninteresting, though very necessary, part of the work, whereas I had the more congenial and amusing employment of copying the sculptures. Till the sculptures were sufficiently cleared for me to draw them, I spent my time in the Sety temple, making fac-simile copies of the Coptic graffiti on its walls. Then, when it was possible to draw in the hypogeum, I set to work there, but it was entirely owing to Miss Hansard's kind help that I was able to secure drawings of all the sculpture that we uncovered (with one exception, the sloping passage), before they were silted up. ....... In the previous season Mr. Caulfeild had partially cleared the long passage within the temenos wall; the passage itself had not been laid bare, but the great mass of sand had been removed, leaving a gigantic furrow like a natural ravine. The method of constructing this great hypogeum rendered it comparatively easy to discover that there was building below, though the depth at which it lay made it impossible to clear more than a small portion. The nature of the desert is that after removing from two to four feet of loose wind blown sand, the hard marl, called gebel by the workmen, comes into view. This is so firmly compacted together that it can be cut like rock. The ancient builders took advantage of this fact, and excavated passages and halls with steeply sloping, almost perpendicular, sides. These were lined and roofed with great blocks of stone, and the hollow at the top filled up with sand; the building was then completely hidden from the outside. In our clearance it was only necessary to descend a few feet till the rock-like gebel was exposed, and then to follow down the excavation; and the trial pits that we sunk within the temenos invariably showed that the gebel had been cut perpendicularly to admit of building below.We spent three weeks in hunting for a place where the roof still appeared to remain, and we were puzzled all the time at the number of right-angled turns which this extraordinary passage, as we thought it, appeared to make. These turns, as we now know, must be rock cuttings to hold chambers and halls. Finally we decided on a likely place, where the Roman rubbish, which had filled the part already cleared by Mr. Caulfeild, touched the clean marl filling of the desert. Here it was that we hoped to find the place where the roof was still intact. For days I carried candles and matches in my pocket ready to enter the passage as soon as there was a hole big enough to squeeze through; but they were never required. Throughout this excavation it was always the unexpected that happened; we expected to find a passage, we found chambers and halls; we expected to find it roofed in, the roof had been completely quarried away; we expected to find a tomb, we found a place of worship.Our first deep pit brought us into the South Chamber, which gave us the cartouche of Merenptah, and made us realize that we had found a building which has no known counterpart in Egypt. Then came the discovery of the Great Hall and then of the sloping passage. Here our hopes rose high, for the entrance of the passage had an enormous roofing stone still in position; but we soon found that was the only one that remained, the rest of the roof having suffered the same fate as the other parts of the building. I was able to copy only a very small portion of the inscriptions; for though we cleared the passage to the floor, two days of high winds silted it up to the level of the roof. The whole of the excavation was greatly retarded by heavy falls of sand, the Roman filling being so loose that there were continual rivulets of sand running down the sides; and high wind would bring down half a ton of sand and stones in one fall. To sit in a deep pit under an irregular but continuous fire of small stones, with the chance of a big stone coming down too, is an experience more amusing to look back upon than to endure.At the north end of the north passage we started another excavation, for it was there, beyond the temenos wall, that the big marl heaps stood. It was partly by these heaps that Professor Petrie had deduced the fact that a large building lay below the surface of the desert. They were not natural heaps, yet they were clean marl unmixed with any remains left by man. They were too far from the temples of Sety and Rameses to have been the rubbish removed from their foundations; they were too large to be from the excavations of an ordinary tomb; and as the ancient Egyptian never took unnecessary trouble, it follows that the tip-heap would be as near to the excavation as was allowable. Just inside the temenos wall, at a depth of about thirty feet, we came upon a vaulted passage of mud bricks which extended thirty-five feet northward, and was then apparently broken, for it was filled with sand. The thirty-five feet brought us to the north face outside the temenos wall, where we sank a large pit with this curious result:-The rock-like gebel at a distance of about sixty feet from the wall, was cut in a slope like a staircase from the surface of the desert, sloping down towards the wall. Two mud brick retaining walls had been built across it to retain the sand.At a distance of fifteen feet from the temenos wall we found a square shaft (of which the wall formed one side), lined with mud bricks, some of which bore the cartouche of Sety I. The vaulted passage, which we had entered from the other side, ended in a small arch in the temenos wall, and its floor was paved with blocks of stone. We reached a depth of over thirty feet, and came to undisturbed basal sand on which the walls rested. In the vaulted passage the pavement was lifted but with the same result -- undisturbed basal sand. This was during the last days of the excavations, and there was no time to make further research. As to the meaning of this extraordinary shaft I can offer no explanation, nor can I even hazard a guess. The great marl heaps lead to the belief that there is still a large underground building at that end, though our efforts failed to find it.

Section 2. This hypogeum appears to Professor Petrie to be the place Strabo mentions, usually called Strabo's Well. He describes it as being under the Memnonium; with low vaulted arches formed of a single stone, by which he probably meant that the stone beams went across the halls and chambers in a single span. Whether the entrance is really inside the Temple of Sety, thereby leading him to believe that it was under that building, or whether it was entered from the back door of the temple was not ascertained. As to the spring which he mentions it might well be that already the lower parts of the hypogeum were then below high Nile level, and that what Strabo saw was the remains of the inundation, which he mistook for a natural spring. Section 3. At first sight there was nothing to indicate the real nature of this building, but later two hypotheses presented themselves. The cartouche of Merenptah appeared in every place where it could be inserted, and we therefore had to consider the possibility of it being his tomb. The two points in favour of this hypothesis are that the walls are inscribed with scenes and chapters from the books of Am Duat and of the Dead, and that Merenptah is called the Osiris and "Maat-kheru". Now M. Maspero has pointed out very clearly that the epithet Maat-kheru can be applied to the living equally well as to the dead; one of his most convincing instances being taken from the Temple of Sety at Abydos, where the youthful Rameses II, destined to live to a very great age, is called Maat-Kheru. I have endeavoured to prove (chap v) that the king, in his lifetime as well as in death, was identified with Osiris; this being so, the fact of his being called Osiris does not of itself show that this was his funeral monument. We must remember also that Merenptah had a very fine tomb in the Valley of the Kings; he was hardly likely to make two of such magnificence, one at Thebes and one at Abydos.The other hypothesis was that this was the building for the special worship of Osiris and the celebration of the Mysteries, and this appears to me to be the true explanation, for many reasons. Each reason may not be convincing in itself, but the accumulation of evidence goes to prove the case. There is no tomb even among the Tombs of the Kings that is like it in plan, none having the side chamber leading off the Great Hall. Then, again, no tomb has ever been found attached to a temple; the converse is often the case, I mean a temple attached to a tomb; but this, as far as we can judge, is a kind of extra chapel, a "hidden shrine" as the mythological texts express it, belonging to the temple.It is only to be expected that Osiris, one of the chief deities of Egypt, should have a special place of worship at Abydos, where he was identified with the local god. And that it should be a part of the temple dedicated to the worship of the dead, and which had special chambers set apart for the celebration of the Osirian mysteries is very natural likewise. The building lies immediately in the axis of the temple; a line drawn through the temple and the desert pylon to the Royal Tombs passes through the sloping passage and across the centre of the Great Hall. This is not the result of accident, the temple being older than the hypogeum, but shows that both were dedicated to the same worship.The sculptures in the Great Hall are the Vivification of Osiris by Horus, and the offering of incense by Merenptah; between the two sculptures is inscribed chapter cxlii of the "Book of the Dead", the "Chapter of knowing the Names of Osiris". The other chapters of the "Book of the Dead" inscribed on the walls were pronounced by M. Maspero, when he saw them, to be the "Book of Osiris". The books of "Gates" and of "Am Duat", which are sculpted and painted on the north passage, were said by the ancient Egyptians to have had their origin in the decorations which Horus executed on the walls of the tomb of his father Osiris.Margaret Alice Murray.

lunes, 11 de agosto de 2008

Roman Temple Uncovered In Ancient Jewish Capital Of Galilee

ScienceDaily (Aug. 11, 2008) — Ruins of a Roman temple from the second century CE have recently been unearthed in the Zippori National Park. Above the temple are foundations of a church from the Byzantine period.

The excavations, which were undertaken by the Noam Shudofsky Zippori Expedition led by of Prof. Zeev Weiss of the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, shed light on the multi-cultural society of ancient Zippori (also known as Sepphoris).

The discovery indicated that Zippori, the Jewish capital of the Galilee during the Roman period, had a significant pagan population which built a temple in the heart of the city center. The central location of the temple which is positioned within a walled courtyard and its architectural relation to the surrounding buildings enhance our knowledge regarding the planning of Zippori in the Roman era.

The building of the church on the foundation of the temple testifies to the preservation of the sacred section of the city over time. This new finding demonstrates not only the religious life, culture and society in Roman and Byzantine Zippori, but also that this was a city in which Jews, pagans and later Christians lived together and developed their hometown with various buildings.

The newly discovered temple is located south of the decumanus - colonnaded street - which ran from east to west and was the main thoroughfare in the city during the Roman through Byzantine period. The temple, measuring approximately 24 by 12 meters, was built with a decorated façade facing the street. The temple’s walls were plundered in ancient times and only its foundations remain.

No evidence has been found that reveals the nature of the temple’s rituals, but some coins dating from the time of Antoninus Pius, minted in Diocaesarea (Zippori), depict a temple to the Roman gods Zeus and Tyche. The temple ceased to function at an unknown date, and a large church, the remains of which were uncovered by the Hebrew University excavation team in previous seasons, was built over it in the Byzantine period.

North of the decumanus, opposite the temple, a monumental building was partially excavated this summer. Its role is still unclear, although its nature and size indicate that it was an important building. A courtyard with a well-preserved stone pavement of smooth rectangular slabs executed in high quality was uncovered in the center of the building, upon which were found a pile of collapsed columns and capitals - probably as a result of an earthquake. The decoration on these architectural elements was executed in stucco. Beyond a row of columns, an adjacent aisle and additional rooms were discovered. Two of them were decorated with colorful, geometrical mosaics.

Sciencedaily 11.8.2008
archeology news

Viaje a China

China es un país excitante, me gustaron todas las ciudades que visité pero para mi una de las ciudades más atrayentes de China es Beijing, capital de China. Tiene una extensión de 16.808 km cuadrados y una población de 12 millones de habitantes. Esta ciudad tiene una antigüedad de 3000 años aunque solamente cuenta con 1000 años como capital imperial o real. Es una ciudad en la que se observan muchos modernidad y la cultura milenaria. Pekin es una ciudad preciosa y es necesario callejear por todas partes y empaparse de su cultura, observar a la gente, admirar la belleza de sus monumentos, de sus templos, e sus palacios, museos de sus casas , de los famosos hutongs, de sus jardines, de sus parques……. Adentrase por sus calles y callejuelas y observar a los vendedores con sus puestos en los que se encuentra todo tipo de cosas… Una de las cosas que más asombro me causó es ver los puestos de comida y como te ofrecían esas cosas tan raras. Te ofrecen pinchos de caballitos de mar (como si fueran pinchos morunos) ; cabezas con cuello de pollo medio asadas y pinchadas en palos, insectos, , etc etc El moverse por la ciudad es fácil gracias a los medios de transporte, el metro es muy rápido, los taxis son muy baratos, puedes también viajar e forma muy barata con cochecitos tirados por un caballo, autobuses… Otra de las cosas que también llama la atención es ver tantos militares y policías, además de construcciones militares por muchas partes. El nombre de esta plaza significa: de la paz celestial. Esta situada en el corazón de Beijing y tiene una capacidad para un millón de personas. Pasee por esta plaza montones de veces. Como no tiene asientos, la mayoría de los chinos llevan un trozo de periódico y cartón y así pueden sentarse en el suelo. Espectacular durante el dia y la tarde… llas paradas y desfiles militares, el cambio de guardia…. además por las tardes es maravilloso ver como los padres con sus niños hacen volar comentas… Me gustó tanto esta plaza!!!! Mao,proclamó la republica popular el dia uno de octubre de 1949 desde la puerta de Tiananmen. Esta puerta fué contruida el siglo XV y restaurada el siglo XVIII. Esta dividida en 5 puertas y frente a estas puertas hay 7 puentes sobre el agua. A traves de esta puerta se pasa a la CIUDAD PROHIBIDA. Alrededor de la plaza de Tiananmen se encuentran ,el Museo de Historia y de la revolución China, la sala del pueblo (donde se reune el congreso nacional el pueblo), la puerta Qianmen (al sur), el Mausoleo de Mao y el Monumento a los Héroes del Pueblo. Este monumento es un gran OBELISCO de 26 metrs de altura. El mausoleo de Mao está en la plaza de Tiananmen.Justamente detrás del Monumento a los héroes. Una de las cosas que no queria perderme en mi vista a Pekín era este Mausoleo. La entrada es gratis y se forman unas colas descomunales, por eso lo mejor es ir por la mañana temprano. No se puede entrar con bolsos,cámaras de fotos etc etc. Pero cruzando la calle , hay unas oficinas estatales que guardan las bolsas y te dan un resguardo para recogérlas. Bajo un estricto cntrol militar, la fila llega hasta la entrada, allí nos dividieron en dos filas, una a la derecha y otra a la izquierda y pasamos alrededor del cadáver de Mao. Solamnete puedo decir que cuando estuve visitando el Palacio de Verano todo fué precioso, increíble, alucinante!!! Está situado al oeste de Beijing, alejado del casco urbano y los jardines son preciosos, (uno de los jardines imperiales mas grandes de China). Las construcciones dentro del recinto son bellísimas !!!! Siempre esta lleno de gente, turistas algunos si, pero sobre todo esta lleno de de chinos que se reunen allí . Algunos cantan, otros bailan…otros juegan al dominó, los niños y adultos juegan con cometas…etc ect pasear por allçi es como pasear por un paraíso!!! hay algunos vendedores ambulantes..pero no demasiados. El Lago Kunming ocupa gran partedel parque -30 metros cuadrados de lago!!!!!- El salón e la benevolencia y la longevidad esta situado al final del lago en dirección a la puerta este. En este salón es donde el emperador trataba los asuntos de estado y recibía a las visitas. El gran corredor tiene 700 metros de largo y es una verdadera gozada pasear por el. Está situado en la orilla norte. En la Colina de la longevidad hay varios templos. El puente de los 17 arcos tiene 150 metros y se extiende hasta la Isla Sur del lago. En la mitad oeste del lago esta el Puente del Cinturón de jade. El jardínde la armonía esta en el noreste. CADA UNO DE LOS RINCONES DE ESTE PARQUE TIENE MONUMENTOS HISTÓRICOS. Este precioso parque está a 12 kms del centro de Pekín. Para visitarlo ,se puede ir en taxi o tomar el metro hasta la estacón de Xizhimen y allí coger un minibús, también hay autobuses que llevan hasta allí. También se puede ir en bici ya que en Pekin e alquilan bicis a un precio muy bajo. En el museo de Historia natural de Pekin hay de todo, flora y fauna china, animales, etc etc. Pero lo que realmente me impresionó fueron los miembros humanos en alcohol y los cuerpos humanos - y están conservados en alcohol- El museo esta a unos 40 minutos paseando desde el sur de la Plaza de Tiananmen. Cuando después de estar en Tiananmen cruzamos para dirigirnos a la Ciudad Prohibido, sentí una emoción muy intensa. Por fín iba a visitar una de las zonas mas bonitas de Pekín, la mítica ciudad prohibida. Entramos por la puerta, que se llama Wumen y es el lugar donde realizabas las ceremonias….. IMPRESIONANTE!!! La ciudad prohibida esta en el centro de Beijing.Es un conjunto de antiguos palacios, edificios palciegos,pabellones…y es el más importante complejo artístico y cultural de China. Fue llamada ciudad prohibida ya que durante 500 años fué realmente el pueblo no podia acceder a la zona. Fue la residencia de las dinastías Ming y Qing. Desde este lugar,los emperadores dirigian China. El Palacio fué construido por el emperador Yong Le en el siglo XV, y recucló a mas de un millón de campesinos como obreros. La ciudad prohibida sufrió, incendios, asedios,pillajes,asaltos … Por ejemplo enel año 1664, los Manchures tomaron la ciudad y la quemaron.Ademá de los edificios que desaparecieron se perdieron con el fuego, muchas obras de arte, libros, pinturas y pergaminos. En 1949, el koumintang, en vísperas de la llegada del comunismo se llevaron muchísimas obras de arte…que están expuestas ahora en Taiwan.

Puente de Carlos

Existen varias leyendas acerca de este famoso puente.
Hay que recordar que fue el emperador Carlos IV el día 9 de julio de 1357 quien colocó la primera piedra.
Una de las leyendas cuenta que durante la construcción del puente hubo muchos accidentes y los obreros tuvieron muchos problemas. El maestro de obras contrató a un joven bastante diligente para que le ayudara y durante el día se construía bastante y bien, pero al llegar la noche, el diablo lo derribaba. Entonces el constructor, al darse cuenta de que era el diablo quien destruía todo lo realizado en el puente hizo un pacto con el diablo, para así poder terminar el puente. Le dijo al diablo que si no lo destruía mas, podía quedarse con el alma del primer ser vivo que cruzara el puente, una vez acabado.
El diablo accede y el puente se termina sin problemas. El día de la construcción, el constructor ordenó que nadie debería cruzar el puente, ya él tenia la idea de soltar a un gallo que había comprado y así engañar al diablo. Pero como el diablo es muy listo y lo intuye todo… se acercó disfrazado de obrero a casa del constructor y le dijo a la mujer de este que su marido había tenido un accidente. Entonces la mujer llorando corrió hacia el puente y lo atravesó antes de que el constructor soltara al gallo. Entonces la mujer desapareció…. Durante bastante tiempo por las noches las personas que pasaban cerca del puente veían el fantasma de una mujer vestida de blanco lanzando unos gemidos desesperados, todos huían despavoridos al ver el fantasma. Pero un día un aldeano que vio al fantasma dijo: alma, que dios te ayude, que dios te de la paz eterna que necesitas!!! Y fue entonces cuando el alma subió al cielo y el fantasma dejó de pasearse por el puente de Carlos.

Praga es una de mis ciudades favoritas. Es una ciudad preciosa y tiene muchísimas cosas para ver: La torre de la pólvora, la zona judía con visitas a sinagogas y al antiguo cementerio judío), el ayuntamiento, el famoso reloj, el puente de Carlos.El castillo de Praga con sus preciosas vistas. Visitar Praga es como estar en un cuento de hadas, como si se viajara en el tiempo….

La parte más atractiva de Praga es el centro histórico, que hace de ella uno de los lugares turísticos más importantes del mundo.
Esta Dividida en dos partes por el río Moldava.Y hay que destacar el famoso y encantador Puente de carlota, coronado por dos torres barrocas, Este puente une las dos orillas de la ciudad.

Las partes más antiguas - Hradčany, Malá Strana, Staré y Nové Město, dejan al visitante extasiado envolviéndole en una atmósfera única y una cantidad de preciosos monumentos, por los que Praga es llamada la ciudad de las cien torres doradas o madre de las ciudades. El centro histórico está rodeado por los barrios antiguos, llamados la ciudad interior (Karlín, Smíchov, Vinohrady,Vršovice, Žižkov,…) . A ella se une la ciudad exterior con los suburbios y barrios periféricos de casas unifamiliares (Jižní Město, Jihozápadní Město, Bohnice,…) más allá la zona limítrofe con bosques y terrenos dedicados a la agricultura.


hay muchos sitios que dejan huella y Rusia es uno de ellos.
He viajado a Rusia en dos ocasiones. La primera vez estuve unos dias en Moscú cogí el tren nocturno hasta Sant petersburgo y allí estuve disfrutando de otros dias inolvidables.
La segunda vez, además de estar unos dias en esas dos ciudades, alargué el viaje con un crucero por los rios y canales de Rusia.
El crucero desde Moscú a Sant Petersburgo es algo increible!!!
Se visitan ciudades medievales rusas, Kaliazin, Uglich, Goritsy,Kiszhi, Mandroga...
Desde Moscú se navega por el rio hasta el canal Moscú volga, se llega al embalse de Rybinsk, se sigue navegando por el rio Sheksna hasta el lago blanco despues por el canal volga-báltico, río Kovsha hasta el lago Onega, después por elrío Svit hasta el lago Ládoga y después hasta el rio Neva...
Además en el crucero, como se navega durante muchas horas y son varios hacen todo tipo de actividades. Bueno, algunas no me gustaba y no las hacia (bingo, y cosas así) pero otras actividades eran curiosisimas (enseñar el idioma ruso, canciones rusas, cocina rusa, etc etc)
Además de actuaciones musicales y bailes rusos... aya ay que recuerdos!!!
Una de las experiencias más emocionantes que he tenido en este país es el estar allí durante las llamadas "noches blancas".
Cuándo estuve la primera vez era el mes de junio y los dias tenían tanta luz!!!! solamente había oscuridad durante unas pocas horas...


una de las ciudades más bonitas de Europa. es sin duda Amsterdam. Creo que quien va a Amsterdam por primera vez, se queda cautivado por su encanto y necesita volver una y otra vez . Bueno eso es lo que pasó a mi.
Hay una leyenda que habla sobre la fundación de esta ciudad, se dice que dos pescadores fueron los que se establecieron allí y todos sus familiares y parientes se unieron a ellos y entre todos construyeron la aldea en el lugar donde el rio AMstel confluye con el estuario del Zuider Zee.Levantaron un dique para contener el agua, dique en holandés se dice "DAM" y de esta manera se derivó el nombre de la ciudad Amstelledamme , que significa dique sobre el Amstel. Posteriormente este nombre se tranformó en la palabra actual, AMSTERDAM.

Así es que en 1270 surge un pueblecito de pescadores,que con el tiempo se ira haciendo cada vez más grande
He de confesar que de mis sitios favoritos en esta ciudad es la plaza Dam.
Esta plaza es el "centro" de Amsterdam, a pesar que ya no esta en el centro geográfico de la ciudad.
Durante el día,la plaza esta llena de gente..holandeses y visitantes que necesitan pasear o reunirse en esta plaza.
Es típico en los jóvenes el sentarse y reunirse en las escaleras que hay en el famoso Obelisco de la plaza. Este monumento conmemora a los holandeses caídos en la segunda guerra mundial. Es el obelisco de la liberación que está adornado con figuras alegóricas.
En la plaza Dam esta el el Palacio real, que tiene una torre octogonal con la cúpula (que tiene un techo verde) y un reloj.
tambien está la Nieuwe Kerk, que fué reconstruida en 1452 ya que en esas fechas hubo un gran incendio en Amsterdam.
Tambien en Dam square hay un sitio que a mi me gustó mucho, el Museo de cera de Madame Tussaud.
La verdad es que puede uno pasarse horas y horas, sentada alli en los bancos de piedra de la plaza Dam, y ver la gente que pasea,las palomas revoloteando, los niños dando de comer a las palomas........
Recuerdo la visita al museo...............El museo casa de Ana Frank es uno de los lugares que mas me ha gustado de Amsterdam.
Allí puede visitarse la casa de atrás, donde estuvieron escondidas las familias, además hay bastantes objetos personales y el diario de anna.
Visitando aquel museo, se comprende mejor todo lo que tuvieron que t que padecer aquellas familias allíencerradas ...y todo el horror que ha padecido la humanidad con hechos tan terribles como el exterminio nazi. A mi personalmente me impactó.
Y reeleer el diario de Anna es algo que realmente me hace derramar lágrimas siempre!!

La dirección del Museo es
Museo Casa de Ana Frank. Ana Frank Huis
Prinsengracht, 267.
Esta CIUDAD esta llena de coffeeshops, se ven por todas partes. Uno de los más famosos y visitados es Grasshopper, que es un edificio verde que esta muy cerca de la estación central, en la calle Oudebrugsteeg.
Una de las cosas que veo curiosas es que en los coffehops se puede beber todo tido de bebidas excepto bebidas alcoholicas.
Menudos recuerdos de esta ciudad.Una de las zonas más curiosas de Amsterdan es el famoso mercado e las flores.
El Muntplein es una plaza que esta en dos puentes, Amstel y Singel.
El distrito rojo o Wallen
Singel Canal , aparece en la foto ...menudas vistas desde mi ventana :)
Este canal es el mas interno de Amsterdam. Singel significa aro o cinturón y era el último límite de la villa medieval.
Antes del año 1600 el singel era un gran foso que separaba las murallas de la ciudad.

El Wallen es el distrito rojo de Amsterdam. Esta situado en el casco antiguo a unos pasos de la Plaza Dam.
Es u barrio pintoresco ,donde las edificaciones preciosas, los escarate llenos de mujeres y los shepshops son continuamente visitados.

Las mujeres en sus vitrinas, sentadas en un taburete o depie, sonriendo y miranto y a veces invitando a los transeuntes que, como es lógico..miran con curiosidad a esas mujeres. De dia y denoche hay actividad en el Wallen.
En la plaza está la torre de la Ceca, La Munttoren. Es u torreon barroco que fué construido en 1620 por Hendruck de Keyser.
Fué construda la torro en el lugar donde habia una e las antiguas puertas de la ciudad.
a la Munttoren te la encuentras cnontinuamente, ya es esta zona es una zona idea para callejear.
bscaré alguna foto para colgarla en el album.

Me gustó muchisimo, flores diferentes,plantas y sobre todo tulipanes,tulipanes y tulipanes!!!! preciosos.
Allí solamente se venden flores y semillas (y algunos recuerdos típicos para turistas-claro).
Esta abiero todos los dias de la seman excepto los domingos.
Esta situado en el tramo de arriba del singel.

La tradición de los pies de loto

En Louyang visitamos una aldea. Allí vivía una de las pocas ancianas chinas con pies de loto.
Esta mujer vivía en una casa cueva donde las habitaciones estaban escavadas alrededor de un patio central.
Usaba zapatillas normales debido a las superficies sobre las que tenia que caminar.
Es curioso como esta costumbre tuvo una vigencia de dos mil años. Se realizaba en niñas de 4 años, antes de esta edad hubiera imposibilitado a la niña para poder andar, pero a partir de esa edad… los pies se reducían pero posibilitaban el movimiento ,aunque como es lógico las mujeres no podían caminar de forma normal sino dando pasitos.
Cuando la niña tenia 4 años de edad, la madre doblaba hacia dentro los dedos de los dos pies en forma de cuña y los vendaba. Comenzaba así la tortura para la niña, la cual sufría dolores tremendos. Finalmente y con los años los pies quedaban reducidos al haberse fragmentado los huesos.
A partir de 1911 comienzan las protestas contra esta bárbara costumbre y con la revolución cultural queda totalmente prohibida esta práctica.


Recuerdo que en uno de mis viajes a Bélgica fui a las Ardenas y uno de los lugares que me gustó fue la abadía de Orval.
Esta situada en un valle profundo. Esta abadía fue fundada en 1070 y después paso a ser cisterciense en 1132. Fue destruida durante la revolución francesa y fue reconstruida en 1926. Y construyeron los monjes una cervecería para obtener fondos. Pero se conservan ruinas de los siglos XII y XIII… que son una delicia visitar. Pasear por la abadía en sumergirse en un remanso de paz y cualquier rincón es agradable. Me gustó mucho la fuente, el huerto de plantas medicinales era curioso al cultivarse allí bastantes especies.
Los monjes hacen pan, queso, cerveza…. La cerveza Orval es una de las mejores cervezas que he probado.
Y ahora una leyenda:
El año 1076, la condesa Mathilda -que era la soberana de la zona y duquesa de Toscaza-estaba paseando por la zona y se sentó al borde de una fuente. Sin darse cuenta se le cayó el anillo nupcial que era el recuerdo que le quedaba de su difunto esposo. Se sintió frustrada por haber perdido el anillo y le rezó a la virgen para poder recuperarlo. Entonces aparece una trucha en la superficie del agua que lleva en la boca su anillo.
Al ver esto,la condesa se quedó sorprendida y después se llenó de alegría exclamando: “¡He aquí mi dorado anillo, bendito sea el valle que me lo de volvió! A partir de ahora este valle se llamará Val d’or! ” y de ahí viene el nombre orval , además el símbolo de Orval es la trucha y el anillo.


Tengo tantos recuerdos de esta entrañable ciudad!
Amberes, la ciudad de Rubens y del Escalda, la preciosa ciudad que te cautiva desde la primera vez que la visitas.
El centro neurálgico es la plaza mayor. Hay varios cafés restaurantes en los que se puede tomar algo- bueno la cerveza belga es muy buena - mientras se disfruta viendo pasear gente, rodeados de las preciosas casas gremiales del siglo XVI y XVII. Ahí en esa plaza esta la estatua del famoso Brabo. Según cuenta la leyenda, había un gigante que pedía dinero a los marinos para dejarles seguir navegando en el río, los que se negaban a pagar eran mutilados -les cortaba la mano- pero Brabo consigue vencerle y es entonces él, quien corta la mano al gigante y la arroja al río. De ahí el nombre de Antwerpen “hand werpen”(arrojar la mano) en flamenco, que dio nombre a la ciudad. Por cierto que una de las especialidades típicas son las manitas hechas de chocolate, yo siempre he comprado un par de cajas cuando he ido allí.
Antwerpen tiene muchas cosas para visitar, Museos ,como el Museo Rubens, el Museo Nacional de Navegación que esta en el Oteen. Las catedrales e iglesias son también muy bonitas, San Pablo,Iglesia de S.Pablo S.Carlos Boromeo, S.Jaime y sobre todo la Catedral de Nuestra Señora.

miércoles, 6 de agosto de 2008

Mi viaje a Camboya

Cuando cierro los ojos y pienso en Angkor, a mi mente vienen las imágenes de esos misteriosos templos escondidos en la selva y siento el mismo estremecimiento que sentí cuando los contemplé ,cuando admiré esos tesoros de piedtapor fuera y por dentro, cuando pasee por todos sus rincones , cuando subí y bajé por sus escaleras, cuando recorrí los pasadizos, cuando encontré a algunas monjas delante de pequeños y destartalados altares, el olor del incienso se mezclaba con el olor a humedad………..Visité: Angkor wat, prasat Kravanan, Sras Srang, Pre Rup, Banteay samré, Banteay Srey, Tapronh, la puerta de la victoria, Bayon, la terraza del rey leproso, la terraza de los elefantes y la puerta sur de Angkor Thom.Templos de Angkor, rodeados de vegetación, escondidos en la selva..vuestra imagen se ha quedado grabada dentro de mi para siempre.El origen de esta ciudad esta en el reinado de Jayavarman II (810-850) este rey fue el fundador del imperio khamer. El templo de Angkor Wat es una construcción ortogonal que mide 1.700 por 1.413 m. Esta compuesta por tres recintos concéntricos precedidos de un foso, que simboliza el océano que circunda la montaña del mundo, en el centro se eleva un templo coronado por cinco torres en forma de flores de loto, que recuerdan las cinco cumbres del Monte Meru . Los muros están decorados con preciosos bajorrelieves, en algunas ocasiones dorados o polícromos, que representan las hazañas de Visnú y sus ninfas celestiales. .

Camboya es un país dificil de olvidar. Pais de contrastes donde los paisajes de ensueños se mezclan con la miseria. Hay tantas cosas que recordar, hay tantas sensaciones vividas durante los dias en los que estuve alli…. su vida diaria, sus meercados, su vida en las casas flotantes del Tonle sap, su pagodas, sus museos, su comida, y sus habitantes.El antiguo nombre de Camboya , es decir “Kampu-chea” viene del que tenia el principado de los Kambujas , el cual se extendió hasta el Delta del Mekong entre los siglos VI y VII deC.Tailandia saquea Angkor en 1431 y se produce un conflicto entre tailandeses y jemeres. Este conflicto dura siglo y medio.Tambien hay que destacar que los españoles y portugueses llegaron a la zona y la población ,hasta de ese dominio se rebela contra ellos produciéndose la matanza de la guarnición española en Phon Penh en 1599. desde entonces y hasta el año 1863, reinan unos cuantos reyes. En el 1863 llegan los franceses y Camboya se convierte en protectorado francés , pasando a ser colonia en 1854. Los francees ponían en como rey a quienes ellos consideraban oportuno, y en el año 1941, es el príncipe Sihanouk quien es nombrado rey. Pero al igual que antes, siempre han existido conflictos y levantamientos del pueblo, pero en esta época son más y el poder colonial francés va decayendo debido sobre todo a la guerra entre Francia y Vietnam.Es en el año 1952 cuando se proclama la independencia de Camboya, que es confirmada en la conferencia de Ginebra del año 1954, aunque el rey Sihanouk permanece en el poder durante unos 15 años mas, para después ser derrocado por el ejército.Estados unidos, en el año 1969 siembra de bombas los puestos base comunistas. Como siempre pasa en estos casos, la población civil se convierte en víctima..mueren muchisimas personas. Y además este país se implica en la guerra de Vietnam. En el año 1970 los Estados unidos y los vietnamitas del sur invaden Camboya. Retroceden los jemeres rojos hacia el interior del país- Después los jemeres rojos toman la capital. Y ahí viene uno de los momentos mas terribles de la história de Camboya, ya que Pol Pot liderando a los jemeres rojos, consigue el genocidio sistemático de dos millones de Camboyanos.Sobre todo,los intelectuales fueron asesinados, y lo que realmente querian los jemeres es convertir el país en un país de campesinos, fácilmente manejables….Camboya queda aislada del resto del mundo. Hasta que Vietnam invade el país en 1978, y así los jemeres rojos tienen que retroceder y esconderse al lado de la frontera tailandesa. Y entonces es cuando vienen los ataques de las guerrillas contra el gobierno.En el año 1993, se celebraron elecciones generales, una nueva Constitución para el país y el renombramiento del rey Sihanouk.Los jemeres trata de boicotearlo todo y rechazan las conversaciones de paz. Se armaron y decidieron seguir atacando..Durante los siguientes cuatro años, los jemeres rojos, liderados por Pol Pot, asesinaron sistemáticamente a unos dos millones de ciudadanos, en especial intenectuales, en un intento brutal de convertir el país en una cooperativa agraria dominada por los campesinos. Se abolió la moneda, se interrumpió el servicio postal, la población se convirtió en mano de obra esclava y Camboya quedó prácticamente aislada del mundo exterior. En respuesta a las continuas incursiones camboyanas en sus provincias fronterizas, Vietnam invadió el país en 1978, forzando así a los jemeres rojos a huir al santuario selvático situado en la frontera tailandesa. Desde allí, durante las décadas de 1970 y 1980, dirigieron una guerra de guerrillas contra el gobierno, respaldado por los vietnamitas.A mediados de 1993, se celebraron elecciones generales supervisadas por las Naciones Unidas, que convergieron en una nueva Constitución y el renombramiento del rey Norodom Sihanouk. Los jemeres rojos boicotearon loscomicios, rechazaron las conversaciones de paz y compraron grandes cantidades de armas a los líderes militares camboyanos. En los meses que siguieron a las elecciones, la amnistía apoyada por el gobierno se aseguró las primeras deserciones de las filas de los jemeres rojos, que se mantuvieron hasta 1994, cuando La difícil coalición entre el Frente Unido Nacional del príncipe Ranariddh y el Partido Popular Camboyano de Hun Sen se interrumpió con violencia en julio de 1997 y, cuando la situación se aligeró, Hun Sen asumió en solitario el liderazgo de la nación. Las elecciones celebradas a mediados de 1998 le otorgaron una nueva victoria, a pesar de las protestas protagonizadas por candidatos de la oposición, que criticaban las turbias prácticas electorales finalmente el gobierno los declaró ilegales.Pol Pot muere en abril de 1998 de un ataque al corazon, nunca fue juzgado.

Recuerdo mi viaje a Camboya, y hay una parte que me causó un honda impresión: La visita del museo del genocidio: La Toul Sleng. Recorriendo las habitaciones -antiguas clases para estudiantes- donde se exponen camas y objetos de tortura, mi corazón se encogía. Al igual que cuando pasamos a las salas donde están fotografiadas las victimas. En la sala de las calaveras senti un estremecimiento…eran restos de seres humanos torturados y asesinados.El museo esta ahí para que no se olvide la historia, para que no se olviden los horrores que los seres humanos son capaces de realizar contra otros seres humanos.La inmensa mayoría de las familias camboyanas perdieron uno o varios miembros en el genocidio llevado a cabo por Pol Pot y los jameres(jamele,kameres) rojos

La violencia en la Tv y los niños

La televisión puede ejercer una gran influencia en el desarrollo de un sistema de valores y en la formación del comportamiento de los niños y adolescentes, y en general los niños ven mucha televisión. La mayoría de las cadenas de televisión tienen normal a la hora de emitir ciertos programas de contenido violento, pero hasta ciertas horas…lo que implica que los niños sí que pueden ver programas de contenido violento si se les permite ver la televisión sin control por parte de los padres. Se han realizado muchos estudios sobre los efectos de la violencia en la televisión sobre los niños y adolescentes y se han encontrado lo siguiente: -Los niños pueden volverse inmunes ante la violencia. - aceptan de forma gradual que la violencia puede ser un modo de resolver los problemas. -Lo que ven en televisión puede tener un carácter mimético, así los niños pueden tender a imitar la violencia que observan en la televisión. -Pueden identificarse con ciertos caracteres, como agresores o agredidos. En general se observa que los niños que ven muchos programas violentos en la tv, tienden a ser mas agresivos. También hay que destacar que no todos los niños reaccionan de la distinta manera ante los estímulos, por ejemplo hay niños mas sensibles, niños con problemas emocionales, etc Esto no quiere decir que los niños tengan que estar encerrado en un mundo imaginario en el que no hay violencia. La violencia existe, y pienso que es cuestión de los padres el estar al lado de los niños y conversar con ellos acerca de situaciones violentas que han surgido en las noticias por ejemplo. También hay que comentar a los niños que en las películas, aunque los actores sean violentos, están solamente actuando y que en la vida real, si se hubiera producido muerte y dolor.

viernes, 18 de abril de 2008

Ballana .Culture X

"Beyond the gorge of Abu Simbil and Gebel Adda, the desert cliffs and Pleistocene gravel terraces recede from the vicinity of the river and leave plains on both banks of modern alluvium and upper Paleolithic silt. The scanty vegetation is mainly composed of a few palms and "sunt" trees, which border the river's edge.""We moved forward in extended order noting each possible site, and on November 3rd we came within view of a vast field of tumuli scattered over an area of more than two kilometres. As the tumuli partly obscured by banks of drift sand and decayed vegetation they did not at first appear to be anything other than natural formations, but as we drew nearer we noted that most of them were covered with large schist pebbles and were so regular in shape that their artificial nature was apparent.""On November 7th we received reports of plundering on the east bank of the river at Qustul, and visited the site consequence. We were amazed to discover a further series of tumuli directly opposite those on the west bank, at Ballana, which differed only in their smaller size and absence of pebble covering. Between some of the tumuli at the south end were a few small graves of the X-group period, and it was these graves which had attracted the attention of the plunderers.""Work was started on November 8th with 150 men and boys, and examination of depressions noted on the east side of most of the tumuli revealed the entrances to robbers' passages which had been cut below the ground level on which the mounds were built. The clearing of these passages revealed the fact that they broke into burial chambers of large tombs, which had been constructed beneath the tumuli. Although varying considerably in the size and number of the rooms one feature remained the same in all of them: the entrance of the east side was always found blocked and intact. And it was obvious that the plunderers had realised that beyond this blocking was an open court, or pit, and that the opening of the door would cause an inrush of debris into the tomb"."The few object and pottery left by the plunderers served to show us that these tombs were built for persons of considerable wealth, and were to be dated to the X-group period. The possibility of offerings, etc., left in the open court before the entrance persuaded us to risk a considerable sum of money to get to that entrance by the removal of the tumulus... And on November 10th we commenced the excavation of the Tomb No.2.""Some days were spent in the removal of the tumulus and by the end of a week a large pit was revealed which contained a vaulted chamber of mud brick. This chamber, which was connected with the main rooms of the tomb, had been spared by the plunderers and in it were found, comparatively undisturbed, a large amount of pottery and some leather bags containing dates.""Clearing the debris to the east of this pit we uncovered a ramp which led down from the surface to the entrance of the tomb. By November 23rd the bones of sacrificed horses with their silver trappings and harness were uncovered, and it was then that we realised the true value of the discovery. The excavation of Tomb No.3, which was completed early in the following month, yielded even richer rewards"."At Ballana and Qustul the method of burial and the design of the royal tombs was the same, varying only in the degree of richness and size, according to the importance of the owner. In the construction of the tombs the procedure was as follows: An inclined passage was cut in the hard alluvium leading down to a large pit and a series of brick rooms were constructed in this pit with a small open court into which the inclined passage opened. In some cases each of the brick rooms have been built in separate pits and are connected by short passages tunnelled in the alluvium. The roofing of each room was barrel-vaulted, and in the larger tombs the doors had stone lintels"."Due, no doubt, to the moisture of the ground at the bottom of the pits at Ballana the walls were built with stone foundations." It is evident that the owners of these tombs held to the Ancient Egyptian belief of the material survival after death of both animate and inanimate objects, for they buried with their dead wine and food, furniture, cooking utensils, jewels, weapons and tools and materials to make them, but in place of the ushabtis of the Egyptians they sacrificed their slaves and animals"."One room was usually reserved for the wine jars and drinking cups, and another was devoted to bronze and silver cooking utensils, lamps, jewels, weapons and tools. In the Tomb 80 at Ballana, for example, we found spears and axes together with metal working tools and iron ingots. In the larger tombs a separate chamber was reserved for the burial of the queen, who was undoubtedly sacrificed, with her attendant slaves. But in the smaller tombs the sacrificed queen was placed beside her consort.The king was placed in the chamber nearest the main entrance to the tomb, and it is evident that his installation was the last act before the final closing. His body was laid on a canopied wooden bier, below which were placed bronze and silver vessels for his immediate use. He was dressed in his royal regalia and weapons for his protection were left leaning against the foot of the bier, and at its head lay the sacrificed bodies of a male slave and an ox. An iron folding chair was frequently placed by the side of the bier. The entrance to the tomb was then blocked with bricks and stone and the owner's horses, camels, donkeys and dogs, together with their grooms and possibly soldiers, were then sacrificed in the courtyard and ramp. The animals were buried wearing their harnesses and saddles, the dogs in some cases had collars and leashes. The sacrificed humans met their deaths either by the cutting of the throat or by strangulation, and the animals were pole-axed. Finally the pit and the ramp were filled and a great earthen mound was raised over the tomb; in many cases offerings such as weapons, jewellery, vases, game etc., were buried in the mound. And at Ballana most of the mounds were covered with a layer of large schist pebbles"....
W.B. Emery, "The Royal Tombs of Ballana and Qustul", 1938.

sábado, 5 de abril de 2008

La tumba de Mena

La TT69 en Sheij Abd el-Qurna (Sheikh Abd el-Qurna) pertenece al escriba de los campos del señor de las dos tierras del Alto y el Bajo Egipto, Menna.

Menna, también tenía el cargo de supervisor de los campos de Amon. Probablemente Menna supervisó las tierras que pertenecían al templo de Karnak y el estado de los graneros. Trabajó posiblemente midiendo campos, inspeccionando el trabajo de la tierra, y controlando que no hubiera defraudadores a la hora de la entrega de las cosechas.Menna vive durante la dinastía XVIII y probablemente trabajó con los dos faraones Tuthmosis IV y Amenhotep III.Estaba casado con Henuttawy (Henut-taui) y posiblemente tenian varios hijos, uno de ellos continuó con la profesión de su padre, y además tuvo tres hijas, una de las cuales fue Amenemwaskhet.

jueves, 3 de abril de 2008


the first part of it the deceased, after adjuring his heart, says, "May naught stand up to oppose me in the judgment; may there be no opposition to me in the presence of the sovereign princes; may there be no parting of thee from me in the presence of him that keepeth the Balance!... May the officers of the court of Osiris (in Egyptian Shenit), who form the conditions of the lives of men, not cause my name to stink! Let [the judgment] be satisfactory unto me, let the hearing be satisfactory unto me, and let me have joy of heart at the weighing of words. Let not that which is false be uttered against me before the Great God, the Lord of Amentet."
Now, although the papyrus upon, which this statement and prayer are found was written about two thousand years after Men-kau-Rā reigned, there is no doubt that they were copied from texts which were themselves copied at a much earlier period, and that the story of the finding of the text inscribed upon an iron slab is contemporary with its actual discovery by Herutātāf. It is not necessary to inquire here whether the word "find" (in Egyptian qem) means a genuine discovery or not, but it is clear that those who had the papyrus copied saw no absurdity or impropriety in ascribing the text to the period of Men-kau-Rā. Another text, which afterwards also became a chapter of the Book of the Dead, under the title "Chapter of not letting the heart of the deceased be driven away from him in the underworld," was inscribed on a coffin of the XIth dynasty, about B.C. 2500, and in it we have the following petition: "May naught stand up to oppose me in judgment in the presence of the lords of the trial (literally, 'lords of things'); let it not be said of me and of that which I have done, 'He hath done deeds against that which is very right and true'; may naught be against me in the presence of the Great God, the Lord of Amentet." From these passages we are right in assuming that before the end of the IVth dynasty the idea of being "weighed in the balance" was already evolved; that the religious schools of Egypt had assigned to a god the duty of watching the balance when cases were being tried; that this weighing in the balance took place in the presence of the beings called Shenit, who were believed to control the acts and deeds of men; that it was thought that evidence unfavourable to the deceased might be produced by his foes at the judgment; that the weighing took place in the presence of the Great God, the Lord of Amentet; and that the heart of the deceased might fail him either physically or morally. The deceased addresses his heart, calling it is "mother," and next identifies it with his ka or double, coupling the mention of the ka with the name of the god Khnemu: these facts are exceedingly important, for they prove that the deceased considered his heart to be the source of his life and being, and the mention of the god Khnemu takes the date of the composition back to a period coaeval with the beginnings of religious thought in Egypt. It was the god Khnemu who assisted Thoth in performing the commands of God at the creation, and one very interesting sculpture at Philae shows Khnemu in the act of fashioning man upon a potter's wheel. The deceased, in mentioning Khnemu's name, seems to invoke his aid in the judgment as fashioner of man and as the being who is in some respects responsible for the manner of his life upon earth.
In Chapter 30A there is no mention made of the "guardian of the balance," and the deceased says, "May naught stand up to oppose me in judgment in the presence of the lords of things!" The "lords of things" may be either the "lords of creation," i.e., the great cosmic gods, or the "lords of the affairs [of the hall of judgment] ," i.e., of the trial. In this chapter the deceased addresses not Khnemu, but "the gods who dwell in the divine clouds, and who are exalted by reason of their sceptres," that is to say, the four gods of the cardinal points, called Mestha, Hāpi Tuamutef, and Qebhsennuf, who also presided over the chief internal organs of the human body. Here, again, it seems as if the deceased was anxious to make these gods in some way responsible for the deeds done by him in his life, inasmuch as they presided, over the organs that were the prime movers of his actions. In any case, he considers them in, the light of intercessors, for he beseeches them to "speak fair words unto Rā" on his behalf, and to make him to prosper before the goddess Nehebka. In this case, the favour of Rā, the Sun-god, the visible emblem of the almighty and eternal God, is sought for, and also that of the serpent goddess, whose attributes are not yet accurately defined, but who has much to do with the destinies of the dead. No mention whatever is made of the Lord of Amentet--Osiris.
Before we pass to the consideration of the manner in which the judgment is depicted upon the finest examples of the illustrated papyri, reference must be made to an interesting vignette in the papyri of Nebseni and Amen-neb. In both of these papyri we see a figure of the deceased himself being weighed in the balance against his own heart in the presence of the god Osiris. It seems probable that a belief was current at one time in ancient Egypt concerning the possibility of the body being weighed against the heart, with the view of finding out if the former had obeyed the dictates of the latter; be that as it may, however, it is quite certain that this remarkable variant of the vignette of Chapter 30B had some special meaning, and, as it occurs in two papyri which date from the XVIIIth dynasty, we are justified in assuming that it represents a belief belonging to a much older period. The judgment here depicted must, in any case, be different from that which forms such a striking scene in the later illustrated papyri of the XVIIIth and following dynasties.
We have now proved that the idea of the judgment of the dead was accepted in religious writings as early as the IVth dynasty, about B.C. 3600, but we have to wait nearly two thousand years before we find it in picture form. Certain scenes which are found in the Book of the Dead as vignettes accompanying certain texts or chapters, e.g., the Fields of Hetep, or the Elysian Fields, are exceedingly old, and are found on sarcophagi of the XIth and XIIth dynasties; but the earliest picture known of the Judgment Scene is not older than the XVIIIth dynasty. In the oldest Theban papyri of the Book of the Dead no Judgment Scene is forthcoming, and when we find it wanting in such authoritative documents as the Papyrus of Nebseni and that of Nu, we must take it for granted that there was some reason for its omission. In the great illustrated papyri, in which, the Judgment Scene is given in full, it will be noticed that it comes at the beginning of the work, and that it is preceded by hymns and by a vignette. Thus, in the Papyrus of Ani, we have a hymn to Rā followed by a vignette representing the sunrise, and a hymn to Osiris; and in the Papyrus of Hunefer, though the hymns are different, the arrangement is the same. We are justified, then, in assuming that the hymns and the Judgment Scene together formed an introductory section to the Book of the Dead, and it is possible that it indicates the existence of the belief, at least during the period of the greatest power of the priests of Amen, from B.C. 1700 to B.C. 800, that the judgment of the dead for the deeds done in the body preceded the admission of the dead into the kingdom of Osiris. As the hymns which accompany the Judgment Scene are fine examples of a high class of devotional compositions, a few translations from some of them are here given.


The belief that the deeds done in the body would be subjected to an analysis and scrutiny by the divine powers after the death of a man belongs to the earliest period of Egyptian civilization, and this belief remained substantially the same in all generations. Though we have no information as to the locality where the Last Judgment took place, or whether the Egyptian soul passed into the judgment-hall immediately after the death of the body, or after the mummification was ended and the body was deposited in the tomb, it is quite certain that the belief in the judgment was as deeply rooted in the Egyptians as the belief in immortality. There seems to have been no idea of a general judgment when all those who had lived in the world should receive their reward for the deeds done in the body; on the contrary, all the evidence available goes to show that each soul was dealt with individually, and was either permitted to pass into the kingdom of Osiris and of the blessed, or was destroyed straightway. Certain passages in the texts seem to suggest the idea of the existence of a place for departed spirits wherein the souls condemned in the judgment might dwell, but it must be remembered that it was the enemies of Rā, the Sun-god, that inhabited this region; and it is impossible to imagine that the divine powers who presided over the judgment would permit the souls of the wicked to live after they had been condemned and to become enemies of those who were pure and blessed. On the other hand, if we attach any importance to the ideas of the Copts upon this subject, and consider that they represent ancient beliefs which they derived from the Egyptians traditionally, it must be admitted that the Egyptian underworld contained some region wherein the souls of the wicked were punished for an indefinite period. The Coptic lives of saints and martyrs are full of allusions to the sufferings of the damned, but whether the descriptions of these are due to imaginings of the mind of the Christian Egyptian or to the bias of the scribe's opinions cannot always be said. When we consider that the Coptic hell was little more than a modified form of the ancient Egyptian Amenti, or Amentet, it is difficult to believe that it was the name of the Egyptian underworld only which was borrowed, and that the ideas and beliefs concerning it which were held by the ancient Egyptians were not at the same time absorbed. Some Christian writers are most minute in their classification of the wicked in hell, as we may see from the following extract from the life of Pisentios, Bishop of Keft, in the VIIth century of our era. The holy man had taken refuge in a tomb wherein a number of mummies had been piled up, and when he had read the list of the names of the people who had been buried there he gave it to his disciple to replace. Then he addressed his disciple and admonished him to do the work of God with diligence, and warned him that every man must become even as were the mummies which lay before them. "And some," said he, "whose sins have been many are now in Amenti, others are in the outer darkness, others are in pits and ditches filled with fire, and others are in the river of fire: upon these last no one hath bestowed rest. And others, likewise, are in a place of rest, by reason of their good works." When the disciple had departed, the holy man began to talk to one of the mummies who had been a native of the town of Erment, or Armant, and whose father and mother had been called Agricolaos and Eustathia. He had been a worshipper of Poseidon, and had never heard that Christ had come into the world. "And," said he "woe, woe is me because I was born into the world. Why did not my mother's womb become my tomb? When, it became necessary for me to die, the Kosmokratôr angels were the first to come round about me, and they told me of all the sins which I had committed, and they said unto me, 'Let him that can save thee from the torments into which thou shalt be cast come hither.' And they had in their hands iron knives, and pointed goads which were like unto sharp spears, and they drove them into my sides and gnashed upon me with their teeth. When a little time afterwards my eyes were opened I saw death hovering about in the air in its manifold forms, and at that moment angels who were without pity came and dragged my wretched soul from my body, and having tied it under the form of a black horse they led me away to Amonti. Woe be unto every sinner like unto myself who hath been born into the world! O my master and father, I was then delivered into the hands of a multitude of tormentors who were without pity and who had each a different form. Oh, what a number of wild beasts did I see in the way! Oh, what a number of powers were there that inflicted punishment upon me! And it came to pass that when I had been cast into the outer darkness, I saw a great ditch which was more than two hundred cubits deep, and it was filled with reptiles; each reptile had seven heads, and the body of each was like unto that of a scorpion. In this place also lived the Great Worm, the mere sight of which terrified him that looked thereat. In his mouth he had teeth like unto iron stakes, and one took me and threw me to this Worm which never ceased to eat; then immediately all the [other] beasts gathered together near him, and when he had filled his mouth [with my flesh] , all the beasts who were round about me filled theirs." In answer to the question of the holy man as to whether he had enjoyed any rest or period without suffering, the mummy replied: "Yea, O my father, pity is shown unto those who are in torment every Saturday and every Sunday. As soon as Sunday is over we are cast into the torments which we deserve, so that we may forget the years which we have passed in the world; and as soon as we have forgotten the grief of this torment we are cast into another which is still more grievous."
Now, it is easy to see from the above description of the torments which the wicked were supposed to suffer, that the writer had in his mind some of the pictures with which we are now familiar, thanks to the excavation of tombs which has gone on in Egypt during the last few years; and it is also easy to see that he, in common with many other Coptic writers, misunderstood the purport of them. The outer darkness, i.e., the blackest place of all in the underworld, the river of fire, the pits of fire, the snake and the scorpion, and such like things, all have their counterparts, or rather originals, in the scenes which accompany the texts which describe the passage of the sun through the underworld during the hours of the night. Having once misunderstood the general meaning of such scenes, it was easy to convert the foes of Rā, the Sun-god, into the souls of the damned, and to look upon the burning up of such foes--who were after all only certain powers of nature personified--as the well-merited punishment of those who had done evil upon the earth. How far the Copts reproduced unconsciously the views which had been held by their ancestors for thousands of years cannot be said, but even after much allowance has been made for this possibility, there remains still to be explained a large number of beliefs and views which seem to have been the peculiar product of the Egyptian Christian imagination. It has been said above that the idea of the judgment of the dead is of very great antiquity in Egypt; indeed, it is so old that it is useless to try to ascertain the date of the period when it first grew up. In the earliest religious texts known to us, there are indications that the Egyptians expected a judgment, but they are not sufficiently definite to argue from; it is certainly doubtful if the judgment was thought to be as thorough and as searching then as in the later period. As far back as the reign of Men-kau-Rā, the Mycerinus of the Greeks, about B.C. 3600, a religious text, which afterwards formed chapter 30B of the Book of the Dead, was found inscribed on an iron slab; in the handwriting of the god Thoth, by the royal son or prince Herutātāf. The original purpose of the composition of this text cannot be said, but there is little doubt that it was intended, to benefit the deceased in the judgment, and, if we translate its title literally, it was intended to prevent his heart from "falling away from him in the underworld." In

Dig Turns Up Surprises And Questions From Ancient Greece

A little more than 100 years ago, two teams from the Greek Archaeological Service investigated the site of Mt. Lykaion, thought to be the birthplace of the god Zeus. Archaeologists found pottery, clay figures and animal bones at an altar of the Greek god, and were able to uncover remains of numerous buildings, including the hippodrome—a stadium for horses and chariot teams—an athletic stadium and bathhouse.
But a more recent excavation has uncovered evidence that could change how researchers understand the history of the cult of Zeus. That’s beacause a research team has found pottery remains and evidence of activity from an ash alter they believe was used as early as 3,000 BCE—about 1,000 years before Greeks began worshipping the god Zeus.
“That’s why we’re so excited,” says David Gilman Romano, a senior research scientist in the Penn Museum’s Mediterranean Section and one of the Mt. Lykaion site’s co-directors. “We didn’t realize that we would be finding things this early.”
Romano and the team don’t know exactly how the altar was used prior to worship of Zeus and if it was used in connection with natural phenomena such as wind, rain, light or earthquakes. The findings, Romano says, “have created so many new ideas that we’re still recovering from it.”
Among the items uncovered at the altar was an Arcadian League silver stater (pictured above) and a Late Minoan rock crystal seal bearing an image of a bull. This latter finding suggests an early connection between the Minoan isle of Crete and Arcadia—the Greek region that is home to Mt. Lykaion. Romano explains that two myths from ancient literature persist about the birthplace of Zeus. The first is that he was born on Crete—either Mt. Dikte or Mt. Ida—and the second is that he was born on Mt. Lykaion.
Centuries ago, people made a harrowing pilgrimage to this festival center, which held athletic games, much like the site of Olympus located only 22 miles away. Arcadia, explains Romano, is believed to be the earliest settlement of mainland Greece. “[Researchers] always thought the essence of Greek religion comes from Arcadia.”
Romano notes some similarities between the sites of Olympus and Mt. Lykaion—both have ash altars and ancient athletic games. “There may have been some imitation of one site,” he says. “We rather think we had the first one.”
The remote mountainous site has long been considered an important pan-Hellenic sanctuary site but wasn’t fully explored until Romano did a comprehensive topographical and architectural survey in 1996.
In the current project, which began in 2004 (excavations began in 2006), researchers have used digital cartography, geographic information systems, geophysical ground and geological surveys and remote sensing to uncover the site’s buried past. In the summer of 2007, 47 people from Greece, the University of Arizona and Penn dug 17 trenches, one of which held the pottery remains indicating activity at Mt. Lykaion as early as 3,000 BCE. Key to the project’s success, says Romano, is the collaborative nature of the work. “[We made sure] to collaborate with our Greek colleagues on everything and not just have a one-sided project,” he says.
Romano got in touch with several colleagues to aid in the excavation of the large site, including co-director Michalis Petropoulos, chief of the archaeological region, and Mary Voyatzis C’78, a University of Arizona classics professor whose father just happened to be born in the tiny village close to Mt. Lykaion. “They consider her to be a local,” Romano says.
This summer, Romano will return to the site with Penn students for more excavation, where he hopes to gain a better understanding of the building plans and expand the first trench in a number of directions. Getting to the mountainous site will be much easier, due to the construction of a new road. When Romano visited the site in 1977 for his dissertation, he had to hike three hours with his then-fiancé and friend to reach the ruins.
Despite Mt. Lykaion’s remote location, Romano knew he’d be back. “It was so beautiful and so quiet,” he says. “I wanted to come back here and work here.”
Source: By Heather A. Davis of UPENN. edu

viernes, 28 de marzo de 2008

Ancient weapons dug up in India

Archaeologists in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal have discovered small weapons made of stone which are around 15,000-20,000 years old.
The artefacts - dating to the Stone Age - were found during excavations in Murshidabad district, near Bangladesh.
Archaeologists say the find is potentially significant as it suggests man's presence in the area dates back much earlier than previously believed.
Finds such as this on the floodplains of the River Ganges are very rare.
However, there is ample evidence of stone age activity in India's upland regions.
'Raw materials'
The weapons - which include small axes - were discovered at Ekani-Chandpara village near Sagardighi, which is an ancient site.
Archaeologists say the weapons were found from a soil layer belonging to the mid-Pleistocene period - much below the Holocene layer where present human habitation takes place.
"We have not only discovered the weapons at this site, but raw materials and the scraps were also found," Dr Gautam Sengupta, director of the State Archaeology Department, told the BBC.
"This proves that the weapons were made at this place itself."
Another reason why the find is so significant, archaeologists say, is because Stone Age weapons are not normally found at such an old soil layer in the Gangetic alluvial plains.
However it is well known that raw materials for making weapons are easily found in the plateau region and most Stone Age discoveries are from this area.
So far, no human fossils or remains other than some charcoal have been found at the site.
Scientists have yet to confirm how old the charcoal is.
"The history of civilisation in this region has suddenly gone back by around 20,000 years," one archaeologist said.
After the discovery, two eminent geo-archaeologists - Prof SN Rajguru and Dr Bhaskar Deotare - visited the excavation site and confirmed that the weapons date back to the smaller Stone Age.
The discovery was made by chance, Dr Sengupta said.
"We were digging the site for some archaeological evidence of the Sultanate period. We were expecting some ancient artefacts related to Sultan Hussein Shah," he said - referring to a former ruler from the area.
"We did find those, but our archaeologists kept on digging to unearth some more historical evidence of that period and now we have found these Stone Age weapons," Dr Sengupta said.
After winding up the excavation at Ekani Chandpara in a couple of weeks, archaeologists are planning to launch a search for ancient human habitation in a wider area.
BBC news

jueves, 27 de marzo de 2008

12th century emple on verge of ruination

The ancient Shiva Temple at Bholahat Upazila in Chapai-nawabganj stands on the verge of ruination after years and years of neglect. Locals allege that the temple, built during the Sen era of 1156-1206 AD, is gradually falling apart down due to sheer negligence by local authorities.The say authorities have never taken any steps to preserve this ancient structure that has huge archaeological and historical value.The Shiva temple is 19ft 10 inches in height, 19ft in length and has a width of 13ft. It has outer walls of brick structure covered with terracotta artworks depicting mythological tales and religious events.Today it almost resembles a thatch hut, with a tree growing through it. Part of its roof has collapsed.Cow dung cakes cover the lower half of the temple's walls on the outside.Deep cracks have developed on the walls of the 12th century structure while weeds have covered most of its body. Most of the terracotta tiles that once decorated the body of the temple have eroded. Others have been lost over the years. Thieves have stolen bricks, terracotta tiles and other valuable things from the temple situated only 200 yards away from Bholahat police station.Some locals blame the local authorities for never having taken any steps to preserve this ancient structure. Others make good use of the temple's abandoned stage.Local use the Shiva temples walls to dry these cakes for fuel. Some others have encroached the land on which the temple stands.They have built mud huts on the land of the archaeological site. One attaching house shares the temple wall, clearing putting pressure on the structure of the 12th century building.Dr. Majharul Islam Toru, a local historian and associate professor at the Chapainawabganj Govt. College, affirms that the temple was built during the Sen era of 1156-1206 AD. Devotees of Shiva built the temple to worship him.He claims that this Shiva Temple of Bholahat is one of the most beautiful Hindu temples in the northern part of the country. Local miscreants are taking advantage of the lack of vigilance by the local police or upazila administration over this archaeological site, he added. Some locals complain that the aesthetic value of the temple, not to mention its religious significance, has been seriously damaged by the use of its walls to dry cow dung cakes.They urge the government to take immediate steps for the preservation of the 12th century temple.Badrul Alam, field officer of the Archaeology Department of Rajshahi Division, has said that the preservation for the ancient Shiva Temple is not listed as a job for the department.However if the locals raise a strong demand for its preservation, the archaeology department may be able to take steps to consider their demand, he said


jueves, 20 de marzo de 2008

¿Cómo es India?

¿Cómo es India?
Ayer me preguntaste
Y yo, que aun llevo su povo en mis sandalias,
Y su luz, como un ascua, en la mirada,
Medité y no supe contestarte.
India es agua sucia y sol brillante,
Polvo grisáceo entre el oro y la plata,
Un viejo en cuclillas trenzando sin pausa
Y una niña de mirada penetrante.
Como una noria que gira incesante.
Un beso ardiente a la persona amada
Y un cuerpo que, en la tarde, se hace llama,
Poemas de amor y muerte en un instante.
Saris de colores deslumbrantes
Entre miseria de gente reposada.
Gente sencilla, religiosa y clara
Visitando monumentos de gigantes.
Impenetrable, de misterio llena,
No puedo definirla.
Se me escapa
Cual pájaro que eternamente vuela.
Un gran deseo se me ancló en el alma.
¡Volver! Volver de nuevo a aquella tierra
Antes de ser ceniza de la nada.
Sujan Sing Parnu

1,000-yr-old statue handed over to archaeology dept

Rab yesterday handed over a 1,000-year-old statue, depicting two Hindu goddesses, to the officials of the Department of Archaeology.The members of Rab-1 found the artefact abandoned on a pavement near a plot on Road-91 in the capital's Gulshan-2 on March 12. The 18-inch tall black statue weighs about 26 kilograms. “We sent the statue to the Department of Archaeology for conducting necessary tests a day after recovering it,” said Major Saiful of Rab-1. He said after examining the artefact, the Department of Archaeology said the statue is of either 10th or 11th century.Artefact smugglers might have abandoned the statue on the pavement fearing arrest, said the Rab official adding that an investigation is already underway.

(The Daily Star)

Ancient temple discovered by German archaeologists in Marib

MARIB, March 18 — A unique and well-preserved Sabaean temple was unearthed in a part of the ancient Sabaean town of Sirwah in the Marib province. The temple, whose existence was recently disclosed by the German Archaeological Institute (DAI), was discovered during a restoration program carried out in the autumn of 2007.A team of 25 German and 100 Yemeni archaeologists worked together to find the temple and date it back to approximately the first millennium, B.C.The new temple has a monumental entrance decorated with pillars and contains a variety of rooms. The ground plan and the construction features of the temple are singular in Yemen; tower-like projections divide the exterior facade of the sanctuary and the building was constructed of both wood and stone.According to Dr. Iris Gerlach, the DAI director in Sana’a, the temple is still under excavation. The archaeologists theorized that it was one of the only exclusively religious-use temples in the Sabaean period. Further studies are still being conducted by German and Yemeni archaeological teams. “The new discovery will be included in the restoration of the ancient town that will be parallel to the ongoing excavations until its completion in 2009,” said Gerlach. “As the discovery is quite recent, we do not have specific details [about the temple], but it was certainly used for religious ceremonies.” Gerlach added that the Yemeni Social Fund will cover 50 percent of the excavation and restoration expenses, while the DAI will fund the remaining 50 percent. She mentioned that another recent archaeological find, Al-Maqah temple, is located in the same region. “Monumental ancient pillars of the huge Al-Maqah temple in Marib were re-erected by crane last week in Sirwah,” said Gerlach. “The pillars, which weigh up to 6 tons, were first analyzed by ultrasonic measurements to check for possible internal cracks,” said Gerlach. “The cracks were then fixed with steel dowels invisible on the outside, glued together and filled up with mortar. Seven other pillars were laid down by the crane to be restored in October this year.” According to researchers, Al-Maqah temple was dedicated to the most important goddess in the Sabean period. Four temples dedicated to the same goddess have been found in Marib. According to Gerlach, what sets Al-Maqah temple apart from the others is the celebrations and ritual meals that used to be held there for animal sacrifices to thank their god and demonstrate their happiness. The stones which were used for sacrificing the animals are still visible. The inscriptions on the temple’s walls depict the life of the Sabaean kings.“We will continue the excavations in order to find othe
r ancient places, as it is believed that in Marib there are still many more ancient historical places to be discovered,“ said Gerlach.The ancient town of Sirwah was located on overland incense trade routes, but was also connected to trade routes to southern Arabia, from the Yemeni highlands down to the old caravan kingdoms on the edge of the Ramlat Al-Sabatayn. Numerous cult installations provide evidence of intensive ritual procedures at the town’s sanctuaries, including altars, banquet areas for ritual meals, bone deposits of sacrificed animals and a treasure chamber for storing hundreds of votives. The focal point of the Al-Maqah temple was formed by two monumental stones featuring inscriptions from the time of two Sabaean rulers, Yithar’amar Watar bin Yakrubmalik (715 B.C.) and Karib `il Watar (685 B.C.). The over seven meter-long monolithic inscription stones report on both the warlike and the civil activities of these rulers.During the 1st millennium B.C., the most important center of the Sabaean kingdom was next to the ancient metropolis of Marib. The large Sabaean town was surrounded by a fortified wall, and included many monumental buildings, the most prominent being Al-Maqah Temple, which dates back to the 7th century B.C. and is currently undergoing restoration. Since 2001, the DAI and the General Organization of Antiquities and Museums have carried out excavations and restoration measures in Sirwah. For 30 years, Germany and Yemen have jointly conducted archaeological and restoration projects which have helped to preserve some of Yemen’s most valuable ancient sites.
(H. Thabed-yementimes)

miércoles, 19 de marzo de 2008


. time in the history of Egyptian excavations an
opportunity of studying the burial of a great
N March 9, 1925, the Egyptian Government personage of this significant period, about fifteen
announced the discovery of a large intact hundred years older than the royal tombs of the
tomb of the time of Sneferuw, by the Harvard- New Kingdom, and the discovery aroused im-
Boston Expedition in its excavations at the Giza mediate interest in the historical material which
pyramids. Sneferuw was the first king of Dynasty the tomb might contain.
IV, about 3000 B.C., and was supposed to be the At the time of the discovery I was in America,
father of Cheops. He himself built the first true where I had gone at the end of January to resume
pyramid, the northern stone pyramid at Dahshur, my periodical duties at Harvard University and
while his immediate descendants constructed the the Museum of Fine Arts. I had left Mr. Alan
great pyramids at Giza and that at Abu Roash. Rowe, assisted by Mr. T. D. R. Greenlees, the
In Dynasty III the great architect Imhotep had head-reis Said Ahmed Said, and the rest of the
constructed the Step Pyramid at Saqqarah with regular organization, to finish the work planned
its wonderful temple for King Zoser, and had ap- for the season. Thus it was my assistants who had
parently translated for the first time the highly the pleasure of the first view of the tomb. Lookdeveloped
crude-brick architecture of that period ing into the burial chamber from a small opening
into finely dressed small blocks of limestone. In at the top of the doorway, the excavators had
Dynasty IV, a few generations later, the unknown seen a beautiful alabaster sarcophagus with its
architects of Sneferuw and Cheops had substi- lid in place. Partly on the sarcophagus and partly
tuted massive blocks of limestone for the small fallen behind it lay about twenty gold poles and
blocks of Imhotep and had also begun the trans- beams of a large canopy; on the western edge of
lation of the limestone architecture into granite. the lid were spread several sheets of gold inlaid
It was the architectural use of this obdurate with faience; on the floor, a confused mass was
material which gave so archaic an appearance to visible of parts of gold-cased chairs and other
the temples of the Giza pyramids, in particular objects, - lion -legs, palm -capitals, decorated
to the valley temple of Chephren beside the Great arms, bars and beams, all showing the yellow
Sphinx, and limited the use of inscriptions and glitter of gold; and amongst these lay copper and
reliefs in those temples. Dynasty IV was, how- alabaster vessels, while further back a mound of
ever, not the beginning but rather the culmina- pottery hid the southern part of the deposit.
tion of the great creative period of Egyptian arts The sheets of inlaid gold seized on the attention;
and crafts, and the great pyramids of three of its for, in a moment, the inlays were observed to
kings at Giza mark the place of the activities of form an inscription with the royal cartouche of
the foremost architects and sculptors of the age. King Sneferuw, and the excavators realized that
Thus the intact Giza tomb presented for the first they had an intact tomb of a royal personage of
The Discovery of the Tomb.

Reisner -Metropolitan M

martes, 18 de marzo de 2008


Hasta el reinado de Rampsinito, según los sacerdotes, vióse florecer en Egipto la justicia, permaneciendo las leyes en su vigor y viviendo la nación en el seno de la abundancia y prosperidad; pero Quéope, que le sucedió en el trono, echó a perder un estado tan floreciente. Primeramente, cerrando los templos, prohibió a los egipcios sus acostumbrados sacrificios; ordenó después que todos trabajasen por cuenta del público, llevando unos hasta el Nilo la piedra cortada en el monte de Arabia, y encargándose otros de pasarla en sus barcas por el río y de traspasarla al otro monte que llaman de Libia. En esta fatiga ocupaba de continuo hasta 3.000 hombres, a los cuales de tres en tres meses iba relevando, y solo en construir el camino para conducir dicha piedra de sillería, hizo penar y afanar a su pueblo durante diez años enteros; lo que no debe extrañarse, pues este camino, si no me engaño, es obra poco o nada inferior a la pirámide misma que preparaba de cinco estadios de largo, diez orgias de ancho y ocho de alto en su mayor elevación, y construido de piedra, no sólo labrada, sino esculpida además con figuras de varios animales. Y en los diez años de fatiga empleados en la construcción del camino, no se incluye el tiempo invertido en preparar el terreno del collado donde las pirámides debían levantarse, y en fabricar un edificio subterráneo que sirviese para sepulcro real, situado en una isla formada por una acequia que del Nilo se deriva. En cuanto a la pirámide, se gastaron en su construcción 20 años: es una fábrica cuadrada de ocho pletros de largo en cada uno de sus lados, y otros tantos de altura, de piedra labrada y ajustada perfectamente, y construida de piezas tan grandes, qLa pirámide fue edificándose de modo que en ella quedasen unas gradas o poyos que algunos llaman escalas y otros altares. Hecha así desde el principio la parte inferior, iban levantándose y subiendo las piedras, ya labradas, con cierta máquina formada de maderos cortos que, alzándolas desde el suelo, las ponía en el primer orden de gradas, desde el cual con otra máquina que en él tenían prevenida las subían al segundo orden, donde las cargaban sobre otra máquina semejante, prosiguiendo así en subirlas, pues parece que cuantos eran los órdenes de gradas, tantas eran en número las máquinas, o quizá no siendo más que una fácilmente transportable, la irían mudando de grada en grada, cada vez que la descargasen de la piedra; que bueno es dar de todo diversas explicaciones. Así es que la fachada empezó a pulirse por arriba, bajando después consecutivamente, de modo que la parte inferior, que estribaba en el mismo suelo, fue la postrera en recibir la última mano. En la pirámide está notado con letras egipcias cuánto se gastó en rábanos, en cebollas y en ajos para el consumo de peones y oficiales; y me acuerdo muy bien que al leérmelo el intérprete me dijo que la cuenta ascendía a 4.600 talentos de plata. Y si esto es así, ¿a cuánto diremos que subiría el gasto de herramientas para trabajar, y de víveres y vestidos para los obreros, y más teniendo en cuenta, no sólo el tiempo mencionado que gastaron en la fábrica de tales obras, sino también aquel, y a mi entender debió ser muy largo, que emplearían así en cortar la piedra como en abrir la excavación subterránea?
Viéndose ya falto de dinero, llegó Quéope a tal extremo de avaricia y bajeza, que en público lupanar prostituyó a una hija, con orden de exigir en recompensa de su torpe y vil entrega cierta suma que no me expresaron fijamente los sacerdotes. Aun más; cumplió la hija tan bien con lo que su padre tan mal le mandó, que a costa de su honor quiso dejar un monumento de su propia infamia, pidiendo a cada uno de sus amantes que le costeara una piedra para su edificio; y en efecto, decían que con las piedras regaladas se había construido una de las tres pirámides, la que está en el centro delante de la pirámide mayor, y que tiene pletro y medio en cada uno de sus lados.
Muerto Quéope después de un reinado de cincuenta años, según referían, dejó por sucesor de la corona a su hermano Quefren, semejante a él en su conducta y gobierno. Una de las cosas en que pretendió imitar al difunto, fue en querer levantar una pirámide, como en efecto la levantó, pero no tal que llegase en su magnitud a la de su hermano, de lo que yo mismo me cercioré habiéndolas medido entrambas. Carece aquella de edificios subterráneos, ni llega a ella el canal derivado del Nilo que alcanza a la de Quéope, y corriendo por un acueducto allí construido, forma y baña una isla, dentro de la cual dicen que yace este rey. Quefren fabricó la parte inferior de su columna de mármol etiópico vareteado, si bien la dejó cuarenta pies más baja que la pirámide mayor de su hermano, vecina a la cual quiso que la suya se erigiera, hallándose ambas en un mismo cerro, que tendrá unos cien pies de elevación. Quefren reinó cincuenta y seis años.
CXXVIII. Estos dos reinados completan los 106 años en que dicen los egipcios haber vivido en total miseria y opresión, sin que los templos por tanto tiempo cerrados se les abrieran una sola vez. Tanto es el odio que conservan todavía contra los dos reyes, que ni acordarse quieren de su nombre por lo genera; de suerte que llaman a estas fábricas las pirámides del pastor Filitis, quien por aquellos tiempos apacentaba sus rebaños por los campos en que después se edificaron.
A Quefren refieren que sucedió en el trono un hijo de Quéope, por nombre Micerino, quien, desaprobando la conducta de su padre, mandó abrir los templos, y que el pueblo, en extremo trabajado, dejadas las obras públicas, se retirara a cuidar de las de su casa, y tomara descanso y refección en las fiestas y sacrificios. Entre todos los reyes, dicen que Micerino fue el que con mayor equidad sentenció las causas de sus vasallos, elogio por el cual es el monarca más celebrado de cuantos vio el Egipto. Llevó a tal punto la justicia, que no solo juzgaba los pleitos todos con entereza, sino que era tan cumplido, que a la parte que no se diera por satisfecha de su sentencia, solía contentarla con algo de su propia casa y hacienda; mas a pesar de su clemencia y bondad para con sus vasallos, y del estudio tan escrupuloso en cumplir con sus deberes, empezó a sentir los reveses de la fortuna en la temprana muerte de su hija, única prole que tenía. La pena y luto del padre en su doméstica desventura fue sin límites, y queriendo hacer a la princesa difunta honores extraordinarios, hizo fabricar en vez de urna sepulcral, una vaca de madera hueca y muy bien dorada en la cual dio sepultura a su querida hija.
Está vaca, que no fue sepultada en la tierra, se dejaba ver aun en mis días patente en la ciudad de Sais, colocada en el palacio en un aposento muy adornado. Ante ella se quema todos los días y se ofrece todo género de perfumes, y todas las noches se le enciende su lámpara perenne. En otro aposento vecino están unas figuras que representan a las concubinas de Micerino, según decían los sacerdotes de la ciudad de Sais; no cabe duda que se ven en él ciertas estatuas colosales de madera, de cuerpo desnudo, que serán veinte a lo más; no diré quiénes sean, sino la tradición que corre acerca de ellas.ue ninguna baja de 30 pies.

Heródoto ( en Euterpe)