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Oldest Wooden Statues discovered in the Delta

 
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anneke
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 9:42 pm    Post subject: Oldest Wooden Statues discovered in the Delta Reply with quote

From Yahoo news:

CAIRO (AFP) - Archeologists in Egypt have unearthed two 5,000-year-old wooden statues, complete with gold wrapping paper, believed to be the oldest such artefacts ever found, the team said.

The statues, which depict two nude men with precious stones around their eyes, were found by a Polish team in the northern Nile Delta region of Daqahliya, said a statement by chief archaeologist Krzysztof Cialowicz.

The effigies are believed to date from Egypt's predynastic era (3,700-3,200 BC), before Egypt started to unify under the pharaohs.

Cialowicz said his team had also found remnants of gold-coated paper that experts said was used to wrap the wooden statues, believed to be the oldest such artefacts discovered to date.

Besides the statues, one around 75 centimetres (30 inches) tall and the other around 40 (16 inches) centimetres, the team has found warehouses and tombs in the same Tel al-Farkha area, said the statement issued by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Cialowicz's team has been excavating the area since 1998 and has found around 60 other statues, mostly of hippopotami and other animals.




Yahoo News - link
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Osiris II
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's amazing that statues that old have been found. It's REALLY amazing that wooden states from that era have been found in the Delta. Being more or less a very marshy area, I'm surprized that wood could have survived. Maybe the wrap of gold foil helped ward off decay in some way?
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm surprised by the same thing. It's amazing. Usually anything organic from ancient times does not stand a good chance of preservation in a humid environment like the Delta. That was why the royal Tanite tombs were lacking the wonderful furniture and similar objects in such abundance in Tut's tomb--the burial party either never included these klinds of obects in the Tanite tombs or they rotted away completely (the organic objects, not the burial party, although eventually they were destined to rot away, too Very Happy ).

It's hard to believe that this delicate paper played a hand in the preservation, but maybe that's the case. I don't know how else these statues could've survived. I wish the article had included some photos of the statues. I wonder if they resemble that trademark "stiff-form" statuary from the Old Kingdom? It might be interesting to see such a connection in the artwork.
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imanobody
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe they were petrified.... Confused
Just a thought.
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Nekht-Ankh
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

imanobody wrote:
Maybe they were petrified.... Confused

I think that takes much longer than 5000 years.

Wood and other organic material can survive for thousands of years submerged in a bog. So perhaps this is a case where preservation is due to the right sort of wet conditions.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The newsblog by Andie Byrnes has more info about this find.
It sounds as though the statues are part of a much larger find.
They have also found the biggest ancient brewery.

Quote:
A Polish archeological excavation team have unearthed the biggest brewery used by ancient Egyptians in the Nile Delta before the first monarch ever ruled the country, Egyptian Minister of Culture Farouq Hosny has announced today
The site discovered in Tall al-Farkha in the northern province of Dakahliya on March 8 dates back to around 3,500 BC, a period known as Naqada II D and C, the minister said. The Polish archeologists, who have been working in the area since 1998, also discovered a cemetery with 33 graves belonging to middle and lower class ancient Egyptians. The head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities announced that the Polish mission also discovered a deposit of 65 items inside a small pottery jar dating back to the beginning of the 1st Dynasty. The items are mainly hippopotamus ivory figurines shaped as humans, animals, boats and game pieces. Miniature stones and faience vases were also among the deposited items. The mission also found golden foils used in covering two wooden statues whose lengths ranged between 35 and 70 cm, believed to have been the oldest of such a type. The statues, representing standing naked men, have not been recovered, except for eyes that were inlaid with Lapis Lazuli.



from african news dimension: link to and.network.com
(I posted the entire message)

The "Times of Oman" also has a short piece:
http://www.timesofoman.com/newsdetails.asp?newsid=27477
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Osiris II
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The statues, representing standing naked men, have not been recovered, except for eyes that were inlaid with Lapis Lazuli.

That explains a lot, but also brings up another question. If the statues were not recovered, why where they listed as "found" by the expedition? I would think "traces of...." would be used, other than "found", which implies that remains of the wooden statues themselves were found.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I took that statement to mean that they had been found but just not removed from the soil yet, but I definitely see your point Osiris.

If they have rotted away how would they know they depict naked men though? Unless they could recognise part(s) of the statue?

Now I really wish they would show some pictures of what they found.
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imanobody
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nekht-Ankh wrote:
I think that takes much longer than 5000 years.

Oh, sorry. I'm not a petrifitologist, so I didn't really know it took so long for wood to petrify Laughing That's what I get for not paying attention in school.

Could it be, and I hate to bring this up because I hope it's not true, that some of these Egyptologist are inflating their findings so they can bring in more funding for their projects. Look at the tomb that they found a few weeks ago and everyone thought it had mummies, but it turned out to be nothing. And now this thing with the wooden statues. "Show me the image!" Laughing ... that's supposed to be a joke Mad

I don't get a lot of time to research this stuff, so someone please correct me if I'm wrong on this. I would hate to think that they are doing this, but I don't know what else to think.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it's a combination of factors. Sometimes the journalists are actually the ones who go overboard.
A couple of weeks ago some Italian journalist "announced" the discovery of a new tomb in the Theban hills. Turns out he had misrepresented/misread what the egyptologists had posted on the web. I think the egyptologist felt embarrased by this. He had to make sure it was made clear that they were excavating a long known tomb.

There is also some question about the kv-63 tomb. Some articles mention that there are no mummies. Fact is that they have not been able to get to all the coffins and there may or may not be mummies. It just seems to early to say what exactly they found. It is true that at least one coffin only contained embalming material.
In the press they have mentioned something about 5 coffins having been brought up. That's not true, and they seem to be confusing the number of coffins brought up with the number of large storage jars brought up.

But I think there is some tendency to go for the spectacular. I think Hawass himself has been guilty of that.

There must be tremendous pressure on people to generate PR and to keep the topic in the news. They need funds for the excavation, not to mention that all this news (together with special exhibits such as Tut) seem to do wonders for Egyptian tourism.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are two pictures on this Polish website:
http://www.egiptologia.pl/

The face:
http://www.egiptologia.pl/far2.jpg

The statue:
http://www.egiptologia.pl/far1.jpg

It may very well be that the gold leaf covering of the statues is really what is left. Still a very interesting find I think Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

imanobody wrote:
Quote:
Oh, sorry. I'm not a petrifitologist


Petrifitologist? Laughing Laughing

anneke wrote:
Quote:
There are two pictures on this Polish website:


Finally, some pictures! Thanks, anneke. They don't look much at all like the type of statuary common in the Old Kingdom, and that's one of the main things I was wondergin about. They have a very prehistoric visage, indeed. I like the eyes.

I'm still surprised they survived even this much intact. Maybe Nekht-Ankh is onto something with the bog scenario. Under the right conditions it can clearly happen.
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Osiris II
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

According to the pictures, there's much more of the statues left than I first thought.

I'm still surprised they survived even this much intact. Maybe Nekht-Ankh is onto something with the bog scenario. Under the right conditions it can clearly happen.

It is indeed a possibility. Obviously, something happened that protected/preserved them.
Do you think they could have been early representations of Min or just fertility figures?
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Do you think they could have been early representations of Min or just fertility figures?


I should think almost certainly the latter. Female fertility figures were probably more common from the start, but you do see quite a few male fertility figures with erect members. What you don't typically see is the goldish coloration. That really makes them stand out.
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