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Akhenaten's sarcophagus
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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When we say sarcophagus I think we usually mean the stone box that contains the coffins.

It is easy to get them mixed up though - I often find myself using the wrong word!


It is easy to confuse and it's not a big deal to use one term for another. I doubt the "language police" will come calling. Smile

But in an interesting way it might be helpful to think of how most people in the West are still buried. We put our loved ones in a coffin and then place the coffin down in the sarcophagus. Well, all right, no one calls it a sarcophagus anymore but that's essentially what it is. We just call it the vault today, and it tends to be poured concrete instead of granite or quartzite. Still, in the most basic sense you can see the parallel.

And that's how it worked for the Egyptians: the mummy goes in the coffin(s), and the coffin(s) goes in the sarcophagus. It also depended on how wealthy you were; plenty of people were buried in coffins but never had sarcophagi, and many of those who had sarcophagi were buried in wooden ones.

Back on topic, it is shocking how Akhenaten's sarcophagus has been mistreated. This was one of the most famous personages from Egyptian history and one his most important burial goods is being treated like a Dumspter. Again, I hope that when the new Giza museum is completed, it will find a home in there.
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Chrismackint
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think there was a thread,perhaps it was this one, where someone posted photos of Akhenatens sarcophagus and it was sitting outside infront of airconditioning vents but i can't find the thread or pictures....


Anyway that person said they would show us some photos of the rubbish inside the sarcophagus....is that still possible as i'd be interested to see it.

It would be good proof for the mistreatment of the sarcophagus for the historical record of this artifact-who knows one day Akhenaten may be as famous as Tut and this object seen as an incredible treasure, guarded by the most advanced security systems imagineable, and seen my millions of fascinated tourists each year?

I'm surprised this object hasn't been the victim of theft/vandalism, especially during these times of food shortage in egypt and the general atmosphere of the middle east at this moment and the fact it's just sitting outside in a city of 17million people!

Imagine the damage thats being caused by exposure to corrosive car fumes etc not to mention the vibration interferance from the air conditioning vents.

I still can't get over Akhenatens body lay in that sarcophagus and we can actually be so close yet so far away from history like that, but that despite this incredible fact no one makes an effort to conserve it.

Of all the leaders in history, Akhenaten stands out for making so many radical changes to a society over such a short time, and yet he is forgotten with his pre emminent burial object lying almost discarded outside being used as a bin.

I'm surprised some eccentric billionaire hasn't made an attempt at it lol that would be funny-although at least then it would get the care and respect it deserves.

I don't understand the germans decision in giving this artifact back when they are so steadfast on other important amarna objects?What amarna period artifact though, could be more important than this artifact?!
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Chrismackint
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's been over a year since this discussion though-anyone have any news on the sarcophagus and if it's still outside with rubbish in it?

Photographs of that scene i imagine might be very valuable in the future if Akhenaten ever becomes famous and great lengths are used to ensure the sarcophagus's security in some museum somewhere, or perhaps if it's current treatment continues all that will be left of this artifact may be photographs of it sitting outside exposed to the elements filled with rubbish?
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punkow
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

here you go... pictures taken in february 2008.
it felt indeed strange to see such an intersting object in a quite unspectacular location around the corner of the museum... nonetheless it was quite nice to be able to get into close contact Smile
on the other hand i donīt think its frequently used as a wastebin - looks more like the wind is doing his job with the rubbish floating around here and there on windy days...

greetings from berlin
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They've done a terrific job restoring it, but I wish it were in a more secured location. Confused
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Chrismackint
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

THANKYOU SO MUCH for the great up to date pictures!

It's still outside after so long....precisely the reason why we can see this sarcophagus today is because the broken pieces were kept preserved and insulated from the outside world inside Akhenaten's burial chamber.

Such an important piece of human history and no one except a few people on this forum realise this...for me it's overwhealming just to see these photos!

Surreal to think Meritaten, Tutankhamun and perhaps Nefertiti actually saw this sarcophagus in Akhenaten's funerary procession, perhaps even touching it and giving an offering of flowers, maybe even performing some ritual before it-so tangible this object is you can just imagine the procession of it on the day of Akhenaten's funeral and the royal familys outpouring of grief.


But to know commoners like us can actually look apon the same very sacred object after such a long time....must be such an incredible experiance.

I feel an intruder into these peoples lives.

Makes you realise just how fragile Akhenaten's world was.
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know what you mean, Chrismackint, and not just about this particular artifact. I get much the same charge from being in the presence of simple things, too. A scribal palette, a common man's dedication stela, a woman's cosmetic kit, a child's toy--these were things used and handled and enjoyed by people who made these civilizations the great things they were.

Still, I wish they'd find a more appropriate setting for Akhenaten's sarcophagus. I can picture it being installed in the flashy new Giza museum once that has opened, but for now it enjoys the security and appreciation it so richly deserves.
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ImageOfAten
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You would think they could at least throw a piece of plastic sheeting over it to give it some protection from the harsh elements. I believe the wind is what is responsible for blowing some of the garbage in it but not all of it. I find it a bit hard to believe the wind would be strong enough to toss a glass or even plastic bottle into it!

I am hoping it will eventually go to that new museum they are building by Amarna. That would be the most suitable place in my opinion. I just wish they would do something better with it for now.

These two sites have nice pictures of the outside of the sarcophagus:

http://www.osirisnet.net/tombes/amarna/akhenaton/e_akhentomb.htm (Scroll down to the bottom of the page)

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Sarcophage_Akh%C3%A9naton.JPG

I hope it is Okay to post these links. As long as I have been here I am still unsure as to the exact policy of posting links to other sites.
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kmt_sesh
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice links, ImageOfAten. Wink

Goodness, the ancient tomb raiders sure did a number on that sarcophagus. There's little of it left. Nearly all of it appears to be a reconstruction.

As far as the links you posted, I don't see any problem with them. You directed the reader to the web page where they originally appeared, which is the polite thing to do. The context is maintained.
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Chrismackint
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice photos.

The only reason i re opened this topic was because i thought i'd be seeing the sarcophagus in the new modern giza museum.

But unfortunately not yet...

The main reason i find it frustrating seeing the sarcophagus lying outside like that is because we all know during Akhenaten's time the resources of a whole country, an Empire, where at the disposal of one man, a living deity, to be used almost exclusively by one man and his immediate family on enormous palaces and temple structures.

This concept of living god in egypt has always fascinated me as how one consolidates there power in such a way as to live so incredibly lavishly while holding absolute power over a populance who don't revolt, (especially back in those days when rulers could be toppled quite easily) is almost beyond comprehension in a mind of someone like me who's grown up in a democracy.

So to see his burial object treated like that by modern society is sad when you know how important he was during his day.

Although at least we still have this artifact and it wasn't lost or totally destroyed thankfully.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.impactlab.com/2007/04/22/egypt-vows-scientific-war-if-germany-doesnt-loan-nefertiti/

Article about German Egypt Relations
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hawass's pouting and petulance are bound to get him into trouble. You'd think the ministers of his government would grow weary of his pulpit-pounding antics because it reflects badly on Egypt (as I see it, anyway).

Hawass requested that Berlin loan them the bust, Berlin said no, so move on already. After all, in the latest Tut exhibit working its way around the world, Hawass has said the same thing about the boy-king's funerary mask and other delicate and famous objects that have left Egypt before.

I can understand Hawass's frustration over this, but really, all he's doing is generating international ill will. Confused
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 4:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't really understand Hawass's frustration at all, because what is a bust when you have Akhenaten's burial sarcophagus?

The German museum talks of how Nefertiti's bust is too fragile to travel, yet they were happy to give back such an important object as Akhenaten's sarcophagus, to be left outside! Is it not fragile aswell?

To me it seems the German museum only cared about artifacts that were aesthetically pleasing and thus draw in more crowds and generate more cash and publicity, not about artifacts that were important in terms of their relevance to the very people who made amarna what it was.

Plus Hawass is such a hypocrite-asking for the bust when he has probably the most important amarna artifact, yet he allows it to sit outside, after all the money and hardwork the germans put into restoring the sarcophagus-and creates a fuss about other artifacts being returned-is it his plan to leave Nefertiti's bust outside along with her husbands sarcophagus?

No of course it isn't because people wouldn't see this as acceptable-but why is it then acceptable to keep Akhenaten's sarcophagus outside?

I simply don't get it

Quote:
If it fails, Hawass said, he will organize a worldwide boycott of loans to German museums.

"We will make the lives of these museums miserable," he said. "It will be a scientific war."


he sounds like an extremist to me....barking mad.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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I can't really understand Hawass's frustration at all, because what is a bust when you have Akhenaten's burial sarcophagus?

The German museum talks of how Nefertiti's bust is too fragile to travel, yet they were happy to give back such an important object as Akhenaten's sarcophagus, to be left outside! Is it not fragile aswell?


It may be hard to accept if you're an Akhenaten enthusiast, but from the perspective of a curator or art historian, the sarcophagus is only a dim shadow in importance to the bust. The bust is recognized as one of the greatest pieces of art from the ancient world, while the shattered remains of the sarcophagus, although historically significant, are the remains of just another sarcophagus. And not the finest one from ancient Egypt, at that.

I know, you probably want to kick me right now ( Anxious ) but that's how a museum curator or historian would see it. The bust is a much richer emblem of the Amarna Period.

Quote:
To me it seems the German museum only cared about artifacts that were aesthetically pleasing and thus draw in more crowds and generate more cash and publicity, not about artifacts that were important in terms of their relevance to the very people who made amarna what it was.


If you're looking at it from that perspective, the bust must win out again. Let's say the artist finished it and the bust was put on display somewhere in Akhetaten. Far fewer than 1% of the entire population would've even see the sarcophagus, so it would've been of little importance to the average person. It didn't even carry with it the hopes and promises of the Osiride cult that commoners would've understood--Akhenaten did not worship Osiris. But the bust, even if it was put in the palace or a temple where most commoners weren't permitted, still would've been viewed and appreciated by a great many more people. It would've been a much more tangible icon of their goddess-queen Nefertiti.

Quote:
Plus Hawass is such a hypocrite-asking for the bust when he has probably the most important amarna artifact, yet he allows it to sit outside...


But the sarcophagus is probably not one of the most important. In fact it would be considerably far down the list. To this day we are uncertain what the afterlife meant to Akhenaten and his loyal followers because they had abandoned the Osiride traditions, so to them a coffin and sarcophagus may not have been any more symbolically important than they are to us for the burials of our loved ones.

My chief complaint is simply how it's being seemingly mistreated. Much more important to historians of the Amarna Period are the artifacts of daily life, like the bust and Amarna Letters and inscribed materials from palaces and temples, and even Akhenaten's tomb with its unusual scenes of snippets of daily life.

I will agree wholeheartedly that Hawass needs to calm down and move on. The Germans should really throw a wrench in his argument and tell him: "We'll loan the bust to you for six months if you'll loan Tutankhamun's funerary mask to us." It would be interesting to hear Hawass's response to that! Razz
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thing is... You have to see the Egyptian side of things.
When the bust of Nefertiti left for Berlin, it was because of a mix of cleverness and incapability.
Cleverness from Burckhardt's side to "mask" the bust behind some artefacts he knew the Egyptians already wanted.
Incapability from the poor French sod who then chose "badly" in what part of Burckhardt's finds had to stay in Egypt.
"Badly" because it's not like they received utter crap, is it?

But this was long before Egypt was the state it is now.
Modern day Egyptians that care about this issue suffer from previous regime's flaws.
It's much like how the French could ask John Kingsley Lattimer to hand over Napoleon's Little Soldier.
It was theirs, but lost through historic evolutions. But it's still very French (and petite).
If more people would be emotionally fixed on it, the French would ask it back though.
Anyway...

It's not because Hawass is who he is, that the Egyptian people should be dismissed as a bunch of cry-babies.
Their clame is just as legitimate as people, wanting their artworks back from countries that invaded them.
How long did the French ask the British to return "their" Rosetta stone to them?
Another artefact btw, asked back by the Egyptians.

"In July 2003, Egypt demanded the return of the Rosetta Stone. Dr. Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Cairo, told the press: "If the British want to be remembered, if they want to restore their reputation, they should volunteer to return the Rosetta Stone because it is the icon of our Egyptian identity." In 2005, Hawass was negotiating for a three-month loan, with the eventual goal of a permanent return. In November 2005, the British Museum sent him a replica of the stone." and apparently our old friend was ok with it.

This is more of a diplomatic matter than a scientific one.
Politics usually suck for a scientist, but they are to be dealt with.
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