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The Lost Tomb by Kent Weeks - Bookclub
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anneke
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 2:43 pm    Post subject: The Lost Tomb by Kent Weeks - Bookclub Reply with quote

Chapter 1

Interesting review of his career. I like the fact that he points out that he was warned that there are not that many jobs in egyptology, but that he went for it anyways. Imagine what he would have missed if he would have made his career decision based on job security!

I found it interesting to hear too that there are estimated to be more than 1000 tombs in the Theban foothills, but that we only have some 400+ listed. I wonder if most of the unrecorded ones are just small pit tombs or if there are some pleasant big surprises waiting for us. And I mean actually tombs of individuals we don't know about yet. I doubt there will be significant treasure found.

Just two thoughts that came to mind as I was reading ....
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Osiris II
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

His enthusiasm and dedication for his career in Egyptology was quite obvious. It seems that nothing deterred him. The concept of not making any money in Egyptology didn't seem to faze him a bit--and the scholarly world gained a person of great abilities and someone with a "get it done" attitude.

I wouldn't rule out the discovery of another tomb in the valley that still mostly un-robbed, anything is possible! I think it was Davies that said, around 1901, that the valley was fully discovered, and no more would be found. This statement was made some 20 odd years before Tut's tomb was found by Carter! The history of discoveries made in the valley is full of surprises.

It surprised me, too, the comment he made about 1000 burials made there--I had no idea there were that many. Most must have been just tombs that were started and not finished or some type of storage, such as that just found.
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anneke
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that the 1000 tombs refers to the Theban hills where the nobles were buried (Qurna, etc).

There may still be some finds left in the Valley of the Kings. Reeves has pointed to some radar anomalies that may be a tomb.

You don't hear much aout ongoing excavations in the Valley of the Queens though.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand why the Abu Simbel temple had to be moved, but it is saddening when Weeks describes it as having lost some of the aura it had after the relocation project. I wonder, in its new position, can light still stretch all the way down the corridor?

Quote:
I wonder if most of the unrecorded ones are just small pit tombs or if there are some pleasant big surprises waiting for us.

Even if they are small pit tombs, there is a chance we can still be surprised by them. I do believe there may be other larger sized finds out there still. They just need to be found
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The sunlight still shines into the inner room of Abu Simbel, but I understand it is now a day later than in ancient times.
I know what Weeks meant by Abu Simbel loosing some of it's aura. When I went there the first time, I was very impressed by the temple, especially the interior. But after wandering through the temple for quite some time, a guide, bursting with pride, took us around the back to see the man-made "rock" to which the temple had been moved. I didn't say anything, because I didn't want to hurt his pride at showing us what modern Egypt had accomplished, but at that moment the temple lost some of it's wonder for me!
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Weeks was one single-minded kid: an eight year old deciding then and there that he was going to be an Egyptologist. Very Happy

It must've been thrilling for him as a boy to have met and talked with Ahmed Fakhry; encounters such as that one, not to mention all of the supportive teachers in his life, made it all possible for him.

Thank goodness he didn't listen to that overly practical aunt of his and go into some other field. My own aunt had the same reaction when I announced as a boy that I wanted to become a male pole dancer, and unfortunately I listened to her.

Okay, so that's not true. Laughing I wasn't interested in Egypt till I was around twenty years old, so I can only imagine what I missed out on. The young kids with whom I work at the museum give me some idea--some of them may well be the Kent Weeks of the future!

The figure on the tombs in the Theban area is impressive and is a good reminder of what must still lie out there. It takes people like Weeks to inspire us all.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Weeks has a nice writing style. It's nice and casual instead of the technobabble we might get from a professional Egyptologist.

What struck me? His anecdote about the stupidity of young males, for one. I can't imagine having an emergency appendectomy and the going swimming in the Nile.

The other thing that hit me pretty hard was the description of the casual damage done by "early" tourists. It just breaks my heart when I read about such things. Burning papyri? It should be a capital offense.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The sunlight still shines into the inner room of Abu Simbel, but I understand it is now a day later than in ancient times.

That is kind of disappointing, but it could be a lot worse, and the whole structure could be under water.

This is the first I have read of Kent Weeks' work, and I also am enjoying his writing style. It seems "refreshing" in a way, and has been really holding my attention. I look forward to reading the rest of this book.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 2:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Weeks is a gifted writer, isn't he? LOL I'll bet even his official excavation reports are fun to read.

So any ideas on Chapter 2, people? It's a little longer so maybe reconvene on Saturday or Sunday to discuss it?

Let's get some input here so we can keep our discussion moving. Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saturday or Sunday are fine with me. I am already half way through Chapter 2. The temptation was too much Laughing
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess I had a bit of a problem with Week's discussion of the relationship between Nefertari and Ramesses. Weeks curtly dismissed "nineteenth-century Europeans' romantic notions" and replaced them with colder, analytical late 20th century attitudes.

I'm perfectly willing to think that romance was not necessarily as much in the air as Amelia Edwards thought, but if you tell me that it's more accurate to say that the relationship was based on religious and political concerns and then drop the subject, I have a problem with that. I may have overlooked them, but I couldn't find any reference to these concerns in the book.

I understand that this theme isn't central to the book, but in that case, why bring it up at all if all you're going to do is drop it right away. And how do I know that that theme doesn't become more important as more of KV5 is unearthed? Perhaps there is some special treatment for Nefertari's offspring?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kmt_sesh wrote:
It's a little longer so maybe reconvene on Saturday or Sunday to discuss it?



Saturday I have astronomy meetings all day and Sunday will, of course, be devoted to the Green Bay Packers, so I'll join you all later.

Bob
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anneke
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
So any ideas on Chapter 2, people? It's a little longer so maybe reconvene on Saturday or Sunday to discuss it?

Sounds good. I have to admit that I'm already in chapter 3 Very Happy
It looks like the later chapters will generate more discussion. These early chapters seem to just set the tone, give some background, etc. But they are a really interesting read.

Quote:
I guess I had a bit of a problem with Week's discussion of the relationship between Nefertari and Ramesses. Weeks curtly dismissed "nineteenth-century Europeans' romantic notions" and replaced them with colder, analytical late 20th century attitudes.

I think the problem with the romantic notions is that people in the 19th and early 20th century were putting modern notions of love and romance and superimposing them on an ancient society.

Don't get me wrong, they may very well have been a couple deeply in love and very much devoted to each other, but I think it's likely one misses some of the finer points of their religion and society.

I have always wondered if Nefertari was the principal wife due to Ramesses' affection or if it was maybe more of a function of the fact that she produced the heir to the throne Amenhirkhepeshef (called Amenhirwenemef then). The fact that the temple of Hathor in Abu Simbel was dedicated to her could have been a sign of the King's love, but I have to say I find it more likely that Ramesses was emulating Amenhotep III who was the first to build "his and hers temples" in Nubia (Soleb and Sedeinga). Not to mention that Nefertari embodied Hathor in this case and the main temple was dedicated to Re-Harakhty. So there is some sense that the gods worshipped were linked.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Anneke,
I wasn't arguing in favor of (or necessarily against) romantic love, I just wanted more information on the religious and political motivations that Weeks alluded to and then did not elaborate on. You, however, kindly provided some of the alternatives that I wanted to hear about.
I agree that we need to be very careful about layering our cultural responses on people of different cultures.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Saturday I have astronomy meetings all day and Sunday will, of course, be devoted to the Green Bay Packers, so I'll join you all later.


Aw, come on, BobManske. Where are your priorities? Laughing

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

I guess Saturday it is, then. I've started Chapter 2 but haven't finished yet.

Right now I'm working on the exam all of you will take once we've completed Weeks's book. It will be an essay test approximately twelve pages long, requiring annotations and bibliography.

What, didn't you people know that would be part of the book club? Razz
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