Ancient Egypt: A glimpse into the past

There are always amazing finds coming out of Egypt. It’s not hard to be checking the archaeological news each day and find something amazing. As an example, a new mummy is found, a tomb opened, remains dated and DNA sequenced. It’s hard to even know where to begin and what to look for or expect to find. Even stories about things you didn’t know and videos appear everywhere.

Names of pharaohs that are mentioned vary. Some of the more notable include the famous Cleopatra, Hatshepsut, Ramses, and of course Tutankhamun. Not to mention the builders of the great pyramids. Then we hear the names of Khafre and Khufu. What is there possibly left to discover?

Well discoveries are never ending. Looking at Tutankhamun for example, a lot of research has been done exploring his tomb KV62 in the valley of the kings and his DNA sequencing, which as it turns out shares common markers with Europeans – the R1B type. New light came out of Egypt when archaeologists scanned the New Kingdom Pharaohs in 2005. A great book on this topic was written called scanning the pharaohs. Of course most people know or have heard of Tutankhamun in some way or another. They know of his life as a young pharaoh due to the works of the famous Howard Carter in 1925. Also known is the famous supposed curse that affected those involved in the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb. Tutankhamun was around 19 when he died, had an overbite, a slight bend in the spine, and a club foot. And yet in his short life, which must have been a challenge, he left a mark on the world. The discovery of his tomb was an amazing find for the industry and continues to excite scientists. More finds continue to be discovered.

Great read for those interested in understanding the pharaohs

Why all this fascination with Egypt? Well, their culture built the most monumental buildings and feats of engineering. As an example, much debate exists around the great Sphinx and it’s rich history. Building the Sphinx was not easy and required the most amazing feats of talent. In fact, the Sphinx shows signs of weathering due heavy rains suggesting that it was constructed during a time when Egypt was a lush environment, really early on in our history. However, scholars say it was most likely constructed and carved out of limestone probably during the reign of King Khafre (2558 – 2532 BCE). Then there is the debate around how the great pyramids were constructed. How were they constructed? Using ramps. The Egyptians pulled the great stones from the quarry sites on sledges, up ramps and put them into place. Then the pyramids were capped in limestone. But the sheer size and design of the pyramids has led many alien and alternative theorists to suggest that they were build by a race not of this world. Because the pyramids were built during a timeframe where societies were not considered to have advanced construction capabilities, it has left many to look for alternative views as to how they were built. Much of this is open to healthy debate for sure!

What we know is that Ancient Egypt was an amazingly advanced culture for its day. The Egyptians were extremely talented builders. They had the most amazing empire and achieved the most amazing things.

One recommended reading is:

Scanning the pharaohs: CT Imaging of the new kingdom Royal Mummies by Dr. Zahi Hawass and Sahar N. Salem.

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