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Opening the Sarcophagus of Ny-Nsw_...

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b.j.barnes (12.81.221.101)
Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2002 - 01:58 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"Question : How will Zahi Hawass handle the September opening of sarcophagus belonging to the overseer of workers - Ny-Nsw-Wesert? "

This question was asked quite awhile back and we now have the answer.

I watched with great interest the TV show. The whole thing seemed very contrived to me and the "opening" of the sarcophagus was a real eye-opener. I don't know for certain how heavy the stone lid should be, but to just lift it up like it was Teflon? Wow!

What I did notice was a very noticeable lack of any ornaments, cloth, beads, jewelry or grave goods of any kind in the sarcophagus. And this was for a man of high office? Just a skeleton of bare unadorned bones. Even the natural mummies found in the desert had a few pots with the bodies. I just find this strange.

What I really find unanswered is the lack of hieroglyphs around the burial site. Just the ones over the door. Anyone have any explanation or idea about these two issues?

All in all, I was entertained by the show and enjoyed it. I am aware of the need to "dress it up" for the TV audience and I'm ok with that. Hope everyone else is also. Should really view this as a good show and some little new knowledge acquired about a great people of long ago. I love anything about this ancient civilization. :)
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Rainer Bolik (80.135.216.134)
Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2002 - 11:05 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was it just me or did anybody else have the feeling that the skeleton in the sarcophagus looked like a)either made of plastic with a few FX or b) being old and from somewhere else, but carefully placed there by specialists to make it look like John Doe would imagine a 4500 years old mummy?

To me it looked like Las Vegas.
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calvin (142.179.126.226)
Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2002 - 11:22 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

can anyone tell me if the shaft door was opened? examined? I missed the tv show, Did the robot open or examine what was behind the shaft's closed/sealed door?
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Beth (63.184.17.109)
Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2002 - 02:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did anyone find the positioning of the remains of 'Ny-Nsw-Wsert' odd (on his side, facing east)? I thought that in pre-dynastic times people were buried facing west, but by dynastic times this custom was dropped. I've never heard of anyone being buried facing east...

Can anyone clarify?

Beth
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James M. Vance
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Username: Jmvance

Post Number: 1
Registered: 09-2002
Posted From: 4.62.127.250
Posted on Friday, September 20, 2002 - 10:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I, too, thought that finding a mummy facing East was very odd. I've never heard of such a burial before this. Also, the complete lack of grave-goods with the skeleton was strange.
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Brent Benjamin
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Username: Brent

Post Number: 7
Registered: 04-2000
Posted From: 24.159.123.67
Posted on Saturday, September 21, 2002 - 12:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

James,
The mummy of Nefer, at Saqqara, is turned to the east. I presume Nefer was found this way. I believe Nefer is early-5th Dynasty.
Brent
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J.D. Degreef
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Username: Jd_degreef

Post Number: 7
Registered: 02-2000
Posted From: 80.236.134.126
Posted on Saturday, September 21, 2002 - 01:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Beth,
"In the Old and Middle Kingdoms the coffin was normally positioned in the burial chamber with the head pointing northwards and the long left side towards the east, so that the mummy, placed on its left side within the coffin, faced towards the part of the tomb where the funerary offerings were made and towards the land of the living."

John H. TAYLOR, Egyptian Coffins. Shire Egyptology, Aylesbury, 1989, p. 15.

The bodies indeed faced towards the West during the early pre-dynastic (Amratian, Naqada I) (ibidem, p. 13).

JD
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Ritva
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Username: ritva

Post Number: 278
Registered: 09-1999
Posted From: 212.246.56.235
Posted on Saturday, September 21, 2002 - 04:44 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi all,

as bj writes, it's surprising, that the skeleton is completely bare. No clothing, no jewellery, nothing. Even the intrusive burials seem to be more furnished.
Any precedents on this kind of burial?

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George B. Johnson
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Username: george

Post Number: 5
Registered: 09-1998
Posted From: 63.149.20.91
Posted on Sunday, September 22, 2002 - 12:31 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

All,
The burial Dr.Hawass opened on live TV turned out exactly as any Egyptologist expected. This was not Indiana Jones. But it was more than Egyptologists usually expect to find from this early period. To find an intact burial of any kind is rare and in this burial all was as it should be--only a skelton. If you were listening, you heard Dr. Hawass explain that the offering had been placed outside the sarcophagus. That was why the body was undisturbed, early tomb robbers were aware there was nothing worth the risk of stealing inside the sarcophagus. Please understand this--you can have a two-hour live TV popular archaeology program,or you can have a documented, detailed archaeolological report--Dr. Hawass cannot give you both at the same time.
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Ritva A. Kurittu
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Username: ritva

Post Number: 283
Registered: 09-1999
Posted From: 212.246.56.235
Posted on Sunday, September 22, 2002 - 01:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

George,

Thanks for the answer and the info. More so, since we in Finland didn't have the privilege to see this program, and therefore missed Dr Hawass comments.
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George B. Johnson
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Username: george

Post Number: 10
Registered: 09-1998
Posted From: 63.149.20.99
Posted on Tuesday, September 24, 2002 - 09:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ritva,
I recorded the NG TV program twice. I'll send a tape if you can play US format.
If not can send a tape cassette with the audio of the program.
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Pete Vanderzwet
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Username: pete_vanderzwet

Post Number: 2
Registered: 09-2002
Posted From: 216.221.81.97
Posted on Tuesday, September 24, 2002 - 11:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

As I've said elsewhere on the internet, I made a digital recording of the event. So, if you have highspeed, I can send it to you over the internet.
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Andrew
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Username: guardian

Post Number: 486
Registered: 01-1997
Posted From: 216.76.158.219
Posted on Tuesday, September 24, 2002 - 08:22 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

ALL -

I just fixed a slight bug on the board and the rest of the notes in this thread were casualties.

Just to post this again, here is the pictures of the skeleton from the recent National Geographic special:

4-Dyn Skeleton

Regards,
Andrew
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b.j.barnes
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Username: bjbarnes

Post Number: 3
Registered: 09-2002
Posted From: 12.82.145.84
Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2002 - 03:21 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

George
You stated: That was why the body was undisturbed, early tomb robbers were aware there was nothing worth the risk of stealing inside the sarcophagus.

Even if there were offerings place outside the sarcophagus, how would robbers know there was no gold inside upon the body as it was the rule to place certain magical emblems in different layers of the bandages or was this burial in a time before bodies were mummified or wrapped?

I am not accusing anyone of anything here, just asking questions. I fully understand the importance of producing a worthwhile program that people would want to see and see more later on. I think that was accomplished. I would watch it again. bj}}
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Nicole B. Hansen
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Username: nicole

Post Number: 5
Registered: 03-2001
Posted From: 217.52.3.53
Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2002 - 06:45 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

And I would like to know, if it is an undisturbed burial, how did he lose his mandible???
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Andrew
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Username: guardian

Post Number: 487
Registered: 01-1997
Posted From: 216.76.157.30
Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2002 - 09:30 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

When the sarcophagus was opened the first thing my eye fell on was the lack of visible phalanges (finger bones). Upon closer examination, I could see that the entire hand had simply become dismembered (from the disintegration of soft tissue and the lack of mummification) and the phalanges had fallen unceremoniously in disarray. I then looked at the skull also thinking that the mandible seemed to be absent. Upon closer examination of the limited view that we have available I noticed that the mandible has also fallen to the side, due to the disintegration of the tempero-mandibular joint (TMJ). If you trace along the bottom of the mandible (upper jaw) you can see a bony protrusion. This is the mandible lying, again unceremoniously, on its side.

<------>

Rainer - if this skeleton looks like "Las Vagas" (maybe you mean Hollywood?) it's only because the special effects folks strive to make movie skeletons look real, not the other way around. You may have seen a lot of movies but how many actual 4000+ year old skeletons have you seen lying IN SITU? This skeleton looks as it should for an official (not royalty) of the 4th Dynasty. His privilege was the allowance of a nice tomb, but not the honor of a mummification.

It was a fascinating find for the public to be able to share.
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b.j.barnes
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Username: bjbarnes

Post Number: 4
Registered: 09-2002
Posted From: 12.81.169.38
Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2002 - 06:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Andrew
Thanks for that piece of information. He was NOT given a "royal" burial therefore we now find him in this condition. As for the "missing" pieces, I am surprised that anything is left after all these years, and it has been a few.
I am indeed grateful to be able to share the inside of that tomb and the scarcophagus. A real pleasure, regardless of the "theater". I would also like to know how heavy that lid was. b.j.
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George B. Johnson
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Username: george

Post Number: 12
Registered: 09-1998
Posted From: 63.149.20.105
Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2002 - 06:30 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

BJ & Nicole,
BJ, This is the tomb of a workman so no gold was expected to be found in the burial. Keep in mind that many burials of this period were robbed by persons familiar with the burial. There are a number of instances published by Reisner of burials at Giza that prove this is indeed a typical burial for a person of this status at this period. Check some of the early excavation reports and you will know all is as it should be.

Nichole,
Sharp eyes! I noticed this during the program. But as Andrew states the mandible appears to be the odd shaped piece of bone projecting from beneath the skull in the above image.

Note: I have worked with National Geographic and though they will edit to keep the attention span of the TV audience--most of whom have only a passing interest in Egyptology--they won't go so far as to fake a burial.
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b.j.barnes
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Username: bjbarnes

Post Number: 7
Registered: 09-2002
Posted From: 12.82.163.80
Posted on Wednesday, September 25, 2002 - 11:16 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

George
I don't think that they faked this burial, not at all. It just seems strange that the body was like that, when I guess I really expected a mummy, not bare bones. I don't really know all that much about all the customs and what time-frame they changed. Now you have explained so I understand. If I have offended you, I apologize.bj
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George B. Johnson
Senior Member
Username: george

Post Number: 14
Registered: 09-1998
Posted From: 63.149.20.245
Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2002 - 02:00 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

BJ,
I certainly did not take offense at your question. Different periods of 3000 years of Egyptian history can be very confusing. Because well preserved mummies receive the most publicity many people have the impression that mummies remained the same throughout AE history. But most of the photographs and information published about mummies deals primarily with the mummies of the New Kingdom and later dynasties when mummification was very advanced. Except for a few special cases most bodies from the earlier dynasties have survived only as skeletons.
One of the latest volumes of Reisner's excavations at Giza, "A Cemetery of Palace Attendants," Ann Macy Roth, Boston, 1995, publishes numerous photographs of Giza burials showing only skeletons or skeletons with remains of decayed cloth.
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Andrew
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Username: guardian

Post Number: 496
Registered: 01-1997
Posted From: 216.78.250.40


Posted on Friday, September 27, 2002 - 11:28 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only) Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've added some closeup views above to illustrate most clearly what I am writing about this skeleton.
Regards,
Andrew

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