Mummy Monday: Nesyamun

This week let’s talk about the only surviving mummy in Leeds, United Kingdom. Let’s meet Nesyamun!

Life

Nesyamun was a priest from the reign of Ramesses XI, around 1100 BCE. His name means “the one belonging to the God Amun.”

He worked in the temple of Karnak, which may have employed over 80,000 people at one time. Nesyamun was specifically a wab priest, which means that he reached a certain level of purification and was therefore permitted to approach the statue of Amun in the innermost sanctum of the temple. He also held the titles of incense bearer and scribe.

Mummification and Coffins

Nesyamun died around his 40s or 50s and was mummified with a double coffin. His body was covered in spices and wrapped in 40 layers of linen bandages. The coffins are among the best researched of their kind.

The outer coffin lid was damaged, so the above center images is what it would look like reconstructed. There are a few cracks in this coffin and its beard is missing.

Provenance

Nesyamun and his coffins were donated to the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society in 1824 by John Blaydes. This later became the Leeds Museum. Nesyamun was not the only mummy in Leeds, there were actually two other mummies and coffins in the collection.

During WWII, Leeds was bombed many times, and the museum was badly damaged. The front half of the museum was destroyed. The two other mummies were destroyed and Nesyamun’s inner coffin lid was blown out into the street. The mummy was remarkably unharmed.

Eventually, the museum was moved to its new home at the Leeds City Museum in 2008.

Mummy

Nesyamun’s mummy was probably unwrapped when it arrived at the museum in 1824 or shortly before. Based on photos it looks like the face and feet were the only things unwrapped or they were left unwrapped.

His mouth was left open when he was mummified. This is not typical and may indicate that the body was already in rigor mortis when it was mummified. Some have suggested that he died from a severe allergic reaction, but that has not been proven.

Nesyamun is also bald, which is typical for a priest. He did not have many teeth left and had many splinters left in his gums, possibly from brushing his teeth with a twig. The soft palette of his mouth was also not preserved.

Studies on the Mummy

In 1990, the Director of the Leeds Museum invited Egyptologist Dr. Rosalie David to study the mummy. She was part of a team formed in 1973 to research the living conditions, diseases, and causes of death in the ancient Egyptians. This group helped research and document Nesyamun. The Leeds Museum continued to document and research the decoration of the coffins which has led to a greater understanding of the nature of Nesyamun’s roles.

The most recent study was in January of 2020 when scientists from the University of York attempted to reconstruct the throat and trachea of Nesyamun. These used CT scans to create a 3D model of the throat. They were then able to create noise with the 3D reconstruction. It’s not the most remarkable sound and there are some concerns with the methodology which you can read here.

You can listen to the voice and learn more about the project here!

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nesyamun

http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/objects/NiHfYrybREuUwnSY8AnpKQ

https://leeds-list.com/culture/3-forgotten-stories-from-leeds-past

https://www.mylearning.org/stories/ancient-egypt-death-and-the-afterlife/326

https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/10805180/ancient-egyptian-mummy-priest-voice-sound-3000-years/

https://talesoftimesforgotten.com/2020/01/31/no-researchers-didnt-really-reconstruct-the-voice-of-a-3000-year-old-egyptian-mummy/

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ancient-egypt-voice-of-egyptian-priest-mummy-recreated-3000-years-after-death/

https://mummipedia.fandom.com/wiki/Nesyamun

Image Sources

Reconstructed coffin – Wikimedia Commons (Tomohawk)

Coffin – Leeds Museum and Galleries

Mummy and Museum – Flickr (Leeds City Council Leisure)

CT scan, 3D printed model of the vocal tract – https://talesoftimesforgotten.com/2020/01/31/no-researchers-didnt-really-reconstruct-the-voice-of-a-3000-year-old-egyptian-mummy/

Mummy in the museum – https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/23/science/mummy-voice.html

Mummy – https://www.sharow.n-yorks.sch.uk/classes/class-five/posts/news/2019/january/leeds-museum-ancient-egypt-workshop

CT scans – https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/01/after-3000-years-we-can-hear-the-voice-of-a-mummified-egyptian-priest/

Coffin and cover of a book – Flickr (Thomas Small MA MAAIS

Women Crush Wednesday: Paule Posener-Krieger

This week let me introduce y’all to a French Egyptologist who excavated a 5th dynasty pyramid. Meet Paule Posener-Krieger!

Early Life

Paule was born in Paris on April 18th, 1925. Her family was of Alsatian origin and her father was an engineer. In 1946, she took a full year of medical courses and in 1951 she received a “license es-lettres,” which is the French equivalent of a Bachelors of Arts.

Egyptology Career

Paule then took an Egyptology course within the framework of the Louvre School. She continued to take more courses at the École pratique des Hautes études, an elite research institution in Paris. She took courses under other French Egyptologists such as Georges Posener, Jacques Jean Clere, and Michel Malinie. Her main research areas were hieratic and diplomatic paleography of the Old Kingdom, technical vocabulary and administrative practices of the Old Kingdom, and museum studies.

Paule’s greatest accomplishment was excavating the pyramid complex of Neferefre in Abusir. This is a 5th dynasty pyramid complex for Pharaoh Neferefre. Here Paule discovered the Abusir papyri, which is a significant ensemble of documents dating to his reign. She would later translate and publish these. The excavations also found several statues of the Pharoah, which are some of the best examples of royal statuary from the 5th dynasty.

Paule would later become the director of the Institut Francais d’Archaeologie Orientale from 1981 to 1989.

Married Life

In 1960 she married her former professor, Georges Posener. He was born on September 12, 1906 and graduated from the École pratique des hautes études in 1933. He was a resident of the Institut Francais d’Archaeologie Orientale in Cairo from 1931 to 1935. He was then in charge of it until the beginning of WWII. He also wrote about 100 Egyptology books.

He died in 1988 and Paule died in 1996.

Publications

  • – P. Posener-Kriéger, J.-L. de Cenival, The Abu Sir Papyri. Edited, together with Complementary Texts in other collections (Hieratic Papyri in the British Museum 5th Series), London, 1968.
  • – P. Posener-Kriéger, Sara Demichelis, The archives of the funerary temple of Néferirkarê-Kakaï (The papyri of Abousir). Translation and commentary (BdÉ 65 / 1-2), Cairo, 1976.
  • – P. Posener-Kriéger, I papiri di Gebelein . Scavi G. Farina 1935 , Torino, 2004.
  • – P. Posener-Kriéger, Catalog of the France-Egypt exhibition, Paris, 1949.
  • – P. Posener-Kriéger, Catalog of the collection of the municipal museum of Limoges , 1958.
  • – “The papyri of the Old Kingdom”, in Texts and languages ​​of Pharaonic Egypt II (Study Library 64/2), Cairo, IFAO, 1973, p. 25-35.
  • – “The papyri of Abousir and the economy of the funerary temples of the Old Kingdom”, in State and Temple Economy in the Ancient Near East (Orientalia Lovanensia Analecta 5), ​​Louvain, 1979, p. 133-151.
  • – “Decrees sent to the funeral temple of Rêneferef”, in Mélanges Gamal Eddin Mokhtar I (Study Library 97/1), Cairo, IFAO, 1985, p. 195-210.
  • – “Old Kingdom papyri: external features”, in ML Bierbrier (ed.), Papyrus: Structure and Usage (British Museum Occasional Papers 60), London, 1986, p. 25-41.
  • – “Economic aspects of the Abousir papyri”, in Akten des vierten Internationalen Ägyptologen Kongresses München 1985 (BSAK 4), München, 1990, p. 167-176.
  • – “To the pleasure of paleographers. Papyrus Caire JE 52003 ”, in P. der Manuelian (ed.), Studies in Honor of William Kelly Simpson, Boston 1996, p. 655-664.
  • – H. Frankfort, Kingship and the Gods ( Kingship and the Gods ), 1951.
  • – S. Schott, The Love Songs of Ancient Egypt ( Die altägyptischen Liebeslieder ), 1956.

You can also check out some more of her works here!

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paule_Posener-Kri%C3%A9ger

https://prosopo.ephe.psl.eu/paule-posener-kri%C3%A9ger

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Posener

https://www.babelio.com/auteur/Georges-Posener/217079

Image Sources

Pyramid – https://www.egyptianhistorypodcast.com/episode-12-i-make-the-soul-beautiful/

Her photo – https://prosopo.ephe.psl.eu/paule-posener-kri%C3%A9ger

Her works – Abe Books and Meretseger Books Georges – http://nephicode.blogspot.com/2014/01/more-comments-answered-part-ii.html

Women Crush Wednesday: Violette LaFleur

It’s been a while since we looked at another female Egyptologist, so let’s learn about Violette LaFleur. She almost single-handedly saved the Petrie Museum’s collection during World War II.

Early Life

Violette LaFleur was born in 1897, possibly in Canada. She was a Canadian citizen and the daughter of a leading Montreal judge. She went to school in Highgate, England, and then was a social worker in the 1920s.

Sometime in the 1930s, she entered the Department of Egyptology at the University College London as a non-degree student. She was close friends with Stephen Glanville, who at the time was the Edwards Professor of Egyptology. His wife Ethel had been at school with her.

Egyptology Career

Violette eventually became part of the new program of curatorial, cataloging, and conservation work in the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. In 1935, she started to work in the museum as a general assistant and began conservation training at the British Museum. She was eventually promoted to Honorary Museum Assistant and responsible for the photography in the museum. She also gave six lectures on object conservation.

In 1936, she accompanied Glanville on his excavations of El-Amarna and Armant, Egypt.

Her conservation work extended outside of Egyptology to the remains of Jeremy Bentham. He was an English philosopher whose remains are displayed at UCL. She was responsible for cleaning and preserving his clothes, chair, and stick, as well as padding the skeleton so that it could be displayed in the Cloisters of the Wilkins Building.

Her biggest contribution to the Petrie Museum was during WWII. She managed the removal of the collections to Stanstead Bury, specifically to the home of a naval captain George Spencer Churchill, a cousin of Winston Churchill. On September 8, 1940, the college was the first bomb with destroyed the skylights above the area where some of the objects were. Violette returned a few days later to continue packing at personal risk.

In April 1941, the college was hit again and water from the fireman hoses seeped into the basements where the cases were in standing water. The artifacts were then unpacked, conserved, and repacked. Finally, the 14 tonnes of cases and crates were transferred by July 1943. She did this mostly on her own, sometimes with some help from college porters or former students. And if you can believe it Violette lost her own flat and most of her belongings during the Blitz in 1940.

Later Life and Recognition

After the war, when the collection was returned, Violette continued to preserve the collection and teach at the university until 1954. If you could believe it, this was an honorary volunteer position, and she never received a single penny for her work.

I could not find much more information, let alone photos, of her, but she did die in 1965.

In general, she did not have any recognition for her efforts. Rosalind Janssen dedicated her book, The First Hundred Years: Egyptology at University College London 1892-1992, to the memory of Violette LaFleur. Her work was once recognized in 1951 by Sir David Pye, the Provost of UCL at the Fellow’s dinner. There was a wish for a permanent record to her be made at the Petrie Museum, but no record was made.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violette_Lafleur

https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/museums/2021/02/25/violette-lafleur-bombs-boxes-and-one-brave-lady/

Image Sources

Violette Lafleur in her conservation – https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/mu

Cartoon of her – https://www.ucl.ac.uk/culture/news/extraordinary-stories-behind-petrie-museum

seums/2021/02/25/violette-lafleur-bombs-boxes-and-one-brave-lady/

Petrie Museum – https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Petrie_Museum_of_Egyptian_Archaeology

Jeremy Bentham – https://medium.com/the-philosophers-stone/what-utilitarian-jeremy-bentham-intended-for-his-body-after-death-971d641c781d

Stanstead Bury – https://www.historichouses.org/house/stanstead-bury/tours/

Mummy Monday: Nesshou

This week let me introduce you to Nesshou, a priest from the Ptolemaic Period. He is currently located at the Musee d’Yverdon les Bains in Switzerland and has the most complete funerary collection in all of Switzerland.

Life

Nesshou was born sometime during the Ptolemaic Period, presumably in the city of Akhmin. His father’s name was Nes-Min and was a Sema-priest to the god Min. His mother was named Isis-weret who was a Mistress of the House and Musician of the God Min.

Nesshou’s name (which can also be written as Nes-Shou or Nes-Shu) means “Belonging of Shu.” Shu is the god of the Air and father of Nut, Goddess of the Sky, and Geb, God of the Earth.

Nesshou took the same job as his father which was a Sema-priest of the God Min. A Sema priest is someone who takes care of the clothing of the god. In most temples, there was a large statue of the god that would have been clothed every morning.

Provenance

The mummy was donated by Edwin Simond-Bey. He was an Australian who moved to Alexandria, Egypt when he was a child. His family was originally from Yverdon, Switzerland and that is where Edwin completed school. When he returned to Egypt, he was working for the Land Mortgage Company of Egypt. Edwin also took part in many excavations and left many of his finds to a museum in Alexandria.

Because of his contributions, in 1869 the khedive Taufiq awarded him the title of Bey and gifted him the mummy and its sarcophagus. Now typically these mummies that were gifted to royals, nobles, and collectors have little to no provenance. This mummy however was excavated in Akhmin by Gaston Maspero and his team in 1885.

Within the same year, Edwin donated the mummy to his hometown of Yverdon (MY/3775). It was opened in Town Hall on July 11th, 1869. About 80 people attended including many ladies wearing hats.

The collection at the museum was expanded in 1983 and 1993. It now contains about 204 pieces. The exhibit mainly focuses on the mummy. Unfortunately, just a few days before this post, the mummy was taken off of the display. It was taken down mostly for ethical reasons, as the mummy is mostly unwrapped. But it also needs to be heavily conserved.

Coffin

The mummy was found in an anthropoid coffin made of wood. It was then stuccoed and painted in bright colors. The lower part of the lid has a spell of Nut. This is where the goddess symbolically becomes the divine mother of the deceased and is asked to lay down upon him keeping away all evil spirits.

You can read more about the decorations on the coffin in this article below.

The mummy was wrapped in what could have been 11 yards of papyrus with the Book of the Dead written on it. It originally consisted of 13 layers of papyrus. Much of this papyrus was damaged after it was unwrapped. Some pieces were reassembled and put under glass plates.

Within these wrappings were 14 amulets. 4 of these were removed during the unwrapping. They are made out of faience and gilded wood.

The mummy also had a cartonnage mummy mask and other cartonnage elements.

Mummy

Nesshou was about 50 years old when he died. He had a couple of medical problems, but nothing that could tell us how he died. He has osteoarthritis in his right shoulder and arteriosclerosis in both knees. The condition in his knees would be very painful like gout, so Nesshou would probably be in a lot of pain in his last few years.

He, like many ancient Egyptian mummies, had pretty bad abrasions on his teeth. There were deep carious lesions that could have caused a severe infection around the roots of an upper molar.

Sources

https://mummipedia.fandom.com/wiki/Nesshou

https://www.swissmummyproject.uzh.ch/en/research-1/swissmummies/neshou.html

https://news.in-24.com/news/21602.html

https://news.in-24.com/lifestyle/art/81913.html

http://rheumatologe.blogspot.com/2012/02/chondrocalcinosis.html

http://www.musee-yverdon-region.ch/musee.php?include=collections&lng=en#egypte

https://www.swissmummyproject.uzh.ch/en/research-1/dentalproject.html

http://www.egyptologyforum.org/THOE/Heritage_of_Egypt_3.pdf

Image Sources

Mummy in case – Mummipedia

Mummy in CT – University of Zurich

Mummy and sarcophagus – https://news.in-24.com/news/21602.html

Mummy, x-rays, and museum – https://switzerlandroadways.blogspot.com/2010/06/yverdon-les-bains-castle-baths-mummies.html

Museum – https://news.in-24.com/lifestyle/art/81913.html

X-ray of knees – http://rheumatologe.blogspot.com/2012/02/chondrocalcinosis.html

Mummy – Flickr (strobel zsuzsi)

Nesshou’s teeth – https://www.swissmummyproject.uzh.ch/en/research-1/dentalproject.html

Women Crush Wednesday: Cleopatra III

This week we are traveling back to the last period of Ancient Egypt, the Ptolemaic Period. I would like to introduce you to Cleopatra III, whose life was full of political turmoil.

Early Life

Cleopatra III was born around 160 BCE, most likely in Alexandria where the Ptolemaic kings ruled from. Her mother was Cleopatra II, and her father was Ptolemy VI. She had possibly four siblings: Ptolemy Eupator, Cleopatra Thea, Ptolemy VII Neos Philopator, and possibly a sister named Berenice.

Here is a short background of what occurred within the ruling family before Cleopatra III’s birth. Be careful, there are a lot of identical names involved.

Cleopatra III’s uncle, Ptolemy VIII ruled together with his siblings (and Cleopatra’s parents), Cleopatra II, and Ptolemy VI from 170 to 164 BCE. Her uncle then expelled her parents from the throne and Egypt. But he was forced to abdicate in 163, and Cleopatra III’s parents ruled until 145 BCE.

This was when her father died from injuries sustained when falling off his horse during battle. Cleopatra III had at least one brother, but it seems like he was not chosen to be the heir, or he had already died at this point. And you’ll never guess who takes the throne now? Cleopatra III? Sadly, no.

It was her uncle Ptolemy VIII, again.

Married Life

Now even those the Ptolemaic pharaohs were all of Greek origin, the arranged marriages of siblings were still done. So, Ptolemy VIII married his sister and Cleopatra III’s mother, Queen Cleopatra II, probably to solidify the throne.

But in an interesting turn of events, he also married his niece/stepdaughter, Cleopatra III. This was probably done because Cleopatra II was too old to have any more children. Cleopatra III and Ptolemy VIII were married in 139 BCE.

She had five children with him, all of which went on to rule different kingdoms. We’ll talk about her two sons Ptolemy IX Soter and Ptolemy X Alexander shortly. She had three daughters, Tryphaena, who married the Seleucid king Antiochus VII Grypus, Cleopatra IV, who married her brother Ptolemy IX (though she later divorced him and married the Seleucid King Antiochus IX Cyzienus), and Cleopatra Selene, who married her brothers Ptolemy IX and possibly Ptolemy X (then later married three Seleucid Kings Anthichus VIII, IX, and X).

It seems that Cleopatra III’s relationship with her mother was not great, as their first recorded quarrel was in 140/139. During this time, there was also an unsuccessful coup by an influential courtier named Galestes. Cleopatra III and her husband attempted to seek support from the native population to strengthen their position, but Cleopatra II rebelled against the king in 132 BCE.

This was a full-blown civil war between Cleopatra III’s mother and husband, and it is unclear who she sided with. While her mother controlled Alexandria, Cleopatra III and her husband fled to Cyrus in 132 BCE. He was able to return in 130 to regain control and she returned three years later when the civil war died down.

A full image of the wall relief seen above. Depicting Cleopatra II, Cleopatra III, and their husband Ptolemy VIII recieving the blessings of Horus. From the Temple of Kom Ombo.

And then somehow, Cleopatra II rejoined them as joint ruled in 124 BCE. Honestly, I don’t know.

Later Life

Ptolemy VIII died in 116 BCE and again Cleopatra III was allowed to jointly rule with one of her sons. Surprisingly, she skipped over her first son, Ptolemy XI (who was 14 at the time), and wanted to rule with her second son, Ptolemy X. But apparently, the Alexandrines didn’t like this and forced her to rule with her first son. Her second son was sent to Cyrus as an honorary general.

I have a feeling her mother influenced her decision because even after all the coups, Cleopatra II was still jointly ruling with her daughter and her grandson until she died in 116 or 117.

I honestly feel very bad for this family because it just seems like the family dynamics are all out of whack. Get ready for the craziest part of this rollercoaster.

In October 110, Cleopatra III expelled her first son and placed her second son as her co-ruler. Unfortunately, this didn’t last long and Ptolemy IX was soon back on the throne in February 109. Ptolemy X attempted this again in March 108 and again in October 107.

This last coup seemed to stick as Cleopatra III defeated Ptolemy IX in 102. Ptolemy X served as the annual priest of Alexander the Great. During this time, Cleopatra III tried to gain more support from the native Egyptians by presenting herself as the goddesses Maat and Isis.

Unfortunately, there were still tensions within the royal family, as according to the Latin historian Justin, Cleopatra was murdered by Ptolemy X, after he discovered her plans to kill him. This most likely happened sometime in 101 BCE, as she disappears from records in late 101. Her son marries his niece Berenice III and continues as the sole ruler.

Names

When ruling, her Horus name was Nebtaoui Kenekhet, meaning Lady of the Two Lands, Mighty Bull. Depending on who she was ruling with, she was known by different names.

Her Horus Name

While married to Ptolemy VIII and ruling with her son Ptolemy X, she was known as Cleopatra Euergetis. When ruling with her son Ptolemy IX, she was known as Cleopatra Philmetor Soteira. And according to Strabo, she was known as Kokke when discussed in relation to her son Ptolemy X.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleopatra_III

https://www.livius.org/articles/person/cleopatra-iii/

https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/Y_EA612

http://www.instonebrewer.com/TyndaleSites/Egypt/ptolemies/cleopatra_iii.htm

Images Sources

Cleopatra III at Kom Ombo – Wikimedia Commons

Statue at the Leiden Museum of Cleopatra II or III – https://www.livius.org/pictures/a/greek-portraits/cleopatra-ii-or-iii/

Statue at the Louvre of Cleopatra II or III – https://www.livius.org/pictures/a/greek-portraits/cleopatra-ii-or-iii-as-isis/

Hieroglyphs – Wikimedia Commons

Family Tree – http://www.instonebrewer.com/TyndaleSites/Egypt/ptolemies/cleopatra_iii.htm

Stela, British Museum – British Museum Catalog

Bust with an earring at Stuttgart Museum – https://www.livius.org/pictures/a/greek-portraits/cleopatra-iii/

Bust – https://www.pba-auctions.com/lot/10456/2145353?npp=10000&

Bust of Cleopatra II or Cleopatra III at the Walters Art Gallery – https://art.thewalters.org/detail/24043/head-of-a-queen-perhaps-cleopatra-ii-or-cleopatra-iii/

Women Crush Wednesday: Kate Bradbury Griffith

Today let’s talk about another female Egyptologist who assisted with the early development of the Egypt Exploration Society in England. Let me introduce you to Kate Bradbury Griffith!

Life

Kate Bradbury was born on August 26th, 1854 in Ashton-under-Lyne, near Manchester. She was the eldest daughter to wealthy cotton businessman Charles Timothy Bradbury and his first wife Elizabeth Anne Tomlins. Kate had two younger siblings named Harold and Emma. Kate was probably educated at home as a child, but she attended finishing school in Switzerland, where she probably learned German.

Ancient Egypt was her passion, but she was also an avid painter. Botanists apparently sent many samples of her drawings from around Riversvale Hall. In 1882, her father moved to Riversvale Hall, where Kate and her husband would later live.

Egyptology Career

Kate was among the early supporters of the Egypt Exploration Fund, which was established by Amelia Edwards in 1881 to support British excavations in Egypt. Kate was very good friends with Amelia Edwards, even joining her on a lecture tour of America in 1890. She became a committee member and one of the Fund’s local secretaries, helping to gather subscriptions in Britain.

After Edwards died, Kate took care of her estate, including coordinating Edward’s Egyptian collection being moved and installed at University College London. Kate continued to work for the Egypt Exploration Fund underneath Flinders Petrie. He thanked her in 1889 for preparing Hawara textiles, saying

“all soaked cleaned, and ironed, and finally distributed to various collections; the most important and complete set technologically going to the Manchester Museum.”

Because of her knowledge of German, she translated Dr. Alfred Wiedemann’s Egypt Doctrine of Immortality and Religion of Ancient Egypt into English. She also helped Norman de Garis Davies as a copyist on Petrie’s excavations at Dendera for the 1897/1898 season.

Married Life

In 1896, Kate married a former student of Petrie, Francis Llewellyn Griffith. He was born in 1862 in Brighton and worked as a student for the Egypt Exploration Fund. He later taught at both UCL, Oxford, and an honorary professor of Egyptology at Manchester University. She collaborated with her husband on translations of ancient Egyptian texts, which were published into a multi-volume work called Library of the World’s Great Literature.

Kate got seriously ill in 1901 and traveled to London for an operation, which was not successful. Her husband then took her to Silverdale near Morecambe Bay to recuperate. She died there on March 2nd, 1902 and is buried in Silverdale. Her husband returned to live at Riversvale with Kate’s father until he died in 1907.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_Bradbury_Griffith

https://twitter.com/EgyptMcr/status/1141070330317983753/photo/1

https://archive.griffith.ox.ac.uk/index.php/griffith-kate

https://tamesidefamilyhistory.co.uk/thebradburyfamily.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Llewellyn_Griffith

Images

Kate Griffth – http://www.griffith.ox.ac.uk/gri/4griffith_k_p1890.html

Newspaper of Amelia Edwards in New York – https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv550cxt.6?seq=12#metadata_info_tab_contents

Kate Griffth – http://www.civilwarsoldiers.com/civilwar_photos/bradbury_family.htm

Francis – https://www.ancestry.co.uk/mediaui-viewer/tree/71165116/person/322114334758/media/311a1a41-a42f-4c5c-a8f5-b745ea348bf9

Women Crush Wednesday: Nina de Garis Davies

This week let’s look at another Egyptologist who specialized in illustrating and copying ancient Egyptian tomb paintings! Her name was Nina de Garis Davies.

Early Life

Nina was born Anna Machpherson Cummings on January 6th, 1881 in Salonika, Greece. She was the eldest of three daughters of Cecil J. Cummings, who was of English and Scottish ancestry. Her family returned to Aberdeen, Scotland with the death of her father in 1894. They then moved to Bedford where the girls went to private school. Nina showed considerable promise as an artist in her youth. It was so promising that her family moved to London for her training at the Slade School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London.

Norman and Nina de Garis Davies

In 1906, she went to visit a friend in Alexandria, Egypt, which is where she met her future husband Norman de Garis Davies. Norman was born in 1865 and studied theology at Glasgow University and Marburg University before working with Egyptologist Flinders Petrie at Dendera. He later became the head of the Egypt Exploration Fun’s Archaeological Survey and was an expert at interpreting Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Their house in Egypt, with Nina sitting on the front porch

Nina and Norman hit it off right away and were married in Hampstead, London on the 8th of October 1907. They settled in the Theban Necropolis and began documenting tomb paintings.

Life in Egypt

One of the first projects the couple worked on was for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York making facsimiles. They did this by tracing the tomb images and then replicating the brushstrokes and colors. In most cases, the copies reflected the actual scene, including any damage to the walls. In other cases, the drawings were rendered to look like they would have when the tomb was originally built thousands of years ago.

Technically, Norman was hired for this position, but Nina was also a part-time worker. Interestingly, most of the time it is difficult to differentiate Nina and Norman’s paintings. Nina signed her work Ni.deGD and Norman signed his pieces No.deGD. But others were signed N.dGD, which makes it entirely unclear.

Drawing by Norman of the various tombs in the Theban Necropolis

The tombs were located on the Nile’s west bank of western Thebes, which included the tombs of the officials, the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens, and the Deir el-Medina. It is one of the “richest sources of ancient Egyptian paintings preserved anywhere in Egypt.”

They started experimenting with color copying in Theban Tomb 45. Usually, copyists used watercolors, but one of their first assistants Francis Unwin suggested the use of tempera, which is a faster drying paint made with egg yolks. First, the artist does a pencil tracing against the wall and then painted the rest by eye.

Nina’s paintings were also recognized by another Egyptologist Sir Alan Gardiner, who acquired as many of her paintings as possible between 1909 and 1929. These were then published in two volumes of Ancient Egyptian paintings.

Nina with friends in her garden, including Rosalind Moss on the left

Nina is specifically credited for plates in publications of the Tomb of Amenemhet, Huy, and Ramose. She and her husband also worked for the Egypt Exploration Society and the Oriental Institute by documenting other Egyptian sites like Abydos and Amarna.

Later Life

Nina and Norman lived in a house in Qurna until 1939 when they moved back to England. They most likely left because of Norman’s age and the MMA policy. But their house was not emptied, implying that they may come back. Norman died in 1941 and Nina got to work organizing his objects, books, and papers. She reorganized the material for his publication of the Temple of Hibis in el-Kharga Oasis III. She then cataloged the textile collection of P.E. Newberry, aided Gardiner in editing Seven Private Tombs at Kurneh, and painted facsimiles of all sides of the box of Tutankhamun in 1962.

Nina died in 1965 but she lives on in her paintings, which help preserve and document the tombs of the Theban Necropolis.

Collections

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has 413 pieces by Nina and Norman de Garis Davies. 157 were painted by Nina, 15 have both their names, and 59 are signed by Norman.

The British Museum has 22 of Nina’s paintings which were donated in 1936 by Alan Gardiner. Some more of her paintings can be found here.

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/544567

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/548565

https://artsandculture.google.com/asset/barbering-tomb-of-userhat-nina-de-garis-davies/RQFu-xgT96y2kw?hl=en

Publications

Here are some of their publications:

  • Egypt Exploration Fund (Egypt); Nina Macpherson Davies; Norman de Garis Davies, Alan Henderson Gardiner (1915). The Theban Tombs Series. Edited by Norman de Garis Davies and Alan H. Gardiner.
  • Nina de Garis Davies; Sir Alan H. Gardiner (1923). Facsimiles of Theban Wall-paintings by Nina de Garis Davies Lent by Alan H. Gardiner. Victoria and Albert Museum.
  • Norman de Garis Davies (1901). The Rock Tombs of Sheikh Saïd. Sold at the Offices of the Egypt Exploration Fund.
  • Norman de Garis Davies; Walter Ewing Crum; George Albert Boulenger (1902). The Rock Tombs of Deir El Gebrâwi: Tomb of the Aba and smaller tombs of the southern group. Sold at the offices of the Egypt exploration fund.
  • Norman de Garis Davies; Seymour de Ricci; Geoffrey Thorndike Martin (1906). The Rock Tombs of El-A̕marna: The tomb of Meyra. Sold at the Offices of the Egypt Exploration Fund.
  • Norman de Garis Davies; Seymour de Ricci (1908). The Rock Tombs of El Amarna: Smaller tombs and boundary stelae.
  • Norman de Garis Davies; Seymour de Ricci; Geoffrey Thorndike Martin (1908). The Rock Tombs of El-A̕marna: The tomb of Meyra. Sold at the Offices of the Egypt Exploration Fund.
  • Norman de Garis Davies (1911). Graphic Work of the Egyptian Expedition. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • Norman de Garis Davies; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.) (1911). The Rock-cut Tombs of Shiekh Abd El Qurneh, at Thebes. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • Norman de Garis Davies (1913). Five Theban Tombs: (being Those of Mentuherkhepeshef, User, Daga, Nehemawäy and Tati). London: K. Paul, Trench, Trübner.
  • Norman de Garis Davies (1917). The tomb of Nakht at Thebes. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • Norman de Garis Davies; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.). Egyptian Expedition (1933). The tomb of Nefer-hotep at Thebes. Arno Press.
  • Norman de Garis Davies (1920). An Alabaster Sistrum Dedicated by King Teta. Egypt Exploration Society.
  • Norman de Garis Davies; Alan Henderson Gardiner (1920). The Tomb of Antefoker, Visier of Sesostris I, and of His Wife, Senet. Allen & Unwin, under the auspices of the Egypt Exploration Society.
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.). Egyptian Expedition; Norman de Garis Davies (1918). The Egyptian Expedition, 1916-17. The Museum.
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.). Egyptian Expedition; Ambrose Lansing; Norman de Garis Davies, Hugh Gerard Evelyn-White (1920). The Egyptian Expedition, 1916-1919. The Museum.
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.); Albert Frisch; Emery Walker, Nina De Garis Davies, Norman de Garis Davies (1925). Egyptian Wall Paintings from Copies by Norman de Garis Davies, Nina de Garis Davies and H.R. Hopgood. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

More of her publications can be found here:

https://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/book/lookupname?key=Davies%2C%20Norman%20de%20Garis%2C%201865%2D1941

http://giza.fas.harvard.edu/modernpeople/1626/full/

http://www.griffith.ox.ac.uk/gri/4daviest.html

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N._de_Garis_Davies

https://www.brown.edu/Research/Breaking_Ground/results.php?d=1&first=Nina&last=Davies

https://www.brown.edu/Research/Breaking_Ground/bios/Davies_Nina.pdf

Image Sources

Norman and Nina, and another image of Nina – Brown

View of Theban cliffs by Norman – Wikimedia Commons

Tomb of Nakht by Norman and Nina – Wikimedia Commons

Women Crush Wednesday: Hilda Petrie

For this week’s Woman Crush Wednesday, I wanted to highlight one of my favorite females in Egyptology, Hilda Petrie! And happy belated International Women’s Day!!

Early Life

Hilda Mary Isabel Urlin was born in 1871 in Dublin as the youngest of five children to Richard Denny Urlin and Mary Elizabeth Addis Urlin. They were an English couple who were long-time residents in Ireland, but they moved back to London when Hilda was four years old. She was educated by a governess along with other children of a similar age.

Hilda was known for preferring the countryside to the city and took many bicycling expeditions with her friends. She did also enjoy the museums and galleries that the city had. Interestingly, Hilda did sit for a painting by the Pre-Raphaelite artist, Henry Holiday in his studio in Hampstead.

Holiday, Henry; Aspasia on the Pnyx; Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/aspasia-on-the-pnyx-123266

She studied at King’s College for Women where she took courses in geology and in facsimile drawing, both of which would help in her archaeological career.

Married Life

When Hilda was 25 years old, she was introduced by Henry Holiday to William Flinders Petrie. This was originally a professional introduction as Petrie needed to employ an artist with copying skills for his archaeological digs. Their relationship progressed quickly and they were married on November 26, 1896. They actually left for Egypt the day after their wedding, skipping their wedding breakfast.

They had two children together, John in 1907, and Ann in 1909. John Petrie later became a mathematician, who gave his name to the Petrie Polygon. While the family lived in London, they lived in Hampstead. Hilda typically went with Petrie for every field season except for the years when their children were young.

Archaeological Career

Although Hilda had no archaeological experience, she proved herself vital to many of the expeditions. On their initial “honeymoon” trip, Hila and Flinders traveled to Cairo and Giza first. While in Giza, Hilda chose to climb the Great Pyramid of Giza without her cumbersome skirt, so she was pretty much in her underwear.

Personally, my favorite image of her

They held excavations at the Temple of Dendera, north of Luxor. During this dig, Hilda worked in one of the deep shafts of the tomb that was being excavated, climbing down a rope ladder to copy scenes and inscriptions. She apparently spent several days lying on the ground to copy some 20,000 hieroglyphs on one large sarcophagus. She also drew profiles of the pots, beads, scarabs, and other small finds for the excavation reports. This was her most common task on Petrie’s excavations, while Petrie himself took care of the domestic side.

In 1898, they excavated the cemetery sites of Abediyeh and Hu. Hilda was responsible for surveying the site, identify the shapes of pots, slates, and flints based on the Naqada examples, and writing the grave number on all of the finds. Petrie noted at the beginning of the excavation report,

“My wife was with me all the time, helping in the surveying, cataloging, and marking of the objects, and also drawing all the tomb plans here published.”

In 1902 when they worked at Abydos, Hilda was given control of excavation and worked with Margaret Murray and Miss Hansard. They attempted a difficult and hazardous excavation after the discovery the previous year of what appeared to be the approach to a huge underground tomb discovered in an area at the back of the temple of Seti I. The excavation area was in constant danger of caving in, and the work was ultimately abandoned.

In 1902 when they worked at Abydos, Hilda was given control of excavation and worked with Margaret Murray and Miss Hansard. They attempted a difficult and hazardous excavation after the discovery the previous year of what appeared to be the approach to a huge underground tomb discovered in an area at the back of the temple of Seti I. The excavation area was in constant danger of caving in, and the work was ultimately abandoned.

In 1904, she worked in Ehnadya, and in 1905, she remained at Saqqara to copy reliefs in some of the Old Kingdom tombs.

In 1905, Petrie founded the British School of Archaeology in Europe and Hilda helped as a secretary. She raised funds and recruited new subscribers by writing to the wealthy. She also oversaw their publications and gave public lectures in London and the UK.

In 1913, she rejoined Petrie at Kafr Ammar and recorded three painted 12th Dynasty tombs in Riqqeh. This task was also very dangerous, but she published a chapter within the final report for this excavation season.

During and after WWI

Most excavation efforts were halted during the two world wars. During WWI, she turned her attention to several women’s organizations, including her fundraising expertise as Honorary Secretary of the Scottish Women’s Hospital. She was later awarded the Serbian Order of St. Sava.

Most excavation efforts were halted during the two world wars. During WWI, she turned her attention to several women’s organizations, including her fundraising expertise as Honorary Secretary of the Scottish Women’s Hospital. She was later awarded the Serbian Order of St. Sava.

Excavations resumed in 1919, and Hilda excavated a Coptic hermit’s cell in the Western hills at Abydos in 1921. By 1926, Petrie had moved on from Egypt and became mainly excavating Palestine and Jerusalem. This was following the restrictions placed on excavating bodies in Egypt and the exportations of antiquities after the discovery of King Tut in 1922.

Hilda arrived in Gaza in November 1926 where she supervised, registered, and paid excavation workers. In 1931, they excavated Tell el-Ajull. In 1933, Flinders and Hilda moved to Jerusalem, where they also excavated Sheikh Soweyd between 1935 and 1937.

Later Life

Flinders Petrie died in 1942. For a few years, Hilda lived at the American School of Palestine while editing her husband’s papers, which she had determined to send to the newly formed library of the Department of Antiquities in Khartoum.

Hilda Petrie and Margaret Murray

Hilda returned to England in 1947 where she wound up affairs at the British School of Archaeology. She was also able to publish the tomb reliefs from Saqqara that she had copied in 1905. Hilda Petrie died of a stroke in University College Hospital in 1957.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilda_Petrie

https://trowelblazers.com/hilda-petrie/

https://egyptartefacts.griffith.ox.ac.uk/people/hilda-petrie

Image Sources

Flinders and Hilda – Wikimedia Commons (http://www.egyptorigins.org/petriepics.html)

Her digging – https://trowelblazers.com/hilda-petrie/

Hilda and Margaret Murray – https://www.brown.edu/Research/Breaking_Ground/results.php?d=1&first=Hilda&last=Petrie

Some Pictures of Hilda and Flinders in Palestine – https://www.researchgate.net/publication/259561969_Publicising_Petrie_Financing_Fieldwork_in_British_Mandate_Palestine_1926-1938

Flinders Petrie’s diary recording “H. to suffrage meeting” on July 25 1913 – https://historyofarchaeologyioa.weebly.com/notes/category/hilda-petrie

Henry Holiday Painting “Aspasia on the Pnyx” – https://storiesfromthemuseumfloor.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/hilda-and-flinders-a-reluctant-romance/

Hilda recording a wall – https://storiesfromthemuseumfloor.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/hilda-and-flinders-a-reluctant-romance/

Hilda and her daughter? – https://alchetron.com/Hilda-Petrie

Flinders and Hilda – https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/485474034832631135/

Flinders and Hilda in front of car in Syria in 1934 – https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/485474034832631135/

Flinders in the 1880s – https://www.thecollector.com/flinders-petrie-archeologist/

Hilda at Abydos in 1903 – https://ucldigitalpress.co.uk/Book/Article/73/97/5456/

Flinders and Hilda at Qau 1938 – Flickr (UCL News)

Hilda in December 1898 on a Horse – http://framingarchaeologist.blogspot.com/2009/08/image-10-hilda-petrie-on-horseback.html

Women Crush Wednesday: Bertha Porter

This week for Women Crush Wednesday we are going to talk about one of the most influential reference authors in Egyptology. Her name was Bertha Porter and she was the co-author of the series of reference books, dubbed Porter and Moss.

Early Life

Bertha Porter was born in 1852 to Fredrick William Porter, an Irish architect and surveyor for the Worshipful Company of Clothworkers, and Sarah Moyle. She had seven siblings, although her older sibling died in infancy, which made her the eldest. Very little is known about her early life, but it was said that she was in many literary circles.

In 1885, Bertha was employed by Sir Sidney Lee, an English biographer, writer, and critic, to write for the Dictionary of National Biography. This was a standard work of reference on notable figures from British history. She worked there for the next 25 years where she completed 156 biographies. You can see a list of her biographies here.

Life as a Reference Writer

Around 1900, she was employed by the former curator of the British Museum, Francis Llewellyn Griffith. A few years earlier he had established funding and direction for the compilation of a reference text for Egyptologists. This was called Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs, and Paintings. It started as an economical filing system, with the information recorded on cards and categorized systematically. It was combined into a book containing the location and content of texts found on ancient monuments in Egypt and Sudan.

Bertha was in charge of compiling the bibliography. It is not known if she had any knowledge of Ancient Egyptian history prior to this job, but she did study Egyptian hieroglyphs in London under Griffith and at the University of Göttingen under Kurt Sethe.

Interestingly, Bertha never traveled to Egypt. She was always based in London, usually living with her brother Horatio in Russell Square. She was interested in physical research, depending on publications, photographs, and drawings, and verifications by other scholars. In 1934, she took on Rosalind Moss as an assistant, who eventually took over after Bertha retired from the project in 1929. Moss tended to do most of the fieldwork, traveling to Egypt frequently.

Bertha later moved to Oxford, where she took lodgings on Banbury Road. She died in 1941.

The only image I could find of Bertha Porter

Porter and Moss

The Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs, and Paintings is most frequently called Porter and Moss after its two main authors. There are eight volumes total. The first seven are arranged topographically, covering the whole of Egypt and Nubia. The eighth volume addresses the significant body of material in museums and private collections which had no provenance.

A physical copy of the editions of Porter and Moss

The last volume was published in 1975, so they technically are not the most up-to-date reference, but there is literally nothing like this in the field of Egyptology, so it is a vital reference for older publications or sites that are not well preserved in the present day.

You can download the entire series here.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertha_Porter

https://www.brown.edu/Research/Breaking_Ground/bios/Moss_Rosalind.pdf

http://www.griffith.ox.ac.uk/topbib.HTML

https://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/oee_ahrc_2006/

https://hythehistoryblog.wordpress.com/tag/bertha-porter/

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Author:Bertha_Porter

Images

Image of Bertha Porter – Griffith Institute

Image of Books – Historical.ha.com

Image of front of the book – AbeBooks

Image of Rosalind Moss – Jstor

Image of the Dictionary of National Biography – Wikimedia Commons