4 Facts About Pyramids and Pharaohs That Help Us See Ancient Egypt From a Different Angle
Ancient Egypt is one of the most mysterious civilizations. It is surrounded by millions of myths and legends. Despite the fact that we know a lot about the era of the pharaohs, there are still a lot of hidden secrets even today. For example, we still don't know the exact location of Queen Nefertiti's tomb. We hope that one day scientists will manage to lift this veil of secrecy.
Bright Side highlights some significant facts about Ancient Egypt that scientists have managed to discover in the past 10 years.
Tutankhamun's golden mask might have been made for Nefertiti.
In 2015, British archaeologist Nicholas Reeves introduced a theory claiming that the famous funeral mask, previously thought to be for Tutankhamun, was made for a different person. Scientists think that it was the mask of Nefertiti, Tutankhamun's mother, who reigned together with his presumed father pharaoh Akhenaten.
Reeves' opinion is based on several features. First, the mask's ears are pierced. It's known that only women and children wore earrings in Ancient Egypt. And Tutankhamun died at the age of 19 so he wasn't a child according to the standards of that time. Second, hieroglyphs with the name of the deceased pharaoh appear to have been inscribed on top of earlier writing. The scientists are speculating that the original writing was Nefertiti's full name meaning “Beautiful are the beauties of Aten, a beautiful woman has come.”
By the way, Tut's original name, Tutankhaten, means "Living Image of Aten," while Tutankhamun means "Living Image of Amun." This happened when the Aten cult was "replaced" with Amun. Scientists assume that this fact sheds some light on Nefertiti's tomb secret: priests tried to remove and erase everything connected with Aten and since Akhenaten together with his beautiful wife were the main symbols of the "outdated" god Aten, they were hidden.
There might be hidden rooms in Tutankhamun's tomb.
The place where Nefertiti was buried is still unknown. But archaeologists haven't lost hope. In 2015, scientists found several anomalies that they suspect may represent a hidden chamber inside Tutankhamun’s tomb complex. Nicholas Reeves raises the possibility that one room could be Nefertiti’s lost tomb.
Dr. Reeves also assumes that Tutankhamun died unexpectedly and there was no time to finish his tomb quickly, that's why he was placed in Nefertiti's room. There's also one more interesting fact: during the 18th dynasty that the young pharaoh belonged to, to enter a women's tomb people had to turn right and to enter a men's tomb they had to turn to the left. Tutankhamun's burial chamber was to the right.
It's still unknown whether this theory is true or not, but scientists are still working on the mystery of the secret chambers.
Scientists found out how heavy stone blocks were transported to the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Merer's diary at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
As we know, the place where the stone blocks of Khufu's pyramid were taken from was 500 miles away from Giza. Thanks to the diary of Merer, a person involved in the construction of the Great Pyramid, scientists have revealed how Egyptians managed to transport heavy stone blocks.
Stone blocks were ferried across the Nile in a series of purposefully-built canals that delivered them as close to the construction site as possible. They were then rolled over on special tracks.
By the way, scientists have discovered 2 secret places at the foot of the pyramid and found solar boats, special vessels designed for Khufu's sky journeys together with the sun god Ra. Thanks to these boats, some secrets of ancient shipbuilding techniques were revealed and scientists have even managed to create a copy of a boat that can carry heavy cargo.
The mysterious screaming mummy is the son of Ramesses.
One of the most powerful pharaohs of the New Kingdom, Ramesses III, was murdered by his son after 30 years of his reign. The conspiracy was instigated by Tiye, one of his 3 wives, over whether their son Pentewere would inherit the throne.
Ramesses' execution was extremely cruel: murderers chopped off his left big toe and cut his throat with a sharp knife. The cut was so deep and large that it almost went down to the spine. By the way, embalmers tried to hide the injury as there was a piece of fabric around Ramesses' neck.
Scientists suppose that the screaming mummy is Pentewere, who was executed together with other conspirators almost immediately after the murder of his father. According to one version, he was allowed to commit suicide and another theory says that he was strangled. Pentewere's real name was erased from his tomb to prevent him from enjoying an afterlife.
After his death, Pentewere's body was buried with a sheep skin — an act that indicated he was not clean and did something bad in his life. Priests poured embalming fluid into his mouth without removing his organs. But his open mouth wasn't death agony, all mummies' heads just tilt back as time passes.
Tiye's destiny remains unknown. Her name might have been changed before burial and lost over time.
Ancient Egyptian history consists of 40 centuries of the development of one of the most powerful civilizations known to us. Every day, archaeologists discover something new and reveal ancient secrets. Who knows what they will find out tomorrow. Let's stay posted and share our own knowledge of this magnificent country! What things do you know about Egypt?