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Thursday, 25 August 2011

A big pot!

This large pot (W83) was put on display on Monday in our upstairs gallery. It measures 40.5cm high and is burnished on the outside. We are not sure of its provenance. The excavation number ‘638/1958’ might suggest that this comes from Naqada, but we aren't certain. Would be glad to here if this type of number means anything to anyone. It was purchased by Wellcome from the Rustafjaell collection in 1907 but the sale catalogue isn't very helpful as to provenance.

Vessels like this usually date from the Predynastic to Early Old Kingdom and many were used to contain the remains of the deceased. Often pots were inverted over the bodies or bodies were placed inside them, perhaps the same goes for ours.

Pot burials have been found at el-Kab, el-Amrah, Reqaqna, Ballas, Naqada, Hierakonpolis and Abydos (Peet and Loat, 20-22, pl. 4 with further references) and Minshat Abu Omar (Kroeper 1994). An example with a burial is held by the Petrie Museum (UC14857). There is no evidence that pot burials correlated with any particular class of people.  

Kroeper, K. 1994. ‘Minshat Abu Omar. Pot Burials Occurring in the Dynastic Cemetery’.  Bulletin de Liaison du groupe International d’Étude de la Céramique Égyptienne, 18, 19-32.

Peet, T.E. and Loat, W.L.S. 1913. The Cemeteries of Abydos. Part III. 1912-1913. London: Egypt Exploration Fund.

Petrie, W.M.F. 1895. Naqada and Ballas. London: Bernard Quaritch.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Our wonderful volunteers

Last week, there was lots going on re. Egypt Centre's wonderful volunteers. First of all St Fagans came to chat to us about our volunteer programmes- they are going to develop theirs. Ashleigh, our volunteer manager, gave them lots of information and documentation. Then later in the week, the Evening Post did a bit on something Ashleigh and the volunteers had been looking at. You can see it here: http://www.thisissouthwales.co.uk/Ancient-bracelet-riddle/story-13118385-detail/story.html. Unfortunately, not only is it a weird photo but the press failed to say you can see the object the volunteers were looking at by coming to the Centre. Then at the end of the week a kind visitor had given some great feedback on how wonderful our vols. are.

Our volunteers are truly diverse but all work together, which is one of the reasons we are so proud of them. They range from age 10 to 80+, they are all abilities and all sorts of what today might be called 'socio-economic groups'. They do lots of things, though mainly they show the visitors round our galleries, help with enquiries and also deliver activities to school parties.

Basically, I just wanted to say, they are wonderful!

Friday, 5 August 2011

Coffins, cartonnage and wind demons

W870Aidan Dodson of Bristol University came to see on us on Monday to look at our coffins and coffin fragements. What we hadn't realised is that he wanted to look at cartonnage as well as wooden coffins. We had cartonnage catalogued in a seperate section in our catalogue. However, the cartonnage was soon found and Aidan was able to do a preliminary survey. This proved helpful to us, as well as, (we hope), to him.  It's always useful to have researchers come to us as we learn more about our objects.

I have now added 'cartonnage' under 'coffins' for future researchers while also keeping the ability to search for cartonnage only or wood coffin fragments only. However, this aspect of the catalogue is yet to go live (it is hosted on a site that is only partly controlled by us).

Whilst doing this an interesting piece of cartonnage caught my eye so I thought I would see if I could find out a bit more about it. You can see what I think here: http://www.egypt.swansea.ac.uk/index.php/collection/295-w870 But if anyone knows more about wind demons we would love to hear from them.