Floor 1, Room 10 (Valley of the Queens)

Room 10 adjoins the Coffin Gallery in Room 8 and Room 9, the papyri room is adjacent to it.

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The Valley of the Queens, lies at the southern end of the Theban Necropolis and houses the burials of Egypts Queens, Princes and Princesses as well as some of the important dignitaries and courtiers of the 18th, 19th and 20th Dynasties.

QV66 is in my opinion, the most important and most beautiful of tombs in the Valley of the Queens. It was the burial place of Queen Nefertari, who’s husband was the Pharoah and ruler know as Ramesses the Great (Rameses II, 1279 – 2213BC).

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Access to the tomb was discovered in 1904 and Schiaparelli commissioned a detailed and accurate tomb plan, to be built as a model, by Francesca Bellerini. seen above.

Queen Nefertari’s Sarcophagus Lid, 19th Dynasty

(1279 – 1213BC Ramesses II reign)

When Schiaperelli first entered the tomb it was clear it had been robbed in antiquity, however, in the funerary chamber a few fragments of the Queens Sarcophagus lid remained.

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At the Queens head is the Goddess Nut with outstretched wings above the heiroglyph for gold. Isis is at ther feet, and in the middle further spells asks Nut to protect the Queen. There are further prayers inscribed around the sides of the lid with a few traces of the painting that originally decorated the entire coffin.

34 Shabtis, two coffer lids, other furniture, an incomplete statuette of an ibis, a pair of sandals, and a djed amulet (pillar in blue and gold) were also found.

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Other items in room 10:

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Floor 1, Room 11 (The Late Period)

The Late Period

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Between the 8th and 4th Century BC, Egypt was ruled by indiginous dynasties with periods of occupation by Nubians, Assyrians and Persians.  The Late Period concluded around 332BC with the conquest by Alexander the Great.

The repercussions of the political instability, brought Egyptian art, literatue and funerary customs to be revived and the prestigious models of their past, especially from the Old and Middle Kingdoms and the 18th Dynasty, came to the for again.

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During the Late period burial equipment evolved and statuettes of the deity Ptah-Sokar-Osiris were produced, canopic jars were still used and false canopic jars used when the viscera were returned to the mummy.

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401 Shabtis were still placed in tombs but the boxes they were placed in rarely survive as they were made of cartonnage (linen and papyrus pressed together)

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Animal Cults in the Late Period.

Egyptian gods manifested themselves in many forms but many were associated with different animals. Bulls and rams were mummified on thier death but cats, dogs, birds and fish were raised in temples to be killed then mummified.

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Late Period Sarcophagi and sculptures

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Two large stone sarcophagi bear witness to the ability of the sculptures artisitic abilities during this period.

Sarcophagus of the Vizier Gemenefherbak, 26th Dynasty (664 – 525BC)

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Below, Sarcophagus of Ibi, 26th Dynasty (664 -610BC)

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The Coffins of the three sisters

The mummies of 3 sisters, Tapeni, Tamit and Renpetnefret, daughters of Ankh-Khonsu were placed in anthropoid coffins contained in square outer coffins. 25th Dynasty (722 -655BC)

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Stela of the Late period

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Amulets

Amulets are attested in Egypt ever since the Predynastic Period, however they become particularly abundant in the Late Period. They were tucked into the mummy bandages, along with pectorals and figured plaques, to preserve the integrity of the body and allow passage into the underworld.

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Papyri found in burials often told where the Amulets should be placed and from what materials they should be made from.

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Floor 1, Room 12 (Ptolemaic Period)

The Ptolemaic Period

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Following Alexander the Great’s conquest in 332BC, Egypt became part of the great Hellenistic empire forged by the king of Macedonia. After his death the empire was divided up amongst his generals.

One of them Ptolemy, son of Lagos, proclaimed himself king in 306BC, and thus started the 300 year rule of the Ptolemies who ruled until the death of Queen Cleopatra.

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Left above is the Statue of a Ptolemaic King in Regalia, Ptolemaic Period (332 – 3Turin Nov 2015 11160BC) Tebtynis, Temple of Soknebtynis.

Right is a High relief of Isis , white marble, with bovine crown and Termuthis, both depicted as snakes. Ptolemaic – Roman Period (332BC – AD395)

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Below situated left, is the statue of Ptolemy II as a Pharaoh, Greywacke, Ptolemaic Period during the reign of Ptolemy II (284 – 246BC). Right statue is the Head of Ptolemy II as a Hellenistic King, Granodiorite, Ptolemaic Period during the reign of Ptolemy II (284 – 246BC)

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The Sarcophagus of Shepmin

Lid of the sarcophagus of the royal scribe Shepmin, Basalt, Ptolemaic Period (4th century BC), Thebes, Khokha Tomb of Djehutymes.

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Cartonnage

Mummies are often covered by masks and protective elements made of cartonnage, a low-cost material used to replace wood. Made from layers of linen and papyrus soaked in a natural glue and gypsum. Below is a fragment of a mummy decorated with a mummification scene.

In the capital, the tombs of the rich were catacombs and hypogea (underground tombs) with several rooms and many burial niches, graced with paintings in a mixed Egyptian-Greek style.

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Religious traditions

The Ptolemaic kings were well disposed towards the cults of Upper Egypt and restored and expanded many temples. Religious rituals continued but Egyptian Gods were merged with Greek ones.

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Floor 1, Room 13 (Roman & Late Antique Period)

Last room on this floor, 13 which is the Roman & Antique Period.

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Rome’s conquest of Egypt in 30BC deprived the country of it’s independence. The Emporer Octavian ruled by installing a prefect who was under the direct authority of the Senate.

Egypt was a strategic economic resource being the major supplier of grain, textiles, gold and glass. The Romans imposed their own laws and coinage and the country worshipped Greek-Roman Gods, however, the cults of the Egyptian gods and traditional funerary beliefs still endured.

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To the right is a Portrait of a man wearing a tunic, Roman in style with two purple bands.

(Encaustic painting on wood, Mid 2nd Century AD)

Below is the burial of the child Petamenophis, who belonged to a rich family. His rectangular coffin is made of cedar wood with four corner posts and the image of the goddess Nut has been painted on the bottom to symbolise immortality and divinization.

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The mummy is wrapped in several layers of bandages, some red and intertwined to form a Rhomb pattern. Around the head is a gilded laurel leafed wreath.

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Above is a womans mask.

Made of Gilded cartonnage, Roman Period (2nd Century AD) Fayum, Hawara

The spread of syncretistic gods emerged and temples dedicated to them sprung up all over the Roman Empire.

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Ground Floor, Rooms 14a/b Gallery of Kings

As you make your way down from Floor 1, you now enter the Gallery of the Kings….

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Most of the collection here was brought from Thebes by Jean-Jaques Rifaud on the orders of Drovetti.

At first glance Egyptian statues look alike, static and almost rigid. They all have the same proportions and features such as hairstyle, positions and attributes, but this is not because of the lack of imagination moreover a decision by the sculptures who believed that the essence of the depicted god or person actually inhabited the statue.

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Above, Sandstone Sphinx, New Kingdom 19th Dynasty (1292 – 1250BC) Karnak

The Pharaoh and Queen could be depicted as sphinxes. By associating their human face with the body of the lion, the Egyptians combined the strength of the animal, which was connected to the sun god, with human intelligence.

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The statue of King Horemheb and his wife Mutnedjemet, right, from the 18th Dynasty (1319 – 1292BC) made of Granodiorite. It depicts the queen playing her role as Hathor protecting the sun god, she embraces her husband.

The Pharaoh whose head and shoulders are now missing, holds in his right arm, folded across the chest, an ankh symbolising life.

The Statues of Ptah

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Here is a statue of the god Ptah, limestone, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty (1390 – 1353BC). Large statues of gods were not common, as most were made as part of exceptional building programs. The most imposing of these was two statues of Ptah, which were probably made to promote Amenhotep III’s “Temple of Million of Years” at Karnak.

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Opposite statue, Granodiorite, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty (1390 – 1353BC). This official portrait of Amenhotep III can be recognised in the face of the statue, youthful, almost feminine, with full cheeks and  a broad smile.

The large almond shaped eyes are especially characteristic, as are the lips.

The Statue of Sethi II

Turin Nov 2015 1228A striking example of monumental sculptue is this colossus which expresses the stability and strength of the king through its solid rendering of the subject’s masculature and its geometric volumes and contours.

Made of Sandstone, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty (1202 – 1198BC) during the reign of Sethi II. Sethi’s left leg is forward to show his capability to walk and act. He holds a standard with a figure of the god Amun at the top.

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The Statue of Rameses II

Left, Granodiorite, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty (1279 – 1213BC) Karnak, Temple of Amun.

This statue depicts Ramesses II, one of the most famed Pharaohs. This stylistic statue shows the evolution of the royal portrait; the tunic is probably similar to one he actually wore and he wears sandals and the pierced earlobes are a detail introduced in Amarnian art. Depicted on a throne he smiles to his subjects veneration and bears the insignia of his power. His wife, Nefertari and his son Amunherkhepeshef, are on his either side of his legs, but on a much smaller scale.

The many statues of the Goddess Sekhmet.

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The museum has many Sekhmet statues, most were discovered in the temple of Mut at Karnak (eastern Thebes). It is possible that even during Amenhotep III’s reign, these statues of Sekhmet were installed in several temples.

These statues were used for daily rites which allowed the king to regenerate and ensure the equilibrium of the cosmos for eternity.

Sekhmet represented a solar deity sometimes called the daughter of the sun god Ra. She bears the Solar disk and the uraeus (snake) and was depicted as a lion-headed woman.

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The Statues of Tuthmosis I and III

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Both statues show the Pharaoh wearing the shendyt kilt, the nemes headdress. and the uraeus cobra on their foreheads. Between the legs is the bull tail, attached to the belt behind the back, a symbol of power.

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The Statue of Horemheb with the god Amun

Limestone, New Kingdom 18th Dynasty (1319 – 1292BC) Reign of Horemheb.

Horemheb stands behind the God Amun, who is taller to indicate that he is more important than the Pharaoh himself. The style of the statue is typical of the period following the reign of Akhenaten.

Other statues and photos:

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Ground Floor, Room 15 (The Nubian Room)

The final room is the Nubian room, which outlines the history of the principal cultures that arose in Nubia (now Northern Sudan).

Turin Nov 2015 1258There are many testimonies of the influence of Sudanese cultures on those of Upper Egypt especially in places where commercial and military contracts were more intense.

Nubia was a gateway to central Africa with it’s riches. The first archaeological investigations in Nubia illustrated Nubian history as a succession of cultures.

 

It also highlighted the ongoing processes of disemination and evolution of local cultures, stimulated by internal and external migrations.

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Egyptian expansion during the New Kingdom led to the fall and definitive annexation of Kerma to Egypt. The Viceroy of Kush (Sudan) was henceforth appointed by the Pharoahs to rule the region.

The Kingdoms of Napata and Meroe

During the Third Intermediate period , King Piy (751BC) took advantage of the new state that had sprung up in Nubia with its capital Napata, and conquered Egypt founding the 25th Dynasty.

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The Royal iconography endured even after the end of the Kushite rule in Egypt in the 4th Century BC, the capital of the Sudanese Kingdom was moved to Meroe.

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Ground Floor, Room 15 The Temple of Ellesiya

Room 15 – The Temple of Ellesiya

As part of a Unesco international mission (launched in 1960) to save 19 Egyptian temTurin Nov 2015 1284ples from the new Aswan Dam, The Museo Egizio was given the Temple of Ellesiya in 1967.

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Tuthmosis III (1479 – 1425BC) ordered a small temple to be carved out of the rock at Ellesiya, not far from Abu Simbel. It was dedicated to the gods Horus of Miam and Satet.

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The temple could only be reached by river, through a landing platform at the front. The inside had an inverted T-Plan formed of a corridor and two side chambers.

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The floor is slightly sloping upwards towards the sancto sanitorium, thus creating an illusionistic effect. The walls have scenes showing the king offering to Egyptian and Nubian deities.

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The images face towards the back wall against which are images of Horus, Satet and Tuthmosis III enthroned.

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The decoration was hammered out in places during the reign of Akhenaten and it was subsequently restored by the Pharaoh Ramesses II, who had the triad at the niche at the back reworked to depict Amun, Horus and himself.

The temple eventually became a Christian cult place, as the crosses and five-pionted stars carved in the entrance portal and on the inner walls bear out.

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