Marilina Betrò – La leonessa di Medinet Madi. Ricordando Edda Bresciani (1930-2020)
In this contribution, a new proposal for the etymology of the Egyptian word “bhn” “coat” is presented. The question was tackled in previous research rather marginally. The new solution assumes a connection with the root “bhn” “to cover”. The root “to cover” builds an ideal basis for a piece of clothing which is draped over the shoulders.
In this contribution, the word “nHfk” from E V, 116, 2 is given special attention. The old meaning “pot of milk” is not considered very likely. The semantic level is here slightly modified to “milking pot”. The origin of the word is traced back etymologically to the verbal root “nHfk” “to milk”.
The article considers an unusual group of faience miniatures representing very stylized human figures found in the cemeteries of Harageh and datable to the late Middle Kingdom. Labelled by Engelbach as ‘not clear’, their dating, origin and function still remained unexplored. Indeed, although they are rather unmatched in the Middle Kingdom material culture, they may have been inspired by similar miniature figurines found in the Early Dynastic–early Old Kingdom temples at sites such as Abydos and Elephantine. However, the figurines from Harageh differ from their archetypes, having been found in funerary contexts and not in temples. As a working hypothesis, the author suggests that a comparison can be made between the Harageh group and the anthropoid figures in wax and mud found at Deir el-Bahari dating to the early Middle Kingdom. The link between the two groups is a mud figurine discovered at Lahun, which shows anatomical analogies with the miniatures from Harageh and was found within a miniature mud coffin. Although the figurines from Harageh were not preserved within any coffin or sarcophagus, their function could have been similar, as representations of human beings to be dedicated to the deceased, which could have inspired the later development of the first proper shabtis.
The twin deposits b (nn. 2309-2321) and c (nn. 2285-2308) of the Baˈalat Gebal temple were retrieve in room E of bâtiment II, nearby dépôts a, better known as the Montet Jar. Unlike their most renowned neighbour, the two deposits have never been fully studied, but include a vast array of artifacts useful for shedding new light on the relationship between Byblos and Egypt in the Middle Bronze Age I (2000-1850 BC). Through a preliminary analysis, based on the published material, the paper aims at answering four main questions: the place of production of the objects; the dating of the deposits; the type of deposition; and if there is a correlation between dépôts c and b and the other deposits found in the same archaeological context (the Montet Jar and dépôt d).
The main subject of this paper is a wooden statue of an Egyptian official sold on the 12th November 2019 during an auction held by the Casa d’Aste Pandolfini in Florence1. This sculpture, unpublished and lacking any information about its provenience, got immediately my attention because it shows unusual features that can shed light on the stylistic taste and the craftsmanship developed between the end of the Second Intermediate Period and the first part of the New Kingdom. As an introduction of this study, I present a brief state of the art in order to define the level reached by the literature regarding the Egyptian wooden statuary, which clearly demonstrates the necessity of more and deeper studies.
This paper presents the preliminary report of the 2018 season of the expedition of the University of Pisa in the area of tomb M.I.D.A.N.05, at Dra Abu el-Naga (Theban Necropolis). The work focused on the archaeological investigation of two small tombs, T1 and T2, previously discovered during the 2010 season on the northern side of the forecourt of M.I.D.A.N.05 and probably contemporary or slightly later than the latter. During the 2018 campaign, the chapel of T1 and most of the first room of T2 were excavated, revealing two different life-stories, which depend on the events and transformations which affected M.I.D.A.N.05 and its forecourt through the centuries. T1, soon sealed by debris and flash-floods, proved to have been solely used in the New Kingdom. Between the end of the Eighteenth and the early Nineteenth Dynasty, the tomb was occupied by the “Chief of the mrw-servants of Amun”, Nany, whose name appears on some sandstone fragments of a lintel and on a beautiful but regrettably fragmentary pair statue, found in pieces. T2 is larger and probably composed of two rooms. It remained accessible for many centuries, until the flood deposits filled it, covering a layer containing at least ten burials, partly cut by robbers’ pits. Only scanty elements of the funerary assemblages were found with the bodies, but various painted plaster fragments, pertaining to anthropoid coffins, date the re-use of the tomb to the Third Intermediate Period.
The arrival of the horse in Egypt brought about major changes in Egyptian culture. As from the 18th dynasty royal iconography depicted them as prodigious vehicles against the disruptive forces of the chaos, the chariot and the horses became a status symbol of high-ranking men and a visual medium to claim intimacy with the pharaoh. The decorations of the private tombs during the 18th dynasty are one of the most evident manifestations of the power and the prestige Egyptians attributed to the horse, something that has to be read, in a broader perspective, against the backdrop of the Near Eastern culture. However, the arrival of the horse in Egypt spawned a technological revolution which was integrated into the military sector through the creation of the chariotry. This paper highlights the symbolic meanings of some equestrian titles, in particular that of mr ssmt, ‘Overseer of horse’s’, and Hry jHw, ‘Stablemaster’, whose functions are still unclear but which seem to have been characterized by predominantly honorary and noble values. Indeed, I argue that during the 19th dynasty, when tomb decorations focuse on religious scenes, equestrian titles take over the symbolic functions that the horses and the chariot had in the private iconography during the 18th: expressing belonging to a social class that identified with the aristocratic ideals associated to this precious animal.
Excavations at the tomb of Bakenrenef (L. 24) at Saqqara by the University of Pisa, under the direction of Edda Bresciani, unearthed in 1975 a set of faience amulets which were to be arranged above the wrapped mummy of a deceased. The funerary amulets moulded with a flat underside were pierced by holes around the edge so that they could be incorporated into the bead-net which enveloped the mummy. The fifteen amulets had clearly been used together as a set; the choise of images depended chiefly on their individual symbolic potency. They included a face of Nut goddess, the mourning goddesses Isis and Nephthys, a winged scarab, the goddess Maat, the four Sons of Horus, the Apis bull and the Anubis jackal. The arrangement of this repertoire of images would have provided powerful protection for the deceased. The set of mummy ornaments is dated to the late Saite Period.
The society of South East Arabia was apparently mainly illiterate during the Early Iron Age (1300-300 BC) and still in the Late Iron Age (c.300 BC – c.300/400 AD) local writing is scarcely attested, especially in central Oman. Evidence of external contacts, as well, are rare and elusive during the whole Early Iron Age. The archaeological research of the Italian Mission to Oman in the ancient oasis of Salut led to the collection of some interesting finds datable to the Early and Late Iron Age which bear different marks or pseudo-alphabetical signs and, in one case, a probable proper inscription. This evidence sheds new light on the local understanding and use of writing during these periods. Moreover, a few finds among the collected material suggest that external contacts, specifically with south Arabia, were not completely absent at Salut in the last phase of the Early Iron Age, a prelude of the renewed long-range circulation of goods and knowledge locally attested during the Late Iron Age period.