Wednesday, May 28, 2008

ON THE TOPIC OF ARCHAEOLOGY



Steviewren( A Little Birdie Told Me So) and Lavinia ( Birdbath Chronicles) have been blogging on topics of artifacts and archaeology. Given the recent release of the new Indiana Jones movie, renewed interest in the field has once again been re-ignited( thankfully so, IMHO). Many Art Historians and Archaeologists in academic circles seem to be very critical of these movies and have their proverbial noses out of joint but I think if the movies motivate people, especially young people, to dig deeper( no pun intended) and research some of the topics mentioned in the films, then they can serve as a great learning tool. I am presently completing my degree in Art History and will soon begin Graduate studies in the field of Museum Studies so these recent blogs have delighted me very much. Since as I just mentioned, Indiana Jones is at the movies again, this is a perfect time to look back at the first in the series, Raiders of the Lost Ark. It so happens that some recent research I did in an Egyptian Art class dealt with treasures from the city of Tanis. In the first Indiana Jones movie, the Ark of the Covenant was supposedly hidden in a secret chamber at the lost city of Tanis until a sandstorm in 1936 unearthed the ruins. This was inaccurate but it sure did make for good entertainment. Tanis was not unearthed by a sand storm but there was in fact a French Egyptologist( I suspect the Frenchman in the film was loosely based on him), named Pierre Montet (the man in the photo) largely responsible for its discovery. I recently wrote on the contents of the tombs at Tanis and below is the abstract from that paper along with a few photos:



Portrait of the Dead: The Funerary Death Mask and Treasures Adorning The Mummy of Psusennes I
By Rebecca Chamberlain


On February 27, 1939 French Egyptologist Pierre Montet discovered the royal necropolis at Tanis located north- east of Cairo. There, the tombs of Osorkon II, his son Takelot II, and a previously unknown king, Shesong II were revealed. However, after these tombs were cleared, Montet followed inscriptions on the walls that identified the tomb as belonging not to the northern kings he had just discovered but to Psusennes I, the 3rd King of the 21st Dynasty. Montet continued his excavation of the pillaged burial complex until on February 15, 1940 his team of workers at last broke through a granite seal, made from a fragment of an obelisk of Rameses II, to reveal a tomb entrance where before them rested a perfectly intact pink granite sarcophagus adorned with an extraordinary golden mask. At last Pierre Montet stood face to face with the burial portrait of Psusennes I and marveled at the additional discovery of ornate jewelry, embellishing the body of the ancient King, equaling that which was found on Tutankhamen.

9 comments:

rochambeau said...

Hi Rebecca,
I agree with you that a renewed interest in archeology is a good thing! I admire you so for getting your degree in Art History! How wonderful!

Now! Can't wait to see what you have in the post below. That even gets me more excited!! Looks like Tea~Time to me!
xo
Constance

steviewren said...

More Rebecca, tell us more! Have you ever been to Egypt? I would love to go to Luxor, to see pyramids and artifacts and ancient places in person.

I saw the King Tut artifacts in New Orleans in 1977 or 1978. We drove all night and stood in line for 6 hours. The exhibit was crazy crowded inside. I felt guilty for standing in front of each object to too long and preventing someone else their turn. I believe it is going on tour again. Hope to see it again myself.

Congratulations on your Graduate studies...sounds so very interesting. Please share anytime.

Dee Dee said...

Oh Rebecca...Art History...how simply fascinating. What a wonderful choice of study.

This was all very interesting....I suppose the Jone's movies have brought about our curiosity of the past and inspired us all to take up shovel and begin digging.....When we went into Iraq and I heard of all the artifacts and treasures that were missing, perhaps stolen... I had no idea that such things existed from the dawn of civilization...to roam around in middle eastern museums would be fantastic...

Rebecca said...

Thanks, Constance...It can be hard to juggle with everything but I put it off from when I was much younger and now seems to be the right time to finish....

Rebecca said...

Steviewren, thanks for the inspiration to blog about this! I'm sending you the full paper today to read...Nope, never been to Egypt but that's certainly on my list when I finish graduate studies.

Rebecca said...

Deedee, that's so fascinating that you were in Iraq. There were certainly some amazing artifacts there at one time. So much has been looted and destroyed... I want to see Petra one day. Did you go there?

willow said...

Oh this is very intriquing!! I absolutely love this subject. Museum Studies? Lucky us! You will have to feed us all kind of goodies on artifacts and wonderful art! I love it.

Rebecca said...

Willow, I can't tell you how glad I am to learn so many others are interested in ancient art and antiquities. Over the years, I've felt very alone in this academic pursuit. If I had a dime for how many times I've heard, " What on earth can you do with that degree? or That must just be a degree to hang on a wall... " AARRGGHH!!

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

Rebecca, wow! Terribly exciting work and study you are involved in! Who knew the heart of Indiana Jones lurked beneath the mild-mannered tea-drinking dainty exterior.... :)

I did *not* know that the city of Tanis was real.....I shall have to re-watch the first Raiders movies with new eyes now...I had just assumed that it was all (or mostlly) fictional....but now I see that may not apply to the geographpical locations in the movie...

You are engaged in a most interesting field...

Best wishes for your continued studies!