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.