10 Interesting Archeological Discoveries from Egypt
Egypt is widely known for its mysterious pyramids, Arabian towns, and endless sights that never fail to intrigue. The most interesting thing about the landscapes and sights of “the land of mystery” is their hidden treasures or archeological discoveries. Over the past few decades, archeologists have uncovered a dazzling feat of objects or things from the country’s landmarks. Here is a list of some of the incredibly interesting archeological discoveries from Egypt.
1 The Khufu Ship
The Khufu ship, a full-size solar barque measuring 142 feet long, emerged in 1954 from the funeral site of Pharaoh Khufu at the Great Pyramid at Giza. It is the largest and the world’s oldest intact ship recovered to date.
The Khufu ship is an intact, full-size solar ship buried around 2500 BCE next to the grave of Pharaoh Khufu. Recovered from the Great Pyramid at Giza in 1954, the 142-foot-long and 19-foot- wide ship is supposedly was buried for use in the afterlife.
The wooden ship is 4,600 years old and has a flat bottom constructed from planks tied together with halfah grass. It has no reel or rigging, giving a hint that it may not have been made for sailing.
Along with the ship, archeologists also discovered 1,224 individual pieces in the pyramid, including planks, blocks, and ropes. Today, this “masterpiece of woodcraft” lies in the Grand Egyptian Museum, aka the Giza Museum, the largest archaeological museum in the world. (1, 2)
2 Rosetta Stone
The Rosetta Stone, an ancient Egyptian stele with symbols and letters chiseled into its face, surfaced in 1799. The inscriptions on the stone that indicated three types of writing have helped scholars crack the code of Egyptian hieroglyphics.
The Rosetta Stone is a granite-like stele featuring some lines of hieroglyphic script in three different types of writing, including ancient Greek. It was discovered on 15 July 1799 by Napoleon’s soldiers during a construction job near the town of Rashid (Rosetta).
During the 19th century, scholars studied this broken stone and recorded its inscriptions. The letters and symbols found on the four-foot-high and two-and-and-half-foot-wide stone had three types of writing. Later in 1822, Jean-François Champollion, a French scholar, discovered that hieroglyphs consist of a decree issued by the Egyptian king Ptolemy V Epiphanes who became the king in 204 BCE.
3 King Tut’s Dagger
Tutankhamun’s iron dagger, an iron-bladed dagger from the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh’s tomb in King’s Valley surfaced in 1925. The dagger dates to around 1350 BCE. Research shows that the iron in the tested artifacts belonged to meteorites that have hit the Earth for billions of years.
Tutankhamun’s iron dagger, aka King Tut’s dagger, appeared in the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh’s 14th-century tomb located in the Valley of the Kings, near Thebes, Egypt. The dagger’s 1925 discovery was made by British archeologist Howard Carter. According to researchers, the iron-bladed dagger dates about 200 years before the Iron Age, to around 1350 BCE.
Albert Jambon, a French archaeo-metallurgist, later conducted a study on metal artifacts. The articles published in 2017 state that Jambon tested the ancient iron dagger with X-ray scans. His research found that the iron used to make the dagger contained nearly 11%t nickel along with some traces of cobalt.
The composition supports its meteoritic origin. His findings also supported the idea that artisans during the Bronze Age used to craft such artifacts with iron carried to Earth by meteorites rather than terrestrial smelted iron. (1, 2, 3)
4 The World’s Oldest 20-Sided Die
The Metropolitan Museum of Art owns a twenty-sided Egyptian die inscribed with Greek letters that may be the “world’s oldest d20 die.” The over-an-inch-tall die crafted from serpentine between 304 and 30 BCE dates back to the Ptolemaic Period.
Between 1883 and 1906, Reverend Chauncey Murch, an antiquarian, acquired a twenty-sided Egyptian die during his missionary work in Egypt. The d20 (icosahedron) die is over an inch tall and has symbols that appear to be of Greek origin. According to theories, an unknown craftsman in Ptolemaic Egypt carved this die out of serpentine between the second century BCE and the fourth century BCE.
When the d20 was shaped, the Greek Ptolemies ruled over Egypt whose dynasty began in 304 BCE by Ptolemy I Soter, after the death of Alexander the Great.
5 A Giant Unfinished Obelisk in Aswan
The unfinished obelisk, the largest obelisk ever created but never raised, resides in the northern region of Aswan. It is believed to have been commissioned by female Pharaoh Hatshepsut 3,500+ years ago. If finished, the obelisk would have measured 137 feet and weighed around 1,090 tons, equivalent to the weight of 200 African elephants.
Lying as a sleeping giant in the abandoned quarry of Aswan, Egypt, the unfinished obelisk is a giant 137-foot-long structure commissioned by Pharaoh Hatshepsut (1508–1458 BCE). It is known to have been built at Karnak to complement the existing monument which is known today as the Lateran Obelisk. The unfinished obelisk is about one-third larger than any Egyptian obelisk ever erected in the past. If completed, it would weigh nearly 1,200 tons.
The obelisk’s constructors began to carve the structure out of bedrock. However, cracks appeared in the granite, eventually leading to project abandonment. Today, it still sits abandoned just like thousands of years ago when the workers stopped its construction.
One of the world’s rarest Egypt archaeological discoveries also offers insights into the ancient stone-working techniques. Marks from ancient tools along with worker’s measurement markings found on the monument reveal how obelisks were quarried. (1, 2)
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