Ancient Egypt. Egyptology. n. The study of the culture and artifacts of the ancient Egyptian civilization
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Inscribed stone slab, now in the British Museum, that provided an important key to the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs. An irregularly shaped block of black basalt with inscriptions in hieroglyphs, Demotic Egyptian, and Greek, it was discovered by Napoleon\'s troops near the town of Rosetta (Rashid), northeast of Alexandria, in 1799. The text concerns the deeds of Ptolemy V Epiphanes (205 – 180 BC) and dates from the ninth year of his reign. Its decipherment was begun by Thomas Young, who isolated the proper names in the Demotic version, and decisively completed by J.-F. Champollion, who grasped that some hieroglyphs were phonetic.
After study of the Rosetta Stone and other texts, Champollion demonstrated decisively in Summary of the Hieroglyphic System of the Ancient Egyptians (1825) that a phonetic value could be assigned to some hieroglyphs. He became curator of the Louvre\'s Egyptian collection (1826) and conducted an archaeological expedition to Egypt (1828 – 30).
Champollion\'s brother, Jacques Joseph Champollion-Figeac, published a number of Champollion\'s works posthumously, including an Egyptian grammar (1836-1841), a hieroglyphic dictionary (1841-1844), and, the most famous, Monuments de l\'Egypte et de la Nubie … (4 vols., 1835-1847).
Active at a time before the emergence of scientific archaeology and the government protection of Egyptian antiquities, Belzoni was a major participant in the recovery of Egyptian monuments and antiquities that took place in the early 19th cent. at the behest of European collectors, museums, and governments. It resulted in the removal of many Egyptian treasures to Europe and the destruction and disruption of numerous monuments and much archaeological material. His exploits are recorded in his Narrative (1820).
The name Seti means "of Set", which indicates that he was consecrated to the god Set (commonly "Seth"). As with most Pharaohs, Seti had several names. Upon his ascension, he took the prenomen mn-m3‘t-r‘, which translates as Menmaatre in Egyptian,which means " Eternal is the Justice of Re." His better known nomen, or birth name is technically transliterated as sty mry-n-ptḥ, or SetyMerenptah, meaning "Man of Set, beloved of Ptah". Manetho incorrectly considered him to be the founder of the 19th dynasty.
The twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC, as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari, to commemorate his alleged victory at the Battle of Kadesh, and to intimidate his Nubian neighbors. However, the complex was relocated in its entirety in 1968, on an artificial hill made from a domed structure, high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir.
He married one and perhaps two of the Hittite king\'s daughters, and the later part of his reign was free from war. Its prosperity may be measured by the amount of construction he undertook. Early on he built himself a residence city in the Nile delta as a base for military campaigns and resumed construction of the temple of Osiris, begun by his father. He added to the temple at Karnak and completed a funerary temple for his father at Luxor. In Nubia he built six temples, most famously those at Abu Simbel.
Carnarvon, already in very frail health, died of an infected mosquito bite and pneumonia shortly after the opening of the tomb in 1923. Without his powerful patron, and due to his stubbornness, Carter soon got into trouble with the Egyptian authorities who temporarily took his concession away from him. He finally completed his work on the clearing and the conservation of the tomb objects in 1932. A three-volume work on the discovery of the tomb and its contents, called The Tomb of Tutankhamen, much of it ghost written by Carter\'s friend Percy White, appeared between 1923 and 1933. Carter was preparing a definitive report on the tomb in six volumes, when he died in London on March 2, 1939. Although Carter died both famous and wealthy, he was given no public honors by either the British or other governments.
Standing on the west bank of the Nile, across from ancient Thebes (now Luxor), the Valley of the Kings is one of Egypts most sensitive archaeological sites. Further discoveries in 2005 and 2008 have put the total number of tombs in the necropolis at 63 and these range from simple, single pits to lavish complexes, the largest of which comprises 120 chambers.
The tombs contain important artwork helping scholars to piece together information about ancient Egyptian burial rites and beliefs and, although most of the tombs were plundered centuries ago, they still convey the oppulence and luxury which characterised the lives of their occupants. The first tombs in the valley are thought to belong to Amenhotep I and Thutmose I, whose tomb bears notes recording that its location was selected by the king\'s adviser, Ineni. Further tombs are cut into the peak of al-Qurn, which would once have been guarded by special tomb police.
Though Khafre\'s pyramid is shorter than his father Khufu\'s nearby Great Pyramid, Khafre made up for it by building at a higher elevation and surrounding his pyramid with a more elaborate complex.
Intended to hold his mummified body, Pharaoh Djoser\'s Step Pyramid at Saqqara began as a traditional, flat-roofed mastaba. But by the end of his 19-year reign, in 2611 B.C., it had risen to six stepped layers and stood 204 feet (62 meters) high. It was the largest building of its time.