sábado, 31 de octubre de 2009

My little contribution

1. Introduction of myself and the topic: My introduction
2. Sources:My sources
3. Using hypertext: Egyptian religion: The myths
4. Podcasts and Videoblogs: The big secrets and hidden treasures
5. Interview: Everything about the mummies with an expert
6. The 10 things learned: All that I´ve learnt with this blog

viernes, 30 de octubre de 2009

The multimedia post

I´ve found two very interesting videos about the ancient Egypt. The first one tells some secrets of Egypt and the second one talks about secrets that were unknown to me.
1º The big secrets

2º The hidden treasures

Egyptian religion: the myths

There are several creation myths which developed in various locations in Egypt. The myths all had at the center of their story a primordial mound know as the "Island of Creation." It was the goal of religion to recreate this time which caused the Egyptians to be very traditional in their beliefs. Each of the major creation myths claimed that the temple of their local god/s was the physical location of the island. Three major stories which developed in the Old Kingdom were the Heliopolitan Myth, the Memphite Myth, and the Hermopolitan Myth. Each was named after the city where the myth developed respectively.

The Heliopolitan Myth developed in Heliopolis and centered around Re-Atum as the key god figure. According to the myth, Re-Atum willed himself into existence. From him, Shu, the god of air and Tefnut, the god of moisture, were created. These two in turn had Geb, the earth god, and Nut, the sky god. From these the god of the elements were able to produce creation. In turn, these two produced Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Nephthys. This myth was the most widely accepted and famous of the creation myths.

The Memphite Myth originated in Memphis. According to this myth it was Ptah who was the supreme creator god. According to this myth, Ptah was the one who started the cycle and not Re-Atum. From Ptah, a daughter was created who in turn created Re-Atum. According to this myth Ptah, was creator of the world, the gods, cities, food, drink, and all that was needed for life. This myth never did gain popular support among the majority of people in Egypt.

The Hermopolitan Myth was developed at Hermopolis. Here the god Thoth, god of wisdom, was the main player. There are several versions to this myth. One account has a group of eight gods all playing major roles in the creation from a primordial ocean. Another account has a cosmic egg as the source of life. Another account for the creation was Thoth coming from a lotus flower which arose in the "Sea of Knives."

Later, myths developed in the New Kingdom. One developed in Karnak at the temple of Amen-Re. This one claimed that Amen-Re was the creator of man and the gods. Another one in the new Kingdom from Khnum the ram headed god of Elephantine. This myth has Khnum creating man on his potters wheel.

jueves, 29 de octubre de 2009

Posts By Beñat Lopez

This is my little grain of sand for this blog.

1. Introducing myself and my theme: First Post In The New Team Blog! (Sept. 15)

2. Sources: Good Companies, Bad Sources (Sept. 25)

3. Using hypertext: Egyptian Music (Oct 2)

4. Podcasts and Videoblogs: Multimedia Specials (Oct 13)

5. Interview: Interview To An Expert In The Matter (Oct 17)

6. The 10 things learned: Growing As A Blogger (Oct 23)

Posts by Ohiane Iriarte

1. Introducing myself and my theme: This is me, a new writer of the blog (15th September)
2. Sources: Where you can find information about Egypt (26th September)
3. Using hypertext: Pharaoh´s language: the hieroglyphs (1st October)
4. Podcasts and Videoblogs: Egyptian Multimedia (9th October)
5. Interview: A new tomb in the Ancient egypt? (15th October)
6. The 10 things learned: The 10 things I have learnt with this blog (22nd October)

I hope you had enjoyed all my posts.

miércoles, 28 de octubre de 2009

Posts by Raquel Echeverría

Here is my final post of the blog. I am going to write a list of the posts I have published.
In the first post I introduced myself .(Sept 15)
In the second one I talked about my sources.(Sept 25)
In the third one is my favourite one, and it talks about god Ra.(Sept 30)
In the fourth one I made a general view of the Egyptian Culture.(Oct 9)
The fifth one is an interview to a friend about holidays in Egypt(Oct 16)
And finally the last one is about some of the things that I have learnt publishing in this blog.(Oct 23)

My sources

I´ve used a wide range of sources to write my posts. Firstly I´ve looked up a book of the libary called: “Atlas de Egipto: Dioses, templos y faraones”. This book talks about the culture, civilation, gods, temples and pharaohs.
Moreover I´ve surfed the net where I´ve found the main documents. The websites that I´ve visited more are:
Wikipedia: I know that it´s possible that the information isn´t truthful because everybody can cange it. However, I´m sure that the information that I´ve found wasn´t wrong because I´ve contrasted it.

Another website that help me a lot was “Nova science programming” . In there I found the interview with an Egyptologist. In my opinion it´s one of the best sources so it´s a scientific website and people who writes it are experts. As well you can watch videos and a gallery of images.

If I find more interesting sources, I will modify my post.

viernes, 23 de octubre de 2009

Growing as a Blogger

Well, after a month of posting, it’s time to reflex about our work. Specially mine. My biggest hope is that you, reader, have learnt a lot about the Egyptian culture, but anyway, I’ve learnt a lot, not just about the topic.

1.- I’ve got into the blogsphere, and nowadays, that’s very important. It seems that you don’t exist if your name is not on the internet.

2.- Apart from things that my mates have written, I’ve learnt a lot from my own sources. I had no idea that music scales were so ancient, and nowadays still exist and are used, so it’s so relevant that I got shocked.

3.- The interview showed me that it’s nothing what investigator have discovered about Egypt comparing it with what’s left to discover. Egypt is a mysterious civilization, and I hope that some important discoveries will be done soon.

4.- I’ve learnt many things about blogs. How do they work, how to manage them, how important the blog phenomenon is…

5.- The URLs are so important in the internet, and that’s something that I also have learnt with this blog. How the links work, how to use them, how many sites you can visit by using links…

6.- I’ve also learnt how to work on group. Although each one of us have done our posts individually, we’ve helped each other with advises or instructions.

7.- It’s very important to know that, after the era of books, of press and the media, the new source for excellence is the internet. And inside it, blogs are getting more and more importance.

8.- Apart from how to use the blog, I already know how to use most of its applications: the blogroll, the URLs, videos and photos are not a mystery for me. At least they’re less mysterious than Egypt!

9.- After I nearly lost my post just before posting it, I learnt (Thanks to Raquel) that there’s a place in which all the stories are saved even before you post them. This demonstrates that the 8th point is not completely true.

10.- And finally I’ve discovered that it’s so entertaining to write a story every week, even if nobody’s going to read it.

I promise that when I’ll have some time (when I have nor exams or essays to do) I’ll do a good blog by myself, including all my interests and giving to it the best appearance as possible.

Increasing knowledges

By writing this blog I have learnt many things, but not only with the blog, also with all the work that we have done in the classes. I didn´t know anything about delicious, bubblUs or Google Reader. I know it can sound ridiculous that a young person, born in the age of modern technologies knows so little about computers. The reason is that I just don´t like them , I find them difficult to use. Instead, I like books and I preffer looking for information in an enciclopedia than on the net.
But unespectedly I have found this classes and posting in this blog really interesting and not so difficult as I thought at the beggining. Here are the ten main things that I have learnt by writing this blog.

  1. I have learnt what a blog is. I had only visited a few blogs about different topics but I found them looking for other things. Now I have started visiting blogs knowing what I was looking at. Now I can also see all the work that is behind a good post, and how interesting is writing them. I realise that a person who writes a blog is interested on it, because it is difficult being constant on posting if you do not like what you are doing.
  2. I have learnt how to make a blogroll. At the begining I did not even know what it was , but now I do. I think it is great that people can see the blogs that you follow. If a person finds your blog interesting, he may also be interested on the blogs that you like and making a blogroll is an new way of making advertisements of people that make the same work as you do.
  3. As you could have seen, I have also learnt how to post images. It´s a good way of making your work more atractive to people, and it gives a better explanation about what you are talking about. It is also easier than clicking on the links to see the images.
  4. I am also starting to learn how to work on a group.I know that this can seem a bit stupid, but I do not like working with other people. I am quite perfectionist so I am used to control all the job that my mates do. In this blog I have read all the posts that my mates have witten but as I trust in them and I find their work reliable I have not checked their work as I used to do.
  5. I have also learnt a lot about the Egyptian culture. We chose that topic although we were not experts on it, even more, we didn´t know almost anything about it. Now I know much more things, specially about God Ra. The post that I published about it is the post written by me, which I like the most.
  6. I have also learnt how to make links on a word, which is interesting because you can visit other pages related to what you are talking about without looking for them. In that way the writer can guide the reader to the pages that he thinks are better.
  7. I have also learnt that someone can become a follower of your blog, in the same way that you can become follower of other people blogs. When you become a follower of a blog, you let the writer know that you like what he is writing, which is really special for a person who is studying journalist or advertising, just as we are doing. That´s why I feel really greateful whith the preson who has become follower of our blog.
  8. I have also learnt english by writing this blog. I am studyimg advertising whith an english programme called the IMP, so that´s why I have to write this blog in English instead of Spanish, which is my mother tongue. It´s harder for me to write it this way, but I have improved my English since I started. Now I feel more confident writing in English and I have learnt some specific words about the Egyptian Culture.
  9. Now I can make a post with this structure organized by points. This is useful because lets you separate ideas and make your posts more attractive for the viewer.
  10. At last I have learnt the meaning of writing a blog. I used to think that a blog was always autobiographic. Now I realise that the autobiographic blogs are just a part of the blogosphere and that there are many interesting sites apart from them. It´s a free way of publising available for anyone who has a computer and acces to Internet, and nowadays, it´s difficult to find something free to do...isn´t it? Let´s use our opportunity of becoming "editors" of our own "newspaper".

jueves, 22 de octubre de 2009

The 10 things I have learnt with this blog

Here I post the list with the ten reasons which confirm that I had not any idea about weblogs...enjoy them.

1. First of all, I learnt how the blogs work. I didn´t know anything about how to write blogs or customize them. Now, I think that I have got a few ideas and I am sure I would be able to do another blog by myself.

2. One aspect that is really important for me...I learned what a podcast is! When I wrote the post Egyptian Multimedia, I thought the blog was going to drive me mad. I didn´t know what a podcast was and I couldn´t find any material about that. But finally (and with a lot of hours of investigation) I discovered the meaning of podcast and I found a really good material.

3. I have understood what plagiarism means...I looked for information but I couldn´t copy it, and sometimes I was tempted but I realized that if I want to be a professional, I have to elaborate my work, don´t copy it from others.

4. I have learnt that Wikipedia has not got enough answers for all my questions.

5. Writing in this blog has opened my eyes. I mean, I have discovered another way of writing and being read by a lot of people around the world. Maybe I keep my fountain pen appart and I start to write in a blog instead of in my notebook.

6. Besides, this blog has just got a follower. That means people like that we write about. I have realized that being read by other people because they like your articles ir really gratifying.

7. I have learnt how upload a video from youtbe (perhaps this is a silly thing, but it took me a while to do it)

8. Of course, I have increased my knowledge about the "cybervocabulary". Blogroll, blogosphere, podcast, wiki...all of them were new, I had never listened them, but now their definition don´t mean any problem for me.

9. I have also discovered that, if you want to do good articles and be original, you must read other blogs, comments, web pages, etc. If you don´t do that, your work won´t be recognized by other bloggers.

10. And last but not least, I have learnt that the real editors, writers and publishers of multimedia contents aren´t university prestigious professors, experts or business men. They are people like you and me, whose only purpose is sharing their knowledge with all the world.

Everything about the mummies with an expert

I´ve found an interview with a egyptologist maybe it´s too long but I think that it´s very interesting. The interview has been taken of a scientific website called: “Nova science programming”

In this interview, Ikram, an Egyptologist at the American University in Cairo, speaks about the mummification was practiced in ancient Egypt, what the ancients thought the afterlife would be like, and why—of some 70 million mummies made—very few remain intact today.

The allure of mummies

NOVA: Why do you think people are so fascinated by mummies?

Salima Ikram: Part of it is, of course, all that horror movie business. The idea of the supernatural, which is very linked with ancient Egypt, attracts a lot of attention. And children love going to mummy galleries because they think, "Oooh, it's really creepy. They might jump up and get us!"

NOVA: What's the allure of mummies for Egyptologists?

Ikram: Well, I think one reason is very basic: here we are, studying Tuthmosis III, reading his words on temple walls, and you can actually look at him! You can see the man himself—his hair, his arms. It's quite amazing to look at the face of someone who lived so many thousands of years ago. It's quite thrilling.

There's also a lot that we can learn from mummies about ancient disease, medical practices, technology, health, diet, as well as religious beliefs. So we are filling in a huge amount of cultural and social history.

NOVA: Is it fair to say that the ancient Egyptians were obsessed with death?

Ikram: No. I think they were obsessed with life! They knew that the life they had on Earth was going to be of limited duration. Most Egyptians died by the time they were 40. So they wanted to have a better afterlife. What you see in the tombs is a really careful preparation for eternity, so that everyone would have a very good time.

NOVA: What did they think the afterlife would be like?

Ikram: It varied depending on whether you were royal or nonroyal. If you were nonroyal, you would have all the best things available in the Egypt that you lived in, with none of the nastiness. And if you were poor, you could come back much wealthier.

For kings, though, while they could enjoy all the best food and drink and entertainment, they also became one with the gods. They would sail across the sky with the sun god, Re, fighting against the powers of evil and darkness, trying to make the world safe for mankind and making sure that Egypt continued on forever.

NOVA: What did they want in their tombs to take with them to the afterlife?

Ikram: In both royal and nonroyal tombs, you get a lot of everyday items—all kinds of furniture, beds, chairs. There'd be jewelry, clothes, makeup, and lots and lots of food and wine and beer. In Tutankhamun's tomb, there's even one of his camping beds that folds up so he could take it when he was going out into the desert.

NOVA: Did they bury pets in their tombs?

Ikram: Sometimes. Sometimes a dog is buried with a person, even in the same coffin. At other times, the animals outlived their owners, and so they were buried outside the tomb. We have baboons and other monkeys and even horses buried in the courtyard of their owners' tombs.

NOVA: Did they also bury—even sacrifice—servants?

Ikram: During the First Dynasty of Egypt [c. 2920-2900 B.C.*], you actually have servant burials. This was only done for kings. Some of the chosen servants would be put to death and buried around the king's tomb. These people were supposed to be very privileged, because they would have a super afterlife with the king and the sun god. After the First Dynasty, instead of killing off people, they would have images—statues of their servants. Or they would write down the names of the people who were to come join them in the afterlife.

Saving body and soul

NOVA: Why did the ancient Egyptians mummify bodies?

Ikram: According to their religion, when you died, your soul continued. But unlike in a lot of modern religions, your soul was not just a formless thing. It actually could animate a statue of the dead person, or much better, the body of the dead person. And that's why mummification took place, so that the body would be preserved to host the soul.

NOVA: How do we know about the techniques they used?

Ikram: People always talk about "the secret of mummification." And in a way, it's true, because the Egyptians never left behind an instruction manual telling us the step-by-step method of how you go about embalming someone.

Some of what we know about how people and animals were mummified comes from the fifth-century B.C. historian Herodotus, who wrote in detail about mummification. And, of course, you can learn a lot by looking at mummies themselves, and by doing chemical

analyses on

resins and other materials used in the embalming process.

NOVA: Did the techniques vary over time?

Ikram: Mummification lasted over 3,000 years, and over time, there were several developments. Also, during some periods, you could have two or three different kinds of mummification; it just depended on what style you chose or how much you wanted to spend. Sometimes people would be completely eviscerated, sometimes they wouldn't. In some instances, instead of making an evisceration cut and removing organs by hand,embalmers used an enema of juniper oil to dissolve the internal organs. So there was a vast variety of ways of mummifying people.

NOVA: Can you date a mummy by looking at it?

Ikram: To some extent, it is possible. Obviously one can't always be 100 percent sure. But there are stylistic clues. Arm positions, where the embalming incision is, the size of the incision, what's used inside the body, if they stuff the body, if they don't stuff the body, if they gild the face, and details like that do tip one off.

NOVA: Was everyone in ancient Egypt mummified?

Ikram: Everyone wanted to be mummified as elaborately as possible and be put in nice tombs, so they could go to the afterworld. Now, of course, not everyone could afford an equal kind of afterworld. The elite got to have a very plush existence. And poorer people would probably compensate by having prayers and incantations said at the funeral that would speed them to a wonderful afterlife.

NOVA: How many human mummies were made in ancient Egypt?

Ikram: Some people estimate 70 million mummies, but I think that's an underestimate. Mummification was carried out in Egypt, as I mentioned, for over 3,000 years. I'm sure more human mummies were made during this time period. If you look at animal mummies, several hundred thousand mummies have been found even in one cemetery.

Where have all the mummies gone?

NOVA: Where does the word "mummy" come from?

Ikram: It comes from the Persian and Arabic words "mum" and "mumya," which describe wax or bitumen. Bitumen is this black substance that comes from the Mumya mountain in Persia. When Arabs saw mummies for the first time, they assumed that the black goo that covered them was mumya or mum, and so they called them "mumya." And that word then passed into European languages.

NOVA: Were mummies actually made with bitumen?

Ikram: Occasionally, from about 1100 B.C. onward, they were made using bitumen from the Red Sea coast. But most mummies are not made using bitumen; they're made using resins and oils.

However, unfortunately, bitumen was regarded as a medicine. And from the 12th century onwards, both in the Middle East and especially in Europe, mummies were ground up for the bitumen that they were supposedly made with and sold as medicine. There are a lot of Materia Medica books listing mummy as an important treatment for when you have problems with your joints, blood flow, and, indeed, longevity.

NOVA: Mummies were used as medicine?

Ikram: Medical recipes list "mummy" as an ingredient. It was even taken straight. King Francis I of France, in fact, took a pinch of mummy every day with rhubarb. And who says what's worse, rhubarb or mummy? He believed that it would make him stronger and invincible, and would stop assassins from killing him.

NOVA: Did this notion that mummies made good medicine lead to a lot of them being destroyed?

Ikram: Hundreds and thousands of mummies were destroyed for medicine. Others were burned as kindling or wood, because there aren't that many trees in Egypt. There are 19th-century accounts of travelers who say, "Oh, it's unseasonably cold and we've run out of wood, so we have to throw a mummy on the fire."

NOVA: Amazing. And the Victorians also had "unwrapping" parties, didn't they?

Ikram: Mummies were considered very Gothic. And in the Victorian era, when anything neo-Gothic was cool, unwrapping mummies became very stylish. So people would bring back or buy mummies from Egypt and have unwrapping parties. We have invitations saying, "Come to Lord Longsberry's at 2 p.m., Piccadilly, for the unwrapping of a mummy from Thebes. Champagne and canapés to follow." A lot of mummies were destroyed in that way.

However, there were some people, such as a man called Thomas Pettigrew, who was later called Mummy Pettigrew. He was a trained medical doctor, and he did a lot of unwrappings to understand how mummies were made. In the 19th century, he published one of the first scholarly works on how mummies were produced.

NOVA: Were many mummies destroyed in the search for amulets in their wrappings?

Ikram: Yes. Lots of mummies were destroyed by robbers looking for gold and jewels on the bodies, and also the amulets. Heart scarabs attracted particular attention because a lot of tourists collected them, and tomb robbers knew where they would be located. So we often have mummies with big holes in their chests where the robbers took away the heart scarabs.

A great many mummies were lost because people didn't really think of them as artifacts, or even as human beings deserving of respect. They were regarded as merely the carriers of objects such as jewelry and amulets, and then later on they were seen as medicines or kindling or what have you. It's only very recently—in the past 40 years—that people have started to look at mummies in a different way and to treat them with respect.

NOVA: Do you think we are now giving mummies, particularly the royal mummies, an afterlife of sorts?

Ikram: Taking mummies out of tombs is disturbing their rest. On the other hand, if you put them in museums, take care of them, and remember to recite the name of the deceased, then they are, in fact, having the kind of afterlife they wanted, because the whole point of an afterlife is to be remembered. And they are now being remembered by everyone.

sábado, 17 de octubre de 2009

Interview to an expert in the matter

These are some quotations from an interview made to Manuel Delgado. He's not an egyptologist, but an investigator of strange phenomenons.

· “Most of the investigations made about Egypt are just decorative. Egyptologists just study what kings did, or how the pyramids are made, but not why did they built them, what do they represent...”

· “When Alexander The Great died and gave his empire to his officials, Ptolomeo received Egypt, but most of the wise who were born there went to Greece to study. Then, most of the knowledge of Greeks is really Egyptian; for example, Pithagoras' theorem, which was found in Egypt, by a rope with 13 knots. The rope made the typical example of 3 and 4 units' cathetus and the 5 unit hypotenuse.”

· “There's a famous theory that says river Nile was artificially diverted to reflect the Milk Way of the sky, the home of the gods. By this artificially-made river, Sahara was desertified.”

· “The great majority of Egyptian gods went directly to the Greek pantheon. Thot became Hermes, and Imhotep as Asclepius, with the logotype of the snake and the cup.”

· “Egyptians knew where the gods came from and when their souls would go when they die.”

· “After they had reflected the stars in their land, they made the pyramids as a mirror of Isis and Osiris, Orion's belt. So there's a relation among what there was up and down.”

· “There's not any faithful proof that the pyramids were made during the fourth dynasty.”

· “In one of the three famous pyramids (Keops, Kefren and Mikerynos) it's been found technology more advanced than ours”

· “Egyptian treasures are not just gold and diamonds, but human knowledge. They called their own country Kemeth. Then, arabians called it Al-Kemeth, and from there we've got the alchemy, which know better, and then the Chemistry.”

· “There's no advance of a science without another one, so, ancient Egyptian's architecture and engineering should have advanced at the same time as their biology, medicine...”

Here you've got the complete interview in spanish, taken from Rafael Palacios' (the interviewer) official website:

viernes, 16 de octubre de 2009

A holiday trip

As it is difficult to make an interview to an egyptologist, here is a link to an interesting interview that I have found in the Internet. Instead of doing one by myself I am going to publish a post talking about an interview that I made to a friend who went on holidays last summer to Egypt. She went there for a week with her family. They stayed in a hotel in El Cairo, which is not very expensive but really comfortable and nice.

In their turistic route, they visited Cairo which is the capital of the country and the biggest city in the Arabic world. As her father is a history professor in Zaragoza´s university, he was really interested in visiting the Museum of Egyptian Antiquiteis. My friend Maria , who does not like museums told me that she found it a bit boring, but of course, her father was absolutelly impressed by it.
This museum was opened in 1902. It has got many different halls with expositions about the different periods of the Ancient Egypt, all of them in a chronologycal order.

After visiting the museum, the Ventura family went for a walk around the streets of El Cairo. Maria told me she was impressed by the different kind of people that she could find in the city. It´s a very cosmopolita country, specially in the big cities, which offer a huge extent of things to do. Maria had always wanted to see a real bellydancer, not like the ones that she had seen in Zaragoza, who have taken a few lessons and still call this dance Bellydance instead of Oriental Dance, which is its real name, so she suggested her family going to a restaurant to have dinner where they could all see a bellydancer. She was astonished by the capacity of that girl of moving her stomach and hips following the rythm of the music as if it was sounding inside herself.
She fell in love with the clothing, the arabic music and the moves of that girl. So in love that as soon as she arrived back to Zaragoza, she started taking dancing lesson and has not stopped since that moment.

Another day, the Ventura family went with a rented car to Giza, to see the pyramids. There are three important pyramids in Giza, whose names are Khufu, Kafhre and Mencaura. Each of them is dedicated to a different pharaon. These three pytamids were built during the third an fourth dinasty. The sides of the pyramids are oriented to the four cardinal points and each of them has got a huge complex of temples and smaller pyramids.

Maria , while seeing the pyramids could not stop taking photos, which I am not going to publish because they are private. She was trying to imagine the hundreds of slaves or workers that were needed to build such an amazing structure. Although she tried hard, she could not really imagine how hard and impressive was his work.
It is thought that the construction of the biggest pyramid, whose name´s Khufu in 2560 BC, lasted twenty years. Its weigh is aproximately 6 million tones if all these opinions are true, the workers hav to put around 800 tonnes of stone everyday in the pyramid.

Another day, the family went to Luxor, a city built over the ruins of Thebes. Its population is about 450.000 inhabitants. It´s situated in the Nile Valley next to the river and a few miles away from Luxor there´s just desert. The city is famous because it was one of the religious centres in the Ancient Egypt. Here we can find the Luxor temple and the Karnak temple, the second place most visited after the Giza pyramids. Maria also visited the Karnak temple, where egyptians used to worship God Amon basicly, although it was posible to pray to other gods too.

This three places that I have described by the notes that I took from Maria´s interview are the most impressive ones in Egypt. After this trip, my friend told me that she wanted to visit Greece. I told her that if she really wanted to visit it, she could already start saving money. I also told her that I hope I am not publishing a blog about Greece in that moment because you can not imagine how much Maria talks...

jueves, 15 de octubre de 2009

A new tomb in the Ancient Egypt?

The famous egyptoligist Martín Valentín,doctor in Egyptian religion by the Universtiy of Geography and History, gave us this amazing interview about the tomb of Sen en Mut, architect and lover of the pharaoh Hatshepsut. Sen en Mut was a so powerful man that he made build two monuments in his honor. Some historians (who are specialized on Egypt culture) have confirmed that one of that monument is his tomb.

Nevertheless, Martin Valentin (after spending 5 years working inside this monument) refuted this version and he has formulated another proposal.

INTERVIEWER: Winlock said in 1927 that the monument found was the second tomb of the Egyptian Sen en Mut. What information can you add to this theory?
MARTIN VALENTÍN: We have discovered that it´s not a tomb but a cript, a secret room used to do rites to the famous architect.

I: How have you discovered that supposition?

MV: Because a tomb has some specific characteristics like: funeral chapel, septic tank and chamber, and this room hasn´t got a chapel.

I: What more news does the project contribute?

MV: Deir el Bahari (a valley situated near the bank of the Nile) contains three well-known temples, one of them is the temple of Hatshepsut. That means that the area is full of a sacred spirit, not only of funeral places, so it can be useful in our investigation with the monument of Sen en Mut.

I: You also propose to follow the example of Altamira to conservate this place...

MV: Yes, we have proposed to build an exact replica to show it to the people. Egypt can not continue being as exploded as now.

I: Is the tourism putting at risk the Egyptian patrimony?

MV: Every day, thousands of tourists visits the pyramids and the tombs, and everyday, they are getting degraded. We have to serve as an example of patrimony conservation.
I: The Government does not take into account the culture of Egypt. Besides, if you desire to study Egyptology, you must go abroad.
MV: The number of students who want to learn about Egypt is growing day after day, but nobody make something to build an specific department. We should be at the same level as other countries like France or England, which own Universities specialized in this branch.
I: A lot of Tutankamon´s tombs have been discovered, but how much history about Egypt rest hidden?
MV: From the point of view of investigation and documentation, the 90% of the Egyptian history rest in the shadows.
I: Does the existence of pharaoh women revelate and ancient but modern society?
MV: People don´t know very much about the role of the women in the ancient Egypt. That is because the historians who have written about it came from England and a Victorian society...However, women position in that culture was even more important than men. Maybe if people started to study this history again, we would discover more interesting things about women....

For the full interview look here.

martes, 13 de octubre de 2009

Multimedia Specials

Today, I'll analize a multimedia special. It's been hard to find one related to our topic, but with the help of Raquel, I've found one. It's an article of the New York Times, taken from its home page: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/09/science/09egypt.html
The article is preceded by a photo of the mountains in which the temple is being restored. Then, while you're reading the article, you can see some other photos. All of them are in the left. In the right, there's a list of some important news which readers or users have chosen.

Here we can see the format and the structure of the page:

Appart from the written article, there are the mentioned photos, which can be seen in a bigger way. There's also an audio player, that explains you the news. There's no video, but there're adverts in video in the right part of the page. There are some hypertextual intern links, related to other news.

There are no features appart from the media mentioned. Nor infographics, maps or timelines.

User Oriented:
The user can surf the home menu in the top of the news. He or she also can surf by the links. There's also the option of searching news; general or clasified by topic.

Updating Of Contents:
The news is not so actual. Its date is January 2007, but I've chosen it because it has an audio player.

Web 2.0:
As Raquel has said, The New York Times has a facebook account, and it gives the option of subscribing, to leave comments and receibing news.

I'm going to compare with Raquel's choose. They are similar, but his option has the chance of choosing more than a news. One of that news is mine. Nor hers or mine has any video, but I think that with the pictures is enough.

I'm sorry for not giving much pictures, but I haven't got much time to do it.

36 hours in Cairo

Although this is not a piece of multimedia it contains a lot of multimedia elements, like hipertexts, images, maps, etc, so I have decided to analyze this article.

Structure: the article is divided in two sections:
  • Text: the article is subdivided in: title, paragraphs, conclusion. It is about how to spend a day in Cairo. The author explain what you can visit in this wonderful city, its typical dishes, restaurants, etc.
  • Multimedia: In a corner, you can find a multimedia section where there is a slide show, maps...
Formats: you can see some multimedia formats:
  • Text: the main format used by the author
  • Hypertext: they are used to link with other webs. Examples: Turkey, CAIRO
  • Images: there is a slide show in a corner of the page and a image for the title.

Features: the only feature the author use is a map of the city.

User oriented:
  • there is a travel guide about Egypt,
  • hypertexts to link with other webs,
  • a menu
  • a researcher to look for articles on this web
Updating of contents: the author cannot upload more contents, it hasn´t got the structure as a blog.

Web 2.0: you can find The New York Times on facebook, but there are no more social media for thar paper.
Comparative: It exists other pieces of media as photo gallerys or videos. If I compare mine with Beñat´s one, his piece contains much more multimedia elements as an audio file, videos as advertisments...however, it hasn´t got maps or menus to link with more sites related with that web. Both of them appear in facebook too, as Raquel has said.


Exercise 6

Structure: In the middle there´s a short introduction and the main video. On the left there are other videos related with our video and the last videos. And on the right there are other sections like: "World News" which has got another section called Egypt; "Science" with another section called Archaeology and the last one is Culture with another section called heritage.
And two more which are related with more videos and news.Formats:There are hypertexts in the other sections like: World News, Science Culture...
Moreover there is a video which lets you send the video to a friend, share it or copy it.

Features: This website hasn´t got any imelines, maps, infographics...

User oriented: You can surf using hypertexts, videos and using other sections of the websitehttp://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=351194206329726584&postID=5609533465766610936
Updating of contents:This article is not very actual. Its date is Wednesday 11 February 2009

Web 2.0: I´ve you got an account in digg or in buzz, you can comment something.

Comparison: I have found an article about the topic but it hasn´t got a lot of multimedia elements, only a video which talks about the mummies found in the south of Cairo. It has been a very important discovery. I´m going to compare with the Raquel´s news beacuse it has got other elements like a photo gallery that my website hasn´t got.

Practice 6

My page belongs to the part which talks about the British museum inside the online New York Times. This is the link : http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/news/science/topics/egyptian_civilization/index.html?s=oldest&
This page has got an inverted chronologie. The main page has got links to different articles, which are news about Egyptian Civilization. Above the news, there´s an audio player and at the right of the page there´s a photo gallery, two adverts and a list of the mosto popular articles chosen by the users.

In each article there is a similar structure being the article the main content. It includes different liks to many pages. At the right of the page and at the bottom of it there are more adverts and the same list that before.

The article is structured in a way that the hypertext sends you to different articles, and inside them, there are differents links too.All of them are intern links, which send you to other articles, not to official websites or other pages.

As we have said, the photo gallery is at the right and each photo is a link to the article where the image appears.

The audio is at the top of the page and it talks about an archeologic restauration about a temple among the mountains.

There are no features in the page, nor timelines, infographics or maps.

User oriented:
The user can surf the page easily with the menu which appears at the top of every article. He can also look fot specific news with a searcher which is at the right top of the page. There is another searcher at the bottom which lets the user look for articles related to the same topic of the article he is reading. There is no chance to publish any comments, so there is no feedback.

Updating of contents:
The first of all these articles was published on 1983 and the last one was published last week (October, the 8th). Among them there are about 200 articles related to the topic.

Web 2.0:
The New York Times appears twice in facebook. You can create an account and become a suscriptor of the page and maybe then you can start publishing comments in the articles.

I´ve compared my page whith the one that Beñat is working on.
The main difference is that Beñat´s page is one of the articles where you can go from the page that I have talked about. In his article there´s is an audio format that also appears on my page and different images about the topic.
On the right of the page there are some adverts and the same list as appears on my page about the most popular pages visited in the online New York Times.
There´s the same chance to interact that in my page. The reason is that the home page of bouth pages are the same one, the New York Times. Related to the features, in Beñat´s article there aren´t either timelines nor maps.
Another difference is that as Beñat´s page is an article,so all of it was published the same day, instead of being published day by day.

viernes, 9 de octubre de 2009

Practic examples

After more than an hour writing my post, the internet turned off and I lost all my work, so this is a rewriting in bad humour, so I may forget many things.

Here it is an example of egyptian music, the music of the ancient empire.

In this video, we can difference an harp played very softly and a female singer, who uses the pentatonic scale, employing just 5 notes of the 7 we know (Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Si or C, D, E, F, G, A, B). In this way, every note she sings sounds well. This was the technique also used in blues, and afterwards in rock, pop, or even hip-hop. The blues developed this scale modifying it, and transforming into the blues scale. This particular case can seem a bit boring because of its repetition. The pictures shown in the video are also beautiful, and relaxing, with the music.

And here, another music example which has less to do with ancient Egypt, and even with actual Egypt. It's a song by Madness the famous ska band which composed famous themes like "Our house" or "It must be love". This song talks about a mysterious trip on a boat trying to reach Cairo. The video is funny, the movements done by the band are really nice. Here it is: Night Boat To Cairo:

I hope you've liked the videos, even if they are a bit away from the topic (Maybe you've liked them just because of that! ;)

Egyptian Multimedia

Podcasts about Egypt

Finding videoblogs and podcasts about egyptian culture is a really difficult work. This wonderful art is usually transmitted by pictures and texts, but I have searched through the Internet and I have found some interesting podcasts.

This one is about the the role of the scarab beetle in Ancient Egyptian religion.

This podcast talks about the role of the scarab beetle in Ancient Egyptian religion and funerary art as both the Egyptian god Khepri and an iconographic motif of resurrection.

Scarab beetle (or Kepher in hieroglyphic writing) is identified with Ra as a creator-god. The locutor tells the story about Ra or Re, his meaning in funerals (the example of the picture 2:03) where he appears with his mother.

Scarabs are used as amulets in necklaces too. They appear in the new and ancient Egypt painted in blue or green. They also were used to decorate temples and mommys.

If you want to know more about scarabs and his meaning listen to this podcast!

Changing the subject, I have found another podcast about the pyramids and the city of the Cairo. This adventurer who visited the city relate us his experience, here he goes!


This is the vblog of an institute of archaeology. Here you can find some sources to learn more about Egypt through the video support. A group of students make this vblog as a project to be enjoyed by archaeologists or people like you or me. They are not focused on the Egyptian culture, but on Egyptian excavations, the Egyptian desserts and all related with Egyptian territory. How can we speak about culture if we don´t know anything about the country we are talking about? Have a look to this page, it could be interesting:


Finally, although I haven´t been able to find a vblog about Egypt (this is a difficult topic to search videos!) I have looked for a web where it appeared videos about Egypt and I have found it:


You can cross the Nile river, visit the Philae Temple or even the Keops Pyramid. Don´t loss this opportunity to travel around Egypt without going out from home!

Introduction to the Egyptian Culture

After publishing some posts, I realised that it was needed to write about the ancient egyptian society in general to be able to understand many topics that we are talking about. That´s why I´m going to publish this post, although it should have been written at the beggining.


The pharaon´s civilitation in Egypt started at the end of the fourth millenium before Crist. Nevertheless, the egyptian culture started around 5000 B.C with the first cities around the Nile. They were sedentary townships whose habitants practised agriculture and craftsmanship. The aparition of the first dinasties(between 3100 and 2700 BC) meant the birth of of the pharaonic state and the union of High and Low Egypt, which had been separated until that moment.

Around 2500 BC the first stone pyramid was built, during Zoser´s reign. The capital of the civilatation moved during all this time from Tinis to Menfis, later to Listh, Avari, Thebes and Tanis.

Around 332 BC Alexandre the Great arrived to Egypt and he set up Alejandría.During the roman period (30BC until 395 AC) Egypt became a roman province with Octavio Augusto. Cristianism is declarated the official religion of the state. The byzantine period started in 395 AC and finished in 640, the year when Egypt became a province of the khalifat and converted to the islamism.

Fluvial civilization: the importance of the Nile

The egyptian culture is a fluvial civilization which stands around

the Nile, the longest river in the world. It appears in Burundi and

it has two main tributaries, the White Nile and the Blue Nile. The

river mouth goes into the Mediterranean Sea.

The Nile was the fundamental element of agriculture and economy for the whole Egypt during the pharaonic period. Every July the monzonic rain in Etiopy increases the level of water of the river and it floods the fields. Egyptians used to say that this wonderful phenomenon was caused by Hapi, a god with a human appearance which came with lots of plants and fishes. The truth is that this flood was great for the egyptians and when the water dissapeared again, there was a black mud over the ground which made it rich and fertile.

The Egyptian culture was based on the agriculture, and that´s why the annual calendar takes its form from the different stages that the river follows.

From July to November the fields were completely submerged by the Nile. Because of this reason July means the start of the egyptian year, our 1st of January.

Then, from November to March, the fields appeared again under the water and it was time to cultivate.

Finally, from March to July it was the dry season.


Egyps is an heterogenean land. It suddenly changes from the “Black Ground” (Kemet), which is the fertile zone, to the desertic sand, property of Red God Seth.

The confines of the ancient Egypt were conformed by the Valley of the Nile, the delta of the Nile and the Fayum, an oasis besides a lake in the western part of the Valley and at the south of Menphis. It could also be complemented in different periods by some desserts, which were only controled by the most powerful governments.

The Valley and the delta covered 3400 square kilometers.


In the Ancient Egypt ehre were big cities such as Menphis, Buto or Thebes. They were very populated and inside them we can differenciate different types of buildings:

  • Palaces, which were very adorned, and surrounded by gardens and little lakes.
  • Houses, which had more than a floor and were aligned in small and thin streets.
  • Temples, which were all built in the same district of the city
  • King´s palaces, whose floors and walls were really docorated with paintings and could get to have more than 40 acres of ground.

All these buildings were made of bricks manufactured with mud from the Nile, baked in wooden ovens and dried by the sun.

The population hadn´t got the same rights. In fact, this society was extremely hierarchical.

The pharaon was on the top of the society, which can be imagned as a ppyramid. He had to make sure that there was order ( Maat) in the city. His wife, the queen, was also very prestigious, she went with her husband to the religious ceremonies. She could take part in the government activities, but there is no constance of many queens who were interested on it.

The vizier was a employee of the government which only was subordinate of the Pharaon.

There also was a regular army, conformed by four different infantry divisions. These four divisions had the name of the 4 most important gods of the state, which were Ra, Amon, Ptah and Set.

In this society we could also find more government employees, farmers and traders or merchants.

After reading this post, you can understand much better the egyptian culture in the ancient ages of the pharaons. In order to get more information , here are two links to some podcasts that I have found on the Internet. They belong to a page about Tutankhamun and the golden ages of the pharaons. Here are also two videoblogs about the same topic, the marvellous ancient egypt

viernes, 2 de octubre de 2009

Egyptian music

Well, it's time to start with the real topic. I'm going to talk specially about music in the ancient Egypt.

Music was used in some activities, but it's main development was into the temples, where it was used during the rites celebrated for some gods. It was also used as a therapeutic solution as it has been found in some papyrus. In fact, the hieroglyphic picture of the music was the same as happiness and well-being. Like in other countries, it was considered as a communication way with the deaths, and musicians used to reach such an important status that some of them are buried in royal necropolis.
Ancient musicians didn't develop a system to play the music they created, 'cause they used to transmit from master to apprentice, so we don't know how that music really was. Anyway, there are some known aspects which have been known by texts. Besides, instruments shown on museums, wall-pictures of musicians and dancers and singer's oral tradition has given us some extra information.
We can appreciate an evolution of the music by studying the instruments, the pictures and the offerings which have been found in temples. At first they just have percussion instruments (my favorite ones!) so it's obvious that music was rhythmic. By the pictures that have preserved we can know that music was used to invoke gods for the good harvest, or to frighten off the plagues.
In the fourth millennium vertical recorder and harp appeared, being this last one something like Egyptian national instrument.
Ancient Empire
Music was religious, priests' songs during the rites. By the studies of the instruments of which have done lots of representations, it's been concluded that they used to play using pentathonic or heptathonic (the one we use) scales. Instruments:
-Wind instruments:
Straight flute, with vertical reed with four or six holes without mouthpiece and nearly a meter long. Still nowadays it's called nay and uffata in official and pupular musics in Egypt.
Double Chirimy which had two parallel of reed with the same measure, that used to sound at the same time. Nowadays this instrument is called zummarah. It may was used to play the same melody in a duplicate way, or maybe it consisted on some kind of stereophony or a practice of a snare.
Trumpet, of silver or copper which was used in the military parades and in the cult of the death. They were made of metal, similar to Palestine trumpets.

-String Instruments:
Harp of six or eight strings very decorated. It's been found one in the necropolis of Giza from year 2000 b.C. It was played resting it on the floor and its one-pieced tailpiece reminds to the most ancient musical arc. This goes to an wide resounder, shovel-shaped, which used to have pictures o gods' eyes, employed to counteract the tragedies. Its strings where fixed over an tuning bar, which hypothetically would have served to change the tuning of all the strings, like is done nowadays with modern harps' pedals. In iconography, harp appears as an helping instrument to singers, flutes... and sometimes creating a part of an orchestra (it's been found a representation of an orchestra of seven harpists).
Three strings guitar, with a neck which was two times the body.

"Sistroes", percussion instruments with an U shaped wooden frame, a handle and crossed bars which held up some metal made sheets, which varied by the years went on (picture).

- Jufu Anj, singer and flute player of the court.

Next week I´ll go on with the topic, explaining the rest of the evolution. I hope you've liked this week's post. I'm sorry for giving the URL's information in spanish, but there's an option to change the languaje.

jueves, 1 de octubre de 2009

Pharaoh´s language: the hieroglyphs

The History of Egyptian writing

Although it´s difficult to make sure when they appeared, the first hieroglyphs dated to about 3000BC, in the Predynastic Period. The hieroglyphic language has suffered six periods during the History. After the Roman Empire began, hieroglyphs faded from popular use. When Napoleon invaded Egypt and discovered the Rosetta stone, hieroglyphic writing started to be known among the population. This stone was written in two Egyptian symbols: demotic and hieroglyphic. The second one was developed towards the end of the ancient language´s use and utilized a cursive script. If you want to write as the ancient egyptian gods did, follow these instructions.

Some rules to decipher hieroglyphs

This “literary art” is composed by phonetic symbols and ideographic characters. Each symbol can mean a sound, a letter or even the same thing that the symbol represents (for instance, a figure of a man means “man” or “servant”, but an owl represents the letter “m”). The “grammar” of this language is written as follows.

There are three kind of symbols:
  • The determinatives. They help to determine when a word ends. They haven´t a phonetic sense, they represent the nature of the thing they refer to. For example, if you want to write the name of a person, you must draw a man after the name .
  • The phonograms. Symbols which represent sounds. They are always consonants, but we can also find weak vowels which are pronounced as consonants. This signs can represent only a letter, two letters (these are the most usual), three letters (for example, the famous beetle contains these three consonants “hpr”) or even four letters.
  • The ideograms. These symbols represent words, not sounds. It can become a logogram if the picture is the exact word that it means.

More ideas to understand hieroglyphs:

  • Direction: the symbols which compose the hieroglyphs can not be lined-up. They must appear regrouped inside an imaginary square. It does not exist spaces between the words or sentences and this language does not own punctuation rules. Besides, some symbols can appear in a vertical or horizontal position to fit in that imaginary square.
    The Egyptian writing can be written in vertical or horizontal direction too. This is a real example of vertical hieroglyph from the Vatican Museum.
    Symbols can also be facing left or right: this fact will determine the direction on which we must read them.

  • Pronunciation: hieroglyphic writing has not got vowels, it is composed only by consonants. Trying to understand the meaning of a word which has not got vowels is difficult. To solve that problem, some experts in Egyptian writing have decided to include an “e” between all the consonants. If Egyptians wanted to write plural words, they added three ticks under the symbol.

If you follow these rules you are prepared to decipher a hieroglyph as a good egyptologist! And that is not all, you can also write your name in this ancient language, click here!