From Pits to Palaces: The Evolution of Prehistoric Burial Customs in Ancient Egypt
2012 09 28

By Keith Payne | Emhotep.net

It would be easy to think that the ancient Egyptians, for all their amazing accomplishments in the arts and sciences, were morbidly obsessed with death. After all, what do you think of when you imagine ancient Egypt? The Pyramids: tombs. Tutankhamun: a golden mummy. Valley of the Kings: a cemetery.

But the truth of the matter is that the Egyptians were obsessed with life, and they fully expected it to continue on the Other Side. Just as we work, save, and invest for our retirement today, the ancient Egyptians prepared for their eternal retirement amongst the gods. Most of the art and artifacts connected to this planning, what we would call the funerary tradition and/or architecture, was considered to be the machinery of the afterlife, the tools and rituals required for the care and feeding of a departed spirit.

Ancient graves tell us a lot about a given people. The best preserved artifacts often come from tombs and their contents can tell us who is trading with whom, who is fighting and who is getting along, and how the social strata were arranged. The preparation of the body tells us about their beliefs and concerns, and the evolution of the tomb type (taphotype?) often parallels the evolution of the culture in question. How did the Egyptians progress from simple sand pits to Palaces of Eternity such as the mastabas at Giza and rock-cut tombs at Saqqara?

You may be surprised to learn how much we are learning. I know I was. At Hierakonpolis alone archaeologists and Egyptologists are tracing the evolution of funerary architecture from oval sandpits with no real superstructure to speak of, to mudbrick-lined rectangular affairs, to the earliest mastabas, complete with plastered and painted walls—all of this centuries before the first pharaoh. But we are getting ahead of ourselves.

If you think, like I used to, that nothing particularly interesting happens until the Old Kingdom, then venture forth, Gentle Reader, a new vista awaits. We’ll begin 55,000 years ago with the earliest human grave. It was found in… Egypt, where else?

Taramsa
Given what we know of the ancient Egyptians and their concern for the afterlife, it should come as no surprise that the oldest human grave so far discovered was in Egypt. In 1994, archaeologists digging at Taramsa Hill, located near Qena in Upper Egypt, found the skeleton of an anatomically modern human child buried about 55,000 years ago. Located near the future site of the Temple of Hathor at Dendera, the fragile skeleton had to be fixed with a solution of wood glue to keep it from crumbling to dust.


[...]


Read the full article at: emhotep.com





Tune into Red Ice Radio:

Ahmed Osman - Egypt & Christianity

Robert Bauval - Post-Revolution Egypt

Andrew Collins - Beneath The Pyramids, Giza Cave System Rediscovered

John Anthony West - Ancient Egypt






Related Articles
Mexico finds large, unusual Aztec burial site
Unique Burial: Bizarre ’cow woman’ found in Anglo-Saxon dig
The Muslim Faith: Rules About Burial of the Dead Body
Digging up bodies to resell burial plots
"A Will for the Woods" and Eco-friendly funerals
Stonehenge could be part of massive funeral complex
Death rituals in the animal kingdom
A Matter of Life and Death : Archaeosoup Productions
The Good Death: Making Death Part of Your Life


Latest News from our Front Page

6,000-Year-Old Temple with Possible Sacrificial Altars Discovered
2014 10 21
A 6,000-year-old temple holding humanlike figurines and sacrificed animal remains has been discovered within a massive prehistoric settlement in Ukraine. Built before writing was invented, the temple is about 60 by 20 meters (197 by 66 feet) in size. It was a "two-story building made of wood and clay surrounded by a galleried courtyard," the upper floor divided into five ...
What happened to Journalist Serena Shim? Assassinated? Find out what happened to Serena, Press TV director calls on Turkey
2014 10 21
Press TV news director Hamid Reza Emadi says the “suspicious death,” of the news channel’s correspondent in Turkey is a tragedy for “anyone who wants to get the truth.” Emadi made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Sunday following Serena Shim’s death across the border from Syria’s Kurdish city of Kobani, where the ISIL terrorists and Kurdish fighters ...
Ancient Roman Nanotechnology Inspires Next-Generation Holograms for Information Storage
2014 10 21
The Lycurgus Cup, as it is known due to its depiction of a scene involving King Lycurgus of Thrace, is a 1,600-year-old jade green Roman chalice that changes colour depending on the direction of the light upon it. It baffled scientists ever since the glass chalice was acquired by the British Museum in the 1950s, as they could not work ...
Rapid Geomagnetic Reversal Possibility: Confirmed
2014 10 21
From the video: "The scientists who conducted the study are still unsure why the magnetic field is weakening, but one likely reason is the Earth’s magnetic poles are getting ready to flip, said Rune Floberghagen, the ESA’s Swarm mission manager. In fact, the data suggest magnetic north is moving toward Siberia." Tune into Red Ice Radio: Ben Davidson - Suspicious0bservers: Space Weather ...
Georgia Guide Stone 2014 cube stone removal
2014 10 21
From: Youtube: Was it all just a gag? it seems the cube stone just happens to be made out of the same Elberton granite that the rest of this morbid monument is made from.
More News »