Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Update I: On skull surgery Skull reveals how cranial surgery saved life of 11th-century peasant

ARCHAEOLOGISTS revealed new evidence yesterday which shows complicated cranial surgery was being performed in Britain 1,000 years ago.

An 11th-century skull, found at the abandoned ancient village of Wharram Percy in North Yorkshire, shows the scars of a near-fatal blow by a blunt weapon. But, thanks to a "life-saving" procedure performed at the time, the victim, aged about 40, survived the injury and made a good recovery.

Scientists say the man was a peasant who lived between 960AD and 1100AD in Wharram Percy. More than 700 skeletons were unearthed there during one of the longest digs in British archaeological history, between 1950 and 1990.

Analysis of the skull, found by English Heritage, shows he underwent a form of surgery known as trepanning. The procedure involved lifting a rectangular area of the scalp measuring 3.5in by 4in and scraping away at the skull beneath to remove bone fragments and relieve pressure on the brain.

Update II: Ghengis Khan's mausoleum Genghis Khan's mausoleum found

Archaeologists have unearthed the site of Genghis Khan's palace and believe the long-sought grave of the 13th century Mongolian warrior is somewhere nearby, the head of the excavation team says.

A Japanese and Mongolian research team found the complex on a grassy steppe 150 miles east of the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator, said Shinpei Kato, professor emeritus at Tokyo's Kokugakuin University.

Genghis Khan (c. 1162-1227) united warring tribes to become leader of the Mongols in 1206. After his death, his descendants expanded his empire until it stretched from China to Hungary.

Genghis Khan built the palace in the simple shape of a square tent attached to wooden columns on the site at around 1200, Kato said.

And a picture!

Remote sensing update China employs high-tech to find out how much is left of the Great Wall

China has employed state-of-the-art technology to determine how much is left of the Great Wall and which parts belong to which provinces.

The remote sensor technology will enable the State Administration of Cultural Heritage to chart every inch of the 2,500 kilometers (1,560 miles) that still remains of the wall, the China Daily said.

Doesn't say what was used.

Something we had not heard Koum El-Hisn reveals new secrets of Ancient Egypt

A mission of the Faculty of Arts in Damanhur conducted excavations in the area of Koum El-Hisn in the governorate of Bahira. The team of archaeologists discovered a number of items which might change some of the concepts about the Old Kingdom.

The mission has found some clay vessels, stone tools, sharp metal tools, group tombs, and alabaster make-up vessels dating back to the Old Kingdom.

Dr. Hassan El-Sharief, head of the mission and Professor of Ancient History, declared that they have dug clay walls of a temple built 4,500 years ago. The walls are 80 CM high and 70 CM thick. The temple has an open yard and an offering table.

Dr. El-Sharief also mentioned that they have discovered a tomb for a mummified horse. This finding proved that the area was inhabited by the invading Hyksos who used to worship this particular animal.

The mission of Damanhur Faculty of Arts includes lecturers, demonstrators and post-graduate students.

This is a site we'd worked on. Did not know anything about Second Intermediate Period remains (Hyksos) although there are supposedly some there. The only temple we knew about was the New Kingdom one. Learn something new every day, I guess.

For more on Kom el-Hisn, look here.

Don't hate them because they were beautiful Iranian Women & Cosmetics in Ancient Iran

Based on recent excavations in northwestern Iran, archaeological now believe that eye makeup has been used Iran since about 4500 B.C. Other archaeological discoveries at Haft-Tappeh in Khuzestan Province indicate that women used to wear lipstick, rouge, and eye makeup in 2000 B.C. in Iran.

Achaemenid era religious texts say that the wives of the king spent a lot of time applying makeup and perfume before meeting the king. The ancient Greeks admired the Achaemenid era Persians for their custom of wearing makeup and attributed the origin of the use of cosmetics to the East.

Artist's conception of what an ancient Iranian woman may have looked like:

And now for something completely similar

Some exchanges from a recent set of postings to the EEF listserv:

I. I have a question regarding the garden scene from the tomb of 'Userhet' TT56. In the lower register of the scene one can see two gentlemen having their hair groomed.
Does this scene depicting the sheering or braiding of hair? An image of the scene is available online @ [Edit: This link doesn't appear to work]

II. I don't know if this will be of any help, however, this is what i found concerning the tomb of Userhet, TT56.
I am not sure what the object between the two solders appears to be a wine cup or perhaps a water bowl used to clean the razors used by barbers.

III. You can have a closer view of the scene here:
To my knowledge, and according to Lise Manniche, this scene is unique in Egyptian art.

IV. In the scene the barbers are shaving the heads of some soldiers. In the image that I have put in you can appreciate it better. [Edit: This is the best picture]

The object seem to be a recipient to deposit the hair (later use in wigs?).

V. The scene is usually referred to as the 'barbering scene.' This is a correct assumption as there are razors in the hands of the two barbers, and the inclusion of the bowl on the ground before one solider (being shaved) is clearly there to catch the lose hair being removed and/or provide water/shaving emulsion while the central barber performs his task.

As far as I know, the 'barber scene' is considered unique in Egyptian art, although the role of a barber and hairdresser are well attested, including an example from the tomb of Montuhotep I's two minor wives where a haidresser is represented on both sarcophagi attaching a curl to the body of the deceased (Green 2000: 74).

A full description of this scene, again with colour pictures, can be found

Hodel-Hoenes, S. 2000. _Life and Death in Ancient Egypt: Scene from Pirvate Tombs in New Kimgdom Thebes._ Ithaca: Cornell University Press. (See pp. 65-84 on the Tomb of Userhet; Fig. 43 is the barbering scene, with description on p.76)


Green, L. 2000. Hairstyles. In Redford, D. B., Ed. _The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt._ 2: 73-76. Oxford: Oxford University Press.