Even as the King Tut exhibit continues its run here at the Science Museum of Minnesota, headlines around the world continue to keep Egyptology at the forefront of people's attention, particularly in light of the recent political turmoil in Egypt.
Here's an interesting story of recent lost and found about one of the trumpets found in Tutankhamun's burial chamber.
And the head of Egyptian archaeology efforts, Zahi Hawass, finds himself entangled with post-revolution fallout with his connections to former deposed president Hosni Mubarak and other controversies. Here are a couple reports from the Washington Post and CNN.
The political turmoil in Egypt this past weekend spilled into the famous Egyptian Museum with reports that some ancient artifacts being damaged or stolen. But concerned citizens helped to secure the building and Army troops are now on the scene protecting the site. Here's a good report on the situation from NBC News.
Since their discovery, controversy has swirled around the Dead Sea Scrolls. A new wrinkle to that controversy popped up this week with a conviction of a man accused of identity theft, posing as other people in online discussions about the scrolls.
Science Buzz has been a spot of ongoing debates about the return of ancient artifacts to their home countries. I don't know if New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art has followed the discussion here, but it announced it will return 19 small artifacts from its collections that had been originally found in the tomb of King Tut. Egypt archaeology officials will receive the items in 2011 after they are displayed for a short time here in the U.S. This link to Zahi Hawass's website includes photos of some of the items to be returned.
The Science Museum's mummy will be taking a little trip to Children's Hospital tomorrow afternoon to undergo a CT scan. We hope to come away from the scan with a 3D model of the mummy’s inner workings and new clues that reveal more details about his life, a more precise age and cause of death. The results will be developed into new interpretative tools that will make their debut in the months leading up to the opening of the King Tut exhibition.
Thanks to the cooperation of Ed Fleming, our collections services staff and the staff at Children's, we've been granted permission to invite media to photograph the mummy as he's prepped for scanning tomorrow. He's become quite a sensation already, with more to come:
WCCO-AM will also be airing an interview with Ed Fleming about the project during news breaks today and tomorrow.
While you've got just four days left to see real samples of the Dead Sea Scrolls here at the Science Museum of Minnesota, in a few months you'll be able to view many of them in the comfort of your own home, local library or anywhere with Internet access. Google and the Israeli Antiquities Authority announced this week that they are working together to put digitized versions of 900 sections of scrolls on the net in the coming months. Here's the full story and a photo slide show about the process.
Work at an archaeological dig in Jerusalem provides evidence that the technology and construction methods described in the Old Testament stories of Kings David and Solomon existed. The excavations found walls and fortifications just outside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City and are dated to being around 3,000 years old. More details can be found here.
Courtesy BrianboultonIt’s widely accepted that, if it weren’t for whiskey, some of humankind’s greatest discoveries never would have been made.
The North Pole? Forget it. Nuclear power? No chance. Einstein’s house keys? No way. (Although, to be fair, he never would have lost the keys in the first place if it hadn’t also been for whiskey.)
Whiskey is for explorers and their ilk what spinach is to Popeye.
Don’t believe me? Check this out: A quasi-archaeological expedition to Antarctica to recover the explorer Ernest Shackleton’s 100-year-old whiskey.
Apparently there were several crates buried beneath a shed Shackleton had used. So, you know, why not grab a couple? Ice had cracked some of the bottles, but the freezing point of pure ethanol is about -114º C, and the whiskey was likely at least 80 proof (40% alcohol), so, buried beneath the hut, most of the bottles were safe from freezing.
The distillery that had originally supplied the Shackleton expedition with whiskey is hoping that one of the recovered bottles might be used to reverse-engineer the whiskey blend, since that recipe was lost a long time ago.
It’s sort of like the efforts to map frozen mammoth DNA to bring the species back through cloning. Except with whiskey.