Egyptology: Quick fact 2 – Pyramid Texts & Anthropoid Coffins

Egyptology: Quick fact 2 –

Pyramid Texts & Anthropoid Coffins

By: Donald Frazer (Egyptologyman)

Another list of quick facts which interest me and so I hope interest you.

1.)  The term “Pyramid Texts”, derive their name from the fact that they appear on the internal walls and walls of adjoining rooms of the burial chambers of pyramids. Texts mainly written on the inner surfaces of wooden coffins, the outside of coffins and sometimes also on tomb walls or papyri are known as “Coffin Texts”. All these texts reflect the importance that was attached to securing the happy existence of the dead in the afterlife.

The predominant content of these texts were compositions such as ritual spells, the rest were hymns, prayers, litanies and magical spells for warding off dangerous animals.

At the beginning of the New Kingdom an innovation in funerary customs took place, which was the use of anthropoid coffins to replace rectangular sarcophagi for new burials. These coffins were so called, because they took on the recognisable shape of a body. In an anthropoid coffin the position of the head and shoulders of the mummy inside can be easily visualised. Funerary texts also developed over time and started to include a lot of art work making them very lengthy.

These new style anthropoid coffins lacked sufficient space on their surfaces to inscribe the new collection of funerary spells. This development no doubt influenced the emergence and wide acceptance of papyrus rolls as the usual medium for texts. Papyri of any length, with a variable number of spells, could be rolled up and placed inside the coffin, to be at hand by the deceased if needed.

Anthropoid Coffin of the Servant of the Great Place, Teti, New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, ca. 1339 B.C.-1307 B.C., Wood, painted, 33-1/4 x 18-13/16 x 81 1/2

Egyptology: Quick facts 1

Egyptology: Quick facts

By: Donald Frazer (Egyptologyman)

1.) Pictures of these creatures below baffled Egyptologists for a very long time. They had no idea what they were looking at; when they discovered that the Nile was teaming with them, they realized that they were looking at tadpoles!

2.) There are records of wheels being used as far back as the Old Kingdom. The Ancient Egyptians had very little use for the wheel because it was not very practical in agricultural or desert areas. Not until the New Kingdom, when the chariot was introduced to the army, did the usage of wheeled transport increase. Donkeys, oxen and boats remained the commonest means of transport.

3.) The Nile has a length of 6,690 kilometres as per “Chambers Book of Facts”; it is the longest river in the world. It runs from Eastern Africa to the Mediterranean. The Southern section of the Nile between Aswan and Khartoum is separated by six cataracts, or rapids, caused by outcrops of rocks in the riverbed.

4.) The “Book of the Dead” was the most popular and longest-lasting collection of funerary texts created by the Ancient Egyptians for the protection and guidance of the deceased. It came into use before circa 1550 BC and remained in widespread use for more than a millennium and a half.

5.) Working conditions were quite good for craftsmen working on some tombs in the Valley of the Kings. They worked eight hour days and received one in every ten days off. However they were able to take other days off as they needed for special reasons. These reasons included, hangover, wrapping a dead person, burying a dead person, making libations for the dead, being ill, being bitten by a scorpion, having an argument with the wife and female family members menstruating.

6.) One week consisted of ten days and there were three weeks in a month. Weeks were referred to as “Decades” from the 36 constellations called “The Decans”.