Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall at sunset

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dried Flowers, 3400 Years Old

In 1908, an American archaeologist by the name of Theodore Davies made an interesting discovery while excavating in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt.

A dozen large storage jars were found, containing broken pottery, animal bones, bags of natron (used in mummification), bags of sawdust and pieces of linen with markings from years six and eight during the reign of a little-known Pharaoh, Tutankhamun.

Some of these pieces were given to the Egyptian collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and over time the curator realized that the animal remains probably represented a funeral meal and the linens and natron were embalming refuse from the mummification of Tutanhkamun.

The curator's analysis became an important clue to the discovery of Tut's nearby tomb in 1922 by Howard Carter.

I find the floral collars fascinating. The top collar is amazingly preserved and shows how the collars were made. Alternating rows of flower petals and blossoms, leave, berries, and blue faïence (a type of glass) beads were sewn to a papyrus backing, and linen ties secured the collar around the neck.

Some of the flora in the top collar have been identified as persea leaves, blue cornflowers, blue lotus petals, and nightshade berries

The black and white photo above shows the sarcophagus of Tutankhamun with face mask and chosen floral collar in place.

The collar below uses olive leaves and cornflowers.

Some of the collars in the cache were bound with red cloth . The resulting combination of red, green, and blue would have been very colorful.

I have been fascinated with Tutankhamun since I was a child. He was my entry into a lifelong fascination with history and archaeology.

Tut was the subject of my very first post!

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