Rome’s lonely pyramid gets a new lease of life

Yes, there is a pyramid in Rome.  A Roman pyramid, but a pyramid nonetheless.  Actually, it is the only surviving Egyptian-style pyramid of Antiquity still standing in Rome (once there were four). It belonged to a man named Caius Cestius…

As featured in The Guardian article. Photograph: Domenico Stinellis/AP

As featured in The Guardian article. Photograph: Domenico Stinellis/AP

It received a much needed conservation treatment last year… and it is now opened to the public.  I have seen the exterior of this little monument many years ago, but never the inside. (It’s was so long ago that I don’t even have a digital picture of it.) I should visit it again the next time I am in Rome; it’s not on my bucket list, but every Egyptologist should go see it and not just from the outside!

You can read this article in The Guardian about the conservation treatment, Rome’s lonely Pyramid of Cestius gets a new lease of life.

The Kelsey’s Ugly Object of the Month

Suzanne at the Kelsey had mentioned this blog post idea when I visited last month. I’m glad it came into being because ‘ugly’ objects can be very important–sometimes more important than pretty ones!
Enjoy this post on Aphrodite and her prosthetic legs!

The Kelsey Blog

BY SUZANNE DAVIS, Curator for Conservation, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

Beauty isn’t everything at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology; we value all evidence of life in the ancient world, even when the object is, erm, ugly. This month’s ugly object is an Aphrodite figurine made from copper alloy (aka bronze).

Figurine of Aphrodite. Bronze. Late 3rd century AD? KMA 10888. Before treatment. Figurine of Aphrodite. Bronze. Late 3rd century AD? KMA 10888. Before treatment.

I would never argue that Aphrodite herself is unattractive, but this figurine has seen better days. It was severely corroded when excavated at Karanis, Egypt, in the 1930s, and the legs were in pieces. Sometime after excavation, the corrosion patina was stripped with an electrochemical treatment that was once popular for archaeological metals. This resulted in a dull, brown, pitted surface with multiple holes.

Fast forward to 2015, when this object was chosen for a special exhibition. We wanted to reattach the feet and other fragments, but the…

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Amenhotep III back on his feet

A statue of Amenhotep III has been put together again and raised back to his feet after it had toppled over during an earthquake…. more than 3000 years ago. You can read an article about this in Art Daily by clicking on the link.

Amenhotep III was an extremely prolific builder and there are numerous statues in His Majesty’s likeness still buried at his mortuary temple on the West Bank of Thebes, near Luxor.  I have a soft spot for this pharaoh… here’s a photo of yours truly at his feet. Literally.

At the feet of Amenhotep III

At the feet of Amenhotep III… a colossal statue of the king and his wife in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.