Botany in Ancient Egypt – Part 1

Spring is on its way to Raleigh! Little buds are visible on trees and at the Museum we’re preparing for a big Art in Bloom event. Campbell at Manchester reblogged this post this morning and I thought it fitting for the new season about to begin. I’m reblogging from the original post on Herbology Manchester.

I’m so glad spring is almost here!

Herbology Manchester

by Jemma

During my research into the Materia Medica collection (plant, animal and mineral based medicines used in from the 1800s) at the Manchester Museum, I have notice a recurring feature; many of the plants had in fact been used by humans for thousands of years and a large portion of these by the ancient Egyptians!

Plants featured heavily in Egyptian culture: in food, medicine, religion, perfumes and beyond. Early medicinal texts, such as the Ebers Papyrus from 1550 BCE, provide detailed insight into their extensive herbal knowledge. Unfortunately no complete record has yet to be found, but the fragments that have survived show just how knowledgeable these ancient peoples were when it came to plants and their uses. Many of the applications documented are the same used right up until the introduction of modern medicinal practices. Even today, large portions of herbal remedies used as ‘alternative’ medicines feature plants…

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Exodus: Gods and Kings

This morning as I was reading the latest post on the Egypt at Manchester blog, I came across interesting observations on Ridley Scott’s extravagant Egyptian production, Exodus: Gods and Kings. The post looks at the portrayal of ancient Egypt in this particular movie and ‘the myth of authenticity.’

Generally, I watch movies set in ancient Egypt as well as films dealing with museums or archaeology because people inevitably ask me what I think about them.  However, I could not bring myself to actually pay money to see this latest incarnation of the Moses/Exodus story. (Plus, I’m not a fan of Christian Bale to start with… anyway.) As I read Kristin’s post, I felt I hadn’t missed much… and probably avoided giving myself a concussion from banging my head on the wall in Egyptological dismay. My own observations, had I seen the movie, would undoubtedly have been similar to hers.

Exodus: Gods and Kings and the myth of authenticity was posted on David Bordwell’s website on cinema.  Read it clicking on the blue link.

Hatshepsut on the BBC

While reading the latest post on the Manchester Museum’s WordPress blog, I noticed in the comments a mention of a BBC Radio 4 programme about Hatshepsut.  Intrigued, I followed the link and listened to the programme. It was great fun to listen to Campbell and two other colleagues talk about this amazing woman who ruled Egypt during the Eighteenth Dynasty.  Click the link to listen: Hatshepsut BBC Radio 4.

One of my photos of a superb statue of Hatshepsut as pharaoh. She wears wears full male regalia, but she remains so exquisitely delicate and feminine. This incredible work of art is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

One of my photos of a superb statue of Hatshepsut as pharaoh. She wears the regalia of male rulers, but she remains so exquisitely delicate and feminine. This incredible work of art is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Egypt @ Manchester

Conferences are great venues for networking and while reading the (rather impressive) programme for the CIPEG meeting I noticed that some Egyptologists I had been hoping to meet for a while were actually presenting.

One of these scholars is the current curator of Egypt and Sudan at the Manchester Museum, Dr. Campbell Price. I have been following his blog for a while and knew of his recent work and discoveries. Plus, I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the museum a few years ago, before Campbell started working there. The Manchester Museum has always been a hub for mummy studies and they have a fantastic collection of daily life artefacts.  I did indeed meet Campbell during the CIPEG meeting and he’s super nice. (Apparently he reads my blog!)

Today, I’ve added a new page about the Manchester Museum in the Photo Diary and I also invite you to discover what’s going on at the museum from Campbell’s tweets and posts.

The coffins of the 'Two Brothers,' stars of the Manchester Museum!

The coffins of the ‘Two Brothers,’ stars of the Manchester Museum!