Gardens in ancient Egypt

This weekend was the Weinberg Lecture of Egyptology, held at the Museum once a year. Around 180 people came out on this lovely North Carolina spring Sunday (that would be the equivalent of a lovely Québec summer day) to hear Danish Egyptologist Dr. Lise Manniche speak about gardens in ancient Egypt.

Dr. Lise Manniche visiting the Egyptian galleries at the NCMA.

Dr. Lise Manniche visiting the Egyptian galleries at the NCMA.

It was a great lecture with fabulous illustrations found on temple or tomb walls of what Egyptians planted in their gardens.  The lecture played very well with the theme of my Egyptology seminar and the recent Art in Bloom event.  Evidently, Lise likes flowers and plants very much so today I took her to the Raulston Arboretum near the NCMA and we also walked the trails in the Museum Park. It was a glorious day, being outside was wonderful.

It was great fun spending a weekend with a fellow Egyptologist…

Botany in Ancient Egypt – Part 2

Here’s part 2 of the Herbology Manchester post on plants in ancient Egypt. Enjoy!

Herbology Manchester

by Jemma

Part 1 of this blog post (https://herbologymanchester.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/botany-in-ancient-egypt-part-1/) focused primarily on how the ancient Egyptians acquired their extensive botanical knowledge. This second blog post will now look more closely at some of the plants that they commonly used – some of which you may know!

An Egyptian mummy wrapped in garlands of unidentified plants. An Egyptian mummy wrapped in garlands of unidentified plants.

Papyrus

One of the most well-known plants associated with ancient Egypt is Cyperus papyrus. The most famous use for this plant was to make an early form of paper. However, papyrus was used by the Egyptians for multiple purposes and was not limited solely to the production of paper. Other common uses of papyrus include the production of ropes, mats, baskets, sandals and chairs. The plant was also used to hold together bouquets of flowers and eaten as food. The open head of a papyrus plant was also a hieroglyph called ‘wadj’, meaning ‘green’, or…

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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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