Marie Svoboda is an associate conservator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum, and she is a specialist when it comes to what are called “mummy portraits.” These are works of funerary art that were attached to the mummies of upper class citizens during the Roman occupation of Egypt. They were painted with the utmost realism and attention to detail, and they are exquisitely beautiful, seeming almost to glow even after all these centuries. Below is a special report from CNN in which Marie Svoboda describes her work.
And here is a podcast in which the conservator shares some further details about mummy portraits:
A beautiful new sphinx from the Ptolemaic era (circa 305–30 BCE) has (accidentally) been discovered in Kom Ombo, Egypt. Most people today are aware that the sphinx is a popular Egyptian symbol, but not as many can say what it means. First, it’s important to distinguish between Greek and Egyptian sphinxes. Greek sphinxes are depicted as female monsters that go around telling riddles and eating those who can’t answer them. Egyptian sphinxes, on the other hand, are generally male and benevolent, guarding temples and tombs. I should also point out that the Egyptians did not refer to their sphinxes as such, since this word is not Egyptian but Greek. The most famous Egyptian sphinx, the Great Sphinx of Giza, was actually called Hor-Em-Akhet (“Horus of the Horizon”) in New Kingdom times (circa 1550–1077 BCE).
The final resting place of Mehu, an Egyptian official who lived during the time of King Teti in the 6th dynasty (circa 2345–2333 BCE), has now been opened to the public. It has been undergoing restoration work ever since it was originally discovered by Dr. Zaki Saad in 1940. Now it can be enjoyed by anyone who travels to Egypt, not just archaeologists. May the soul of Mehu rejoice in his newfound fame and glory!
This is an interesting report about a mysterious sarcophagus that has been discovered at a construction site in Alexandria, Egypt. The coffin is unusual because it contained not one, not two, but three mummies who were evidently buried together for the price of one.