5 - 11 August 1999
Issue No. 441
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
Egypt Region International Economy Opinion Culture Profile Focus Interview Features Travel Living Sports Time Out Chronicles People Cartoons Letters
Focus on ancient life
This is one of the latest sites dealing with archaeology. It was launched in May by Emory University and the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester. It is one of those sites which you never tire of surfing. There is not much text; the impact lies more in the photos and concise and accurate information.
Unlike other sites that deal with Egyptian archaeology, this one lays less stress on ancient sites (tombs, temples, statues and discoveries) and more on life in ancient Egypt. It shows the surfer what the Ancient Egyptians wore, how they dressed and what they worshipped.
The site opens with the following phrase: "When we think about Egypt, camels, pyramids and mummies often come to mind. That's not surprising since much of what we know about ancient Egypt comes from the tombs of Egyptians and the objects found buried with them. No one knows what life was like in ancient Egypt, but their objects tell us a lot. Egyptian fashion, religious beliefs, recreational activities and much more can be explored through the art they created and included in their burials."
The appearance of the site is typically Egyptian with Pharaonic drawings, a photo of a camel in motion as well as a fine map of the country locating most of the ancient sites including Assiut, Aswan, Cairo, Giza, Memphis and Thebes, including Karnak. Click on the area of your choice and you will hear how is name is pronounced.
The site is divided into six main sections: people, mythology, daily life, death and burial, writing and archaeology.
The first, on people, is shows a social pyramid with the pharaoh on top and slaves and servants at the bottom and where all the government officials, nobles and priests, soldiers, scribes, merchants, artisans and farmers fit in between. We learn that people usually married within their social group and plied the same jobs as their parents. This section includes the names of some of Egypt's most famous rulers such as Tutankhamun and Cleopatra.
In the mythology section, the Internet user will learn of the religious creed of Ancient Egyptians as well as the gods and goddesses they worshipped. Each Egyptian city or region had its own god but also worshipped many other gods beside their own protective deity.
The Internet user gets to know the importance of religion in Ancient Egyptian society. The pharaoh performed rituals to the gods to ensure that the world remained in harmony and the people assured of bountiful crops. These official state ceremonies were performed in temples throughout Egypt, but most Egyptians did not participate. The site informs us that the popular religion took other forms; people used magical charms or amulets to ward off danger and they worshipped popular gods and goddesses to protect them during special events in their lives, such as child birth.
The site describes the homes of Ancient Egyptians and how they were made of mud-brick, while wealthy homes were decorated with wall paintings on the inside. Furnishings were simple and people slept on wooden beds and used headrests instead of pillows.
The section provides information on what ancient Egyptians used to wear and informs the viewer that the linen was woven from flax and it was the most common fabric for clothing. Men usually wore a simple kilt tied at the waist and women wore a sheath.
As for the death and burial section, there are no gory mummies here, but concise information about the different tombs such as mastabas, pyramids and rock-cut tombs, each accompanied by pertinent photos.
Egyptian methods of writing are covered, starting with hieroglyphics -- and it is mentioned that there are about 700 different signs -- moving on to Hieratic, the cursive writing, and then the later, even quicker form of writing, called Demotic.
Reviewed byRehab Saad