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Concept: Egyptians


Volcanic eruptions provide tests of human and natural system sensitivity to abrupt shocks because their repeated occurrence allows the identification of systematic relationships in the presence of random variability. Here we show a suppression of Nile summer flooding via the radiative and dynamical impacts of explosive volcanism on the African monsoon, using climate model output, ice-core-based volcanic forcing data, Nilometer measurements, and ancient Egyptian writings. We then examine the response of Ptolemaic Egypt (305-30 BCE), one of the best-documented ancient superpowers, to volcanically induced Nile suppression. Eruptions are associated with revolt onset against elite rule, and the cessation of Ptolemaic state warfare with their great rival, the Seleukid Empire. Eruptions are also followed by socioeconomic stress with increased hereditary land sales, and the issuance of priestly decrees to reinforce elite authority. Ptolemaic vulnerability to volcanic eruptions offers a caution for all monsoon-dependent agricultural regions, presently including 70% of world population.The degree to which human societies have responded to past climatic changes remains unclear. Here, using a novel combination of approaches, the authors show how volcanically-induced suppression of Nile summer flooding led to societal unrest in Ptolemaic Egypt (305-30 BCE).

Concepts: Ancient Egypt, Egypt, Egyptians, Egyptian Arabic, Egyptian language, Achaemenid Empire, Egyptian hieroglyphs, Cleopatra VII


The Ancient Egyptians wrote Calendars of Lucky and Unlucky Days that assigned astronomically influenced prognoses for each day of the year. The best preserved of these calendars is the Cairo Calendar (hereafter CC) dated to 1244-1163 B.C. We have presented evidence that the 2.85 days period in the lucky prognoses of CC is equal to that of the eclipsing binary Algol during this historical era. We wanted to find out the vocabulary that represents Algol in the mythological texts of CC. Here we show that Algol was represented as Horus and thus signified both divinity and kingship. The texts describing the actions of Horus are consistent with the course of events witnessed by any naked eye observer of Algol. These descriptions support our claim that CC is the oldest preserved historical document of the discovery of a variable star. The period of the Moon, 29.6 days, has also been discovered in CC. We show that the actions of Seth were connected to this period, which also strongly regulated the times described as lucky for Heaven and for Earth. Now, for the first time, periodicity is discovered in the descriptions of the days in CC. Unlike many previous attempts to uncover the reasoning behind the myths of individual days, we discover the actual rules in the appearance and behaviour of deities during the whole year.

Concepts: Moon, Ancient Egypt, Egypt, Egyptians, Egyptian Arabic, Egyptian language, Coptic language, Variable star


Over many centuries, the ancient Egyptians developed a method of preserving bodies so they would remain lifelike. Mummification of bodies was originally a natural process in Egypt, which evolved to a sophisticated embalming system to preserve the individual for the afterlife. Afterwards, mummification continued to be practiced in Egypt for some three thousand years, lasting until the end of the Christian era In the Coptic necropolis of Qarara (Middle Egypt) a total of 17 mummified individuals were studied during the 2012 campaign. One of them was a 6 to 8 old-year male child, which damaged skull allowed us to see the meningeal structures covering the entire cranial vault, in absence of brain remains. This finding in a child mummy is very exceptional, as reflected in the specialized literature.

Concepts: Ancient Egypt, Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Egypt, Egyptians, Embalming, Mummy, Coptic language, British Museum


The Egyptian state was formed prior to the existence of verifiable historical records. Conventional dates for its formation are based on the relative ordering of artefacts. This approach is no longer considered sufficient for cogent historical analysis. Here, we produce an absolute chronology for Early Egypt by combining radiocarbon and archaeological evidence within a Bayesian paradigm. Our data cover the full trajectory of Egyptian state formation and indicate that the process occurred more rapidly than previously thought. We provide a timeline for the First Dynasty of Egypt of generational-scale resolution that concurs with prevailing archaeological analysis and produce a chronometric date for the foundation of Egypt that distinguishes between historical estimates.

Concepts: Chronology, Greek loanwords, Statistical inference, History, Egyptians, Archaeology, Egyptology, Early Dynastic Period of Egypt


Looking at Egypt before, during and after the Arab Spring, this paper examines the intersection of Christian Copts, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian army, moderate Muslims and secular groups. In turn, it examines the Obama administration’s policies toward Egypt. It discloses the surprising finding that the only consistent aspect of the administration’s policy toward Egypt has been outreach to and engagement with the Muslim Brotherhood. At no time before or after the Brotherhood’s ascent to prominence in Egyptian politics and society did the administration make support of the Brotherhood conditional. At no time did it use US leverage - given the massive amount of financial and military aid Egypt was depending on, and given the new Egyptian government’s desire for prestige in the world community-to pressure the Morsi government to respect human rights, religious liberty and the impartial rule of law. Arguing that American foreign policy at its best is rooted in democratic ideals, this paper asks whether the United States, while respecting that Egyptians must choose their leaders and their political system, could have done more to encourage a positive strategic, moral and political outcome.

Concepts: Law, Islam, Political philosophy, Egypt, Egyptians, Democracy, Copt, Muslim Brotherhood


This article provides an overview of the first results from archaeological investigations at Wadi el-Sheikh in Egypt by the University of Vienna Middle Egypt Project. Chert was an important raw material used to produce tools, implements and jewelry in ancient times. Wadi el-Sheikh was exploited over thousands of years as it was probably the most important source of chert in Pharaonic civilization. The results of our new investigations that involved surveys and test excavations indicate the presence of large scale mining activities in the first half of the 3rd Millennium B.C.E. which allow for detailed insights into the amount of raw material extracted, the mining methods used and the lithic products manufactured in this area. These aspects are contextualized on the background of ancient Egyptian state-organized resource acquisition strategies and economy.

Concepts: Middle East, Ancient Egypt, Egypt, Egyptians, Archaeology, Ancient history, Egyptian language, Ancient Near East


The curse of ancient Egyptian DNA was lifted by a recent study which sequenced the mitochondrial genomes (mtGenome) of 90 ancient Egyptians from the archaeological site of Abusir el-Meleq. Surprisingly, these ancient inhabitants were more closely related to those from the Near East than to contemporary Egyptians. It has been accepted that the timeless highway of the Nile River seeded Egypt with African genetic influence, well before pre-Dynastic times. Here we report on the successful recovery and analysis of the complete mtGenome from a burial recovered from a remote Romano-Christian cemetery, Kellis 2 (K2). K2 serviced the ancient municipality of Kellis, a village located in the Dakhleh Oasis in the southwest desert in Egypt. The data were obtained by high throughput sequencing (HTS) performed independently at two ancient DNA facilities (Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, Dover, DE, USA and Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA). These efforts produced concordant haplotypes representing a U1a1a haplogroup lineage. This result indicates that Near Eastern maternal influence previously identified at Abusir el-Meleq was also present further south, in ancient Kellis during the Romano-Christian period.

Concepts: DNA, Ancient Egypt, Egypt, Egyptians, Egyptian Arabic, Nile, Egyptian language, Coptic language


This article examines geographies of decolonization and the Cold War through a case study in the making of archeological knowledge. The article focuses on an archeological dig that took place in Egypt in the period between the July 1952 Free Officers' coup and the 1956 Suez crisis. Making use of the notion of the ‘boundary object’, this article demonstrates how the excavation of ancient Egyptian remains at the site of Mit Rahina helped to constitute Nasserist revolutionary modernity and its relationship to wider, post-Second World War political geographies. The dig took place as a result of an Egyptian-American collaboration designed to institute the possibility of archeology taking place along the lines of the Point Four modernization program promoted by the United States. The article discusses how this situation not only engendered contention surrounding the role of the international ‘experts’ appointed to run this excavation work, but also - and as a result - helped to constitute the monumental visual and material shape that archeological evidence relating to the Egyptian past could now take. Egypt’s revolution sat within wider Cold War political struggles, yet the ‘ground-up’ realities of this relationship helped to constitute the sort of past (and future) monumentality proposed by Nasser’s government.

Concepts: United States, Ancient Egypt, Egypt, Egyptians, Cold War, Archaeology, Suez Canal, Suez Crisis



To translate and cross-culturally adapt the Skindex-16, a brief skin-disease-specific QoL questionnaire, into Arabic for Egyptians and to evaluate its measurement properties in Egyptian patients with skin disease.

Concepts: Quality, Egypt, Egyptians, Egyptian Arabic, Arabic language, Varieties of Arabic, Egyptian language, Coptic language