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Damaged Carving Recovered from Shrine at Tell Edfu

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Tell Edfu sculptureCHICAGO, ILLINOIS—Live Science reports that a carving of a man and a woman recovered from a 3,500-year-old shrine in a villa at Tell Edfu, in southern Egypt, may have been damaged in antiquity by someone who wanted to erase the couple’s existence in the afterlife. Nadine Moeller of the Tell Edfu Project and the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute said the shrine may have been dedicated to the ancestors of those who lived in the villa. The faces of the man and woman, along with identifying hieroglyphics, were scratched out of the sculpture, so the researchers are trying to reconstruct the information. “For the ancient Egyptians, being remembered after death was very important, so they would receive offerings in the netherworld,” Moeller explained. “By erasing someone’s name, you are also taking away their identity and the good deeds they did during their lifetimes for which they will be remembered after death.” Other artifacts recovered from the shrine could offer clues to help solve the puzzle, Moeller said. For example, a black diorite statuette depicts a scribe identified in hieroglyphic inscriptions as “Juf,” but scholars at this point do not know whether he is the same man shown in the damaged carving. To read about another recent discovery in Egypt, go to “Mummy Workshop.”

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