Mortuary Practices in the Old Kingdom

This week we learned about the mortuary practices of the New Kingdom and the Valley of Kings. The Valley has always been interesting to me because there is an incredible amount to learn from such a small area. With 61 tombs and multiple people buried in most tombs the number of people originally buried in the Valley is huge. Unfortunately, due to the threat of grave robbers, priests were forced to open several of the tombs and remove the mummies for safe keeping. While it is great that we still have these mummies to study today, you have to wonder what kind of evidence was destroyed by these helpful priests. What knowledge could we have gained if we had found these mummies in situ?

Grave robbing is perhaps the biggest detriment to archaeological work today when trying to understand ancient Egypt. Grave robbers took whatever they could, and the Valley of the Kings is no exception. While it might be thought that it was poor Egyptians that did most of the grave robbing but it was often pharaohs as well. Today, we generally don’t go around looting the graves of our founding fathers and former political leaders. In ancient Egypt, there must have been a strong sense of political and social unrest amongst the poor that would make them destroy a “holy” site. Meanwhile, the richest of the rich were also grave robbing to get better things to put in their own tombs. This can lead to some confusion amongst archaeologists of basic timelines and what everything actually means together.

Something that I was surprised to learn was that pharaohs occasionally would take over a previously built tomb and share it with the previous body. I’ve always thought that pharaohs were a bit egotistical and wanted to create a great space for themselves for when they died (be it a pyramid or a regular tomb). Apparently, some of them were content to not create anything at all and just live off of what the people before them had done. This brings up the question of why? Perhaps some of these pharaohs died a sudden death and had no time to build. Or perhaps they were not well liked and so a tomb was never built for them.

Who Built the Pyramids?

The pyramids of Ancient Egypt are some of the most recognizable and amazing structures on earth. You have to look at them in awe due to the sheer size and the amount of resources that must have gone into building each one. So who built them? It was originally thought that slaves were forced to build the pyramids. Recent findings, however, have pointed towards free citizens that were hired labor. These are two very good theories, but let me tell you how it they were really built. Aliens.

A long ago there was a race of super aliens known as the Anunnaki. They specialized in mind control and conducted extensive genetic engineering studies and created a super-race of reptilian beings. Before they even came to Earth, they had already conquered the Pleiades and Mars. Obviously, these super-aliens built the pyramids 20,000 years ago to be used as launching pads for their spacecraft.

Now, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but the so-called ‘evidence’ for aliens building the pyramids is easily explainable. One of their biggest pieces of evidence is how hard it would have been for people with relatively little technology to move these huge stones across the land. They are totally right about that: it would have been hard. However, several modern teams have shown a couple different ways that regular old human beings can move sandstone blocks that weigh a literal ton. One way is to create some sort of sled out of timber or to create a “conveyor belt” made out of logs. These are all technologies that they would have had back in Ancient Egypt.

The pyramids were important to all Egyptians. The common people were building a place for their great leader to be transported to the afterlife and there was also a chance (if they worked on certain parts of the build process) that they would be transported to the great afterlife with them. These people knew that they were creating a great monument that would last for many years so they would try very hard to create something amazing.

It sure is crazy what average human ingenuity can create.

Introducing Jennie Withers

My name is Jennie Withers and I am a senior here at MSU currently going for a BA in Theatre with a focus in stage management. I really like cats and have already committed myself to life as a cat lady as soon as I graduate (so I’ve got some pretty good things going for myself). I have two cats, Sadie and Sid, but Sadie is the only one that lives down here with me. I am originally from Northern Michigan.

I’m taking this class because I’m interested in archaeology and find ancient Egypt particularly exciting. I also enjoy reading about theories that aliens visited earth long ago and hung out with the ancient peoples and ancient Egypt is a particular hotbed of alien theories because of the pyramids (because honestly, what Earthican would ever think to make a triangular building? That’s just way too advanced for us). I’ve always been attracted to ancient Egyptian society because they were pretty advanced and most of their creations are so beautiful. Their society in general is just so interesting and it is situated in an intriguing climate that can be both desolate and extremely fertile at the same time. Also cats were worshipped so that’s awesome. Did you know that cats were often mummified after death and there was a tomb found in 1888 that contained 80,000 cat mummies? I don’t know why they ever stopped worshipping cats. Historians used to think that cats were first domesticated in Egypt but recent discoveries point to domestication in the Fertile Crescent around the time of the development of agriculture.

Alright, I think I’ve rambled on about cats enough. I am a fairly sane person, so don’t let the crazy cat-talk fool you.