COSI’s Lost Egypt Exhibition

Another Day, Another Pyramid by COSI
November 11, 2008, 2:26 pm
Filed under: The Big Picture | Tags: , , ,

Author: Josh

Another big announcement out of Egypt: Dr. Zahi Hawass has just announced that a team of archaeologists has discovered the remains of a previously unknown pyramid at Saqqara, the 118th pyramid that we know of in Egypt.

Djoser Pyramid Complex

Djoser Pyramid Complex

You may recall that one of the stops we made in Egypt was in Saqqara, and it’s an amazing place. It’s the location of the first Egyptian pyramid, the pyramid of Djoser, and a great deal of Old Kingdom mastabas. You may also remember that this is the second pyramid to be uncovered at Saqqara this year, which seems unreal until you consider how much Egyptian history remains buried in the sand.

Consider this from Dr. Sarah Parcak, one of the Egyptologists whom we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing… Her work uses satellite imagery and other remote sensing methods to locate new archaeological sites in Egypt. When she compares the size and number of the new sites that she has discovered to the size and number of all current and previous Egyptian archaeological digs, she estimates that only 0.01% of the archaeological sites in Egypt have been examined!

There’s truly a lot of Lost Egypt left to find. Here’s another link that gives a taste of some of what’s left to be uncovered.

I know I’m going to keep an eye on Dr. Hawass’s website

Prototyping a Camel by COSI
May 22, 2008, 2:31 pm
Filed under: Construction News | Tags: , , , , ,

Author: Kate Storm

We’re working on my favorite exhibit components for Lost Egypt – a life-sized camel! Our project partners on the exhibition, The Science Museum of Minnesota, found an amazing company, Blue Rhino Studios – – to design and build a camel for us.

We’ve been looking at materials, size, scale, and all the other issues that go into designing a large one-humped camel, aka “Camelus dromedarius,” if you like to know the Latin genus and species. One-humped camels are called dromedaries, and are found in North Africa and the Near East. Two-humped camels are called bactrians or “Camelus bactrianus,” and are typically found in central Asia. We only saw the dromedaries in Egypt, probably because it’s in North Africa.

While camels aren’t really used much for transportation in Egypt today, you can still see them at the Giza Plateau and at Saqqara. We saw the camel below, which gave rides to tourists. I loved the colorful halter, although the picture really can’t capture the smell of a camel in the hot sun, which is definitely something…memorable. See the long eyelashes? They’re great for protecting the camel’s eyes from the desert sand.

In Saqqara, the guards rode camels, so the gear was less gaudy and more utilitarian. We needed to get photo references for Blue Rhino while we were in Egypt, since it’s challenging to figure out exactly what a camel looks like lying down. Their legs fold in on themselves like origami – very strange! So we asked the guards if we could take pictures of their guard camel. They laughed when they noticed us taking this photo of the back end.

Blue Rhino has produced lots of other animals as well – check out the detail on the moose, bobcat, and other animals on their website. The artists at their studio have designed a small clay model, called a maquette, which you can see below.

A maquette is a small scale model which is useful to test your concepts, without the expense of producing a full-sized version. This prototype is studied by the whole design team, and changes are made to it. We’ve already made several changes to our camel based on the maquette, including the way the head is turned and the angle of the neck. The human being in the model is scaled to represent someone 6’ tall, just to give an idea of the camel’s size. I can’t wait to see this when it’s done!


From Sun to Sand at Saqqara by Carli
March 4, 2008, 8:23 pm
Filed under: Trip to Egypt | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Author: Carli

Today we traveled to Saqqara, an archaeological site about an hour from Cairo. The monuments span 3,000 years, with the centerpiece being the massive Step Pyramid of Djoser. The structure was built for 3rd Dynasty King Djoser, and became the prototype for the pyramids of Giza and others. Each of the impressive layers is actually a mastaba, which prior to being stacked for the building of the Step Pyramid, had only ever been built as a single low-flat, mudbrick tombs.

Everywhere you look from the Step Pyramid are giant sand dunes, crumbling ruins, and entrances to magnificent tombs. Each adventure into the tombs started with the tremendous contrast from the blazing sun and scorching sand into the dark and humid tombs with cold limestone walls and floors. Then each room we entered seemed to have more spectacular hieroglyphics than the one before.

Our tour guide read line after line, picture after picture of stories from the walls. We were able to take our cameras and video equipment into these exclusive areas and get such incredible footage, that I became giddy thinking how we will be bringing text books to life with this exhibit! Of course then I immediately began thinking how great the COSI logo will look on all of these images!