COSI’s Lost Egypt Exhibition

Stump Dr. Mark Lehner by COSI
June 17, 2009, 9:36 am
Filed under: From the Field | Tags: , , , ,

Author: Carli

Dr. Mark Lehner, who was at the Lost Egypt exhibit opening, is featured in COSI’s weekly podcast segment called “Stump the Scientist.” This week’s question comes from a young girl who attended the Member Preview on the exhibit opening day. She wanted to know how old the pyramids were, and how anyone could tell their age. There may not be anyone on the planet better equipped to answer that question than Dr. Mark Lehner, Director of Ancient Egypt Research Associates and foremost expert on the Sphinx.

Dr. Lehner recently paired up with Dr. Zahi Hawass, of the Supreme Council of Antiquities to film a documentary about the Sphinx, the Lost City, and the AERA Field School. The filming was a chance for the two archaeologists to take a walk down memory lane together. According to Hawass:

“On the third day of filming, Mark Lehner and I talked about how we met over thirty years ago, and how our friendship grew as we worked together, starting our first excavation to the northeast of the Sphinx. We found evidence from the different ages that the Sphinx has witnessed, including the Old Kingdom, the New Kingdom, and the Roman Period. We have been working together for decades to understand this amazing monument, and I am so happy that the two of us could tell our story together – as two boys who met in front of the Sphinx, became friends, and grew up to reveal its secrets.”

Dr. Lehner talks more about the project in the AERA newsletter. For more of Dr. Zahi Hawass on the Sphinx film, visit his blog.


Photo Panoramic Views of Giza and Cairo by COSI
March 5, 2008, 9:07 am
Filed under: Trip to Egypt | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Here are some images that have multiple photos stitched together to give you a panoramic view of what we’re experiencing. It’s pretty amazing:

Giza Pyramids and Cairo View from Mountain

View from the Giza Plateau

Night View of the Sphinx and Giza from the Ground

Some Colors of Life Never Fade by Kate
March 4, 2008, 7:19 pm
Filed under: Trip to Egypt | Tags: , , , , ,

Author: Kate

One of the most amazing things was seeing colors still on the walls after thousands of years. Many of the images of everyday life in Egypt were faded to the color of the original stone, but there were bits of rust-orange, blue-green faience, and ochre yellow contrasting with the warm brown of the stone.

We ended up at the Tomb of Ptah-hotep, which was absolutely beautiful. Relief-carved hieroglyphics were right next to intricate images of life in Egypt, with scenes of offerings to the deceased and scenes from life in ancient Egypt – people preparing food, a scribe writing, idealized figures of men and women in rich colors adorning the walls.

Yesterday I thought nothing could be as incredible as seeing the pyramids and the Sphinx – that every day after that couldn’t help but be a bit of a letdown. Instead, each day brings new surprises and stories.

Carli Asked Our Guide What the Hieroglyphics Mean

A Part of Something Larger than Life by Josh
March 3, 2008, 9:34 pm
Filed under: Trip to Egypt | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Author: Josh

There are few moments in one’s life that one can truly describe as transcendent, where you become fully aware of being a part of something larger than yourself. Today I felt more of those moments than I was perhaps due in a lifetime.

Arriving at the pyramids was breathtaking. They sit, quite literally, just outside of Cairo (or, as our guide pointed out, just outside of Giza-technically, all of the city west of the Nile is Giza), with the gates to the Sphinx located directly across the street from a Pizza Hut. Walking up to these tremendous structures takes your breath away, especially when one considers the scope of these construction projects. But the transcendent moments began when we met with Dr. Ana Tavares at the Lost City site.

Having worked on this project for several months now, I’ve read quite a bit about the Lost City: how it was discovered, how it was excavated, how its mere presence confirms that the incredible monuments of the Giza Plateau were built not by slaves but by a well-fed, well-cared for workforce. But to stand at that site, with the pyramids towering in the background, speaking to a woman whose work had quite literally helped to rewrite history…well, suffice it to say there’s a reason we’ve chosen to tell this story in the exhibit.

Looking back, I realize that this exhibit we’re building is bigger than any one of us; it’s the surreptitious meeting of hundreds of separate elements, all lending themselves to the creation of what we hope will be a spectacular whole. I wonder if any of those workers whose homes we stood in today felt something similar almost 5,000 years ago.

Egypt Fun Facts We’ve Learned So Far… by Carli
March 3, 2008, 6:51 am
Filed under: Trip to Egypt | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Author: Carli

I want to share some fun facts that we’ve learned along the way.
In no particular order:

  • The population of Cairo is 18 million during the day, and 16 million at night (2 million commute into the city to work).
  • 90% of Egypt is desert; 5% residential; 5% farmland
  • Cairo is 1000 years old
  • Islam was introduced to Egypt in 641 AD
  • 90% of the country is Sunni Muslim
  • Eucalyptus trees grow everywhere due to the similar climate to Australia
  • Egyptian schools give students a grade based on a percentage of all subjects rather than an A, B, C, style system.
  • Salaries increased based on multi-lingual abilities specifically English, French, and German
  • The Nile runs north!
  • The Sphinx faces east toward the sunrise.
  • The Sphinx was cut from a single piece of limestone.

Amazing 5,000 Year Old Pottery