Ancient Egyptians Used Quartz & Copper in Religious Artefact

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PostTue May 18, 2010 11:59 pm » by Kingz

WE ALL KNOW THAT QUARTZ / CHRYSTALS HAVE SPECIAL CAPABILITIES ( just food for thought before reading the article) ;)

Synchrotron probes Egyptian beads
May, 18 2010 - ABC Science Online

Not content with managing the household it appears women in Ancient Egypt were also keeping the budget in the black with some home based manufacturing.


That is the conclusion an Australian team has drawn by using synchrotrons to analyse the synthetic turquoise that was popular during the reign of Pharaoh Akhenaten around 1300BC.

Archaeologist Dr Mark Eccleston will outline his findings at the Melbourne Museum in a lecture tomorrow as part of National Archaeology Week.

Eccleston says Egyptian 'faience', a fine-glazed quartz ceramic of distinct turquoise colour, was a common material used in items ranging from simple beads to religious artefacts.

He says while it was known that larger factories were used to produce the faience, his research has shown less prestigious pieces could also have been produced in ovens in household courtyards.

"There is an increasing amount of evidence that work was done in the home to provide extra income for the household," says Eccleston, from La Trobe University in Melbourne.

"Large state industries were effectively sub-contracting labour and the household would get something in return, for example more food."

Women's work
Eccleston says that because women did work in the home, he believes these cottage-type industries were undertaken by women, and possibly even children.

Among the evidence he points to is artefacts made from faience that have been found in household courtyards.

Eccleston has also shown that faience can be 'cooked' at home by demonstrating this in a replica 1300BC bread oven.

"People said you couldn't make a bread oven that hot, but we showed you could," he says.

Enigmatic material
Eccleston says faience remains "an enigmatic" material to archaeologists as little is known about how and by whom it was made and exactly what materials it was created from.

In his project with La Trobe University physicist Dr Peter Kappen, Eccleston has placed small faience beads in a synchrotron beam to determine the raw materials, and from where those materials were sourced.

He says the synchrotron can reveal levels of detail never before possible about the structure of raw materials used to make ancient glazes and the minerals used to colour them.

"By being able to tell where these raw materials were sourced, we'll be able to answer other questions about the economy of trade in bronze and metals, how industries were set up and how materials were distributed throughout society for different purposes," says Eccleston.

He says the work has shown the copper is barely present in the glaze, which raises questions about the method of its extraction.

"It may be they were leaching copper out of bits of metal in some solution," says Eccleston.

Urine test
The collaborators will now test a number of solutions, including urine, to see if a similar result can be achieved.

"We know copper was used, but it is like trying to replicate a chocolate cake," says Eccleston.

"You know it is chocolate, but what type of chocolate? Is it 85% Lindt or Cadbury dairy milk?"

Eccleston says they aim to replicate the creation of faience in the laboratory using a mineralised solution.

He says they will then compare this with ancient faience, to see if they have found the right recipe.

Eccleston says the aim of their study is to demonstrate the success of the technique in the hope of accessing artefacts in the Berlin museum from Akhenaten's capital Amarna, excavated by German archaeologists about a 100 years ago. ... beads.html
The Map Is Not The Territory, The Word Is Not The Object....

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PostSat May 22, 2010 10:24 am » by Kingz

Again the connection between South America and Ancient Egypt - COPPER

New pyramid discovered in Peru linked to ancient copper industry
May, 21 2010 - The Independent

A team of archaeologists who uncovered a 1,400 year old pyramid in Peru say that the finding is particularly unusual. The flat topped pyramid, which was built by the Moche culture, was used for the living rather than just for the dead, and contains a wealth of artefacts, murals and human remains.


The pyramid was discovered at Huaca Colorada, which translates as 'coloured hill'. Excavation leader Professor Edward Swenson, of the University of Toronto, describes how he suspected that the area may be archaeologically significant. "I knew it was more than a natural hill  this was modified."

Swenson's hunch paid off. With the pyramid so far only partially uncovered, archaeologists have already made remarkable discoveries. "Our biggest surprise was that at the top of this pyramid construction we found elite residences", said Prof Swenson, who added that it is very unusual to find pyramids used in this way. The Moche are known to have used pyramids for burials and ritual activity rather than everyday living.

The living complex would have housed no more than 25 people, and was complete with patios, a kitchen, and stands for 'paica'  large vessels for storing water and corn beer. The team also identified a bin used to hold guinea pigs: "The preservation was so good that we actually came across guinea pig coprolites (faeces)."

Several murals covered the corridors at the pyramid's summit. The best-preserved of these depicts a Moche warrior - who Swenson describes as looking "like a Smurf" - carrying a club. Other murals include a depiction of what appears to be a cactus with two mountain peaks and a rainbow, and a representation of two litter-bearers carrying a person.

Evidence of ritual sacrifice was also discovered at the site. The skeletons of three adolescent girls, and body parts belonging to four other individuals, were found on a platform at the top of the pyramid. The girls were buried with beads around their neck and their feet were close together, suggesting that they had been bound. Charring on the girls' knees indicate that their bodies were subject to "ritualistic burning."

This evidence raises the possibility that the girls were sacrificed as part of a ritual, something not uncommon among the Moche. However physical anthropologists examining the skeletons could find no evidence of trauma. This means the girls either died naturally or were killed in such a way that no evidence was left on their bones. "It's possible they were sacrificed but we don't know," adds Prof Swenson.

To the south of the pyramid the team found a large number of copper artefacts including spatulas, knives, smelting receptacles and ornaments. "I've never found such a high quantity of copper," says Swenson. "The power of these elites could very much have been grounded in control of copper production."

Huaca Colorada is near the coast of Peru where copper is scarce, so the site's rulers would have had to trade with people living in the mountains, at least 200km to the east. Swenson speculates that the rulers "may have been considered lords  but lords of a particular kind  in transforming ore into finished products". Alternatively, says Swenson, there could have been a "corporation of co-operating but high status practitioners."

Huaca Colorada appears to be undefended. Swenson said the team found "no walls, no sling-stones... unlike many of the sites built on the coastal hills." The area surrounding the settlement was mostly flat, and would have offered little resistance from invaders. There was certainly warfare in the Moche world, but perhaps, for some unknown reason, Huaca Colorada and its pyramid were off-limits to invaders. "It's kind of like (the) open city of Rome in World War II," says Swenson. "I don't know exactly what's going on."

Excavation work continues at the site, and researchers will conduct a GPR survey on the pyramid this summer to determine its size. ... ustry.html
The Map Is Not The Territory, The Word Is Not The Object....

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