Most archaeologists, no matter where in the world they work, secretly envy our colleagues who get to work in Egypt. Howard Carter’s discovery of the unplundered tomb of Tutankhamun is the ultimate ‘Wow!’ moment in archaeology and Carter’s breathless reply to Lord Carnarvon’s frantic question “What do you see?!” echoes in the dreams of anyone who has ever participated in an archaeological dig. Personally, I’ve never had to opportunity to visit Egypt, let alone get to work there. So it’s exciting to see ancient Egypt coming to Columbus! “To Live Forever: Egyptian Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum” is at the Columbus Museum of Art until June 7th, while “Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science” is going to be at COSI from May 30th to September 7th. For more details about the wonderful things you will get to see at these exhibitions, check out the Egypt in Columbus website: http://www.egyptincolumbus.com
And while you’re pondering the mysteries of ancient Egypt, don’t forget to visit the Ohio Historical Center! We have a mummy on exhibit that has a fascinating history. It was donated to the Historical Society in 1926 by Dr. J. Morton Howell of Waynesfield in Auglaize County. In 1922, Howell served as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Egypt. The mummy is a woman named Nasi-Khonsou-Pa-Khrodou, familiarly known as Nibit-Pi, meaning “the Mistress of the House.” She lived in Thebes during the Ptolemaic, or possibly the Roman period, around 700 B.C. Her father, Abaka-Khonsou, (or more correctly, Baka-ni-Khonsou), was a guardian of the Temple of Amon, at Karnak. There is a painting on the sarcophagus of the goddess Amentet, guardian of the dead. There also are hieroglyphic inscriptions, which were translated by Professor G. Foucart, Director of the French Institute of Archaeology at Cairo, Egypt. Foucart was privileged to be present to witness the official opening of the marble sarcophagus of King Tutankhamun on February 12th, 1924 near Luxor, Egypt.
The inscription on the side of the sarcophagus reads as follows: “Decreed by Harmakhis, Lord of Heaven, Lord Paramount of the Gods; by Sibou, Prince of Divine Beings; by Atoum, Lord of Heliopolis; by Sokar-Osiris, Lord of the Burial; Giver of all offerings and provisions and of all good things, pure and pleasant, by which a God lives. Concerning the Double of the wife of Osiris, Mistress of the Dower, Nasi-ni-Khonsou-Pa-Khrodou, with a just voice, daughter of the Guardian of the Temple of Amon, Baka-ni-Khon-sou and of whom the mother is Hari-Tooui.”
The inscription on the lid of the sarcophagus reads: “Decreed by Harmakhis, the Great God, Lord of the Orient; giver of all offerings and all provisions for the wife of Osiris, Mistress of the Dower Nasi-ni-Khonsou-Pa-Khrodou, her mother, Mistress of the House, Hari-Tooui.” Much of this information came from the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society Quarterly (Volume 36, pp. 323-325).