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The Lost Queen of Egypt

March 21, 2009 by · No comments

Translated from Bulgarian by Mariana Velichkova

The civilization of ancient Egypt existed for three thousand years in a flux between periods of stability known as “Kingdoms” and intermediate periods of general instability. According to etymologists the word ’Egypt’ means ‘two straits’ – it relates to the dynasty separation of Upper and Lower Egypt during the time of the first Pharaoh. After the end of the last kingdom, the ancient civilization gradually declined under foreign invaders. The rule of Pharaoh officially disappeared in 31 BC, during the Roman conquest of Egypt.

Photo: exfordy

Egypt – a desert enigma, and the deceitful impression of a mystery easily solved. Mysteries and riddles continue to fire the imagination with the power of the scorching sun. The air seems to melt into a haze—zigzag forms, and the sand burns.

Photo: joanne_matt

A unique ‘maze of tombs’ and an open path to the past—unresolved mysteries.
2007, was a memorable year for archeologists and Egyptologists— the second most significant discovery since finding the tomb of Tutankhamen – the year they identified the 3000-year old mummy of Hatshepsut, the first and greatest female pharaoh of Egypt.

Photo: eviljohnius

Regardless of the undeniable contribution of Hatshepsut to the history of Egypt, and her power as a ruler which had spread even across the borders of the country, information and evidence of her deeds had been deleted from the Egyptian history. Her temples had been destroyed and her remains taken out of the tomb.

Photo: girolame

As shown on the Discovery Channel, in the program, Presenting Dr. Zahi Hawass, a team of experts in the field of archeology was led by Dr. Hawass, a forensic expert, in using advanced technology to identify the ruler’s body. The researchers studied crypts, as well as the dazzling collections at the Cairo Museum—thousands of unidentified mummies—and were able to narrow the search down to four bodies. A deep understanding of the process of mummifying, and the right reading of the remains led them to two tombs and a priceless discovery.

Photo: vipeldo

“The discovery of the Hatshepsut mummy is one of the most important finds in the history of Egypt,”
Dr. Zahi Hawass

Photo: rickmanwaring

Hatshepsut passed away during approximately the 22nd year of her rule, at the age of 55. A blood infection is one of the reasons for death being considered.

Photo: eviljohnius

Egypt and Hatshepsut

After the death of her half-brother and husband Thutmose II, and because of the very young age of her step-son, Hatshepsut became the most significant ruling figure in the country. More powerful than Cleopatra and Nefertiti, Hatshepsut ruled for 22 years (the longest period of time compared to the other rulers) during the 18th dynasty.

Photo: gaspa

Thanks to her an expedition to Punt (probably today’s Somalia) took place, involving 200 people on board five magnificent ships. They returned with many goods from trading—frankincense, for example. The Egyptians learned to preserve the roots of this plant. It is the first known attempt at replanting a tree from a foreign country. There is a belief that frankincense had grown in the yard of Hatshesut’s tomb.

The next journeys are believed to have been to Byblos (Lebanon) and Sinai (a peninsula between the Red and Mediterranean Seas), but there is no historical proof.

Photo: goranjuros

The construction is revived. In Pakhet, they dug a subterranean shrine in the rocks, and the name ‘Pakhet’ is a combination of the names of two goddesses of war—one of Upper Egypt and the other of Lower Egypt—presented as lionesses. In Karnack temples were reconstructed and new tombs were built. Two obelisks were built there—twins. These were the highest monuments of their kind. One of them still exists as part of the modern civilization, and it is famous as the most ancient obelisk.

Photo: sonofgroucho

Photo: eviljohnius

Her tomb is a genuine architectural masterpiece built in Deir el Bahri (Northern Monastery) – a complex of ancient Egyptian tombs, a short distance from Luxor. It was built deeply in a rock, and rising sharply above it, a colonnade or terrace which can be reached via long ramps.

Photo: kmacelwee
The tomb of Hatshepsut, Deir el Bahri

Photo: argenberg

The epigraph on the tomb says:

“While you are resting in your temple, where your beauties are worshipped, Amun-Ra, the Lord of the Throne of Two lands, give to Hatshepsut life and happiness. For you she built this temple magnificent, pure and eternal…”

Photo: argenberg

During Hatshepsut’s rule were built many sculptures, belonging today to many world famous museums.

According to the evidence, despite her peaceful politics, in the early period of her ruling, Hatshepsut successfully completed a number of war missions in Nubia and Syria.

Photo: Σταύρος

Hatshepsut’s remains display all the symbols and signs of ancient Egyptian power: khat (a special piece of cloth) for the head with Ureus (dividing cobra) on the top; traditional artificial chin and shendit (a piece of cloth around the waist and knee length). It is unlikely however that she wore these items in life—they were more typical of the male pharaohs.

Photo: dalbera

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