The Dead Sea is a salt lake bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, its main tributary is the Jordan River, its surface and shores are 430.5 metres below Earth's lowest elevation on land. It is 304 m deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. With a salinity of 342 g/kg, or 34.2%, it is one of the world's saltiest bodies of water – 9.6 times as salty as the ocean – and has a density of 1.24 kg/litre, which makes swimming similar to floating. This salinity makes for a harsh environment in which plants and animals cannot flourish, hence its name; the Dead Sea's main, northern basin is 50 kilometres long and 15 kilometres wide at its widest point. The Dead Sea has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean Basin for thousands of years, it was one of the world's first health resorts, it has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, from asphalt for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilisers. The Dead Sea is receding at an alarming rate.
The recession of the Dead Sea has begun causing problems, multiple canals and pipelines proposals exist to reduce its recession. One of these proposals is the Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance project, carried out by Jordan, which will provide water to neighbouring countries, while the brine will be carried to the Dead Sea to help stabilise its water level; the first phase of the project is scheduled to begin in 2018 and be completed in 2021. In Hebrew, the Dead Sea is Yām ha-Melaḥ, meaning "sea of salt"; the Bible uses this term alongside two others: the Sea of the Arabah, the Eastern Sea. The designation "Dead Sea" never appears in the Bible. In prose sometimes the term Yām ha-Māvet is due to the scarcity of aquatic life there. In Arabic the Dead Sea is called al-Bahr al-Mayyit, or less baḥrᵘ lūṭᵃ. Another historic name in Arabic was the "Sea of Zoʼar", after a nearby town in biblical times; the Greeks called it Lake Asphaltites. The Dead Sea is an endorheic lake located in the Jordan Rift Valley, a geographic feature formed by the Dead Sea Transform.
This left lateral-moving transform fault lies along the tectonic plate boundary between the African Plate and the Arabian Plate. It runs between the East Anatolian Fault zone in Turkey and the northern end of the Red Sea Rift offshore of the southern tip of Sinai, it is here that the Upper Jordan River/Sea of Galilee/Lower Jordan River water system comes to an end. The Jordan River is the only major water source flowing into the Dead Sea, although there are small perennial springs under and around the Dead Sea, forming pools and quicksand pits along the edges. There are no outlet; the Mujib River, biblical Arnon, is one of the larger water sources of the Dead Sea other than the Jordan. The Wadi Mujib valley, 420 m below the sea level in the southern part of the Jordan valley, is a biosphere reserve, with an area of 212 km2. Other more substantial sources are Wadi Darajeh /Nahal Dragot, Nahal Arugot. Wadi Hasa is another wadi flowing into the Dead Sea. Rainfall is scarcely 100 mm per year in the northern part of the Dead Sea and 50 mm in the southern part.
The Dead Sea zone's aridity is due to the rainshadow effect of the Judaean Mountains. The highlands east of the Dead Sea receive more rainfall than the Dead Sea itself. To the west of the Dead Sea, the Judaean mountains rise less steeply and are much lower than the mountains to the east. Along the southwestern side of the lake is a 210 m tall halite formation called "Mount Sodom". There are two contending hypotheses about the origin of the low elevation of the Dead Sea; the older hypothesis is that the Dead Sea lies in a true rift zone, an extension of the Red Sea Rift, or of the Great Rift Valley of eastern Africa. A more recent hypothesis is that the Dead Sea basin is a consequence of a "step-over" discontinuity along the Dead Sea Transform, creating an extension of the crust with consequent subsidence. Around 3.7 million years ago, what is now the valley of the Jordan River, Dead Sea, the northern Wadi Arabah was inundated by waters from the Mediterranean Sea. The waters formed in a narrow, crooked bay, called by geologists the Sedom Lagoon, connected to the sea through what is now the Jezreel Valley.
The floods of the valley went depending on long-scale climate change. The Sedom Lagoon deposited beds of salt that became 2.5 km thick. Two million years ago, the land between the Rift Valley and the Mediterranean Sea rose to such an extent that the ocean could no longer flood the area. Thus, the long lagoon became a landlocked lake; the Sedom Lagoon extended at its maximum from the Sea of Galilee in the north to somewhere around 50 km south of the current southern end of the Dead Sea, the subsequent lakes never surpassed this expanse. The Hula Depression was never part of any of these water bodies due to its higher elevation and the high threshold of the Korazim block separating it from the Sea of Galilee basin; the first prehistoric lake to follow the Sedom Lagoon is named Lake Amora, followed by Lake Lisan and by the Dead Sea. The water levels and salinity of these lakes have either risen or fallen as an effect of the tectonic dropping of the valley bo
Hatshepsut was the fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. She was the first being Sobekneferu. Hatshepsut came to the throne of Egypt in 1478 BC, her rise to power was noteworthy as it required her to utilize her bloodline, an understanding of religion. Her bloodline was impeccable as she was the daughter and wife of a king, her understanding of religion allowed her to establish herself as the God’s Wife of Amen. She ruled jointly with Thutmose III, who had ascended to the throne the previous year as a child of about two years old. Hatshepsut was the chief wife of Thutmose III's father, she is regarded by Egyptologists as one of the most successful pharaohs, reigning longer than any other woman of an indigenous Egyptian dynasty. According to Egyptologist James Henry Breasted, she is known as "the first great woman in history of whom we are informed."Hatshepsut was the daughter and only child of Thutmose I and his primary wife, Ahmose. Her husband Thutmose II was the son of Thutmose I and a secondary wife named Mutnofret, who carried the title King's daughter and was a child of Ahmose I.
Hatshepsut and Thutmose II had a daughter named Neferure. After having their daughter, Hatshepsut could not bear any more children. Thutmose II with Iset, a secondary wife, would father Thutmose III, who would succeed Hatshepsut as pharaoh. Although contemporary records of her reign are documented in diverse ancient sources, Hatshepsut was thought by early modern scholars as only having served as a co-regent from about 1479 to 1458 BC, during years seven to twenty-one of the reign identified as that of Thutmose III. Today Egyptologists agree that Hatshepsut assumed the position of pharaoh. Hatshepsut was described as having a reign of about 21 years by ancient authors. Josephus and Julius Africanus both quote Manetho's king list, mentioning a woman called Amessis or Amensis, identified as Hatshepsut. In Josephus' work, her reign is described as lasting 21 years and nine months, while Africanus stated it was twenty-two years. At this point in the histories, records of the reign of Hatshepsut end, since the first major foreign campaign of Thutmose III was dated to his 22nd year, which would have been Hatshepsut's 22nd year as pharaoh.
Dating the beginning of her reign is more difficult, however. Her father's reign began in either 1526 or 1506 BC according to the high and low estimates of her reign, respectively; the length of the reigns of Thutmose I and Thutmose II, cannot be determined with absolute certainty. With short reigns, Hatshepsut would have ascended the throne 14 years after the coronation of Thutmose I, her father. Longer reigns would put her ascension 25 years after Thutmose I's coronation. Thus, Hatshepsut could have assumed power as early as 1512 BC, or, as late as 1479 BC; the earliest attestation of Hatshepsut as pharaoh occurs in the tomb of Ramose and Hatnofer, where a collection of grave goods contained a single pottery jar or amphora from the tomb's chamber—which was stamped with the date Year 7. Another jar from the same tomb—which was discovered in situ by a 1935–36 Metropolitan Museum of Art expedition on a hillside near Thebes—was stamped with the seal of the "God's Wife Hatshepsut" while two jars bore the seal of The Good Goddess Maatkare.
The dating of the amphorae, "sealed into the burial chamber by the debris from Senenmut's own tomb," is undisputed, which means that Hatshepsut was acknowledged as king, not queen, of Egypt by Year 7 of her reign. Hatshepsut re-established the trade networks, disrupted during the Hyksos occupation of Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, thereby building the wealth of the Eighteenth Dynasty, she oversaw the preparations and funding for a mission to the Land of Punt. This trading expedition to Punt was during the ninth year of Hatshepsut's reign, it set out in her name with five ships, each measuring 70 feet long, bearing several sails and accommodating 210 men that included sailors and 30 rowers. Many trade goods were bought in notably frankincense and myrrh. Hatshepsut's delegation returned from Punt bearing 31 live myrrh trees, the roots of which were kept in baskets for the duration of the voyage; this was the first recorded attempt to transplant foreign trees. It is reported. Egyptians returned with a number of other gifts from Punt, among, frankincense.
Hatshepsut would grind the charred frankincense into kohl eyeliner. This is the first recorded use of the resin. Hatshepsut had the expedition commemorated in relief at Deir el-Bahari, famous for its realistic depiction of the Queen of the Land of Punt, Queen Ati; the Puntite Queen is portrayed as tall and her physique was generously proportioned, with large breasts and rolls of fat on her body. Due to the fat deposits on her buttocks, it has sometimes been argued that she may have had steatopygia. However, according to the pathologist Marc Armand Ruffer, the main characteristic of a steatopygous woman is a disproportion in size between the buttocks and thighs, not the case with Ati, she instead appears to have been obese, a condition, exaggerated by excessive lordosis or curvature of the lower spine. Hatshepsut sent raiding expeditions to Byblos and the Sinai Peninsula shortly after the Punt expedition. Little is known about these expeditions. Alth
Eilat is Israel's southernmost city, a busy port and popular resort at the northern tip of the Red Sea, on the Gulf of Aqaba. The city's beaches, coral reef and desert landscapes make it a popular destination for domestic and international tourism. Home to 50,724 people, Eilat is part of the Southern Negev Desert, at the southern end of the Arava, adjacent to the Egyptian village of Taba to the south, the Jordanian port city of Aqaba to the east, within sight of Saudi Arabia to the south-east, across the gulf. Eilat's arid desert climate and low humidity are moderated by proximity to a warm sea. Temperatures exceed 40 °C in summer, 21 °C in winter, while water temperatures range between 20 and 26 °C. Eilat averages 360 sunny days a year; the geology and landscape are varied: igneous and metamorphic rocks and limestone. With an annual average rainfall of 28 millimetres and summer temperatures of 40 °C and higher, water resources and vegetation are limited. "The main elements that influenced the region's history were the copper resources and other minerals, the ancient international roads that crossed the area, its geopolitical and strategic position.
These resulted in a settlement density that defies the environmental conditions." The origin of the name Eilat, a place name found in the Old Testament, is not definitively known, but comes from the Hebrew root A–Y–L, the root for the word Elah, meaning Pistacia tree. Like numerous other localities, Eilat is mentioned in the Bible both in plural form; the original settlement was at the northern tip of the Gulf of Eilat. Archaeological excavations uncovered impressive prehistoric tombs dating to the 7th millennium BC at the western edge of Eilat, while nearby copper workings and mining operations at Timna Valley are the oldest on earth. Ancient Egyptian records document the extensive and lucrative mining operations and trade across the Red Sea with Egypt starting as early as the Fourth dynasty of Egypt. Eilat is mentioned in antiquity as a major trading partner with Elim, Thebes' Red Sea Port, as early as the Twelfth dynasty of Egypt. Trade between Elim and Eilat furnished frankincense and myrrh, brought up from Punt.
In antiquity Eilat bordered the states of Edom and the tribal territory of the Rephidim, the indigenous inhabitants of the Sinai Peninsula. Eilat is first mentioned in the Hebrew Bible in the Book of Exodus; the first six stations of the Exodus are in Egypt. The 7th is the crossing of the Red Sea and the 9th–13th are in and around Eilat, after the exodus from Egypt and crossing the Red Sea. Station 12 refers to a dozen campsites around Timna in Modern Israel near Eilat; when King David conquered Edom, which up to had shared a common border with Midian, he took over Eilat, the border city shared by them as well. The commercial port city and copper based industrial center were maintained by Egypt until rebuilt by Solomon at a location known as Ezion-Geber. In 2 Kings 14:21–22, many decades "All the people of Judah took Uzziah, sixteen years old, made him king in the room of his father Amaziah, he rebuilt Elath, restored it to Judah, after his father's death." In 2 Kings 16:6, during the reign of King Ahaz: "At that time the king of Edom recovered Elath for Edom, drove out the people of Judah and sent Edomites to live there, as they do to this day."
It was a prosperous Judean trading port from the 9th through 7th centuries BCE. During the Roman period, a road was built to link the area with the Nabataean city of Petra. An Islamic copper smelting and trading community of 250–400 residents flourished during the Umayyad Period; the area was designated as part of the Jewish state in the 1947 UN Partition Plan. The abandoned British police post of Umm Al-Rashrash was taken without a fight on March 10, 1949, as part of Operation Uvda, it was formally granted to Israel with the 1949 Armistice Agreements. Construction of the city began shortly afterward; the Timna Copper Mines near Timna valley were opened, the Port of Eilat and Eilat Airport were built, the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline laid, tourism began. The port became vital to the fledgling country's development. In the early 1950s, Eilat was a small and remote town, populated by port workers and former prisoners. A concerted effort by the Israeli government to populate Eilat began in 1955 when Jewish immigrant families from Morocco were resettled there.
Eilat began to develop after the Suez Crisis in 1956, with its tourism industry in particular starting to flourish. After the 1948 Arab–Israeli War Arab countries maintained a state of hostility with Israel, blocking all land routes. Further, Egypt denied passage through the Suez Canal to Israeli-registered ships or to any ship carrying cargo to or from Israeli ports; this made Eilat and its sea port crucial to Israel's communications and trade with Africa and Asia, for oil imports. Without recourse to a port on the Red Sea Israel would have been unable to develop its diplomatic and trade ties beyond the Mediterranean basin and Eu
Frankincense is an aromatic resin used in incense and perfumes, obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia in the family Burseraceae Boswellia sacra, B. carterii, B. frereana, B. serrata, B. papyrifera. The word is from Old French franc encens. There are five main species of Boswellia. Resin from each of the five is available in various grades; the resin is hand-sorted for quality. The English word frankincense derives from the Old French expression franc encens, meaning "high-quality incense"; the word franc in Old French meant "noble" or "pure". A popular folk etymology suggests a connection with the Franks, who reintroduced the spice to Western Europe during the Middle Ages, but the word itself comes from the expression. Frankincense is tapped from the scraggly but hardy trees by striping and letting the exuded resin bleed out and harden; the hardened streaks of resin are called tears. Several species and varieties of frankincense trees each produce a different type of resin. Differences in soil and climate create more diversity of the resin within the same species.
Boswellia sacra trees are considered unusual for their ability to grow in environments so unforgiving that they sometimes grow out of solid rock. The initial means of attachment to the rock is unknown, but is accomplished by a bulbous disk-like swelling of the trunk; this growth prevents violent storms from detaching the tree. This feature is absent in trees that grow in rocky soil or gravel; the trees start producing resin at about eight to 10 years old. Tapping is done two to three times a year with the final taps producing the best tears due to their higher aromatic terpene and diterpene content. Speaking, the more opaque resins are the best quality. Fine resin is produced in Somalia. Recent studies indicate that frankincense tree populations are declining due to over-exploitation. Tapped trees produce seeds that germinate at only 16% while seeds of trees that had not been tapped germinate at more than 80%. In addition, burning and attacks by the longhorn beetle have reduced the tree population.
Conversion of frankincense woodlands to agriculture is a major threat. These are some of the chemical compounds present in frankincense: acid resin, soluble in alcohol and having the formula C20H32O4 gum 30–36% 3-acetyl-beta-boswellic acid alpha-boswellic acid 4-O-methyl-glucuronic acid incensole acetate, C21H34O3 phellandrene -cis- and -trans-olibanic acidsSee the following references for a comprehensive overview of the chemical compounds in different frankincense species. Frankincense has been traded on the Arabian Peninsula for more than 6,000 years. Frankincense was one of the consecrated incenses described in the Torah and Talmud used in ketoret ceremonies, an important component of the services in the Temple in Jerusalem, it was offered on a specialized incense altar in the time when the Tabernacle was located in the First and Second Temples. It is mentioned in the Book of Exodus 30:34, which calls it לבונה, similar to לבן, lavan,'white', it was one of the ingredients in the perfume of the sanctuary, was used as an accompaniment of the meal-offering.
It was mentioned as a commodity in trade from Sheba. When burnt it emitted a fragrant odor, the incense was a symbol of the Divine name and an emblem of prayer, it was associated with myrrh. A specially "pure" kind, lebhonah zakkah, was presented with the showbread. Frankincense received numerous mentions in the New Testament. Together with gold and myrrh, it was made an offering to the infant Jesus. Frankincense was reintroduced to Europe by Frankish Crusaders, although its name refers to its quality, not to the Franks themselves. Though it is better known as "frankincense" to westerners, the resin is known as olibanum, or in Arabic al-lubān, a reference to the milky sap tapped from the Boswellia tree; the Greek historian Herodotus was familiar with frankincense and knew it was harvested from trees in southern Arabia. He reported that the gum was dangerous to harvest because of venomous snakes that lived in the trees, he goes on to describe the method used by the Arabs to get around this problem, that being the burning of the gum of the styrax tree whose smoke would drive the snakes away.
Theophrastus mentions the resin. Southern Arabia was a major exporter of frankincense in antiquity, with some of it being traded as far as China; the 13th-century Chinese writer and customs inspector Zhao Rugua wrote on the origin of frankincense, of its being traded to China: "Ruxiang or xunluxiang comes from the three Dashi countries of Murbat and Dhofar, from the depths of the remotest mountains. The tree which yields this drug may be compared to the pine tree, its trunk is notched with a hatchet, upon which the resin flows out, when hardened, turns into incense, gathered and made into lumps. It is transported on elephants to the Das
The Exodus is the founding myth of the Israelites. Spread over the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy, it tells of the enslavement that befell the children of Israel in Egypt, their liberation through the hand of Yahweh and the revelations at Sinai, their wanderings in the wilderness up to borders of Canaan, the land their God has given them, its message is that Israel was delivered from slavery by Yahweh and therefore belongs to him through the Mosaic covenant, the terms of which are that Yahweh will protect his chosen people for all time, so long as they will keep his laws and worship only him. The narrative and its laws remain central to Judaism, recounted daily in Jewish prayers and celebrated in festivals such as Passover, as well as serving as an inspiration and model for non-Jewish groups from early Protestants fleeing persecution in Europe to African-Americans striving for freedom and civil rights. Scholars are broadly agreed that the Exodus story was composed in the 5th century BCE.
The traditions behind it can be traced in the writings of the 8th-century BCE prophets, but it has no historical basis. Instead, archaeology suggests a native Canaanite origin for ancient Israel; the story of the Exodus is told in the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy, the last four of the five books of the Torah. It begins with the Israelites in slavery, their prophet Moses leads them out of Egypt and through the wilderness to Mount Sinai, where Yahweh reveals himself to his people and establishes the Mosaic covenant: they are to keep his torah, in return he will give them the land of Canaan. The Israelites accept the covenant and receive their laws, with Yahweh now present in their midst, journey on from Sinai, towards the promised land, but when told that the land is filled with giants they refuse to go on, Yahweh condemns them to remain in the desert until the generation that left Egypt passes away. After thirty-eight years at the oasis of Kadesh Barnea the next generation travel on to the borders of Canaan, where Moses addresses them for the final time, reviewing their travels and giving them further laws.
The Exodus ends with the death of Moses on Mount Nebo and his burial by Yahweh, while the Israelites prepare for the conquest of the land. The climax of the Exodus is the covenant between God and Israel mediated by Moses at Sinai: Yahweh will protect Israel as his chosen people for all time, Israel will keep Yahweh's laws and worship only him; the covenant is described in stages: at Exodus 24:3–8 the Israelites agree to abide by the "book of the covenant" that Moses has just read to them. The laws are set out in a number of codes: Ethical Decalogue, Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. Scholars are broadly agreed that the publication of the Torah took place in the mid-Persian period, echoing a traditional Jewish view which gives Ezra, the leader of the Jewish community on its return from Babylon, a pivotal role in its promulgation; the first trace of the traditions behind it appears in the northern prophets Amos and Hosea, both active in the 8th century BCE in northern Israel, but their southern contemporaries Isaiah and Micah show no knowledge of an exodus.
The story may, have originated a few centuries earlier the 9th or 10th BCE, there are signs that it took different forms in Israel, in the Transjordan region, in the southern Kingdom of Judah before being unified in the Persian era. Many theories have been advanced to explain the composition of the Torah, but two have been influential; the first of these, Persian Imperial authorisation, advanced by Peter Frei in 1985, holds that the Persian authorities required the Jews of Jerusalem to present a single body of law as the price of local autonomy. Frei's theory was demolished at an interdisciplinary symposium held in 2000, but the relationship between the Persian authorities and Jerusalem remains a crucial question; the second theory, associated with Joel P. Weinberg and called the "Citizen-Temple Community", proposes that the Exodus story was composed to serve the needs of a post-exilic Jewish community organised around the Temple, which acted in effect as a bank for those who belonged to it.
The Torah served as an "identity card" defining who belonged to this community, thus reinforcing Israel's unity through its new institutions. The Exodus is at the centre of Jewish identity, it is remembered daily in Jewish prayers and celebrated each year at the feasts of Pesach and Shavuot, the two being known as "the time of our freedom" and "the time our Torah was given". The two are linked, with Pesach announcing that the freedom it introduces is only realised with the giving of the law. A third Jewish festival, the Festival of Booths, commemorates how the Israelites lived in booths following the exodus from their previous homes in Egypt; the Exodus roots Jewish religion in history, in contrast to pagan religions which are oriented towards nature. The festivals now associated with the exodus (Passove
A mummy is a deceased human or an animal whose skin and organs have been preserved by either intentional or accidental exposure to chemicals, extreme cold low humidity, or lack of air, so that the recovered body does not decay further if kept in cool and dry conditions. Some authorities restrict the use of the term to bodies deliberately embalmed with chemicals, but the use of the word to cover accidentally desiccated bodies goes back to at least 1615 AD. Mummies of humans and animals have been found on every continent, both as a result of natural preservation through unusual conditions, as cultural artifacts. Over one million animal mummies have been found in Egypt. Many of the Egyptian animal mummies are sacred ibis, radiocarbon dating suggests the Egyptian Ibis mummies that have been analyzed were from time frame that falls between 450 and 250 BC. In addition to the well-known mummies of ancient Egypt, deliberate mummification was a feature of several ancient cultures in areas of America and Asia with dry climates.
The Spirit Cave mummies of Fallon, Nevada in North America were dated at more than 9,400 years old. Before this discovery, the oldest known deliberate mummy was a child, one of the Chinchorro mummies found in the Camarones Valley, which dates around 5050 BC; the oldest known mummified human corpse is a severed head dated as 6,000 years old, found in 1936 AD at the site named Inca Cueva No. 4 in South America. The English word mummy is derived from medieval Latin mumia, a borrowing of the medieval Arabic word mūmiya and from a Persian word mūm, which meant an embalmed corpse, as well as the bituminous embalming substance, meant "bitumen"; the Medieval English term "mummy" was defined as "medical preparation of the substance of mummies", rather than the entire corpse, with Richard Hakluyt in 1599 AD complaining that "these dead bodies are the Mummy which the Phisistians and Apothecaries doe against our willes make us to swallow". These substances were defined as mummia; the OED defines a mummy as "the body of a human being or animal embalmed as a preparation for burial", citing sources from 1615 AD onward.
However, Chamber's Cyclopædia and the Victorian zoologist Francis Trevelyan Buckland define a mummy as follows: "A human or animal body desiccated by exposure to sun or air. Applied to the frozen carcase of an animal imbedded in prehistoric snow". Wasps of the genus Aleiodes are known as "mummy wasps" because they wrap their caterpillar prey as "mummies". While interest in the study of mummies dates as far back as Ptolemaic Greece, most structured scientific study began at the beginning of the 20th century. Prior to this, many rediscovered mummies were sold as curiosities or for use in pseudoscientific novelties such as mummia; the first modern scientific examinations of mummies began in 1901, conducted by professors at the English-language Government School of Medicine in Cairo, Egypt. The first X-ray of a mummy came in 1903, when professors Grafton Elliot Smith and Howard Carter used the only X-ray machine in Cairo at the time to examine the mummified body of Thutmose IV. British chemist Alfred Lucas applied chemical analyses to Egyptian mummies during this same period, which returned many results about the types of substances used in embalming.
Lucas made significant contributions to the analysis of Tutankhamun in 1922. Pathological study of mummies saw varying levels of popularity throughout the 20th century. In 1992, the First World Congress on Mummy Studies was held in Puerto de la Cruz on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. More than 300 scientists attended the Congress to share nearly 100 years of collected data on mummies; the information presented at the meeting triggered a new surge of interest in the subject, with one of the major results being integration of biomedical and bioarchaeological information on mummies with existing databases. This was not possible prior to the Congress due to the unique and specialized techniques required to gather such data. In more recent years, CT scanning has become an invaluable tool in the study of mummification by allowing researchers to digitally "unwrap" mummies without risking damage to the body; the level of detail in such scans is so intricate that small linens used in tiny areas such as the nostrils can be digitally reconstructed in 3-D.
Such modelling has been utilized to perform digital autopsies on mummies to determine cause of death and lifestyle, such as in the case of Tutankhamun. Mummies are divided into one of two distinct categories: anthropogenic or spontaneous. Anthropogenic mummies were deliberately created by the living for any number of reasons, the most common being for religious purposes. Spontaneous mummies, such as Ötzi, were created unintentionally due to natural conditions such as dry heat or cold, or anaerobic conditions such as those found in bogs. While most individual mummies belong to one category or the other, there are examples of both types being connected to a single culture, such as those from the ancient Egyptian culture and the Andean cultures of South America; the earliest ancient Egyptian mummies were created due to the environment in which they were buried. In the era prior to 3500 BC, Egyptians buried the dead in pit graves, without regard to social status. Pit graves were shallow; this characteristic allowed for the hot, dry sand of the desert to dehydrate the bodies, leading to natural mummification.
The natural preservation of the dead had a profound effect on ancient Egyptian religion. Deliberate mummification became an integral part of the rituals for the dead beginning as early as the 2nd dynasty
Linen is a textile made from the fibers of the flax plant. Linen is laborious to manufacture, but the fiber is strong and dries faster than cotton. Garments made of linen are valued for their exceptional coolness and freshness in hot and humid weather; the word linen is of West Germanic origin and cognate to the Latin name for the flax plant and the earlier Greek λινόν. This word history has given rise to a number of other terms in English, most notably line, from the use of a linen thread to determine a straight line. Many products are made of linen: aprons, towels, bed linens, runners, chair covers, men's and women's wear; the collective term "linens" is still used generically to describe a class of woven or knitted bed, bath and kitchen textiles traditionally made of flax-based linen but today made from a variety of fibers. The term "linens "refers to lightweight undergarments such as shirts, waist-shirts and detachable shirt collars and cuffs, all of which were made exclusively out of linen.
The inner layer of fine composite cloth garments was traditionally made of linen, hence the word lining. Textiles in a linen weave texture when made of cotton, hemp, or other non-flax fibers, are loosely referred to as "linen"; such fabrics have their own specific names: for example fine cotton yarn in a linen-style weave may be called madapolam. Linen textiles appear to be some of the oldest in the world: their history goes back many thousands of years. Fragments of straw, fibers and various types of fabrics dating to about 8000 BC have been found in Swiss lake dwellings. Dyed flax fibers found in a prehistoric cave in Georgia suggest the use of woven linen fabrics from wild flax may date back earlier to 36,000 BP. Linen was sometimes used as a form of currency in ancient Egypt. Egyptian mummies were wrapped in linen as a symbol of light and purity, as a display of wealth; some of these fabrics, woven from hand-spun yarns, were fine for their day, but are coarse compared to modern linen. In 1923, the German city Bielefeld issued banknotes printed on linen.
Today, linen is an expensive textile produced in small quantities. It has a long staple relative to cotton and other natural fibers; the word "linen" is derived from the Latin for the flax plant, linum, the earlier Greek λίνον. This word history has given rise to a number of other terms: Line, derived from the use of a linen thread to determine a straight line Lining, because linen was used to create an inner layer for wool and leather clothing Lingerie, via French denotes underwear made of linen Linseed oil, an oil derived from flax seed Linoleum, a floor covering made from linseed oil and other materials The discovery of dyed flax fibers in a cave in Georgia dated to thirty-six thousand years ago suggests that ancient people used wild flax fibers to create linen-like fabrics from an early date. In ancient Mesopotamia, flax was domesticated and linen was first produced, it was used by the wealthier class of the society, including priests. The Sumerian poem of the courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi, translated by Samuel Noah Kramer and Diane Wolkstein and published in 1983, mentions flax and linen.
It opens with listing the steps of preparing linen from flax, in a form of questions and answers between Inanna and her brother Utu. In ancient Egypt, linen was used for burial shrouds, it was worn as clothing on a daily basis. The use of linen for priestly vestments was not confined to the Israelites. Linen fabric has been used for bed coverings and clothing for centuries; the significant cost of linen derives not only from the difficulty of working with the thread, but because the flax plant itself requires a great deal of attention. In addition flax thread is not elastic, therefore it is difficult to weave without breaking threads, thus linen is more expensive to manufacture than cotton. There is a long history of the production of linen in Ireland; the Living Linen Project was set up in 1995 as an oral archive of the knowledge of the Irish linen industry, at that time still available within a nucleus of people who worked in the industry in Ulster. In December 2006, the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed 2009 to be the International Year of Natural Fibres in order to raise people's awareness of linen and other natural fibers.
When the tomb of the Pharaoh Ramses II, who died in 1213 BC, was discovered in 1881, the linen wrappings were in a state of perfect preservation after more than 3000 years. When the tomb of Tutankhamen was opened, the linen curtains were found to be intact. In the Ulster Museum, Belfast there is the mummy of'Takabuti' the daughter of a priest of Amun, who died 2,500 years ago; the linen on this mummy is in a perfect state of preservation. The earliest records of an established linen industry are 4,000 years old, from Egypt, The earliest written documentation of a linen industry comes from the Linear B tablets of Pylos, where linen is depicted as an ideogram and written as "li-no", the female linen workers are cataloged as "li-ne-ya"; the Phoenicians, with their merchant fleet, opened up new channels of commerce to the peoples of the Mediterranean, developed the tin mines of Cornwall, introduced flax growing and the making of linen into Ireland before the com