The majority of Egyptologists agree on the outline and many details of the chronology of Ancient Egypt. This scholarly consensus is the so-called Conventional Egyptian chronology, which places the beginning of the Old Kingdom in the 27th century BC, the beginning of the Middle Kingdom in the 21st century BC and the beginning of the New Kingdom in the mid-16th century BC. Despite this consensus, disagreements remain within the scholarly community, resulting in variant chronologies diverging by about 300 years for the Early Dynastic Period, up to 30 years in the New Kingdom, a few years in the Late Period. In addition, there are a number of "alternative chronologies" outside scholarly consensus, such as the "New Chronology" proposed in the 1990s, which lowers New Kingdom dates by as much as 350 years, or the "Glasgow Chronology", which lowers New Kingdom dates by as much as 500 years. Scholarly consensus on the general outline of the conventional chronology current in Egyptology has not fluctuated much over the last 100 years.
For the Old Kingdom, consensus fluctuates by as much as a few centuries, but for the Middle and New Kingdoms, it has been stable to within a few decades. This is illustrated by comparing the chronology as given by two Egyptologists, the first writing in 1906, the second in 2000; the disparities between the two sets of dates result from additional discoveries and refined understanding of the still incomplete source evidence. For example, Breasted adds a ruler in the Twentieth dynasty that further research showed did not exist. Following Manetho, Breasted believed all the dynasties were sequential, whereas it is now known that several existed at the same time; these revisions have resulted in a lowering of the conventional chronology by up to 400 years at the beginning of Dynasty I. Forming the backbone of Egyptian chronology are the regnal years as recorded in Ancient Egyptian king lists. Surviving king lists are either comprehensive but have significant gaps in their text, or are textually complete but fail to provide a complete list of rulers for a short period of Egyptian history.
The situation is further complicated by occasional conflicting information on the same regnal period from different versions of the same text. Regnal periods have to be pieced together from inscriptions, which will give a date in the form of the regnal year of the ruling pharaoh, yet this only provides a minimum length of that reign and may or may not include any coregencies with a predecessor or successor. In addition, some Egyptian dynasties overlapped, with different pharaohs ruling in different regions at the same time, rather than serially. Not knowing whether monarchies were simultaneous or sequential results in differing chronological interpretations. Where the total number of regnal years for a given ruler is not known, Egyptologists have identified two indicators to deduce that total number: for the Old Kingdom, the number of cattle censuses. A number of Old Kingdom inscriptions allude to a periodic census of cattle, which experts at first believed took place every second year. However, further research has shown that these censuses were sometimes taken in consecutive years, or after two or more years had passed.
The Sed festival was celebrated on the thirtieth anniversary of a pharaoh's ascension, thus rulers who recorded celebrating one could be assumed to have ruled at least 30 years. However, once again, this may not have been standard practice in all cases. In the early days of Egyptology, the compilation of regnal periods was hampered by a profound biblical bias on the part of Egyptologists; this was most pervasive before the mid 19th century, when Manetho's figures were recognized as conflicting with biblical chronology, based on Old Testament references to Egypt. In the 20th century, such biblical bias has been confined to alternative chronologies outside the scholarly mainstream. A useful way to work around these gaps in knowledge is to find chronological synchronisms, which can lead to a precise date. Over the past decades, a number of these have been found, although they are of varying degrees of usefulness and reliability. Seriation, i.e. archeological sequences. This does not fix a person or event to a specific year, but establishing a sequence of events can provide indirect evidence to provide or support a precise date.
For example, some inscribed stone vessels of the rulers of the first two dynasties were collected and deposited in storage galleries beneath and sealed off when the Step Pyramid of Djoser, a Pharaoh of the Third Dynasty, was built. Another example are blocks from the Old Kingdom bearing the names of several kings, which were reused in the construction of Middle Kingdom pyramid-temples at Lisht in the structures of Amenemhat I; the third pylon at Karnak, built by Amenhotep III contained as "fill" material from the kiosk of Sesostris I, along with various stelae of the Second Intermediate Period and the Eighteenth Dynasty of the New Kingdom. Synchronisms with other chronologies, the most important of these being with the Assyrian and Babylonian chronologies, but synchronisms with the Hittites, ancient Palestine, in the final period with ancient Greece, are used; the earliest such synchronism is in the 18th century
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
Portraiture in ancient Egypt
Portraiture in ancient Egypt forms a conceptual attempt to portray "the subject from its own perspective rather than the viewpoint of the artist... to communicate essential information about the object itself". Ancient Egyptian art was a religious tool used "to maintain perfect order in the universe" and to substitute for the real thing or person through its representation. Artistic conservatism during the 3000 years of the Dynastic age was a direct result of the ideal of Ma'at. Modification and innovation would have moved art away from the initial state of perfection, present at the time of the creation of the universe; the deceased "had to advertise for his or her adherence to... Ma'at" and therefore, chose the most perfect way to represent him/herself and excluded his/her imperfect qualities. In this civilisation, "a statue of a person was believed to be a permanent abode for the spirit of that individual and guaranteed his or her eternal life after death"; such idealized representation of the deceased made him "eternally beautiful" and attested to his sinless life.
In an attempt to "convey the spectrum of the deceased's personality" rather than the physical image, there was a "reluctance to show individual features... because it conflicted with the representation of the perfect person". When discussing portraiture in ancient Egypt it is important to differentiate between the modern concept of portraiture and its ancient Egyptian counterpart. In Western art, portraiture captures the exact physical resemblance of a person as well as his/her inner qualities. Ancient Egyptian art had religious roots and functions, therefore, the result is quite different. To assess ancient Egyptian art and portraiture, it must be examined on its own terms and within its specific cultural context. Idealism apparent in ancient Egyptian art in general and in portraiture was employed by choice, not as a result of lack of proficiency or talent; this is evident in the realistic depiction of birds and animals. This choice was made for religious, magical and social reasons. What can be defined as a portrait outside of the western tradition?
It is difficult to understand the ancient Egyptians' concept of portraiture, therefore in approaching portraiture from ancient Egypt one must try to ignore the modern concept of what a portrait should be. "The Egyptians sought something different in their representations of the human, we should not judge them by our own standards". After understanding why "portraits" were made in ancient Egypt, one can debate whether they are real portraits when they are examined "through ancient eyes". There are three concepts one must bear in mind when looking at ancient Egyptian portraiture: "the person represented may have chosen the particular form, for him or her, it was real". A statue was believed to convey a person's true identity by bearing an inscription of its owner's name upon it; the identity of a person inhabited it regardless whether there was any physical or facial resemblance. Other factors contributing to the further clarification of the person's identity could include a certain facial expression, a physical action or pose, or presence of certain official regalia.
As to the king's identity, it was determined through his various royal epithets as well as his different manifestations as a human, deity or animal, as a sphinx. Sometimes certain physical features reoccur in statues and reliefs of the same person, but that doesn't mean that they are portraits but rather a manifestation is a single quality or aspect; the preservation of the deceased body through mummification affected tomb sculpture as artistic objects were created to help further preserve the body for the afterlife. Such objects are apotropaic amulets that "ensured the eternal existence of the deceased's soul" and "naturalistically sculpted heads of the deceased – reserve heads – substitutes in case the skull was damaged". In such funerary context, the deceased's statue was not just an abode for his personality, but became the focal point of the cult's offerings; as the deceased wished to be remembered as an upright and blameless individual, the ka statues tend to be idealized. Many royal ideal representations are a "type of countenance... including iconographic and stylistic details physiognomical characteristics physical particularities with a great deal of traditional idealization".
In other words, they are idealized well studied forms of the ruling kind, sometimes, hard to be discarded with his death. Therefore, the deceased king's idealized form may prevail during the beginning of his successor's reign till the artists found a new conventionalized form to represent the new king; such borrowing of older forms of representations was used during the Kushite and Saite periods as efforts for a renaissance of the arts. However, it was sometimes an exact copy of older reliefs to the point of copying the exact names and titles of the older relief as is the case with the relief of "Taharqa as Sphinx trampling fallen enemies" and a 5th Dynasty relief in the Sun Temple in Abu Sir; the concept of portraiture is still debated upon with regards to Egyptian art, but its modern definition. The debate arises because of the expression of the inner qualities – that have no concrete manifestation – in contrast to the physical resemblance, more emphasized for the easy identification of the subject.
In other words, portraiture is subjective as it is not a mere photographic
Egyptian astronomy begins in prehistoric times, in the Predynastic Period. In the 5th millennium BCE, the stone circles at Nabta Playa may have made use of astronomical alignments. By the time the historical Dynastic Period began in the 3rd millennium BCE, the 365-day period of the Egyptian calendar was in use, the observation of stars was important in determining the annual flooding of the Nile; the Egyptian pyramids were aligned towards the pole star, the temple of Amun-Re at Karnak was aligned on the rising of the midwinter Sun. Astronomy played a considerable part in fixing the dates of religious festivals and determining the hours of night, temple astrologers were adept at watching the stars and observing the conjunctions and risings of the Sun and planets, as well as the lunar phases. In Ptolemaic Egypt, the Egyptian tradition merged with Greek astronomy and Babylonian astronomy, with the city of Alexandria in Lower Egypt becoming the centre of scientific activity across the Hellenistic world.
Roman Egypt produced the greatest astronomer of Ptolemy. His works on astronomy, including the Almagest, became the most influential books in the history of Western astronomy. Following the Muslim conquest of Egypt, the region came to be dominated by Arabic culture and Islamic astronomy; the astronomer Ibn Yunus observed the Sun's position for many years using a large astrolabe, his observations on eclipses were still used centuries later. In 1006, Ali ibn Ridwan observed the SN 1006, a supernova regarded as the brightest stellar event in recorded history, left the most detailed description of it. In the 14th century, Najm al-Din al-Misri wrote a treatise describing over 100 different types of scientific and astronomical instruments, many of which he invented himself. In the 20th century, Farouk El-Baz from Egypt worked for NASA and was involved in the first Moon landings with the Apollo program, where he assisted in the planning of scientific explorations of the Moon. Egyptian astronomy begins in prehistoric times.
The presence of stone circles at Nabta Playa in Upper Egypt dating from the 5th millennium BCE show the importance of astronomy to the religious life of ancient Egypt in the prehistoric period. The annual flooding of the Nile meant that the heliacal risings, or first visible appearances of stars at dawn, were of special interest in determining when this might occur, it is no surprise that the 365-day period of the Egyptian calendar was in use at the beginning of Egyptian history; the constellation system used among the Egyptians appears to have been of native origin. The precise orientation of the Egyptian pyramids serves as a lasting demonstration of the high degree of technical skill in watching the heavens attained in the 3rd millennium BCE, it has been shown the pyramids were aligned towards the pole star, because of the precession of the equinoxes, was at that time Thuban, a faint star in the constellation of Draco. Evaluation of the site of the temple of Amun-Re at Karnak, taking into account the change over time of the obliquity of the ecliptic, has shown that the Great Temple was aligned on the rising of the midwinter Sun.
The length of the corridor down which sunlight would travel would have limited illumination at other times of the year. Astronomy played a considerable part in religious matters for fixing the dates of festivals and determining the hours of the night; the titles of several temple books are preserved recording the movements and phases of the Sun and stars. The rising of Sirius at the beginning of the inundation was a important point to fix in the yearly calendar. One of the most important Egyptian astronomical texts was the Book of Nut, going back to the Middle Kingdom or earlier; the death of a king had a strong connection to the stars for Ancient Egyptians. They believed once a king was deceased, their soul would become a star. Translated pyramid texts describe the king ascending and becoming the Morning Star among the Imperishable Stars of past kings. Beginning with the 9th Dynasty, ancient Egyptians produced'Diagonal star tables', which were painted on the inside surface of wooden coffin lids.
This practice continued until the 12th dynasty. These'Diagonal star tables' or star charts are known as'diagonal star clocks'; these star charts featuring the paintings of Egyptian deities, decans and star observations are found on the ceilings of tombs and temples. From the tables of stars on the ceiling of the tombs of Rameses VI and Rameses IX it seems that for fixing the hours of the night a man seated on the ground faced the Astrologer in such a position that the line of observation of the pole star passed over the middle of his head. On the different days of the year each hour was determined by a fixed star culminating or nearly culminating in it, the position of these stars at the time is given in the tables as in the centre, on the left eye, on the right shoulder, etc. According to the texts, in founding or rebuilding temples the north axis was determined by the same apparatus, we may conclude that it was the usual one for astronomical observations. In careful hands, it might give results of a high degree of accuracy.
Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius attributed the planetary theory where the Earth rotates on its axis and the interior planets Mercury and Venus revolve around the Sun which in turn revolves around the Earth, to the ancient Egyptians. He named it the "Egyptian System," and stated that "it did not escape the skill of the Egyptians," though there is no other evidence it was known in ancient Egypt
Howard Carter was a British archaeologist and Egyptologist who became world-famous after discovering the intact tomb of the 18th Dynasty Pharaoh, Tutankhamun, in November 1922. Howard Carter was born in Kensington on 9 May 1874, the son of Samuel John Carter, an artist, Martha Joyce Carter, his father developed Howard's artistic talents. Carter spent much of his childhood with relatives in the Norfolk market town of Swaffham, the birthplace of both his parents. Nearby was the mansion of the Amherst family, Didlington Hall, containing a sizable collection of Egyptian antiques, which sparked Carter's interest in that subject. In 1891 the Egypt Exploration Fund, on the prompting of Mary Cecil, sent Carter to assist an Amherst family friend, Percy Newberry, in the excavation and recording of Middle Kingdom tombs at Beni Hasan. Although only 17, Carter was innovative in improving the methods of copying tomb decoration. In 1892, he worked under the tutelage of Flinders Petrie for one season at Amarna, the capital founded by the pharaoh Akhenaten.
From 1894 to 1899, he worked with Édouard Naville at Deir el-Bahari, where he recorded the wall reliefs in the temple of Hatshepsut. In 1899, Carter was appointed to the position of Chief Inspector of the Egyptian Antiquities Service, he supervised a number of excavations at Thebes. In 1904, he was transferred to the Inspectorate of Lower Egypt. Carter was praised for his improvements in the protection of, accessibility to, existing excavation sites, his development of a grid-block system for searching for tombs; the Antiquities Service provided funding for Carter to head his own excavation projects. Carter resigned from the Antiquities Service in 1905 after a formal inquiry into what became known as the Saqqara Affair, a noisy confrontation between Egyptian site guards and a group of French tourists. Carter sided with the Egyptian personnel. In 1907, after three hard years for Carter, Lord Carnarvon employed him to supervise excavations of nobles' tombs in Deir el-Bahri, near Thebes. Gaston Maspero had recommended Carter to Carnarvon as he knew he would apply modern archaeological methods and systems of recording.
In 1914, Lord Carnarvon received the concession to dig in the Valley of the Kings, Carter was again employed to lead the work. However excavations and study were soon interrupted by the First World War, Carter spending these war years working for the British Government as a diplomatic courier and translator, he enthusiastically resumed his excavation work towards the end of 1917. By 1922, Lord Carnarvon had become dissatisfied with the lack of results after several years of finding little, he informed Carter that he had one more season of funding to make a significant find in the Valley of the Kings. Carter returned to the Valley of Kings, investigated a line of huts that he had abandoned a few seasons earlier; the crew cleared the huts and rock debris beneath. On 4 November 1922, their young water boy accidentally stumbled on a stone that turned out to be the top of a flight of steps cut into the bedrock. Carter had the steps dug out until the top of a mud-plastered doorway was found; the doorway was stamped with indistinct cartouches.
Carter ordered the staircase to be refilled, sent a telegram to Carnarvon, who arrived two-and-a-half weeks on 23 November. On 26 November 1922, Carter made a "tiny breach in the top left-hand corner" of the doorway, with Carnarvon, his daughter Lady Evelyn Herbert, others in attendance, using a chisel that his grandmother had given him for his 17th birthday, he was able to peer in by the light of a candle and see that many of the gold and ebony treasures were still in place. He did not yet know whether it was "a tomb or an old cache", but he did see a promising sealed doorway between two sentinel statues. Carnarvon asked, "Can you see anything?" Carter replied with the famous words: "Yes, wonderful things!" Carter had, in fact, discovered Tutankhamun's tomb. The next several months were spent cataloguing the contents of the antechamber under the "often stressful" supervision of Pierre Lacau, director general of the Department of Antiquities of Egypt. On 16 February 1923, Carter opened the sealed doorway and found that it did indeed lead to a burial chamber, he got his first glimpse of the sarcophagus of Tutankhamun.
The tomb was considered the best preserved and most intact pharaonic tomb found in the Valley of the Kings, the discovery was eagerly covered by the world's press, but most of their representatives were kept in their hotels, much to their annoyance. Only H. V. Morton from The Times newspaper was allowed on the scene, his vivid descriptions helped to cement Carter's reputation with the British public. Carter's notes and photographic evidence indicate that he, Lord Carnarvon, Lady Evelyn Herbert entered the burial chamber in November 1922, shortly after the tomb's discovery and before the official opening. Towards the end of February 1923 a rift between Lord Carnarvon and Carter caused by a disagreement on how to manage the supervising Egyptian authorities, temporarily closed excavation. Work recommenced in early March; that month Lord Carnarvon contracted blood poisoning while staying in Luxor near the tomb site. He died in Cairo on 5 April 1923. Lady Carnarvon retained her late husband's concession in the Valley of the Kings, allowing Carter to continue his work.
Carter's meticulous cataloguing of the thousands of objects in the tomb continued until 1932, most being moved to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. There were several breaks in the work
Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in the place, now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under Menes; the history of ancient Egypt occurred as a series of stable kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age. Egypt reached the pinnacle of its power in the New Kingdom, ruling much of Nubia and a sizable portion of the Near East, after which it entered a period of slow decline. During the course of its history Egypt was invaded or conquered by a number of foreign powers, including the Hyksos, the Libyans, the Nubians, the Assyrians, the Achaemenid Persians, the Macedonians under the command of Alexander the Great; the Greek Ptolemaic Kingdom, formed in the aftermath of Alexander's death, ruled Egypt until 30 BC, under Cleopatra, it fell to the Roman Empire and became a Roman province.
The success of ancient Egyptian civilization came from its ability to adapt to the conditions of the Nile River valley for agriculture. The predictable flooding and controlled irrigation of the fertile valley produced surplus crops, which supported a more dense population, social development and culture. With resources to spare, the administration sponsored mineral exploitation of the valley and surrounding desert regions, the early development of an independent writing system, the organization of collective construction and agricultural projects, trade with surrounding regions, a military intended to assert Egyptian dominance. Motivating and organizing these activities was a bureaucracy of elite scribes, religious leaders, administrators under the control of a pharaoh, who ensured the cooperation and unity of the Egyptian people in the context of an elaborate system of religious beliefs; the many achievements of the ancient Egyptians include the quarrying and construction techniques that supported the building of monumental pyramids and obelisks.
Ancient Egypt has left a lasting legacy. Its art and architecture were copied, its antiquities carried off to far corners of the world, its monumental ruins have inspired the imaginations of writers for centuries. A new-found respect for antiquities and excavations in the early modern period by Europeans and Egyptians led to the scientific investigation of Egyptian civilization and a greater appreciation of its cultural legacy; the Nile has been the lifeline of its region for much of human history. The fertile floodplain of the Nile gave humans the opportunity to develop a settled agricultural economy and a more sophisticated, centralized society that became a cornerstone in the history of human civilization. Nomadic modern human hunter-gatherers began living in the Nile valley through the end of the Middle Pleistocene some 120,000 years ago. By the late Paleolithic period, the arid climate of Northern Africa became hot and dry, forcing the populations of the area to concentrate along the river region.
In Predynastic and Early Dynastic times, the Egyptian climate was much less arid. Large regions of Egypt were traversed by herds of grazing ungulates. Foliage and fauna were far more prolific in all environs and the Nile region supported large populations of waterfowl. Hunting would have been common for Egyptians, this is the period when many animals were first domesticated. By about 5500 BC, small tribes living in the Nile valley had developed into a series of cultures demonstrating firm control of agriculture and animal husbandry, identifiable by their pottery and personal items, such as combs and beads; the largest of these early cultures in upper Egypt was the Badari, which originated in the Western Desert. The Badari was followed by the Amratian and Gerzeh cultures, which brought a number of technological improvements; as early as the Naqada I Period, predynastic Egyptians imported obsidian from Ethiopia, used to shape blades and other objects from flakes. In Naqada II times, early evidence exists of contact with the Near East Canaan and the Byblos coast.
Over a period of about 1,000 years, the Naqada culture developed from a few small farming communities into a powerful civilization whose leaders were in complete control of the people and resources of the Nile valley. Establishing a power center at Nekhen, at Abydos, Naqada III leaders expanded their control of Egypt northwards along the Nile, they traded with Nubia to the south, the oases of the western desert to the west, the cultures of the eastern Mediterranean and Near East to the east, initiating a period of Egypt-Mesopotamia relations. The Naqada culture manufactured a diverse selection of material goods, reflective of the increasing power and wealth of the elite, as well as societal personal-use items, which included combs, small statuary, painted pottery, high quality decorative stone vases, cosmetic palettes, jewelry made of gold and ivory, they developed a ceramic glaze known as faience, used well into the Roman Per
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, colloquially "the Met", is the largest art museum in the United States. With 6,953,927 visitors to its three locations in 2018, it was the third most visited art museum in the world, its permanent collection contains over two million works, divided among seventeen curatorial departments. The main building, on the eastern edge of Central Park along Museum Mile in Manhattan's Upper East Side is by area one of the world's largest art galleries. A much smaller second location, The Cloisters at Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, contains an extensive collection of art and artifacts from Medieval Europe. On March 18, 2016, the museum opened the Met Breuer museum at Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side; the permanent collection consists of works of art from classical antiquity and ancient Egypt and sculptures from nearly all the European masters, an extensive collection of American and modern art. The Met maintains extensive holdings of African, Oceanian and Islamic art.
The museum is home to encyclopedic collections of musical instruments and accessories, as well as antique weapons and armor from around the world. Several notable interiors, ranging from 1st-century Rome through modern American design, are installed in its galleries; the Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870 for the purposes of opening a museum to bring art and art education to the American people. It opened on February 20, 1872, was located at 681 Fifth Avenue; the Met's permanent collection is curated by seventeen separate departments, each with a specialized staff of curators and scholars, as well as six dedicated conservation departments and a Department of Scientific Research. The permanent collection includes works of art from classical antiquity and ancient Egypt and sculptures from nearly all the European masters, an extensive collection of American and modern art; the Met maintains extensive holdings of African, Oceanian and Islamic art. The museum is home to encyclopedic collections of musical instruments and accessories, antique weapons and armor from around the world.
A great number of period rooms, ranging from 1st-century Rome through modern American design, are permanently installed in the Met's galleries. In addition to its permanent exhibitions, the Met organizes and hosts large traveling shows throughout the year; the current chairman of the board, Daniel Brodsky, was elected in 2011 and became chairman three years after director Philippe de Montebello retired at the end of 2008. On March 1, 2017, the BBC reported that Daniel Weiss, the Met's president and COO, would temporarily act as CEO for the museum. Following the departure of Thomas P. Campbell as the Met's director and CEO on June 30, 2017, the search for a new director of the museum was assigned to the human resources firm Phillips Oppenheim to present a new candidate for the position "by the end of the fiscal year in June" of 2018; the next director will report to Weiss as the current president of the museum. In April 2018, Max Hollein was named director. Beginning in the late 19th century, the Met started acquiring ancient art and artifacts from the Near East.
From a few cuneiform tablets and seals, the Met's collection of Near Eastern art has grown to more than 7,000 pieces. Representing a history of the region beginning in the Neolithic Period and encompassing the fall of the Sasanian Empire and the end of Late Antiquity, the collection includes works from the Sumerian, Sasanian, Assyrian and Elamite cultures, as well as an extensive collection of unique Bronze Age objects; the highlights of the collection include a set of monumental stone lamassu, or guardian figures, from the Northwest Palace of the Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II. Though the Met first acquired a group of Peruvian antiquities in 1882, the museum did not begin a concerted effort to collect works from Africa and the Americas until 1969, when American businessman and philanthropist Nelson A. Rockefeller donated his more than 3,000-piece collection to the museum. Today, the Met's collection contains more than 11,000 pieces from sub-Saharan Africa, the Pacific Islands, the Americas and is housed in the 40,000-square-foot Rockefeller Wing on the south end of the museum.
The collection ranges from 40,000-year-old indigenous Australian rock paintings, to a group of 15-foot-tall memorial poles carved by the Asmat people of New Guinea, to a priceless collection of ceremonial and personal objects from the Nigerian Court of Benin donated by Klaus Perls. The range of materials represented in the Africa and Americas collection is undoubtedly the widest of any department at the Met, including everything from precious metals to porcupine quills; the Met's Asian department holds a collection of Asian art, of more than 35,000 pieces, arguably the most comprehensive in the US. The collection dates back to the founding of the museum: many of the philanthropists who made the earliest gifts to the museum included Asian art in their collections. Today, an entire wing of the museum is dedicated to the Asian collection, spans 4,000 years of Asian art; every Asian civilization is represented in the Met's Asian department, the pieces on display include every type of decorative art, from painting and printmaking to sculpture and metalworking.
The department is well known for its comprehensive collection of Chinese calligraphy and painting, as well as for its Indian sculptures and Tibetan works, the arts of Burma and Thailand. All three ancient religions of India – Hinduism and Jainism – are well represented in these s