But ... Google also has its limits. For example, when speaking about the pyramids of Egypt, the overwhelming majority of people have in mind only three “great” pyramids: Khufu / Cheops, Khafre / Khafre, and Menkaure / Mykerina. In fact, the pyramids in Egypt are in Giza, Saqqara, Dashur, Meidum, Abydos, Edfu, etc. - tens: both from a stone, and from a brick raw, in the best or worst degree of safety. How many pyramids in Egypt are all - this is one of the most frequently asked questions. And it can be answered in such a way that according to the calculations of one French archaeological expedition - 118, but Egyptian archaeologists number only a hundred. And again, for some reason, everyone is talking only about one of Tutankhamen’s gold-filled tombs, although there are already two of them (including those not robbed !!!) already ... two!
But since I am not an Egyptologist, I asked my colleague Oksana Milaevu, who was history Egypt has been practicing for a very long time. And that's what she wrote ...
“The broken pyramid” to Snofru, Khufu’s father, is more mysterious, more mysterious, but ... for some reason, none of the pyramidomans and pyramidoidiots do not visit her.
So, first of all, the pyramids and they can be considered in great detail, if readers want this. They were built and the pharaohs of the Old Kingdom, and representatives of the dynasties of the Middle Kingdom (XII dynasty was the last dynasty pyramid builders). But such common diseases as pyramid-idiotism and pyramid addiction (they really exist, and this is not fiction!) For some reason relate to these three structures, but for some reason nobody has damaged the Pyramid of Snofra (Father of Cheops), although built two of them, and one is not at all like the others! And why no one knows so, that is, the secret seems to be right before your eyes. The last pyramid builder, Amenemhet III, following the example of Snofru, also erected two pyramids in Dakhshur and Haware, and despite the external unpresentability, the interior finish of the latter even today commands respect for the level of technical skill of the ancient Egyptians. And there are also such "pyramids", from which only the foundation remained and ... a pit in which a quartzite sarcophagus stands. Quartzite! And how was it made? But since the desert edge and the military base are near, no one goes to this “pyramid”, and Egyptologists do not even know about its existence!
Gold mask of Pharaoh Tutankhamen from gold of high sample weighs 10,5 kg.
Well, when they talk about the found burials of the pharaohs, then, first of all, remember who? Of course, Tutankhamen! Actually, he became the most popular ruler of ancient Egypt, although, according to the discoverer of the tomb of archaeologist Howard Carter, "the only remarkable event in his life was that he died and was buried ...". But after all, it is written about him in school textbooks as well, and the “yellow press” cannot do without it - secrets, mysticism, the “curse of the pharaohs”, the living legends. Doubts about the authenticity of artifacts from his tomb also become a constant topic for discussion - it is fake, it is not fake (although who and why would need to forge tons of gold of a completely defined chemical composition, that is ... melt the already existing ancient Egyptian gold products!).
But basically, when evaluating this luxury and wealth, we are guided by the idea of values from the point of view of modernity, which puts gold above silver. But was it the case in ancient Egypt? In a country that did not have its own silver deposits, unlike gold, the former was valued much higher, and its connection with the cults of lunar deities provided it with additional value. Indeed, Pharaoh would possess great wealth, in the tomb of which would have discovered silver treasures.
But who knows about the sarcophagus made from ... 90 kilograms of pure silver? To whom from the pharaohs did he belong and when did they find him?
XI century BC for ancient Egypt, this was a turmoil, a weakening of the central power, which in the conditions of irrigated agriculture predictably led to the destruction of a single economy. By the end of the 20th dynasty, Egypt had once again broken up into Upper and Lower Egypt, and the entire state apparatus was destroyed. In the south of the country, the high priest of Amon Herihor was seized by power, an event whose background is described in the wonderful Polish feature film “Pharaoh” based on the novel by Boleslav Prus, shot back in 1965, but in the north there was his own dynasty of Pharaohs with its capital in Per-Ramses ( Tanis - Greek., San El-Hagar).
The city of Per-Ramses is another legend of Egyptian archeology. Its exact location has not been established, but sources praise its magnificence, comparing it with the ancient capitals - Thebes and Memphis. It is known that Ramses II the Great specially transferred the capital to a new city, since it had a special strategic importance for the rapid transfer of military contingents to the East, to the Levant. Subsequently, due to the shallowing of the bed of the Nile, the city was moved (approximately 30 kilometers) along with the monuments to the town of Tanis, in connection with which he was identified with Per-Ramses for a long time.
Of course, how everything was there in reality, no one knows. Cinema is not a source. But the documents indicate the barbarization of the Egyptian administration, and the army at this time. A special role was played by the Libyan mercenaries, who formed the backbone of the Egyptian army, occupied key posts in the state.
Egypt did not conduct large-scale victorious wars at this time, which allows to draw an obvious conclusion that the Pharaohs hardly possessed incalculable wealth. There was no influx of gold from Asia, so at first glance the kings of the Tanis and Libyan dynasties were simply poor compared to the rulers of the Ancient, Middle and New kingdoms. Such a conclusion seems quite logical and reasonable ... but, nevertheless, this was far from the case!
Golden Mask of Pharaoh Psunnes I
In 1929 - 51, in Tanis, as a result of investigations by the French archeologist Pierre Monte, the tombs of kings of the 21st and 22nd dynasties were found, which in their wealth and luxury can be put on a par with the treasures of Tutankhamen’s well-known tomb. Moreover, no one hid anything and does not hide! View the collection of finds from Tutankhamen’s tomb, exhibited in the hall of the Cairo Museum of Antiquities, go to the hall located next door, and there you will see the treasures of the pharaohs of the XXI Libyan dynasty. And what you see is not at all inferior in its magnificence and artistic value to its predecessors from the brilliant period of the New Kingdom. Here are just a collection of Tutankhamen traveled half the world, and gold and silver finds from Tanis can only be seen here. Where does such wealth come from in an era of general chaos and ruin? And why is so little known about it?
Because the tomb was found in the 1939 year, when war was raging in Europe. Therefore, the discovery of Pierre Monte and did not become a new high point of Egyptian archeology, and passed more than unnoticed. In February 1940, the army of fascist Germany stood on the threshold of France, and Monte left everything and went back to the family, and again came to Egypt a few years later.
When Monte was digging in Tanis, he dreamed of one thing: to find the capital of Pharaoh Ramses the Great - the city of Per Ramses. It is interesting that Monte began excavations where before him several large expeditions were already working. He began clearing the temples already freed from the sand, and ... found a burial chamber that belonged to Pharaoh Gornacht, the son of King Osorkon and the high priest of the god Amon. True, it managed to manage the robbers. And then they found the roof of another crypt, the plates of which were sealed with cement, which indicated that no one had been here after the burial. Egyptologist's dream came true - he found an untouched tomb with the cartouche of Pharaoh Psusennes. Surprisingly, although he ruled 46 for years, little was known about him. But in the burial chamber, archaeologists found a sarcophagus made of pure silver with a headboard in the shape of the head ... a huge falcon!
Around the sarcophagus there were vessels of bronze, granite, alabaster and clay, for some reason the royal name of the pharaoh Sheshonok was written on the gold chased mummy's coverlet! But how could Sheshkonk - Hekakheper-Ra be in the tomb of Psusennes when they were separated by at least 150-200 years?
Cartouche with the name of Pharaoh Psusennes I.
Under the veil, archaeologists discovered the magnificent death mask of Sheshonok, minted from solid gold leaf. This is the second death mask made of gold (the first, of course, is Tutankhamen’s mask), which reached our time and was found by tomb raiders! She is very canonical and repeats traditional elements of the Egyptian style: the face of a young man of years 23-28 with a necklace on his chest in the form of a golden kite. Below it was a massive chain of gold, consisting of pectoral (rectangular plates, which depicted religious scenes). The hands of the deceased Pharaoh were decorated with gold rings and bracelets, his feet were shod in gold sandals, even gold caps were put on his toes.
P. Monte with the silver sarcophagus of Psusennes I.
Already all this could give Monte world-wide fame, but still it was not the tomb of Psusennes, and he decided to try to crawl through a narrow passage with water flowing between the stone blocks ... And his perseverance was rewarded! It turned out that the grave of Psusennes was very close! The passage to it was covered by a fragment of an obelisk that once stood nearby and served as the building material for the architect of the 21st dynasty. And then Monte found both the burial chamber itself and the sarcophagus, around which there were vessels made of alabaster, porphyry, granite, and four more canopic dishes, plates and dishes of gold and silver, Ushebti figurines, and traces of robbers were missing!
All finds were sketched in place, and only then retrieved to the surface. On the sarcophagus of pink granite, an inscription was found that it used to belong to Pharaoh Merneptakh, the successor of Ramses II (XIX dynasty). But the cartouche of the former owner was carefully chipped, and instead of the old name, a new pharaoh, Psusennes I, was knocked out. So Psusennes was buried in a strange coffin, although very beautiful: he was covered outside with a sculpture of a full-length pharaoh, and at the headboard was a small kneeling figure the goddess Nuth, who hugged the head of the king with both hands.
The sarcophagus discovered 21 on February 1940 of the year, with King of Egypt Farouch, a great lover of archeology, present. It turned out that the body of Psusennes was located in three sarcophagi: the first was of pink granite, inside it was a sarcophagus of black granite, which contained a coffin of anthropomorphic form of pure silver - “the bones of the gods”, as this metal was called in Ancient Egypt. The weight of the sarcophagus was more than 90 kg. And I must say that this coffin was just an incredible luxury, next to which even the well-known treasures from Tutankhamun’s tomb are turning pale.
We have already mentioned that due to the rarity of silver in Egypt, it was valued more than gold. At the time of the pharaohs in Egypt mined to 40 tons of gold per year (interestingly, in Europe to extract so much gold were only in 1840 year). True, under Psusennes I, silver went down in price in Egypt, but work on silver was much more difficult than work with gold. The corresponding masters were also less, therefore the cost of their work was much higher.
The face of the dead king was covered with a golden burial mask made of gold plates, welded together and still fastened with the help of several coarse rivets. The thickness of gold in some places is only 0,1 millimeter, which indicates the high skill of the masters who made it. The mask, as it should be according to the canons of Egyptian art, conveys a feeling of general peace and solemnity and ... has nothing in common with the elderly Psusennes I who died about 80 years old!
Photo of the silver coffin of Psusennes I.
Interestingly, Psusennes wore the title of Pharaoh at the same time, and was the high priest of Amon. And this explains the nature of such wealth in the era of general economic and political decline in the country, not to mention the fact that the Pharaohs owned then only Lower Egypt. By the way, Psusennes himself was one of the four sons of the high priest of the temple in Karnak, Pinej, who sent him to Tanis, to the north, where he became pharaoh and united in his hands not only secular, but also spiritual power, and the corresponding wealth. Then Psusennes married his daughter not to marry anyone, but to his own brother, when he became the high priest in ancient Thebes.
Canopic for the insides of the pharaoh.
Therefore, it is not surprising that in the royal necropolis, for all its modest size, there were literally poods of gold, silver, products of these noble metals. There were genuine masterpieces of jewelry art: for example, wide necklaces decorated with pendants and pectoral of gold, and also inlaid with carnelian, lapis lazuli, green feldspar and jasper. Bowls made of silver and even amber in the form of flowers or with floral motifs, various vessels for ritual libations, statues of goddesses of gold were found. Lapis lazuli was especially found, and even more than it was found in Tutankhamun’s tomb, but this was one of the most expensive ornamental stones in Egypt, since it was brought from the territory of ... modern Afghanistan. The six necklaces of Psusennes consisted of gold beads or of small gold disks with pendants and again lapis lazuli. On one of them there is the following inscription: “Tsar Psusennes made a large necklace of real lapis lazuli, not a single king did anything of the kind.” That's how he boasted to others and ... well, he had every reason to!