Weekly Roundup of Archaeology, History and Historical Fiction March 11-17

Here are some posts I enjoyed this week:

photo image Ramses II Egypt, from the temple in Abu Simbel

Ramses II Egypt, from the temple in Abu Simbel

Another colossal Ramses II? A massive statue dragged from the muck of the Nile is believed to be yet another representation of Ramses the Great, who really did think he was GREAT. Lots of big, big statues (4 in a row at one temple) and reliefs showing him crushing very tiny enemies. In his defense, that is the iconography of Egyptian Pharaohs, but he seems to have taken it to almost humorous extremes. But I may be influenced by the way I’ve been using this historic personage in my under-production fiction. He doesn’t come off as the most honest and humble guy ever and that may or may not reflect some long ago reality. Knowing ancient personalities is tricky. But it makes for a good story, so I’m sticking to it. Click here for ABC News “Second part of ancient Egyptian statue lifted from site”

Closer examination (like the hieroglyphics carved on his back) shows that the monumental statue pulled from the mucky Nile is not Ramses II, as was reported above, but most probably Psamtek I, who ruled about 600 years later than Ramses II. It might be Psamtek repurposed one of Ramses’ statues—which would explain the confusion. As I mentioned, Ramses liked putting HUGE statues of himself here and there around Egypt as decoration, so if I’d been Psamtek, I might also have done a few modifications and stuck my name on the back some of the extra statues kicking around for an inexpensive publicity drive. Recycled propaganda. How ecological and economical. Click here for Archaeological News Network “Recently unearthed Egyptian colossus not Ramses II”

And now for something very modern: the role of the black tank top in the making of the Badass Woman in all sorts of genres from thriller to fantasy. I confess I had not consciously noticed the regular resorting to this “ostensibly practical” costume in film and narratives. It has fascinating implications on how we view women (we haven’t forgotten Hilary and all those sexist comments have we?), the vulnerability we require even in our toughest heroines, the sexiness just out of reach that appeals so widely. Fun and enlightening post on Tor. Click here for Tor website “Storytelling Through Costume: The Badass Black Tank Top Walks the Line”

"El Negro" Olmec monumental stone sculpture from Tres Zapotes at the Museo Regional Tuxteco in Santiago Tuxtla, Veracruz, Mexico, photo by Alejandro Garcia Wikimedia

“El Negro” Olmec monumental stone sculpture from Tres Zapotes at the Museo Regional Tuxteco in Santiago Tuxtla, Veracruz, Mexico, photo by Alejandro Garcia Wikimedia

Archaeologists compared different Olmec sites in Mexico and realized after the painstaking excavation of one particular site, Tres Zapotes, that this one site reflects in its later stage a more cooperative style of government and shared power by several groups rather than an authoritarian, centralized monarchy like the others. Interesting what can be inferred from plazas and monumental statues and buildings. This one site revealed economic equality and shared access to specialized goods. Is anyone surprised that the cooperative, more economically equal city way outlasted all the others? Click here for Archaeology Magazine “Kings of Cooperation”

 

 

 

 


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