Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tomb of Emperor Qin Huang's Grandmother Discovered

From The International Business Times Online, which contains many more photographs of artefacts from the tomb:

China: Ancient Tomb of First Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Grandmother Discovered in Xi'an

A huge ancient tomb belonging to the grandmother of China's first emperor Qin Shi Huang has been found in Xi'an during excavations to expand the Xi'an University of Finance and Economics campus in Shaanxi province, northwest China.

According to, the tomb complex covers an area measuring 173,325 square metres, stretching 550m in length and 310 meters in width, and is the second largest tomb to have ever been discovered in the country.

The tomb complex.
So far, archaeologists have excavated two carriages and 12 horse skeletons (each carriage would have been pulled by six horses) out of the tomb.

The carriages and horses are a symbol of high rank which is equal to that of an emperor or a member of the royal family.

The archaeologists also discovered elegantly engraved pottery inscribed with the Chinese characters for Qin Shi Huang's grandmother, together with fragments of jade, gold and silver, have confirmed the archaeologists' beliefs that the tomb belongs to Qin Shi Huang's grandmother.

They also believe that the first emperor commissioned the tomb to be built and it was completed in his lifetime, but there is no word yet as to whether they have found her sarcophagus.

The turbulent Qin family

Qin Shi Huang (260-210BC) was the first emperor to unify China and enact major economic and political reforms across the country. China had previously consisted of a multitude of warring states and kingdoms, each under the control of feudal overlords, leading to much instability.
Although history knows his parents, the concubine Lady Zhao and King Zhuangxiang of the Kingdom of Qin, not much else is known about his family.

After the death of Qin Shi Huang's father, he took the throne at the age of 13.

His mother took a lover Lao Ai and had two illegitimate children. Later, Lao Ai tried to stage a coup with the intention of killing Qin Shi Huang and placing one of the two children on the throne as a puppet ruler.

Qin Shi Huang ordered his half-siblings to be killed and his mother was placed under house arrest, while Lao Ai died during the coup.

Perhaps the first emperor might have had a closer relationship with his grandmother than with his mother.

In later life, he never chose an empress, but sired 50 children on numerous concubines, so he might have had issues with forming relationships with women. [Gee, yah think?]

The legacy left by Qin Shi Huang

Qin Shi Huang standardised units of measurement, the length of axles of carts and currency, creating the Ban Liang coin. He also created the first unified Chinese script to make one language and communication system.

Although he destroyed many books about the past so that scholars could not compare his reign to rulers before him, he has left the world a lasting legacy in the form of the Great Wall of China, a defensive wall system, and his mausoleum complex, which is also in Xi'an.

The first emperor's tomb complex took 38 years and over 720,000 builders to construct, and its location was deliberately lost, hidden under the man-made Lishan Mountain, with trees and vegetation planted over it.

Builders who sealed one tomb chamber were killed when they reported to their superiors, who would in turn seal the next chamber and then report to superiors who killed them in turn. It is also rumoured that his concubines were buried alive with him.

When the last builders and guards reported back to the capital that the task had been completed, they were killed too, and the location of Qin Shi Huang's tomb lay hidden for over two thousand years.
In 1974, the tomb was discovered by farmers digging wells, who stumbled on the garrison of 6,000 terracotta warriors.

The central tomb chamber housing the first emperor's sarcophagus has not yet been excavated as archaeologists currently lack the technology to adequately preserve the tomb's contents.

They believe that some ancient booby traps like rivers of mercury and rigged crossbows might still await them, thanks to probes inserted into the tomb discovering abnormally high amounts of mercury.

Israeli Spies Infiltrating Archaeology to Turn the Pyramids Jewish

This is absolutely hilarious, except it was not published (as far as I can tell) on April Fool's day.  Only goes to show, you can fool some of the people ALL of the time.  Are all fundy Muslims brainwashed (just like fundy Christians)?  Read it and laugh, and then weep for the state of appalling ignorance and prejudice in the world today, for it is bullshit like this that makes people kill each other.

From The Jerusalem Post Online

'Israeli spies falsifying Egyptian history to show Jews built pyramids'

Women in Ancient Egypt

From the Biblical Archaeological Society (BAR) online -- if you don't subscribe to Shanks' excellent magazine, I urge you to do so!  The article that I've copied the text from contains several more images than included here, so please visit BAR (click on link in title to article) and check them out, they are fascinating and flesh out the context and article. 

This story presents an interesting analogy to the moral of the story about how masculine assumptions have colored so much of our "scientific" thinking from Day One.  All I can say is, remember the moral of the story about the female mustangs and the totally erroneous assumptions that were made about the stallion/leader of the herd being the sole father of all the foals birthed by the females in the herd...

Examining the Lives of Ancient Egyptian Women
The case of an ancient Egyptian woman named Tjat

Melinda Nelson-Hurst09/02/2014
Tjat, “sealer, keeper of
the property of her lord,
Tjat, born of Netjeru.”
Image copyright
Melinda Nelson-Hurst.
In the heart of Egypt, about 150 miles (ca. 240 km) south of modern Cairo near the city of Minya, lies a large and ancient necropolis at a site named Beni Hasan (see map). This location has been popular among tourists and academics because several of its massive, rock-cut tombs have beautifully decorated tomb chapels that have survived for millennia. These tombs provide troves of information for scholars to analyze and debate, but today I’d like to focus on one minor person in one tomb: an ancient Egyptian woman by the name of Tjat (see image right).
Tjat appears in the tomb of Khnumhotep II (tomb 3), a local ruler from around the middle of the Twelfth Dynasty (ca. 1900 B.C.). You may have heard about this tomb before because of its so-called scene of Asiatics (people depicted in the typical way that the ancient Egyptians used to distinguish people to the northeast of Egypt)—figures who have been variously interpreted as everything from local nomads to immigrants from the Near East to Biblical figures. However, much less attention has been paid to the woman named Tjat who appears in prominent positions in four different scenes throughout this tomb and is labeled there as a “sealer” (sometimes translated “treasurer”).
Who was Tjat and why does she appear within this tomb? Because of her prominent place (and that of her children) within these scenes (see image below), as well as other factors, scholars have assumed for over a hundred years that Tjat was the mistress and/or second wife of Khnumhotep II, who in turn is assumed to be the father of Tjat’s children. However, having studied Khnumhotep II’s family in some depth, I began to feel compelled to reassess this interpretation of Tjat. Might we, as scholars, have been too quick to categorize this woman as a sexual partner of Khnumhotep II because she did not easily fit other familiar categories? I would certainly say, “yes.” While we will never be able to answer all of our questions about ancient Egypt with any certainty, it is only through close study of both the details and the wider social and historical contexts that we might come a bit closer to the ancient realities of life.
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