Saturday, July 20, 2013

Destroying Cartouches

When I toured the ancient sites in Egypt, I was struck by the amounts of cartouches that were destroyed and the amount of carvings that were scratched out of the stones they were drawn on.
When our group was on tour, we were told that it was not uncommon for a pharaoh to scratch out a prior pharaoh’s cartouche and to carve his own cartouche into a structure.
In this way, a pharaoh took over ownership of a prior pharaoh’s building.
In addition, another group of people who destroy a cartouche are the grave robbers.
The ancients believed that the spirits of the dead occupied stone carvings and cartouches.
They would scratch out the faces of the carvings to prevent the spirits from seeing who was robbing the graves and looting the buildings.
I was dismayed when I saw how many beautiful carvings had been destroyed.
All of the graves of the pharaohs had been robbed in antiquity except for King Tut’s.
The fact that makes King Tut’s so notable was the fact that his grave was found to be intact.
Historically, he was a minor figure.
The riches found in his grave gave archaeologists a yardstick, so to speak of how
vast the graves of other pharaoh’s must have been.

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