Archeology News: Green Hieroglyphics & Ancient Coins

If you ever located ancient artifacts, what would you do? Would you hoard them under your bed for safekeeping, head to the nearest pawn shop or do what the man in this article did? This news flash and another interesting archeology headline that posted during the first week of March 2010 is discussed.

Ancient Coins Uncovered

After a local man uncovered a box of 250 coins dating back to Hellenistic times, he brought the bronze box to authorities, who then transferred the coins to the Aleppo Department of Archaeology and Museum. The man was in the process of preparing his land for construction when he found the artifacts that were in use during the same time as Alexander the Great in northern Syria. The location of the find was close to Najm Castle in the Manbei region.

The director of archaeological excavations at Aleppo Department of Archaeology and Museum reported that two different groups of silver coins were contained in the box. To be exact: 137 tetra drachma (four drachmas) coins and 115 drachma coins. On one side of the tetra drachma coins, there is the image of Alexander the Great, while the other side shows the Greek god Zeus sitting atop his throne. On his outstretched right arm, an eagle is perched. Other features of the coins include the inscription “King Alexander” in Greek , appearing on 34 of them. Eighty-one coins had the inscription “Alexander”, while 22 coins had the inscription “King Phillip.”

Queen is Destroyed but Hieroglyphics Survive

When French archaeologists finally peered into the burial chamber of an Egyptian queen that dated back 4,000 years, they learned that the mummy of Queen Behenu was destroyed. However, there was a bright spot , the tomb (which is located in Saqqara) contained well-preserved hieroglyphics.

Ten different teams worked on the excavation of a section of the Saqqara burial grounds that had been previously untouched. The history and significance behind this site is that it had been continuously in use for more than 2,000 years until Roman times. Sadly, no one will be able to investigate the mummy of Queen Behenu, as the French mission head announced that it had been destroyed. He noted that the chamber contained green hieroglyphics etched out on white stone, which had been given the name of “Pyramid Texts.” Archeologists rejoiced that the text has survived over the years. The text survived as a way to protect the queen’s remains and aid in her journey to the afterlife.

Some of the details concerning the queen are unclear. It is unknown if she was the wife of King Pepi I or II , two pharaohs who lived and ruled for quite a long time during the Sixth Dynasty. By the time the queen’s pyramid was built in Saqqara, it was customary for the structures to pale in comparison to the ones built in Giza. The architecture was less than desirable and these qualities caused the materials to fall apart easier.