Sunday, September 7, 2008

Introduction to Ancient Egypt part 2

Scholarly interest in ancient Egypt dates from Napoleon Bonaparte's invasion of 1798. The French conquerors were astonished and awed by the pyramids, the Sphinx, and other relics of the distant past. Study of the ancient ruins and artifacts began at once, inaugurating the field of research known as Egyptology.
The Rosetta Stone, carrying the same inscription in two forms of Egyptian writing and in Greek, supplied the key to Egypt's written history.
Excavation of tombs and temples produced paintings, sculptures, inscriptions, and artifacts that gave a detailed picture of life in ancient Egypt.
Among archeologists known for their work in Egypt are Sir Flinders Petrie, who excavated very early sites and established a chronology, and Howard Carter, who discovered the tomb of Pharaoh (King) Tutankhamen. An outstanding American Egyptologist was James Breasted, who founded the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.
Most of Egypt's ancient history is expressed in terms of numbered dynasties (ruling houses). The three periods of greatest development are called the Old Kingdom, the Middle Kingdom, and the New Kingdom