Archaeology Library Fun!
Yesterday while Erin was in class, I got to spend time alone in the Archaeology Library at the university. I spent hours looking through books that were decades or even more than a century old while the rain pattered on the glass and the image of the cobble stone streets outside became distorted. Here are a few of the interesting books I found.
I assume the title means “History of Art from Antiquity – Assyria” because that’s what the book was. I couldn’t read a word of it but the cover was beautiful.
A book on runic inscriptions and standing stones in Denmark.
A peek inside…
A sketch of a rune stone.
Now this is interesting. While looking at a book about the mystery cults of ancient Greece, I found handwritten notes. I don’t know if they were corrections to the book or study notes from a former student, but I could tell they were old because…(Next photo)
…there was a post card inside. And on the back of the post card…(Next photo)
This one looked interesting. Perhaps next time.
For the Biblical archaeology buffs, “Excavation at Ephesus.”
I found a collection of Latin texts from different countries. Of course I grabbed the one from Switzerland.
Hm. Interesting. This critiques the handwriting of the Latin texts rather than the texts themselves.
“The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England.” This is the book I actually checked out and brought home.
And then I saw it…Do you see it? No, probably not. It’s at the very bottom of this stack of drawings, plates, and transcriptions of ancient scrolls. Let me zoom in a bit for you…(next photo)
This photo is actually upside down. This collection of Egyptian papyri transcriptions and translations was at the bottom of the pile. It took me a while to dig them out.
In fact, while digging them out, I got distracted by a collection of sketches of Greek scultpures.
This one in particular caught my eye.
But I finally managed to dig them out.
This is a photo of the scroll containing the Egyptian creation story. My note book is there for size comparison but I was also taking notes. No I can’t read Egyptian hieratic texts; I was taking notes on the translation provided a few pages earlier. The story goes like this.
In the beginning, the God Neb-er-tcher, “The Lord to the Uttermost Limit”, “The Universal Lord,” created himself by speaking his own name and then said “I am alone.” There was no ground for him to stand on, only the formless waters of the deep; the primeval ocean, “nu.” He uttered a word of power and created a soul body for himself to work through like a puppet. This makes me wonder if there is any connection with the Gnostics’ belief that God of the Abrahamic faiths is just a demiurge. Meaning they believe he is the creator but that there is a God, Abraxis, above him. The beliefs seem similar. I’ll have to look in to it. Anyway from there, Neb-er-tcher thought or spoke creation into existence by the force of his will. It’s interesting that all of the religions of the middle east have creation stories with similar details. And more interesting still that many cultures around the world have creation myths that start with water. There’s the Egyptians, as we just learned, and the Mesopotamian cultures. Even the Japanese and Viking creation stories begin with water.
“The Litanies of Seker,” a description of a religious ceremony.
“The beautiful chapters of the songs which drive away him that is in the water.” Spells for protection against crocodiles?
A description of a magic spell. The text reads:
The first chapter of enchantment for all kinds of water. It shall be recited by the man in authority, who hath understanding of it, against the Kaiu folk. It is a veritable mystery of the House of Life. “Egg of the water which is poured out upon the earth. Existing One of the Eight Gods of Khemenu (Hermopolis). Chief in the heavens. Chief in the Tuat. Dweller of the Nest. President of Mer-Tchestches.
“I have come forth with thee from the water. I have risen up with thee from out of the divine Nest. I am the god Menu of Qebty (Coptos). I am the god Menu of the Land of Coptos.”
Rubric: This Chapter shall be recited over an egg [made] of dung which shall be placed in the hands of a man [standing] in the fore part of a boat. If anything shall appear on the water, cast the egg on the water.
Hm. No indication of what it’s supposed to do. Not very helpful is it? 🙂
This is how Erin found me when she came down after her class. Time flew by while I was in the Library on my own. While I was in there, a man came in and opened that roll-up cabinet behind me. Inside it was full of clay, stone, and metal artifacts from who knows how many cultures. I couldn’t believe I had been sitting next to all that history the entire time! After a minute or two he locked it back up and left with a few artifacts. When Erin came down I told her about the man and she said, “Oh? Was he bald with glasses and a black hoodie? Yeah, that was my teacher.” Erin got to touch and hold the artifacts during her class. After all that, I was jealous of her adventure for the day.