Volume 48 / Issue 2


Issue Cover

Special Issue: Egyptology

On the Cover: Workmen clear the entrance to the hidden subterranean tomb of Senwosret III.
Photo by Josef Wegner.

Echoes of Power

The Mayor's House of Ancient Wah-Sut

By: Josef Wegner

Throughout history, the economic, religious, and social life of settlements has centered on special buildings such as temples, churches, post offices, and town halls. For the community of Wah-Sut (ca. 1850 and 1700 BCE), the Mayor’s House (Egyptian Per Haty-a) was the focus of social and economic interaction. We first discovered the mayoral residence in […]


By: Josef Wegner

Extensively excavated since 1994, the mortuary temple of Senwosret III housed a limestone cult building at its core. Its central ceremonial gateway was decorated with flagpoles and approached by a causeway coming up from the floodplain below. The interior of the building was composed of three distinct blocks. The East Block was a storage area […]

Abydos And The Cult Of Osiris

By: Josef Wegner

Ancient Abydos (Abdju) played a lengthy and important role in the development of Egyptian civilization. Located 500 km south of Cairo, it sits on the desert’s edge, 15 km west of the Nile. During the Predynastic period (before ca. 3000 BCE) Abydos served as the cemetery site for a series of regional rulers whose capital, […]

Food Fit for the the Soul of a Pharaoh

The Mortuary Temple's Bakeries and Breweries

By: Vanessa Smith

Egyptian mortuary temples were more than just religious centers. They also served as the local representative of the state, combining both civil and religious administration. Often associated with towns, temples were provided with farmland by the state to employ large numbers of people and to produce agricultural goods. Largely self-sufficient, these temples were often called […]

Borrowed Legacy

Royal Tombs S9 and S10 at South Abydos

By: Dawn McCormack

After the 12th Dynasty reigns of Senwsoret III (1878–1841 BCE) and Amenemhet III (1858–1812 BCE) the political and economic power of the Egyptian state began to decline. During the 13th Dynasty (1800–1650 BCE), over 50, often unrelated, pharaohs occupied the throne in little more than 150 years. Archaeologists have so far discovered only six of […]

One Pharaoh, Two Tombs

By: Josef Wegner

Most Egyptian pharaohs possessed only a single tomb, leaving little doubt as to where they were buried. But Senwosret III belongs to a small group of pharaohs who built multiple tombs. How were is different tombs used and where was he actually buried? Like all of his predecessors in the 12th Dynasty, Senwosret III built […]

From the Editor – Summer 2006

By: James R. Mathieu

Welcome to Expedition’s special issue on Egyptology! Here’s a detailed look at the Museum’s involvement in the archaeology of ancient Egypt’s Late Middle Kingdom. Our nine feature articles will introduce you to the site of South Abydos, from its first discovery at the turn of the last century to the Museum’s recent archaeological work there […]

Beneath the Mountain-of-Anubis

Ancient Egypt's First Hidden Royal Tomb

By: Josef Wegner

Ancient peoples throughout the world had sophisticated understandings of their landscape. Specific elements, such as mountains, were often identified as having divine meaning. These were used to conceptualize the links between humans and the forces that governed creation and their destiny. Recent work at South Abydos has revealed that the subterranean tomb of Senwosret III […]

The Penn Compact and Penn Museum

From the Director

By: Richard M. Leventhal

President Amy Gutmann’s vision for the University of Pennsylvania — “the Penn Compact”—articulates a three-part program focused upon the main principles of increased access, integrated knowledge, and local and global engagement. The connection between these principles and the vision and activities of Penn Museum is extremely strong. In fact, the Penn Compact fits the Museum better than perhaps […]

David Randall-MacIver

Explorer of Abydos and Curator of The Egyptian Section

By: Jennifer Houser Wegner

As a young man of 26, the British-born archaeologist and anthropologist David Randall-MacIver began his career working at Abydos as part of the Egypt Exploration Fund (EEF) expedition headed by Sir Flinders Petrie. In 1899–1900 Randall-MacIver discovered and investigated the mortuary temple of Senwosret III. To him goes the credit for initially identifying its royal […]