Ancient Egyptian tomb discovered

A priest’s tomb that’s more than 4,000 years old has been discovered near the pyramids of Giza, Egypt. Egyptian archaeologists say the tomb belonged to a priest named Rwd-ka from the Fifth Dynasty (2494-2345 BC), a time in the Old Kingdom when religion was undergoing major changes, including the elevation in importance of the sun god Ra, and the development of the Pyramid Texts, which later developed into the Egyptian Book of the Dead. Rwd-ka would have been at the forefront of these changes, since one of his duties was to say prayers for the dead pharaohs.

Not much is known about Rwd-ka. His tomb contains rich carvings of countryside scenes as well as the priest and his wife before a table of offerings to the gods, perhaps similar to the scene above from a tomb at Saqqara.

The discovery was part of ongoing excavations in the area and just the latest in a string of recent successes for Egyptologists.

[Photo courtesy the Egypt Archive]


Seven (new) natural wonders of the world: cast your vote!

The seven wonders of the world were one of my earliest inspirations for travel and learning. Seven is a manageable number, and it seemed plausible to see them all. Well, evidently there’s more than seven wonders, since earlier this year seven new ones were chosen. Over 100 million people participated in selecting the new destinations. Among the new person-made structures are Machu Picchu, Peru, and Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer statue. (The pyramids of Giza are the only structures carried over from the original list).

Now it’s time to nominate the seven new wonders of the natural world. Currently there are around 300 suggestions from 6 continents. Beginning in January 2009, people will be able to vote via mobile phone, Internet or telephone.

Original wonders include the Great Barrier Reef, Mount Everest, and the Grand Canyon. What would you choose?

Thanks to munkeygirl on Flickr for the photo of the Great Barrier Reef.