Minerva Magazine 187

Cover Story

Nefertari: Into the Valley of the Queens The Great Royal Wife of Ramesses II, Nefertari, was buried in one of the most spectacular tombs of Egypt’s Valley of the Queens. Well-educated and well-travelled, Nefertari played a crucial part in the political life of the pharaoh, and her…

Features

Grand Designs at Heraculaneum One of the most lavish dwellings in Roman Herculaneum, the House of the Bicentenary reopened to the public in 2019 after decades of conservation efforts. Francesco Sirano, Director of the…
The Greek dead and the Great Beyond The ancient Greeks thought much about the dead – how their remains should be disposed of, how their spirits might be summoned, how malignant they could be if unavenged. Classicist…
Etruscans: pushing boundaries When the Etruscans expanded to the south and the vast plains of Campania, they found a land of cultural connections and confrontations, as luxurious grave goods found across the region…
Cuzco: the centre and head of all the land Cuzco was the heart of the vast Inca empire, but all changed in the 16th century when the capital was conquered by Spanish invaders. Michael J Schreffler investigates the Inca…

News

Roman discoveries at ancient Augustodunum Excavations directed by Carole Fossurier found a range of different burial practices. There were mausoleums, a wooden building, and a tile structure, which resembled burials of the early empire, as…
More mummies unveiled at Saqqara As well as the coffins, which date to the Late Period (525-332 BC) and Ptolemaic Dynasty (323-30 BC), Egyptian archaeologists found shabtis, amulets, four gilded funerary masks, and 40 statues…
An unknown manuscript by a medieval master ‘The Lucas Psalter is of clear artistic and cultural significance, and tells a fascinating English story.'
A study in purple Today, more than 1,000 of these mummy portraits survive in museums and collections around the world.

Views

Amelia Edwards People This major figure in Egyptian archaeology was also a novelist, journalist, artist, erstwhile musician, and dauntless travel writer.
Deir el-Bahri, 1894 Places, The Picture Desk The exquisite results can be seen in Paget’s watercolour of bulls from one wall, and Howards Carter’s reproduction of a scene in which Thutmosis I and his mother Seniseneb make…

Reviews

The Secret History of Writing This intelligent, articulate, and visually imaginative three-part BBC documentary series about five millennia of writing – shortened into two parts for US transmission as A to Z in the PBS…
Shaping the Word: Sculpture from Prehistory to Now It is the comprehensive yet unconventional way in which Gayford and Gormley shine new light on objects from prehistory to the early 21st century that make this volume so truly…
The Children of Ash and Elm: A History of the Vikings There has been much debate about what to call the people of medieval Scandinavia now known widely as ‘Vikings’. The term stems from the Old Norse vikingr, used to describe…

From the editor

At the start of the 20th century, a team of archaeologists from Turin made an important discovery in Egypt: the tomb of queen Nefertari. Nefertari was renowned, and her prominence hinted by the many inscriptions that bear her name, but the scale of the tomb the archaeologists found impressed nonetheless.

Finds from Ernesto Schiaparelli’s excavations in the Valley of the Queens and the artisan village of Deir el-Medina are now on view in a new exhibition at the Kimbell Art Museum. For our cover feature, we take a look at the archaeology of this remarkable royal woman and the people who built her tomb.

The year 2020 has seen museums, galleries, and sites in many parts of world close and reopen. When the House of the Bicentenary in Herculaneum reopened its doors in 2019, it had been off-limits for some 30 years. The Roman townhouse, one of the site’s grandest, was excavated and opened up by another Italian archaeologist, Amedeo Maiuri, in 1938, before closing in 1983 due to structural issues. The lack of regular maintenance that came with the closure didn’t help matters, but recent conservation work means visitors can enjoy the splendours of this spectacular house once more, as Francesco Sirano and Leslie Rainer write.

In Peru, Inca royalty ruled their vast empire from its sacred centre, Cuzco. Cuzco was the centre of the world, a world divided into four parts. This worldview, as Michael J Schreffler explains, is reflected in the rich material culture left behind across the Inca empire. When the Spanish conquered this city, though, it lost its position as the centre of an almighty empire, but traces of the impressive Inca structures still stand in modern Cuzco today.

A four-part system was also important to the Etruscans, inhabitants of ancient Italy. They divided the sky into four (and then 16) regions to help determine the will of the gods through divination. An exhibition at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples explores southern Italy’s connections to the Etruscans. Paolo Giulierini, the museum’s director, takes us into these ancient Etruscan borderlands, fertile fields fought over by Greeks and Etruscans, but a land of coexistence and cultural exchange as much as conflict.

The Etruscans were by no means the only people to look for guidance from higher powers. As David Stuttard writes, the ancient Greeks sought out oracles to commune with the sage spirits of the deceased. In our final feature, we examine ancient attitudes towards and beliefs about the dead, revealed through myth and material culture.