Glossary (Archaeology of Ancient Egypt)

alae : Latin, small rooms/apartments within a larger building.

amphora : large pottery jar with two handles and a narrow neck, most often used for the transport of liquids such as wine and olive oil.

atef : a special crown worn by the king and the god Osiris, or other associated divinities. It is shaped like the White Crown of Upper Egypt, but is surmounted by a round disc and flanked by two plumes.

Aten : the sun-disc deity worshipped by the heretical king Akhenaten (18th Dynasty) during what is called the Amarna period.

ba : sometimes translated as "soul," but more the embodiment of the "personality" of the deceased, often depicted in the form of a human-headed bird.

ballas : type of ceramic water jar, made in the region of Deir el-Ballas.

benben : sacred stone/pillar originally associated with the cult of Re of Heliopolis; as ahieroglyph it is shaped like a short, squat obelisk.

birka : Arabic, low-lying area/pool which often marks ancient monuments.

bp : "before present" in radiocarbon years.

canopic chest/jar : vessels used to store the viscera of the deceased after mummification. cartouche oval formed by a rope design in which the name of a ruler is inscribed in hieroglyphs.

castellum : Latin, fortress.

cella : central cult room of a temple.

core : in stone tool making, a block of stone from which flakes or blades are removed.

djed : a hieroglyph of a type of pillar, symbolizing stability.

dromos : processional street/causeway.

ennead the nine (Heliopolitan) : gods of the family of Horus

faience : type of glazed Egyptian artifact, often blue-green in color, frequently used for beads, amulets and small artifacts.

false : door a niched design of a door in stone in the interior of a mastaba, through which the ba was to communicate with the deceased in the tomb and the outer world, usually carved with titles of the deceased.

favissa : burial place for sacred objects.

flake : stone tool created by striking off a small, thin sharp-edged piece of stone from a core.

gebel  : Arabic, mountain/cliffs.

gezira  : Arabic, sand or gravel island/mound in the Nile floodplain or Delta.

tmp264-1: a bag wig or kerchief worn by Egyptian royalty, such as Hatshepsut and Akhenaten.

handax :a large, bifacially chipped stone tool used in the Lower Paleolithic, of unknown use.

tmp264-2 : royal jubilee, supposedly celebrated in the thirtieth year of a king’s reign, but frequently celebrated earlier.

hemhem : an elaborate crown that first appears in the New Kingdom, formed by three atef crowns set in a row on top of horizontal ram’s horns.

hemispeos : rock-cut temple/shrine.

hes : a spouted vessel, water jar.

horreum : Latin, a warehouse.

tmp264-3[4] :hieroglyph meaning "to be pleased"; also an offering table, altar, offerings. hypostyle a large columned hall.

ka : often translated as "spirit"; the life-force, an aspect of all living peoples, which separates from the body at death. kohl Arabic, black eye paint.

Levallois stone tool making technology involving the intentional preparation of a core which would then be struck producing flake tools of a predetermined shape, first used in the Middle Paleolithic.

ma’at : meaning "justice" or "truth," but also more generally the earthly and cosmic order that the king was believed to ensure through the proper propitiation of the gods and good government, sometimes personified by the goddess Ma’at. mammisi :literally "birth house," a temple celebrating the divine birth of a ruler. mastaba Arabic "bench"; a mudbrick superstructure built over a subterranean burial chamber, frequently cut in the bedrock at the bottom of a deep shaft. menat :ceremonial beaded necklace with a weighted end worn by priestesses associated with the Hathor cult.

naos (pl. naoi) :sanctuary, chamber containing a cult statue/shrine. nemes the royal headcloth.

nome :administrative district/province in Egypt governed by a nomarch.

obelisk : tall four-sided monolithic monument tapering to a point with hieroglyphic texts which was placed in temple courtyards.

ogdoad : the (Hermopolitan) group of eight gods, consisting of four males and four females, that existed before creation. Opet :festival the annual ceremony validating Egyptian kingship held in New Kingdom Thebes, when the cult images of Amen, Mut and Khonsu traveled in portable barks from Karnak to Luxor and back.

ostraca (sing. ostracon) : stone chips or potsherds used as a writing or drawing surface,often an inexpensive alternative to papyrus.

papyri : plural of papyrus, referring to texts written on papyrus.

peridromos : colonnade. peristyle courtyard surrounded by columns.

phyle : rotating system of part-time service, particularly in the priesthood.

pronaos : room/hall in front of a naos, usually with a columned fagade.

pylon :a large temple gateway, found on temples of the New Kingdom and later.

sabbakhin :farmers who dig for sebbakh (see below).

saff-tomb : Arabic, "row"; a type of royal tomb (early 11th Dynasty) carved out of the hard gravel of West Thebes, with a number of subsidiary burial chambers in a row along a pillared courtyard.

saqqiya : Arabic, water-wheel used for irrigation. scarab amulet made in the shape of a scarab beetle.

sebbakh : Arabic, organic material and decomposed mudbrick from ancient settlements,frequently used by Egyptian farmers for fertilizer.

serdab : statue chamber/pit in a tomb.

serekh : earliest format of the royal name, within a "palace fagade" design surmounted by the Horus falcon.

shawabti : a servant figure (in mummiform) placed in tombs, to serve the deceased in the afterlife.

speos :rock-cut temple.

stela (pl. stelae) : an upright stone slab, carved or painted with inscriptions and sometimes scenes.

step : pyramid the earliest form of a pyramid monument, with stepped sides rather than the

true : four-sided pyramidal form.

tafla : Arabic, desert clay, sometimes used as mortar.

talatat : small, stone blocks of standardized size used for temple reliefs during the reign of Akhenaten.

tell (also kom) : Arabic, mound of occupational debris formed from the successive rebuilding of structures within settlements over many (hundreds of) years.

temanos : sacred precinct of a temple, surrounded by a wall.

uraeus : the sacred cobra, a symbol of kingship.

wadi : Arabic, a seasonal stream bed formed by erosion and runoff, and in Egypt usually dry.

wadjet : an amulet, symbol of the (uninjured) eye of the god Horus.

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