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BAR International has just published new research on Egypt turquoise

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BAR S2602, 2014 Turquoise in the Ancient Egyptian Civilization: an archaeological, textual, and religious study by Ahmed Mohamed Ali Mansour. ISBN 9781407312347. £27.00

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Studying the cultural context and distribution of turquoise in Ancient Egypt is a way to bring a global view on the role of gemstones in history of civilization. The book by Ahmed Mohamed Ali Mansour may stimulate a cross-cultural study of all aspects of ancient jewelry of the two gold horizons: the first gold (without silver) to which belongs Varna cemetery, and the second gold horizon, 4th-3rd millennium when gold was distributed with silver and the art of semiprecious stones had flourished.

From History of turquoise in Egypt

Turquoise is one of the first known gemstones known to man and has been mined, traded, and used for thousands of years. Egyptian turquoise was first found in Egypt well over 7,500 years ago. It was highly coveted by the Egyptians to be a sacred stone with supernatural powers. It was used by healers and worn by kings and pharaohs. King Nebkeperura Tutankhamun, or “King Tut”, the most famous of pharaohs, was buried in a coffin made up of pure gold, turquoise, lapis, carnelian, onyx, and colored glass. Inside many royal tombs, the priceless gemstone would be found along with kings and queens in hopes of bringing it along with them to the afterlife. Turquoise was popular amongst the Egyptians because it was associated to Hathor, the goddess of love, motherhood, joy, and music.

Four turquoise bracelets were found on the mummified arm of Queen Zar, which are dated back to the second ruler of Egypt’s First Dynasty around 5,500 B.C. Sinai, Egypt was inhabited by the Monitu and was called Mafkat or “Country of Turquoise” because it was so plentiful in the land. Archeologists have recorded that the Egyptians were mining turquoise at Serebit al-Khadim on the Sinai Peninsula in 3000 B.C.

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