The Ancient Egypt Site (main.gif - 14.4 Kb)

- Frequently Asked Questions -

I get a lot of different questions regarding Ancient Egypt in general, or the contents of this site specifically. As several questions are recurring, I would like to ask you to go through this FAQ and see if your question is already covered here. I have grouped the questions in some categories, which will help you find your type of questions faster:

Looking for a specific topic

 

Q: I cannot find <topic>.

A: Have you looked in the chapter Ancient Egypt From A To Z? This chapter contains a list of keywords, grouped by category. Most of the major subjects covered on this site are represented by a keyword you can find there.

 

Q: I have looked in the chapter "Ancient Egypt From A To Z" but I still can not find <topic>.

A: Have you tried searching this site for your favourite topic?

 

Q: I have tried searching the site, but still cannot find <topic>.

A: Have you tried synonyms or alternative spellings? For instance, you may be looking for "Khufu" or "Chéops" but looking for "Kheops" should do the trick.

 

Q: I have tried everything that was suggested above, but I still can not find <topic>.

A: In this case, your topic is not (yet) covered on my site. Please note that The Ancient Egypt Site is a one-man project and it does take a lot of time to go through all the different aspects of an ancient culture that flourished for more than 3000 years. I have to divide my time between my daytime job, research, private matters and the further elaboration of this site in all its many aspects.

 

Q: When will you work on <topic>?

A: I can not offer a specific fixed timescale for when I will work on which topic. The time I can spend working on this site is very variable so I can not predict when I will add more contents. I usually try to have some major changes uploaded on a regular basis, but sometimes it goes faster and sometimes not.

Looking for further information

 

Q: Where can I find information on Ancient Egypt that is not covered here?

A: The chapter World Wide Ancient Egypt contains a lengthy list of links to other websites, sorted by category. Perhaps one of the sites listed there will be more helpful.

You may also want to check the answer to the question below.

 

Q: What can I do to learn even more about Ancient Egypt?

A: The chapter The Ancient Egypt Bibliography lists over 550 books, sorted by category, ranging from books for kids to academic publications. Many books have links to Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk, enabling you to purchase them should you wish to do so.

 

Q: Where can I find information on Egyptological associations in my neighbourhood?

A: The chapter World Wide Ancient Egypt contains a list of addresses, sorted by country. This list is certainly not complete, but it is perfectly possible that you will find a society that suits you.

 

Q: Where can I find Egyptological collections in my neighbourhood?

A: The chapter World Wide Ancient Egypt contains a list of addresses of museums with an Egyptological collection, sorted by country. Please note that this list is not to be considered as complete.

Becoming or being an Egyptologist

 

Q: What should I do if I want to become an Egyptologist?

A: There is no simple answer to this question, so all I can provide here are a couple of general guidelines. The chapter "World Wide Ancient Egypt" contains a list of universities (colleges) where Egyptology is being taught, sorted by continent. Please note that this list is not to be considered as complete.

I can not recommend any of these universities, as I do not know the exact contents of the courses they offer. In your search for a college, you may want to take the following into consideration:

    1. are the teachers known Egyptologists?
    2. are there several teachers that offer Egyptology-related courses?
    3. what is the ratio between general and specific courses? Is this ratio acceptable to you?
    4. is one of the Egyptology teachers or is the college involved in archaeological surveys in Egypt or Sudan?
    5. does the college have its own Egyptian collection or is it closely related to a museum that has an Egyptian collection?

 

There may also be practical considerations, such as "how much will it cost" or "is there a college near where I live"…

 

Q: What are the prospects when one has graduates as an Egyptologist?

A: There is a lot of work to be done by Egyptologists. Unfortunately, many people and even universities consider Egyptology as a non-productive science, so there is not always enough money to pay for this research. Many people with the grade of Egyptologist will not make a career as an Egyptologist. I am one of those people.

Should this discourage you from wanting to become an Egyptologist? Absolutely not! I knew what the odds were when I went to university and even though I do not work in the field, I do not regret having studied Egyptology. I do not consider my time at the university as a waste of time and even more, I still consider myself to be an Egyptologist first and foremost!

Language related questions

 

Q: Where can I learn to speak ancient Egyptian?

A: You can not speak ancient Egyptian. First of all, this language has been dead for some 1500 years already. Secondly, the Ancient Egyptians did not write any vowels, just consonants, so we do not know what their language sounded like. In addition, their language is bound to have evolved a lot in its more than 3000 year long recorded history. It is unlikely that an Egyptian from 3000 BC would have understood an Egyptian from 300 BC. There are also bound to have been regional differences in the pronunciation, a bit like dialects. An ancient Egyptian living in Memphis might have had a hard time trying to talk to someone coming from Elephantine.

 

Q: Wasn't Coptic written with vowels?

A: Yes, it was. However, Coptic represents the very last stage of the language used by the Egyptians. This means that, except for accents and intonations, we have an idea how Coptic sounded, but that it is very risky to extrapolate this to earlier stages of the language. Coptic is still used as the liturgical language of the Egyptian Christians, a bit like Latin was in Europe, but it is not used as a spoken language anymore.

 

Q: What language is spoken in Egypt nowadays?

A: The language currently used in Egypt is Arabic. If you wish to learn to speak with modern-day Egyptians, you should learn Arabic. This is, however, out of the scope of this site.

 

Q: If we do not know what the language of the Ancient Egyptians sounded like, what did they speak in the movies "The Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns"?

A: Gibberish. Also take a look at "The Mummy" related questions, below.

 

Q: Where can I learn to read and understand ancient Egyptian?

A: The chapter The Languages of Ancient Egypt contains a concise grammar of Middle Egyptian. This will help you get started with your study of the languages of Ancient Egypt. Should this not suffice for you, I have also listed several excellent study books in the Languages section of the chapter The Ancient Egypt Bibliography. In this section you will also find some dictionaries that will help you reading the ancient texts.

 

Q: Can you write my name, a specific word or concept in hieroglyphic?

A: I am afraid that creating hieroglyphic-text is rather time-consuming. Writing your name in hieroglyphics would imply that the Ancient Egyptians had an alphabet and that each sound in your name is represented by a hieroglyphic sign. This is not the case.

The rendering of specific words or concepts into hieroglyphic also requires me to translate that word of concept before actually writing it down in hieroglyphic.

 

Q: Can you publish the Ancient Egyptian alphabet?

A: There was no such thing as an alphabet. Find out in the Concise Middle Egyptian Grammar why this is so. You may find something passing for an alphabet on the Internet, but be advised that this is a modern-day creation, mainly used for commercial purposes.

Technical Issues, linking and copyrights

 

Q: I am experiencing some technical problems.

A: I have listed some technical issues regarding the use of this site in the Technical Information.

 

Q: Where can I find the transcription (transliteration) font needed for the language chapter?

A: You can download this font by clicking here. Once downloaded, you need to extract the font from the zip-file. Installing it will depend on what type of computer you have, so please refer to the manual of your Operating System to install the font properly.

 

Q: Can I put a link to your site on mine?

A: Yes, you can. Please be sure to link to this site's primary address http://www.ancient-egypt.org/ and to list this site using the name The Ancient Egypt Site.

 

Q: Can you put a link to my site on yours?

A: You can send me your site's address (URL) and title by clicking here. If you wish, you can also include a category where you feel your site should go. Please note that I reserve the right not to publish the link or to place it under a different category.

 

Q: Can I use the material on your site for my own project?

A: If your project is non-commercial, then yes, you can, but, of course, there are some rules.

    1. A reference to my site is required. This reference should include my site's name and URL as follows: The Ancient Egypt Site <http://www.ancient-egypt.org/>.
    2. If you need a bibliography-type reference, then this should be: Jacques Kinnaer, The Ancient Egypt Site, The Internet <http://www.ancient-egypt.org/>, 1997 ff.
    3. Pictures where the caption mentions a source are not my own. You may want to consider copying the reference to the source as well.
    4. If your project is commercial, I would like you to contact me.

Non-Egyptological theories and questions related to "The Mummy"

 

There are a lot of theories that can not be founded scientifically. Examples of these theories are:

    1. The pyramids have mysterious powers
    2. The pyramids are older than the Egyptologists want us to believe
    3. The Sphinx at Giza is older than Egyptologists want us to believe
    4. The pyramids were built by the people from Atlantis
    5. The pyramids were built by aliens
    6. All ancient Egyptians were Negroid <> All ancient Egyptians were Caucasians

If this is the type of information you are looking for, then The Ancient Egypt Site is not what you need.

If you seek confirmation of the Old Testament in the Bible, The Ancient Egypt Site is not what you need either. I will not reply to questions dealing with the Egypt-related stories in the Bible since presenting a fact-based scientific point of view on these matters has often resulted in me getting harassed.
  

   


I have also received a lot of questions regarding the movies "The Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns". Oddly enough, I even received some rather aggressive mail as well, insisting that some or all of the events in these movies actually occurred! I will list the most common questions here.

 

Q: Did the characters in the movies "The Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns" really exist?

A: No, they did not. Some of the names of ancient Egyptians, such as Imhotep, Seti I and Nefertari, are known ancient Egyptian names. The fact that some names did indeed occur in Ancient Egypt does not per definition show that the characters portrayed in the movies were real or that the events they are related to actually occurred.

 

Q: Was there a Book of the Dead, like in the movies "The Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns"?

A: There was something which we refer to as the Book of the Dead. This book was a collection of spells to guide the deceased through the underworld. They were concerned with the afterlife of the deceased and not with bringing them back to the world of the living, in a physical sense. The Ancient Egyptians referred to this collection of spells as Book of Coming Forth by Day.

 

Q: Was there a Book of the Living, like in the movies "The Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns"?

A: No, there was not.

 

Q: Did the City of the Dead, Hamunaptra mentioned in the movies "The Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns" really exist?

A: Even though you may find web sites claiming the opposite, there never was a city named Hamunaptra. Several places in Egypt have been nicknamed "City of the Dead". Such places are Saqqara, the Theban Westbank, …

 

Q: Did they really speak ancient Egyptian in the movies "The Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns"?

A: No, it was gibberish.

 

Q: Were the movies "The Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns" based on any true facts?

A: No. The movies were nice from an entertainment point of view. They gave me a very good laugh, but that's it. From an Egyptological point of view, they were hilarious. Some things vaguely resembled ancient Egyptian things, but mostly they were just complete fiction.

Even some of the references to known ancient Egyptian themes were wrong. Did you ever notice how, in "The Mummy" they mention five canopic jars? Well, this should have been four.

 

In case you have questions or remarks about these (or other) movies, please contact the people who made them.

Other questions

 

Q: Can you put a link to my site on yours?

A: You can send me your site's address (URL) and title by clicking here. If you wish, you can also include a category where you feel your site should go. Please note that I reserve the right not to publish the link or to place it under a different category.

 

Q: Can I recommend a specific book that deals with Ancient Egypt to you?

A: You can suggest a book, but please include the book's author, title, subtitle, publisher and year of publication. You may also add a category you feel this book belongs to.

 

Q: Is this site available in other languages?

A: There is a translation of this site in Czech made, with my permission, by Martin Dolezal.
Other than that, I am not aware of any other translations of this site.

 

If you need additional information on Ancient Egypt, or if some of the contents of this site is not clear, you can send me a mail and I will be glad to help you.

Please do not send me any attachments without asking me first. In order to reduce the risk of viral infections on my computer, I systematically delete all mail that has attachments.

Please do not change the subject-title that is automatically set. I receive a lot of spam these days and I delete everything without having a closer look that comes from people I do not know if the subject line is not one that I have set via this site.

If you send me a mail, please be clear and specific when formulating your question. I usually reply to your requests, but I would like to ask you to bear in mind that you will very likely not be the only one trying to contact me and that replying may take some time.

If there is a deadline on the information you need, please let me know and allow me sufficient time to reply.

 

 
This movie at Amazon.com
This movie at Amazon.com

"The Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns" have raised many questions.

 

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