Skip to comments.4,000-year-old seal of Egyptian pharaoh found in stable ruins on Scottish estate
Posted on 06/28/2002 6:25:13 PM PDT by vannrox
An ancient Egyptian seal belonging to a pharaoh who died almost 4,000 years ago has been uncovered in the rubble of a Scottish stable block.
The delicately carved soft blue-grey stone, which measures only 45mm (2in) in height, was found during excavations of Newhailes, a 17th-century country house in Musselburgh, near Edinburgh.
The seal is highly polished and bears a series of hieroglyphics inside a royal cartouche, which experts have been able to identify as an official seal of office issued to a member of the royal household for the funeral of Tuthmosis III, who reigned in 1500BC.
"It is a most extraordinary find. Objects like these are about as rare as hen's teeth and to find one in Scotland is remarkable," said David Connolly, senior archaeologist for Addyman Associates. The discovery was made as the company excavated the home on behalf of the National Trust for Scotland, which inherited the estate six years ago.
It is believed the stone may have been brought back to Scotland by Sir John Dalrymple in the 1780s as a souvenir of the Grand Tour.
"How it came to be discarded among the remains of a bonfire buried under the courtyard of the stable we can only guess," Mr Connolly said. "It appears to have been hollowed out and adapted as perhaps the handle of a riding crop and at some later stage discarded with the rubbish."
Newhailes, which is opening to the public for the first time this week, is a remarkable time-capsule of history. Built in 1686 by the architect James Smith for himself and his 34 children, the early version of a Palladian town villa nearly bankrupted him and was eventually sold, passing into the hands of the Dalrymple family, who dominated the Scottish legal system in the 18th century, in 1707.
It was they who added the east and west wings to Smith's more modest villa, to include a series of ornate state rooms that still retain their rocco interior decorational scheme.
The house is home to a wealth of paintings by Ramsay, Raeburn, de Medina and Vogelsang as well as an impressive library of more than 5,000 volumes, which was described by Samuel Johnson as "the most learned room in Europe".
The last of the Dalrymple line, Sir Mark, died in 1971 without an heir. Death duties and the increasing cost of maintaining such a house forced Sir Mark's widow, Lady Antonia, and the trustees of the estate to offer the house and 80 acres of grounds free to the National Trust in 1996.
Just kidding. I, too, find these articles interesting.
What? How did he miss a good clubbing?
Sounds like James Smith was an ancestor of Joseph
A possible use, if it was done that way deliberately, could have been to keep score, cribbage, or to tally something. What would they tally? Jugs of beer, oryx skins, rainy days?
How many wives did this guy have? 34 is a lotta kids.
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