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Relief of a funeral procession from the tomb of Merymery in Saqqara; design by Anand Balaji

Sem Priests of Ancient Egypt: In the Service of King and Country—Part II

An appointee of the Pharaoh himself, the role of the sem priest carried immense political and religious weightage. In many ways, this class of priest served as the bridge between the ruler and the...
Scene on the north wall in KV62 shows King Aye as sem priest, performing the “Opening of the Mouth” ritual on the mummy of Tutankhamun; design by Anand Balaji

Sem Priests of Ancient Egypt: Their Role and Impact in Funerary Contexts—Part I

The office of sem or setem priest of Ptah, the patron god of the craftsmen in Memphis, Lower Egypt, was a prestigious one. Considered a sacred feline with a connection to the Heliopolitan cult via...
Gilded leopard head found in the Tomb of Tutankhamun (KV62); design by Anand Balaji

The Felines of Tutankhamun: Leopards, a Symbol of Royalty and Divinity—Part II

Beginning with one of the earliest feline deities, Mafdet, the ancient Egyptian pantheon grew steadily as the years passed to include a wide range of creatures, both big and small – furry and...
Resin-stained wooden leopard found in the tomb of King Amenhotep II (KV35); design by Anand Balaji

The Felines of Tutankhamun: Leopard Changes its Spots to turn Black Panther?—Part I

The modest sepulcher of Pharaoh Tutankhamun was crammed to the brim with all manner of treasures produced in different shapes, sizes and materials. These objects can be clearly divided into two...
Ay as Sem Priest in tomb of King Tutankhamun. Note the leopard pelt – this is an example of the Imiut.

The Enigmatic Imiut: Magical Gear for Ancient Egyptian Priests

The Imiut is a peculiar artifact which has puzzled Egyptologists for a very long time. It was worshipped for its supposed magical powers, making it a fetish, but no one is entirely sure what it was...
Priester in deTombe van Roy TT255, Dra Abu el Naga, Luxor West-Bank

Leopard teeth discovery suggests ancient home belonged to elite members of Egyptian society

Archaeologists in Egypt have uncovered the remains of a mansion near the Giza pyramids , along with leopard teeth, seals used on documents, and the hind limbs of young cattle. The combination of...
Leopard Trap Discovered in Israel

5,000-Year-Old Leopard Trap Discovered in Israel

Scattered throughout the Negev Desert in the southern part of Israel are around 50 small constructions that look very much like piles of stones but which are in fact animal traps. Researchers had...