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Article

Gordon Campbell

Variety of chalcedony, a semi-transparent quartz, of a deep dull red, flesh, or reddish white colour. It has been carved since the time of the ancient Egyptians, for whom supplies were available as pebbles that could be collected in the Eastern desert.

M. M. Bullard and others: ‘Lorenzo de’ Medici’s Acquisition of the Sigillo di Nerone’, ...

Article

Dominique Collon

Hoard of some 180 items of jewellery and precious objects, mostly dating from c. 550 to c. 330 bc, found in the banks of the River Oxus (Amu Darya) in Bactria in 1877; most are now in the British Museum in London. The exact find-spot is uncertain but was possibly Takht-i Kubad in south-west Tajikistan. The treasure, thought to have been part of a temple hoard, possibly from the Temple of Anahita in Bactra (now Balkh), may have been buried during disturbances in the late 4th century, or perhaps as late as the early 2nd century bc. This discrepancy is due to doubts as to whether some 1500 coins, ranging in origin from Athens to Bactria and in date from c. 500 to c. 180 bc, were part of the original hoard. After its discovery the treasure was taken by merchants to Afghanistan, where they were robbed. Most of it was rescued by a British officer, Capt. ...

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Scarab  

[Egyp. kheper; Lat. scarabacus sacer]

Most common form of ancient Egyptian stamp seal from the Middle Kingdom (c. 2008–c. 1630 bc) until the end of the Dynastic period (332 bc). The scarab—so called because it was carved in the shape of the sacred dung-beetle (Scarabaeus sacer)—was usually of faience or glazed steatite. Perforated lengthwise and incorporated into necklaces or finger-rings, it had a flat base bearing a carved hieroglyphic inscription or pictorial decoration. Scarabs can be dated by both the shape of the body and the style of the decoration. Many large commemorative scarabs were produced during the reign of Amenophis III (reg c. 1390–c. 1353 bc), with inscriptions describing his wedding to Queen Tiye, or his lion hunts.

Large ‘heart-scarabs’, mostly of basalt or serpentine, were a common component of Egyptian funerary equipment (see fig.; see also Egypt, ancient, §XII, 3, (vi)). ‘Heart-scarabs’ were generally placed in mummy-wrappings or mounted on the pectoral; they were often inscribed with the 30th chapter of the Book of the Dead (a collection of funerary spells). Scarabs were also very common at sites in Syria–Palestine under Egyptian influence....