Published January 1, 2014 | Version v1
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Opening Turquoise Galleries: Divine Gift or Scientific Experience?

  • 1. Calligraphy Centre, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria, Egypt


Turquoise was mined mainly in Sinai, at Maghara and at Serabit ᾽el-Khadim. Before the ancient Egy­pti­an miners started their mining work, they would seek the permission of the relevant divinity, in or­der to proceed, i.e.: of Hathor (lady of turquoise / nbt-mfk3t). This per­mis­sion could be obtained either by re­trieving the mined minerals, or by praising the divinity, or by performing a special cult ritual cele­bra­ting the opening ceremony. Factors such as the divi­ne control over the mineral Universe could easily rai­­se the question: opening a turquoi­se gallery was a divine gift at first; then a scientific experience at se­cond. In this paper we shall try to shed light on the efforts of the ancient Egyptian miners in the tur­qu­oise mi­nes in Sinai as well as to their veneration of divinities.


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