Sorting through some old photographs yesterday, I came upon this one. I took this in 2007 during the second year of my degree. It was the first object which I ever researched and was the catalyst to my profound love of investigating the "life-cycle" of Egyptian antiquities!
The object above is a red stone (likely sandstone) snake head from Amarna (Egypt Centre, Swansea accession number W1159), with traces of original Amarna blue paint still visible on the head, neck and in the eye sockets. It most likely was part of a frieze which would have adorned a building (Aldred 1973, 155; Freed, Markowitz & D'Auria 1999, 226) and could have formed part of an uraeus in which the stylised form of a rearing cobra was a symbol of kingship, deity or divine authority as seen in the Wilbour Plaque below. There are also examples of other stone objects found during excavation at Amarna which appear to be associated with uraeus architectural decoration giving further credence to this stone head as having been part of a frieze.
|Uraei atop a building in Saqqara which illustrate similarities with how the Amarna frieze may have looked|
Image via National Geographic
|Frieze of uraei adorning a building at Saqqara|
Image via Saqqara, Egypt
A slip from the object's previous location - the Wellcome Institute - notes: EES 1931-32. John Devitt Stringfellow Pendlebury was the Director of the excavation for that season and his results were published in 1951.
|Image via Amarna Project|
Amarna Project via http://www.amarnaproject.com/pages/model_of_the_city/
Egypt Centre Modes Catalogue
Pendlebury, J.D.S. (1951). The City of Akhenaten 111: The Central City and the Official Quarters Vols 1 & 2. London: Egypt Exploration Society.
Thank you to Wendy Goodridge and Dr Carolyn Graves-Brown, both of the Egypt Centre, for their help towards the writing of this post.