Saturday, November 8, 2014

Is It Weird to Buy a 3000 Year Old Bead?

The theme this week was to talk about something weird or unusual we'd done for our writing. My fellow Whores have had some good tales to tell (although Marshall fell into a time warp and wrote against next week's topic instead LOL)...I really haven't done much of anything on a par with what the others have shared.

Yup. Vanilla. That's me, this week. 

Atop the Pyramid of the Sun, Pyramid of the Moon in background
I have climbed the Pyramid of the Sun in Mexico three times, which as it turned out,
was good for my writing (no, not for the Egyptian novels, but actually for several of my SFR's)...but I did said ascensions in high school, long before any of my current novels were even a glimmer in my Muse's eye. (I'm afraid of heights, which is what makes my threepeat noteworthy BTW.)

But I did indulge myself in one purchase a year ago or come as close as I could to touching the time in which my Egyptian paranormal novels are set.

 I gave in to the intense desire to own this tiny scarab made of blue steatite (a form of soapstone) with what is believed to be the cartouche of Princess Meritamen on the flat side.

Meritamen is an actual woman who lived a few hundred years after the general time frame where I place my “Gods of Egypt” paranormal novels. That’s her in the photo, as depicted by royal sculptors. She was the daughter of Ramses the Great and his favorite wife, Nefertari, and had at least four brothers and a younger sister. She played the sistrum, she danced, she sang…she was evidently a great favorite with Ramses II, being depicted in many of the official statues and paintings with him. Some of the titles and inscriptions regarding Meritamen talk of her being “fair of face,” with a beautiful forehead, as well as references to her perfume and that she was apparently very well spoken.

There’s a scene in her tomb where she’s depicted as bringing boxes of clothing with her to the Afterlife. I love that touch!

She was buried in the Valley of the Queens but the whereabouts of her mummy are unknown. Only the lid of her sarcophagus is in Berlin today.

The bead came with a scholarly discourse stating the amulet can quite reasonably be assumed to
have been hers, based on technical considerations too numerous to mention here. I loved the idea of having something that actually dates back to the time frame I write about.

OK, I can hear the sceptics now. Even with a great provenance and scholarly details, there’s no proof this bead is really hers or is thousands of years old. I do know that. Even in the days of ancient Greece and Rome, clever artisans made fake “antiquities” for the tourists to buy. So it’s probably a skillful fake.
But I choose to believe this might be real. When the package came and I gingerly took the tiny bead out (it’s about the size of my thumbnail) I felt this indescribable flash of something…this bead isn’t like anything else I’ve ever unwrapped. I can’t really describe it any better than that. I felt I was holding a fragment of antiquity in my hand.

Fake, real? Does it ultimately matter? For a few moments a connection has been forged between me and this genuine person from the time I write about….


  1. At first, I thought you said '3000 year old BREAD'. That would've been weird. A bead? Not really. I think it's kinda cool. I'd love to own some really really old stuff. =o)

  2. How cool. I would have bought it too. There is a magic to things from the distant past. It gives something tangible to connect with the knowledge we have. That is why I am so drawn to the mountains where I live (NC) they are supposedly some of the oldest in the world and looking at them and thinking they were there when...kind of awe inspiring :)