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Turquoise in the Ancient Egyptian Civilization

Ancient Egypt was noted for its mineral wealth, and the prolific use of semi-precious stones in jewelry and personal ornamentation. This study focuses on just one such mineral, turquoise, exploring its role and importance, in particular its religious significance. After a linguistic section which outlines and distinguishes the various terms for turquoise, there follows a broadly archaeological chapter on the processes and techniques of turquoise mining. The religious functions of the mineral are then discussed, including ritual use in temple foundation, the New Years celebrations, and the pacification ritual, as well as in the protection of motherhood and childbirth. A final chapter investigates the cult of Hathor 'lady of turquoise' who was especially associated with the mineral and was venerated as patron of mine workers.
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