(ORDO NEWS) — After studying a fresco in an ancient Egyptian palace, scientists drew attention to the image of a rock dove, which, given the context of the fresco and the natural range of this species, should not have been present on it.
In 1924, during excavations in Amarna in Egypt, where the ruins of the capital of the pharaoh Akhenaten are located, they discovered the palace of Meritaten, the daughter of the pharaoh and the great queen Nefertiti.
Many of its rooms were richly decorated, but the so-called Green Room attracted particular attention of researchers: the walls in it were painted with frescoes depicting the wild nature of the papyrus swamp.
The detailing of the fresco is striking: all plants and animals are depicted in the smallest detail, and even in their present damaged state (the result of an unsuccessful attempt to conserve the fresco in 1926) are recognizable enough to be identified down to the species.
Previously, scientists have already identified kingfishers and pigeons, but this time British researchers were able to identify wagtails and shrikes still found in the vicinity of Amarna.
However, they were especially interested in the drawings of pigeons, because the dove depicted does not live in papyrus swamps: it is an inhabitant of the rocks in the desert, located outside the Nile Valley.
Scientists suggest that pigeons have been drawn to people since ancient times and, like in modern cities, they willingly settled in places atypical for their species, if this provided easy access to food – grain grown by man.
However, it is possible that the creators of the fresco depicted pigeons simply as “wild birds in general”, not paying attention or deliberately ignoring their range.
According to archaeologists, the inhabitants of the palace could use the Green Room as a place to relax: images of similar rooms were found in which women gathered together to communicate and play music.
In this case, the general “atmosphere” of the fresco – the wild, untamed nature of the swamp – was more important than the realism of the image.
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