All reviews express the views and opinions of their authors.
“The Moon in Ancient Egypt: A Journey from Henchman to King-maker, to a God-enabler” Dr Bernadette Brady (February 2024)
At our February meeting Dr Bernadette Brady talked through the fascinating and complex role of the moon in ancient Egypt.
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“The Latest Discoveries of the Warsaw Mummy Project” Wojciech Ejsmond and Marzena Ożarek-Szilke (January 2023)
For our first meeting of 2024, we were delighted to welcome Wojciech Ejsmond and Marzena Ożarek-Szilke from the Warsaw Mummy Project.
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“The Chapel of Osiris-Ptah Neb-ankh” Dr Essam Nagy (December 2023)
For our last meeting of the year, we were delighted to welcome Dr Essam Nagy to talk about the recent conservation, restoration, excavation, and reconstruction work at the Chapel of Osiris-Ptah neb-ankh at Karnak.
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“Great Expeditions to God’s Land and Punt” Dylan Bickerstaffe (November 2023)
At our November meeting we were delighted to hear Dylan Bickerstaffe talk about the complex logistics and archaeological evidence for launching expeditions to the land of Punt.
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“The Nubian Pharaohs of Egypt” Professor Aidan Dodson (September 2023)
Professor Aidan Dodson joined us at our September meeting to talk about the relationship between Egypt and Nubia.
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“The Persians in Egypt” Professor Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones (August 2023)
In August we were delighted to welcome Professor Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones who gave a fascinating history of the Persians in Egypt.
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“Ancient Fragments Finding New Life: The reuse of building material in Cairo’s medieval monuments” Dr Omniya Abdel Barr (July 2023)
At our July meeting we had a fascinating talk from Dr Omniya Abdel Barr, an architect with experience in urban conservation, monument restoration and cultural heritage documentation and digitisation. Click here for more information and to download a meeting review >
“Ancient Egyptian Ships and Boats” Ziad Morsy (June 2023)
We were so pleased to welcome Ziad Morsy via Zoom to our June meeting. Ziad gave a fascinating talk about the different types of ships and boats in Ancient Egypt, exploring the different archaeological, iconographic, and written evidence of ancient Egyptian boatbuilding traditions. It also shed some light on the latest archaeological discoveries in the field of ancient Egyptian nautical archaeology. Click here for more information and to download a meeting review >
“Conserving Cartonnage: Two Mummy Masks from the Graeco-Roman Branch of the Egyptian Exploration Society” Maxim Chesnokov (May 2023)
At our May meeting we were delighted to be joined by Post-graduate student Maxim Chesnokov to talk about his work uncovers the fascinating story behind two badly deteriorated cartonnage masks. Click here for more information >
“Ten years of the Gebelein Archaeological Project” Dr Wojciech Ejsmond (April 2023)
In April Dr Wojciech Ejsmond, Director of the Gebelein Archaeological Project, joined us via Zoom to talk through his work over the last ten years in Gebelein. Virtually all periods of Egyptian history have left their traces in this micro-region south of Luxor, and the group heard about how Dr Ejsmond’s mission has been working to understand the site’s history, functions, and to protect the antiquities in the area. Click here for more information and to download a meeting review >
“Painting materials in Ancient Egypt” Dr Ruth Siddall (March 2023)
Dr Ruth Siddall joined us at Spring Lodge to give a colourful talk about the materials and techniques used by ancient Egyptian painters. Using a series of case studies from the Early Dynastic to Roman Periods, Dr Siddall illustrated the innovation and resourcefulness of the ancient Egyptian society and how they made use of the natural environment to create whole palette of colours. The talk also included a practical demonstration. Click here for more information and a link to download the meeting review >
“News from the Palermo Stone. New investigation and discoveries on the Ancient Egyptian Royal Annals” Dr Massimiliano Nuzzolo (February 2023)
Dr Massimiliano Nuzzolo returned to speak to us via Zoom in February 2023 about his work on the Palermo Stone. Despite these annals being some of our key records for the history of the Early Dynastic Period and the Old Kingdom there hasn’t been a modern examination of the stone and its texts. Nuzzolo told us about the research he has being doing using techniques like RTI in order to see the damaged text more clearly, and also his new analysis of the geological composition of the stone which is giving him insight into where it was quarried. Click here for more information and a link to download the meeting review >
“Flinders Petrie – From Stonehenge to Jerusalem” Lorna Oakes (January 2023)
To start our 2023 programme of talks Lorna Oakes spoke to the group via Zoom in mid-January about the life and career of William Matthew Flinders Petrie. He is such a foundational figure in Egyptology and prolific excavator in Egypt that she couldn’t cover all of his life in a single talk, but she gave us an overview that gave us a glimpse of the man behind the legend and covered several of the significant sites that he worked on over the years. Click here for more information and for a link to download the meeting review >
“Literacy in Deir el-Medina: signs, marks and tallies” Dr Daniel Soliman (December 2022)
Daniel Soliman spoke to us via Zoom at the beginning of December 2022 and told us about his work on literacy at Deir el-Medina. Rather than being a binary situation where one is either literate or not the evidence from Deir el-Medina shows a wide range of levels of literacy, ranging from the fully literate scribes down to people who could only write there names. In the middle are people who could write a bit, using a blend of “proper” writing and their own made up signs. Click here for more information and for a link to download the meeting review.
“Harry Burton: Tutankhamun’s Photographer” Dr Ian Taylor (November 2022)
At the November meeting our speaker was one of our own members – Dr Ian Taylor, who spoke to us about the life and career of Harry Burton. Burton is best known for his work photographing the excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb, but there was much more to his career than this. Taylor focussed on the other aspects of Burton’s work (he did also discuss the most famous part too!) and also gave us an insight into the techniques and equipment that Burton used. Click here for more information and for a link to download the meeting review.
“Wherever I Lay My Hat: A History of the Grand Hotels of Egypt” Lee Young (September 2022)
Lee Young returned to speak to us in September 2023 at Spring Lodge. In her talk on this occasion she was elaborating on a subject she’d discussed in brief in her talk in 2020 – Western tourism in Egypt in the 19th & 20th Centuries. She was focussing on the grand hotels in Egypt during this period, and the stories of the people associated with them. Click here for more information and for a link to download the meeting review.
“‘God is his potter’: Disability and Bodily Difference in Pharaoh’s Court” Kyle Jordan (August 2022)
In August our speaker, via Zoom, was Kyle Jordan who told us about the research he is doing for his master’s degree on how disability and bodily difference was perceived by the Ancient Egyptians in the early part of Egyptian history. He took us through some of the evidence for people with different bodies at the Egyptian court of the Predynastic Period through into the Old Kingdom and beyond. And he discussed what we can tell about Egyptian attitudes to these bodies (for instance some impairments were corrected during mummification and others were not), and how these attitudes tied into the social contract being established between king, court and the wider society during state formation. Click here for more information and for a link to download the meeting review.
“The Temple of Amun at Medinet Habu: Birth Place and Burial Place of the Primordial Deities” Lucia Gahlin (July 2022)
Lucia Gahlin visited us at Spring Lodge to give the talk at our July meeting. Her subject was the so-called Small Temple at Medinet Habu. This temple was arguably more important to the Ancient Egyptians than the larger memorial temple for Ramesses III which is better known to modern visitors. The temple was dedicated to Amun, so as part of her talk Gahlin discussed the mythology of this deity and his associations with creation and kingship. She also gave us a tour through the history and decorative scheme of the temple. Click here for more information and for a link to download the meeting review.
“Body Image and Structuring the Identity: An Analysis of Body Ornaments in Predynastic Egypt” Maryan Ragheb (June 2022)
Our June speaker was Maryan Ragheb who spoke to us via Zoom about the research she is doing for her PhD on body ornaments in Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt. She’s particularly interested in what the jewellery the Ancient Egyptians wore can tell us about their sense of identity and how this differs between places and during the time of state formation at the beginning of Egyptian history. Her preliminary conclusions include the observation that jewellery found in the more elite contexts is standardised and almost ostentatiously hard to make, but the less elite contexts have a much broader range of materials and a greater diversity between items of jewellery. Click here for more information and for a link to download the meeting review.
“The Narmer Palette [Again]: Early Egyptian Stone Carving in Practice” Dr Kathryn Piquette (May 2022)
For our second in person talk of 2022 Dr Kathryn Piquette returned to update us on her work on the Narmer Palette. Piquette uses an imaging technique called Reflectance Transformation Imaging to look at the physical details of the palette, including tool marks, which shed light on how the object was made. She had previously spoken to us in November 2015 after she’d done a preliminary study and since then she has revisited the palette for a more detailed examination. In her talk she told us about her current analysis, including what she thinks about how many people were involved in manufacture, how the design was potentially altered during the manufacturing process and more. Click here for more information and for a link to download the meeting review.
“Vessels of Innocence: Child Pot Burials in Predynastic Egypt” Sara Ahmed Abdelaziz Mostafa (April 2022)
In April our speaker was Sara Ahmed Abdelaziz Mostafa, who is a junior Egyptian Egyptologist who has recently obtained her MA from UCL. She talked to us about her work on Predynastic pot burials – she’s analysed 72 of these, all of infants, from 8 different sites. She has looked at aspects such as how these changed over time, how they fit into a broader geographical and temporal context, and what they can tell us about societal attitudes towards children & their deaths. Click here for more information and for a link to download the meeting review.
“Understanding ‘Composite’ Forms of Egyptian Divine Beings” Jordan Miller (March 2022)
For our first in person meeting since the pandemic began in March 2020 we welcomed Jordan Miller to tell us about his PhD research on understanding composite beings in Egyptian art. This was a deep dive into the meanings and ideas behind how the Egyptians used these ways of representing their divine beings with reference to the visual language of comics, philosophy and art history, and with case studies from the Amduat (where the composites tend to be recapitulations of the whole meaning of a scene or context) and the Book of Two Ways (where the composites tend to be a blurring of the line between text and image). Click here for more information and for a link to download the meeting review.
“The First Pharaohs” Professor Aidan Dodson (February 2022)
To begin our 2022 season of talks Professor Aidan Dodson took us through his understanding of the history of Egypt from unification around 3000 BCE to the very beginning of the 4th Dynasty when Sneferu took the throne. He took us through what we know (and do not know) about the rulers of Egypt during this period, and showed us how much of the iconography and ideas that would underpin the next three millennia was laid down during this period. Click here for more information and for a link to download the meeting review.
“The chaîne opératoire of Ancient Egyptian glass manufacture: raw materials, production and use” Dr Anna Hodgkinson (December 2021)
The last talk of our 2021 season was given by Dr Anna Hodgkinson via Zoom at the beginning of December. She took us through her work on Ancient Egyptian glass, telling us about the types of glass that were produced during the New Kingdom and the evidence that exists to show where and how it was produced – this included showing us some of her experimental archaeological work! She also discussed the trade in glass in the wider Eastern Mediterranean region, and how scientists can tell the source of glass of this period. Click here for more information and for a link to download the meeting review.
“Jewel of the Nile: Ancient Egyptian Treasures from the Collection of the Worcester Art Museum” Dr Peter Lacovara (November 2021)
In November 2021 Dr Peter Lacovara talked to us via Zoom about an exhibition that he is curating at the Worcester Art Museum (MA, USA). This exhibition will display, for the first time in nearly a century, the collection of Laura Norcross Marrs which was donated to the museum. It includes a large quantity of Ancient Egyptian jewellery, as well as other Egyptian items. Lacovara’s talk took us through both the history of the collection and some of the highlight pieces. Click here for more information and for a link to download the meeting review.
“The Rise of the Theban Necropolis. Current research in the early Middle Kingdom tombs of North Asasif” Dr Patryk Chudzik (October 2021)
The Polish Archaeological Expedition to North Asasif: The Asasif Project have been working on some of the tombs of early Middle Kingdom officials at the site of North Asasif since 2013, and in October 2021 Dr Patryk Chudzik talked to the group via Zoom about the work they have been doing. The tombs were previously excavated in the early 20th Century, but nonetheless there is still a lot to be learnt from them – finds that Chudzik told us about included some very intriguing pieces of crocodile that had been buried in the tombs with these officials. Click here for more information and for a link to download the meeting review.
“Life on The Edge: Updates from Hierakonpolis’ Elite Cemetery” Dr Renée Friedman (September 2021)
Dr Renée Friedman talked to the group at the start of September about some of her most recent work at Hierakonpolis, the site of ancient Nekhen. She concentrated on the elite cemetery called HK6 where predynastic and Naqada III period burials took place. One exciting discovery has been the remains of a large predynastic hippo sculpture surrounded by beer jars and lamps – indicating a communal gathering place. Click here for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
Members’ Miscellany, August 2021
In August five of our members presented short talks on a subject of their choice. We heard from Fred Botha about the Predynastic and Early Dynastic artifacts found at Nekhen, Blake Baker about two stelae found at Deir el Media, Ian Taylor about a shrine drawing on a papyrus from Gurob, Lorna Oakes about Cleopatra’s Needle and Alison Woollard about statues and why they were made by the Ancient Egyptians. Afterwards three of the speakers provided summaries of their talks: click on the links to download Fred Botha’s talk, Ian Taylor’s talk and Alison Woollard’s talk.
“The Ancient Egyptian Harem: Drudgery or Debauchery?” Dylan Bickerstaffe (July 2021)
In July 2021 Dylan Bickerstaffe talked to us via Zoom about the institution Egyptian Harem and whether the evidence shows it to be a place of industry or (like the Ottoman Harem we name it after) a place for the king’s bed partners to live. This talk stood alone, but also complemented the study day on Royal Women that Bickerstaffe had presented to us back in April 2019. Click here for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
“Walking in Ancient Footsteps: The High Priest of Osiris Wenennefer and Ancient Abydos.” Dr Stephen Harvey (June 2021)
At the beginning of June Dr Stephen Harvey spoke to us via Zoom about one aspect of his work at Abydos – he focused on a High Priest of Osiris, called Wenennefer, who lived during the reign of Ramesses II. From the various statues and other monuments associated with Wennenefer Harvey has been able to pull together a picture of how the ritual landscape at Abydos operated during the time of Wenennefer’s life, and how it fits in with the wider liturgical and political picture of the Egypt of Ramesses II. Click here for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
“The God’s Wife of Amun (Dynasty 23-26): Rise to Power & Assumption of the Priesthood.” Dr Mariam Ayad (May 2021)
Dr Mariam Ayad talked to the group via Zoom in May about the God’s Wives of Amun. She first gave us an overview of the history of the title and the early holders of it in the 18th Dynasty. Then she moved on to concentrate on the women who fulfilled this role in the 23rd-26th Dynasties – looking at what the reliefs in the chapels they built tell us about the high status these women had in their society and the power they wielded. Click here for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
“Wadi el Jarf: The Harbour of King Khufu on the Red Sea Shore and its Papyrological Archive” Professor Pierre Tallet (April 2021)
Pierre Tallet and team have been working on the 4th Dynasty harbour at Wadi el Jarf for 11 years, and in this talk he covered both their archaeological findings and the papyrus archive that they have discovered on the site. The papyri are the administrative documents for a single team involved in building the pyramid of Khufu and provide us with a wealth of information on how the pyramid was built and how the Egyptian state was organised. Click here for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
“The Life Cycle of Theban Tomb 16” Dr Suzanne Onstine (March 2021)
In March Suzanne Onstine talked to us about her team’s work at Theban Tomb 16, in Dra Abu el-Naga. Her talk didn’t just focus on the original occupants of the tomb, but also covered the other phases of use which included hundreds of secondary burials and at least two phases of looting in more modern times. One of the themes of the talk was how even the fragmentary evidence left from a tomb that has been looted can tell us a lot about the human beings who were buried there – how they lived, and how they cared for their dead. Click here for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
“Life and Death in Amarna: Toward a broader understanding of life in the ancient city of Akhetaten, what we have learned from the non-elite cemeteries about Akhenaten’s capital city.” Professor Gretchen R. Dabbs (February 2021)
In February Professor Gretchen Dabbs spoke to us about the work that she and her team have been carrying out in the non-elite cemeteries of Amarna (ancient Akhetaten, the new capital city during Akhenaten’s reign). Because this city was only occupied for a short period of time examining the remains in these cemeteries tells us a lot about the lives of the normal people of Egypt’s capital city at a specific point in time. Dabbs explained the three different groups of people that the cemeteries served, and took us through the features of the remains that show what the lives of these people were like. Despite the reliefs in temples and tombs of this period showing large amounts of food the bodies of the people who lived there show signs of malnutrition, and injuries (both chronic and acute) caused by the heavy labour they were required to do. Click here for more information.
“The Kings of the Sun. The Fifth Dynasty Sun Temples and the Solar Cult at the Old Kingdom” – Dr Massimiliano Nuzzolo (January 2021)
Massimiliano Nuzzolo started our 2021 programme of talks with a lecture via Zoom on his work on the 5th Dynasty Sun Temples. He and his team have been re-excavating the temple of Niuserra, and have uncovered new evidence leading to an updated view on the form and function of this temple. Click here for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
“The Catacombs of Anubis at North Saqqara” – Professor Paul T Nicholson (December 2020)
In December Paul Nicholson gave us a talk about his work on the dog catacombs at North Saqqara. These are situated near to a temple dedicated to Anubis, and were where votive offerings to the god were buried. These were generally young dogs, within the first few months of life, but some dogs were older and were buried with more ceremony suggesting they may’ve been part of a pack of dogs that lived in the temple. Click for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
“A Multi-disciplinary Approach to a Middle Kingdom Intact Chamber found in Qubbet el-Hawa” – Professor Alejandro Jiménez-Serrano (November 2020)
Professor Alejandro Jiménez-Serrano spoke to us via Zoom at the beginning of November to tell us about his team’s work at the site of Qubbet el-Hawa (near modern Aswan). Despite the site having been investigated at various times over the last century and a bit the Spanish team have still been able to discover several previously unexcavated burials dating to the Middle Kingdom, including one intact one. Click for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
“Deir el-Ballas: A Theban palace from the time of the Hyksos expulsion” – Dr Peter Lacovara (October 2020)
At the beginning of October Peter Lacovara told us about his work at the site of Deir el-Ballas. This is a late Second Intermediate Period site which was used as a staging post for the expulsion of the Hyksos by the 17th Dynasty kings, and was abandoned after this – providing a snapshot of Egyptian architecture of the time. Click for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
“Egyptologists’ Notebooks: How the Modern World Rediscovered Ancient Egypt (And Partly Lost It Again)” – Dr Chris Naunton (September 2020)
At the beginning of September Chris Naunton gave us a lecture via Zoom on the subject of his new book – “Egyptologists’ Notebooks”: the various adventurers and archaeologists who “discovered” Ancient Egyptian culture for the West. He started with some of the first European visitors to write about Egypt in the 17th Century and brought us up to the turn of the 20th Century, along the way looking at themes such as what the earlier travellers’ notebooks can tell us about what has since been lost or destroyed, and trying to present the lesser known figures in Egyptology as well as the usual suspects. Click for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
“The Lighter Side of Egypt with the Art of Lance Thackeray” – Lee Young (August 2020)
Lee Young has a particular interest in the archaeological artists who worked in Egypt in the 19th & 20th Centuries CE, but the subject of her talk at the beginning of August 2020 was an artist who documented the growing tourism industry in the late 19th & early 20th Centuries in a light-hearted and charmingly witty fashion. The bulk of Lance Thackeray’s work was postcard designs and his cartoons are a delightfully amusing insight into how little has changed in the last century. Click for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
“Pyramids and Elephants: the Kingdom of Meroë” – Robert Morkot (July 2020)
At the beginning of July 2020 Robert Morkot gave us a very thorough and detailed overview of the history of the Kingdom of Meroë, which existed in what is now Sudan from around 700 BCE to around 350 CE. This kingdom was the continuation of the Kushite 25th Dynasty who ruled Egypt but were eventually pushed back to Nubia by the Assyrians, and they continued to be a thriving and powerful culture for a millennium after that. Click here for more info and to download this meeting review.
“Sethy I – King of Egypt” – Aidan Dodson (June 2020)
Aidan Dodson gave a talk to us via Zoom at the beginning of June 2020, his subject was Sethy I who was the second king of the 19th Dynasty and father of the more well-known Ramesses II. Dodson set Sethy I in his historical context before giving us a detailed overview of what is known about Sethy I’s life, family, building works and tomb. Click here for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
“Bringing the Past to Life: Photographing the Tombs of Ancient Egypt” – Paolo Scremin (March 2020)
For our March 2020 meeting we were visited by Paolo Scremin from the Oxford Expedition to Egypt, who is involved in documenting the reliefs of the Old Kingdom Nobles Tombs at Saqqara. He talked to us about the challenges of photographing these tombs, and about how he gets such impressive results. Click for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
“Smell of Mummification and Ancient Egyptian Afterlife” and “The Olfactory Landscape of Lovemaking and Sexuality in Ancient Egypt” Dora Goldsmith (February 2020)
Dora Goldsmith opened the 2020 series of lectures with two presentations held at the beginning of February 2020. The first session on the Saturday was a 3 hour workshop including a practical session where we made our own scents. The subject was the smells associated with mummification (the incense and other aromatics used in preparation of the deceased). The second session was our usual Sunday afternoon lecture and was on the subject of scents and lovemaking in Ancient Egypt. Click here for more information.
“Perceptions of Seth” – Dr Ian Taylor (December 2019)
In December 2019 Dr Ian Taylor, one of our members, talked to the group about the subject of his PhD: Seth. The common modern perception of Seth is as the dangerous enfant terrible of the Ancient Egyptian pantheon who brought death to the gods by murdering Osiris and came into conflict with Horus by usurping the throne. This comes to us by way of Plutarch, whose “Isis and Osiris” was the only version of the myth known before the translation of hieroglyphs. Contrary to Plutarch’s depiction for most of Pharaonic Egypt Seth is an accepted part of the pantheon, often acting in concert with Horus as an equal. Even in Ptolemaic times he’s necessary – to kill Apep but also to murder Osiris as without that murder the myth does not work. Click here for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
“Reconstructing the Mid-Second Millennium BCE Using Scarab Amulets” – Stephanie Boonstra (November 2019)
Stephanie Boonstra worked on scarab amulets for both her MA and PhD. In her talk to the group in November 2019 she gave us an overview of scarab amulets – their types and how they were produced. She then discussed what they can tell us about the politics and trade using a Second Intermediate Period scarab workshop in the Levant as a case study, and her work on 18th Dynasty scarab workshops. Click here for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
“Travellers and Pilgrims Under the Last Pharaohs: Recent Investigations by the Oxford Expedition to El Kab” – Luigi Prada (October 2019)
Luigi Prada is part of the Oxford Expedition to el Kab, and in October 2019 he talked to the group about his work on that project. In his talk he gave us an overview of el Kab’s history, and of the excavations that have taken place there, before moving on to tell us about the Oxford Expedition’s epigraphic work and in particular his own work on graffiti at the site from the Late Period and Graeco-Roman period. Click to download this meeting review.
“Pharaonic Purification Scenes in the Graeco-Roman Period” – Konstantin Ivanov (September 2019)
In September 2019 Konstantin Ivanov came to talk to us about scenes showing purification of the Pharaoh in Graeco-Roman period temples. He is studying these scenes firstly because they are telling us something about an important part of Egyptian culture – purity was a requirement before someone could enter the temple, so the Pharaoh must also be purified when he comes to the temple. And secondly because not a lot of work has been done on these scenes. Gardiner published on the subject in 1950 and that’s still the most cited text. It’s even cited by people discussing Ptolemaic Period temples, despite Gardiner explicitly saying he’s not covering that period! As well as that gap there is also new evidence available, so Ivanov did a large scale comprehensive study of purification scenes for his Masters thesis. Click here for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
“Ancient Egyptian Thought in the Old Testament” – Lorna Oakes (August 2019)
Lorna Oakes came to talk to us in August 2019 about the parallels between Ancient Egyptian literary sources and the Old Testament. In her lecture she covered several sorts of literature including myths, legends, hymns and prayers and prophecy and gave us examples of stories that show the influence of Ancient Egyptian thought on the Old Testament. Click to download this meeting review.
“The Cemeteries of Deir el-Bahri and Asasif in the Early Middle Kingdom: Recent Work by the University of Alacá Expedition to Thebes” Antonio J. Morales (July 2019)
Antonio J. Morales is the leader of the Middle Kingdom Theban Project, and in July 2019 he talked to us about the work of this project. The tombs the project is interested in are the Middle Kingdom tombs at Deir el-Bahri which date to many centuries before Hatshepsut built her famous temple at the site. Although the area was previously excavated (by Herbert Winlock amongst others) there is still a lot to be discovered at the site. Click to download this meeting review.
“Missed and Underrated Criteria for Authenticating Egyptian Artefacts” – Marcel Marée (June 2019)
Marcel Marée talked to us in June 2019 about the criteria he uses to authenticate Ancient Egyptian artefacts and detect modern forgeries. A lot of people bring artefacts to the British Museum to be authenticated, including art dealers, and so he’s interested in improving and systematising the authentication process. Often experts rely on intuition, but that relies on such a breadth of knowledge that not many people can be sure they are right. Artistic merit is also often used as an indicator of authenticity, but that’s a dangerous criterion to rely on as pieces that look like they are good quality are not necessarily old (nor vice versa). In this talk he laid out the criteria he looks at when he’s examining an artefact – several criteria because one is rarely sufficient to determine whether or not the object is a fake. Click here for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
“Shalfak: A Middle Kingdom Fortress in Lake Nubia” – Claudia Näser (May 2019)
In May 2019 Claudia Näser talked to us about her work excavating at the fortress Shalfak in Lake Nubia. Shalfak is an ancient Egyptian fortress, part of a chain built along the Nile during the Middle Kingdom in Nubia. These forts were once thought to have all been drowned in the lake that was formed when the High Dam was built in the 1960s. In the early 21st Century Google maps images showed that two of the drowned forts were actually above the water level of the lake and projects were begun to re-excavate them with modern techniques. Näser is the leader of one of these projects, and her team started work at Shalfalk in 2016. Click for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
“Tomb Security in Ancient Egypt from the Predynastic to the Pyramid Age” – Dr Reg Clark (April 2019)
Reg Clark came to talk to us in April 2019 about the work he did for his PhD on tomb security from Prehistoric to Early Dynastic Egypt. While there are lots of lurid stories about tomb robbers (and Clark showed us some clips from films) these date to later in Egyptian history, and the measures taken to prevent robbery in earlier periods have not been much studied in their own right prior to Clark’s own research. Click for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
“Decrees, Papyri and Biographies in the Age of the Pyramids” – Nigel Strudwick (March 2019)
In March 2019 Nigel Strudwick returned to the group to tell us about his work on Old Kingdom texts. He did his PhD on administration in the Old Kingdom, so he told us that he has read every Old Kingdom text that has been discovered. Since his PhD he has spent a lot of time researching the New Kingdom in Luxor, and tomb robbery in New Kingdom Thebes was the subject of the talk he gave to the group in 2016 (review published in the August 2016 Newsletter). But more recently he has returned to the Old Kingdom texts with the desire to pass on his knowledge of them to a wider audience. Click here for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
“Ancient Egyptian and Nubian Leather Technology” – Lucy Skinner (February 2019)
Lucy Skinner has been a conservator working on leather for years, working on both European leather and Egyptian leather. In February 2019 she talked to us about the subject of her PhD research which is investigating the way that Ancient Egyptian and Nubian leather was made – the materials used and the processes followed, how these changed over time and how they compare to European leather production methods. Click here for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
“The Coffins of Nespawershefyt and Pakepu at the Fitzwilliam Museum” – Helen Strudwick (December 2018)
Helen Strudwick came to talk to us about two sets of coffins that are part of the collection at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, where she is curator. She chose these coffins as the subject of her talk because she has recently been working on them a lot and they make for an interestingly contrasting pair. The first set of coffins she talked about belonged to a man called Nespawershefyt, who lived during the 21st Dynasty (c. 1000 BCE). And the second set were for Pakepu, who lived during the 25th Dynasty, c. 640 BCE. Click to for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
EEG Trip to the Ashmolean Museum in November 2018
In November a small group of us visited the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford to be given a tour of the Early Egypt Gallery focusing on the Hierakonpolis Ivories by the curator Liam McNamara. Click to download this trip review.
“Papyrology and the EES: Riches from Rubbish Tips” – Dr Margaret Mountford (November 2018)
Margaret Mountford’s talk in November 2018 had two interrelated subjects. First she told us about the Egypt Exploration Society and its history. Then she went into more detail about one of the groups of objects found by an EES excavation: the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, which she had studied for her PhD. Click to download this meeting review.
“Exploring Egypt Through Woodcraft” – Gersande Eschenbrenner-Dieme (October 2018)
In October 2018 Gersande Eschenbrenner-Dieme discussed her research into wooden objects from Ancient Egypt, talking about how through close study of the different woods used for objects, the large range of different styles and the methods of manufacture, it is possible to build a detailed picture of the way wood was imported into Egypt, how the products of different workshops were transported across Egypt and how the variations of style and manufacture reflect changes in Ancient Egyptian society, government, economics and religion during the Middle Bronze Age. Click for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
“Egypt’s Origins: The View from Mesopotamia and Iran” – Paul Collins (September 2018)
Paul Collins’s research interests include the material culture of ancient Iraq and Iran in the late 4th Millennium BCE, and the transmission of artistic forms across the Near East and Egypt. The last of these was his topic for his talk to the group in September 2018, in particular the influences that Uruk culture (in Mesopotamia) and Proto-Elamite culture (in Iran) had on Predynastic and Early Dynastic Egypt. Click here for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
“Flies, Lions and Oyster Shells: Military Awards or Tea for Two” – Taneash Sidpura (August 2018)
Taneash Sidpura talked to us in August 2018 about his PhD research on three types of item (golden flies, golden lions and golden oyster shells) which are often thought to be awards given out by Pharaoh to recognise military valour. Having investigated these objects and their contexts he disagrees with this assessment and thinks that their significance was that they were gold and given by Pharaoh but that this was not linked to military performance. Click for more information and for a link to download this meeting review.
“A Middle Kingdom Mortuary Ritual Reflected in Writing: A Case Study from Asyut” – Ilona Regulski (July 2018)
In July 2018 Ilona Regulski gave us a talk on some Middle Kingdom papyri from Asyut that she has worked on. These papyri have coffin texts on them, some of which are templates for copying onto coffins and some are a personalised mortuary ritual (and an associated letter) for a man named Sedekh. In her talk she told us about the various ways of investigating these documents to learn more about the content of the texts and the person to whom they were addressed. Click to download this meeting review.
“The Tomb of Tatia at Saqqara” – Vincent Oeters (June 2018)
Vincent Oeters visited in June 2018 to tell us about his work on a Ramesside era tomb chapel at Saqqara, which he studied for his Masters degree. This was part of a wider project by the Museum at Leiden, Leiden University and the Turin Museum excavating the New Kingdom tombs at the site of Saqqara. Click to download this meeting review.
“Kings from Kush: Egypt’s 25th Dynasty” – Dr. Robert Morkot (May 2018)
Dr. Robert Morkot’s talk at the May 2018 meeting was about the Kings from Kush, the 25th Dynasty. His talk was split into two parts – first he told us about what evidence we have for the Kushites and their time ruling Egypt, and then he put it all together to tell us what the modern reconstruction of the period is. Click to download this meeting review.
“Tending to the Dead: Rites, Texts and an Embalming Workshop at Saqqara” – Dr. Ramadan Hussein (February 2018)
This is the second half of Ramadan Hussein’s talk that he gave in February 2018. During this part of the talk Hussein told us about the exciting new discoveries that he and his team made at Saqqara which were announced by the Ministry of Antiquities in July 2018. These included an embalmer’s workshop dating to the 26th Dynasty, and the burial place for a local community which was used across a significant period of time in antiquity. Click to download this meeting review.