January 2018

“Illuminating the Path of Darkness: Artificial Light in Ancient Egyptian Ritual” Meghan Strong (EEG Meeting Talk)

In December Meghan Strong, a PhD student (about to submit her thesis!) at Cambridge, came to talk to us at the Essex Egyptology Group about the use of artificial light in Ancient Egyptian ritual. Light in ritual is something we’re still familiar with in the modern world – think of Divali, Advent (or the Easter Vigil service), Hannukah and many other examples. Strong’s argument is that the Ancient Egyptians were no different from modern people in this respect. She began by giving us context for both artificial light in pre-history & in the ancient world, and for the study of light in an archaeological context. Fire is the basis of ancient artificial light. The first evidence of its use as a tool is around 1 million years ago, and Strong said that it can be argued that this is part of what makes us human (as distinct from animals). The… Read More »“Illuminating the Path of Darkness: Artificial Light in Ancient Egyptian Ritual” Meghan Strong (EEG Meeting Talk)

EEG Trip Behind the Scenes at the British Museum (Plus a Visit to the Sir John Soane Museum)

In November a group of us from the Essex Egyptology Group had the chance to visit parts of the British Museum that aren’t generally open to the public – some of the storerooms where the 95% of the Egyptian artifacts that aren’t on display are held. I’d been on one of these trips before several years ago, so was pleased at the chance to go again – partly because it’s a chance to see items you don’t normally see, and partly because it would be someone different showing us round so we would see different things. When we’d all arrived we were split into two groups, the one I was in was shown round by Adrienn Almásy. Almásy took us to the Papyrus room first – this is her speciality, she works on Demotic and Coptic texts. There are around 3,300 papyri that belong the museum – some of which… Read More »EEG Trip Behind the Scenes at the British Museum (Plus a Visit to the Sir John Soane Museum)