Margaret

“The Ancient Egyptian Harem: Drudgery or Debauchery?” Dylan Bickerstaffe

Our July 2021 talk at the Essex Egyptology Group was given by Dylan Bickerstaffe – postponed from April 2020 due to the pandemic. This talk complements the “Royal Ladies of the New Kingdom” study day that he presented for us back in April 2019, providing an extra lecture which there wasn’t time to fit in on that day, but also standing alone as its own subject. Bickerstaffe began by talking a bit about the site of Gurob – this is the type site for harems, the one that Egyptologists use to determine what they think is “usual” for an Ancient Egyptian harem. The name of the harem at Gurob is Per-Khener n Mi-Wer in Ancient Egyptian. Per-Khener is the word that we’re translating as harem, and Mi-Wer is the name of the place. The site is now underneath lots of Egyptian army structures that they use for conducting exercises, but… Read More »“The Ancient Egyptian Harem: Drudgery or Debauchery?” Dylan Bickerstaffe

“Walking in Ancient Footsteps: The High Priest of Osiris Wenennefer and Ancient Abydos.” Dr Stephen Harvey

At the beginning of June Dr Stephen Harvey talked to the Essex Egyptology Group via Zoom about his work at Abydos. He’s been working there since the late 1980s, and this talk covered aspects of his research since 1993 in particular. Abydos is best known as the cult centre for the god Osiris and Harvey told us that today he was going to focus on a High Priest of Osiris called Wenennefer. He explained that this individual provides us with a chance to walk in ancient footsteps and explore the site as it was in the late reign of Ramesses II, c. 1225 BCE. It will also cast some light on over 300 years of the cultic activity at this site. There is a lot of statuary and other monuments associated with Wennenefer, and Harvey sees him as a kind of visionary who shaped what we can see at Abydos at… Read More »“Walking in Ancient Footsteps: The High Priest of Osiris Wenennefer and Ancient Abydos.” Dr Stephen Harvey

“The God’s Wife of Amun (Dynasty 23-26): Rise to Power & Assumption of the Priesthood.” Dr Mariam Ayad

For the May 2021 meeting of the Essex Egyptology Group Dr Mariam Ayad talked to us on Zoom about the God’s Wives of Amun, which she has published a book on: God’s Wife, God’s Servant. The focus of her talk was to be the God’s Wives who held the office during the Third Intermediate Period and into the Late Period, but she began by tracing the history of the title before that. The earliest evidence for the titles is in connection with Ahmose-Nefertari at the very beginning of the 18th Dynasty, on a donation stela at Karnak. She’s shown wearing the crown which is later associated with the God’s Wife of Amun and the text gives her a series of titles including that of God’s Wife of Amun, alongside Chief Royal Wife. The text discusses her husband Ahmose purchasing the title of Second Priest of Amun for her, and she… Read More »“The God’s Wife of Amun (Dynasty 23-26): Rise to Power & Assumption of the Priesthood.” Dr Mariam Ayad

“Wadi el Jarf: The Harbour of King Khufu on the Red Sea Shore and its Papyrological Archive” Professor Pierre Tallet

At the beginning of April Pierre Tallet talked to the Essex Egyptology Group via Zoom about his team’s work at the harbour of Wadi el Jarf including the papyrus archive that they have found at the site. He talked to us live from Cairo – the team are currently on site at Wadi el Jarf in their 11th season of excavations, but he had returned from Cairo for the day to make sure he had a stable enough internet connection for the talk. He began by setting the scene – there are three Ancient Egyptian harbours known on the Red Sea coast of Egypt. As well as Wadi el Jarf there is another harbour to the north at Ayn Soukhna (where he has also excavated), and one to the south called Mersa Gawasis which has been known since 1976. These harbours let us know how the Egyptians got to the… Read More »“Wadi el Jarf: The Harbour of King Khufu on the Red Sea Shore and its Papyrological Archive” Professor Pierre Tallet

“The Life Cycle of Theban Tomb 16” Dr Suzanne Onstine

At the beginning of March Suzanne Onstine came to talk to us (via Zoom) at the Essex Egyptology Group about her team’s work at Theban Tomb 16, where they have been working since 2008. She told us that she chose the title of her talk to emphasise how they are looking at all of the phases of use of this tomb. There’s a tendency in Egyptology to only consider the initial occupant of a tomb – so for this tomb that would imply that only the original Ramesside occupier was important. But she feels that even though that is one thing that needs investigation it’s also important to study the other phases of the life cycle of the tomb – later re-use, and even the looting. All of the phases are interesting and important, not just the initial burial. Theban Tomb 16 is in Dra Abu el-Naga near the road… Read More »“The Life Cycle of Theban Tomb 16” Dr Suzanne Onstine

“The Kings of the Sun. The Fifth Dynasty Sun Temples and the Solar Cult at the Old Kingdom” Dr Massimiliano Nuzzolo

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At the beginning of January Dr Massimiliano Nuzzolo started our 2021 programme of talks for the Essex Egyptology Group and talked to us via Zoom about his work on the Sun Temples of the 5th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt. He told us he has a book on the subject published last year, Fifth Dynasty Sun Temples, and another one coming up. Nuzzolo began his talk by setting the scene – telling us where these temples are and what previous work had been done on them before his project began. They are situated in the Memphite Necropolis, just south of Cairo. The site is called Abu Ghurab and it is near Abusir, and the sun temples are just north of the 5th Dynasty pyramids which are also at this site. It is halfway between Dahshur (where Sneferu has his pyramids) and Giza (where Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure have their pyramids). This… Read More »“The Kings of the Sun. The Fifth Dynasty Sun Temples and the Solar Cult at the Old Kingdom” Dr Massimiliano Nuzzolo

“Egyptologists’ Notebooks: How the Modern World Rediscovered Ancient Egypt (And Partly Lost It Again)” Dr Chris Naunton

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At the beginning of September Chris Naunton gave a talk to the Essex Egyptology Group via Zoom about his new book “Egyptologist’s Notebooks” (which is coming out at the beginning of October). He described his talk as “not quite, but nearly, a shameless plug” for his book – what he wanted to do during the talk was tell us a little bit about some of the characters he explores in the book and the main themes he wanted to draw out. He said the idea for the book came from discussion a couple of years ago with Ben Hayes at Thames & Hudson publishers – they’d previously published a book called “Explorers’ Sketchbooks”, which published bits of said sketchbooks as part of compiling the history of explorers and exploration. And so Hayes wondered if something similar could be done for Egyptology, given the extensive archives that exist from several early… Read More »“Egyptologists’ Notebooks: How the Modern World Rediscovered Ancient Egypt (And Partly Lost It Again)” Dr Chris Naunton

“The Lighter Side of Egypt with the Art of Lance Thackeray” Lee Young

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At the beginning of August Lee Young gave a talk via Zoom to the Essex Egyptology Group about the artist Lance Thackeray. Young is an independent researcher whose interests are primarily in the archaeological artists in Egypt, particularly the women. She said that most of the time she gives talks about people who have had a major contribution to Egyptology – this is debatable in the case of Lance Thackeray but he certainly made people laugh and be interested in Egypt! In this talk Young was covering three different aspects of her subject – Lance Thackeray the man, Lance Thackeray’s art (in particular from his book “The Light Side of Egypt”) and early tourism in Egypt which was the subject of Thackeray’s art. She began by sketching out the early life of Thackeray before moving on to include the other two subjects. Lance Thackeray would need no introduction to postcard… Read More »“The Lighter Side of Egypt with the Art of Lance Thackeray” Lee Young

“Pyramids and Elephants: the Kingdom of Meroë” Robert Morkot

At the beginning of July Robert Morkot gave a talk to the Essex Egyptology Group (and guests) via Zoom. He’d previously visited us to talk about the 25th Dynasty of Egypt who were from Kush, and this talk followed on from that to tell us about the culture in what is now Sudan after the 25th Dynasty were forced from Egypt in the mid-1st Millennium BCE. Morkot explained that he wanted to give us an overview of a huge span of time (from 700 BCE to 350 CE), and show us lots of photos of Meroitic artifacts. Not much modern work is being done on the culture of Meroë compared to Egypt – many of the people who work on the region come from Egyptology and tend to work on New Kingdom sites in North Sudan. He began by giving us the geographical context of Kush and Meroë, and talked… Read More »“Pyramids and Elephants: the Kingdom of Meroë” Robert Morkot

“Sethy I – King of Egypt” Aidan Dodson

During this time of COVID-19 in person meetings of the Essex Egyptology Group are, of course, impossible. A couple of meetings were cancelled outright, but technology has come to the rescue and Aidan Dodson was able to give us the talk we had scheduled for June 2020 via Zoom. The subject of his talk was the Pharaoh Sethy I* (who was also the subject of a book Dodson published in 2019, this is in effect the talk of the book), one of Egypt’s more important kings but one who is often overshadowed by his son Rameses II. *I intend to use Dodson’s preferred spellings throughout this article, some of which are not quite the same as you might be used to seeing – like Sethy instead of Seti. Dodson began by giving us some context for the reign of Sethy I, starting with where he fits into the history of… Read More »“Sethy I – King of Egypt” Aidan Dodson