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“The chaîne opératoire of Ancient Egyptian glass manufacture: raw materials, production and use” Dr Anna Hodgkinson

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At the beginning of December Dr Anna Hodgkinson gave a talk to the Essex Egyptology Group about her work on glassworking in Ancient Egypt (working with a team of Egyptian and international workers and archaeologists, under the auspices of the Amarna Project and Freie Universität Berlin). She began by setting the scene for use of glass in Egypt and nearby areas like Mesopotamia and the Levant in ancient history. The earliest occurrence of glass in this region is of natural glass, and there are two types of this. The first is natural glass, which is a result of natural events like meteoric impact in the desert. This was used throughout Pharaonic Egypt and was mainly sourced from the western (or Libyan) desert. The other type is obsidian, which is a volcanic glass and was rarely used in Egypt – mostly for tools. The first regular occurrence of artificial glass in… Read More »“The chaîne opératoire of Ancient Egyptian glass manufacture: raw materials, production and use” Dr Anna Hodgkinson

“Jewels of the Nile: Ancient Egyptian Treasures from the Collection of the Worcester Art Museum” Dr Peter Lacovara

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At the beginning of November 2021 Dr Peter Lacovara talked to us at the Essex Egyptology Group via Zoom about an upcoming exhibition, Jewels of the Nile, which will be opening on 18th June 2022 at Worcester Art Museum, MA and running until the end of January 2023. He began by giving us some background as to how he got involved with the collection at Worcester Art Museum (and subsequently the exhibition). When he moved from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in the late 1990s to the Michael C. Carlos Museum in Atlanta the latter museum had a small collection of Egyptian objects and his brief was to expand it. He got a grant from the Museum Loan Network Grant Collections to visit the museums in New England (which were the ones he knew best) to look at what they had in storage, and then have pieces conserved/repaired and… Read More »“Jewels of the Nile: Ancient Egyptian Treasures from the Collection of the Worcester Art Museum” Dr Peter Lacovara

“The Rise of the Theban Necropolis. Current research in the early Middle Kingdom tombs of North Asasif” Dr Patryk Chudzik

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At the beginning of October 2021 Dr Patryk Chudzik, director of the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology (University of Warsaw) expedition to North Asasif, spoke to the Essex Egyptology Group about the work of the project. He began by reminding us of the context of the site, first geographically (briefly) and then historically. As he said, there was no need to spend much time on the geographical introduction – the Theban Necropolis is one of the biggest archaeological sites in the world and the biggest necropolis in Egypt. The specific part of this enormous site that his Polish team are working on is called the North Asasif, it consists of the slope on the northern side of the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahri. The tombs at the North Asasif are of people who were contemporary with Montuhotep II who had moved his necropolis to the north and the west… Read More »“The Rise of the Theban Necropolis. Current research in the early Middle Kingdom tombs of North Asasif” Dr Patryk Chudzik

“Life on The Edge: Updates from Hierakonpolis’ Elite Cemetery” Renée Friedman

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The talk at the September 2021 meeting of the Essex Egyptology Group was given by Renée Friedman about the latest work at Hierakonpolis. Of course as with everything else in life their work at the site has been disrupted by the pandemic, but they got a full season in early 2020 before the disruption began and hope to get back in November of this year for another season. And she said that the time during lockdown when they weren’t generating new finds gave them a chance both to re-examine some of their older finds and to think about what unprovenanced material in museums might have originally come from the site. Friedman began by noting that she was going to assume that we were familiar with the site itself and with previous excavations that have taken place. I think in general we all were, but if you need a bit more… Read More »“Life on The Edge: Updates from Hierakonpolis’ Elite Cemetery” Renée Friedman

“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