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Egypt Holiday 2014: Temples and Tombs (Index)

Luxor Temple at Sunset I’m writing several posts about our Egypt holiday last year, so I thought an index might be helpful 🙂 It took me a while to decide on a plan for the posts – I thought about grouping things by theme or Pharaoh, for instance. But in the end I decided simplicity was best, and I have done an overview (in 3 posts) and then each site separately in (mostly) chronological order of when we visited them. I’ll be adding links as I (write and) publish the posts. Posts Overview Post 1 Overview Post 2 Overview Post 3 Cairo Museum Giza Plateau Dashur Lahun Hawara Dimai Desert Qasr el Sagha Karanis Luxor Temple Seti I Temple at Abydos Ramesses II Temple at Abydos Hathor Temple at Dendara Karnak Temple Temple of Mut Theban Tombs of Nobles Ramesseum Valley of the Kings Walk from the Valley of the… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Temples and Tombs (Index)

“Times of Transition: Herihor and the High Priests of Amun at the End of the New Kingdom” Jennifer Palmer (EEG Talk)

On Sunday Jennifer Palmer came to the Essex Egyptology Group to talk about Herihor, who was High Priest of Amun in the reign of Ramesses XI and also called himself King. This is a complicated period of Egyptian history and there are several different views among Egyptologists. Palmer was presenting us with both an overview of the controversies and also her own opinions on the subject. She started by giving us some historical context for the time of Herihor who lived at the end of the 20th Dynasty (which is also the end of the New Kingdom). This dynasty consisted of the Pharaoh Sethnakhte followed by Ramesses III to XI. They all (except Ramesses XI) had fairly short reigns, and there were several invasions of Egypt during this time (for instance the invasion of the sea peoples during Ramesses III’s reign). This was also a period of internal chaos as… Read More »“Times of Transition: Herihor and the High Priests of Amun at the End of the New Kingdom” Jennifer Palmer (EEG Talk)

“New Discoveries at Hierakonpolis” Renee Friedman (EEG Meeting Talk)

On Sunday Renee Friedman came to the Essex Egyptology Group to talk about the latest discoveries she and her team have been making at the site of Hierakonpolis. First she put the site itself into context. It was an important pre-dynastic Egyptian city, situated just north of modern Edfu, called Nekhen (and later Hierakonpolis by the Greeks). It’s perhaps best known as the site where the Narmer Palette (now in the Cairo Museum) was found, as well as the Scorpion Macehead and the ivories of the “Main Deposit” (which are now in the Ashmolean Museum). By the time of the unification of Egypt (which the Narmer Palette is thought to commemorate) it was already a thriving and important city and the cult centre of the god Horus of Nekhen. By thriving city Friedman means that there is evidence of several thousand people living on the site, in a hierarchically organised… Read More »“New Discoveries at Hierakonpolis” Renee Friedman (EEG Meeting Talk)

Tutankhamun: The Truth Uncovered

I must confess when I read the blurb on the BBC for their new Tutankhamun programme, Tutankhamun: The Truth Uncovered, I was not entirely impressed. It talks about “new scientific research” and how “presenter Dallas Campbell […] carries out unique experiments to get to the truth.” and then proceeds to talk about stuff that sounds like a re-hash of the 2010 Hawass et al paper ( JAMA. 2010;303(7):638-647). So I was sceptical going in about the likelihood of it being anything new. Interestingly, Zahi Hawass is not mentioned once during the programme, but some of the other authors of that paper (Ashraf Selim and Albert Zink, if I remember correctly) are extensively interviewed. So my overall impression is that this is a second go at making a layperson-accessible documentary based on the 2010 paper, with the intention of distancing itself from Hawass who has now fallen from grace. The programme… Read More »Tutankhamun: The Truth Uncovered

“Beyond Indiana Jones: The Ark of the Covenant and Egyptian Ritual Processional Furniture” David Falk (EEG Meeting Talk)

On Sunday David Falk came to the Essex Egyptology Group to talk to us about his research on Egyptian Ritual Processional Furniture. He comes at the subject from a bit of a different angle from the speakers we generally hear – his central question is what can this Egyptian furniture tell us about the Ark of the Covenant, and the context in which the Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Bible) was written. He started by explaining what he wasn’t going to be talking about – when discussing the Ark of the Covenant there is often what he called “an unhelpful dichotomy”. At one extreme there are those theologians who regard the Ark of the Covenant as purely mythological or allegorical, and don’t consider the idea of it being a real object at all. At the other extreme position is the Indiana Jones type of “discussion” about the Ark… Read More »“Beyond Indiana Jones: The Ark of the Covenant and Egyptian Ritual Processional Furniture” David Falk (EEG Meeting Talk)

“Mysteries of the Amarna Period Royal Tombs: The Kings’ Valley” Dylan Bickerstaffe (EEG Meeting Talk)

On Sunday Dylan Bickerstaffe came to speak at the Essex Egyptology Group meeting about the 18th Dynasty tombs in the Valley of the Kings. He structured his talk around the order of discovery of the tombs, and concentrated on those related to the Amarna era (from Amenhotep III through to Horemheb). As well as telling us what is known he spent a lot of time telling us what is less well understood – the facts in need of an explanation (generally giving his own theories and discussing those of others). I shan’t attempt to give an overview of the whole talk, instead I’ll pick out a few things that particularly caught my attention. One of these was KV58 – which was an almost empty tomb (having been robbed in antiquity), but the few bits and pieces left were intriguing. Bickerstaffe believes that this could be the tomb of Nakhtmin, the… Read More »“Mysteries of the Amarna Period Royal Tombs: The Kings’ Valley” Dylan Bickerstaffe (EEG Meeting Talk)

Discovering Tutankhamun (Exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum)

In the middle of August we went to the Discovering Tutankhamun exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum. When we were there we met up with other people from the Essex Eygptology Group who’d come across for the day (we were staying with my parents for the weekend so were already in Oxford). A lot of the items in the exhibition came from the Griffith Institute, who have all the papers and so on relating to Howard Carter’s discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun. The first third of the exhibition was about the discovery itself. It started with a bit of biographical information about Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon before moving on to the discovery and the start of the excavation. This section included some of the original index cards for the objects, and the photographs taken by Harry Burton. As the photos are all in black and white they annotated the… Read More »Discovering Tutankhamun (Exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum)

August EEG Meeting

The August meeting of the Essex Egyptology Group is a little different from the other meetings – it’s the AGM, and so instead of an invited speaker we have 10 minute talks given by members and a book auction for charity. This year we had five speakers. After a few technical hitches I was the first speaker and talked about the tomb of Kha and Merit, as we’d seen the items from there in the Turin Egyptian Museum last October. J videoed my talk, and it’s up online here. I was followed by Blake Sellors who talked to us about Hatshepsut and her temple at Deir el Bahri, focussing on how she used the reliefs in the temple to legitimise her rule. Tilly Burton then spoke to us about the image of the Pharaoh trampling his enemies as a bull (or other creature), showing us how the same imagery is… Read More »August EEG Meeting

“The Coffins of the Senior Lector Priest Sesenebenef: A Middle Kingdom Book of the Dead?” Harco Willems

Each year the British Museum host a two day colloquium about an egyptological topic, and a lecture in the evening of one of the days which is the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lecture in Egyptology. J went to the whole colloquium this year (about coffins) and I just came along and joined him for the lecture. This was given by Harco Willems, and concerned the texts on a particular coffin from the Middle Kingdom. Willems started by giving us a bit of context for this particular coffin. It was discovered in the 1890s at al Lisht. This site includes the mastaba of Imhotep and Senwosret I’s pyramid, and was initially excavated between 1894 & 1896 by a French team. It has been re-excavated in the 20th Century (I think he said the 1980s), but the tomb of Sesenebenef wasn’t part of this later excavation. The tomb contained the coffins,… Read More »“The Coffins of the Senior Lector Priest Sesenebenef: A Middle Kingdom Book of the Dead?” Harco Willems

Peeling Back the Shadows (SSAE Chesterfield Study Day 12 July 2014)

On Saturday J and I visited Chesterfield to go to a study day being held there by the SSAE called Peeling Back the Shadows. This consisted of two talks (each split into two parts), one given by Chris Naunton about Tutankhamun and one given by Barry Kemp about the latest work at Amarna. We’d originally signed up for it because the holiday we were booked to go on last year was accompanied by Barry Kemp – that holiday got cancelled, but when we signed up for the study day we were signed up for it again for this year so this seemed a neat way to get a preview of our holiday. Sadly it got cancelled again (due to Foreign Office advice about travel to Middle Egypt) and we’re actually going on a different holiday (still to Egypt) this year instead. However, it was still an interesting study day to… Read More »Peeling Back the Shadows (SSAE Chesterfield Study Day 12 July 2014)