4th Millennium BCE

“Tomb Security in Ancient Egypt from the Predynastic to the Pyramid Age” Reg Clark (EEG Meeting Talk)

At the beginning of April Reg Clark came to the Essex Egyptology Group to talk to us about his work on tomb security from Prehistoric to Early Dynastic Egypt. While 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 are not much studied in their own right. Clark began by talking about why tombs need to be protected. The first obvious answer is that the Egyptians were buried with grave goods, so an elite tomb had treasure in it and was worth breaking into. The second reason that they didn’t want this to happen is that the tomb and the body are necessary for a good afterlife. After death a person’s spirits/souls separate from their body, the ka will remain in the tomb and the ba… Read More »“Tomb Security in Ancient Egypt from the Predynastic to the Pyramid Age” Reg Clark (EEG Meeting Talk)

“Ancient Egyptian and Nubian Leather Technology” Lucy Skinner (EEG Meeting Talk)

At the beginning of February Lucy Skinner came to talk to us at the Essex Egyptology Group about her work on leather technology in Ancient Egypt and Nubia. She’s been a conservator working on leather for years, and is now doing her PhD at the University of Northampton and the British Museum. Earlier in her career she worked conserving leather items from Europe as well as from Egypt & Nubia. The European leather is generally waterlogged, so the dessicated leather from the Nile Valley is very different to work with as a conservator. There are other differences too, and she became interested in why it’s so different and how it was made. Skinner told us that the main questions that her PhD research is focused on are: what animals were used to make Ancient Egyptian and Nubian leather? what processing techniques did they use? is Ancient Egyptian leather different from… Read More »“Ancient Egyptian and Nubian Leather Technology” Lucy Skinner (EEG Meeting Talk)

“Egypt’s Origins: The View from Mesopotamia and Iran” Paul Collins (EEG Meeting Talk)

At the beginning of September Paul Collins came to the Essex Egyptology Group to talk to us about the influences that Uruk culture (in Mesopotamia) and Proto-Elamite culture (in Iran) had on Predynastic & Early Dynastic Egypt. He’s not an egyptologist – his research interests include the material culture of ancient Iraq & Iran in the late 4th Millennium BCE, and the transmission of artistic forms across the Near East and Egypt. He began with a discussion of historical explanations and ideas about these influences. It begins, as so much of Egyptology does, with Petrie whose work on pottery from Naqada is still the foundation of our understanding of the chronology of Predynastic Egypt today. Petrie also worked at Koptos and Abydos – the royal tombs at Abydos date to the Early Dynastic period. They are an expression of the great power of the Egyptian state at this time and… Read More »“Egypt’s Origins: The View from Mesopotamia and Iran” Paul Collins (EEG Meeting Talk)

“The Recently Discovered Naqada III Settlement at South Abydos” Yaser Mahmoud Hussein (EEG Meeting Talk)

At the beginning of August Yaser Mahmoud Hussein visited the Essex Egyptology Group to talk to us about his work on very early sites at Abydos. He is an Antiquities Inspector and archaeologist, and has been Field Director of the excavations at the Early Dynastic Cemetery at Abydos since 2008. The site is to the south of the New Kingdom temples at Abydos – the ones of Seti I and Ramesses II that are what you go to see if you visit Abydos as a tourist. It’s very close to the modern village, and so the first purpose of Hussein’s team’s excavations was to find out if there was anything interesting there before it was built over. Even now that it’s known to be an archaeologically interesting site it’s still not safe from destruction as when the archaeologists are not actually working there the villagers walk across it the way… Read More »“The Recently Discovered Naqada III Settlement at South Abydos” Yaser Mahmoud Hussein (EEG Meeting 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)