egyptian

“New Research in the King’s Valley: Amenhotep III Family Tombs in the Valley of the Kings” Susanne Bickel (EEG Meeting Talk)

In April Susanne Bickel came to talk to us at the Essex Egyptology Group about the work she and her team have been doing in the Valley of the Kings for the last decade – mostly re-excavating previously known tombs with the benefit of modern archaeological methods, but they also discovered a new tomb in 2012. She began her talk by showing us a few images of decoration from inside various Pharaoh’s tombs in the Valley of the Kings – our usual “mental image” of the place. But actually only 22 of the known 64 tombs (plus 20 “pits” ) are for Pharaohs. So that means there are around 40 of what are often called non-royal tombs, Bickel prefers to say “other tombs” because the term non-royal is misleading in English. We would say that queens, princes & princesses are also royal, and those are generally the occupants of these… Read More »“New Research in the King’s Valley: Amenhotep III Family Tombs in the Valley of the Kings” Susanne Bickel (EEG Meeting Talk)

“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)

“Inside the Step Pyramid” Vincent Oeters (EEG Meeting Talk)

At the November meeting of the Essex Egyptology Group Vincent Oeters talked to us about the Step Pyramid of Djoser – in particular the inside of it. He doesn’t himself work on the Step Pyramid, but while he was working (as an archaeologist) nearby he was able to go into it three times (with the permission of and accompanied by an Inspector from the Ministry of Antiquities, as it’s not generally open to tourists). And one of those times he was also allowed to take photos! And it was those photos that formed the core of his talk. He started his talk with a bit of geographical and historical scene setting. We don’t actually know all that much about Djoser – he reigned c.2640 BCE, and the names of his wife and daughter are known and that’s about it. There are two known statues of him – one is in… Read More »“Inside the Step Pyramid” Vincent Oeters (EEG Meeting Talk)

Ancient Lives, New Discoveries (British Museum Exhibition)

The British Museum have a new Egyptian related exhibition that opened on Thursday, so of course J felt we had to go as soon as we could. He took the day off on Friday and we first went to the curator’s introduction talk (given by John Taylor) and then visited the exhibition itself. I’d been going to write abuot the talk and the exhibition separately, but the talk really was an introduction, overview and some additional context for the exhibition rather than something separate. Taylor was a good speaker, so I’m glad we went to the talk first, but I’m not sure there was much in it that wasn’t in the exhibition itself (although that in part is because the exhibition is so well organised & clearly labelled). So if you decide to go to one of the other Curator’s Introduction talks (I think there’s another 4 across the run… Read More »Ancient Lives, New Discoveries (British Museum Exhibition)

“A Beautiful Burial: Decorating an Old Kingdom Mastaba Chapel” Ann Macy Roth

Due to a dead car battery on Sunday afternoon, J and I couldn’t make it to the April Essex Egyptology Group meeting (a real shame, it was given by Wolfram Grajetzki who had done a talk for the group at the Petrie Museum last year (post)). So when we got back from our attempt to go to Witham we watched a lecture that J had previously found on youtube about Old Kingdom tomb decoration. The lecture was given in 2013 and is the first of three lectures of the annual Charles Wilkinson Lecture series at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The overall title for this series was The Art of Burial, and each of the three lectures is associated with the three departments that this Charles Wilkinson was associated with during his 60 years at the museum. So this one is the Egyptian department, the second is… Read More »“A Beautiful Burial: Decorating an Old Kingdom Mastaba Chapel” Ann Macy Roth

Manchester Museum

A couple of weeks ago we visited J’s sister & family in Macclesfield for a weekend, and spent the Saturday in Manchester. In the afternoon J and I had a look around the recently refurbished Egyptian collection at the Manchester Museum – it had been nearly 5 years since we last went to that museum, and we were interested to see what they’d changed. I didn’t have my proper camera with me (because we were going to see Maxïmo Park play that evening) so the photos I took were on my phone. The camera on that isn’t really very good at low light situations like a museum, but I’ve found that in some cases application of a filter and a frame will make the inadequacies of the image look intentional 😉 And besides it’s kinda fun to play around with the software sometimes 🙂 I’ve put a set up on… Read More »Manchester Museum

EES Trip to Oxford

On November 10 the Egypt Exploration Society (of which J is a member) organised a guided tour round 3 Egyptian collections in Oxford. The first of these was the archives in the Griffith Institute (no photography permitted in this one) – they have a large collection of the notes, photographs, drawings etc of several important Egyptologists, including all of Howard Carter’s documents. As this is not normally open to the public it was particularly exciting to be shown some of the collection. Two of the staff, Elizabeth Fleming and Catherine Warsi, gave us an hour’s talk. First they gave an overview of some of the prominent Egyptologists associated with the Institute and then moved on to a biography of Howard Carter concentrating on his work in Egypt and the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in particular. They showed us several of the watercolours and line drawings he did in his initial… Read More »EES Trip to Oxford