Talk

“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

“Bringing the Past to Life: Photographing the Tombs of Ancient Egypt” Paolo Scremin

At the beginning of March Paolo Scremin came to the Essex Egyptology Group to talk to us about his work photographing the Old Kingdom nobles tombs at Saqqara, with the Oxford Expedition to Egypt (OEE). He began by telling us a bit about the OEE – the founding members of the expedition are himself and Yvonne Harpur. They are supported academically (although not financially) by Linacre College, Oxford where they have both been given academic posts, this support helps them to get access to the tombs to photograph as it puts the weight of an academic institution behind them rather than merely being two independent researchers. Although the two of them are the core of the project they do employ other staff to help them when needed in the field. There are obviously a lot of research teams and expeditions to Saqqara, each of which has a specific focus (we… Read More »“Bringing the Past to Life: Photographing the Tombs of Ancient Egypt” Paolo Scremin

“Perceptions of Seth” Ian Taylor

Photo by John Patterson, of a (heavily restored) statue of Seth & Horus (not shown) crowning Ramesses III now in the Cairo Museum

At the beginning of December Ian Taylor, one of the members of the Essex Egyptology Group, talked to us about the subject of his PhD: Seth. He began by talking about the modern image of Seth*, before turning to the evidence for how the Ancient Egyptians thought about this god. The common modern perception of Seth is as the dangerous enfant terrible of the Ancient Egyptian pantheon who brought death to the gods by murdering Osiris & came into conflict with Horus by usurping the throne. This comes to us by way of Plutarch, whose “Isis and Osiris” was the only version of the myth known before the translation of hieroglyphs. *As an aside Taylor mentioned here that while the name of Seth is different in different places and at different times he was going to stick to using “Seth” throughout his presentation. In Plutarch’s text Seth along with his… Read More »“Perceptions of Seth” Ian Taylor

“Reconstructing the Mid-Second Millennium BCE Using Scarab Amulets” Stephanie Boonstra

At the beginning of November Stephanie Boonstra came to the Essex Egyptology Group to talk to us about her work on scarab amulets, which were the subject of both her MA and PhD research. She began by giving us an overview of the importance of these amulets, and the way that they were made. Scarab amulets were the most popular Egyptian amulet from 2000 BCE all the way through to 500 BCE, and they were made of a variety of materials. A typical scarab amulet is clearly modelled on the anatomy of the beetle, although there are also more schematic ones that are more basic. They have a variety of uses: as a seal for administrative purposes, as a funerary item or as an object to commemorate an occasion. An example of this last type are Amenhotep III’s lion hunt series of scarabs. The most obvious example of a funerary… Read More »“Reconstructing the Mid-Second Millennium BCE Using Scarab Amulets” Stephanie Boonstra