Past Lectures

Naville, Griffith & the Legacy of the Great Temple at Bubastis

  • Posted on: 23 February 2017
  • By: mprythero

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Date: 
Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Edouard Naville and Francis Llewellyn Griffith are often referred to as the first archaeologists to see the importance and grandeur of the Great Temple at Bubastis and it is their descriptions and findings which continue to draw modern day archaeologists to the site of the once magnificent temple and city. So unique was this temple that thanks to the work of Naville and Griffith, several Pharaohs who would have never been identified, had it not been for their association with the Great Temple complex at Bubastis, were able to be for their reigns and contributions to Egyptian history. Throughout this lecture we will follow the excavations of Naville and Griffith at the temple, their conclusions and discoveries, and examine the importance of the temple to the interpretations of the city’s destruction and its recognition in ancient history as one of the most important cultural sites associated with Egypt.

Matthew Prythero

Matthew Prythero is the current Treasurer of the Egyptian Study Society. He has a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology from the University of Denver after graduating in 2016. Matthew has been interested in Ancient Egyptian history since his primary school days and has studied specifically on the feline worship culture and the city of Bubastis. Matthew currently works for the U.S. Department of State where he continues to pursue his dedication to the preservation of the past through diplomatic and economics means.

Egyptian Old Kingdom Pyramids

  • Posted on: 23 February 2017
  • By: mprythero

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Date: 
Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Join us while we travel through the development of the Egyptian pyramids, from the pit “mastaba” tombs to the gigantic wonders at Giza. We will examine how low flat mud brick tomb structures came to be built of stone and stacked, resulting in the Step Pyramid. Mistakes were made in early pyramid design triggering the architects to plan the Bent Pyramid and bringing about the eventual collapse of the Meydum Pyramid. Triumphs were achieved in the Great Pyramid where we will investigate the function of the famous “air shafts”.

Jim Lowdermilk

Jim Lowdermilk is a past-President of the Egyptian Study Society. He currently manages the ESS website and is on the Speaker’s Committee. Jim has his BA and MA in Applied Mathematics. He has published papers in the Ostracon, the Journal of the Egyptian Study Socety, and presented his research to the American Research Center in Egypt as well as the Egyptian Study Society. His interests in Egyptology include the Egyptian calendar, mathematics, pyramids, and astronomy.

TT255: Roy’s Tomb

  • Posted on: 23 January 2017
  • By: mprythero

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Date: 
Monday, November 21, 2016

We will take a tour of this small but exquisite 18th Dynasty tomb, with a chance to see all the remaining decorations. Along the way, we will find what is typical about this tomb for its location, date and owner’s status – and we will see what is different. This will lead to brief speculations about the economic workings of the time, the various personalities involved, and hopefully an appreciation of one man’s attempt at immortality. Theban Tomb TT255 is part of the Theban Necropolis, situated on the west bank of the Nile opposite Luxor.

Lost and Found: The Journey of a New Kingdom Sarcophagus from Antiquity to the Present

  • Posted on: 16 October 2016
  • By: mprythero

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Date: 
Monday, October 17, 2016

This talk centers around the stone sarcophagus of a New Kingdom mayor from Herakleopolis found at the turn of the 20th century by Sir Flinders Petrie and Guy Brunton. Stone sarcophagi, while the norm for royalty, are quite rare for officials, especially those who held office in provincial Egypt. Tomb robbers cut this sarcophagus into a number of pieces shortly after its modern discovery in the 1920s and subsequently sold those on the antiquities market. Over the years, these pieces have found their way into public and private collections in both North America and England. During the last two decades, a majority of the pieces have been located, which has allowed for a virtual reconstruction of the coffin. With this reconstruction, a proper iconographical and textual study can be presented, and as such a few precious details can be learned not only specifically about the coffin’s owner, but also about non-royal stone sarcophagi of this period in general.

You can learn a little more about the sarcophagus here: http://www.nicholasreeves.com/item.aspx?category=Writing&id=188

Egyptian Medicine: Was It Art or Science?

  • Posted on: 9 February 2017
  • By: mprythero

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Date: 
Monday, October 20, 2014

Ancient Egyptian medicine was trial by error in every sense. Several medical treatises have been discovered, but these surviving documents appear to have written during the late Middle to New Kingdom dynasties. However many Egyptologists agree that they are copies made from earlier documents. The individual formulas/recipes described in these papyri were a result of what worked, or what was perceived to have worked. Sources of ingredients used in pharaonic times were obviously natural and not artificial as they are in today's society. Many of these individual ingredients were effective, but many were not. Since the ancient physicians practiced poly pharmacy it would have been almost impossible for them to make the distinction of what truly was effective and what was not. By the same thought process, religious incantations in conjunction with these formulas, or in some cases used alone, may have been felt to provide some relief to the ill patient. We will discuss these concepts in detail.

Senenmut: Was the Man Behind the Door a Power Behind the Throne

  • Posted on: 9 February 2017
  • By: mprythero

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Date: 
Monday, September 15, 2014

According to Egyptologist Peter Dorman, “Senenmut may justifiably be described as one of the most eminent and influential persons of the Eighteenth Dynasty.” Living during the reign of Thutmosis III and Hatshepsut, he achieved high rank with titles including Tutor of the King’s Daughter (that is Hatshepsut’s daughter, Neferure), Overseer of all the Works of the King, and High Steward of Amun. His duties in the administration of the religious estate included being Overseer of the Double Granary, the Fields, the Garden, and Cows of Amun. Both monarchs, but especially Hatshepsut, showered him with gifts of statuary and other signs of their esteem. We will look more closely at the facts that are known about his life and the questions surrounding his death. Many of his statues and structures show deliberate defacement. Was he a casualty of the proscription against Hatshepsut or did she herself decide to punish his presumptions? Many sensational theories about Senenmut have been promulgated over the years, and these continue to appear in books and the spiel of tour guides. However, a comprehensive examination of newer as well as well-known evidence shows many of the suggestions can be discounted. What remains is still a remarkable story.

The Myth of Memphis: The Construction of an Ancient Egyptian Capital

  • Posted on: 1 May 2017
  • By: mprythero

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Date: 
Monday, March 18, 2013

The status of Memphis as the earliest capital of a unified Egyptian state has gone unquestioned in Egyptology. The basic modern reconstruction of the foundation of the city follows closely the reports of the Classical visitor, Herodotus, who transmits the native tradition of Memphis as being founded by the first king of Egypt, Min. The presence of the Early Dynastic cemeteries at Saqqara and Hehvan seemingly support the veracity of the basic story, and scholars have long sought to identify Min as one of the early archaeologically attested kings (such as Narmer or Hor-Aha). The rise of the pyramid fields and the development of the greater Saqqara necropolis Is generally seen as support that the administrative center of the Old Kingdom state remained at Min's great city. This historical model provides the framework in which Egyptology generally reconstructs the evolution of the Egyptian state and its administrative apparatus.
The problem with this traditional view, however, is that no clear capital city matching this historical reconstruction has emerged from the archaeological record nor Is it evident in the textual record. This lecture seeks to establish a history of the city of Memphis rooted in contemporary texts and archaeology independent of the Classical sources. It will trace the development of the city through the Saite period. The author takes a historical revisionist approach to Memphis and provides a historiographical framework for the development and transmission of the myth of Memphis as presented in the Classical sources.

The Amarna Royal Statuary Project

  • Posted on: 8 May 2017
  • By: mprythero

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Date: 
Monday, September 17, 2012

The current British expedition at Tell el-Amarna began in 1977. Since then, many hundreds of statuary fragments from royal buildings in Akhenaten and Nefertiti's ancient city have been recovered. Most of these were pieces discovered by the German expedition of the pre-World War I era and the Egypt Exploration Society’s team in the 1920s and 1930s. The fragments were not deemed museum-worthy and were reburied.
A deposit of such pieces discovered immediately behind the current expedition house at the southern end of the ancient city was dubbed the “South House Dump.” It contained unfinished fragments from the sculptors’ workshop district of the city, including the famous establishment of the sculptor Thutmose, where the painted bust of Nefertiti, now in Berlin, was discovered. Other pieces in the dump probably originated in the mysterious Maru-Aten temple, now lost under the modern cultivation.
A second cache of reburied material was discovered near the expedition house used by the English team in the 1920s and 1930s. This was called the “North House Dump.” Hundreds of fragments of statuary, as well as reliefs and balustrades, were recovered. Most originated in the Great Palace, including several colossal statues of the royal couple in granite, quartzite, and granodiorite.
Since 2001, Kristin Thompson has been registering, reassembling, and studying these fragments. In addition, she has visited dozens of museums, examining pieces from the site in storage and on display. Along with collaborator Marsha Hill, a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thompson is at work on a major volume on the royal statuary program in the ancient city, placing the pieces in their original contexts in the temples and palaces of Akhetaten.

An Investigation of Egyptian Feline Goddesses and Animal Cults

  • Posted on: 9 May 2017
  • By: mprythero

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Date: 
Monday, April 16, 2012

This lecture will introduce an unusual statuette of a crouching female deity with a lion's head, from the Brooklyn Museum's collection. The animal or combined human-animal forms of numerous divinities in the ancient Egyptian pantheon reveal the significant qualities of each deity. This talk will focus on the statue, exploring the diverse roles of felines within ancient Egyptian religion.

A leonine nature was attributed to a variety of dangerous and protective goddesses, including Sakhmet and Wadjyt, with whom this statuette may be identified. However, it is also necessary to investigate the statuette's striking resemblance to the enigmatic Underworld guardian figures from late New Kingdom royal tombs and funerary papyri. Although figures such as this one fit firmly into the religious ideology and style of late New Kingdom Egypt, museum records suggest that the statuette originally contained a cat mummy which is now lost.

Consequently, the religious developments leading up to the dramatic surge in popularity of animal cults and mummification in later Egypt will also be examined in relation to this figure. This lecture will consider the role of felines in Egyptian religion throughout history, as well as the late phenomenon of animal cults and mummification. In this context we will attempt to determine the date, function and significance of this hitherto unattested and mysterious figure.

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