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Egypt Exploration Society: Winter Study Day - Saturday 7th December, 2013 "The Last Great Age of Ancient Egypt": Third Intermediate Period to the Late Period

On Saturday 7th December the Society hosted its annual winter study at SOAS for which we were very pleased to welcome four specialists in the study of Third Intermediate and Late Period Egypt. We were very excited to present delegates with this topic as it is usually underrepresented in Egyptological studies – but the day was a huge success, and well received by those who attended. For those that were following us during the day on Twitter and Facebook here follows a more in depth summary of the events of the day.

After a short welcome from EES Director Dr Chris Naunton the day was begun by Dr Robert Morkot, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Exeter and Chairman of the Society for Libyan Studies. Robert presented delegates with some new research on Kushite Egypt. Dr Morkot focussed on the ‘Feuding and Politics’ surrounding the 25th (Kushite) Dynasty of Egypt that eventually led to the rise of the 26th (Saite) Dynasty. New analysis of the Tang-i Var inscription in Kurdistan was used to shed light on chronology of the period and the eventual rise of the Saite Dynasts.

Dr Morkot was followed by Dr Tony Leahy, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Birmingham. An overview of the rise of the 26th Dynasty under Psammetichus I was given, emphasising the ruler’s role in the reunification of Egypt during the early Late Period. During Psammetichus’ 54 year reign he was able to consolidate Saite power over a unified Egypt and employed Greeks, residing at Naukratis, in his service, (discussed in further depth by Dr Alexandra Villing at the Annual Lecture later in the day).

Dr Koen Donker van Heel

After a short coffee break proceedings were continued by Dr Koen Donker van Heel, Lecturer in Egyptology at the University of Leiden. He introduced delegates to the world of ‘abnormal hieratic’, a script used in the South (around Thebes), while Demotic had developed in parallel in the north of the country, reflecting the political and administrative split in Egypt during the Libyan and Kushite Periods. Dr Donker van Heel discussed the development of this script from late administrative hieratic, and its eventual replacement by Demotic - the last preserved line of abnormal hieratic appears in a demotic document in 535 BC – which was a feature of the reunification of the country under the Saites. Dr Donker van Heel’s current project aims to compare both demotic and abnormal hieratic to map their parallel developments, his work on translating and engaging with Late Egyptian texts can be found in his recent publications:
Donker van Heel, K. 2011. Djekhy & Son: Doing Business in Ancient Egypt. American University in Cairo Press: Cairo.
Donker van Heel, K. 2013. An Abnormal Hieratic Reading Book I. Het Leids Papyrologisch Instituut: Leiden.
Donker van Heel, K. 2013. An Abnormal Hieratic Reading Book II. Het Leids Papyrologisch Instituut: Leiden.

Professor Alan Lloyd

President of the EES, Professor Alan Lloyd, closed the Study Day with a presentation about Saites’ military ambition and their efforts to control regions away from Egypt’s traditional borders. The 26th Dynasty penetrated further than ever into Asia, and continued to adapt to new technological challenges in their warfare tactics. His most recent research will be presented in a new publication next year:
Lloyd, A. 2014 (forthcoming). Ancient Egypt: State and Society. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

The study day was followed by the Society’s AGM at which the Director, Dr Naunton, gave a report on the Society’s activities in 2012-13 expanding on the details given in the summary report and accounts. The slides from his presentation are now available online here.

Dr Alexandra Villing

Following the AGM the EES President, Professor Lloyd welcomed Dr Alexandra Villing to give the Society’s Annual Lecture. Dr Villing is a Curator for the British Museum Department of Greece and Rome, and leader of the Naukratis: Greeks in Egypt research project. Her presentation covered recent fieldwork that she has coordinated at the site of Naukratis in the Western Delta. Using images from the Lucy Gura Archive, Dr Villing presented the past excavation and survey work carried out at the site and the finds that had been found – notably by Sir W. M. Flinders Petrie – and now distributed throughout the world’s major museums. Current fieldwork at the site indicates that there is still much more to be found, despite the complete decimation of the tell mound itself. Full details of the project can be found here, and a catalogue of finds from early fieldwork can be accessed here.

Dr Joanna Kyffin with EES Volunteers Katherine Piper and Caroline South

Following a full and inspiring day of presentations from the five speakers, delegates retired to the Brunei Suite at SOAS to enjoy a glass of wine and mince pie. This was a fruitful opportunity for the EES to engage with members and delegates to discuss the Society and the work we do. As ever, the work the EES does in the UK and Egypt is only possible due to the kind donations and support of our members, and event attendees. As we near Christmas we would like to take this opportunity to thank you all again for your generosity.



Publication date: 09.12.2013
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