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working in Egypt for 125 years

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06.12.2013

Themes and Topics: Events past and present

By now, most of you should have received your Autumn Newsletter (issue 9), and you'll hopefully be looking forward to the Winter/Spring season of events at the EES. Our programme of events has expanded rapidly in the past few years from fewer than 5 events per year in 2006-7 to the current rate of over 25 events per annum in the UK and EU, as well as a programme of events in Cairo. This expansion has been received with great enthusiasm by members, with record numbers of guests attending our seminars, Study Days and evening classes. 

Of course, with expansion comes the need to make sure that we have coherence to the programme, and in recent years, we have focused on two or three major themes for each annual season. In 2012, we brought you events exploring the mortuary and funerary practices of ancient Egypt, including our Norwich Study Day ('The Funerary Practices and Beliefs of Ancient Egypt') in April, a Study Day in Edinburgh in May ('Temples, Tombs and Fascinating Mummies: Deir el-Bahri and those who left their mark there'), and our York Study Day in September ('Go West! The Journey to the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt'). We also launched Prof. Geoffrey Martin's much anticipated book The Tomb of Maya and Meryt I: The Reliefs, Inscriptions and Commentary (EM 99)

EES Members viewing the Norwich Shroud as part of the Study Day

We also kicked off a slew of events focusing on issues of landscape archaeology with our Summer Study Day in 2012, 'Grand Designs: Amenhotep III and the Landscape of Thebes', which saw a stellar line up of speakers (Prof. John Baines, Dr Hourig Sourouzian, Dr Angus Graham & Kris Strutt of the EES THaWs project, EES Chair, Dr Aidan Dodson and Dr Peter Lacovara) present some of the major issues in mapping the landscape of ancient Thebes in the New Kingdom. Close on the heels of this, we held seminars on Graffitti in ancient Egypt, and the Workmen's Huts in the Valley of the Kings and a study day with RAMASES (Rainham, Medway and Swales Egypt Society) on Environmental Change in ancient Egypt. 

The audience at the Amenhotep III Study Day in June

Our final theme for 2012 was one that we have touched on previously, and which is particularly appropriate to the Society, given the EES Lucy Gura Archive and the Society's commitment to education, involvement and engagement with members and colleagues in Egypt. The theme is 'Egypt: Ancient and Modern', encompassing both traditional 'reception studies' and issues of how Egyptology functions in modern Egypt. Our February seminar, 'Programmes on the Past', also reflected the Society's increasing public profile in the worlds of TV and film; we launched Who Was Who in Egyptology 4 in July, and in September we were a part of the conference 'Education: The Best Investment', which tackled issues of how to train Egyptologists in modern Egypt. We also exploited the usages of modern technology to broadcast the Webinar: 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Cultural Property and the Antiquities Trade in Egypt'. 

 

Speakers at the Webinar, chaired by EES Director, Dr Chris Naunton. L-R: Madeleine Perridge (Bonhams), Dr Marcel Maree (British Museum), Heba Abd-el-Gawad (University of Durham), Keith Amery (City University). 

In 2013, the themes have been Language and Archaeology - a nicely traditional bipartite approach to Egyptology! We were delighted to host three brand new Evening Classes: 'An Introduction to Sahidic Coptic', taught by Dr Jennifer Cromwell (University of Macquarie), 'An Introduction to Hieratic', taught by Luigi Prada (now Lady Wallis Budge Junior Research Fellow, Oxford) and a 'Middle Egyptian Reading Class: The Shipwrecked Sailor', as well as our ever-popular 'Introduction to Egyptian Hieroglyphs' class, both taught by the EES's Education and Public Engagement Manager, Dr Joanna Kyffin. In addition, we welcomed EES Trustee, Dr Linda Steynor to bring us the first of two seminars on the use of metaphor in the Tale of the Eloquent Peasant. 

 

Dr Steynor discussing water metaphors

Under the banner heading of 'Archaeology', we covered a multitude of subjects - including Palaces and Residences (Conference & Study Day), Coffins (both a One-Day conference, and a lecture by Dr Kara Cooney), Hierakonpolis (free lecture), the material culture of ancient Nubia (seminar), Canals and Harbours (Cairo Lecture), the Archaeology of Egypt and Nubia (Evening Class) and a pair of new classes run in Cairo, both focusing on practical archaeological techniques - Drawing Archaeological Objects and Introduction to Egyptian Pottery. 

Discussions at the close of the EES Palaces and Residences Conference

For the coming season, we have chosen 'Sacred Animals' as our theme - we began with John Wyatt's Evening Class (currently running) looking at the 'Flora and Fauna of ancient Egypt', and we look forward to February when Lyn Stagg will show us the world of the lion in ancient Egypt. Later in the Spring, Dr Linda Steynor will return with the second part of her seminar on the use of water metaphors in the Eloquent Peasant, and a seminar entitled 'Snakes Alive! The Use of Figurative Language in the Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor'. We can even give you an exclusive peek at our Summer Study Day for 2014, which will take as its theme the Sacred Animal Necropolis - speakers will include Prof. Salima Ikram, Dr Joanne Rowland and Prof. Dieter Kessler. 

We hope you will continue to enjoy our events programmes, and as always, we welcome your comments, feedback and opinions on what you would like to hear about next. Please feel free to contact the Education and Public Engagment Manager: carl.graves@ees.ac.uk. 

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