Jar handle sealing in the Levant and Egypt: A diachronic perspective on administration and cultural exchange over four millennia
Tatjana Beuthe (University of Bern)

In the eastern Mediterranean, vessel handles were impressed with seals prior to firing from the 4th millennium BCE to the 1st millennium CE. This four-thousand-year practice appears to have served symbolic and administrative purposes, since the sealed vessels and their contents were frequently traded with different regions. However, a detailed examination of the origins and development of jar handle sealing in Egypt has not been undertaken. The present paper highlights the origins of jar handle sealing in the Levant and how cultural exchanges between Egypt and the Levant continued to shape implementations of this practice over time. Consequently, this paper investigates how and why jar handle seal impressions were employed as part of production systems for goods in both regions.

Row, row, row your bed? The bed and the solar barque
Manon Schutz (University of Oxford, University of Trier)

Every night, the sun god has to die in order to rise again in the morning. As the Nile represents not only life in ancient Egypt, but also its main artery, it is not surprising that the deity’s chosen means of transportation is the barque. Seeing this solar cycle every day, the departed wishes to follow the path of the sun to be reborn daily. Yet, in the tomb context, the sleeper-deceased is usually shown lying atop a bed, not a barque.

The aim of this paper is to analyse possible similarities and differences between beds and barques. Thus, for instance, one might wonder whether there is a link between the burial arrangement in the tomb of Merenptah and the solar barques depicted on Ramesses’ VI ceiling. How should the scene of Anubis tending to the mummy on a boat, the latter being placed atop a bed, be understood?

Shedding Light on Egyptian Mirrors
Elizabeth Thomas (University of Liverpool)

Mirrors have received attention for their cultural significance. However, in depth investigations into their production have been lacking with only a handful included in wider analyses. So how were mirrors manufactured and what kind of reflection did they produce? How did the Egyptian elite see themselves? The combination of metallurgical analysis and experimental work presented here aims to shed light on some of these questions.

With the use of a novel sampling method, analysis of mirrors using SEM-EDX has revealed the chemical composition and microstructure of the metal. This has allowed the manufacturing techniques used to produce them to be characterised. Additionally, different surface treatments have been identified which will have varying effects on the type of reflection created. Ongoing experimental work based on these analyses aims to re-create the manufacturing sequence alongside the visual characteristics of the mirrors which will aid our understanding of how they originally functioned.

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