12-1.30pm (Brazil) / 3-4.30pm (UK) / 4-5.30pm (Egypt)

This seminar explores the ways archaeologists excavate and classify houses. How helpful are modern typologies to our understanding of experience in the past? How do they relate to practice, particularly the relationship between the individual and the state? Does variation within Egypt and beyond mean differences in social practice or are they result of local environmental and economic circumstances?


Miriam Müller
Leiden University

Miriam Müller is an Egyptian archaeologist and especially interested in the spatial organization of domestic architecture in the pharaonic period and its social implications. She is currently working on aspects of the formation of identity at the household level, in particular through ancestor cults. She received her MA from the University of Heidelberg and finished her PhD at the University of Vienna where she worked on the material from the Austrian Archaeological Institute’s excavations in Tell el-Dab'a in the eastern Nile delta. On the basis of the documentation and finds of a residential area she explored the field of household archaeology and its benefits for Egyptian archaeology. Within her MA and PhD studies Miriam has worked on settlements from different time periods, from core and periphery of the Egyptian empire. She has participated in excavations in Egypt, Sudan, Israel, Austria and Germany. Prior to her appointment at the Leiden Institute of Area Studies, Miriam has been a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Yale University, the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University and the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Her interest in the field formed the idea for suggesting an interdisciplinary symposium on recent developments in household studies with the aim of bringing the archaeological, textual and scientific record together that was held at the Oriental Institute in March 2013. She is the editor of the conference proceedings “Household Studies in Complex Societies. (Micro) Archaeological and Textual Approaches” and is currently working on the publication of her dissertation.

Ido Koch
Tel Aviv University

Ido Koch (PhD, Tel Aviv University, 2015) is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures, Tel Aviv University. He is co-director of the Tel Hadid Expedition, and co-director of Stamp-seals from the Southern Levant, a Swiss National Sciences Fund SINERGIA project (CRSII5_186426). He studies the archaeology of Bronze and Iron Ages Southern Levant, with a focus on colonialism, visual language, and crafts. His upcoming monograph (Colonial Encounters in Southwest Canaan during the Late Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age, Leiden, 2021) deals with the Egyptian–Levantine colonial encounters during the Late Bronze Age.

Neal Spencer
Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge

Neal Spencer is Deputy Director (Collections & Research) at The Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, where he leads the museum’s research and collections teams. His current research focuses on lived experience in the Nile Valley, particularly amidst the intersecting registers of household, urban and natural environment, in the context of Upper Nubia while under pharaonic rule. This research draws upon over a decade of fieldwork at the site of Amara West in northern Sudan, where he directed the British Museum’s Amara West Research Project. Neal was formerly Keeper of Nile Valley & Mediterranean Collections at the British Museum, and has led fieldwork projects at Samanud and Kom Firin, following a PhD (University of Cambridge) on cultural renaissance in 30th dynasty Egypt.

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