Back into the ancient groove

After having spent most of the past year being buried up to my neck in Art Deco automobiles and motorcycles, I was more than delighted to get back in to the ancient groove in November and December, even though I worked evenings and weekends to make sure everything was done in time. This involved mostly lectures, talks and PowerPoint presentations, but it was all related to ancient things…

On November 19,  I taught my Egyptology Seminar (it had been rescheduled from the spring because of the various deadlines for the exhibition). Also, due to this same lack of time, it was only a half day event instead of a full day affair, but it was very well attended nonetheless. The theme (well, title, really) was “Taking Care of Business at Pharaoh’s Court” and I  presented with short lectures a number of important individuals who helped shape Egypt during its long history–Imhotep and Hemiunu (both from the Old Kingdom), Ahmose son of Ibana (New Kingdom) and Mentuemhet, the mayor of Thebes during the Third Intermediate Period and the Late Period. Luckily, Dr. Bonnie Sampsell—the author of the Geology of Egypt, who happens to be not only a geologist but also an amateur Egyptologist—kindly helped by giving one of the seminar talks. She presented Senenmut, Queen Hatshepsut’s trusted architect and royal nanny. That gave me some time to breathe…

On November 21 I spent the whole day at North Carolina State University as guest speaker, invited by Dr. Dru MgGill, archaeologist at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.  I presented the scientific methods used in museums to study ancient ceramics for the students taking Special Topics in Anthropology, Pots and People: Ceramics Analysis in late morning. Then, after a tasty lunch with my colleague, I spoke to two groups taking Unearthing the Past: Introduction to World Archaeology.  I introduced them to the archaeology of ancient Sudan (Meroe and Dangeil) and mused the work of an archaeologist employed in a museum.  Few students actually think of this option when considering jobs related to archaeology and material culture.

These were intense and very tiring months, but at least I was back into the ancient groove!!

Advertisements

Egyptology Seminar 2015

I was rather quiet this week as I decided to stay away from my computer and rest after spending an entire month working on my Egyptology seminar. And by an entire month, I mean working every weekday—often late in the evening—and every weekend. When I work on PowerPoint presentations, I need to devote good chunks of time to them, not just a few minutes here and there, in between meetings and other little tasks. This means working when there are fewer colleagues around and/or not even signing into one’s email account (which normally results in receiving phone calls from colleagues when you don’t respond to urgent messages).

The theme of this year’s seminar was daily life in ancient Egypt as depicted on tomb walls from the Old Kingdom to the early New Kingdom (Eighteenth Dynasty until the reign of Amenhotep III, after which decorative schemes change significantly). There is more than meets the eye on those decorated tomb walls! I prepared four different lectures focusing on this theme, starting with the construction of a tomb. (Can’t decorate a tomb if you don’t have a tomb!) We looked at what goes on at a nobleman’s estate, family life and personal affairs, and the relationship between the Egyptians and their environment, specifically related to fauna. (The Egyptians were very keen observers of nature and this is illustrated in their tombs.) I did not explore Egypt’s flora as this will be the topic of the Weinberg Lecture of Egyptology next week.

The day-long seminar included an Egypt-inspired lunch and a baklava reception, where a lovely tea and hibiscus syrup concoction was also served. There even was a flower at the bottom of the cup! Quite delicious! I believe it was the signature drink for the Art in Bloom event mentioned in previous posts.

I went home rather tired at the end of the day; however, I was happy that the participants really enjoyed themselves and want to do it again next year… with a different theme, of course! Now, I’m taking advantage of the long Easter weekend to charge my batteries…

On a Tomb’s Walls

I’m currently working on my Egyptology seminar (taking place on March 28), but I got distracted by the news of a recent discovery of a beautifully painted tomb in the Theban necropolis.  It caught my attention because my seminar is entitled ‘On a Tomb’s Walls: Daily Life in Ancient Egypt,’  The few pictures I saw of the tomb of the gatekeeper of Amun Amenhotep, called Rebiu, were colourful and beautiful. And I liked that the room was not excavated yet… there is debris up to the ceiling! Click on the link to see the photos in the Luxor Times.