Gardens in ancient Egypt

This weekend was the Weinberg Lecture of Egyptology, held at the Museum once a year. Around 180 people came out on this lovely North Carolina spring Sunday (that would be the equivalent of a lovely Québec summer day) to hear Danish Egyptologist Dr. Lise Manniche speak about gardens in ancient Egypt.

Dr. Lise Manniche visiting the Egyptian galleries at the NCMA.

Dr. Lise Manniche visiting the Egyptian galleries at the NCMA.

It was a great lecture with fabulous illustrations found on temple or tomb walls of what Egyptians planted in their gardens.  The lecture played very well with the theme of my Egyptology seminar and the recent Art in Bloom event.  Evidently, Lise likes flowers and plants very much so today I took her to the Raulston Arboretum near the NCMA and we also walked the trails in the Museum Park. It was a glorious day, being outside was wonderful.

It was great fun spending a weekend with a fellow Egyptologist…

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…

Wonderful things…

Did you know that on November 26, Howard Carter made a breach in the second door to Tutankhamun tomb. After the hot air gushed out of the tomb, he took a closer look by candlelight and, when Lord Carnarvon asked him if he could see anything, answered: Yes, it is wonderful!

Ninety-two years ago today Carter was the first person to lay eyes on the wonderful things in the antechamber of Tutankhamun’s tomb.  As with the Nov. 4 post, you can read the Nov. 26 entry in Carter’s diary on the Griffith Institute website.

Stairway to… Tutankhamun’s tomb

Did you know that 92 years ago today Howard Carter found the first step of the stairway leading to Tutankhamun’s tomb?  You can see a scan of Carter’s very own diary entry for November 4, 1922  (and several others) on the Griffith Institute‘s website dedicated to Howard Carter’s diaries and journals. The discovery of the young king’s quasi-intact tomb is one of the greatest archaeological finds of all time.

Photo of Tutankhamun’s beautifully carved canopics jars, used to store miniature coffins that contained his internal organs removed during mummification. I took this photo more than a decade ago. This is actually a scan from the first version of An Archaeologist’s Diary back in 2002!

Egypt @ Manchester

Conferences are great venues for networking and while reading the (rather impressive) programme for the CIPEG meeting I noticed that some Egyptologists I had been hoping to meet for a while were actually presenting.

One of these scholars is the current curator of Egypt and Sudan at the Manchester Museum, Dr. Campbell Price. I have been following his blog for a while and knew of his recent work and discoveries. Plus, I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the museum a few years ago, before Campbell started working there. The Manchester Museum has always been a hub for mummy studies and they have a fantastic collection of daily life artefacts.  I did indeed meet Campbell during the CIPEG meeting and he’s super nice. (Apparently he reads my blog!)

Today, I’ve added a new page about the Manchester Museum in the Photo Diary and I also invite you to discover what’s going on at the museum from Campbell’s tweets and posts.

The coffins of the 'Two Brothers,' stars of the Manchester Museum!

The coffins of the ‘Two Brothers,’ stars of the Manchester Museum!

CIPEG 2014

In late August, I attended the annual conference of CIPEG (Comité international pour l’égyptologie), one of the many committees of ICOM (International Council of Museums).  The meeting is mostly attended by curators who have charge of Egyptian and Nubian collections in museums around the world.  It was a very well attended event: I met old friends and made new ones…

Attendees of the CIPEG meeting, at least those who were there on the first day.

Attendees of the 2014 CIPEG meeting, at least those who were there on the first day.

 

The meeting was held in Copenhagen (my first visit!) at the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters and we had extremely interesting papers on the theme of ‘sources and resources’.  I did not present at this meeting, but I hope to do so next year.

My colleague Tine Bagh, curator of Egyptian art at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, and her team did a fabulous job of organising this lovely conference and scheduling activities that allowed us to discover Copenhagen and Denmark. Cheers!

AUC-AERA Archaeological Field Training programme

Ancient Egypt Research Associates (AERA), in collaboration with the American University of Cairo (AUC), is accepting applications for the 2015 Giza Archaeological Field Training programme.

You can find further information here. The deadline is May 31, 2014.