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…