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egyptian world seminar lent11

McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

Egyptian World seminar
Programme - Lent Term, 2011

The seminars all take place on Wednesdays at 5.00pm in the seminar room at the McDonald Institute, Downing Street, and are followed by a wine reception.

  • Wednesday, 2nd February, 2011
    Ancestral ties - experiences and conceptions of the dead in the ancient Egyptian Middle Kingdom
    Dr Rune Nyord, University of Cambridge

  • Wednesday, 16th February, 2011
    Ankhtifi of Hefat: Archaeology, History, Identity
    Dr Glenn Godenho, University of Liverpool

  • Wednesday, 2nd March, 2011
    Postgraduate Seminar featuring:

    • Carl Walsh: Playing Games;
      Inter-regional contacts in the Middle Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean

      This research examines the role of furniture and gaming equipment as materialisations of specific elite behaviour and as vessels for the inter-regional transmission of body culture and esoteric knowledge among the elite groups of MBII palace centres in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East. In order to do this the ivory remains of these objects have been examined from within the elite contexts of four palace sites within the region; Acemhöyük in Anatolia, Ebla in Syria, Thebes in Egypt, and Kerma in Sudan. These sites have produced a remarkably similar corpus of ivory material primarily consisting of furniture inlays, plaques and feet as well as game boards, boxes, inlays, plaques, legs, playing pieces, knucklebones and casting sticks. The material shows distinctive use of Egyptian games and royal iconography, indicating both transmission and emulation of Egyptian courtly lifestyles. This transmission can be explained through increasing evidence for structured inter-regional diplomatic contact between MBII elite groups, placing the royal court as a social arena in which bodily techniques and esoteric knowledge could be observed, learned and applied.

    • Miriam Müller: Deir el-Medina in Amarna:
      The workmen's community on the move

      The good state of preservation of Deir el-Medina, home of the workmen constructing the tombs of the pharaohs in the nearby Valley of the Kings, and the remarkable finds of the community result in an extensive documentation dealing with almost every aspect of daily life and reconstructing the historical events during 450 years of occupation - with one great exception: the Amarna Period. Akhenaten's founding of a new capital and royal necropolis let work in Thebes come to an end. Did the workmen's community move to Amarna in the same way the whole court had to resettle? Not only the fact that Akhenaten needed skilled artisans for the construction of his own tomb suggests this assumption, in Amarna in close vicinity to the necropolis a very similar workmen's settlement was discovered. Excavations of the University of Cambridge in the 1980s concentrated on the immediate surroundings of the Amarna village and revealed a whole range of sites once involved in the provisioning of the inhabitants and evidence of a private industry. Especially the latter led the excavator to assume that the people living in Deir el-Medina and in the Amarna village were not identical. New evidence and in particular the combination of textual and archaeological records now allow a new perspective.

For further informationr see

Dr Sîan Thomas
Selwyn College Research Fellow
McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3ER
tel: 01223 333538 fax: 01223 333538