The American Research Center in Egypt – New York Chapter

Welcome to the New York Chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt

Our Next Lecture

Members Only Lecture: Putting Them Back Together Again: The Story of the Old Kingdom Prisoner Statues in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the British Museum

October 25, 2020 at 3:00 PM ET/ 9:00 PM EET

Registration Required – Click here to register

SPEAKER: Tara Prakash 

During the late Old Kingdom, pharaohs had nearly life-size statues of kneeling, bound foreign captives erected within their pyramid complexes.  Today two unprovenanced examples of these unique statues, which are known as prisoner statues, are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art while a third one is in the British Museum. All three arrived at these museums fully reconstructed and restored.  In this lecture, I will discuss both the ancient and recent history of these statues.  Archival documents and ultraviolet-induced luminescence imaging of the Met statues demonstrates the extent of the statues’ restoration and enables new conclusions on their original context and purpose.  In the late Old Kingdom, the ancient Egyptians had intentionally broken these prisoner statues into pieces.  This talk will retrace the journey of the pieces around the world and consider when, how, and why they were put back together.

About Tara Prakash:

Dr. Tara Prakash is Assistant Professor of Ancient Art at the College of Charleston.  She received her PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University with a specialty in the art and archaeology of ancient Egypt.  Dr. Prakash has held postdoctoral fellowships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Johns Hopkins University, and she previously was the W. Benson Harer Egyptology Scholar in Residence at California State University, San Bernardino.  Her research focuses on issues of ethnicity and identity, foreign interactions, artistic agency, and the visualization of pain and emotion in ancient Egypt.  Her current book project is the first comprehensive study on the prisoner statues, a unique series of Egyptian statues that depict kneeling bound foreigners. 

Title: The Curse of the Black Eggplant: Reconstructing Occult Economies in Late Ottoman Egypt

Date and Time: October 31 at 1:00 PM Eastern Time/ 7:00 PM Eastern European Time

Speaker: Taylor Moore 

Occult objects and services were a central part of the economic marketplace in late Ottoman Egypt. Sudanese magicians read palms and told fortunes in open markets. Charms, talismans, and ingredients for magical recipes were available for purchase at the local ‘attar. Anxious women bribed the gatekeepers of Khedival gardens handsomely to access the black eggplant—a natural amulet that cured (or inflicted) infertility in any who traversed its fertile patches. Yet, these are not the actors we generally cast in histories of capitalism and political economy in the Middle East.  In this talk, Moore uses the “amulet tale” of the black eggplant as a frame to reveal the occult economies that were a robust—if not integral—part of Egypt’s economic market in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries 

About Taylor M. Moore:

Taylor M. Moore is a University of California Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in the History Department at UC Santa Barbara. Her research lies at the intersections of critical race studies, decolonial/postcolonial histories of science, and decolonial materiality studies. Her manuscript-in-preparation, Superstitious Women: Race, Magic, and Medicine in Egypt, uses modern Egyptian amulets as an archive to reconstruct the magical and vernacular medical life-worlds of peasant women healers, and their critical role developing medico-anthropological expertise in Egypt from 1880-1950. Taylor’s work is invested in illuminating the occult(ed) networks, economies, and actors whose bodies and labor are generally rendered invisible in Eurocentric histories of global science. 

*Registration will close 24 hours in advance of the lecture time. 

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Please also check the ARCE events calendar page for other, open, lectures put on by National, as well as Chapter lectures offered virtually:

Title: Redefining the Hyksos: Immigration, Foreign Pharaohs, and Their Impact on Egyptian Civilization

Abstract: The Hyksos are often set up as the boogeymen of ancient Egypt – after a violent invasion, these foreign despots ruled the North of Egypt with an iron first, while a native Egyptian family in the South fought for Egypt’s liberation. However, archaeological investigation and the reanalysis of ancient texts shows that this narrative is simply political rhetoric created by the Egyptian kings to legitimize their own rule. In reality, the Hyksos were creatively strategic about the display of various aspects of their identities. To become fully Egyptian was never the goal; instead they actively maintained and advertised elements of their origins in order to support their ties to kinship and trade networks in West Asia. These kings were cosmopolitan diplomats who corresponded with much of the Near East and Eastern Mediterranean, and whose capital city was a titan of trade. They adopted and adapted elements of traditional Egyptian kingship, but negotiated these traditions with a West Asian spin, creating a rule uniquely suited to the eastern Delta. Further investigation of the social memory of these kings has even demonstrated that they were considered legitimate kings and the major power in Second Intermediate Period Egypt. In fact, the Hyksos and the West Asian immigrants of the period had a massive impact on Egyptian society, culture, and conceptions of kingship. The archetype of New Kingdom Egypt, considered the apex of ancient Egyptian society, would not have been possible without the influence of these West Asian immigrants or the rule of the Hyksos.

Bio: Danielle Candelora is an Egyptian archaeologist and an Assistant Professor of Ancient Mediterranean History at SUNY Cortland. She earned her Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from UCLA, and her dissertation is entitled: Redefining the Hyksos: Immigration and Identity Negotiation in the Second Intermediate Period. Her research investigates the multivariate processes of identity negotiation in the Eastern Nile Delta during the Second Intermediate Period, an era of intensive immigration from the Levant which culminated in the rule of the Hyksos in the North of Egypt. She explores how immigrants integrated into and influenced Egyptian society, as well as the cultural blending which resulted. Danielle is a co-director of the AEF Osiris Ptah Nebankh Research Project, a co-director of the Museology Field School at the Museo Egizio di Torino, and a member of the UCLA Coffins Project directed by Kara Cooney.

Please enjoy ARCE’s podcast series. Here are the links:

Aftermath of Tutankhamen’s Reign

A talk by Maggie Bryson that discusses the aftermath of the reign of Tutankhamun, what happened after his death as well as the lasting impacts of the Amarna period on Egypt. She discusses the role of the general Horemheb and the transition to the next Dynasty. 

Tutankhamen’s Court

Nozomu Kawai explains the political situation during the reign of King Tutankhamun and highlights the most important women and men in his court. He also details the vast building program of the King and what could be his motives behind it.

The Lineage of Tutankhamen

This talk, by Dr. Aidan Dodson, discusses Tutankhamen’s family history, the DNA studies done on his mummy and some of the objects found in his tomb.

Inside the Tomb of Tutankhamen

Dr. Salima Ikram discusses the tomb’s treasures and decorations, as well as the king’s mummy and what is unique about it.

ARCE is hard at work preserving many sites in Egypt for future generations. Please take a look at virtual tours of some of these sites.

The Tomb of Menna

The Bab Zuwayla

Aslam al-Silahdar Mosque

Zawiya-Sabil Faraj IBN Barquq

Monastery of St. Anthony

The Museum at the Monastery of St. Anthony

Theban Tombs 159 and 286

The Temple of Khonsu at Karnak

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