2022 Lectures

Monday, May 9, 2022 at 6:00 PM (EST) Free to the Public

The Burials of the 25th Dynasty and Napatan Kings 

SPEAKER:  Dr. Peter Lacovara

Color reconstruction of Taharqo’s coffin by Fran Weatherhead.

ABSTRACT:  Although they were badly plundered, the tombs of the kings of the 25th  Dynasty pharaohs and their Napatan successors at El-Kurru and Nuri still contained numerous fragments of their original funerary equipment which were carefully recorded and preserved by the Harvard University-Museum of Fine Arts Expedition. This record gives us an opportunity to reconstruct what these interments were like and how they reflected both Nubian artistic tradition and selective adaptation of Egyptian motifs. 

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Peter Lacovara (B.A. 1976, Boston University; Ph.D. 1993 The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago) is Director of The Ancient Egyptian Archaeology and Heritage Fund.  He was Senior Curator of Ancient Egyptian, Nubian, and Near Eastern Art at the Michael C. Carlos Museum from 1998 to 2014.  Previously he has served as Assistant Curator in the Department of Ancient Egyptian, Nubian and Near Eastern Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Currently he is also Consulting Curator for the Egyptian Collection at the Albany Institute of History and Art and Visiting Research Scholar at the American University in Cairo. 

His archaeological fieldwork has included excavations at the Valley of the Kings at Thebes, the Palace city of Amenhotep III at Malqata in Western Thebes, Abydos, Hierakonpolis and at the Giza Plateau, and currently he is directing the survey and restoration of the site of Deir el-Ballas.  His publications include studies on Daily Life and Urbanism in Ancient Egypt, Egyptian Mortuary Traditions, and the Material Culture of Ancient Egypt and Nubia. 

Dr. Peter Lacovara

Tuesday, March 22, 2022, 6:00 PM (EST) FREE TO THE PUBLIC.

Sacred Deities of Ancient Egypt: A Pantheon of Paradoxes viewed from a Jungian Perspective

SPEAKER:  Jacqueline Thurston, M. A.

RWTY, Guardian of the Rising and Setting Sun.  Photo: Jacqueline Thurston, M.A.

ABSTRACT:  Jacqueline Thurston’s presentation, drawing on ideas and her photographic images from her book Sacred Deities of Ancient Egypt explores the archetypal nature of the divine feminine and the divine masculine. It examines the presence of dualities and opposites contained within a single deity and the role that paradox plays in the dynamic relationships between individual deities. Our contemporary interest in gender and identity makes the exploration of the attributes of both feminine and masculine deities in the ancient Egyptian pantheon intriguing, informative, and relevant. The presentation will also explore how powerful vicissitudes of nature, like the pandemic through which we are living, shaped Egyptians’ vision of their gods. The presentation raises intriguing questions. Why, for example, did the ancient Egyptians choose a pair of feminine deities – Nekhbet, a vulture that fed on the decaying flesh of dead creatures; and a cobra, Wadjet, a lethal serpent – as guardians of the pharaoh? The presentation approaches these questions from a psychological perspective informed by the ideas of the Swiss analyst C. G Jung.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Jacqueline Thurston, M.A., is an artist, writer, and Professor Emerita in the School of Art and Design at San Jose State University, where she taught for over forty years. She is twice the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Photography Fellowship and was a Fulbright Scholar to Egypt. Her first artist’s book, Shadowland was purchased by the Library of Congress for their Rare Book Collection. Thurston’s photographs are in major national and international museum collections, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Library of Congress; the International Museum of Photography; the Carnegie Museum of Art; the Albright Knox Museum; the Cantor Museum; the University of New Mexico Museum of Art; the Center for Photography at the University of Arizona; the Bibliothèque Nationale, France; and the Bibliothéque Alexandria, Egypt.  Forty photographs inspired an exhibition curated by Dr. Lorelei Corcoran shown at the Art Museum of the University of Memphis.

Jacqueline Thurston

Febuary 13, 2022 at 1:00 pm (EST) Free to the Public

Excavating the City of the Snake Goddess: Flinders Petrie at Tel Natasha

Late Period amulets found by Petrie at Tel Natasha. Photo N. Nielsen

ABSTRACT:  In the early months of 1886, Flinders Petrie arrived in the eastern Nile Delta at an out-of-the-way site south of Tanis known as Tell Fara’un or Tell Nabasha (ancient Imet). Petrie and his assistant Francis Griffith worked at the site for several months uncovering a vast temple complex dedicated to the goddess Wadjet, a cemetery spanning the New Kingdom to the early Medieval Period, and the remains of a Late Period settlement. The speaker has worked on Petrie’s excavated material from Tell Nabasha since 2014, as well as conducting excavations at Tell Nabasha in 2015 and a remote sensing survey in 2016. Using this research, along with archival material pertaining to Petrie’s work at the site, this talk will explore what Petrie found in 1886 and how these finds can help us reconstruct the chronology, development and function of the ancient city of Imet, the cult center of the snake goddess.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:  Dr. Nicky Nielsen is a Senior Lecturer in Egyptology at the University of Manchester. He specializes in New Kingdom and Late Period material culture as well as settlement archaeology. He has excavated at various sites in Egypt as well as Turkey and the UK. He is the author of Egyptomaniacs: How We Became Obsessed With Ancient Egypt (Pen and Sword, 2020). He also researches effective distance learning techniques and has co-published From Mummies to Microchips (Routledge, 2020), a handbook about effective distance learning strategies in the humanities together with Professor Joyce Tyldesley.

January 30, 2022 at 11:00 am (EST)

Dr. Pearce Paul Creasman – Diving the Pyramids at Nuri

Diver Entering a Pyramid – Photos S. Denkowicz

ABSTRACT:  The pyramids, royal cemetery, and necropoles of Napata (an ancient Kushite political center)  at Nuri comprise more than 7,500,000 square feet and today remain largely unexplored. Initially the site of more than 80 burial monuments, Nuri served as the resting place for at least 60 kings and queens corresponding to the Third Intermediate and Late Periods in Egypt. The first royal known to be buried at Nuri was the biblical pharaoh Taharqa (protector of Jerusalem, per 2 Kings 19:9), whose tomb was cut into the bedrock deep below his pyramid. His descendants used the site for four more centuries, and others for centuries more beyond. Partly excavated only once before, in the 1910s, Nuri remains poorly published. In 2017, a new archaeological mission was initiated. This presentation discusses its progress with particular attention to underwater excavations conducted on site. 

As a result of climate change, intensive agriculture nearby, and the construction of dams along the Nile, rising groundwater has submerged many of the tombs cut into the bedrock, likely including all of the subterranean pyramid chambers of the kings. Today, at least four kings’ burial chambers remain unexcavated. Since 2018, the Nuri Archaeological Expedition has been excavating the now underwater burial of one such king, the last Kushite king interred at Nuri: Nastasen (ca. 335-310 BCE). Supported by grants from the National Geographic Society, excavations of Nastasen’s pyramid and tomb represent the first attempt to conduct underwater archaeology in Sudan. While not yet completed, significant discoveries were made and will be discussed within the framework of Nuri as a whole and the site’s great potential to inform us about the people of Nuri through the generations and environments in which they lived. 

Dr. Pearce Creasman at Nuri. Photo: PatrickGreaves.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:  Dr.Pearce Paul Creasman is an archaeologist in the fields of Egyptology, maritime archaeology, and dendrochronology who holds a PhD in nautical archaeology from Texas A & M University. He is currently director of the American Center of Research located in Amman, Jordan. Previously, Dr. Creasman was an associate professor of dendrochronology and archaeology at the University of Arizona (where he remains affiliated faculty), focusing on the heritage, archaeology, and the environment of the Middle East and North Africa. He has been conducting archaeological and environmental research in Egypt and Sudan since 2004. His current archaeological project is the excavation at the pyramids and royal necropoles of Nuri, Sudan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dr. Creasman is editor of the peer-reviewed Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections and the author or co-author of more than 100 articles and edited books.

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