The Middle Kingdom Theban Project: Officials, Tombs and the Early Middle Kingdom at Thebes

SPEAKER: Dr. Antonio J. Morales

DATE/ TIME: Thursday, January 19, 2023, 6:00 P.M. EST. 

ABSTRACT:  In the last six years, the University of Alcalá Expedition and its Middle Kingdom Theban Project have set up a multidisciplinary and international team of experts that is conducting archaeological excavation, epigraphic work, and conservation in several tombs in the area of Deir el-Bahari, with the goal of improving our knowledge of the later part of the Eleventh Dynasty and the beginning of the so-called “Classical Period”. In the first two years of work (2015-2016), the team started excavating the upper section of the courtyards in the complexes of the great steward Henenu (TT 313 / MMA 510) and the vizier Ipi (TT 315 / MMA 516). In the following two years, the expedition experienced a significant increase in the number of monuments under investigation. The funerary complexes of the director of prisons Djari (TT 366 / MMA 820) and the vizier Dagi (TT 103 / MMA 807), located in the plain of Asasif were also incorporated. Additionally, the entire eastern sector in the northern hills at Deir el-Bahari, where the tomb of Neferhotep (TT 316 / MMA 518), two “unfinished” tombs (MMA 519-520), and a large complex (MMA 521) are located was also incorporated. In this talk, Dr. Antonio Morales will present the major aims and strategies developed to respond to the main questions of the project. Documenting, studying, and publishing several of these monuments from Deir el-Bahari and Asasif will no doubt allow scholars to have a better understanding of the role of Thebes in the construction of the classical age in pharaonic history.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Antonio Morales is Assistant Professor in Egyptology in the Seminar of Ancient History at the University of Alcalá (UAH). He is currently based at the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations as Real Colegio Complutense Visiting Professor. Previously, he was Lecturer in Egyptology and Research Associate at Freie Universität Berlin, postdoctoral researcher at Heidelberg Universität, and Assistant Researcher at Mainz Universität. He obtained his PhD in Egyptology from the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia 2013). 

Antonio Morales has participated in several expeditions to Egypt and is currently the director of The Middle Kingdom Theban Project, a research initiative concerned with the documentation, study, and publication of tombs of the late Eleventh Dynasty and early Middle Kingdom in the necropolis of Deir el-Bahari and the Asasif at Thebes (Luxor). He has published multiple articles in scientific journals and contributions to books. In addition, he has edited a volume on beer in the ancient world (Seville 2001), has co-edited a volume on divine kingship (Philadelphia 2011), has completed a monograph on the Pyramid Texts dealing with the goddess Nut (Hamburg 2017), and has co-edited a volume on Middle Kingdom archaeology, history, and culture published at the Harvard Egyptological Studies (Boston 2021).

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