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ARCE Vancouver hosts several talks throughout the academic year. You can find information about upcoming or recent talks below. Most of our talks are free and open to the public.

For additional talks organized and scheduled by ARCE National, check out their events calendar HERE.

Upcoming ARCE Vancouver Events

The Good Kings: Absolute Power in Ancient Egypt and the Modern World

By Dr. Kara Cooney

7 pm PST on Thursday March 23rd – UBC Green College

Click Here to Register

Woman walking towards the camera in front of an ancient Egyptian temple
Kara Cooney in Egypt.

In an era when democracies around the world are threatened or crumbling Cooney turns to five ancient Egyptian pharaohs–Khufu, Senwosret III, Akenhaten, Ramses II, and Taharqa–to understand why many so often give up power to the few, and what it can mean for our future. The pharaohs and their process of divine kingship can tell us a lot about the world’s politics, past and present. Every monumental temple, pyramid, and tomb offers extraordinary insight into a culture that combined deeply held religious beliefs with uniquely human schemes to justify a system in which one ruled over many. From Khufu of the Old Kingdom to Taharqa of the Late Period, Cooney offers insights into understanding how power was earned, controlled, and manipulated in ancient times. In mining the past, we can better understand the reason why societies have so willingly chosen a dictator over democracy, time and time again.

Kathlyn (Kara) Cooney is a professor of Egyptian Art and Architecture and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at UCLA. Cooney’s research in coffin reuse, primarily focusing on the 21st Dynasty, is ongoing. Her research investigates the socioeconomic and political turmoil that have plagued the period, ultimately affecting funerary and burial practices in ancient Egypt. This project has taken her around the world over the span of five to six years to study and document more than 300 coffins in collections around the world, including Cairo, London, Paris, Berlin, and Vatican City. Her first trade book, The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt is an illuminating biography of its least well-known female king and was published in 2014 by Crown Publishing Group. Her latest book, When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt, was published in 2018 by National Geographic Press. She is also a co-host of the Afterlives podcast with Jordan Galczynski.


Past Events

Trading Textiles: the International Textiles Trade during the Amarna Period

By Jordan Galczynski

12 pm PST on Saturday February 25th – Online

Click Here to Register

Woman standing in front of an Egyptian wall painting showing a line of figures.
Jordan Galczynski in Egypt.

The Amarna tablets are (in)famous amongst scholars and the general public for their insights into foreign relations during the Late Bronze Age. Egyptian and West Asian kings engaged in gift exchange practices that include luxury metals like gold and silver. However, little attention has been focused on the high number of textiles exchanged, often numbering more than the metals themselves. This talk, first, seeks to bring light to these gift exchanges and to argue that textiles were a highly prized elite product second only to metals in value. Even when applying low price estimates to textiles, the total wealth exchanged is staggering. Additionally, this talk will conclude with a discussion of what transpired to these textiles upon receipt with one possible gift—Tutankhamun’s “Syrian” tunic looked at specifically.

Jordan completed her Master’s degree at the University of Chicago and is currently a PhD candidate at UCLA specializing in Egyptology. Her work utilizes an intersection approach to investigate the visualization of dressed elite identity in New Kingdom Theban tombs. Other research interests include the textile industry and international trade. She has conducted field work in Egypt, Israel, and Ethiopia, and was the Registrar on UCLA’s Coffin Project under Dr. Kara Cooney. Jordan is currently working on finishing her dissertation, teaching at UCLA, and working at the Getty as a grant writer. She also co-hosts the Afterlives podcast with Kara Cooney.


Acceptance, Indifference, Rejection: Colonial Foodways in the New Kingdom Southern Levant

By Dr. Jacob Damm

12 pm PST on Saturday January 28th, 2023 – Online

Click Here to Register

Composite image with three photos showing an excavation area, a city coastline, and three carved stone images.
Jaffa, Israel excavation site and finds.

From the 15th through the 12th centuries BCE, the pharaohs of the Egyptian New Kingdom sought to control the southern Levant through both direct occupation and proxy rule. This included the installation of garrisons throughout the region, places where agents of the empire were brought into close contact with the indigenous Levantine population on a day-to-day basis. This contact resulted in a mutually transformative encounter that entangled actors on all sides as part of the system supporting Egyptian imperial ambitions. In this presentation, I will discuss two such garrisons located in modern-day Israel, the sites of Jaffa and Beth Shean. Both exhibit dynamic histories during the period of New Kingdom occupation characterized by extended periods of calm as well as episodic—sometimes violent—breakdowns in the local order. Using these two sites, we will explore how the world of food and drink shed light on the social realities of Egyptian rule in the imperial periphery.

Jacob Damm is an adjunct lecturer with the Sociology/Anthropology Department at SUNY Cortland. He completed his B.A. in Religious Studies and Classics at the University of South Carolina, his M.A. in Levantine Archaeology at Harvard University, and his Ph.D. at UCLA’s Cotsen Institute of Archaeology where he focused on the archaeology of the southern Levant. Currently, he is affiliated with the Turning Points Project at Tel Dan in Israel, the South Karnak Extramural Expedition in Egypt, and the Çadır Höyük Archaeological Project in Turkey.


Whose Egypt? Egypt and its Dispersed Heritage

By Dr. Heba Abd el Gawad

11 am PT on Saturday November 12th – Online

Click Here to Register

Three part comic in which tourists draw on an ancient Egyptian object, with Heba and Nasser trying to stop them. In the second, a woman walks in and also admonishes the vandals, to Heba's relief. In the third, the woman takes the object away with her
Comic by Nasser Junior

Ever wondered how many Egypts there are out there? There is the Egypt imagined in museums, the one ending by the Byzantine period we read about it in Egyptology books, the eternal Egypt in official tourism campaigns, the one full of monuments void of people captured by Victorian and modern travellers, and the distorted Egypt in Western coverage of Middle Eastern news. So, which and whose Egypt are we referring to when confronting archaeology’s colonial practices and its legacies?  In this talk we will be reflecting on UCL’s AHRC funded Egypt’s Dispersed Heritage project journey so far.  Through the project’s outputs, we will learn about the challenges and opportunities, and the different Egypt’s they have encountered and learnt from.

Egyptian heritage and museums’ specialist Heba Abd el Gawad is the project researcher for the AHRC funded project: ‘Egypt’s Dispersed Heritage: Views from Egypt’ at the Institute of Archaeology, University College of London aimed at amplifying the voice, visibility, and validity of modern Egyptian communities in UK museums. She has previously led various curatorial roles in the UK including co-curating Two Temple Place’s 2016 Beyond Beauty: Transforming the Body in Ancient Egypt exhibition, project curator of the British Museum’s Asyut Project, and has guest curated Listen to her! Turning up the Volume on Egypt’s Ordinary Women exhibition at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. More recently, she was Museo Egizio Turin scientific coordinator for the Egyptian European EU funded “Transforming the Egyptian Museum in Cairo Tahrir Project” redisplaying the Old Kingdom galleries and introducing an operational Master Plan.

She specializes in the history of Egyptian archaeology and Egyptian perceptions and representations of ancient Egypt. She has been selected as one of the most influential 21 Egyptian women in 2021 for her community work in the heritage sector.

Mistress of Ships: The Harbour City of Naukratis in the Nile Delta

By Dr. Megan Daniels

12 pm PT on Saturday October 22nd – Online

Click Here to Register

Ceramic plate with seated Sphinx in the centre
Image of a Sphinx, 6th century BCE Ceramic from Naukratis, Egypt (BM GR1965.9-30)

One of the early excavators of the harbour city of Naukratis in Egypt, William Flinders Petrie, called Naukratis “the Greek Hong Kong and Birmingham in one. . . It is perhaps the most valuable site for Greek archaeology of the historic period that will ever be found.” At Naukratis, whose name means “Mistress of Ships”, early excavators uncovered numerous temples to Greek and Egyptian gods, and discovered a vibrant locale of cultural and commercial exchange. In this talk Dr. Daniels will discuss the site, the history of research, and her own interests on the role of religion at Naukratis in uniting peoples from all around the eastern Mediterranean in common worship.

Megan Daniels is assistant professor of ancient Greek material culture at the University of British Columbia. She is interested in cross-disciplinary approaches to the ancient world, and has a forthcoming co-edited volume on data science and social sciences approaches to ancient Mediterranean religion and another edited volume on interdisciplinary approaches to ancient migration and mobility. Her current book project is a study of the evolution of divine kingship over the Late Bronze and Iron Ages in the eastern Mediterranean.

In the Footsteps of Ernesto Schiaparelli: the Museo Egizio’s current research at Deir El-Medina

By Dr. Cédric Gebeil

10 am PT on Saturday September 25th – Online

Hosted by the ARCE Northwest Chapter – Register HERE

Four workers excavating, surrounded by stones and built walls
Excavations at the Deir El-Medina

Within the framework of the French Archaeological mission at Deir El-Medina carried by the IFAO, the Museo Egizio of Turin is csponsoring research on a few Ramesside tombs located in the Western necropolis. They have been chosen based on the artifacts that belonged to the owners of these tombs and are kept in the museum. In addition to giving the opportunity to perform a study on these fragile structures using new technologies, this fieldwork is a unique chance to recontextualize many objects of the museum’s collection by shedding a new light on them. This talk will be the opportunity to get a first glimpse at this work in progress.

Cédric Gobeil is a Canadian and French Egyptologist born in Quebec City (Canada), specializing in archaeology of daily life and New Kingdom material culture, with a primary focus on Deir el-Medina, topics for which he is conducting annual fieldwork in Egypt and Sudan. After having obtained his PhD in France (Université Paris IV-Sorbonne), he worked in Cairo (Egypt) as archaeologist for the Institut français d’archéologie orientale du Caire and in London (UK) as Director of the Egypt Exploration Society before being appointed curator at the Museo Egizio in Turin in 2019. In addition to his curatorial duties, he is also adjunct professor in the History Department at the Université du Québec à Montréal and research associate at the HiSoMA Research Unit in Lyon (CNRS – France).

News from the Amenhotep III Temple of Millions of Years

By Dr. Hourig Sourouzian

10 am PT on Saturday May 14th – Online

Hosted by the ARCE Northwest Chapter – Click Here to Register

Two seated statues with the foundation remains of the temple in the background
Colossi of Memnon, Amenhotep III Temple of Millions of Years

Join us for news about the latest archaeological achievements by the members of the Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project over the past several years and their discoveries in the temple. Dr. Sourouzian will also discuss the challenges of conserving a ruined temple and plans for future archaeological work on this site.

Dr. Sourouzian, Director the Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project in Luxor since 1998, Corresponding Member of the German Institute of Archaeology, and member of the ICOMOS Armenia, graduated from l’École de Languages Orientales, and received her diploma from l’École du Louvre, Paris. She has worked in Egypt since 1974, in archaeological missions of the Centre Franco-Égyptien at Karnak, Swiss Institute at the Temple of Merenptah Thebes, the German Institute of Archaeology in Dashur and Gurna, the French Mission in Tanis, and the French Institute in Karnak-North. She has been a guest lecturer at numerous universities and the W. Kelly Simpson Professor at the American University in Cairo.

King Akhenaten’s Main Temple to the Sun God at Amarna: How Archaeology is Revealing its Development and Use

By Dr. Barry Kemp

10 am PT on Saturday April 30th – Online

Hosted by the ARCE Northwest Chapter – Click Here to Register

Reconstruted altars in the temple at Amarna
Colossi of Memnon, Amenhotep III Temple of Millions of Years

Written and pictorial sources from Amarna tell us that something called the ‘House of the Aten’ was the most important place where Akhenaten’s vision of the creator sun-god, the Aten, was celebrated. Since its first excavation in 1932, there has been no doubt that the archaeological site at Amarna named the Great Aten Temple is the same place. Beginning in 2012, the Amarna Project (British Mission to Tell el-Amarna) has re-examined the remains and started to rebuild the outlines of the building in stone. A more complex history of the site has emerged and also an explanation of why the stone buildings stood surrounded by so much seemingly empty space.

Barry John Kemp, CBE, FBA is an English archaeologist and Egyptologist. He is Professor Emeritus of Egyptology at the University of Cambridge and director of excavations at Amarna in Egypt since 1977.

Sensory Indulgence in Ancient Egypt

With Robyn Price, PhD Candidate at UCLA

12pm PDT on Saturday April 2 – Online

Banquet scene from the Tomb of Rekhmire, TT100

Depending on cultural context, indulging in sensory pleasure and the stimulation of the senses is both a respected and disavowed practice. While we might seek reassurance from soothing scents of lavender while trying to fall asleep, no-odor policies are strictly upheld in certain shared spaces. For the ancient Egyptians, such discrepancies were well institutionalized. For example, imbibing in alcohol to the point of illness, being thoroughly drenched in sweet-scented oils, and enjoying the music and dancing of lightly clad women was a perfectly acceptable celebration in the name of the goddess Hathor. Similar acts of gratification for personal fulfillment, however, were named inappropriate for young elites. For the ancient Egyptians, the stimulation of the senses was a metaphor for life, particularly that of smell. Yet, not all could afford such luxury. By restricting what was deemed appropriate sensory stimulation, certain people who could not conform to these strictures become identified as other or unwelcome in the community. As remains true to this day, the way you look, sound, and smell can either elevate or diminish your position.

Daisies at the Hinterland: Trans-Saharan Decoration from Meroitic Nubia

With Annissa Malvoisin, PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto

12pm PST on Saturday March 12 – Online

Annissa Malvoisin stands at a podium with a projection screen behind
Annissa Malvoisin Presenting a Paper on Nubian Ceramics (Photo © Annissa Malvoisin)

This talk will present an analysis of ceramic typologies dominant in Meroitic Nubia (ca. 500 BCE – 500 CE) that parallel typologies being produced during the same period in West African regions (African Iron Age, ca. 200 BCE – 1000 CE). Distinctions can be made from this comparative analysis, which seeks to identify and connect decorative styles in the Nile Valley and West African regions from an archaeological perspective. Without limiting decoration, the title of this paper draws upon the rosette motif, or the depiction of the daisy, visible in two regions on either side of the Sahara.

The Valley of the Kings 100 Years after Tutankhamun: New Questions, New Discoveries

With Dr. Thomas Schneider

7:30pm PST on Tuesday February 1st – Online

Doorway to the tomb of Tutankhamun with hieroglyphs on the surface. The door seal, including tied ropes and dried clay, is still intact.
Unbroken Door Seal of the Tomb of King Tutankhamun (KV 62)

In 1922, Howard Carter discovered the unlooted tomb of Tutankhamun (KV62) in the Valley of the Kings, one of the most important archaeological discoveries of all time. At the time of discovery, a century of archaeological ravaging had oftentimes outright destroyed tomb sites in the valley, most infamously in the case of the Amarna Age tomb KV55. While the Valley of the Kings was believed to be exhausted archaeologically even before 1922, new tombs have been found in the meantime – the mausoleum of the sons of Ramses II, the burial cache KV63, KV64. The focus of archaeological activity has also shifted towards a more systematic exploration of other structures in the Valley of the Kings – revealing workers’ settlements – as well as the documentation of sites neglected in earlier research. This lecture will shed light on new discoveries and insights about the Valley of the Kings (including projects in which the lecturer has been actively involved over the last 25 years) and also ask what remains to be discovered in the graveyard of the pharaohs.

With the help of God: Life as an early Christian Woman in late antique Egypt

With Lydia Schriemer, PhD Candidate at the University of Ottawa

11am PST on Saturday January 22nd – Online

Mummy portrait of a young woman from al-Fayyum, Egypt (Royal Ontario Museum inv. 918.20.1)

Many of our assumptions about the lives of early Christian women in Egypt and around the Mediterranean have been skewed by the impervious influence of early Christian literature. These texts were generally critical about women, while conversely portraying idealized versions of pure, Christian womanhood, either as a consecrated virgin or a submissive wife and mother. Interacting largely with such evidence, some scholars have lauded the benefits of Christianity for ancient women, suggesting that it introduced improvements to their lifestyle and a previously unknown level of personal autonomy.

But was that actually the case? In this talk, I will provide an overview of life as an early Christian woman in Egypt informed by documentary, legal, and epistolary sources, rather than literary ones, to bring a more realistic perspective to questions like: What did life as an early Christian woman actually look like? Did anything change for her with the rise of Christianity? Did she have more autonomy, either legally or socially? Was her experience really all that different compared to the lives of her pagan counterparts?

Online Discussion: Female Saints in Late Antique Egypt

With Dr. Sabrina Higgins

12pm PST on Saturday November 6th – Online

Wall painting showing the virgin mary with arms raised
Double Composition: Mary Orans, Room 20, Monastery of Apa Apollo, Bawit (Maspero 1931, Pl. 32)

Animal Mummies: What’s Not To Love?

By Dr. Salima Ikram

1pm PST on Saturday October 9th – Online

Hosted by the ARCE Northwest Chapter – Click Here to Register

Dr. Salima Ikram stands outdoors facing the camera in a blue shirt
Dr. Salima Ikram

LIVE FROM EGYPT: Dr. Salima Ikram will be joining us to talk about Animal Mummies!

Dr. Ikram is a Distinguished University Professor of Egyptology at The American University in Cairo and has worked as an archaeologist in Turkey, Sudan, Greece and the United States. She previously directed the Animal Mummy Project, the North Kharga Darb Ain Amur Survey, Valley of the Kings KV10/KV63 Mission co-directed the Predynastic Gallery project and the North Kharga Oasis Survey. She has participated in several other archaeological missions throughout Egypt. You may also recognize her from the Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb on Netflix!

Ancient Egyptian Reflections On Artificial Light

By Dr. Meghan Strong

10:00am PST on Saturday September 18th – Online

Hosted by the ARCE Northwest Chapter – Click here to register

Dr. Strong points an ultraviolet light source on a wall covered in figural paintings in Egypt
Dr. Meghan Strong examining ancient Egyptian wall paintings. Photo by Arthur Piccinati

Artificial light is something that the majority of us take for granted – it is always within reach of our fingertips. Perhaps even less consideration is given to what light means, what it does to a space, how it acts within different environments and cultures. This talk will explore what the ancient Egyptians thought about artificial light including, how and why they made light, when they used it, and the role that lighting played in Egyptian society.

Ancient Egyptian Graffiti: The Case of the Temples of Philae

By Dr. Jitse Dijkstra

5:30pm PST on Wednesday September 15th – Online

Click here to register for this talk

Dr. Jitse H.F. Dijkstra kneels and points at a sign on the stone to a colleague at the Temple of Isis at Philae
Dr. Jitse H.F. Dijkstra working at the Temple of Isis at Philae

Egypt possesses perhaps the largest concentration of graffiti in the ancient world. In this beautiful land, graffiti covering the whole stretch of Egypt’s history are encountered in large numbers on rocks, in tombs, in quarries and, in particular, on the walls of the many temples that dot the Nile valley. Long neglected, there has been a remarkable upswing in the interest in ancient Egyptian graffiti during the last few decades. In this paper, I will provide an overview of current scholarship on this topic, with a particular focus on temples, and address questions such as why Egyptians left graffiti in such great numbers, what they meant for them and what we can deduce from them about the personal religious piety of both priests and visitors to temples. The diversity of the material will be illustrated by examples from recent fieldwork at Philae, a UNESCO World Heritage site, situated in southern Egypt not far from Aswan.

Ecstasy and Agony: Dreams and Nightmares in Ancient Egypt

By Dr. Kasia Szpakowska

1pm PST on Monday May 3rd

Click here to register for this talk

Both textual and non-textual evidence reveals dreams as a liminal zone between the
dimensions of earthly life and the afterlife in ancient Egypt. While death was a sorrowful
event for those left behind, a crucial element of the ancient Egyptian world view was the
conception of death not as an end, but as a stage through which one goes to reach an eternal
life. The border between the world of the living and that of the divine and the dead was
translucent, and traversable. The dreams of the living acted as windows onto the afterlife,
through which people could hope to view the activities of a deceased loved one. However,
this dreamscape was also a zone over which the living had little control, and often became an
access point for the hostile dead. Thus, the belief in the afterlife was a double-edged sword:
offering comfort by eliminating the notion of terminal death as well as providing access for
divine visitations, while opening an unsettling passage for nightmares. This presentation
explores the diversity of roles that dreams played in pharaonic Egypt, focussing on dreams as
both ecstatic and agonizing experiences.

Eggstraordinary Objects: Ostrich Eggs as Luxury Items in the Ancient Mediterranean

By Dr. Tamar Hodos

10 am Saturday, March 6th. Online.

This is a joint talk by ARCE Vancouver, ARCE Northwest, and ARCE Oregon. All those who wish to attend must register for the talk here!

Decorated ostrich eggs were traded as luxury items from the Middle East to the western Mediterranean during the second and first millennia BCE. The eggs were engraved, painted, and occasionally embellished with ivory, precious metals and faience fittings. While archaeologists note their presence as unusual vessels in funerary and dedicatory contexts, little is known about how or from where they were sourced, decorated and traded. An ongoing project between researchers at Bristol University and the British Museum has established techniques to identify where the eggs originated and how they were decorated. This talk shares the results of our study, revealing the complexity of the production, trade, and economic and social values of luxury organic items between competing cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world.

Anxieties about Race in Egyptology and Egyptomania, 1890-1960

10am Thursday, January 16th. Online.

A panel discussion featuring Donald Reid, Salima Ikram, Vanessa Davies, Fayza Haikal, Eve M. Troutt Powell, and Annissa Malvoisin.

This is an open access lecture promoted by ARCE National. All interested individuals must register for this talk – here.

It is also recommended that those participating watch this Harvard lecture in advance.

Despite ideals of scientific and scholarly objectivity, both Egyptologists and non-specialists have often projected their own racial anxieties back into ancient Egypt. Recurrent attempts to prove that the ancient Egyptians were white or Black, for example, reveal more about modern societies than about ancient Egypt. The panel will discuss the history of how such debates have played out among modern Western and Egyptian scholars, artists, and writers, and how interpretations of ancient Egypt are intertwined with personal beliefs and prejudices. 

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

By Danielle Candelora

If you missed this talk, you can watch the recording below. 🙂

December 5th 1:00pm PST

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.

Dr. Danielle Candelora in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo

About Danielle: 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.

Ancient Egypt in Political Caricature

By Thomas Schneider

October 3rd 1:00pm PST

Since the Napoleonic expedition, ancient Egyptian sceneries and artifacts have played an important role in political caricatures relating to events of Egypt’s own modern history. By contrast, the satirical use of ancient Egypt with regard to non-Egyptian politics seems rather limited. Here motifs perceived by the artists and their readership as typical of ancient Egypt and representative of its key cultural ideas are applied outside an Egyptian context because the ideas are seen as best suited to represent points of critique. This lecture will provide examples for both of them from modern Egyptian and US history, and then focus on a little known left-wing political caricature from 1931. Discovering the weird history behind this caricature sheds light on a very special case of the reception of ancient Egypt in modern times, and its propagandistic use on the the eve of Nazi Germany. 

Previous Events by ARCE Vancouver or

ARCE National:

The Goddess Isis and the Kingdom of Meroe

By Solange Ashby

August 30 at 3:00 PM ET/9:00 PM EET

(Online, ARCE Members Only – ARCE National Event)

Discussions of the widespread appeal of the cult of Isis in antiquity often omit any mention of the Nubian priests who served the rulers of the Kingdom of Meroe (located south of Egypt in the Sudan) and the royal donations of gold that they delivered to the temple of Isis at Philae, located at Egypt’s border with Nubia. Those funds were essential to the survival of the temple of Philae, allowing it to remain in active use for centuries after other temples had been abandoned in Egypt. Join us as Ashby describes the rites performed by the Nubian priests and their participation in a tradition of Nubian pilgrimage to this site that spanned one thousand years.  As a Black Egyptologist, Ashby finds it of personal importance to investigate the southern connections that are evident in the ancient religious practices of Egypt. Much work remains to be done to highlight these connections. 

Recent Findings from Megawra’s Athar Lina Conservation Program

By May al-Ibrashy

August 19 at 1:00 PM ET/7:00 PM EET

(Online, Public Lecture – ARCE National event)

 Since 2013, Megawra-BEC’s Athar Lina Initiative has conserved the domes of Shajar al-Durr, Sayyida Ruqayya, al-Ja’fari and ‘Atika and is currently working on the conservation of al-Imam al-Shafi’i Mausoleum and al-Shurafa Shrine, all in Historic Cairo’s al-Khalifa District. The conservation process often results in discoveries and findings. Some are the result of deliberate investigation. Others are pure luck. They range from a small floral detail revealed after modern paint is removed, to inscriptions uncovered or deciphered for the first time to an entire shrine unearthed under an existing one. The challenge is always to find the time and mindset to do the necessary exploration and research while dealing with the day-to-day demands of a conservation site. 

ARCE Summer Online Lectures:

  • The following lectures hosted by ARCE National are at 12pm PST (3pm EST) unless otherwise noted.
  • You must register for the lectures in advance (follow instructions in email).
  • Lecture Schedule (Abstracts posted below, closer to the date):
    • May 9: Nicholas Picardo
    • May 16: Dr. Kara Cooney
    • May 23: Dr. Melinda Nelson-Hurst
    • May 30: Dr. Steve Harvey
    • June 6: Ines Torres
    • June 13: Dr. David Anderson
    • June 20: Dr. Leslie Anne Warden
    • June 27: Dr. Salima Ikram (Note: lecture at 10am PST – 1pm EST)

Virtual Lecture – June 6 – Inês Torres

Creativity & Innovation in Non-Royal Tombs of the Old Kingdom: The Mastaba of Akhmeretnisut at Giza

The Giza mastaba of Akhmeretnisut (G 2184), excavated in 1912 by the Harvard University-Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition, has been occasionally mentioned in the scholarly literature due to its innovative iconographic program. This lecture will present the most recent research conducted on the mastaba of Akhmeretnisut and discuss the importance of this tomb for the understanding of private funerary monuments of the Old Kingdom. The decorative program of this mastaba is unparalleled in several ways: not only does it contain scenes unattested elsewhere, the spatial arrangement of the decoration is very unusual. Therefore, the mastaba of Akhmeretnisut is an excellent example of how the rules of decorum could be bent by the tomb owner to express creativity and display innovations in both iconography and architecture.

Virtual Lecture – May 30 – Dr. Steve Harvey

Drinking Wine, Baking Bread, and Making the Best of It: Humor and the Afterlife in Egyptian Tomb Scenes

While ancient Egyptian tomb chapels are often presented as unrelentingly serious in their content, with every element potentially considered for its religious meaning or its role in the function of tomb as a miniature world or microcosm, even a casual visitor to a tomb cannot help but be delighted by the variety of scenes which often feature unmistakably humorous or light-hearted content. Banquets that at first look like rows of serious men and women turn out to be full of drunken chatter.  Markets where sober exchanges of goods are taking place can be disrupted by the apprehension of a thief, and the misbehavior of baboons.  Examples in this lecture will be drawn from ancient Egyptian tomb scenes of many periods to illustrate some of the way that ancient artists used humor to amuse themselves and their audiences, while also populating the virtual world of the afterlife with characters, music, sound, and laughter.  These strategies enabled distraction from the darker aspects of life, while also encouraging more time to be spent in the tomb reading, saying prayers, eating and drinking – to the benefit of both the living and the dead.

Virtual Lecture – May 23 – Dr. Melinda Nelson-Hurst

Digging in Museums and Archives: The Ancient and Modern History of Tulane University’s Egyptian Collection

During the 1840s and 1850s, George Gliddon traveled the United States, bringing with him a glimpse into the world of ancient Egypt. His collection of artifacts and mummies, which is now at Tulane University in New Orleans, has remained relatively unknown to the public and to scholars alike despite a sensational past. Utilizing historical and anthropological approaches, the Egyptian Collection at Tulane University research project aims to solve some of the many mysteries surrounding the collection, including questions of date and provenience and how the collection came to America and found a home in New Orleans. This talk will offer a look into the collection’s colorful history, as well as discuss the project’s latest research findings.

Virtual Lecture – May 16 – Dr. Kara Cooney

Evidence for Coffin Reuse in the 21st Dynasty Coffins of the Royal Cache Deir el Bahari 320

For the past seven years, Kara Cooney has been systematically examining human reactions to social crises, specifically focusing on material adaptations evident within an ideological context, but also documenting the 21st Dynasty coffin corpus. Anthropoid coffins are very complicated three-dimensional social objects, and the 21st Dynasty coffins from the Deir el Bahri 320 royal cache, in particular, are difficult to document, photograph, and analyze. Although the coffins from the royal cache were recorded by Daressy in the Catalogue Géneral, none of these coffins have benefitted from a comprehensive photographic analysis. In this lecture, Kara will discuss the documentation and analysis of the 21st Dynasty coffins found in the Deir el Bahari 320 royal cache on display in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

A “Soul House” – Subject of the talk by Nicholas Picardo

Virtual Lecture – May 9 – Nicholas Picardo

Ancient Egyptian “Soul Houses” in Life and in Death

Because the majority of ancient Egypt’s so-called “soul houses” have come from cemetery contexts, they are almost always classified as funerary equipment. Yet, this outlook offers little to explain their less frequent but still numerous find spots in settlements and houses. This presentation adopts concepts from the discipline of household archaeology to consider an extended range of functions and ideological importance for soul houses, ultimately positing a use lifespan that began prior to their deposition in cemeteries. Further, their use in both household and funerary practices is evaluated as a mechanism for reinforcing identities and relationships and preserving social ties between the living and the dead.

March 6, 6:00pm – The Blessing of Water and the Curse of Gold: Community Archaeology in Northern Ethiopia by Dr. Willeke Wendrich

Since 2015 UCLA is working closely with local communities in the Shire region of Ethiopia on the preservation of the remains of an ancient town. Archaeological research has shown that the site of Mai Adrasha is located at a spring that ultimately feeds into the Nile River. This ancient town is, however, cursed by gold…

January 30 – The Material Culture of Female Agency: The Case of the Egyptian Devotees of Thecla by Dr. Sabrina Higgins

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