On Sunday Birgitte Balanda came to the Essex Egyptology Group to talk to us about the internal decoration of some Napatan royal tombs and explain what it tells us about the Napatan's funerary rituals & beliefs. Napata is the name given to the culture that existed in Upper Nubia between the third & fifth cataracts of the Nile from around 800BC to 300BC. The dynasty who ruled the Napatans were also the 25th Dynasty Pharaohs of Egypt - most well known of which is Taharqa.
At the end of February the Bloomsbury Summer School had a study day on cuneiform, presented by Irving Finkel called "The Wonder of Cuneiform: A Passionate Exploration of Some of Mesopotamia's Most Important Ancient Records".
On Sunday Hannah Pethen came to talk to us at the Essex Egyptology Group about the Harem Palace at Gurob. The first half of her talk gave us context for the site - where it is, what it is and who has excavated there before. And the second half moved on to the work that's been done there in the last decade.
On Sunday Sarah Doherty came to talk to the Essex Egyptology Group about the ongoing excavations at Gebel Silsila (or Gebel el Silsila, her slides used the two name interchangeably). She split her talk into two halves (so we could have tea and cake in the middle) - the first half was about the work done at the site in 2012 and 2013, the second half covered 2014 and the plans for the future.
On Sunday Jennifer Palmer came to the Essex Egyptology Group to talk about Herihor, who was High Priest of Amun in the reign of Ramesses XI and also called himself King. This is a complicated period of Egyptian history and there are several different views among Egyptologists. Palmer was presenting us with both an overview of the controversies and also her own opinions on the subject.
On Sunday Renee Friedman came to the Essex Egyptology Group to talk about the latest discoveries she and her team have been making at the site of Hierakonpolis. First she put the site itself into context. It was an important pre-dynastic Egyptian city, situated just north of modern Edfu, called Nekhen (and later Hierakonpolis by the Greeks).
On Sunday David Falk came to the Essex Egyptology Group to talk to us about his research on Egyptian Ritual Processional Furniture. He comes at the subject from a bit of a different angle from the speakers we generally hear - his central question is what can this Egyptian furniture tell us about the Ark of the Covenant, and the context in which the Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Bible) was written.
On Sunday Dylan Bickerstaffe came to speak at the Essex Egyptology Group meeting about the 18th Dynasty tombs in the Valley of the Kings. He structured his talk around the order of discovery of the tombs, and concentrated on those related to the Amarna era (from Amenhotep III through to Horemheb). As well as telling us what is known he spent a lot of time telling us what is less well understood - the facts in need of an explanation (generally giving his own theories and discussing those of others).
The August meeting of the Essex Egyptology Group is a little different from the other meetings - it's the AGM, and so instead of an invited speaker we have 10 minute talks given by members and a book auction for charity.
Each year the British Museum host a two day colloquium about an egyptological topic, and a lecture in the evening of one of the days which is the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lecture in Egyptology. J went to the whole colloquium this year (about coffins) and I just came along and joined him for the lecture. This was given by Harco Willems, and concerned the texts on a particular coffin from the Middle Kingdom.