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.
On Saturday J and I visited Chesterfield to go to a study day being held there by the SSAE called Peeling Back the Shadows. This consisted of two talks (each split into two parts), one given by Chris Naunton about Tutankhamun and one given by Barry Kemp about the latest work at Amarna.
On Sunday Clive Barham Carter came to the Essex Egyptology Group to talk to us about Amelia Edwards. She was a rather formidable Victorian woman who was the driving force behind the founding of the Egypt Exploration Fund (which became the Egypt Exploration Society). Carter told us about her life, frequently reading from Amelia's own writings and illustrated by her own watercolour paintings (as far as possible). Amelia was born in the 1830s in Islington, the only child of rather older parents.
The most recent British Museum Members' Open Evening was in mid-June, just before the Vikings exhibition finished. As part of the evening they had a lecture from the Project Curator, Thomas Williams.
On Sunday Suzanne Lax-Bojtos came to the Essex Egyptology Group to talk to us about music and dance in Ancient Egypt. She started off by reminding us that we have no idea what Egyptian music actually sounded like, because they had no musical notation. We also need to remember that Egyptian art is not representative of what is but rather symbolic of what they wanted things to be (in particular in a funerary context).
Last Saturday was clearly the best day to hold a study day - there were three different ones on that date that J & I between us found interesting. The one I chose to go to was organised by the Tyndale Society who are a group whose primary interest is in the life and works of William Tyndale (who translated the Bible into English in the early 16th Century). I'm not a member of the Society myself, I just spotted a poster advertising the study day a few weeks ago & signed up for it.
On Sunday Linda Steynor came to the Essex Egyptology Group to talk to us about a Middle Kingdom Egyptian poem called "The Eloquent Peasant". She started her talk by telling us the plot of the story. This poem follows an Egyptian small market trader, Khunanup, who travels from his home on the outskirts of Egypt to the capital. The journey is not easy, and on his way there he has to travel along a very narrow path between the Nile and the farmlands.
The third lecture of the Charles Wilkinson lecture series from 2013, "In Quest of Paradise: Accommodating Death in Islam" was given by Lisa Golombek, and I think was the weakest of the three lectures. I'm not sure if this was down to me not having as much context - I know more about Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia than I do about the early centuries of Islam.
The second lecture in the 2013 Charles Wilkinson lecture series was associated with the department of Ancient Near East Art at the MMA, and was called "Adornment for the Afterlife: Jewelry and Identity at Ur and Nimrud". Kim Benzell, who gave the talk, is one of the curators at the museum and is also a trained goldsmith which gave her quite a different perspective on the ornaments she was talking about.