On Sunday Kathryn Piquette came to the Essex Egyptology Group to talk to us about the work she's been doing using Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) to examine the Narmer Palette (and some other ancient Egyptian objects). She started her talk by giving us context for the Narmer Palette, and then explained the imaging technique she is using. She then showed us several examples of objects she's studied before returning to the Narmer Palette to tell us about her findings so far.
On 4th October Carl Graves came to talk to us at the Essex Egyptology Group about the work he's doing for his PhD on the landscape of the Nile Valley as interacted with & perceived by the ancient Egyptians. The concept of "landscape" is a technical term in geography, and so Graves spent the first half of his talk explaining this concept and its theoretical underpinnings so that they made sense to us, before moving on to talk about ancient Egypt.
At the beginning of September Andrew Bednarski came to the Essex Egyptology Group to talk to us about an American Research Centre in Egypt (ARCE) project to document the now-demolished village of Qurna. He was involved in the project from 2011-2014, so this is the time period he told us about but the project is still ongoing. This is a bit of a departure from our usual sort of talk - whilst still Egyptian archaeology, most of the subject was considerably more modern.
On Sunday Mohammed Abu el-Yezid, from the Ministry of Antiquties in Egypt, came to the Essex Egyptology Group to talk to us about the Slaughter Court in Seti I's temple at Abydos. He is the Egyptologist and site manager for the province of Sohag (which includes Abydos) and he researched the Slaughter Court for his MA from Ain Shams University where he is currently studying for his PhD.
At the beginning of July Charlotte Booth came to talk to us at the Essex Egyptology Group - she's actually the founder of the group, although she hadn't visited in the last few years (not since I've been in the group) as she'd moved away from the area. She talked to us about the Pharaoh Horemheb, who is often presented as a sort of afterthought to the 18th Dynasty. Booth's talk set out to show us that he is interesting in his own right, and is better thought of as the founder of the 19th Dynasty.
On Sunday Stephen Cross came to the Essex Egyptology Group to talk to us about his work in the Valley of the Kings. The research he was telling us about was started to answer one question: why was Tutankhamun's tomb (KV62) discovered intact? Nearly every other tomb discovered in the Valley of the Kings was robbed, so what was different about Tutankhamun's tomb.
The last talk in the Bloomsbury Summer School's Cuneiform Study Day was about the ark tablet that Irving Finkel has recently published a book about. There was also a TV documentary about the discovery of the tablet, and the building of a boat using the information in the tablet as a starting point (which I've written about before).
On Sunday Rupert Chapman came to the Essex Egyptology Group to talk to us about his work on Egyptian fortifications in Canaan. He started by telling us about the different sorts of Egyptian fortification that exist, which have been categorised into four types by an author called Morris. The first two types are never found in the Levant; these are fortresses that control entry points into Egypt proper (for instance at Tell Haboua) and fortress towns such as Kuban in Nubia.
The third talk of the Bloomsbury Summer School Study Day about cuneiform was all about the Royal Game of Ur. Irving Finkel is interested in board games as well as being an expert on ancient Mesopotamian cultures and so this game is of particular interest to him. There were six boards for it found the Royal Cemetery of Ur (in southern Iraq) by Leonard Woolley. The photo below is one that I took of the board on display in the British Museum. These boards date from around 2600BC and for a long time they were the only game boards of this sort to be found.
For the second part of his Bloomsbury Summer School study day on cuneiform Irving Finkel talked about the Cyrus cylinder which was found in Iraq during excavation at Babylon in 1872. It is a cylinder of baked clay which is covered in cuneiform writing, and you can see it at the British Museum. The largest part actually belongs to the BM, and there's another fragment that they have on permanent loan from Yale. (My photo below is actually of a replica, I think the real thing was on loan somewhere at the time I took the photo a couple of years ago.)