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.
Due to a dead car battery on Sunday afternoon, J and I couldn't make it to the April Essex Egyptology Group meeting (a real shame, it was given by Wolfram Grajetzki who had done a talk for the group at the Petrie Museum last year (post)). So when we got back from our attempt to go to Witham we watched a lecture that J had previously found on youtube about Old Kingdom tomb decoration.
Last Thursday we went to the British Museum to go to a talk about Chinese figurines (and we'd hoped to go to another talk later the same day but it was sold out). In this talk Sascha Priewe (a curator at the British Museum) was talking about traditions of figurine making in ancient China and how this did (or didn't) lead to the First Emperor's terracotta army.
On Sunday Garry Shaw came to the Essex Egyptology Group to give a talk about Egyptian mythology. We'd originally had another speaker booked, but she'd had to cancel at fairly short notice (because she got an opportunity to do some work in Luxor) so Garry Shaw stepped in and gave us a talk related to his new book (The Egyptian Myths: A Guide to the Ancient Gods and Legends which is out on March 17).
This Sunday's talk at the Essex Egyptology Group meeting was given by Frances Boardman. The title of her talk was "Everyday Life in Ancient Egypt", and she gave us a broad overview of various aspects of Egyptian daily life. The style of her talk was very stream of conciousness (in a good way) so it's hard to summarise - one subject would lead into another organically and you'd suddenly realise that where you had just been being told about education now you were thinking about hair conditioner recipes.
On Sunday Lyn Stagg came to talk to the Essex Egyptology Group about her research into the iconography & symbolism of lions in early Egypt. The era she is interested in is pre-Old Kingdom Egypt - including the pre-dynastic eras and the early dynastic (Dynasties 0-2). The generally repeated "explanation" of lion symbolism during that era is that the lion represented the King, based on the ideas of archaeologists in the 19th Century.