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2016 ARCE NY Lectures
                         February 18, 2016

This lecture was held in co-sponsorship with New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW/NYU)

TITLE: "Middle Kingdom Clappers, Dancers, Birth Magic, and the Reinvention of Ritual"

SPEAKER: Dr. Ellen F. Morris, Assistant Professor of Ancient Studies, Barnard College, Columbia University

ABSTRACT:  This talk focuses upon a particularly enigmatic artifact category. Hand-shaped clappers fashioned out of hippo tusk are occasionally found in tombs of Middle Kingdom date. While later equivalents are often decorated with the head of the goddess Hathor on their sleeve or with an inscription naming their owner, Middle Kingdom clappers are unadorned. This talk argues that the archaeological and iconological contexts of these artifacts reveal a great deal. On the basis of studies of archival material from Asasif and Lisht at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and on excavation records from other sites, three points emerge. First, the findspots of clappers and the artifacts with which they were discovered suggest their employment in Hathoric rituals oriented toward the strengthening of the sun-god and the reviving of the souls posthumously identified with this god. Second, clappers are also strongly associated with birth magic and especially with the entities that protected the sun-god and all those about to be born or reborn. Finally, it is argued that, like many Middle Kingdom grave goods, clappers had been ‘rediscovered’ and religiously re-envisioned by sacral authorities who encountered Protodynastic and Early Dynastic votive material during temple renovations and perhaps also during work at the pilgrimage site of Umm el-Qa’ab.

Altered scan from QUIBELL, J. E. 1898 The Ramesseum. London, pl. 3  

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Ellen Morris is an Assistant Professor of Ancient Studies at Barnard College. She is the author of The Architecture of Imperialism: Military Bases and the Evolution of Foreign Policy in Egypt’s New Kingdom as well as numerous articles dealing with topics as diverse as the relations between sexuality, performance, and power in ancient Egypt; divine kingship; the dynamics of political fragmentation; state formation; human sacrifice; and various aspects of the relations between ancient Egypt and its neighbors. She has excavated at Amheida in Dakhleh Oasis as well as at Abydos and Mendes, and has held a Jane and Morgan Whitney Art History Fellowship in the Department of Egyptian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Copyright © - American Research Center in Egypt / New York

                           March 10, 2016

Title: “Agency and Passivity in Ancient Egyptian Art”

Speaker: Dr. Ann Macy Roth, Department of Art History and of Hebrew & Judaic Studies, New York University, (introduced by Catherine H. Roehrig, Curator, Department of Egyptian Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art).

                      Photo courtesy of Ann Macy Roth

ABSTRACT: In Egyptian tomb chapels, the wall decoration often shows the tomb owner watching an array of activities, his passivity illustrating his (or very rarely, her) superior status in comparison to the other people represented. The king, by contrast, is more often seen taking an active role, and in fact those scenes in which an official is shown more actively in his tomb decoration are very likely borrowed from the royal repertoire. Another group of people, foreigners, can be shown actively or passively, depending on the context. Useful parallels to the representation of passivity in art can also be found in ancient Egyptian literary works.

This talk will expand upon the speaker’s previous work on the representation of passivity, which examined the phenomenon in relationship to questions of status, power, and gender. The sociological concept of agency will be invoked in an attempt to make sense of the patterns of passivity and activity found in a variety of contexts.

 Wall from the tomb of Pepiankh-heryib at Meir Drawing from Yvonne Harpur, Decoration in Egyptian Tombs of the Old Kingdom (London and New York: KPI, 1987), figure 77, p. 480.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Ann Macy Roth received her doctorate from the University of Chicago, and currently teaches in the departments of art history and of Hebrew & Judaic studies at New York University. She is the author of two books, Egyptian Phyles in the Old Kingdom and A Cemetery of Palace Attendants, and articles on a wide variety of subjects, with several more of each currently in preparation. Her research has centered on the Old Kingdom cemeteries of Giza and Saqqara, where she has directed seven seasons of epigraphic and archaeological research, and on the representation of gender roles in art and texts.

                                 April 26, 2016

This lecture was held in co-sponsorship with New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW/NYU)

Title: “Wicked Stepmother or Benevolent King?”

Speaker: David Moyer, Special Correspondent, KMT, "For the Record" and Member, ARCE/NY Board of Directors(introduced by Dr. Peter Feinman, Vice-President of ARCE/NY, Founder and President of the Institute of History, Archaeology and Education, and President, Westchester AIA Society).

Hatshepsut and Tuthmose III together in a relief from the Red Chapel in the Open Air Museum at Karnak.*​

*Courtesy: Dennis Forbes, Editorial Director, Kmt: A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt from his book Imperial Lives: Illustrated Biographies of Significant New Kingdom Egyptians.

ABSTRACT: She was the daughter of a pharaoh, wife of a pharaoh, stepmother and aunt of a pharaoh and for twenty years or more a pharaoh herself, ruler of the mightiest nation in the ancient world and the first documented female head of state in human history. But was she history’s first example of a “wicked stepmother?” Did she purposely keep her nephew, Tuthmose III, in the background for twenty some years almost under “house arrest” as it were denying him his claim to the throne believing that hers was more genuine? Herewith the extraordinary story of Hatshepsut the woman who would be king.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: David Moyer is a summa cum laude graduate of the City College of New York and Hunter College with a BA degree in Egyptology. While at Hunter College, he took courses in several ancient civilizations and was the recipient of the Rhys Carpenter Award in Archaeology. After leaving Hunter, he began teaching adult education courses in the art and archaeology of Egypt, Greece, Rome, Anatolia, Persia and the Levant at several area colleges and universities. He has lectured on ancient Egypt to many archaeological groups in the U.S. and the U.K., is a former member of several archaeological societies and has often led tours to Egypt. He joined the staff of Kmt: A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt in 1990 and since 1994, he has written a column for each of the magazine’s quarterly issues titled “For the Record” on Egyptological news around the world, including new books, exhibitions, lectures, magazine and newspaper articles and Egypt-themed TV shows, movies and stage productions. He is also a recognized expert on the life of Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum particularly Baum’s and his wife’s 1906 “grand tour” of Egypt on which he presented a lecture for ARCE/NY audiences a few years ago.

Moyer in Egyptian Dress, Photo Courtesy: David Kempel.
Moyer at the Metropolitan Museum, New York,
Photo Courtesy: Carol Schneider.

Hatshepsut in a detail of her being crowned by Amun on the tip of her fallen obelisk at Karnak (Amun’s hand can be seen on her shoulder)*