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2019 ARCE NY Lectures
Copyright ©2018 - American Research Center in Egypt / New York

The American Research Center in Egypt, New York Chapter (ARCE/NY) in cooperation with the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World , presents the following in its First Annual Theodore N. Romanoff Lecture Series:

"The Medium is the Message": The Mechanics of Egyptian Royal Living-Rock Stelae

SPEAKER: Dr. Jennifer Grice Thum, Inga Maren Otto Curatorial Fellow in Academic and Public Programs at the Harvard Art Museums.
LOCATION: Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW / NYU); 15 East 84th St. (between 5th and Madison Avenues)

TIME: 6:00 PM, FREE TO THE PUBLIC. RECEPTION TO FOLLOW LECTURE. R.S.V.P. is required. Please reply to http://isaw.nyu.edu/rsvp

ABSTRACT: We usually think of ancient Egypt as a culture of 'big building', especially at the hands of the king. Yet there are some cases where royal stelae, bearing the officially sanctioned messages of the royal establishment, were inscribed into natural features rather than being set up in architectural spaces. These stelae were carved directly into "living rock" -- outcrops that are still where they were formed geologically. How did the Egyptian views of living rock as a material inform this practice, and how was this monument percieved to 'work'? This lecture explores the circumstances that led Egyptian kings to use the landscape as a monumental medium, and what those messages can tell us about how the landscape was understood.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Jen Thum is the Inga Maren Otto Curatorial Fellow in Academic and Public Programs at the Harvard Art Museums. She recently completed her PhD in Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University, with a dissertation on ancient Egyptian royal living-rock stelae. The field research for this project was funded by an ARCE ECA fellowship, a CAORC Mellon Mediterranean Regional Research fellowship, and a SPARC Fieldwork Award from the Center for the Advanced Spatial Technologies at the University of Arkansas. Before studying at Brown, Jen receieved her MPhil in Egyptology from Oxford and her BA in Anthropology from Barnard College. She also was awarded the Theodore N. Romanoff Prize from the American Research Center in Egypt. Jen is dedicated to public outreach and to teaching learners of all ages through hands-on investigations of art and artifacts in the field, museums, and classrooms. 
Photo of Jen Thum courtesy of Susan Ely.
LOCATION: Egyptian Consulate, 866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 586 New York, NY (48th St. and 1st Avenue)


Due to security considerations an R.S.V.P. is required ON OR BEFORE MARCH 10. Please reply to [email protected] No one will be admitted who is not on the guest list.

ABSTRACT: We don't often think about how similar or different ancient Egypt and its religion and politics may have been from our own world today. Yet frequently the strategies and tactics used by rulers in ancient history are not greatly different from the modern era. One of the things that I have stressed in my 30-plus years of teaching at the university level is how much ancient Egyptians were like us -- not strange people who made mummies and worshipped animal-like deities, but humans with exactly the same concerns, hopes, and egos that we have. It is what keeps us connected to them over long times and not just for the brief splashy discoveries.
     Akhenaten achieved a brand new religion, nearly that of monotheism, instituted it and built a new city to give it a home in a short 17-year reign. This talk examines that phenomenon by comparing it to similar types of religious revolutions in less distant historical eras: the Protestant revolution of the 16th century in England and the Bolshevik attempt to stamp out all religion except atheism in the early 20th century. It will then compare carefully with Akhenaten's steps to see what characteristics their tactics shared and what was successful and what not.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Betsy Bryan is the Alexander Badawy Professor of Egyptian Art and Archaeology at Johns Hopkins University and President of the Board of Governors of the American Research Center in Egypt, Inc. She received her Ph.D. from Yale University in 1980. Her areas of specialization are history, art and archaeology of the New Kingdom. Her current fieldwork is in the temple complex of the goddess Mut at South Karnak, and her research focuses on defining the earliest forms of the temple of Mut of Isheru.

ARCE/NY LECTURE, March 14, 2019

The American Research Center in Egypt, New York Chapter (ARCE/NY), presents the following in our Winter/Spring 2019 Lecture Series:​​

The Amarna Revolution From Above: Case Studies

SPEAKER: Dr. Betsy Bryan, President of the Board of Governors of the American Research Center in Egypt, Inc. and Alexander Badawy Professor of Egyptian Art and Archaeology, Johns Hopkins University 

ARCE/NY LECTURE, April 16, 2019

The American Research Center in Egypt, New York Chapter (ARCE/NY), presents the following in our Spring 2019 Lecture Series:​​

"Sethy 1, King of Egypt: his Life and Afterlife"

SPEAKER: Professor Aidan M. DodsonFSA, Honorary (Full) Professor of Efgyptology and Senior Associate Teacher, Deprtment of Anthropology & Archaeology, School of Arts, University of Bristol
LOCATION: Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, 7 Times Square, New York, 23rd Floor. [Entrance on Broadway at 42nd St., between The Loft and The Counter. Photo ID required. Proceed to 5th Fl Sky Lobby and take second elevator bank to the 23rd Fl.

TIME: 6:00 PM, FREE TO THE PUBLIC. RSVP Required, please reply to [email protected] by Monday, April 15, 2019

ABSTRACT: King Sethy I ruled for around a decade early in the thirteenth century BC. He lived at a crucial point in Egyptian history, following the ill-starred religious revolution of Akhenaten, and heralding the last phase of Egypt's imperial splendour. As the second scion of a wholly-new royal family, his reign did much to set the agenda for the coming decades, both at home and abroad. Sethy was also a great builder, apparently with exquisite artistic taste, to judge from the unique quality of the decoration of his celebrated monuments at Abydos and Thebes. Tonight, we will explore Sethy I's career and monuments, not only in ancient times, but also their modern history and their impact on today's understanding and appreciation of ancient Egypt.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Professor Aidan Dodson has taught at the University of Bristol, UK, since 1966, and has been Honorary (full) Professor of Egyptology in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology since 2018. In the past he has been a Simpson Professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo, and the Chair of the Trustees of the Egypt Exploration Society (the UK equivalent of ARCE) from 2011 - 2016. Elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London (one of the oldest archaeological bodies in the world) in 2003, he is the author of over twenty books, the latest being Sethy I, King of Egypt: his Life and Afterlife (American University in Cairo Press, 2019).

ARCE/NY LECTURE, April 26, 2019

The American Research Center in Egypt, New York Chapter (ARCE/NY) in co-sponsorship with the Egyptological Seminar of New York, presents the following in our Winter / Spring 2019 Lecture Series:​​

"Armed and Dangerous: An Icinography of Protective Ancient Egyptian Daemons"

SPEAKER: Dr. Kasia SzpakowskaAssociate professor of Egyptology at Swansea University

LOCATION: Bonnie J. Sacerdote Lecture Hall, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue and 82nd St., New York

ABSTRACT: One of the most obvious characteristics of Middle Kingdom Egyptian iconography is the surfacing of new populations of beings, many of them creatively composite. They appear as both two and three-dimensional images on objects and as figurines themselves. Many are armed with weapons or potent religious icons, seemingly engaged in fierce warrior dances. During the New Kingdom, mundane household pieces of furniture also began to be decorated with strikingly similar imagery. However, these feature one remarkable transformation that is initially easily overlooked—the beings were depicted as wielding weapons not only with their front or primary limbs, but also on their feet or secondary limbs. This idiosyncrasy is rare not only in Egyptian art, but in the religious art of other culture. The ancient Egyptians’ goal in creating all these representations was to make visible and tangible the powerful, liminal beings who were capable of efficiently dispatching a range of anxieties, terrors, and afflictions that troubled them in their everyday life.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Dr. Kasia Szpakowska is Associate Professor of Egyptology at Swansea University, and Director of the Ancient Egyptian Demonology Project: Second Millennium BCE (The Leverhulme Trust). Her research focuses on ancient Egyptian private religious practices, dreams, gender, and the archaeology of magic. She is an avid proponent of interdisciplinary research and digital humanities, and collaborates with engineers, artists, glaciologists, and computer scientists. Currently she is investigating the role of apotropaic devices such as clay cobra figurines and images of supernatural beings as mechanisms for coping with physical and mental health afflictions, which the ancient Egyptians believed were caused by external demons. Dr. Szpakowska was elected to Phi Beta Kappa (1987), is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (London), and Vice President of the Friends of the Petrie Museum of Archaeology. Her publications include Daily Life in Ancient Egypt: Reconstructing Lahun and Behind Closed Eyes: Dreams and Nightmares in Ancient Egypt. She is currently editing Demon Things: Ancient Egyptian Manifestations of Liminal Entities for the Wilkinson Egyptology Series.
ABSTRACT: Abydos, located about three hundred miles south of Cairo, is one of the most intriguing sites in Egypt. It was the cult center and burial place of Osiris, god of the dead and ruler of the Netherworld, who offerred hope of eternal life to every deceased Egyptian. Archaeological discoveries since the mid-nineteenth century have uncovered its cultural wealth, spanning Egypt's narrative from  the Prehistoric through Coptic periods. Doctors Goelet and Iskander will discuss monuments constructed at Abydos during the Ramesside period (1293 - 1070 BCE), particuarly the temple of Ramesses II, where New York University has conducted fieldwork over the past eleven years. They will draw some comaprisons between Ramesses II's monument and the larger, well preserved temple of his father Seti I nearby. Seti and Ramesses strove to revitalize and reinterpret Egypt's traditional culture and religion in the aftermath of the tumultuous Amarna episode. The expedition conducted a comprehensive architectural survey and documentation, developed new techniques of epigraphial recording as well as advised on issues regarding conservation and better access for visitors. A recent discovery of a temple palace will be briefly described.

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS: Dr. Ogden Goelet received his Ph.D. in Ancient Egyptian History from the History Department at Columbia University. His research has been primarily on Egyprian literature and religion with a particular focus on didactic literature and other texts used to teach Ancient Egyptian students how to read and write their language. These two topics are closely related to another area of his interests, the production of religious texts on tomb walls and Book of the Dead papyri. He is the co-director of the Ramesses II temple in Abydos project of New York University-ISAW. Dr. Goelet is a member of the board of directors of the Egyptological Seminar of New York and the current co-editor of the Bulletin of the Egyptological Seminar of Egypt (BES).

Dr. Sameh Iskander earned a Ph.D in Egyptology from New York University, and currently is a Research Associate at New York University Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. Since 2007, he served as the co-director of the Ramesses II temple in Abydos project of New York University-ISAW. He is President Emeritus of the American Research Center in Egypt 2012 - 2015, and a member of the board of directors of the Egyptological Seminar of New York. He also is a member of the Visiting Committee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He received a BS in Civil Engineering from Cairo University, Egypt and an MS in Engineering from New York University Polytechnic Institute of Technology.

Thursday, June 20, 2019


The American Research Center in Egypt, New York Chapter (ARCE/NY) in co-sponsorship with the Archaeology Committee of the National Arts Club, presents the following lecture.

"The Great Ramesside Monuments at Abydos"

SPEAKERS: Dr. OGDEN GOELET, JR. AND Dr. SAMEH ISKANDERCo-Directors of the New York University Epigraphic Expedition to the Temple of Ramesses II in Abydos

LOCATION: The National Arts Club
                        15 Gramercy Park South
                        New York, New York

TIME: 6:30 PM Lecture
            7:30 PM Reception
            FREE TO THE PUBLIC / Seating on first come basis