Birmingham Egyptology Archive:

Symposium 2015: paper abstracts now available

Abstracts for the 10 paper presentations to be given at our Symposium, 20th February, are now available! Please click here to download it in PDF format.


If you would like to attend this free event, please email the committee at Space is limited, so contact us soon to book your place
Abstracts for the posters and for the Opening and Closing talks will be released soon. Continue to check the webpage for further updates over the next few weeks:

Programme available for Symposium 2015

‘Nationality, Authority and Individuality in ancient Egypt’.


The programme for the Symposium on 20th February is now available to download, in PDF format: Programme


We are delighted that Dr Carla Gallorini and Dr Tony Leahy of the University of Birmingham will be opening and closing the conference, and there will be 10 papers given by postgraduates and early career researchers from Birmingham, Manchester, UCL, Basel, Oxford, Cambridge and Durham. Posters will also be on display in the venue throughout the day.

Abstracts will be released shortly. Anyone wishing to register as a delegate should contact the committee at Places are limited so book your place soon.

Please see the webpage for updates on the event in the next few weeks:

Postrgraduate Development Fund Poster Competition

Several of Birmingham Egyptology’s activities, including the website itself, are funded by the College of Arts and Law Postgraduate Development Fund. Each year we evaluate these events in a poster and this year all contributions are being displayed in the Arts Building until this coming Friday,  5th December. The judging will be a combination of judges Dr Charlotte Hempel, Director of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, and Dr Jagbir, Deputy Director, and an online voting poll in which you can take part! The poll can be found at and voting will close on Friday at 4pm.
Please show your support for Birmingham Egyptology and the twenty other exciting student-led funded projects of 2013-14 in the College by going to look at them on the ground, first and second floors until Friday.


For those of you who cannot get to the College itself to see them, here is Birmingham Egyptology’s contribution, covering our main activities and highlighting the skills development which they offer to participants.

BE funding poster

Forum report available: Egyptological societies

Carl Graves, PhD student at the University of Birmingham and current Public Engagement and Education manager at the Egypt Exploration Society (EES), London, chaired the last Forum session on Friday 17th October (Egyptological societies and the future of the discipline). His report summarising the ideas voiced can be read at

This discussion brought up the problems faced by Egyptological societies in outreach and maintaining membership, especially amongst the student population. The differences between such societies was also highlighted – Birmingham Egyptology, being university-based, is very different in many ways to the EES, and both are different again to other Egyptological societies throughout the UK and the rest of the world. Nonetheless, all have the responsibility of contributing to and sharing knowledge within the discipline, and one of the Forum discussion’s aims was to identify ways in which societies can continue to engage with people of all backgrounds and ages and ensure the continuance of research and education.


The next Forum session will be chaired by Marsia Bealby, who will lead a workshop entitled ‘How to create and run children’s educational activities for museum use‘. Friday 31st October, 5-7, CAHA Museum (Room 305, Arts Building, University of Birmingham). All are welcome.

EES/BE study day – ‘Gods and Mortals: the function of religion in Ancient Egypt’

On Saturday 29th November the Egypt Exploration Society will be coming to the University of Birmingham for their next study day, which will be about religion in ancient Egypt. The speakers are: Prof. Susanne Bickel, Dr Michela Luiselli, Dr Tony Leahy and Dr Martin Bommas. Full details of the event, including the abstracts for each talk and ticket information, can be found here:


**SPECIAL OFFER for University of Birmingham students**

£10 ticket (bring student ID to event) – follow link

EES Logo jpgBELogo_155px_color



Forum report available: ancient Egyptian medicine

The report for the Forum session on Friday 3rd October (‘Ancient Egyptian medicine: a practical approach’), chaired by Charlotte Booth, is now available on the ‘Last Session’ section of the Forum page:

Here are some photos from this lively session:

Charlotte Booth (current PhD student at Birmingham) begins her talk

Charlotte Booth (current PhD student at Birmingham) begins her talk

Attendees turning their minds to the doctors, diseases and cures of ancient Egypt

Attendees turning their minds to the doctors, diseases and cures of ancient Egypt

The ingredients used for the practical part of the session

The ingredients used for the practical part of the session


A cure for toothache? Frankincense, cumin and carob-pod seeds.


The next Forum session will be on Friday 17th October (this coming Friday), 5-7pm in the CAHA museum (Arts 305), and will be chaired by Carl Graves, on the subject ‘Egyptological societies and the future of the discipline’.

BE at Societies event

Several societies from the School of History and Cultures at University of Birmingham gathered yesterday (Monday 29th September) as part of a ‘Meet the Societies’  event. It was a chance to find out about the events that will be going on this term and to get involved.

Birmingham Egyptology stall
We are a group primarily for postgraduates at the university, but we welcome other members of the university (UGs and staff) and external individuals to our events as well. Similarly, our peer-reviewed Journal is open to contributions from anyone researching ancient Egypt and Sudan, not just University of Birmingham students.


If you could not make it to the event to speak to us, but are still interested in being involved in Birmingham Egyptology activities, please email us at, and follow us on Twitter @UoBEgyptology.

Autumn schedule now available

The new academic year fast approaches, and Birmingham Egyptology will be returning properly with the first Forum of the term on 3rd October, with a workshop on medicine with Charlotte Booth. For the rest of the term’s activities, please see the schedule which can be downloaded here (PDF): BE Autumn Schedule 2014


Further details of some of the events and dates for social gatherings will be announced closer to the time.


We hope to see you there!

Forum report: Fairy tales in ancient Egypt

The report from the last Forum of this academic year is now available ( This was a fascinating discussion chaired by Kelee Siat which was focused mainly on the Tale of the Eloquent Peasant and The Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor, but which also touched upon the stories and ‘fairy tales’ of many other cultures, ancient and modern.

Forum participants considered whether either of these Egyptian stories are fairy tales as we know them, and concluded that the Eloquent Peasant felt more realistic and therefore less fantastical. However, the audience involved can affect how this tale is viewed. In this regard, Kelee writes (in addition to her report):


‘A fairy tale is a tale with a fantasy element. Though the Eloquent Peasant is devoid of obvious fantasy elements there is still a reference to the cosmic order and balance – ma’at – which the king is part of. It is this balance that could in essence be viewed as a fantastical element of fantasy depending on the perspective of its audience who may hold or not hold similar beliefs of a cosmic balance: a modern audience might perceive the existence of such a cosmic order fantasy, whereas the ancient Egyptians might not have done. Therefore in light of modern perception it could become a fairy tale on these grounds.’


To the ancient Egyptians, ma’at was a part of life, and therefore its underlying influence in the peasant’s quest for justice was likely to be perfectly natural. However, to other cultures and in other times, metaphysical forces which govern the world may seem rather fantastical. In other words, it adds a superstitious, magical, and divine element to a story that is otherwise seemingly very much of this world, if a little dramatic, exaggerated and improbable (in particular the peasant shouting and insulting the authorties, including the Pharaoh).

The Forum will resume in the Autumn term. If you are interested in chairing a session or presenting your research please contact us

The EES comes to BMAG – by Pam Oak

So that the greatest number and range of people can enjoy its events, the Egypt Exploration Society (see link below right) has started arranging events outside of London. On Sunday 1st June 2014 they came to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) and here is a brief summary of the day by BE participant and Birmingham alumna Pam Oak.


After being met in the Round Gallery by Carl Graves (BE member and EES Education and Public Engagement manager), the group of attendees was taken to a room ‘behind the scenes’, where refreshments were provided, for the three talks of the afternoon. Following a short welcome by Carl, Adam Jaffer (the curator in charge of the Ancient Egyptian collection) told us about the origins of the BMAG in 1885 and its acquisitions and exhibits, including how it gathered the 8000 Egyptian objects now in its collection.


The second talk of the afternoon, entitled ‘Prepared for Eternity’, was presented by Bob Loynes from the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptian Research at the University of Manchester. Bob is a retired orthopaedic surgeon who from childhood had been interested in Ancient Egypt. Using his life skills he decided to further his knowledge of Egyptology by studying various mummies. After a brief, but very clear explanation of computer axial tomography (CAT) scanning and its history, he then went on to tell us of his research with three mummies in the BMAG collection and he shared his findings with us. The first was Padimut, a Twentieth/Twenty-first Dynasty mummy from Thebes which contained some subcutaneous throat packing. Next was Namenkhetamun, again from Thebes but dated to the Twenty-sixth Dynasty. Her coffin bears the title ‘Chantress in the temple of Amun.’ However, there was a surprise when this mummy was scanned – it had a phallus! The final mummy was Graeco-Roman. The scan showed metal pieces in the skull, possibly small chips off the tools used for excerebration. Throughout the talk Bob showed pictures of scans taken by earlier Egyptologists which enabled us to see how much progress has been made in this field of research.


Bob’s talk was followed by a viewing of the Egyptian gallery in BMAG. Adam Jaffer estimated that around 5% of their collection is on show, the rest being stored and displayed in the Museum Collection Centre in Duddeston.

Carl delivered the final talk of the afternoon giving us a brief overview of the EES in Birmingham and its supplying of artefacts to the BMAG, which can be traced through the materials in the EES archives – excavation notebooks, letters, accession records, drawings, photographs and so on. He brought with him relevant log sheets from the archives for us to see.


The afternoon concluded with a handling session of genuine Egyptian artefacts from BMAG which proved to be a popular experience: figurines, pottery, amulets and other small objects. Each participant left with a complimentary copy of World Art from Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery. Altogether, it was an interesting and informative afternoon and I am looking forward to the next one.

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