Birmingham Egyptology Archive:

New article in the BE Journal

The Birmingham Egyptology Journal has recently published an article by Carlos Gracia Zamacona entitled ‘The Two Inner Directions of the Ancient Egyptian Script’. The article may be downloaded from the Journal page or from the following link:

The Two Inner Directions of the Ancient Egyptian Script



This article explores some implications for the study of the human writing-reading process from the perspective of the ancient Egyptian script. Upon consideration of a paradoxical passage by Herodotus (II,36,4), the author resumes, under a new approach, Henry Fischer’s suggestion that Egyptian culture considered script direction from the signs’ point of view, in contrast to Greek culture, which considered script direction from the writer’s or reader’s point of view (the writing-reading process). Two distant facts confirm this interpretation: one is the ancient Egyptian textual mark, usually considered a colophon or end mark, which literally reads ‘That (means) that it (= the text) comes (to the reader)’; the other is the writing direction of banners used in current-day audio-visual media. Though Western culture and science have retained the Greek point of view, to approach the writing systems of other cultures through its focusing lens may result in misunderstandings like that of Herodotus.

New publication by Nicola Adderley

One of our committee members, Nicola Adderley, has recently published her PhD thesis, Personal Religion in the Libyan Period in Egypt (Scholars’ Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 13.48.30Press 2015).


The study is a synthesis of the evidence pertaining to religious beliefs and practices at the individual and community level during the Twenty-first to Twenty-fourth Dynasties, including biographical inscriptions, votive offerings, graffiti, personal names, amulets, oracular decrees and literary texts. Further information can be found on the publisher’s website: Personal Religion in the Libyan Period in Egypt





Download new book from UCL Press

UCL Press, ‘the UK’s first fully open access university press’, has announced the publication of The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology: Characters and Collections –  a work edited by the Egyptologist and curator of the Petrie Museum, Dr Alice Stevenson.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 10.04.33

A free online version can be found at: 


Birmingham Egyptology visit the Egypt Exploration Society

On Thursday 17th July several members of the BE group enjoyed a visit to the Egypt Exploration Society offices in Doughty Mews to renew old acquaintances and enjoy the ‘pop-up’ exhibition Excavating Egypt. The event, introduced to us by the society’s Education and Public Engagement Manager, Carl Graves, has been staged to give greater public access to material usually available to researchers by appointment and is presented in such a way as to give an impression of life on excavation in Egypt during the formative years of the the discipline of Egyptology. Highlights of our visit were a presentation by Louise Atherton entitled ’Amarna Archivers and Archaeology’, and a tour of the exhibits by the two volunteers largely responsible for mounting the exhibition, Katherine Piper and Ildiko Kalnoky.

Eleanor Simmance discussing the exhibits with Carl Graves

Eleanor Simmance discussing the exhibits with Carl Graves


Displays included a wide variety of objects, amongst which were some of Petrie’s historic photographs of Tanis, field notebooks, object record cards from Amarna – many of which are now published online at: – – watercolours by Howard Carter, and examples of diary entries and correspondence authored by well-known figures from the early years of the EES. Of particular interest, from my own point of view, was a replica of an alabaster vase, inscribed for Hatshepsut, which had been found in a courtyard behind the king’s house at Amarna. The name of Amun had been carefully erased from inscribed texts, while the cartouches containing the king’s names were otherwise undamaged; an object surely giving some clues regarding political correctness during the Amarna Period.

Replica of an alabaster vase inscribed for Hatshepsut

Replica of an alabaster vase inscribed for Hatshepsut


A remarkable feature of the exhibition is the pseudo-tented environment. It has to be admitted that draping the walls of the committee room with canvas added to the ambience of the display areas, lending some authenticity to exhibits designed to present the experiences of early egyptological pioneers. The feeling of life in a desert environment was further enhanced by the heat, but that was simply the atmosphere of central London in July – or was it!

There is still time to visit the exhibition which remains open daily, from 11.00 to 15.00, until Sunday 26th July. For details of the activities scheduled to take place visit: . I am sure you will receive a warm welcome from Carl and his team.

Egyptological Conference in Copenhagen: report by Marsia Bealby

From 6th to 8th May this year Marsia Bealby attended the conference, ‘Life and Heritage in Ancient Egypt’, which was held at the University of Copenhagen. For Marsia’s report on the event please see the attached PDF file: Marsia Bealby ECC report


Delegates at the Copenhagen conference [ photograph courtesy of Marlene Staerke Kristensen]

Delegates at the Copenhagen conference [ photograph courtesy of Marlene Staerke Kristensen]

Visiting professor, Katja Goebs, to address BE Forum

Katja Goebs, author of Crowns in early Egyptian Funerary Literature: Royalty, Rebirth, Destruction has kindly agreed to lead the Forum session to be held on Friday 19th June on the topic of royal iconography.



Professor Goebs  is an Associate Professor of Egyptology in the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses primarily on the History of Egyptian religion and the institution of the kingship as well as the interface between the two (i.e. “myths” of the kingship, the shared iconography of gods and kings, etc.). Her work is often interdisciplinary, adducing parallels from neighbouring or other cultures, as well as applying models and methods from disciplines such as anthropology or psychology to the Egyptian evidence. Current projects include the collection of evidence for “Divine Light” in Egypt and Mesopotamia, as well as the relationship between Egyptian text and image as expressed in metaphorical language.

A more complete overview of her academic interests and publications is available online at:


She is a Trustee of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities, a corresponding member of the German Archaeological Institute in Cairo, and the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities (JSSEA).

Book Reviews

Two new book reviews, which can be accessed from the Journal page, have recently been published by Birmingham Egyptology :

Review of S. Wachsmann 2013. The Gurob Ship-Cart Model and Its Mediterranean Context, by Marsia Sfakianou Bealby.


Review of D. Gange 2013. Dialogues with the Dead: Egyptology in British Culture and Religion, 1822-1922, by Steven Gregory

Birmingham Egyptology Symposium – report

Marsia Sfakianou Bealby gives her views on the Second Annual Symposium hosted by Birmingham Egyptology and supported by the University of Birmingham. The PDF file can be accessed via the link: Marsia Bealby on BE symposium 2015

BE – EES Study Day

Carl Graves has now prepared a report on the Study Day held at the University of Birmingham on 29th November and jointly hosted by the Egypt Exploration Society and Birmingham Egyptology. The report has been posted on the EES web site and can be viewed via the following link:   


Speaker selfie

The ‘speaker selfie’: top, from left to right, Steven Gregory (Chair of Birmingham Egyptology), Dr Tony Leahy, Prof. Susanne Bickel, Dr Michela Luiselli, Dr Martin Bommas; bottom, Carl Graves (EES Education and Public Engagement Manager)


Once again, thanks to the speakers, Carl and his team from the EES, and the members of BE, who together gave so freely of their time to help make the event such a success.

Conference Proceedings

The proceedings of the First Birmingham Egyptology Symposium, held at the University of Birmingham on 21st February 2014, have now been published in the Birmingham Egyptology JournaL

The volume includes papers from Amandine Godefroid, University of Louvain-la-Neuve; Beth Asbury, The Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford; and from Eleanor Simmance and Edward Mushett Cole, University of Birmingham. For further details please visit the ‘Journal’ section or use the following link:

 Proceedings of the First Birmingham Egyptology Symposium

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