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Birmingham Egyptology

Fitzwilliam Museum Colloquium: ‘Reuse, Appropriation and Ownership in ancient Egypt’

Two PGR students from the University of Birmingham recently attended the recent two-day colloquium at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge on ‘Reuse, Appropriation and Ownership in ancient Egypt’.


McDonald Institute at the University of Cambridge where the colloquium took place.

The event included talks from a range of international speakers, a visit to the Fitzwilliam Museum storerooms to view objects which had potentially been repurposed, and concluded with the Glanville Lecture of 2019 presented by Dr Koen Donker van Heel.

Many of the presentations and subsequent discussions explored issues of reuse, usurpation/appropriation, and reassigning of specific objects from coffins to statues and tomb decoration, and what this meant in terms of ownership, belief, and identity in their ancient contexts. Discussion sessions often came back to complex issues such as terminology and the need to understand reuse as a practice that was not confined to the New Kingdom/Third Intermediate Period era, though much of our attention typically focuses on these periods. Viewing objects in detail such as the Fitzwilliam’s collection of coffins, like that of Nespawershefyt, also enhanced the discussion!

A recent publication on the coffin of Nespawershefyt from the Fitzwilliam Museum

It was a pleasure to attend the colloquium, and we are very thankful to Helen Strudwick and the organisers for providing support for us to be able to attend.

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