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March 21, 2005

Archaeology Symposium To Focus
On Ritual, Religion In Ancient Egypt

The 2005 Beverly and Raymond Sackler Art and Archaeology Symposium, “Egypt: Archaeology in Ritual Space,” will be held Friday, April 1, at the Thomas. J. Dodd Research Center, from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Admission is free and a reception follows.

Throughout the great Egyptian dynasties, rulers used religion to define the state and enhance royal power. From the practice of human sacrifice at Abydos under Egypt’s first Pharaoh, to the “seat of eternity,” designed by Senwosret III to link himself in death with Osiris, to New Kingdom Thebes, where kings celebrated the gods and temples celebrated the kings, Pharaonic Egypt’s sacred spaces reveal telling histories of the social structures and belief systems of early Egyptian civilization.

During the symposium, Egyptologists will present new data on the architectural and cultural development of funerary complexes, temple ritual, and royal residences. Such data provide key information on such issues as the succession and transference of kingly power, and to what extent this was based on religion, and allow further interpretation of the nature of royal power over religious ritual and clerical hierarchies, as well as over the lives of everyday citizens.

This raises complex questions concerning how – and to what extent – the ideological and religious history of early Egypt can be written from the archaeological record, and how such investigations can promote comprehension of the current era.

The speakers are:

Josef Wegner, University of Pennsylvania, “The Royal Necropolis of Anubis-Mountain: New Evidence for the Funerary Ceremonies of Pharaoh Senwosret III at Abydos.”

Daniel Polz, German Archaeological Institute, Cairo, “Before the Valley of the Kings: The Royal and Private Necropolis of Dra’ Abu el-Naga at Thebes.”

David O’Connor, New York University, “Sacred Space at Abydos: The Beginning and the End.”

Betsy Bryan, Johns Hopkins University, “Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll: Temple Ritual ‘on the Distaff Side’.”

The Beverly and Raymond Sackler Art and Archaeology Lectures provide an opportunity to explore critical issues in the fields of archaeology and art history at UConn.

For more information, see the website, or contact Professor Robin Greeley: