In normal years the society welcomes members and guest visitors
throughout the year at Mayer Hall in Bebington

Whilst the pandemic continues to restrict our movements, the Committee has decided to hold all meetings until the end of June 2021 online via Zoom. These are free to members and guests may book a place via the Eventbrite details below.
The position from July 2021 will be confirmed when we are in a position to make a firm decision.

2021    Programme

Meetings January – June

Mon 11 Jan 2:00pm
John Ward & Dr Maria Nilsson
Recent discoveries and research at Gebel el-Silsila

Mon 8 Feb 2:00pm
Dr Sarah Doherty
The adoption and adaptation of the Potter’s Wheel in Ancient Egypt

Mon 8 March 4:00pm
Dr Dawn Power
Animal-headed Deities in the Book of Caverns

Thurs 8 April 2:00pm
Lee Young
Letters from the Desert: the story of Amice Calverley and Myrtle Broome

Mon 10 May 2:00pm
Dr Lidija McKnight
Manchester and its Mummies – the ancient, the modern and the visiting

Tues 8 June 2:00pm
Dr Cedric Gobeil
The Museo Egizio’s current research at Deir el-Medina

Monday 8 February 2021 2.00pm
Dr Sarah Doherty

Ceramicist for the Amarna Project’s Great Aten Temple

The adoption and adaptation of the Potter’s Wheel in Ancient Egypt

The invention of the wheel is often highlighted as one of humankinds’ most significant inventions. Wheels do not exist in nature, and so can be viewed entirely as a human-inspired invention. Machinery too, was relatively rare in the ancient world. The potter’s wheel is arguably the most significant machine introduced into Egypt from the Near East, second only perhaps to the drill, the loom and the bellows for smelting metal. In Predynastic Egypt (c3500 B.C.), the traditional methods of hand-building pottery vessels were already successful in producing pottery vessels of high quality on a large scale for the domestic market, so it would seem that the potter’s wheel was a rather superfluous invention. It is often cited that when the potter’s wheel was employed that a form of “standardisation” of production took place. However, the use of the wheel may not necessarily lend itself to standardisation, particularly if the potter is still learning their craft.

This talk will trace the technological and social origins of the potter’s wheel in the ancient world and discuss how it came to be adopted, and adapted by the ancient Egyptians. Even when an invention or tool from a neighbour was adopted, the Egyptians often came up with their own ingenious and distinctly Egyptian ways of utilising the technology.

Dr Sarah K. Doherty is a Ceramicist for the Amarna Project’s Great Aten Temple, a Buildings Archaeologist in the UK Commercial Archaeology Sector and is an Archaeology Tutor at Oxford University. She undertook her BA and MA at UCL, and her PhD at Cardiff University focusing on Egyptian ceramics and technology. This was published in 2015 as The Origins and Use of the Potter's Wheel in Ancient Egypt. Sarah’s research interests include pottery, settlement archaeology, experimental reconstruction of ancient craft, and ancient technology.

Sarah has worked at a wide variety of sites in Egypt, Sudan and Europe. Key sites in Egypt and Sudan include Gebel el Silsila, Heit el Gurob, Amara West (Sudan), Amarna, Valley of the Kings. She is at her happiest digging up complete huge pots in New Kingdom sites.

Monday 8 March 2021  4:00pm
Dr. Dawn Power
(note time - as Dawn will be joining us from Canada)
Animal-headed deities in the Book of Caverns

The Book of Caverns is one of the lesser-known Underworld Books, which deal with the sun god’s nocturnal journey in the Underworld. It appears in the New Kingdom royal tombs of the Ramesside Kings and also in the Osireion of Seti I at Abydos. When it was first discovered it was thought to be a text associated with punishment, due to the images of cauldrons that appear in the lower registers. Although the text does deal with the punishment of the enemies of Re and Osiris, this is not the primary concern of the text. Through and analysis of the text and iconography of this composition it became evident that the main emphasis of this composition is the Solar-Osirian Unity and rebirth. This lecture will focus on four of the theriocephalic-headed deities (animal-headed) contained in this composition that relate to the Solar-Osirian Unity and rebirth – the catfish, mongoose, shrew, and hawk each of which is related to either Re or Osiris. In doing so, the misconception that the emphasis of this composition is on punishment will be clarified, which will present the Book of Caverns in a new light and demonstrate that its emphasis is actually on the Solar-Osirian Unity and rebirth. 

Dr. Dawn Power

I completed my BA in Religious Studies from McMaster University, Canada and then went on to complete my Specialist Degree and Master's Degree in Egyptology at the University of Toronto, Canada. I completed my PhD at the University of Liverpool and the focus of my thesis was the iconography of the Book of Caverns. I have taught various courses on Egyptian religion, the Underworld Books, and sexuality in ancient Egypt both in England and in Canada. I have presented at various conferences in Europe and Canada and I have been invited to speak on the Book of the Dead and the Book of Caverns at various seminars, Egyptology societies, and museums in England. I am currently the President of the Toronto Chapter of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities (SSEA). 

8 April 2021 (Thursday) 2.00pm
Lee Young : Independent Scholar
Letters from the Desert:
The story of Amice Calverley and Myrtle Broome 

‘Letters from the Desert:
The story of Amice Calverley and Myrtle Broome.’
This lecture tells the story of the two important women who worked in the 1930’s, recording the great Temple of Seti I at Abydos. Not only do we have the wonderful work from the Temple produced by the women, we also have over 400 letters written by Myrtle documenting the life experienced by them in Egypt. Myrtle also painted many scenes of native life and landscapes. The presentation will be illustrated with photos and beautiful paintings by the artists.  

Lee Young is an independent researcher and lecturer in Egyptology.
Her specialised subjects are the artists and epigraphers in Egypt. She has a particular interest in the women artists and has worked hard to bring them to the public’s attention as they have been overlooked in the past.
She has also however worked on Howard Carter, Lance Thackeray, Vivant Denon and Prisse D’Avennes amongst others.
She worked for several years at the Griffith Institute, part of Oxford University, cataloguing the watercolour paintings held there and doing the same for the Egypt Exploration Society.
She also transcribed all 415 letters of Myrtle Broome held by the Griffith and has now written a book on Myrtle for AUC Press which is now published.
She lectures throughout the country on the archaeological artists and has also published articles on this subject in various publications.  

10 May   2.00pm
Dr Lidija McKnight : Manchester Museum
Manchester and its Mummies – the ancient, the modern and the visiting


8 June 2021 2.00pm
The Museo Egizio’s current research at Deir el-Medina
Dr Cedric Gobeil

The Museo Egizio’s current research at Deir el-Medina

Within the framework of the French Archaeological mission at Deir El-Medina carried by the IFAO, the Museo Egizio of Turin is conducting research on a few Ramesside tombs located in the western necropolis. These tombs have been chosen based on the many artifacts that belonged to the owners of these tombs which are now kept in the museum. In addition to giving the opportunity to perform a study on the fragile tomb structures using new technologies, this fieldwork is a unique chance to recontextualize many objects of the museum’s collection by shedding a new and fresh light on them. In a few seasons, the Turinese team will ultimately be able to protect and conserve these monuments for future generations.

Dr Cédric Gobeil is a Canadian and French Egyptologist born in Quebec City (Canada), specializing in archaeology of daily life and New Kingdom material culture, with a primary focus on Deir el-Medina, topics for which he is carrying annual fieldwork in Egypt and Sudan. After having obtained his PhD in France (Université Paris IV-Sorbonne), he worked in Egypt for the Institut français d’archéologie orientale du Caire and in the United Kingdom for the Egypt Exploration Society, before being appointed curator at the Museo Egizio in Turin in 2019. In addition to his curatorial duties, he is also adjunct professor in the History Department at the Université du Québec à Montréal and research associate at the HiSoMA Research Unit in Lyon (CNRS - France).

Unfortunately at present
you will have to
arrange your own