ARCE 2013 Annual Conference: Getting Psyched!

   Posted by: Keith Payne   

Categories: Uncategorized

UntitledThe American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) Annual Conference is upon us, and thanks to a generous contribution from a supporter who wishes to remain anonymous, Em Hotep will be there!  Fifteen panel topics with 118 individual panel discussions over three days…  How does one choose what to attend and which to cover for the website?  Read on, friends, as we wrap our head around how to approach an Egyptological Christmas in April!


Archaeological topics, museum studies, historical studies, art history and iconography, graffiti, Amarna studies, queens, Greco-Roman topics, text studies, interconnections, technology, Nubian studies, post-pharaonic studies, modern Egypt, and ARCE itself.  The array of subjects and number of panel sessions—not to mention the number of very familiar names amongst the presenters—is enough to overwhelm.  Assuming we don’t sit any of them out, and with an opportunity like this you don’t take breaks, that makes 31 panel discussions Anne and I can cover.  We decided not to split up so we can sit up each night slumber party style and geek out over the day’s discussions, and you kind of have to be together for that, so 31 discussions it is.


Friday, April 19

Friday morning starts bright and early with discussions in Archeology, Museum Studies, Historical Studies, and Art History/Iconography.  The first half of the morning the Archaeology panel is dedicated to one of our favorite areas, Abydos, so we decided to start there.  Josef Wegner starts the day with a discussion of the “Protection and Restoration Work on the Tomb of Senwosret III at South Abydos”.  We asked Dr. Wegner to fill us in a little on what his presentation will be about, here is how he responded:

As far as my presentation, it is about part of my ongoing work at Abydos to excavate and eventually open for visitors the tomb of Senwosret III, one of Egypt’s largest royal tombs and Egypt’s first royal tomb to move away from the pyramid, replacing it with use of the natural landscape as happens later in the Valley of the Kings.

Kevin Cahail keeps us in the south Abydos area with “Private Mortuary Landscapes at South Abydos:  Preliminary Results of the Winter 2012—2013 Excavation Season”.  Laurel Bestock picks up with “Discovering and Documenting 4000 Years at Abydos:  Recent Work on the Brown University Abydos Project”.  Thomas Landvatter presents on “New Research on Ptolemaic Abydos:  The 2011—2012 Seasons of the Abydos Middle Cemetery Project”.  Obviously, you can expect some discussion of Abydos in the coming weeks on Em Hotep.

For the second half of the morning we move over to the Art History & Iconography panel for a discussion of a topic relevant to our coverage of Giza 3D, although not directly associated with the project.  John S. Thompson will be presenting a paper on “The Stated Purposes of the Old Kingdom Elite Tomb Chapel Rites and Priesthood”.  How could we refuse that?  Next we pay a visit to the Historical panel to learn about “After Hours at Deir el-Medina”, presented by Teresa Moore.  We are guessing a lot of bread and beer consumption, but surely there was more than that.  Stay tuned and we will pass it on.  For the last panel of the morning we will return to the Archaeological panel for something I suspect will take us back to Abydos—“Meditations on Retainer Sacrifice” by Ellen Morris.

Friday afternoon the discussions resume with panels on Art History and Iconography, Graffiti, Amarna Studies, Museum Studies, Queens, and Archaeological topics.  Amarna is a perennially popular topic, but I have always been fascinated by ancient Egyptian graffiti.  We learn a lot from graffiti, particularly with regard to the work crews and ownership of pyramids.  Amarna is a hard offer to turn down, but we discussed it and in the end graffiti was just too tempting to turn down.  You can find a lot out there on Amarna—my shelves have their share of books on the subject—but an hour and a half just on graffiti is a treat.

Hana Navratilova starts us out with “Visiting a Pyramid Complex” where I am sure we will spend some time with our old friend Khufu and his builders.  Next Richard Jasnow and Christiana Di Carbo will present on “Demotic Graffiti Pertaining to the Ibis and Falcon Cult from Dra Abu Naga”.  Eugene Cruz-Uribe finishes the panel with “More (!) Graffiti from Philae”.

The rest of the afternoon will be short but exciting.  Kathryn Hansen, who Em Hotep readers may recognize from the recent NOVA program, Building Pharaoh’s Chariot, will be presenting on “New Data on Ancient Egyptian Chariot Harness”.  Kathy has also agreed to speak with us at the conference for a brief interview, so look forward to that.  For the last discussion of Friday we will join Nigel Strudwick for a very fascinating topic:  “Robbery in Theban Tombs”.  We asked Nigel to give us a preview, and this is what he said:

I shall be giving an overview of the history of tomb robbery at Thebes from the New Kingdom to the Nineteenth Century AD, looking briefly as a mixture of textual and archaeological evidence, as well as some early writings.  This will be an overview pulling a load of very disparate stuff together which not everyone will know.  Thus everyone knows the tomb robbery papyri, but trying to relate that to archaeology isn’t so simple, and not much is known about Third Intermediate Period robbery.  The evidence from travelers, and also some early Arabic sources, sheds a lot of light on robbery in the mediaeval and modern periods.

Friday evening ends with a fun opportunity for Anne and me to be a part of the conference.  At 7:00 there will be a viewing of the Egypto-kitschy movie Land of the Pharaohs, and we will be passing out the door prize tickets!  Down side, we won’t be eligible to win the movie poster for Land of the Pharaohs.  Up side, we get to meet everyone who goes to the movie!


Saturday, April 20

Saturday begins a new day of Egyptology in Cincinnati with panels on Archaeology, Greco-Roman Studies, Text Studies, and Interconnections.  Again, we will spend a little over half of the morning in the Archaeology room…  We couldn’t resist.

The morning begins with Danielle Phelps discussing “The Geoarchaeology of a Late Period Intrusive Funerary Structure at the Temple of Tausret”.  The name Tausret always catches our attention, so we can’t miss that.  Next the always fascinating Sarah Parcak will present on the topic she has become closely associated with, the use of satellites in Egyptology—“High Resolution Satellite Solutions for Mapping Patterns of Archaeological Site Looting in Egypt”.  Following will be another familiar name, Betsy Bryan will talk about “Johns Hopkins University 2012 Fieldwork at the Temple of Mut”.  Although the next name on the Archaeology list was Diana Craig Patch, we made the difficult choice to join Beth Ann Judas for what is just too tempting of a subject, “Keftiu as a Liminal People in Early New Kingdom Egypt”.  My sociology degree cringes at the thought of not hitting a single discussion in the Interconnections panel, and Beth’s paper sounds fascinating.

The second half of the morning we will be sampling the panels, beginning with Greco-Roman Studies.  Allison Hedges will be discussing “The Egyptian Dionysus:  Osiris and the Development of Theater in Ancient Egypt”.  How could you not want to be in on that?  Continuing on the theme of drama, we next try out the Text Studies panel with Nikolaos Lazaridis’ “Who’s Afraid of Horus, Son of the Wolf?  Fear and Anger in Ancient Egyptian Storytellling”.

For the next three discussions we return to Archaeology, beginning with Edwin Coville Brock, who will be presenting on “Phase Two of the Merenptah Sarcophagi Restoration Project”.  For the next two discussions we are treated to another topic we find very interesting, the Tell Edfu Project.  Nadine Moeller and Gregory Marouard start us off with “The Third Millennium BC at Tell Edfu:  New Discoveries of the 2012 Season”.  Jonathan Winnerman and Janelle Wade complete the hour of Tell Edfu with “Epigraphy and Conservation of the Tell Edfu Block Yard:  A Report on the 2012 Season”.  It is safe to say that Em Hotep will be doing something specifically on Tell Edfu in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

For the rest of Saturday afternoon Anne and I decided to sit in the Technology panel room, which opens as the Greco-Roman panel closes.  Our first session will be with Rozenn Bailleul-Le Suer who will present a paper on “CT Scanning of Bird Mummies form the Oriental Institute Museum:  Challenges and Discoveries”.  This will be followed by Amy Calvert who will present “If Petrie Had a Database:  How to Apply Statistical Analysis in the Investigation of Scene Variables.  We managed to reach Amy for a comment, and she said:

I will be presenting on the current state of database-based research in Egyptology, discussing a number of current projects, challenges these types of projects encounter, and ways to handle those issues.  The talk will also present case studies showing the type of insights that can be that can be gained, and ideas quantifiably supported by, using different types of analyses (frequencies vs. correlation).

Our last panel discussion for Saturday will take us back to the Old Kingdom with Kerry Muhlestein’s “(Re-) Constructing Snefru’s Pyramids: Insights Gained from Precise GPS Measurements”.  This should prove interesting for us Old Kingdom buffs.


Sunday, April 21

The last day of the conference promises to be a busy one!  The panels for Sunday will be ARCE, Nubian Studies, Post-Pharaonic Studies, and Modern Egypt.  As card-carrying ARCEians, Anne and I decided to spend most of the day in the ARCE panel discussions.  The day begins with Nagwan Bahaa El Hadedi presenting “Middle Kingdom Objects in Context:  Teaching at the ARCE/AERA Mit Rahina Field-School”.  This will be followed by Ana Tavares and Moshen Kamel with “Coming Full Circle:  The ARCE/AERA Archaeological Field Schools”.  Michael Jones follows this with “Intangible Heritage:  Experiences from ARCE’s Conservation Program”.  The last ARCE panel discussion we will be sitting in on is “ARCE Luxor APS: Archaeological Update” by Andrew Bednarski.

Repatriation of artifacts is always an interesting and controversial subject, so for the next discussion we move over to the Modern Egypt panel for Victoria A. Russell’s “It Belongs in a Museum—But Which One?  The Mask of Ka-Nefer-Nefer”.  For the next discussion we visit the Nubian Studies room to hear Sarah Schellinger talk about “Nubian Palaces and Amun Temples:  Uniting Royal Domestic and Religious Architecture”.  Our last panel discussion of ARCE 2013 will be back in the Modern Egypt room where A. Sameh El Kharbawy will deliver on “Tahrir Square and the Remaking of Egypt.

Although the conference will technically be over at this point, there will be one last, major event.  Those of us who are interested (which will obviously include Anne and me) will make a field trip from Cincinnati to Lexington Kentucky to see a replica of a New Kingdom chariot, with a discussion by the expert on the subject, Kathy Hansen.  After that, it will be home to begin writing.


Expectation and Excitement

Of course everyone is excited about the ARCE 2013 Annual Conference, and I was especially happy that it occurred so close to my Louisville home and that a supporter was kind enough to make this possible.  I also asked some of the other presenters and participants what they were most excited about.

Carol Redmount, Who is the Chair of Near Eastern Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and who chairs one of the Archaeology panels, is excited about news regarding both Egyptology in particular and Egypt more broadly:

I’m excited about hearing all the updates on new archaeological work and discoveries in Egypt, and I’m also interested in hearing more about other people’s experiences with cultural resource issues—whether sites are being protected or not and so forth.  This continues to be a critical problem for the survival of Egypt’s cultural heritage…

Amy Calvert, the founder of the Art of Counting Project and who is presenting about statistical analysis and the investigation of scene variables, was very excited about the presenters and their topics:

As always, there are a number of other talks that have caught my attention!  A. Kozloff’s talk on the significance of the red and yellow gendered skin colors; J. Babcock’s presentation of chaotic animal depictions; L. Bestock’s talk on her work at Abydos; H. McCarthy’s discussion of queens; K. Hansen on chariots; the goes on, and of course, John Baines, Gay Robins, Salima Ikram, and David O’Connor are always favorites.  I always have to miss something I want to see because there are so many good talks!

But I think that Beth Ann Judas, who has presented widely on the concept of the Keftiu people as the “good” foreigner in Middle to New Kingdom Egypt, and who will be presenting about her beloved Keftiu at the conference, speaks for us all:

I’m excited to be surrounded by my kind of folks in order to get my archaeological mojo reenergized.

I don’t know about you, but my mojo is ready for some energizing!



Copyright by Keith Payne, 2013.  All rights reserved.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 at 9:03 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 comments so far

Jean-Pierre HOUDIN

Hi Keith,
What a long busy weekend !
Good luck

April 18th, 2013 at 4:40 am

Hi Jean-Pierre,

YES! And very exciting too! I will have plenty to write about in the coming weeks, not to mention something you and I have been discussing, but with that little teaser it will have to wait until next week..


April 18th, 2013 at 10:22 pm
Susan Leogrande Alt

Keith and even Jean Pierre, from the trenches of the person who loves these things (me), it’s about time someone (Keith) has brought things like this in a simple, non-advertised with popups (yuk) and worse, lagging and bogus information.

I have spent 35 years! (Started when I was 10) trying to discover the very things you write of, report on and more on this site.

In fact, I believe there are many people like me … wanting to know. However, when we Google it, or Dogpile it, as I use that search engine … well, we come up with all sorts of things BUT NEVER THIS!

You have a unique site here, from the subtle design, the ease of flipping between articles and even the layout. NOT TO MENTION … where else can you read good, quality information like on this site AND have the blessed experience of posting comments and having them answered?

I am almost overwhelmed with the sheer volume of information. Yet, this site makes it so easy to click, read, compare, read, comment and then go away and know that when you come back, wha-la! Others of similar minds have comments, given support in each other’s research and broaden the scope of the topic without being smothered by it.

Now, Jean Pierre Houdin has ample insights, yet on here, we aren’t overwhelmed with the details … and at the same time … we are given the “ramps” to build upon what we are learning at our own pace … and at the same time as those things … we are given outlets for questions and to me, this is heavenly.

I would like to just “see” the detailed science/math behind JP’s information so I can challenge myself to understand more of it … things like weights, pressures, all that jazz.

When I first read Jean Pierre’s own words, I was struck by a man who can take me to the “quantum” level of all this while still using the illustrations and then the power of the 3D work to help me visually! Thank you for this JP! Without knowing it, you are teaching your profession while following your passion!

I hope someday to win some sort of lottery that lets me donate the entire thing to Jean Pierre Houdin and Keith Payne. Why? Well, I would like to see a pyramid built in this way – exactly as Jean Pierre presents it. In addition, perhaps some country with a lot of sand will supply the land! What a time capsule that would be!

As it stands now, I never hesitate to share what I learn and I thank you again for presenting it here.

Your time at this conference and others is insightful. I never knew conferences like this existed. I have always hoped to have “follow ups” with the documentaries I’ve seen – like the one with Jean Pierre and Bob Brier, but had no idea other than writing the History Channel, etc. how to go about it. Then I found this site!

Explosions of happiness filled my soul and danced with the brilliance of the excitement I uncovered when I clicked onto this site!

In WV slang – YOU ROCK IT! Keep rockin’ it and sharing what you rock! Tap those keys Keith and make those notes … ask those questions that provide a great follow-up to the documentaries that are prolific on television. Let these professors and such know that their work is not simply making them money, happy, and so forth, but it is being seen by even little old ladies in WV and its exciting!

April 20th, 2013 at 9:13 pm

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