Keynotes & workshops

Not sure which workshop to choose? Here you will find an overview of the keynote lectures and the workshops.

Thursday 22 August

Willemijn Waal: Eternal peace and brotherhood on a silver tablet. Reconstructing the original treaty document of Ramses II and Hattusili III (keynote)

In 1259 BCE, the Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II concluded a treaty with the Hittite king Hattusili III. This treaty has gained quite some fame, as it is the oldest extant ‘international peace treaty’ known today. The text of this agreement has come down to us in two versions: a cuneiform version from the Hittite capital Hattusa and a version in Egyptian hieroglyphs attested on monuments at Thebes. The original treaty documents, which were reportedly written down on silver tablets, however, have not survived. This paper aims to explore to what extent it is possible to reconstruct the physical features, format and sealings of the lost original treaty tablets. It will further address the historical context of this renowned Hittite-Egyptian pact, in particular the role that the royal spouses Puduhepa and Nefertari may have played in its making.

Koen Donker van Heel: A Very Easy Crash Course in Abnormal Hieratic (workshop)

People find it hard to believe that it is actually great fun to acquire a working knowledge of Abnormal Hieratic, enough to publish your own papyri. Well, this can be done, and in Leiden during the past few years we have trained two handfuls of Dutch, Danish and German students. Ok, they were all very talented and willing to invest (a lot of) their time.

In this workshop we will take a short look at the basics such as the alphabet, &cet. After that we will attack out first real Abnormal Hieratic text, although this is actually the easiest on the planet. But we have to start somewhere. By attack I mean that I will invite participants to this workshop come to the front of class and show me what you can do. Don’t worry, I will help you all the way!

For those willing to skip their coffee break after that (which is advised), Elena Hertel (our student assistant of the Papyrologisch Instituut with Demotic Papyrology I-IV and Abnormal Hieratic Papyrology I and III behind her) will demonstrate our truly sensational website that will allow just about any student anywhere in the world to learn Abnormal Hieratic by her- or himself.

Post-colonial Egyptology (panel discussion): Hylke Hettema, Rennan Lemos, Wesam Mohamed

This panel aims to discuss the place of ancient Egypt and Egyptology in the context of current archaeological debates on post-colonialism, globalisation in the ancient world, and ‘other’ ontologies and epistemologies (past and present). ‘Post-colonial Egypt’ will address key issues from theory to practice, such as politics and heritage, material culture and fieldwork, the residual impacts of colonialism in Egyptology, as well as possible ways of constructing a fairer field for everyone: scholars and other individuals involved in various ways with archaeological sites, and past actors whose knowledge is today appropriated by Egyptology.

Olaf Kaper: Workshop on practical epigraphy: tracing with plastic

Copying Egyptian reliefs is a task everyone should learn. It is the best way to get familiar with Egyptian art and to prepare for the publication of a specific monument. This workshop will teach the basic techniques of tracing an Egyptian relief, which can be used on plastic film or on a computer. We will work hands-on with gypsum copies of reliefs from the Leiden collection.

Nicky van de Beek: Digital Egyptology: Photogrammetry (workshop)

Photogrammetry/image-based modeling is a method to create 3D models of museum objects, reliefs and even entire tombs based on digital photographs. In this workshop we will look at different applications of photogrammetry in Egyptology and demonstrate a basic set-up and workflow.
If you want to try it yourself:

– Bring a laptop with sufficient RAM (8GB)
– Download and install the trial version of Agisoft Metashape: https://www.agisoft.com/downloads/installer/
– A batch of photos and tutorial will be provided

Please note that everyone is welcome to attend and watch the demonstration, no laptop required.

Friday 23 August

Daniel Soliman: Collecting Egyptian antiquities in the year 2019 (keynote)

It seems quintessentially human to collect artefacts. Statues in Kerma and obelisks in Rome demonstrate that the Ancients too valued Egyptian antiquities. The formation of such ‘collections’ was, in part, politically motivated. This is also true for Europe’s long history of collecting Egyptian artefacts, which peaked during the age of imperialism. The 19th century collections are of course intimately connected with the rise of Egyptology as an academic discipline, and often stand at the core of current Egyptological research. Still, our ideas about the purposes and legitimacy of the practice of collecting antiquities continue to evolve. We realise more and more that with the urge to collect came a market in which antiquities have great monetary value. History has taught us that within this market, there are instances of fraud, theft, and looting, that lead to the loss of cultural heritage and archaeological data. In addition, trading and collecting artefacts assumes an ownership over heritage, which can be contested. It is in this context that we should consider a number of questions. What does it mean to collect Egyptian antiquities in the year 2019, and where do perspectives regarding this question diverge? How do international scholarship, legislation, museums, private collectors, and antiquity traders relate to one another in respect to the preservation of heritage? What responsibility does the Egyptological community bear?

Ethics in Egyptology (panel discussion)

The Association for Students of Egyptology is looking to publish a code of ethics that discusses professional behaviour in the field of Egyptology. Throughout this panel discussion, we aim to collectively brainstorm about professional academic behaviour by discussing certain issues, which hopefully results in a first draft of the code of ethics. Some examples of issues to be discussed is how to write a good peer-review containing constructive criticism and how to formulate your questions / comments after a presentation. Secondly it will focus on the current pressure on PhD-students in Egyptology and how to help each other.

Sam Botan & Mink IJzendoorn: Ostraca & pottery (workshop)

If there is one thing that is always present at any excavation site, it’s pottery. This workshop will be twofold: first, it will teach you the very basics of preparing drawings of ostraca for publication and secondly it will give a very brief introduction into how to asses not just Egyptian pottery, but pottery in general. 

Nicola Dell’Aquila: Photography as a tool for seeing (workshop)

This workshop will give a very brief overview of the basics of object photography. Photography is a great tool for all kinds of purposes, but every photograph has to take certain things into account. We have to take into account what the actual purpose of the photograph: does it have an aesthetic or an academic purpose? It is also important to know your object so you can decide from what perspective the photograph should be taken — do we look Ramses in the eye or does His Royal Highness look down on his audience?  

Helbertijn Krudop: An introduction to the construction and decoration of coffins(workshop)

In this workshop Helbertijn Krudop (Ma PD Res, conservator of organic materials at the Leiden National Museum of Antiquities) will give an introduction to construction methods and decoration techniques and materials used on coffins. The workshop will focus on case-studies from the collection of the RMO. Several coffins and a cartonnage from the collection of the RMO have been part of recent and ongoing research and conservation projects. Results from these and other (international) projects have led to a better understanding of production techniques and materials, ‘quality’ and re-use. Original pigments, binders and resins will be discussed and, depending on the amount of participants, tried.

Saturday 24 August

Sarah Schrader: Osteoarchaeology in the Nile Valley: What bones can tell us about ancient life (keynote)

Frederik Rogner: Art History (workshop)

In this workshop we will first discuss different aspects of approaching, describing and analysing Ancient Egyptian images. Contemporary Egyptological research often focusses on the so-called “symbolic” or “metaphorical” content of reliefs, wall-paintings, and statues, thus neglecting other layers of meaning. While several researchers have pointed out that also in Ancient Egypt the domains of writing and image are clearly distinct (e.g. Pascal Vernus, Ludwig Morenz), the cliché of the “hieroglyphic” character of Egyptian images still persists. In practice this often results in jumping to conclusions regarding the message “behind” a certain image, while its individual elaboration (forms, colours, strategies of composition, etc.) is seen as secondary – as it might be the case for minor deviations in writing. 

In doing so, we do not only neglect the results of the competitive emulation between ancient artists that forms an important impetus for variations and developments in art history. We also loose an opportunity to reveal new layers of meaning that are often overlooked when not properly considering the individual details of Egyptian oeuvres. In the second part of the workshop we will apply these considerations to Ancient Egyptian material. 

Lonneke Delpeut: Presentation skills (workshop)

In this workshop, we are going to work on our presentation skills. First we will discuss the most important aspects of a presentation and work on our confidence. Then we will practise on how to present by working on our improvisation skills. Practise makes perfect!

Marwa Bdr El Din: Using the database at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo (workshop)

The idea of the Registration, Collections Management and Documentation Department (RCMDD) was born in 2006. The department began in January 2007 as a training project for Egyptian staff, by the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE), with a grant from the United States Agency for international Development (USAID). The actual training project began in 2007, with three trainers and four trainees. The department currently has six registrars. The RCMDD is considered the first centralized system for the care, maintenance, and documentation of the collections of a museum in Egypt. It is responsible for overseeing all the collections of the Egyptian Museum in both paper and digital format. This paper will discuss the history of the department, in addition to its current role in the Museum also the software used in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo before and now.

Carina van den Hoven: Practical aspects and challenges of doing research in Egypt (workshop)

This workshop will focus on the practical aspects and challenges of doing research in Egypt. We will address some key issues, including how to apply for and obtain the necessary authorizations and permissions for work (e.g. archival research, collecting unpublished source material, fieldwork, etc.), and we will discuss the importance of understanding social etiquette and work culture, which is a crucial factor in successfully carrying out fieldwork or research in Egypt.