Departmental Social Events: Mummies on Halloween

This year the Department of Classics, Ancient History & Egyptology decided to start a series of social events for staff and students, with the aim to celebrate and strengthen our sense of community. This week’s post is by Dr Maria Pretzer who has been co-ordinating these events. Maria reports:

As it happened, the first event was scheduled for 31st October, so a Halloween theme was a given. We decided to start with frightening our Egyptologists particularly by putting on The Mummy (1999) with its highly accurate depiction of ancient Egypt and Egyptian archaeology.

Film still: It’s Egypt. There have to be cats!

After the end of the movie, Troy Sagrillo offered some comments about some of the details. Astonishingly, the production did have an Egyptologist as adviser, and with some effort and expertise, one can actually spot their impact, in places where details are somewhat more Egyptologically inaccurate than throughout the rest of the movie.

One crucial take-away from the story is certainly that speed-reading hieroglyphs is a necessary survival skill: the ancient historian struggling with the hieroglyphics on the DVD menu could have done with some of that, too. It is clear that may more people should take our modules in Ancient Egyptian language! The film also features spoken ancient Egyptian, using a pronunciation that’s a few thousand years out of date.

Prizes were handed out for the best costume (a carrot, as it happens) and to the winner and runners-up in the move bingo, which featured, among other questions, the identification of various things Christian Knoblauch wouldn’t do on his excavation in Sudan. Christian will be relieved to hear that the accumulated answers pretty much encompass everything anybody does with ancient artefacts in this film.

Cup cakes by Maria… Bake Off eat your heart out!

This was a lot of fun, and we had a good turn-out, too: thanks to everybody for coming! The ‘Departmental Social Event’ experiment continues on 21st November, when we’ll be putting Socrates on trial all over again.

KYKNOS Colloquium

KYKNOS Research Colloquium

 

The Department of Classics, Ancient History and Egyptology and KYKNOS, The Centre for Research on the Narrative Literatures of the Ancient World, hosted a COAH-sponsored Research Colloquium on Friday, 25 October 2019, in the Mall Room, Taliesin, on Singleton Campus.

 

The international event – part of the regular biannual Colloquia programme of KYKNOS – centred around four exciting lectures on Greek and Latin texts and their historical and cultural contexts.

 

Alan Lloyd (Swansea)                          ‘Timeo Danaos: Motifs can walk’

Rachel Bird (Swansea)                        ‘The Greek Novel: Voyeurism, Sophrosyne and Heroines as Text’

Olivier Demerre (Ghent)                     ‘Catching Bodies, Catching Texts: Longus and Ovid on hunting’

Koen de Temmerman (Ghent)            ‘Stories of Erotic Desire in Late Antique Hagiography:

the curious case of Euphemia and the Goth (and Callirhoe)’

 

The Colloquium, organised by Ian Repath and Fritz-Gregor Herrmann, marked the 15th anniversary of the foundation of KYKNOS at Swansea, and at the same time celebrated the 40th anniversary of the arrival at Swansea of Prof. em. John Morgan, at whose initiative KYKNOS was established as a research centre in 2004. At the end of the formal proceedings, John Morgan was presented with a Festschrift with contributions by former colleagues and students, many of whom were present at the event. Some Organic Readings in Narrative, Ancient and Modern contains seventeen original essays which reflect both the wide range of John’s interests and the high esteem in which he is held internationally.

 

KYKNOS promotes research on the narrative literatures of ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt and the Near East.

https://www.swansea.ac.uk/arts-and-humanities/research/research-groups/kyknos/

Launching OLCAP (the research group for Object and Landscape Centred Approaches to the Past): Swansea in the Sudan!

Launching OLCAP!

OLCAP – the research group for Object and Landscape Centred Approaches to the Past is new to the College of Arts and Humanities. The group’s core aim is to promote and support research, teaching, and training that falls broadly in the fields of material culture studies and landscape, especially where these relate to the ancient world. There are three main, related strands of our mission: Research, Pedagogy, Training and Employability. You can read more about these on OLCAP’s webpage. On 14th October, OLCAP celebrated its official launch and we introduced these aims to staff and students across COAH to explore research synergies and potential future collaborations. The kick-off event was a wonderful opportunity to advertise our annual programme – details of which can also be found here:  OLCAP 2019 2020 Events. This term we particularly look forward to hosting our first (of many!) termly core skills training workshops, ‘Mapping Material Culture’ where our students will have the chance to practice mapping the landscape in preparation for archaeological investigation! This will take place on 09.11.19 at Singleton Campus, 11.00-16.00.

 

OLCAP’s first sponsored post on Hieroglyphs, Heroes, and Heretics is a report from Dr Christian Knoblauch (Lecturer in Egyptian material Culture) about his collaboration with Brown University and their excavations in the Sudan. If you would like to hear more about the project, Christian will be giving a talk at 3pm on Tuesday 29th of October at Singleton Campus, Keir Hardie Building Room 429 as part of the CLAHE Research Seminar Series.

Swansea in the Sudan

Image 1: The Swansea-Brown Uronarti Regional Archaeological Project team on site in the Sudan, January 2019.

The first ever Swansea-Brown Uronarti Regional Archaeological Project team on site in the Sudan, January 2019 (image 1). The project is co-directed by Dr Christian Knoblauch (Swansea, far right) and Dr Laurel Bestock (Brown, front left). In the background, there is the remains of the massive mudbrick gateway that controlled entry into the Middle Kingdom fortress – the focus of our work. Although it is almost 4000 years old, the fortress still stands in places to a height of 7 metres. In the foreground is a back-filled administrative building excavated by the team where we were able to observe, for the first time, the arrival of the Egyptians at the site and their organisation of a mammoth building project. Beyond the fortress, looking south, one can see Lake Nasser/Lake Nubia and the desert adjacent to the ancient border with Kush at the Semna Nile Cataract. During the season, we conducted a systematic survey (image 2) of these areas in order to contextualise the fortress in wider settlement and activity patterns. A report on this last aspect of the work has been accepted for publication by Antiquity and will appear in the Project Gallery shortly.

Image 2: The team conducting their survey.

One interesting aspect of the season was the recording and micro-morphological sampling of an intact column of stratigraphy (image 3)  Such well-defined occupation layers are a rarity due to the clearing of most of the interior of the  fortress in the 1930’s.

Image 3.

We are hopeful the final scientific analysis of the layers and artefacts will shed light on the changing nature of the occupation of the site over two and a half centuries. Finds from these layers included fish-bones and angling equipment, administrative seals, stone arrowheads and some remarkably well preserved textiles (image 4).

Image 4: Preserved textile.

There was also time to conduct a condition report of the New Kingdom stone temple that has suffered considerable damage in recent years. An inventory of all decorated blocks (e.g. image 5) was compiled and recommendations were made to our partner, the National Corporation of Museums and Antiquities concerning conserving the structure and making it better accessible to other scholars and the public in the future. We plan to continue this work in early 2020.

Image 5: A decorated block from the New Kingdom stone temple.

The author thanks the COAH Research Fund for enabling his participation in the project in January 2019. Images courtesy of URAP.

 

WOW Opportunity: Social Media and Digital Marketing Assistants (Classics, Ancient History and Egyptology)

Interested in a career in broadcasting, journalism or marketing? Enjoy creative writing and Social media? Want to work with like-minded people to share knowledge about the ancient world to a wider audience?

Look no further! The Department of Classics, Ancient History, and Egyptology is inviting students interested in developing a range of transferable skills to apply for a one of a number of Week of Work (WOW) placements.

 

 The Department of Classics, Ancient History and Egyptology is offering up to four WOW placements to support the department’s web officer with the development and maintenance of the department’s blog, newly launched newsletter and their Twitter and Facebook accounts.

This is a fantastic opportunity to gain employability skills, meet new people, and create web and media content for our department! Ella Thomas (a second year Media and Communication Student) held a WOW placement last year and was a Social Media Assistant to Dr. Ersin Hussein, Department of Classics, Ancient History and Egyptology. Ella said the following of her experience:

“I have been responsible managing future contributions to the departmental blog Hieroglyphs, Heroes, and Heretics and I have worked closely with Ersin to create an official annual departmental newsletter. Duties have included emailing staff and students (current and alumni) for contributions to the newsletter’s content and helping in the design and layout of the newsletter. The placement greatly helped me to develop and implement marketing and PR skills that I had been taught on my course, such as managing social media platforms and designing layouts for public facing documents (e.g. leaflets). I have also developed valuable administration skills, such as time management. As a result of my placement I am eligible to gain the SEA award, which will greatly enhance my career prospects after University. The amount of support received from Ersin has been amazing and has greatly enhanced my confidence and belief in my own capabilities. I would recommend undertaking a placement to all students who wish to improve upon their academic and personal  skills.”

Person Specification

  1. Good organisational skills and the ability to complete a task to a deadline
  2. Excellent attention to detail and accuracy
  3. The ability to work independently, and to know when and how to seek guidance
  4. Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  5. Good interpersonal skills
  6. A quick learner and able to adapt to change/display flexibility

 

Timings

Est. 04/11/19 – 04/05/20

18 teaching weeks, 1-2 hours per week. Scheduled workshops of 2-3 hours throughout the term.

 

Application and Closing Date

To apply, please send your CV and covering letter to COAHEmployability@swansea.ac.uk by midnight on Sunday 20th October. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch with the employability office (using the email above) or with Dr Ersin Hussein (ersin.hussein@Swansea.ac.uk).

We look forward to receiving you applications!

 

 

Welcome back and looking forward to the 2019/2020 academic year!

A very warm welcome back to everyone!

We may have been a little quiet on the blog front last term, but by no means did this mean that we weren’t busy! For example, we saw the completion and launch of the Ancient World on Film project and the successful delivery of new, innovative modules (including handlings sessions in the Egypt Centre and a trip to the British Museum) – you can read about these in the COAH College newsletter here. Towards the end of term, many staff and students delivered papers at The Egypt Centre’s conference ‘Wonderful Things‘, an event that showcased the history of the museum and current research that is taking place there in conjunction with our department. The Egypt Centre Collection Blog is a fantastic read as it regularly features news about its volunteers, the research that our students undertake,  collaborative work with the department and the current renovations to its store rooms. All in all it has been an exciting year and the 2019/20 academic year promises to be equally as busy for all staff and students here in the department…

Along with the rest of the university, we are celebrating the Swansea 2020 centenary! This academic year will also see the official launch of OLCAP – our new research group for object and landscape centred approaches to the ancient past. More on this to come! In April, the department will also host the Classical Association conference in April 2020 – a truly international event that draws attention to cutting edge research, innovations in pedagogy across all stages of education provision and pressing issues for our fields of study and work. So watch this space as more information about these events, as well as many others, will be featured on the blog! We also have a number of contributions from our undergraduate and postgraduate researchers to look forward to.

To kick start the year, I draw your attention to the UWICAH postgraduate conference that will take place on 16th November on the theme of Narratives of Power! This conference has been organised by our postgraduate research students and, as you can see below, promises to be a fantastic event. We look forward to seeing you there!

From the organisers:

On the sixteenth of November the Universities of Wales Institute of Classics and Ancient History Postgraduate conference will take place in the Council Chamber and Conference Room 2 in Singleton Abbey. PhD candidates in the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Egyptology at Swansea University have this year organized the conference. The topic of this year’s conference will be Narratives of Power, and explores powerful narratives in Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and the Near East. After a successful call for papers, the conference has drawn speakers from across Britain and beyond. The conference will feature twenty-two speakers, from eighteen institutions (including all three UWICAH Universities, Swansea, Cardiff and Trinity St David’s, Lampeter) and run from 09:30-17:30; followed by a roundtable debate and drinks in a nearby pub.

The delegates have interpreted Narratives of Power in a wide variety of ways, and therefore there will be talks on many topics including mythology, material culture, rulers, identity and more. Furthermore, we are thinking of publishing some of the papers from the conference in an edited volume. Food and drinks will be provided for attendees of the conference, and we hope to see as many people as possible from Swansea to support the event. If you are interested in attending, email uwicahconference2019@gmail.com and/or sign up on Eventbrite (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/uwicah-2019-narratives-of-power-tickets-73538673151).

 

Eventbrite QR code:

Best Regards

Thomas Alexander Husøy, William Clayton, Urska Furlan.

Conference Programme

Singleton Abbey, Swansea University, SA2 8PP

 

Time Council Chamber Conference Room 2
9.30 Registration
  Classics Egyptology I
10.00 Rebecca Rusk (Reading): The Rule of Zeus in Hesiod’s Theogony Thomas Humphrey (UWTSD): Power and Diplomacy in the Amarna Letters: Cypro-Egyptian Relations in the 14th Century BCE
10.30 Brian McPhee (North Carolina): Brawn Without Brain? Mythopoetic Trajectories in Heracles’ Teratomachies Rachael Cornwell (Liverpool): The Power of Change: The Accumulated Impact of Minor Linguistic Changes on the Egyptian Verbal System
11.00 Georgina Homer (Open University): Infamous Medea: Power Through Reputation and Infamy John Rogers (Swansea): “I Made This as an Act of Praise”: Power and Agency in 7th-Century BCE Egyptian Non-Royal Statuary
11.30 Gina Bevan (Cardiff): Medusa’s Rape: Lady Gaga and Victimhood Marwa Abdel Razek (Cairo/Cairo Museum): The Mystery of Female Figurines (Concubines) Represented on Plaques and Beds in the Cairo Museum
12.00 Lunch
  Archaic and Classical Greece Egyptology II
12.45 Thomas Alexander Husøy (Swansea): Thessaly and the Narrative of Identities in Central Greece Lonneke Deipeut (Leiden): Horses in Egypt: A Status Symbol or a Status Marker?
13.15 Richard Phillips (Birkbeck College, London): Cultural and Political Soft Power in the Ancient Greek World: Paros and Athens Islam Alwakeel (Ain Shams): Offering of the Field (sḫt) in the Egyptian Temples of the Greco-Roman Period (Edfou-Dendara)
13.45 Matt Thompson (Nottingham): Projecting Power By Displaying Nothing? Possible Motivations for the Apparent Refusal of the Spartans to Dedicate Captured Arms Henry Bohun (UWTSD): Exploring Ptolemy II Within the Narrative of Ancient Egyptian Kingship: Ruler Cult and Material Culture
14.15 Ana Garcia Espinosa (Cardiff): Mercenary Armies and Power: The Narrative of Leadership in Xenophon’s Anabasis Frédéric Rouffet (Paul-Valéry): Title TBC, Egyptian Magic
14.45 Tea/Coffee

 

 

Time Council Chamber Conference Room 2
  Late Classical Greece Egyptian and Roman History
15.15 Maria Gisella Giannone (Exeter): Narratives of Power By and Within Athens in Isocrates’ On the Peace Ella McCafferty Wright (Cambridge): The Meroe Bust of Augustus and Narratives of Rebellion
15.45 Leon Battista Borsano (Scuola Normale Superiore): Kyrios Estō: Narrative(s) of Power in Late Classical Lycia Consuelo Martino (St. Andrews): The Last Republican or the First Emperor? Discussing Suetonius’ Divus Iulius and the Political Power of Biographical Writing
16.15 Roberta Dainotto (Crete): Building Concepts of Power Through Narrative in Forensic Speeches: The Case of Apollodorus Domiziana Rossi (Cardiff): Sasanian Kings as Decision-Makers: Reshaping the Ērānshahr
16.45 Roundtable Discussion of Day
17.30 Close

 

Reflections on volunteering and learning at Swansea’s Egypt Centre – by Sam Powell

In this week’s blog post Sam Powell reflects upon her volunteering and learning experiences at Swansea’s award winning Egypt Centre. Sam completed a BA Joint Honours in Egyptology and Ancient History at Swansea University in 2006. In 2010 she went on to complete an MA in Archaeology at UCL. Sam then worked at English Heritage/ Historic England and had two children before returning to Swansea in 2017 to study part time for an MA in Egyptian Material Culture.

Sam in Egypt!

During my undergraduate degree I enjoyed volunteering at the Egypt Centre. It is an absolutely fantastic resource for students and, as well as being home to over 5000 objects, it provides a great opportunity to volunteer as a gallery assistant and gain real experience of the workings of a museum.  The museum opened in 1994 and houses a significant number of artefacts from the collection of Sir Henry Wellcome. The two galleries have a range of objects including coffins, jewellery, furniture and pottery. Unlike a “traditional” museum, there are lots of interactive activities including playing the Egyptian board game senet, a chance to try your hand at mummification (on a dummy-mummy!), and an object handling board, allowing visitors the chance to really examine ancient Egyptian artefacts in great detail.

Given how much I enjoyed my time volunteering at the Egypt Centre as an undergraduate,  I was pleased to find out one of the optional modules for my MA was “Reaching the Public: Object Based Learning”. This module was an amazing opportunity to get up close with the objects and learn about the benefits of using artefacts as a medium for teaching.  The history of museums, the creation of conservation reports, catering to different audiences, issues of display, and creating information files for objects were topics also covered.

As part of our assessment we were given the opportunity to choose a topic and to present five relevant objects to an audience. It was a brilliant way to actually apply what we had learnt about object based learning. I chose “depictions of childhood” as my theme and was able to  research my chosen objects, review their object files, which included information about their provenance and how they came into the collection, as well as investigate similar objects for comparison regarding their function and original owners. Although technically an exam, I thoroughly enjoyed presenting my chosen objects to the three participants for my one hour session. It was fantastic to be able to practise answering questions from an audience and to guide them as they drew their own conclusions about the objects they were handling.  My group responded really well to this and it was clear that they enjoyed a sense of ownership over their learning process.

I would highly recommend volunteering at the Egypt Centre, enrolling on a module which enables you to work with collection, or at the very least visit it if you find yourself at Swansea University. Click on the following link to find out more about the Egypt Centre, the volunteering opportunities on offer, and about the active Friends group which hosts monthly evening lectures for those with an interest in ancient Egypt!

http://www.egypt.swan.ac.uk/

Calling all filmmakers – Job advert for the project The Ancient World on Film!

This week’s blog is a call for filmmakers interested in working on an exciting new collaborative project between staff and students at Swansea University, local communities. Details below:

The Ancient World on Film is an exciting new collaborative project between staff and students at Swansea University, local communities, and filmmakers. Filmmakers will work with staff and students in the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Egyptology to produce a short film (5-10 minutes) about the ancient world which opens up the subject to new audiences. Staff and students will be responsible for writing the script in consultation with local communities so that the films can be targeted effectively at our ideal audiences. However, we hope that filmmakers will embrace this opportunity to mentor our students and help them explore the creative potential of the medium. We are particularly keen to develop new ways of presenting information about the ancient world which go beyond the traditional documentary format and will welcome suggestions from filmmakers about how to do this. The films will be shown at a big launch at the Taliesin theatre in May 2019, where filmmakers and students will have the opportunity to discuss the production process with members of the public and invited guests.

We are producing four films in total and invite pitches from filmmakers to produce one or more of those films. For each film:

You Will Need:

* Demonstrable experience producing short films; ideally you will be able to demonstrate experience delivering a contracted film on schedule and on budget.

* To supply your own filming and editing equipment.

* Public liability insurance.

* To be prepared to undertake a DBS check if necessary.

* Ideally you will have experience producing films as part of a team, and particularly of working with community groups and/or students.

* Ideally you will be available to attend a workshop with members of the local community in late January or early February 2019. Dates will be confirmed after further consultation with all parties involved.

* To consult with students and staff during the script-writing period (February-March 2019). This can be done remotely if necessary.

* To be able to shoot the film in March or early April 2019. Filming is expected to take no more than one day.

* To provide a rough cut of the film for discussion by mid-April 2019.

* To deliver the final film by 30th April 2019.

* To attend a film screening at the Taliesin theatre on the University’s Singleton Park Campus on Monday 13th May from 4.30 to 7.30.

You Will Receive:

* A fee of £1,500 to be paid in two instalments (the first instalment to be paid after filming, the second upon delivery of the final film).

* A budget of £1,000 to make the film.

Deliverables

* 1 film (5-10 minutes in length) shot in Full HD format (1920×1080)

* Delivered as an MP4 file and one copy on a blue-ray disc

* Deadline for completion: 30th April 2019

* You will also be required to discuss a rough cut of the film with students at an appropriate moment in the process, likely in March or April 2019.

The Film

We are looking to create exciting, new films about the ancient world and we intend to give filmmakers and students plenty of scope to utilise their creative vision and skills to develop the film. In particular, we want to move beyond the traditional documentary format and find innovative ways to communicate information about the ancient world. For an idea of what we mean by all of this, feel free to have a look at an earlier project led by Dr Harrison.

 

To Apply

Send a brief (1 page max) cover letter detailing your experience and including a link to a showreel or equivalent to Dr Stephen Harrison (stephen.harrison@swansea.ac.uk) and Dr Joanne Berry (j.t.berry@swansea.ac.uk) by 23.59 on 31st December 2018. Shortlisted applicants will be contacted in the first week of January 2019 with a view to further discussion.

We would love to hear from interested filmmakers, so please send informal queries and expressions of interest to Drs Berry and Harrison.

Spotlight on a Mummified Crocodile from The Egypt Centre – by Warda Malik

Continuing our celebration of the Egypt Centre this week’s blog post is an edited version of a short piece of coursework originally submitted for the module ‘Egyptian Art and Archaeology’. For this assignment students were required to write an object biography for an exhibit in the Egypt Centre. Our author, Warda Malik, chose object W985 because crocodile mummies were neither something she had significantly come across before in lectures nor extensively read about.

Birds eye view of W985. Image courtesy of the Egypt Centre.

Object W985, exact provenance unknown, is a mummified crocodile and is currently on display in the ‘House of Death’ in the Egypt Centre, Swansea. W985 was initially perceived to be a false mummy as votive animal mummies were often empty or only contained fragmented remains. Votive animals usually died a natural death; however, many were deliberately killed ahead of religious festivals, as could have been the case with W985. It is probable that these mummies were produced at times when there was a shortage of the appropriate animal required. W985 was X-rayed by St James vets in 2008, revealing that the mummy contained the remains of a baby crocodile approximately 18 inches long inside, however, they were commonly placed alongside fully-grown crocodile remains. Some examples of other x-rays undertaken on mummified crocodiles from the same context can be observed in the following images:

The Late Period (664-332BC) witnessed a dramatic rise of animal cults in ancient Egypt and may have been a result of artistic archaizing of the period. Unlike most of the Mediterranean, Egyptians did not regard animals as inferior to humans, and believed that they had a soul. In ancient Egypt, crocodiles were predominantly associated with Sobek ancient Egyptian crocodile deity) who was venerated from the Old Kingdom. His cult increased particularly during the Ptolemaic Period. Crocodiles’ natural habitat was largely the Nile and they were generally considered as the offspring of the annual inundation and acted as a symbol for the Nile’s fertility. Crocodiles tend to transport their young in their mouths to ensure safe travel, and additional baby crocodiles could symbolise a positive nurturing quality of an otherwise dangerous animal. Additionally, sacred animals were identified by their ‘special markings’ which acted as proof of their embodiment of specific gods. Therefore, it is likely that W985 was worshipped as a living incarnation of Sobek during its lifetime.

Map of ancient Egypt showing the areas of Tebtunis, Kom Ombo and the Fayum.

The most prominent cult centres of Sobek in ancient Egypt were Tebtunis, Kom Ombo and the Fayum region. The excavations of Tebtunis in the 1930’s unearthed many shallow graves, with crocodile remains found buried in the sand. A distinctive style of wrapping the crocodile remains in sheets of papyrus had been adopted and can be dated to the Greco-Roman period due to writing found on recycled papyri. From this, one can conclude that W985 is unlikely to have originated from the site of Tebtunis as it does not bear the characteristic papyrus wrapping found on other contemporary crocodile mummies.

Situated in Lower Egypt, near the Delta region, the area of Kom Ombo gained importance during the Ptolemaic Period due to its access to several trade routes and had a temple dedicated to both Sobek and Horus (Egyptian deity, associated with kingship). Living Crocodiles may have been kept in the vicinity due to the high regard given to Sobek. After its death, the crocodile would have been mummified and buried, achieving the state of immortality. During special religious festivals, mummified animals dedicated to specific deities were taken for procession and later buried in catacombs, sealed until the next celebration. It may be probable that W985 was initially found in such a cache, perhaps near the site of Kom Ombo rather than Tebtunis or the Fayum region as simpler burials of shallow graves were more common in those areas.

Celebrating 20 years of the Egypt Centre!

This year we’re celebrating the Egypt Centre’s 20th Anniversary! Below are ten fun facts about Egyptology and the collection housed in this award winning museum and educational centre.

  1. An amulet or charm was worn to give the wearer protection or power. Different amulets were connected with different powers. The living wore amulets as jewellery. The dead wore amulets wrapped up in their mummification bandages to protect them. The wealthier you were, the more amulets you had. If you look really close – the detail is incredible!

    1. Amulets from the collection.
  2. Did you know that during the Victorian Era, wealthy Victorians would host ‘mummy parties’ as a social occasion? The upper-class Victorians would get together and unwrap a mummy to see how many amulets they could find and they’d be kept as gifts.

    A mummy from the Egypt Centre.
  3. The Egyptians had their own numbering system. Here’s what 1 million looks like (a God with praised arms)… and 100,000 (a tadpole)…. And 1000 (lotus flower).

    3. Egyptian numerals.
  4. Did you know that during the mummification process, all organs were removed except the heart? Even the brain was pulled out from the nose!

    4. Bob – our willing model for demonstrations in the Egypt Centre!
  5. The lungs, stomach, intestines, and liver were dried out and each placed in a canopic jar. The jars came in sets of four, and each of the Four Sons of Horus were assigned the duty of protecting the contents.

    5. Canopic jars.
  6. A Mummy Mask like this would be placed on the face of the dead. These would be made from a mixture of plaster and bandages, and gilded.

    6. A mummy mask from the collection.
  7. This beaded collar made of faience beads dates from the middle of the New Kingdom c1350BC. The object below may have belonged to an Amarna princess.

    7. A beaded collar made of faience beads from the collection.
  8. Take a look at this brand new VR feature! It brings to life a mysterious wrapped linen package that contains a mummified snake! @DrRichJohnston of @CollegeofEngineering made a 3D print of what the snake would look like.

    8. 3D print of a snake from an unopened mummy from the collection!
  9. Hundreds of gods and goddesses were worshipped in ancient Egypt, including this cheeky looking fellow Bes. Bes looked after women, children, and was even a god of music and dancing!

    9. A representation of Bes from the collection.
  10. The Egypt Centre has a very full trophy cabinet. This year the centre was awarded The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award for voluntary service by groups in the community. This is the equivalent of an MBE!

Pompeii and Herculaneum study trip 2018! – by Selin Erez

A popular module that can be taken by second year students (but all year groups are welcome on the study trip component!) is the Ancient and Historical Study Places module. This year, in April, Drs Nigel Pollard and Jo Berry took students to the Bay of Naples. There the students delivered on-site presentations as part of their assessment and visited a range of ancient sites and museums, including Pompeii, Herculaneum, Paestum and Cumae. In this week’s blog post, Selin Erez reflects upon her memories of the trip.

 

Remains of the Villa of Pollio Felix and the view across the Bay.

This Easter, as part of the Ancient and Historical Study Places module, I had the opportunity to visit numerous ancient archaeological sites around the Bay of Naples. The majority of the sites were buried after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. It was so rewarding to be able to visit the places I had heard and read so much about in lectures. As a result of this trip, I fell in love with the Bay of Naples and I definitely want to go back again someday. During the week, we visited twelve archaeological sites, the Naples Museum, and even had time to climb Mount Vesuvius where we all enjoyed a glass of wine at the summit!

Although I enjoyed the entirety of the trip, there were some moments and sites that particularly stood out. Visiting ancient villas outside of city walls, and the opportunity to investigate how wealthy Romans lived in comparison to those living in the smaller domus type houses, was a high point. Villa A at Oplontis, where it is rumoured that Empress Poppaea resided, was particularly informative. Another favourite moment was when I reached the top of Mount Vesuvius and saw the full extent of the Bay of Naples with my own eyes for the very first time. It truly demonstrated the severity of the AD 79 eruption and how far reaching its effects were upon the surrounding towns.

Cement dome at Baiae

Before the trip to the Bay of Naples, I was already quite intrigued by the Roman town of Baiae, due to its description as a town that is now half underwater. This created a kind of ‘Atlantis-like’ impression for me, adding a sense of mystery due to buildings and statues being submerged! Additionally, it was interesting to hear about the ancient stories of drunken behaviour in Baiae, as it had created a name for itself as a place to escape your problems in Rome. Moreover, the architectural qualities interested me too. The cement domes frequently seen on the tops of buildings in the town demonstrate the development of styles and tastes in certain areas. These cement domes predated the dome on the Roman Pantheon, challenging misconceptions that Rome led the development of certain architectural features in the ancient world.

The Temple of Hera, Paestum

As a part of this trip, all students were required to prepare a fifteen-minute speech on a chosen site. I chose the theme of Romanisation and the Roman Forum at Paestum. At first I was nervous about standing in front of everyone (our trip was made up of undergraduates, postgraduates, and also lecturers!), but this was easy to overcome as everyone was in the same position and we were given a lot of support from our lecturers. All of the students on the trip reassured and supported one another too. I am actually grateful for this element of the trip because it provided us all with more in-depth learning experience at each site, as each presentation was detailed and entertaining.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed myself on this trip and would recommend it to anyone! The sheer number of sites we were able to fit in still surprises me and I felt I was completely immersed in ancient culture all week, whilst simultaneously making lots of new friends across all year groups in our department.

 

Picturing Late Antiquity – by Mark Humphries

As someone who teaches modules on the period known as late antiquity (roughly 200-800 CE), one of the really interesting developments in recent decades has been the appearance of many more resources that make the period accessible to students. One that is particularly close to my heart is the Liverpool University Press series, Translated Texts for Historians (abbreviated as TTH), which has been publishing translations into English of late-antique sources since 1985. There are a number of reasons for this: one is that, when I was a student myself, volumes of the series were among the first things I read on the period. Another, perhaps more obvious, is that since 2000 I have been involved in editing the series, and have served, for about fifteen years, as one of its general editors alongside Professor Gillian Clark (Bristol University) and Dr Mary Whitby (Oxford University).

A lion from a fifth-century mosaic in Antioch for a volume of speeches by the orator Libanius – the author of the volume wanted this because she always imagined Libanius as a roaring lion!

Over the period of my engagement with the series, watching it grow from a handful of volumes to nearly seventy (as well as seeing the establishment of additional series, including one that translates Byzantine sources) has shed interesting light on how the study of late antiquity itself has flourished and diversified. From a very early stage, the series has taken a very wide view of the world of late antiquity: it includes translations of texts not only from Latin and Greek, but also from languages as varied as Old Irish, Armenian, Syriac, and Arabic. Very few people are able to read all of these languages, so the series has become an important resource not just for students (its original intended audience) but also increasingly for scholars. The series is important, therefore, in enabling its readers in developing a very broad picture of the late-antique world, which stretches not only in terms of time from the Roman Empire to the early Middle Ages, but also in terms of space from the Atlantic shores of Ireland and Spain to Persian and early Islamic central Asia.

“Candy-coloured covers”: TTH on display at a conference.

But there is another way in which the series has encouraged me to picture late antiquity in new ways. Since its establishment, the series has been celebrated for its publication format: each volume has a brightly coloured cover with a line drawing of an appropriate object (such as a mosaic, a coin, or a manuscript image). Among scholars in the United States, where the series has proved hugely popular, TTH is well-known, so Gillian Clark has been told, for its “candy-coloured covers” – and certainly at conferences a display of the series is pretty eye-catching. For reasons I cannot now completely remember, I started drawing some of the cover images in about 2000, and since have graduated to drawing pretty much all of them. This experience has led me to picture the diversity of the late antique world in other ways too, as I attempt to get to grips with objects as diverse as Persian coins, early medieval manuscripts, wall paintings, mosaic pavements, and even buildings. But it is also a reminder of one of the reasons why I got into scholarship and late antiquity in the first place: because it is interesting – and fun!

 

A coin of the Persian king Hormizd II (302-309) for a volume of Arabic historians of the Persian empire.

 

Ushering in the 2018/19 academic year!

Welcome to the re-launch of our departmental blog and the first post of the new academic year.

We may have been a little quiet over the last 12 months or so but that does not mean to say that we have been resting on our laurels. You can read about 2017/18 by taking a look at our first departmental newsletter (NewsletterVolOneEnglish) which contains details of our teaching, research, and what our students have been up to! This coming year promises to be as exciting with our staff, students, and colleagues in our award winning Egypt Centre active as ever.

To get us into the swing of the new year read below some reflections written by our freshers on their first few weeks in Swansea and the department:

Where do I start with freshers’ week?! So much has happened…met lots of new people, already learned loads about my course and enjoyed free pizza! – Meghan, Egyptology.

My favourite thing has been visiting the library and picking out my Egyptology books…The university made us feel very welcome and helped us make new friends! – Kitty, Egyptology and Ancient History.

It has been amazing waking up to a stunning view and the possibility of learning new things… Freshers in a nutshell: Stunning views, alcohol, exploration, new friends, laughs, cooking mishaps, outfits stress, and fear for my bank balance. – Lottie Lewellyn-Fox, Egyptology and Ancient History.

Freshers! Despite the many (horror) stories one hears going into it, there’s a surprising amount of variety involved. Take Saturday for example: one moment I’m stood in the corner of the ‘outdoor club’ and then I’m screaming along with everyone else in JC’s bar as Anthony Joshua knocks his opponent out twice in 30 seconds. There’s really something for all types of people to enjoy rather than a nonstop SESH. – Alfie, Ancient History.

Freshers’ week helped me to understand what was expected of me and helped me to get used to working with a hangover. Despite this the staff were very helpful and friendly and were always there to point me in the right direction. – Callum B, Ancient History.

More to come from us soon…

90 Years of the Classical Association at Swansea

I was recently lucky enough to be handed the minutes from the Classical Association of Wales – South Wales Branch (based at Swansea University) and the opportunity to riffle through the Association’s history between its formation in 1928 and the late 80’s as a result. As a Classicist, it was an interesting change of pace to pursue some more modern, local history, and I jumped at the chance to read a little more into the thoughts, attitudes and perceptions of Classics and its role in the community and the curriculum in the 20th century. As both a student of, and aspiring teacher in, Classics, this blogpost will contain a number of my musings as I flicked through the pages of old journals. I was surprised to find that, despite the many differences between the study of Classics then and now, we are still facing many of the same questions and challenges as our predecessors did nearly 100 years ago.

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