Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

VIRTUAL - Horns, Signposts, and an Upturned Fist: The Striking Landscapes and Material Legacies of Egypt’s Royal Living-Rock Stelae

November 8, 2020 @ 2:00 pm EST Pacific Time

This is an online event.

AIA Society: Los Angeles County

Lecturer: Jen Thum

Most of us think of ancient Egypt as a culture of “big building,” especially at the hands of its kings. Yet there are some cases where Egyptian kings chose not to build monuments in order to underscore their power and position, but instead to inscribe them directly into living-rock features such as cliffs, outcrops, and boulders. Such monuments include living-rock stelae, which bore official communications from the royal establishment. It might be difficult to imagine the pharaohs as makers of rock inscriptions, but under certain sociopolitical circumstances, they were. How did Egyptian views of living rock as a material inform the choice to make a living-rock stela, and how did these monuments work? What made certain rock features attractive places to carve, and certain messages demand a place in the landscape? This lecture explores the circumstances that led Egyptian kings to use living rock as a monumental medium, and what their messages can tell us about how this medium was understood.

Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

Thum, J. 2016. “When Pharaoh Turned the Landscape into a Stela: Royal Living-Rock Monuments at the Edges of the Egyptian World.” Near Eastern Archaeology 79(2): 68-77.

A TED-talk-style 5-minute video I did for Research Matters! at Brown a few years ago: Rocks, Drones, and Instagram

Ahmanson Lecture

Please register in advance for this webinar. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

When placing events on your calendar using these buttons, please check that time zone displays correctly.


November 8, 2020
2:00 pm EST
Event Category:


Kenneth Seligson


In-person or Virtual Event
Subscribe to the AIA e-Update

support Us

The AIA is North America's largest and oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to archaeology. The Institute advances awareness, education, fieldwork, preservation, publication, and research of archaeological sites and cultural heritage throughout the world. Your contribution makes a difference.