Sponsored by: Archaeological Institute of America
Image and representation have always played a central role in the commemoration of the dead in ancient Egypt. Ritual funerary practices were often multisensory experiences comprised of an intricate combination of visual, auditory, tactile, gustatory, and olfactory senses. A proper ancient Egyptian funerary ensemble, coupled with the burial landscape, facilitated active tactile encounters between the living and the dead and were critical for the revivification of the deceased in the afterlife. The combination of textual, archaeological, and visual material evidence reveals that the ritual practice of celebrating the deceased included offerings, feasting, dancing, and the recitation of magical spells. This lecture investigates the multisensory experience of funerary practices in Roman Egypt and explores the experiential encounters between the material and temporal realms of the living and the dead. Painted portraits and shrouds attached to the mummified remains of the deceased, magical texts, ritual offerings, and the overall landscape of the tomb indicate that the practices of commemorating the deceased established participatory relationships where the living could experience and see the dead.
Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:
Hamilakis, Yannis. 2013. “Afterword: Eleven Theses on the Archaeology of Senses.” In Making Senses of the Past: Toward Sensory Archaeology, edited by J. Day, 409-419. Carbondale: Southern Illinoise University Press.
Riggs, Christina. 2003. “The Egyptian Funerary Tradition at Thebes in the Roman Period.” In The Theban Necropolis: Past, Present and Future. London: British Museum.
Riggs, Christina. 2005. The Beautiful Burial in Roman Egypt: Art, Identity, and Funerary Religion. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
Roth, Ann Macy. 1988. “The Social Aspects of Death.” In Mummies and Magic: The Funerary Arts of Ancient Egypt, edited by S. D’Auria. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts Boston.
Strudwick, Nigel. 2003. “Some Aspects of the Archaeology of the Theban Necropolis in the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods.” In The Theban Necropolis: Past, Present and Future, edited by N. Strudwick and J. H. Taylor. London: British Museum.
Taylor, John H. 2001. Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.