National Lecture Program

AIA Lecturer: Salima Ikram

Affiliation: American University in Cairo

Dr. Salima Ikram, a well known Egyptologist, is an associate professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo, a participant in many Egyptian archaeological projects, the author of several books on Egyptian archaeology, a contributor to various magazines, and a frequent guest on television shows on the topic. Dr. Ikram studied Egyptology and archaeology at Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania, earning an A.B. in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology and History. Continuing her studies at Cambridge University, she earned her M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Egyptology and museum studies. While working for her Ph.D. she also trained in faunal analysis. Dr. Ikram now lives in Cairo and teaches Egyptology and archaeology at the American University in Cairo. She is the correspondent for KMT, a popular Egyptological journal, and a frequent contributor to Egypt Today. She is the co-director of the Animal Mummy Project at the Egyptian Museum. Since 2001, Ikram has directed, with Corinna Rossi, the North Kharga Oasis Survey.


The relationship between humans and animals has always been complex with mutual dependencies that are practical, psychological, and even theological. Ancient Egyptian animal mummies are a particular manifestation of this complex web of inter-relations. This lecture presents the different types of animal mummies (food, pets, votive offerings, sacred creatures, and ‘other’) and explains how and why they were made, the theological and aesthetic decisions that went into their ‘packaging’, what each type meant to the ancient Egyptians, and how they reflect the ways in which the Egyptians interacted with the animal world, and how even today they influence our view of the ancient Egyptians and influence contemporary thought and art.

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