“Ancestors in Ancient Egypt: Images and Practice”
Dr. Campbell Price, Curator of Egypt and Sudan
Kanaris Lecture Theatre, 6pm, Wednesday 4th December 2013
The existence of an ancestor cult in ancient Egypt has traditionally been downplayed by Egyptologists, in comparison with practices recognised in other African civilizations. In Pharaonic Egypt, ancestor worship has tended to be subsumed within a general reverence for deceased relatives, which dominates and motivates much of the monumental record. Viewing Egypt in its African context, this lecture will assess some points of comparison between ritual practice during the Egyptian New Kingdom (c. 1550-1070 BC) and the treatment of clay figurines from Komaland in Ghana, currently the subject of an exhibition entitled ‘Fragmentary Ancestors’ at the Museum. Possible connections include the manner of fashioning an image, its power as an object, expected interactions with the image, and the deliberate deposition of it.
This discussion is part of a wider research project which examines the interaction of individuals with standing monuments, and the extent to which those relationships are conceptualised and expressed on the monuments themselves. While compelling archaeological evidence for specifically ancestral veneration is limited in Pharaonic Egypt, texts and iconography are enticingly rich, and open to interpretation. This lecture presents a range of material and returns to the recurring question of how far Egyptology can engage with archaeological and enthnographic parallels.
More information here