ARCE-DC: Egyptology Lectures in DC!

We're the Washington, DC chapter of the American Research Center in Egypt.

Past Events


Here are some details about a lecture we had on Friday, June 17, 2011.

  • Our speaker: Dr. Miroslav Bárta, Professor of Egyptology, Charles University, Prague.
  • Location: Benjamin T. Rome Auditorium of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, 1619 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
  • Topic: Swimmers in the Sand: On the Origins of Ancient Egyptian Civilization.
  • Egyptology books by Dr. Barta on
  • The origins of ancient Egyptian civilization have been attracting the attention of archaeologists ever since the beginnings of Egyptology more than 200 years ago. This lecture will present a new and original interpretation of the rock art in the Egyptian Western Desert which is of key importance for our understanding of the roots of ancient Egyptian civilization. Indeed, its very origins can be most likely dated to the 6th millennium B.C. At that time and in the centuries to follow, the paintings in the Cave of Swimmers, known from the blockbuster film English Patient, and in the Cave of Beasts discovered only a few years ago, were created. These caves are located in a distant and barely accessible part of Egypt, on the borders of Egypt, Libya and Sudan.The rock-art preserved in these caves features several unique motifs that will become the cornerstone of ancient Egyptian iconography and mythology.  Among them may be the motif of the sky goddess and the earth god, a prototypic representation of an ancient chieftain in the much later pharaonic guise or the concept of cave creatures protecting the entrance to the Netherworld. During the Fifth and Fourth millennia B.C., the vast areas of the Western Desert suffered from a major depredation of climate that most likely led to a gradual evacuation of the region and instigated the appearance of permanent settlements in the Nile valley which led to the genesis of ancient Egyptian culture.  The lecture will present a theory according to which at least some parts of the rock art in the Western Desert were created by an ancient mind that later contributed to the intellectual emergence of ancient Egyptian civilization in the Nile valley.
  • Miroslav Bárta graduated in Egyptology and Prehistoric and Early Historic Archaeology at Charles University in Prague. He completed his Ph.D. studies in Prague and Hamburg. In 2002, he completed his second doctorate in Egyptology and since 2009, has been a professor of Egyptology. His main fields of research are: archeology and history of the third and second millenia B.C., landscape archeology in antiquity, rise and fall of complex societies, interdisciplinary research, and archaeological background of the Old Testament. He has been excavating in Egypt since 1991, conducted research of the Western Desert in 2003-2008, and since 2009 has also been working in Sudan. In 2002, he led the first detailed satellite mapping of the pyramid fields of Abusir, Saqqara and Dahshur.  In 2003-2004, he taught at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Miroslav Bárta has authored and edited several books, and over a hundred articles.  The title of his lecture for ARCE-DC is also the title of his most recent publication:  Swimmers in the Sand: On the Origins of Ancient Egyptian Civilization.


Friday, May 20, 2011, 6:30 pm

  • Suzanne Onstine, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Memphis, gave a lecture entitled, “Women and Religion in Ancient Egypt.” This lecture explored the history of how women interacted with the religious hierarchy and what that can tell us about Egyptian society as a whole.
  • More about the lecture: It has long been known that women served as God’s wives of Amun, priestesses of Hathor, and chantresses of Amun. However, these roles have only recently been studied from a modern perspective that attempts to disentangle them from old notions of celibate priestesses and temple prostitutes. By examining who the priestesses were, and what they contributed to cultic rites we can say a lot more about women and their place in society. These roles were not simply religious vocations, nor were they a “ladies auxiliary choir” for wives of elite men. In some ways the role of priestess could combine the two, but there are additional layers of complexity that touch on politics and power, as well as family dynamics.
  • About Suzanne Onstine: She graduated from the University of Arizona with a BA in Anthropology, and and MA and PhD in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations from the University of Toronto.  Her dissertation on the chantresses was published in 2005 as “The role of the chantress (Smayt) in Ancient Egypt”. Dr. Onstine is an assistant professor at the University of Memphis in the Department of History.  She received an NEH/ARCE fellowship in 2007 to study tomb TT16 and is currently preparing an article on the tomb, and eventually hopes to publish the full epigraphic record of TT16. She has been very involved in ARCE since 1990, serving as president of the Arizona chapter in 2000-2006.  Since moving to Memphis, she has been instrumental in starting a chapter there and only this past summer, it achieved full Chapter status.  She is also the current book review editor for Journal of ARCE.
  • Her publications: “Singing”, entry in UCLA encyclopedia of Egyptology; “Gender and Religion in Ancient Egypt”, Religion Compass; “Mesaid Miscellanea”, Journal of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities vol. 32(2005) [published 2007]; The Role of the Chantress (Smayt) in Ancient Egypt (2005, British Archaeological Reports, London); “Musician Priestesses in Ancient Egypt”, The Ostracon. Vol. 13, no. 2; Summer 2002; “Women in Ancient Egypt” Egypt Revealed June, 2001; “The Relationship between Re and Osiris in the Book of Caverns”, Journal of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities vol. 25 (1995) [published 1998].
  • See Dr. Onstine’s website.


Friday, April 8, 2011, 6:30 pm (Lecture)

  • Speaker: Rosemarie Klemm, Lecturer at Munich University, Institute of Egyptology. (See her website & photo.)
  • Location: Benjamin T. Rome Auditorium of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, 1619 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
  • Topic: “Gold of Nubia: ­ ancient gold production in Egypt and Northern Sudan”
  • The lecture will present the results of an examination of more than 250 ancient gold mining sites in the Eastern Desert of Egypt and the Nubian Desert of Sudan. The expedition team explored mining tools, shards, and mining techniques, and also discovered the remains of the nearby settlements. Rosemarie Klemm will outline the mining history in these remote regions, and compare ancient and recent mining activities in Sudan.
  • Rosemarie Klemm studied Egyptology, Prehistory, and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Munich.  Since 1976 she has worked as a Research Associate and Lecturer at the Institute of Egyptology in Munich. Together with her husband Dr. Dietrich Klemm, professor of Geology at Munich University, she has worked on several interdisciplinary projects, which focus on the determining the origin of ancient Egyptian stone materials, as well as ancient gold mining in Egypt and Northern Sudan.

Saturday, April 9, 2011, from 10am to 4pm

  • The annual ARCE-DC Workshop, presented by Prof. Rosemarie Klemm, Lecturer at Munich University, Institute of Egyptology
  • Topic: “Stones of the Pyramids:  The Quarries and Stone Cutting Technologies in Ancient Egypt”
  • Location:   Walters Art Museum, 5 West Mt. Vernon Place, Baltimore, MD.
  • The fees for participants are:  $55 for non-ARCE members, $50 for ARCE members, and $35 for students with ID.


Friday, March 18, 2011, 6:00 – 8:00 pm, at the Egyptian Cultural and Educational Bureau, 1303 New Hampshire Ave, NW,  Washington, DC 20036.

  • ARCE-DC and the Egyptian Embassy present  a lecture by Deborah Schorsch, Conservator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, entitled “Gifts for the Gods: The Manufacture of Metal Statuary in Ancient Egypt.” (If you would like to attend, please RSVP by calling 202-296-3959 or emailing
  • The first exhibition devoted exclusively to ancient Egyptian metal statuary, “Gifts for the Gods, Images from Egyptian Temples,” was displayed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art from October 2007 – February 2008, bringing together more than seventy works from collections around the world. Investigations into alloying practices, casting and joining methods, decorative programs, and alteration of ancient surfaces over time, constituted a valuable component in the exhibition and the accompanying catalogue. Presented here, in the form of a “virtual” gallery talk, are some of the results as well as the future goals of these ongoing studies, which complement and sometimes contextualize observations and judgments concerning style, date, iconography, and function.
  • Deborah Schorsch joined the staff of the Metropolitan Museum as a research fellow in 1984. She now holds the title of Conservator and is also a Special Lecturer in Conservation at the Institute of Fine Arts, where she received her graduate training. Her research focuses on metal technologies of the ancient world, and the characterization of ancient Egyptian materials. In addition to articles reflecting her ongoing investigation of Egyptian metalwork, Ms Schorsch’s recent publications have included articles on the early conservation practices in the Metropolitan Museum and lost-wax casting in Late Bronze Age of Cyprus. She has worked at excavations in Egypt, Turkey, Switzerland, France, and New York City.


On Friday, February 18, 2011, 6:30 pm, Arielle Kozloff, PhD, an independent scholar, will present a lecture entitled, “Two New Ideas about King Tut’s Grandfather, Amenhotep III.”

The lecture will be given at the Rome Auditorium of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, 1619 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC

The lecture will focus on two exiting new ideas which Dr. Kozloff will explore in her newest book on king Amenhotep III (forthcoming through Cambridge
University Press
). The first topic discusses the possibility of a major horse-training site adjacent to the Malkata Palace of Amenhotep III at Thebes; and the
second one presents her results of a study of the colossi of king Akhenaten (son of Amenhotep III), which were re-cut from earlier statuary of Amenhotep III, and
may once have adorned the temple of Luxor.

Arielle P. Kozloff worked at the Cleveland Museum of Art from 1969 to 1997 where, for the majority of this time, she served as the curator of Ancient Art. She
doubled the size of the on-view collection, and organized a number of award-winning exhibitions and catalogues, such as Animals in Ancient Art from the
Leo Mildenberg Collection; The First 4000 Years: Judaean Antiquities from the Ratner Collection; The Gods Delight: The Human Figure in Classical Bronze
(with David Gordon Mitten); and Egypt’s Dazzling Sun: Amenhotep III and His World together with Betsy Bryan and Larry Berman. “Egypt’s Dazzling Sun” was
the first exhibition to receive loaned objects from Egypt in more than a decade, and was the first major Egyptian art exhibition conceived outside of France to be
shown in Paris (Grand Palais). In 1997 Dr. Kozloff left the Cleveland Museum of Art to work in the commercial sector, and from 1997 to 2001, was vice-president of the Merrin Gallery in New York. In 2011 she returned to Cleveland to work as a private consultant and to write a biography of Amenhotep III.


Friday, January 21, 2011, 6:30 pm

  • Dr. Matthias Seidel, Adjunct professor, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
  • Location: Benjamin T. Rome Auditorium of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, 1619 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
  • “The Red Chapel of Queen Hatshepsut”


Friday, December 10, 2010, 6:30 pm.

Please join us for a special tour of the Coptic art collection in the Dumbarton Oaks Museum on Friday, December 10, at 6:30 pm.   The tour will be lead by the Director of the museum, Dr. Gundrun Buehl.

Address: The Dumbarton Oaks Museum, 1703 32nd Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007

See more info on the Dumbarton Oaks website.


The Egyptian Cultural and Educational Bureau

Invites You To A Presentation on Tuesday, November 23, 2010, at 6:00 o’clock p.m.

Entitled “Mud Trays and Metamorphosis: Experimental Archaeology and Valley of the Kings Tomb 6,” By Dr. Salima Ikram.

Dr.  Salima Ikram is a professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo, and has worked in Egypt since 1986.  She has lived in Pakistan, the US, UK and Egypt.  After double majoring in History, as well as Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology at Bryn Mawr College (USA), she received her M. Phil. in Museology and Egyptian Archaeology  and Ph.D. in Egyptian Archaeology from Cambridge University.  She has directed the Animal Mummy Project, co-directed the Predynastic Gallery Project, and is co-director of the North Kharga Oasis Survey.  Dr. Ikram has worked on several excavations in Egypt, as well as in Sudan, Greece and Turkey.  Her primary research interests are death, daily life, archaeozoology, ethnoarchaeology, rock art, experimental archaeology, and the preservation and presentation of cultural heritage.  She has lectured on these and other subjects all over the world.  Dr. Ikram has written several books for adults and children, and articles with subject matters ranging from mummification to the eating habits of ancient Egyptians.  She also appeared on television.

Please RSVP: 202-296-3959 or .

Venue:   The Egyptian Cultural and Educational Bureau

1303 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036

Here’s a link to a Google map.

Friday, November 19, 2010, 6:30 pm
Dr. Andrew Bednarski
Egyptologist and Assistant to the Director of Special Projects of ARCE
Benjamin T. Rome Auditorium of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, 1619 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DCCailliaud’s travels to Egypt in the 19th century”
“In 2008 ARCE began a project to translate, edit, and publish the last great work of the pioneer French Egyptologist Frédéric Cailliaud. A hero in his time, Cailliaud rediscovered the ancient emerald mines of Mount Zabora, explored both the Eastern and Western deserts, traced routes to the Red Sea, and, most famously, ‘rediscovered’ the pyramids of ancient Méroé.   Upon his return to France he brought, along with hundreds of objects for museums, an encyclopedic knowledge of the lands of the Nile.  Capitalizing on this first-hand knowledge, Cailliaud published his important Travels to the Theban Oasis and Travels to Méroé.  His third, great work, however, a sort of French blending of Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians and Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, fell afoul of technical problems and the pressures of other commitments.  While a small number of volumes of the plates for this work were published, the text meant to accompany it never saw the light of day.  Upon Cailliaud’s death, the unpublished manuscript fell into relative obscurity, where it remained for more than 100 years.  ARCE’s goal of combining, for the first time, the intended text and published plates, along with supporting information, is gradually being realized.  This lecture will discuss Cailliaud’s life, adventures, and work, as well as explain the on-going value of his long-lost manuscript to the study of ancient Egypt.”Dr. Andrew Bednarski is an Egyptologist specializing in the history of the discipline.  He earned his Ph.D. at Cambridge University and currently works as the Assistant to the Director for Special Projects, ARCE.  Along with his historiographical interests, he has excavated in Egypt at Hierakonpolis, Abydos, Tell el-Amarna, Dakhla, Mut Temple (Karnak), and Luxor Temple.  His current research interests focus on the reception of ancient Egypt in general, and the reception of ancient Egyptian material culture in particular, in western civilization.

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