This talk will be held at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies’ Rome Auditorium. The auditorium is located at 1619 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC. Here’s a link to a map on Google.com to help you find your way.
In Dr. O’Connor’s lecture, entitled “Mysteries of Abydos: Excavating and Saving the Monuments of Egypt’s Earliest Pharaohs,” he will describe the revealing discoveries that are being made about these enigmatic monuments to Egypt’s earliest kings; their documentation and preservation; and the intensive conservation and stabilization program that will assure the survival of the greatest of them for the next 5000 years and more.
David O’Connor studied Egyptology at University College, London and received his Ph.D. from Cambridge University. Since 1960, he frequently has excavated in Egypt, mostly at Abydos, but also at the palace site of Amenhotep III at Malkata. After 31 years as a professor and curator at the University of Pennsylvania and its museum, he was appointed Lila Acheson Wallace Professor of Egyptian Art and Archaeology at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. He is also a member of the Advisory Committee of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at NYU.
His recent book Abydos: Egypt’s First Pharaohs and the Cult of Osiris (New Aspects of Antiquity), (published by Thames and Hudson) is the first comprehensive study of this major site to appear for many years. The paperback edition has recently been published.
“When we think of ancient Egypt, we usually visualize pyramids, sphinxes and temples, all built by the Egyptian pharaohs over several thousands of years. However, long before the pyramids, Egypt’s earliest kings – literally , “the First Dynasty” – were provided with monuments that seem very alien to the ancient Egyptian world as we usually imagine it. The tombs of these earliest pharaohs are at Abydos, along with two for Second Dynasty kings, but nearby are much larger and much more mysterious structures dedicated to these same rulers.
These structures seem almost inscrutable to modern Egyptology. Why is their form so strange; for what unusual rites were they used; why are some surrounded by human sacrifices, and in one case, flanked by a fleet of ships, seemingly moored far out in the desert? These mysterious structures were the largest built at this time and amazingly one – the largest and most massive- still survives today, almost 5000 years later. Dedicated to the last king of the Second Dynasty, it occupies two and a half acres and in places stands close to its original height of about 33 feet; nevertheless, today this unique structure is on the brink of collapse but is being saved thanks to massive financial support available only because of ARCE’s extraordinary conservation and restoration program which has already preserved or enhanced many buildings testifying to Egypt’s unique cultural heritage.”
Here is a flyer for the event. Click on it for the full size, and email it around to friends and colleagues! See you at the lecture!