Event: Friday Seminar: "Watery landscapes in ancient Egypt, their depiction and why they mattered"

Date & Time

June 1, 2018 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm
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Contact Information

Matthew Swanson


Fowler A222

Event Type

Friday Seminar

Event Details

Speaker: Dr. John Baines, University of Oxford

Studies of ancient Egyptian landscapes tend to focus on Upper Egypt, where the Nile valley is generally narrow and the low desert and the escarpment form a pervasive background. This focus is due in part to patterns of preservation of ancient sites, which disproportionately favor the Nile valley and desert regions. Yet from prehistoric times representations of landscapes that are integral to architectural forms and ritual settings show watery environments, which from the third millennium onward are often those of the delta. The delta landscape was much more enveloping for those who lived within it, while for travelers on land and particularly water its perspective lacked the relief and visibility of Upper Egypt. Its characteristics spoke even more strongly than those of the Nile valley to the importance of the river, to the liminality and impermanence that human society seeks to overcome, and to the perpetual renewal vouchsafed by abundant growth. The focus on such environments, which is ideologically crucial, is evident also in elite pastimes with their partly ritual associations.