Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Votive animal mummies were produced in their millions by the ancient Egyptians as a means of communication between man on earth and the divine. The paucity of literary evidence from the time for the purpose and motivation behind this practice mean that the mummies themselves remain our best source of information. At the University of Manchester, cutting edge non-destructive scientific analysis is being used to help unravel the secrets of these ancient animal mummies. X-rays and CT scans help to tell us about the contents of the bundles, as well shedding light on how the mummies were manufactured. 

The award-winning touring University of Manchester exhibition, ‘Gifts for the Gods: Animal mummies revealed’ tells the stories of some of these mummies from the time of their manufacture c.700BC to their scientific study today. Focusing on the role of the British in the discovery, excavation, collection, curation and study of these artefacts, researchers are able to reconstruct the post-excavation histories of these mummies, helping to reveal their stories thousands of years after they were made.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Not just an Aftermath – Tell el-Dab’a After the New Kingdom - Project Curator Talks in Swansea

The Friends of the Egypt Centre
Upcoming lecture
19th October

Not just an Aftermath – Tell el-Dab’a After the New Kingdom

Dr Manuela Lehmann, The British Museum, Ancient Egypt and Sudan, Project Curator

Tell el-Dab'a is a settlement that is well known for its Second Intermediate Period and New Kingdom houses, temples and palaces. Less well known is that this site was settled extensively in the Late and Ptolemaic Periods as well. Changes in the traditional Egyptian architecture evolve into a quite different settlement layout. New research is giving insights into a typical Egyptian settlement in the time after the New Kingdom in the Delta.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Dylan Thomas & Ancient Egypt

Wednesday 21st September 2016 
(this lecture will take place in Café West, Fulton House) 

Dulcie Engel Independent Researcher and Egypt Centre Volunteer

Title: Dylan Thomas and Ancient Egypt

Abstract: Dylan Thomas’s interest in Ancient Egypt is little known. He grew up in a period of great fascination with all things ancient Egyptian following Carter’s discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922. This is reflected in the fact that the first poem in his notebooks, dated April 1930, has an Egyptian theme, while Egyptian symbolism crops up throughout his early short stories, and plays a crucial role in such poems as ‘My world is pyramid’, ‘Should lanterns shine’ and ‘Altarwise by owl-light’. I
n this talk, Dr Dulcie Engel, an Egypt Centre volunteer and confirmed Dylan Thomas fan, discusses the significance of Ancient Egypt to Swansea’s most famous son using examples from the Egypt Centre’s collection. 

Friends of the Egypt Centre

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Storage Treasures - Greek Stela of a 'good woman'

I recently was lucky enough to be doing some work in the storage room at the Egypt Centre and came across this lovely fragment of a Greek stela.  

It reads:

ARISA the daughter of AROSTOMENES a good woman who caused trouble to nobody. Farewell now. 55 years old. In the 28th year of the Emperor, on the 16th day of tner Month Pharmouthis'. 

Translated by Dr Kate Bosse Griffiths

Friday, 12 August 2016

The Grave of Nanetta Stocker in Birmingham

 Worn with age and covered with lichen, it is difficult to read the inscription on this grave at St. Phillip's Cathedral in the centre of Birmingham.  It's design is unremarkable, so that people passing it are not likely give it a second look.  Yet, this memorial stands testament to a remarkable women.  Nanetta (also referred to as Nanette) Stocker was in fact the smallest woman in Britain.

At only 33 inches high (two foot nine inches), Nanetta used her height to map out a living.  A talented musician, she toured with  fellow Austrian and musician, John Hauptmann, who was himself small in stature.  Both became well known throughout Europe for their amazing talent but also as curiosities.  A booklet was even produced about them at the time called The History and Travels of the Little Nanette Stocker and of John Hauptmann.
Image via Lesley-Anne Mcleod

Nanette's grave can be found to the right of the entrance of the Cathedral and the inscription reads:

In Memory of NANETTA STOCKER, who departed this life, May 4th 1819, aged 39 years.  The smallest woman ever in this kingdom.  Possessed with every accomplishment, only 33 inches high.  A NATIVE OF AUSTRIA,

Image via Lesley-Anne Mcleod

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

The Leaning Tower of...Burnham On Sea!

The lighthouse on legs on the beach at Burnham On Sea
If you find yourself in Somerset, as I did this weekend, I can highly recommend a visit to Burnham On Sea.  Burnham was originally a small fishing village until the late 18th century, when it then grew in popularity during the Victorian period as a seaside resort and spa.  Today it still retains an old-fashioned charm, where you can enjoy a huge (and very clean) beach with its own a lighthouse on legs, a long promenade, the shortest pier in Britain and plenty of history to boot.
St Andrew's Church with Sam in the forefront.

One good place to experience this history is the Medieval church of St Andrews. A church has existed on the site since the late 11th century and the building has  subsequently been enhanced and replaced over the centuries.  The church is notable at first glance for its leaning 78 foot tower which was built in the late 14th or early 15th century.   The 3 foot difference in angle from the top to the bottom occurred almost immediately it was built and is believed to have been caused by poor foundations and settlement.  During the 18th century a light was put in the tower where it acted as a guide for boats in the harbour until 1801 when a round tower was built next to the church as a replacement lighthouse.  The round tower became redundant in 1832 and was replaced by the High and Low lighthouses. Six bells were placed within the tower in 1823 and a further 2 were added in 1902.  I experienced the beautiful sound of these eight peals on Sunday morning!

Lion head outside the church
Walking through the huge oak door of  St Andrew's (built in 1315), we received a warm welcome by the Revd. Graham Witts and the lovely guide on duty who both enthusiastically shared their knowledge of the church's history with us.  Seeing we had left Sam, our dog, outside, he was promptly invited in to have a cool bowl of water...a lovely gesture on a very hot day!

There are a number of beautiful marble sculptures inside, which can be found behind the Altar, in the Nave windows and in the Baptistry.  Known as the Gibbons Sculptures, these were originally commissioned by James II and once formed part of the Altar piece by Grinling Gibbons for the chapel of Whitehall Palace.  Later, they were taken from the Palace to Westminster Abbey and placed behind the High Altar on the order of Queen Anne.  In 1820 the sculptures were removed by the Dean and Chapter  and came to Burnham on Sea at the instigation of the Bishop of Rochester, who was at that time also the vicar of Burnham.  The sculptures are exquisite and St Andrew's are righty very proud of them.  Photography is actively encouraged, and there are plenty of information sheets for you to take away.

Gibbons Sculptures at the back of the Altar 
Angels - part of the Gibbons sculptures

There is much enjoy at St Andrew's, including the stunning 1773 brass chandelier which was happily switched on for us to take a photograph underneath.  Beautiful and well maintained grounds, a wealth of history, stunning architecture and monuments and a fantastic welcome are just some of the reasons to visit this lovely church.  Oh...and the leaning tower of Burnham makes a great photo too!

The beautiful brass chandelier