CSI: Ancient Egypt, Forensic Anthropology 101
In an effort to learn more about the physical aspects of humankind, both past and present, anthropologists developed methods and techniques to evaluate human skeletal remains, techniques that apply in modern forensic (criminal) investigations. Using cases from my own research, this lecture introduces the audience to those scientific methods and techniques through digital images of actual human bones from ancient Egypt, some as old as the pyramids themselves. Participants will learn basic steps in determining a female from a male, younger from older, and what the bones can tell us about the person. A highlight of the lecture is a re-examination of a possible 3,300 year-old murder case. Appropriate for older middle school students and above, and for all adults. Dr. Stephen Phillips
The Dead Do Tell Tales: Forensic Anthropology 201
This is “Part Two” in my series on human skeletal excavation and analysis for crime scene and archaeological investigations. Using digital images of actual human skeletal material and examples of modern criminal cases, this program examines in deeper detail how forensic anthropologists determine sex and age at death, and what the deceased’s skeleton can tell us about the individual’s life. Appropriate for older middle school students and above, and for all adults. Dr. Stephen Phillips
An illustrated PowerPoint program that has two versions, one for adults and one designed for children (named, “I Want My Mummy!”). This presentation explores the science behind ancient Egyptians mummies; how the mummification process developed through time, how mummies were actually made, and, we explore why they hold such a fascination in popular culture. This program could be offered for children in the morning, and then again as an adult version that same afternoon or evening. A number of illustrations in these two talks are images of actual ancient Egyptian mummies, many collected as part of my own research in Egypt. Dr. Stephen Phillips
Show Me the Mummy!
Perfect for the Halloween holiday season! An illustrated PowerPoint program that examines the pervasiveness of ancient Egyptian mummies in cinema and in popular culture. Many people do not realize that “mummy movies” actually span nearly 100-years of the history of cinema, and that in Victorian England, mummies were the subjects of “high-society” mummy-unwrapping parties. This highly illustrated lecture traces the history of mummy movies and how they changed over time, right up to the present day, and we examine the roles that ancient Egyptian mummies have played in Western civilization. Suitable for all age groups. Dr. Stephen Phillips
Principles of Ancient Egyptian Art
This illustrated PowerPoint lecture introduces the audience to the highly recognizable, and often times confusing, world of ancient Egyptian art. In our modern world, art is often expressed as “art for art’s sake.” There may really be no such idea in the major art of ancient Egypt, however. Major ancient Egyptian art existed for practical purposes—for worship, for daily use, or to serve for eternity. In fact, the great majority of ancient Egyptian art was never meant to be seen; royal and private tombs, sealed off and thus inaccessible after burial, have provided us with our greatest sources of their art. This presentation examines these issues in light of modern concepts and perceptions of what constitutes “art.” Appropriate for middle school students and above, and for all adults. Dr. Stephen Phillips
A Thousand Miles Up the Nile
The banks of the storied Nile River are home to literally hundreds of magnificent archaeological sites exhibiting the more than 5,000-year civilization of the people of Egypt. To learn about more than 3,000 years of ancient Egyptian history, this lavishly illustrated PowerPoint lecture takes the audience on a nearly 1,000 mile journey up the Nile River, from Alexandria to Abu Simbel. Our virtual history tour includes visits to famous sites in the Nile Delta, the Pyramids of the Giza Plateau, Abu Sir and Saqqara, the famed Valley of the Kings, the ancient cities of Memphis, Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbel. We also will visit actual archaeological excavations not generally known to the public at Giza and Saqqara. Many of the photographs in this presentation I took in February 2009, when I served as an Egyptologist guide for two back-to-back tour groups. Appropriate for all ages. Dr. Stephen Phillips
Food in Ancient Egypt: Would You Like to Try the Hyena Tonight?
Ancient Egyptian civilization thrived for at least 5,000 years, an amazing achievement. The ancient Egyptians did not, however, erect even one Burger King, McDonald’s, Roy Rogers, or Pizza Hut. Just like people today, the ancient Egyptians got hungry. What did the ancient Egyptians eat and drink? What did a typical ancient Egyptian family have for dinner? Did they have beer? Wine? This illustrated PowerPoint lecture introduces the diet of ancient Egypt, a diet far more varied than you might think (yes, perhaps even included roast hyena). Appropriate for all ages. Dr. Stephen Phillips
Tutankhamun, ancient Egypt's famous boy pharaoh, grew up 3,300 years ago in the royal court at Amarna, the ancient city of Akhet-aten, whose name meant the "Horizon of the Aten." This extraordinary royal city grew, flourished and vanished in hardly more than a generation's time. This presentation examines the religious, artistic and cultural changes that took place during the reigns of famous pharaohs Akhenaten and his probable son Tutankhamun during the "Amarna Period" (circa 1353 to 1336 BCE). Also, learn about Penn Museum's exhibit “Amarna, Ancient Egypt's Place in the Sun.” Dr. Stephen Phillips
Daily Life of the Ancient Egyptians
Egyptian tomb models and wall paintings provide an accurate and revealing record of the way an ancient people lived. This information is complemented by numerous objects of daily life preserved in the unusually dry climate of Egypt and discovered through archaeological excavation. In this lecture, Dr. Olson will illustrate agriculture and food production, livestock and the items used by the Egyptians in their daily life. Dr. Olson will conclude her lecture with a discussion of the typical Egyptian house and objects found in it.(This lecture can also be presented to children of elementary and middle school age). Dr. Stacie Olson or alternate
The History and Mystery of Belly Dance
The solo interpretive dance that Americans popularly call "belly dance" is actually called raqs al sharqi (Eastern Dance) or raqs masri (Egyptian Dance) in the Middle East. It is one of the oldest documented dance forms and can be traced back to ancient Egypt. It has a long history as a dance done by professional entertainers at weddings and celebrations of all kinds, but it also has a long history as a social dance that everyone learns as soon as they are old enough to stand. The Egyptian dancer interprets the music through movements of the torso, hips and arms. Through discussion, slides and demonstration, Ms. Siegel, known as "Habiba" will trace the long history of this dance. Attend this fascinating lecture and find out for yourself the skills needed for authentic belly dance.
The Egyptian Mummy: Secrets and Science
In spite of their Hollywood image, mummies have been more helpful than horrifying to archaeologists. While mummification was essentially a religious activity to ensure the deceased's success in the afterlife, it is also an example of ancient science. In this slide-illustrated lecture, Dr. Olson will focus on the scientific aspects of mummification and Egyptian technology. Through the centuries, Egyptian embalmers experimented with different techniques to improve their ability to preserve the deceased. Dr. Stacie Olson will use current scientific research on mummies to place this Egyptian science in its religious context. Dr. Stacie Olson
A New Look at Tut's Tomb
The discovery of Tut's tomb was an overnight sensation, but the excavation of the tiny tomb was a feat of archaeological science requiring ten years of work. With painstaking care, almost 5000 objects which now fill an entire wing of the Cairo Museum, were photographed and conserved in the Valley of the Kings by a team of dedicated experts. Their work has preserved for us the most complete array of New Kingdom artifacts ever found in a single tomb. This material, known for its lavish gold treasure and its exquisite craftsmanship, provided a wealth of information about religion, technology, daily life and the royal family. This lavishly illustrated lecture discusses the discovery and excavation of the tomb, the objects and their significance, and the historical setting in the light of ongoing publications. Dr. Stacie Olson
The University of Pennsylvania Museum's Egyptian Collection
Acquired during a hundred years of archaeological excavation, the Museum's Egyptian collection is one of its most outstanding. This lecture will illustrate many exhibits, including one of the world's largest sphinxes and a pillared hall of an important New Kingdom palace. Dr. Olson will also discuss the Museum's extensive excavations at the great archaeological centers from which these objects come. Dr. Stacie Olson
Life in Ancient Egypt
Discover what life was like in ancient Egypt! Learn about the lifestyles of the pharaohs and wealthy as well as ordinary citizens. In addition, this lecture will examine ancient Egyptian religion and their belief in the after life. Many aspects of ancient Egyptian life are similar to those of the modern world. Love poems, humor, education, juvenile delinquency, and various hobbies are several examples of this connection with contemporary society. Through the use of slides, this lecture will give a glimpse into the lives of the people of ancient Egypt. (Suitable for ages 10 and up). Dr. Stacie Olson
Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs
We know what the ancient Egyptians looked like; we know what sort of monuments they built. But how do we know what they thought? Our key to the minds of the ancient Egyptians lies in the stories and letters and poems and prayers that they wrote. This lecture will touch briefly on the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs and provide a basic outline of the structures and uses of various writing systems, and then concentrate on some of the most important and fascinating of the many documents that have come down to us from the times of the pharaohs.
The Path to Eternity: Funerary Beliefs in Ancient Egypt
The Ancient Egyptians were not especially preoccupied with death itself, but for every Egyptian a major concern was the achievement of an eternal afterlife. The abundance of funerary equipment in museums is due to the fact that, in the past, Egyptologists have concentrated on excavating well-preserved cemetery fields and tombs. This lecture will explain the meaning of these of these objects in terms of Egyptian religious beliefs. Colorful slides will be used to illustrate and interpret the stages in the funerary procession, the lore of the embalmer, magical practices and archaeological artifacts used in the burial rites, and finally religious scenes depicted on tomb walls. Dr. Stacie Olson
Dance in Egypt as a Celebration of Daily Life
The traditional dances of Egypt provide a moving record of a vanishing way of life. They reflect aspects of village lives such as water gathering, ritual combat, and the celebration of weddings. These dances symbolize a continuity of traditions in different Egyptian societies; most importantly, the Fellahin, Bedouin and Nubian peoples. Through discussion, demonstration and by encouraging the audience to participate, Habiba will explain the dances and movement styles of these three Egyptian groups and reveal something of the character and the essence of these peoples. (A separate version is available for children.) Barbara Siegel, “Habiba”
The Ghawzee: Dancing Gypsies of Egypt
The Ghawzee of Egypt represent a tradition of public entertainers first described by Tacitus in the second century A.D. and later glorified by European visitors to Egypt in the nineteenth century. These dancers, thought to be gypsies, were painted by Delacroix and written about by Flaubert; these images raised them to figures of fantasy for Westerners caught in the craze of Orientalism. The descendants of these same dancers live in Luxor, Egypt and until 1990, they were still performing. Through discussion, a video made in Egypt and by encouraging the audience to "have a go!", Ms. Siegel will follow the marvelous history of these dancers. Barbara Siegel, "Habiba"
Akhenaten and the Age of Amarna
The Amarna period marks a brief but unique time in the history of ancient Egypt. The art and literature of this fascinating age allows us a glimpse into the world of the royal family; the Pharaoh Akhenaten, Queen Nefertiti and their daughters. The art of the period marks an extraordinary contrast to that seen throughout the rest of Egypt’s history.
Egyptian Gods & Goddesses and Their Stories
Much can be learned about ancient societies by attempting to gain an understanding of the forces they identified as active in their worlds. The vast array of deities recognized by the ancient Egyptians is as varied and imaginative as the human mind can conceive. They were portrayed as human in form, as animals, or sometimes as fantastic combinations of both. Through them, we are offered a glimpse of how the Egyptians saw their daily lives, as well as their deaths. This lecture introduces both major and minor gods of ancient Egyptian mythology and their often fantastic stories.
"The First Time:" Ancient Egyptian Creation Myths
Virtually every religion, ancient and modern, attempts to explain how the world came into existence and, ultimately, why things are the way they are. The ancient Egyptians viewed each new day as a repetition of "the first time," that is, the moment of creation. This lecture presents the various, often conflicting, ways the ancient Egyptians explained the origins of the world. Creation stories do not even always agree on the primary agent of creation. By looking at the so-called Heliopolitan, Memphite, and Hermopolitan accounts of creation, this presentation reveals that the Egyptians did not seem to mind such inherent contradictions and accepted them all as viable descriptions of that important "first time."
Gift of the Nile- Geography's Influence on Ancient Egyptian Civilization
We are where we live." Ancient Egyptian civilization thrived on a narrow oasis of sorts, restricted to the inhabitable areas immediately adjacent to the Nile River, but penned ion on either side by vast desert sands and barren cliffs. An annual flooding of the Nile quite literally renewed the landscape on which they lived. The Nile was so essential that Egyptian civilization itself has often been dubbed "the Gift of the Nile." This presentation attempts to show just how influential and pervasive geography's role was in shaping ancient Egyptian culture. Egypt's geographic setting, not only patterned the Egyptian's lifestyle, but is also reflected in almost all of their religious beliefs.
Love and Relationships in Ancient Egypt
When we think of characteristic symbols of ancient Egyptian civilization -- mummies, pyramids, tombs -- it is often easy to dehumanize. Ancient Egyptians were subject to many similar thoughts, emotions, and ideas that have been shared by humans throughout history. Far from being preoccupied with death -- as ancient Egyptians are often portrayed -- they were an expressive people, even if their mode of expression seems foreign to us thousands of years later. This lecture examines the ways in which love and intimacy were expressed by the Egyptians -- from courting couples to forming families -- through their language, art, and literature. Particular attention is given to love poetry that survives, much of which is still as moving to the modern listener as it must have been to the Egyptians themselves.
Ancient Egyptian Tales and Stories
The ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic writing system was not only quite artistic, but also versatile, allowing the Egyptians to produce several genres of texts. This presentation offers a sampling of a few of the best preserved literary tales, along with some annotations about what we can learn about the ancient Egyptians by reading them: Hear the plight of a shipwrecked sailor who encounters a great serpent. Listen as King Khufu, the builder of the Great Pyramid, is told of amazing acts performed by three magicians. And learn the life story of a man named Sinuhe, who fled Egypt in youth, lived a life of renown in a foreign land, and returned home for burial.
The King is Dead; Long Live the Queen!
Compared to many other civilizations of the ancient world, ancient Egyptian society was relatively favorable for women. So favorable that, on some rare occasions, the highest office in ancient Egypt -- that of Pharaoh -- was held by a woman. Although this lecture will briefly address the status of women in ancient Egyptian society, its main focus will be on those royal women who exercised significant power on a national scale. Important people to be discussed include such common names as Nefertiti and Cleopatra, along with other, perhaps less well known ones like Hatshepsut and Sobek-nefru.
The Ancient Alphabet of the Pharaohs
This talk will teach you how to write your name in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. A brief lecture will introduce you to the ancient alphabet and its writing system: you'll learn how the Egyptians used small pictures to write their language, without vowels, capital letters, or punctuation. After the lecture you'll be able to use special stamps to write your own name within a cartouche and feel like royalty! Dr. Stacie Olson