West Midlands Egyptology Society

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Talks: 2017

Schedule of Talks for the 2016/2017 Season.


All events on this page are subject to the prices stated on the ‘Membership’ page unless specified otherwise. Please use the form on the ‘Contact Us’ page if you have any queries regarding the planned events below or if there is something you would like us to do in the future. ALL MEETINGS ARE 6.45-7.45pm, doors will be open 6.00pm.

January 11th 2017

Ancient people and ancient graffiti in the Teti Pyramid Cemetery at Saqqara

This talk will examine graffiti from the Teti Pyramid Cemetery at Saqqara as an exciting source for ancient people moving and operating with a funerary landscape. The Teti Pyramid Cemetery is a small but significant cemetery in the ancient Memphite area, established in the reign of the first king of the Sixth Dynasty, Teti Seheptawy (circa 2345–2330 B.C.) The opulent tombs and chapels served as foci in the funerary landscape – points at which the funerary procession, the otherworldly journey of the deceased to the afterlife, and the ongoing movement of kin, dependents, and other visitors, to and from the cemetery centred. This activity within the necropolis has left us mere traces in a built environment that reveals much about the deceased – whose bodies are interred in the cemetery and whose memories are preserved in funerary monuments – yet less about the living populations who facilitated its continual use. Graffiti left upon tomb walls in the cemetery offers a glimpse of this community and allows us to imagine how ancient visitors moved through the space. This talk will illustrate some of the varying types of graffiti in the Old Kingdom tombs, and offer some comments on how (or if) such graffiti can be dated. Secondly, this talk will consider how these inscriptions are linked to performative activities that brought visitors to cemeteries, such as feast-day processions and offering rituals.



Julia Hamilton is a doctoral candidate and Clarendon scholar at the Queen’s College, University of Oxford. Previously, she completed her undergraduate studies and MA at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Her research focuses upon veneration and commemorative practices in ancient Egypt (particularly between the late Old Kingdom and Middle Kingdom), and her doctoral thesis is an investigation of eponymous personal names and naming practices in Old Kingdom Egypt.


February 8th 2017

Jewellery and Ancient Egypt in the Age of Victoria

Many Victorian and Edwardian celebrities owned and wore Egyptian jewellery, and for all kinds of purposes. Some believed that the trinkets would bring them luck and creative inspiration, while others feared that they were cursed, and sought to confine them to the safety of the museum after their deaths. From the lost scarab ring of Oscar Wilde, and H. Rider Haggard’s impressive collection of charms, to the powerful ruby invented by Bram Stoker for his supernatural novel, The Jewel of Seven Stars, this lecture investigates the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century fascination with jewellery plucked from the between mummy bandages, Egyptian revival pieces made from iridescent beetle shells, and replicas produced by elite jewellers Cartier and Tiffany. Conjuring up visions of Egyptian ghosts, the symbolism behind the hieroglyphs, scarab beetles, uraei and solar discs was thought to have magical potency that extendedfor thousands of years after the ancient Egyptian civilisation itself.


Eleanor Dobson is a teaching associate at the University of Birmingham, where she completed her doctoral thesis entitled ‘Literature and Culture in the Golden Age of Egyptology’.

March 8th 2017

Janet McWilliam BA


This talk covers the following topics


  • The stability of the State of Egypt during the late Bronze Age
  • An introduction into the inscriptions at the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III
  • A brief look at the lineage of Ramesses III and his family ties
  • A look at the origins of the Sea Peoples. Where they came from. How the routes of migration can be reflected in today’s migration patterns
  • The battle of the Delta as shown in the inscriptions
  • An investigation on how to recognise the various groups included in the term Sea Peoples
  • A look at the sources of the knowledge we have on the Sea Peoples


Brief bio

Janet is the Chair/Secretary of the Carlisle and District Egyptology Society, a post she has held for five years.  She is also a founder member of the Society. She as planned many visits for the Society to Museums with Egyptology Collections including the Turin Musem.

Her interest in Egyptology stems from a Nile Cruise she took after her retirement from a post of a lecturer in Business Administration at a Further Education College.

Janet has taken several online courses in Egyptology including Hieroglyphics, and a Diploma in Egyptology from an Online College.

She has visited Egypt on many occasions and is planning a return visit in 2017.

Her main interests stem from these visits, she would love to take a group from CADES to Egypt but feels that it might be a bit like herding cats!!


April 12th 2017

Beth Asbury

Beth gained both of her degrees from the University of Birmingham. After working for the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists and teaching at the University of Reading’s School of Continuing Education on the side, she moved to Cairo and worked for Dr Zahi Hawass, the Minister of State for Antiquities. She now works at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford.


Title of talk: The Tale of Irterau



The controversial discovery of the Pitt Rivers Museum’s mummy, Irterau, was a conspiracy that went right to the top! Beth will explore some of the interesting features of Irterau’s coffins, her ‘dis’play-mates, and discuss some of the other ancient Egyptian objects and famous figures connected to the Museum’s collection.


May 10th 

Lucia Gahlin

Purity and Order in an Ancient Egyptian Household

In this lecture Lucia will explore the archaeology of private religion, focussing on the rituals of daily life believed to ensure maat (order) in the lives of the ancient Egyptians.  The transitional stages that punctuate the human life cycle were thought to be times when the human body became vulnerable to outside influence, usually of a harmful nature. Rites of passage and particularly purification rituals were deemed essential for re-establishing purity. Lucia will examine a wide range of ancient evidence to shed light on a fascinating aspect of ancient Egyptian social history and settlement archaeology.



Lucia Gahlin is an Honoray Research Associate at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology. She teaches online Egyptology for the University of Exeter, and lectures throughout the U.K. and beyond, particularly in continuing education. She is Co-Director of Bloomsbury Summer School at UCL, and Chair of the Friends of the Petrie Museum. She has worked extensively on the Amarna material in the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, and has worked at the archaeological site of Tell el-Amarna in Middle Egypt, registering the small finds. She leads regular tours to Egypt for Andante Travels and other companies. Her publications include: Egypt. Gods, Myths and Religion


June 14th

Carolyn Graves -Brown – I am the curator of the Egypt Centre at Swansea University and have published on gender, lithics and Egypt Centre artefacts. I live in Llanelli with my husband and three beautiful greyhounds.

Title: Spitting goddesses and stony snakes: The religious significance for flint in pharaonic Egypt.

Flint was commonly used in ancient Egypt right up until the New Kingdom and continued to be used for much later. While it was used for everyday purposes it also seems to have had a religious meaning and was associated with the northern sky and the sun-god and his fiery daughters, the spitting goddesses, often taking snake form. This talk will summarise evidence for the religious importance of flint from the Early Dynastic Period through to the Roman Period.




  1. pibarrington says:

    Is there any way to get a transcript of these events since I am in Los Angeles and can’t get there physically without a year and a half’s worth of preparation, lol?


    • Hi there.
      Sincere apologies on the delay in replying to you! Since the election of the new committee we have been looking into ways to improve the website and one of these was to provide ‘Talk Summaries’ for members and non-members who might miss talks they were interested in. At the moment the content and appearance of these talks depends on the speakers wishes. Some of the research presented to us is still very new and therefore cannot be published ahead of time, but we have written up talks we had in September and October with the November talk being written at the moment. This will undergo approval from the speaker before appearing on the website. Please do keep checking back for more! We will advertise new content as it appears here on our Facebook and Twitter pages too.
      Thanks so much for your interest in the society and hopefully one day we may get to meet you physically!
      – WMES Committee.


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