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In memoriam: Juan José Jaime Aloísio Archidona Ramírez (1992 - 2024)

On Monday 26 February the terrible news reached us that our gifted former Egyptology student – and former student assistant at the Leids Papyrologisch Instituut – Juan Archidona Ramírez had succumbed to cancer.

Juan José Jaime Aloísio Archidona Ramírez (1992-2024)

Juan had been studying Egyptology since 2012 within the cluster Oude Culturen van de Mediterrane Wereld (Ancient Cultures of the Mediterranean World). Once he had found his niche within Egyptology – viz. the study of Abnormal Hieratic and Demotic, the two most cursive scripts ever used in Ancient Egypt – things took off in earnest. Already during his MA studies he made his debut as a speaker at a congress in Copenhagen, while publishing two very difficult Abnormal Hieratic papyri in the Revue d’Égyptologie and the Bollettino dei Monumenti Musei e Gallerie Pontificie, respectively. He also attended a Hieratic master class at the Institut français d’archéologie orientale in Cairo, and worked as an intern at the papyrus collection of the Museo Egizio in Turin. His MA thesis on the use of dots in Abnormal Hieratic is still being cited by colleagues worldwide. This thesis was a typical Juan product, original, brilliant and with a keen eye for detail, applied to the canvas in joyous, bold strokes. He graduated cum laude, and after this he still published several articles and chapters in books about cursive Egyptian papyri.

There was still so much he wanted to do, such as a catalogue of the Demotic collection of the Vatican (with Elena Hertel), the Abnormal Papyrus Vaucelles (with Koen Donker van Heel, Cary Martin and several of his mostly international fellow students, who had all become friends), and – if possible – a PhD on the history of written Hieratic. In 2021 Juan became a PhD candidate at LIAS. To finance his PhD, he opted for a career in banking, and in the end he found working with big data just as fascinating as the cursive scripts from Ancient Egypt.

Early September 2023 he wrote that his innocent-looking pneumonia had been diagnosed as cancer. Treatment after treatment followed, but in the end Juan was forced to give up the fight. We will severely miss his always spontaneous and open personality.

Koen Donker van Heel

Olaf Kaper

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