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Weekly Lectures

The NVIC organises weekly Thursday lectures on a variety of subjects. The lectures start at 6 pm sharp. The doors open at 5.30 pm. Please note that seating is limited. The lectures start as scheduled and late admissions are not allowed. After the lecture refreshments will be served in the hall of the Institute.

Would you like to present your own academic research at NVIC? We are looking for professionals who would like to give a lecture about their research findings. Please email info@nvic.leidenuniv.nl for more information.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more information about our program.

Massimiliano Nuzzolo - Ancient Egyptian Royal Annals

Thursday, 14 March 2019 at 6:00 pm.

Full lecture title:
"Ancient Egyptian Royal Annals: New investigation and Discoveries on the Palermo Stone and the Cairo Fragments."

The Palermo Stone and the so-called “Cairo Fragments” are the oldest royal annals of ancient Egypt. The information they contain are of pivotal importance for our knowledge of the Old Kingdom history. Despite more than a century of study and research, the reading of these annals is still very partial and full of dark spots on account of the fact that a considerable part of the stones is erased or damaged and not easily readable with the naked eye. Nowadays, however, thanks to a new technology of 3D photographic documentation and reproduction, called “Reflectance Transformation Imaging” (RTI), it is possible to fill this gap and provide new insights on the reading and understanding of the fragments, especially the two major pieces, i.e., the Palermo Stone and the so-called “Cairo Fragment 1”. Their reassessment is also pivotal to attempt a new reconstruction of the whole annals which eventually gives us important historical information.

Massimiliano Nuzzolo received his PhD in Egyptology at L’Orientale University of Naples, Italy in 2010. In the same year he became co-director of the Italian archaeological expedition (L’Orientale University of Naples) at the sun temple of Niuserra at Abu Ghurab. In 2012, he received a post-doctorate at La Sapienza University of Rome in Classical Archaeology and in 2015 he became a scientific member of the Institut français d’archéologie orientale - IFAO.
His research focuses on the archeology and history of the Third Millennium BC, with a special focus on the sun temples and the study of royal ideology, architecture and literary texts in the Fifth Dynasty. In the last years, he has also been working on landscape archaeology and the reassessment of topographical and cartographical issues connected to the Memphite necropolis, especially Abusir and Saqqara. He has been a member of several archaeological missions in Egypt, Sudan, and Italy.
Since 2016, he is Research Associate in Egyptology at the Czech Institute of Egyptology, Charles University Prague, as well as the director of a wide research project entitled “Rise and Development of Solar Cult and Architecture in Third Millennium BC Egypt”. The primary scope of this project is to deal with the evolution and negotiation of the royal ideology and cult. Within this framework, he initiated a new investigation of the Palermo Stone and the Cairo fragments of the royal annals of which he presents the main results in this lecture.

Ilona Regulski - Culture Heritage as Sustainable Development

Thursday, 7 March 2019 at 6:00 pm.

Full lecture title:
"Culture Heritage as Sustainable Development: A Case-Study from the Asyut Region (Middle Egypt)"

The British Museum Asyut Region Project aims to implement a new holistic approach to fieldwork in Egypt by looking at the broad spectrum of history – from 2500BC up until the present day – at multi-layered sites, including the varied responses of local communities who live atop the layers of history below. Rather than merely look upon archaeological sites as salvage missions or academic pursuits, we appeal to local interests, and support that through deploying methodologies drawn from archaeology and heritage preservation. The project aspires to provide a model for innovative and sustainable fieldwork initiatives, promoting increased empowerment of, and participation by, the local communities using the Asyut region in Middle Egypt, and the village of Shutb (ancient Shashotep) in particular, as a case-study.

Such an all-inclusive approach has rarely been tested in Egypt, where most projects are physically and intellectually separated from present-day inhabitants of rural areas with large numbers of low-profile sites and unlisted historic buildings. Local communities have therefore not benefitted from archaeological work in their area, and as a result do not function as working partners in preserving it. The lecture will present results of traditional archaeological fieldwork as well as outcomes of our engagement programmes aimed at shifting the general public’s perception about their heritage. The latter efforts will be illustrated by the screening of a second and third documentary film (in a series of four) showing how local inhabitants explore and document the oral history of their village.

Dr Ilona Regulski is the Curator for Egyptian Written Culture at the Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan at the British Museum. She is responsible for the papyrus collection and other inscribed material in the collection, including the Rosetta Stone. Her areas of expertise include epigraphy and palaeography from the Early Dynastic period until the beginning of the New Kingdom with a (recent) focus on Middle Kingdom material culture and ritual narrative. In an attempt to contextualise writing, she initiated a new research project investigating the deep history of the Asyut region (middle Egypt); once one of the most influential local hubs for the creation and dissemination of written culture in Egypt.

Tarek Ibrahim - The Architecture of Shepheard’s Hotel in Cairo

Sunday, 3 March at 6:00 pm.

Full lecture title:
"Lost Treasure, Found in the Attic: The Architecture of Shepheard’s Hotel in Cairo"

Few buildings embody the waxing and waning of European influence in Egypt during the 19th and 20th centuries as profoundly as Shepheard’s Hotel in Cairo. A potent symbol from Napoleon to Nasser, the hotel was completely destroyed during the infamous “Black Saturday” riots of January 1952.

Given its historical, cultural and social importance, little scholarly work has been devoted to Cairo’s most venerable grand hotel. Though unorthodox research methods, an astounding cache of documents from the lost building - including the original floor plans - was uncovered in the attic of a castle outside of Nuremberg, Germany. Thanks to this spectacular find, the building can now be correctly attributed to the previously unknown German architect Johann Adam Rennebaum (1858-1937) who lived and worked in Egypt for more than fifty years.

These documents serve as basis for the first systematic documentation and analysis of the building and the different styles employed in its extravagant decoration. More than merely lodging for travellers, Shepheard’s was a means to “step through the looking glass”, the very embodiment of Cairo and the tourist attractions along the Nile, and an essential part of the journey to Egypt in the golden age of travel. 

Tarek Ibrahim received his BA in art history from New York University in 2000 and his M Arch at Columbia University in the City of New York and Parsons The New School for Design in 2008. He moved to Berlin shortly thereafter, where he worked for several years as a practicing architect, most notably at the firm of Sauerbruch Hutton, before returning to academia in 2012. He received his Master’s in art and architectural history from the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in 2016. Mr. Ibrahim is currently a research associate for the director general of the Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace, the largest cultural project in Berlin, opening at the end of 2019. In addition, he is writing his PhD on the life and work of the German architect Johann Adam Rennebaum as a mirror of - and a window onto - the German expatriate community in Egypt around 1900. His thesis on the architecture of Shepheard’s Hotel will be published by the German Archaeological Institute this year.

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