Addressing the imbalance between Egyptological and community interpretations of archaeological sites, the project aims to evaluate the personal, social, political, historical and economic agendas that continue to transform perceptions of archaeological sites and contemporary communal identities. Focused on the highly contested World Heritage listed landscape of the Theban Necropolis, modern day al-Qurna, on the western bank of the Nile at Luxor, Dr Monica Hanna and I will address over 200 years of archaeological exploration and western travel. Through closely integrated tandem research, we will reveal how ancient heritage, academic knowledge and perceptions of temporally isolated “space” have been prioritised over the needs of living Egyptian communities and how, in turn, this academic output impacts upon the modern social landscape and its inhabitants.
The research is essential in presenting the “untold story of archaeology” and revealing how the past does not exist in isolation but is part of a continuum of history which gives meaning to archaeological sites in the same way that the sites give meaning to local communities, academics and tourists.
The project will consider three central subject areas: 1) the history of archaeological intervention and Egyptian settlement in the area, including ethnographic sources, archaeologists’ records, travel writing and media coverage, 2) social anthropological exploration of the role the archaeological sites and their individual components play in the formation of Qurnawi identities today, and 3) the analysis of the perceptions of archaeologists and tourists visiting and working in the Theban Necropolis on the relationship between Qurnawi residents and the archaeological landscape. The three areas of research will then be integrated in order to produce a more inclusive understanding of the meaning of the archaeological sites in and around al-Qurna to the diverse groups of contemporary stakeholders.
The pursuit of knowledge about the ancient Egyptian past has traditionally ignored the role that the heritage from which this past is reconstructed plays in the formation and sustenance of contemporary Egyptian identities. This research aims to better understand this intricate web of interrelationships through the development of two interconnecting collaborative projects, which will explore intangible heritage in the area of al-Qurna, on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor. The scattered settlements of al-Qurna, located within a World Heritage listed landscape, will provide the focus for study because the clearly delineated space is both densely packed with some of Egypt’s most treasured archaeological remains and because the site has provided a constant source for negotiation between inhabitants, Egyptologists and governments for more than 150 years. Dr Hanna is working with members of the Qurnawi community to investigate the attitude of major demographic groups to the ancient Egyptian remains; how sites affect their daily routines, collective identity and self-image, and how these perceptions are changing as the government slowly forces families out of their ancestral homes and into new accommodation away from the ancient remains. Research with the local community will be combined with research project.
Her current research project within TOPOI is shared with Dr. Gemma Tully and deals with “Contemporary communities and archaeology: Investigating the relationship between the inhabitants of modern al-Qurna and local archaeological sites (Thebes, Egypt)”
All pneumatic machines – including the Ctesibian machine and the famous ancient machines built for entertainment purposes, such as singing birds and hydraulic organs – conveyed potentially fundamental questions related to the constitution of matter (of the elements). In a world that had no concepts such as, for example ‘pressure’, the explanation of the functioning of pneumatic machines was not trivial and required continuous investigation of the characteristics and constitution of matter. Obviously, this sensitive issue is at the fundament of every worldview. Such questions, and others related to them, were eventually faced by practically oriented Hellenistic scientists, and the traces of their ensuing scientific debates can be followed over the centuries up until the foundation of modern mechanics in the seventeenth century. Until now, ancient pneumatics has been investigated either concerning just its theoretical consequences, for example, in reference to the work of Hero of Alexandria, or in reference to its social meaning, as a symbol of power in ancient culture. Building on the results of these previous scholarly investigations, the way in which such technology circulated during antiquity will be investigated in order to map the technological innovations and contextual conditions that led to the significant outcomes following the emergence of new scientific knowledge. The analysis of archeological findings and of primary sources related to pneumatics – the fundamental sources – will be utilized to develop this investigation.
The widespread circulation of balances, steelyards and the corresponding technological and metrological knowledge is connected more with the development of ancient markets and the instruments, directions and dynamics of their import and export activities, rather than to mechanics itself. The circulation of this technology, however, led to the emergence of standards employed during measuring activities, as happened with the development of metrology, and the foundation of mechanics related to the circulation of the steelyard. However, no attempt has ever been made to carefully map the circulation and employment of balances and, in particular, of steelyards. Even less investigated are the meta reflections on such mechanical devices that were achieved possibly earlier than the fourth century BCE and that constituted a first theoretical input leading to the formulation of the most ancient law of mechanics. The investigations to be accomplished within the frame defined by the subject “Balances, Steelyards and the Foundation of Mechanics” aims to achieve a map of the circulation of early mechanical devices from the perspective of technological innovation and an analysis of the first meta reflections on these innovations.
Besides the sources directly connected to the history of mechanics, such as the Problemata, the sources that need to be analyzed in this context are the literary Greek sources, both from the perspective of technology transfer and as well the development of ancient markets, focusing in particular on the fifth and fourth centuries BCE.
Aufgrund griechischer Papyri des 2. Jhs.n.Chr., in denen die Existenz
christlicher Literatur belegt ist, wird das jüdische Viertel Alexandrias
mitunter als Ort der ältesten christlichen Zentren angenommen. Ebenso
vermutet man in Alexandria, bzw. im römischen Ägypten des 2./3. Jhs.n.Chr.
den Ursprung der sogenannten “Magischen Gemmen”: kleine Edelsteine mit
eingeschnittenen Bildern und Inschriften, die als Amulette und Talismane
dienten und die man als Medaillon, Ringstein oder in Täschchen eingenäht am
Körper trug. Inhaltlich mit den Griechischen Magischen Papyri und dem
antiken Zauberwesen korrespondierend, fanden hier ägyptische,
griechisch-römische, jüdische sowie auch christliche Einflüsse ihren