Dates :
Meeting point : Maxwell-Cummings Auditorium – 1379A Sherbrooke Street West
Duration : 4h
Lectures, In connection with : Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives
Egyptology symposium program: Part II: Everyday life in the time of the pharaohs


Session 1 – From Amarna to Montreal: Issues of identity


Deux reines-pharaons avant Toutankhamon : Ce qu’en dit l’art

By Valérie Angenot, Professor, Department of History, UQÀM

We have known for some fifty years that a queen succeeded Akhenaton on the Egyptian throne. After a half-century of scholarly debate, analyses and hypotheses concerning the identity of this queen, researchers have come to two possible conclusions. The largely Anglophone Egyptology community considers that Nefertiti took advantage of the political status she had firmly established during Akhenaton’s lifetime to seize the reins of power upon his death. For its part, the Francophone Egyptologists maintain that the succession occurred in the traditional manner – despite the gender of the future Pharaoh – bringing to power the eldest child of the royal couple, Princess Meritaton.

All things being equal, there are some inconsistencies in these hypotheses that remain unresolved to date. Both required their respective authors to “knit” certain facts together to make them hold. Artistic productions and artifacts have also periodically been brought into the discussion but often on an intuitive basis, without applying a rigorous or convincing analysis.

In this lecture, we propose to insert into the debate artworks as bona fide witnesses to the historical events that took place in this era. We will submit them to the rules of semiotic analysis that govern human visual works, in general, and Egyptian visual works, in particular, to extract their meaning and resulting praxis. In so doing, we will examine whether a possible third conclusion might exist, the only one that is actually supported by the body of epigraphic and figurative elements: that two queens jointly reigned as pharaohs between Akhenaton and Tutankhamun.

 2.30 to 3.15 p.m.                               

Egyptian mummies at the Redpath Museum : Unravelling the history of McGill University’s collection

By Barbara Lawson, former Curator, World Cultures at Redpath Museum, McGill University

The Redpath Museum’s collection includes three human mummies from ancient Egypt and several animal mummies. A selection of these were examined using high-resolution 3D imaging, which provided information on how they were mummified, their osteobiographical details (age, sex, stature, etc.) and their state of preservation. Although by no means the first radiographic examination for most of these mummies, the current investigation provoked interest in their Montreal and McGill histories over the past century. A general overview of data resulting from recent and earlier studies will be presented, along with insights regarding the mummies’ acquisition and public display in the 19th and 20th centuries.

15.15 to 15.35 p.m.


Session 2: Construction and deconstruction: The power of the word and the Earth

15.35 to 4.20 p.m.

« Être bien chez soi ». L’architecture domestique et l’urbanisme au temps des pharaons

By Jean Revez, Professor, Professor of History, UQÀM

To most people, the architecture of pharaonic Egypt is synonymous with majestic tombs and temples. This notion has largely been fuelled by archaeology, which has long been singularly focused on unearthing the most spectacular of religious monuments. Nonetheless, alongside these stone constructions, domestic architecture and urban planning are key research fields for gaining a picture of ancient Egyptians’ daily lives. What historical sources do these professionals rely on to study the age-old private residences, and what parameters must be established for their operation? How does one go about reconstructing the physical aspects of a home to better understand how its rooms were used? What can the layout of cities, towns and villages tell us about spatial perception in ancient Egypt? These are some of the questions that will be discussed in this presentation.

 4.20 to 5.05 p.m.

Contes fantastiques et gestes du roi. La tradition orale dans l’Égypte ancienne

Ronald Leprohon, Professor, Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto

The power of the spoken word was widely recognized in ancient Egypt. In addition to fantastic epic stories of the king, this presentation will comment on autobiographical accounts, the format of which evokes the oral genesis of the genre.

 5.05 to 5.15 p.m.


 5.15 to 5.45 p.m.

Roundtable discussion

This symposium is the fruit of a collaboration between several institutions and organizations: The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Department of History of the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM), the Society for the Studies of Egyptian Antiquities and the Association des études du Proche-Orient ancient.

Activity free of charge. Optional pass
Service charges apply (per pass)
General public: $5
VIP: $4