REVIEW BY ROGER FORSHAW
The 21st annual Current Research in Egyptology (CRE) conference was held online by the Department of Mediterranean Studies of the University of the Aegean (Rhodes, Greece) in May 2021, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the formal establishment of Egyptology in Greece. The symposium hosted more than 72 lectures and 18 posters, presenting the latest research from young and prominent scholars, and researchers from institutions all over the world.
The 15 papers selected for the proceedings focus on a variety of topics: social and religious aspects of life in ancient Egypt; ritual and magic; language and literature; ideology of death; demonology; iconographical issues; and intercultural relations from the Prehistoric to the Coptic Period. The wide chronological and thematic range of the papers is representative of the multifaceted, interdisciplinary, and innovative character of modern Egyptology.
Mona Akmal Ahmed examines the role of infants and children in Prehistoric and Predynastic Egyptian society. Due to the absence of textual and iconographic sources, mortuary practices are the only surviving evidence about the lives of these age groups. Her analysis indicates that separate burial practices were associated with sub-adults, and that infants and children were treated as a significant part of society.
A complex paper by Mariano Bonanno discusses the shadow, perhaps the most elusive aspect of the Egyptian personality or being, in the context of the Duat in the funerary literature of the New Kingdom. The shadow is subjected to the eternal movement born from the relationship between Ra and Osiris. If it is justified, the shadow undergoes movement, but if it is damned, it is destroyed.
Jayme Reichart explores Eighteenth Dynasty formal gardens that were built by the pharaohs and the elite in the vicinity of Thebes. Water features were an important component of these gardens, and within them were propagated different species of fresh-water fish. The fish were a source of food, they beautified the pools, and they embodied beliefs concerning specific gods associated with the sun and moon.
Valeria Tappeti reassesses the decorative programmes of Late Period monumental tombs on the Asasif plain at Thebes. Her survey demonstrates the multiplicity of inspirations for the different decorative and architectural elements. These include the revival of archaic motifs, compositions transmitted through temple archives, and direct copying from existing tombs. Sometimes the motifs were inspired by a specific client who desired to be remembered and to affirm his belonging to the Theban elite.
The proceedings volume represents the wide range of themes that were offered by delegates during the online conference, continuing the tradition (now extending back more than 20 years) of providing a platform for postgraduates, early career Egyptologists, and independent scholars.
CURRENT RESEARCH IN EGYPTOLOGY 2021: PROCEEDINGS OF THE 21ST ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM, UNIVERSITY OF THE AEGEAN, 9-16 MAY 2021 ed. Electra Apostola and Christos Kekes Archaeopress Access Archaeology, 2022 ISBN 978-1803-27376-1 Paperback £48; Open Access pdf free from www.archaeopress.com