Gail manages and promotes the business from her office in Bristol in the U. Galal is based in Egypt where he researches and plans E. He is a passionate Egyptologist, an experienced tour manager and a qualified guide. In addition to accompanying all E. Egyptian tours Galal arranges access to special sites, visits hotels to ensure they meet the best standards and makes all the local arrangements to ensure your visit goes as smoothly and enjoyably as possible.
Through their network we enjoyed the wonderment of visits to less well known sites as well as better known sites - all enthusiastically talked through by our local guide. Most of all the trip benefited from being led by Lucia Gahlin who with her passion and knowledge brought the whole tour together and made the ancient world accessible to both the old and new hands amongst us. Nothing was too much trouble and they had thought of everything to ensure that things ran smoothly.
I would recommend them unreservedly and I look forward to visiting Egypt again in the future and using their services. This was my first trip to Egypt and it had the 'Wow factor' from the outset. All of the travel plans went extremely smoothly and nothing was too much trouble for anyone if there were queries etc. All questions were answered before and during the trip. The Egyptian guides and mini-bus driver were all so personable and friendly, it added to the trip. The sites visited were fantastic and I feel very privileged to have been part of such a wonderful trip. The friendliness of the trip organisers and fellow travellers was second-to-none and I don't think anything could have gone better.
This was my first but certainly not my last trip and I look forward to returning in the future. A wonderful itinerary combined familiar sites Valley of the Queens, Dendera etc with some less well known eg searching for rock art in Wadi Hammamat, Seti I temple at Kanais all smoothly organised by Galal. Enass, our guide, set the scene at each site bringing the wonderful history to life in my imagination and allowing me to view the sites more clearly. All in all an unforgettable experience which I would recommend to anyone who wants to get a real taste of Egypt.
All the arrangements went as planned, and we were able to visit some unusual sites. I have been to Egypt several times, but still got to sites I had never seen before. I am very happy to recommend to anyone hoping to go to Egypt" OH. On both occasions, the organisation was meticulous, no delays, no upsets, everything went like clock-work. Regular travellers to this country will appreciate how much back-ground work must go into such a perfectly presented programme.
When there was an unavoidable change, due to the government's new decisions for instance, a replacement plan had already been drawn up, and on one occasion I even preferred Plan B! Galal al-Senusi, the local representative, is an excellent organiser. He must have a gift for dealing with authorities, drivers, porters etc, even with tourists. He is always doing his utmost to help, and as he is also an academic, he knows precisely what lecturers and travellers require.
After some 30 trips to Egypt, I felt most comfortable with these EAT trips and their perfect organisation. But hope is on the horizon. Wahba and Saad personify the new broom. Saad wants to improve the practical education given to young ministry employees. Archaeology courses at Egyptian universities are theory-based, so new recruits arrive at the ministry with no experience of archaeological digs. Apart from a week-long course in the Sinai desert, the MSA does little to beef up their skills. Saad wants to change all that. In , while working at the temples of Luxor, he and local colleagues set up their own field training school, giving officials a new set of skills they would have found hard to come by elsewhere.
Now Saad wants to replicate the scheme elsewhere. Now I want to give a hand to my colleagues. What will you do with the [old] Egyptian museum? Gamal, Saad and Wahba are not alone. The static opposition bolsters a view on ancient Egypt as a disconnected society of rulers and a ruled workforce.
It lacks a dynamic element that would explain diachronic change other than top-down colonization or bottom-up appropriation. Tradition is equated with people rather than understood as a resource for individuals to make deliberate use of. Those positions focusing on temple cult come closest to the anthropological origin of the model and deserve further explanation. Monumental stone temples for gods and goddesses were built from the Middle Kingdom onward until the Roman period ca. Their decoration usually shows the interaction between kings and deities in daily and festival rituals.
Documentary evidence reveals that this is a theological interpretation of practices conducted, in reality, by priests in front of a divine statue. The relevance of the temple cult is evident from the accompanying texts. The texts interpret temple ritual as the constant re-establishment of the cosmos by the king: Temple cult is, therefore, a permanent explanation of the relevance of kingship for keeping the cosmos alive.
Excavations over the past four decades have brought to light the forerunners of monumental temples dating to the beginning of Dynastic Egypt in the late fourth millennium Dreyer, ; Bussmann, Descending the stratigraphy layer by layer and moving backward in time, references to kingship become fewer and fewer.
The earliest temples are undecorated mud brick shrines nestling in provincial settlements side by side with the houses of the inhabitants. They are crammed with votive objects often made of faience, rarely of prestigious materials, and sometimes even simple stone pebbles were used to approach the local deity.
No inscriptions are preserved on the votive objects to tell us what people might have prayed for. However, the iconographic repertoire of the third millennium votive objects overlaps strongly with the imagery of seals and amulets discussed earlier. For this reason, I suggest that the concerns were similar and centered on issues of the close social environ.
You are here
The early shrines of Egypt are institutions of the body horizon on a community level. They breathe the spirit of intimacy, whereas kingship and theology are far away. Local cosmoses may have been hierarchical and formalized but not necessarily based on royal models. During the third millennium, local shrines were gradually incorporated into Egyptian kingship. From the early second millennium onward, local gods were displayed in temple decoration crowning the king who stylized himself as son of the local deity. The local deity was thus universalized, while kingship was parochialized.
Whenever kingship held sway in a temple, popular religion was pushed to the periphery of the temples where votive objects were discovered Pinch, The increasing exclusion from temples might have prompted a stronger focus on domestic religion and the erection of private chapels Bomann, The architecture of chapels and tombs of some high officials in the late second millennium was modeled on temple plans, thus demonstrating that the temple had become a dominant template worth being copied by nonroyals.
Their decoration and inscriptions absorbed a diverse range of traditions and presented them within the framework of royal temple cult. By this time, bronze figurines of deities as displayed in temple iconography were used as votive offerings Roeder, , and the names of deities featured regularly in private names Ranke, The transformation of shrines from local to royal institutions was paralleled by a process of urbanization, and local temples emerged as the ideological and administrative interfaces between towns and the crown Bussmann, The observations may suffice to glean some insights of wider anthropological and archaeological interest.
Archaeological stratigraphy reveals on the ground the growing scale of an institution and the diachronic relationship of Great and Little Traditions. Elite culture, the focus of cross-cultural comparison, needs to be seen as part of this continued up- and down-scaling of ideas and practices through time. Chronological change is also pivotal for approaching the implicit dimensions of Egyptian culture. Interpretation of the term is debated among Egyptologists, but the general understanding is that people had developed a closer relationship to the gods in the later second millennium than in earlier periods Weiss, As seen earlier, however, archaeology tells a different story.
People are gradually excluded from access to the gods. The change of media in which Egyptian society communicates reflects, I suggest, that the relationship with deities has become controversial for people. People start to materialize in objects, images, or writing what matters to them, in this case the dissociated relationship with gods. Therefore, breaks in the diachronic record indicate that something formerly belonging to the sphere of the implicit changed its status toward explicit knowledge.
A greater focus on cultural templates, the frameworks in which themes surface, is fertile also for comparison within and among societies. In the third millennium, Great Tradition is modeled on a funerary template. The decoration of Old Kingdom pyramids is an expanded version of nonroyal funerary iconography and has little to do with temple cult and the maintenance of cosmos. I suggest that the choice of the funerary mode for communication of early pharaonic kingship is due to the village nature of Egyptian society. Initially, pharaonic Egypt is not an urban civilization such as Mesopotamia Postgate, Third-millennium city states in Babylonia are characterized by large temples performing a function similar to the royal funerary cult in contemporaneous Egypt.
Elite culture in Egypt of this period is dominated by the funerary modus and transformed only gradually to temple-based templates typical of urban settings. Ancient Egypt is an early civilization, but one in which the small scale prevails. Pharaonic society is thick and cohesive. Physical contact and face-to-face communication create the relevant social bonds.
Recreating an experience of ancient Egypt
The experience of physical and social intimacy, the ego-centered body horizon typical of village life, is the beating heart of Egyptian culture. It is a breeding milieu digesting Great Tradition as much as feeding it. Funerary culture may have been so dominant among Egyptian elites—ordinary Egyptians had comparatively simple burials—because pharaonic society, when developing its monumental tradition in the late fourth and early third millennia, was still village minded.
With growing urbanism in the second millennium, funerary templates were increasingly paralleled by temple templates reflecting the transition to an urban, temple-based society.
The nature of pharaonic society reveals itself in change. This is why a diachronic approach is not just an alternative route into ancient Egypt but key for an anthropological inquiry. Temporality, understood in archaeological terms as longevity in stratigraphic sequences, has been presented herein as a lens for exploring the depth to which kingship penetrated Egyptian society.
Egyptian Archaeology and Social Anthropology
Moreover, diachronic change helps phenomena surface in the record that might previously have been implicit. Once they became controversial, they changed into an objectified, explicit status and were ready for control, manipulation, and other responses. In this respect, anthropological discussions of materiality Miller, can be beneficially developed in the diachronic framework of Egyptian archaeology. There are different directions that future research can take. The lower stratum of pharaonic society is still underexplored and deserves fresh data from the field.
Filling this gap is relevant because the view from the periphery reveals best how the sociocultural core is constructed. The rural nature of ancient Egyptian society is widely recognized but not fully factored in as a catalyst to interpret high culture. Few attempts have been made at using direct historical analogies from modern rural Egypt to develop a possible scenario of the Egyptian past Eyre, When projected back into the past, they are based on simple copy-paste operations that overlook changing cultural, social, and environmental frameworks Blackman, . A discussion of direct historical analogies involves cross-cultural comparison, an area in which the lower social groups of ancient Egypt have not yet received full appreciation.
Archaeological ethnography, ethnoarchaeology, and experimental archaeology constitute a further field of immediate overlap between archaeologists and social anthropologists. In a similar vein, Boivin These perspectives offer a good basis for a cross-cultural comparison of materiality. Heritage studies is another promising field for increased collaboration, including with conservation studies Hassan et al.
The Arab Spring might offer opportunities for developing new forms of archaeological practice in Egypt and open discussion of what in the past matters to Egyptians today and how it should be handled.
- Being Israeli: The Dynamics of Multiple Citizenship (Cambridge Middle East Studies).
- Archaeology in Egypt;
- JSTOR: Access Check!
- Eternal Nile Dahabeya Trip 2016?
- Access Check.
Anthropology encourages us to sympathize with the local. It is perhaps not surprising, then, that pharaonic Egypt, despite its monumental grandeur, looks essentially small scale when viewed from an anthropological perspective. Others will describe ancient Egypt as literate, African, or polytheistic.
Conference: Experiment and Experience: Ancient Egypt in the Present | Exarc
None of the definitions explains everything. They are nevertheless important because they help arrange brittle data within meaningful visions of ancient Egypt. The vision proposed here recognizes civilizational achievements, such as kingship, administration, literature, and the monumental discourse, as distinguishing Egypt from all earlier societies. However, the main interest is in the people who were entangled in these ideas, the way they consumed and produced them, and what their world may have meant to them rather than to us.
This is different from empathy alone claiming false accessibility to the view of the indigenous. It means, however, to enter a dialogue at eye level with people whose lives were as complex as ours. I would like to thank Joachim Quack, Alice Stevenson, Ulrike Dubiel, and the anonymous reviewer for their comments on a previous draft of the article. A Developing Dialogue Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press , 25— History, Religion Cairo, New York: The American University in Cairo Press , 88— Ihre institutionelle und kulturelle Dynamik 3 Frankfurt a.
Studies in Honor of Erik Iversen Copenhagen: New Discoveries and Recent Research London: British Museum Press , — Wilhelm Fink , — SAR Press , — History and Theory in Anthropology Cambridge: The Fellahin of Upper Egypt.
American University in Cairo Press. Material Cultures, Material Minds: The Private Chapel in Ancient Egypt: Ancient Egyptian Magical Texts Leiden: Body-centred Research in Archaeology Oxford: A Comment on Hierakonpolis. Changing Visions Through the Ages London: UCL Press , — Imperialism, Colonialism and Modern Appropriations London: Philae and the End of Ancient Egyptian Religion: Der Tempel der Satet.
Amulette, Siegel und Perlen: Small Places, Large Issues: Mohr [translated into English by H. Tirard and published as Life in Ancient Egypt London: From Pharaonic to Modern Times Oxford: Oxford University Press , 33— The Creation of Inequality: Kingship and the Gods: University of Chicago Press.
Williams and Norgate Limited. Religion in Roman Egypt: Assimilation and Resistance Princeton: Dialogues with the Dead: Egyptology in British Culture and Religion, — Oxford: Archaeology and Anthropology Oxford: Basic Books , 3— A Changing Relationship London: Zur Selbstdarstellung der Beamten in der UCL Press , 19— Anatomy of a Civilization.
City of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. Amarna and Its People London: Oxford University Press , — Akten der Tagung vom Zwischenzeit bis zum Ende des Neuen Reiches Wiesbaden: Early Civilizations of the Old World: Studies in the Little Community Chicago: Chicago University Press , — Archaeologies of Social Life: Object Worlds in Ancient Egypt: Material Biographies Past and Present.