Tuesday, February 24, 2009

EES Newsletter 3

The Egypt Exploration Society's newsletter dropped into my Inbox yesterday. Here it is, minus photographs (with the permission of the EES):

Dear EES member,

A very belated happy new year from the EES! 2009 has already been a busy year for us and there is much to tell you about since the last e-newsletter.


As you will know by now the Society awarded grants from its Excavation Fund to four fieldwork projects for 2009: the epigraphic survey and conservation of wall paintings at Ismant el-Kharab (directed by Professor Olaf Kaper), geophysical survey around the Great Temple of Bastet at Tell Basta, (Dr Daniela Rosenow), topographical and geological survey at Sesebi, Sudan (Dr Kate Spence) and an investigation of the Christian church and settlement in the area of the North Tombs at Amarna (Dr Gillian Pyke).

Dr Spence has already completed her field season and members who attended the BISI/EES/Birkbeck event recently have already been given a tantalizing glimpse of the results. Dr Spence and the other Excavation fund directors will be presenting the results of their work in full at the Society’s annual conference on 20/21 June this year (see below under ‘Events’).

Several other teams will be going into the field in the next few weeks including two of the Amelia Edwards projects (see below), a team working on excavated material from Qasr Ibrim now kept in Aswan, and two Delta Survey projects, at Yitwal wa Yuksur and Sais respectively. Dr Penny Wilson, director of the work at Sais, will be holding an open day at the site for EES members on 4 April. For further details please contact Mrs Faten Saleh in the Cairo office: ees.cairo@britishcouncil.org.eg.


The response to the launch of the first round of Amelia Edwards Projects has been overwhelming. The presentations and reception following the Deir el Medina study day on 25 October (photos here), were well-attended and very successful (despite the absence of Angus Graham, director of the Karnak Land and Waterscapes’ Survey, through illness; his recorded message to the audience was very well received!).

The Society received a number of generous donations on the night, and several of those present became members of the Amelia Edwards Group by donating £250 or more. In the weeks following the launch an appeal leaflet was mailed to members, and the project directors were again on hand at the Christmas party at SOAS on 13 December to chat to guests and answer questions. Donations continued to arrive throughout the last few weeks of 2008 and into 2009, and we are now delighted to report that all three projects now have enough funding to undertake their work in 2009. The Society is most grateful to all those who contributed to the projects; without your generosity the project directors simply would not be able to undertake their work.

Joanne Rowland (Gebel Ramla) and Angus Graham (Karnak) will be going into the field in March, and as with the Excavation Fund projects, members will be able to hear about the results of the work at the summer conference.

The Oral History Project had received a good proportion of its funding soon after the launch and no time was wasted in making best use of the funds that had arrived. John Johnston and I travelled to Liverpool to interview Kenneth Kitchen in November 2008, and filmed over 8 hours of discussion of various aspects of Professor Kitchen’s life and career.

The material has been deposited in the Society’s Oral History Archive, and once a few technical issues have been ironed out we hope to have a sample of the video footage available online – we’ll let you know as soon as it’s ready. Arrangements have also been made to interview Professor Harry Smith in March 2009, and a report on all the work undertaken so far will be presented at the conference in June.

Amelia Edwards Group members have been invited to a special event on 21 May, when the results of the work will be presented for the first time. This will also provide Group members with the opportunity to talk to project directors and staff about possible future work.


Several important changes to the governance of the EES were approved at the AGM on 13 December 2008 which followed the well-attended study-day on technology (‘Every Beautiful Thing’). As a result, the Memorandum and Articles have now been revised to take account of new legislation, and in order that the Committee could be recast as a Board of Trustees. Board members were elected at the AGM and include a number of non-Egyptologists, with legal, financial and administrative backgrounds. We believe that the new blend of Egyptologists and others puts the Society in the strong position to succeed in meeting its aims over the next few years. The EES also has a new Treasurer, Mr Paul Cove, an experienced financier currently working for Deutsche Bank. Paul’s financial expertise will no doubt be invaluable as the Society seeks to reduce the deficit projected for 2009-10, in the most challenging of circumstances.


Our autumn and winter events proved very popular. The Deir el Medina study day, ‘The Men of the Gang’ was attended by over 200 members and others, and the Museums seminar led by Karen Exell and Ashley Cooke was so oversubscribed that a repeat performance has been scheduled for 21 March this year. Furthermore, the forthcoming seminars on Tell el-Balamun (Patricia and Jeffrey Spencer) and the First Intermediate Period (Glenn Godenho), and the members’ private view of the new Nebamun galleries at the British Museum, have all sold out. We’re really pleased that you have signed up for these events so enthusiastically; we try to offer as diverse a programme of events as possible and hope you will continue to vote with your feet by getting involved this way.

As announced in the autumn mailing, the conference this year, ‘New Explorations’ (20/21 June 2009), will focus on the Society’s current fieldwork and research, and is intended to be a statement of where we are in 2009, in our first year since the withdrawal of the British Academy grant. We are very excited about the current work and hope to see as many of you as possible at SOAS in June. A much greater proportion of our work is funded through members’ subscriptions and donations than was previously the case, and we hope that you will be pleased with the way your money has been spent!

Tickets are not yet available but full details of the conference and other events for Spring and Summer - including a seminar on statues from Karnak and a lecture on letters from Qasr Ibrim - will be mailed to members in the next few weeks, and posted online.


The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 94 (2008) was mailed during December to members who had paid the relevant subscription. Any members who believe they should have received a copy but have not yet done so should contact Roo Mitcheson (roo.mitcheson@ees.ac.uk). A list of the contents is available here.

Roo is currently preparing subscription renewal forms for mailing in March as the new sub year starts on 1 April. We hope you will all want to renew your subscriptions of course and that Egyptian Archaeology 34 which will also be mailed during the next few weeks will be a good incentive!


Roo’s renewal forms will include details of a new add-on to membership which will be available from 1 April onwards. JSTOR is an online archive of scientific journals and contains all back issues of JEA (excluding the three mostly recently published volumes). For an additional £10 you will be provided with a password allowing you to download an unlimited number of articles from the Journal as pdf files. If you have any questions about this please do not hesitate to contact us.

THE EES on the WWW

The overhaul of the Society’s website has unfortunately taken longer than anticipated, due in part to other pressures on staff time, but mainly to the sheer amount of material we want to make available. This has not discouraged people from using the present site which, at the moment, receives over 3,000 visitors each week. The news page (Tumblr) has remained similarly busy with over two and half thousand views in the last few weeks of 2008, and the Facebook group now has just under 950 members, which gives us confidence that we will reach 1,000 by the time of its first birthday in April!


As you will know by now, the Society received a very generous donation of over 900 books from Edwina Iredale in spring last year. A good number were added to the library but the Society already had copies of most of the books in the collection and it was decided that the duplicates should be sold to raise funds for new acquisitions. In December the Society ran an online auction of the most valuable titles on eBay. It was our intention by doing this to involve as many members as possible in the sale - including those outside the UK - and to maximize revenue. Almost all the titles listed were sold, to members and others throughout Europe and further afield, raising approximately £1,700. This money has made a significant difference to the library’s acquisitions budget and a number of new titles have already been added to the collection. A list of new titles is available here.

In addition, a new exchange agreement was struck with the Universit√† degli studi of Milan in the autumn. The Society sent a number of its publications to Milan for the library in the department of Egyptology and a very heavy box full of new titles, many of them the publications of the University’s very active programme of research into Egyptological archives, arrived at Doughty Mews last week. The Society’s Junior Administrator, Tina Paphitis, has been cataloguing the books, and a full list will be made available in due course.


At the suggestion of the Editor, Ancient Egypt Magazine will be running a series of articles on the Society throughout 2009. The first in the series, an article on the history of the Society by the Society’s Director, Patricia Spencer, appeared recently in volume 9, issue 4 (Feb/Mar 2009).

In addition a special issue of Current World Archaeology will be devoted to the Society later in the year.


The Editor of Who Was Who in Egyptology, Dr Morris Bierbrier, can now be found at Doughty Mews on a regular basis, updating the database. Members who have additional information on the individuals included previously or would like to suggest new entries should contact Morris at morris.bierbrier @ ees.ac.uk [Andie: I have added spaces before and after the @ symbol to reduce spam to the EES - you will need to remove the spaces when you email].


We hope you’ve enjoyed this third EES e-newsletter. The mailing list now stands at over 1,500 and is still growing. Please feel free to pass the message to anyone you feel might be interested in our work, and if you are receiving this message ‘second-hand’ please do contact us – contact @ ees.ac.uk – so that we can add your address to the list for the fourth installment! [Andie: I have added spaces before and after the @ symbol to reduce spam to the EES - you will need to remove the spaces when you email].

Best wishes,

Chris Naunton

Thanks very much to Roo Mitcheson for untangling my subscription for me yesterday with such patient good will and efficiency.

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