UofM's Egyptian Institute Will Host Nov. 30 Lecture "Worlds in Stone: Cosmic Architecture and Decoration of Royal Tombs in New Kingdom Egypt"

November 10, 2017 - The Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology and the Department of History of the University of Memphis will co-host the 12th annual William J. Murnane Memorial Lecture on Thursday, Nov. 30, in the University Center Fountain View Suite (350).

Dr. Joshua A. Roberson, assistant professor of Art History (Egyptology and Egyptian language) at the UofM and acting director of the IEAA for Fall 2017, will present at 7 p.m. A reception will precede the lecture at 6 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public. Parking is available in the Fogelman Drive garage next to the Fogelman Executive Center and in the Zach Curlin garage.

Roberson will discuss his research on the architecture and decoration of royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings during the Egypt's New Kingdom (1540–1080 BCE). The richly illustrated lecture will examine the ways in which the royal tombs changed over time under the influence of cosmological compositions known as the Books of the Underworld and Sky.

Roberson will demonstrate how the two-dimensional decoration of those books was used to encode three-dimensional space, oriented around an idealized set of cardinal directions and enclosed within a symbolic border of earth and sky. This effectively recreated the realm of the afterlife as miniature worlds in stone, personalized for the benefit of the individual kings who commissioned them.

Roberson earned his PhD in Egyptology at the University of Pennsylvania and is a specialist in Egyptian language and religion. He has worked at numerous archaeological sites in Egypt, including Saqqara, Abydos, the Opet and Ptah precincts of the Karnak temple at Luxor, and Elephantine island at Aswan. He has also conducted field research on royal and private tombs in the Valley of the Kings and the el-Asasif necropolis, with support from the American Research Center in Egypt and the U.S. Department of State.

Roberson is the author of more than two dozen articles, book chapters and scholarly reviews, as well as two major monographs: The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Earth and The Awakening of Osiris and the Transit of the Solar Barques. His current publication projects include a monographic Lexicon of Ancient Egyptian Cryptography and a new volume of Ramesside Inscriptions.

Dr. Patricia Podzorski  |  901.678.2555  l  ppodzrsk@memphis.edu