Academic Information | New Development of Current Egyptology Research

2020-07-02 | By Historian | Filed in: World.

Since 1822, when French scholar Shang Poliang deciphered hieroglyphs and Egyptology was announced, Egyptology has developed with each passing day in 200 years. Today, what new developments have taken place in this slightly younger discipline, which takes the ancient Egyptian civilization as its research object? The author recently attended the 12th International Congress of Egyptology XII held in Cairo and jointly organized by the International Association of Egyptologists and the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. It is fortunate to learn about the new development of Egyptology research at present, namely, the increasingly scientific, standardized, systematic, microscopic and interdisciplinary research of Egyptology research, which is embodied in the following aspects:
I. Egyptian Archaeological Excavations Using Modern Scientific and Technological Means and Multidisciplinary Cooperation
Archaeological excavations in Egypt are a concentrated expression of the above-mentioned new trends in Egyptology research. Egyptology is based on archaeology, so the results of Egyptian archaeological excavations directly affect the depth and breadth of Egyptology research. Since the birth of Egyptology in 1822, Egyptian archaeological excavations have also developed from robberies for the purpose of treasure exploration to systematic scientific excavations for the purpose of research. Modern archaeology is a interdisciplinary subject. With the development of modern science and technology, geographic engineering technology, 4D model technology, geological informatics technology, metallurgy and medicine have been fully applied in the current Egyptian archaeological excavations. It is also the application of these modern technological means that, It makes it possible for us to rediscover sites that have already been excavated. Peter A. Piccione of the University of Charleston in the United States used the Geographic Information Engineering System to conduct a satellite survey of Thebes in the west to study the architectural geographical environment of Thebes cemetery, including landslides, earthquakes, rock faults and other topics, thus revealing how ancient Egyptians adapted to and reshaped the local geographical environment when designing tomb buildings. Carina van den Hoven’s team at Leiden University in the Netherlands used a 4D model to map the evolution of Thebes Cemetery. Marine Yoyotte of the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology in Cairo determined the location of the Mi-wer port built by Tutmos III through geological archaeology in order to understand the surrounding rivers and hydrological systems. These research results integrate traditional archaeological methods with new technologies of geological informatics, emphasize the importance of site topography in archaeological research, and are conducive to the new discovery of sites and the protection of discovered sites. In addition, Martin Odler of Charles University in Prague and the Czech Institute of Egypt studied the copper alloy technology in ancient Egypt, stressing that compared with the ancient kingdom period, the reuse and recycling of tools in the New Kingdom period were more common, and discussing the evolution and development process of copper alloy technology in the history of ancient Egypt. Jes ú s Herrer í n of Madrid Autonomous University used identifiable mummy fingerprints to estimate the sex and age of death of ancient Egyptians. Zeinab Hashesh of Benisuwev University inspected the pyramid complex of King Djedjare and revealed the correlation between age, sex and specific pathology.

Second, the interpretation of Egyptian art from the characters’ psychology, facial expressions and body language
The art of ancient Egypt can not only directly reflect the social situation of ancient Egypt, but also reflect the spiritual world of Egyptians. However, early scholars often paid attention to the historical information they showed in their research on works of art such as painting and sculpture. With the development of Egyptology, scholars have begun to focus their research on works of art itself and interpret ancient Egyptian history and art through the psychology, facial expressions and body language of the characters depicted in works of art. For this reason, Maya Mueller of the University of Basel in Switzerland, based on murals in the tombs of kings and ministers, Using human etiology, psychology and historical background, this paper discusses the body language of kings, foreign enemies and slaves who highly follow aesthetic design, and analyzes the artistic images of invaders and invaders with the violent elements directly expressed or hidden in their facial expressions. For example, the image of kings usually shows his enjoyment of rights, victory and killing. Alisee Devillers of the University of Liege in Belgium pointed out that although ancient Egyptian art has attracted much attention, the artists who created these masterpieces are often neglected. Diver tracks the artists’ creative techniques through textual and technical analysis and analyzes their social identity and status from the perspective of portraitology. Alexis Den Doncker, also from the University of Liege in Belgium, introduced the “picture language” of Thebes Tomb No.100 (TT 100), analyzing the overall concept of tomb decoration, the plane layout, theme, character image and color of the picture, etc., thus analyzing the living conditions of the Egyptian elite at that time.

Third, the micro-interpretation of Egyptian words and documents
Literature interpretation of ancient Egyptian is the cornerstone of Egyptology research, and accurate interpretation of ancient Egyptian is an important prerequisite for understanding historical truth. As is known to all, The establishment of Egyptology started with the successful deciphering of ancient Egyptian. Since then, the research on ancient Egyptian and the collation of documents have never stopped. The macro interpretation of the content, style and grammar of the whole document has gradually shifted to the micro interpretation of a certain word. At the same time, an Egyptian database has been established to provide convenience for scholars to study the original documents. Ahmed Hamden of the University of Egypt on October 6 introduced the writing form of ancient Egyptian TP and expounded its special usage in religious scenes. Daniel Potter of the Scottish National Museum discussed the different usage and understanding of “Drt” and “` wy” in ancient Egyptian literature. Camilla Di Biase-Dyson of Gottingen University analyzed the use of figurative rhetoric and believed that rich figurative rhetoric is usually used in teaching documents, poems and royal memorial documents, while narrative documents often lack such rhetoric. He considered various texts from qualitative and quantitative perspectives, and combined with the study of metaphor in modern language, revealed the change forms of metaphor in ancient Egyptian documents and its correlation with the development trend of modern language. In addition, the secular Egyptian database project of Heidelberg University is helpful for scholars to study the vocabulary, spelling discrimination and writing materials of secular Egyptian, which is more convenient to determine its writing date and unearthed location.

IV. Reconstruction of Religious Ritual Process
Ancient Egyptian religion is the reflection of ancient Egyptians’ thoughts, morality and concepts, and is closely related to the daily life of ancient Egyptians. With the deepening of archaeological excavations, scholars have shifted from the study of ancient Egyptian gods and temples to the reconstruction of religious ritual processes. Ann-Katrin Gill of Oxford University reinterpreted the process of religious rituals in Osiris based on fragments of religious literature in Hood-Hearst Papyrus and comparison of three Osiris rituals related literature such as P. BM EA 10252, P. BM EA 10081 and P. Berlin P. 3057. According to Edwin Smith papyrus, Ebers papyrus and P. Berlin 3027, Anne Landborg of Birmingham University analyzed the identity of religious ceremonies recorded in the literature, and believed that these ceremonies were used to cure diseases or prepare for the afterlife of the deceased, and they were the key to understanding the mechanism of religious activities in Egypt. Angelo Colonna of the University of Rome analyzed the function of canines in religious ceremonies, religious symbols in the local cultural and religious system and the social background at that time through the study of animal worship in the Asyut region during the New Kingdom period.

5. Comments on the Social Status of Civilians
With the archaeological excavations of craftsmen’s villages and urban sites, the study of ancient Egyptian social life history is booming. Royal family members are no longer the only group to study. The study of women, craftsmen, businessmen and other civilian classes has become the main research trend at present. Private letters have always been an important material for social life research. Susan Thorpe of Auckland University discusses women’s literacy, marital property status and occupation based on ancient Egyptian letters. Reinert Skumsnes of the University of Oslo explored the evolution of the status of women in ancient Egypt from the changes in the Egyptian literature of the terms “his wife” mt.f and snt.f. Gert Baetens of the University of Leuven set out to assign the social status of ancient Egyptian women from the female workers in the ancient Egyptian cemetery. Nico Dogaer of the Catholic University of Leuven reconstructed the handicraft industry and commercial organizations in ancient Egypt in 1,000 BC, and further believed that although elites such as royal family, temple and aristocratic ministers played an important role in the economic life of ancient Egypt, the economic activities of civilians could not be ignored. Kathrin Gabler of the University of Basel sorted out the names and tasks of the staff of Medina Craftsmen Village (smd.t) according to 1500 administrative documents of Ramses period, and analyzed the composition, development and changes of the staff of Medina Craftsmen Village in 250 years of Ramses period.

6. Further Discussion on the Origin of the State and the Attribution of Civilization
The origin of ancient Egyptian countries and the attribution of civilization have always been the focus of Egyptian academic research. At present, with the development of interdisciplinary research, the research perspective on this topic has also been broadened, from only based on archaeological and documentary materials to comprehensive research combining geography, sociology, architecture and other knowledge, making the research on the origin of civilization and the attribution of Egyptian civilization clearer. Although Egypt is a part of the African continent from a geographical point of view, the ancient Egyptian civilization has been excluded from the African civilization and belongs to the Near East civilization. However, Agnieszka Mczyska of the Poznan Archaeological Museum pointed out according to recent research results in the Delta region, the Nile Valley and the Eastern Sahara region that the social form of the early Neolithic groups in Lower Egypt is closer to Northeast Africa than to the agricultural society in southern Levant. Paolo Medici of Berlin Free University uses archaeological data and social evolution theory to analyze the changes in the country’s economic management, bureaucratic system and ideology based on archaeological data of cemeteries and settlements in Upper and Lower Egypt, and then discusses the formation process of the ancient Egyptian country. Felix Relats Montserrat of the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology discussed the architectural structure of an early temple of ancient Egyptian civilization discovered by Cl é mentRobichon in Medamud in 1938, revealing the internal connection between religious worship and the origin of the country.
(Author: School of History and Culture of Harbin Normal University and School of Literature of Shanghai University)

This article is reprinted from the public number: Wen Hui Scholar


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