September at the Museum: Annual Egyptological Colloquium 2019 & Kirwan Memorial Lecture 2019

September 2019 will be marked by two events at the British Museum devoted to the field of Egyptology – the Kirwan Memorial Lecture | Literacy in Christian Nubia: perspectives from the Polish Mission in Dongola and the Annual Egyptological Colloquium 2019: Amarna: the lived city.

On Monday, 16 September, Adam Łajtar, the Head of Papyrology at the University of Warsaw will familiarise the public with the Polish Mission in Dongola, the capital of the Kingdom of Makuria. The Kingdom of Makuria is one of three Nubian kingdoms, Nobadia, Makuria and Alwa, Christianised in the sixth century AD by missions from Constantinople. With Christianity, the kingdoms also received Christian cultural baggage, including patterns of literacy. The vast literary output of Christian Nubia is known mainly thanks to archaeological discoveries made in Nubia and modern Sudan, beginning at the end of the 19th century – and particularly based on the finds made over the last 50 years by Polish archaeologists in Dongola. The lecture will be a one-off opportunity to hear a first-hand account on the excavations in this part of the Nile valley.


Interior of the Church of Archangel Raphael in Dongola. Photo by M. Rekłajtis, archives of the Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw

The latter event, lasting for two days – Thursday, 19 September and Friday, 20 September, will reassess and update our knowledge about the archeological site of Amarna. Since its systematic excavation beginning in the late 19th century, the site has shaped an understanding of Egyptian urbanism, while eliciting fascination because of the unique nature of its founder king, Akhenaten.


View of houses in the Main City at Amarna (Amarna Project)

The colloquium will feature papers on the following aspects of the city, based on new fieldwork and re-assessment of earlier research, objects and documents relating to the city.

* Urban environment, layout and networks

* Experiences of urban life

* Belief, memory and identity

* Production, supply and exchange

* The changing city

On Thursday 19, Barry Kemp will give the keynote lecture on The house of the Aten’ at Amarna: whose needs did it serve and how? The introduction says: ‘Written and pictorial sources from Amarna make the ‘House of the Aten’ the centre of Akhenaten’s cult of the sun, the Aten. In modern times it has been identified with a site in the centre of Amarna called the Great Aten Temple. First excavated in 1932 by the Egypt Exploration Society, it has been the subject of a fresh examination by the Amarna Project since 2012’.


Visualisation of the Great Aten Temple by Paul Docherty (

We will be sure to share the abstracts and outcomes of the conferences in due course and please do use social media to keep up-to-date with both events.