Religion in the ancient world, and ancient Egyptian religion in particular, is often perceived as static, hierarchically organised, and centred on priests, tombs, and temples. Engagement with archaeological and textual evidence dispels these beguiling if superficial narratives, however. Individuals and groups continuously shaped their environments, and were shaped by them in turn. This volume explores the ways in which this adaptation, negotiation, and reconstruction of religious understandings took place. The material results of these processes are termed ‘cultural geography’. The volume examines this ‘cultural geography’ through the study of three vectors of religious agency: religious practices, the transmission of texts and images, and the study of religious landscapes.
Bringing together papers by experts in a variety of Egyptological disciplines and other fields of study, this volume presents the results of an interdisciplinary workshop held at Leiden University, 7-9 November 2018, kindly funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) Vidi Talent Scheme. The 15 papers presented here discuss the archaeology of religion and religious practices, landscape archaeology and ‘cultural geography’, and the transmission and adaptation of texts and images, across not only the history of Egypt from the Early Dynastic to the Christian periods, but also in ancient Sudanese archaeology, early and medieval south-eastern Asia, and contemporary China.
Nico Staring, Huw Twiston Davies and Lara Weiss
Re-awakening Osiris at Umm el-Qaab (Abydos). New evidence for votive offerings and other religious practices
Appropriation of territory through migrant ritual practices in Egypt’s eastern Delta
Prosopographia Memphitica – Analyzing Prosopographical Data and Personal Networks from the Memphite Necropolis
Immortality as the response of others
Votive practices in the local shrines of ancient Egypt
Identifying Christian Burials
In Hathor’s womb. Shifting agency of iconographic environments: The private tombs of the Theban necropolis under the prism of cultural geography
Alexis den Doncker
Epigraphical Landscape Appropriation – New Kingdom Rock Inscriptions in Upper Nubia
From Landscape Biography to the Social Dimension of Burial: A View from Memphis, Egypt, c. 1539-1078 BCE
Architecture of Intimidation: Political Ecology and Landscape Manipulation in Early Southeast Asia.
The Harpist’s Song at Saqqara: Transmission, Performance, and Context
Huw Twiston Davies
The Crying Game. Some thoughts about the “cow and calf” scenes on the sarcophagi of Aashyt and Kawit
Human and material aspects in the process of transmission and copying the Book of the Dead in the tomb of Djehuty (TT 11)
Lucía Díaz-Iglesias Llanos
From Viṣṇu to Sūrya / From Śiva to Sūrya: Tracking Processes of Transmission and Recreation in Sanskrit Religious Literature
Attending the Grave on a Clear Spring Day: The Linked Ecology of Religious Life in Contemporary Urban China
Nico Staring is a postdoctoral research fellow (Chargé de recherches) at the F.R.S.-FRNS / Université de Liège (2021-2024). He previously held a postdoctoral fellowship at Leiden University’s Walking Dead project and lectured at KU Leuven University. Staring received his doctorate from Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.
Huw Twiston Davies
Huw Twiston Davies was a postdoctoral research fellow of the Vidi-project The Walking Dead at Saqqara, The Making of a Cultural Geography, kindly funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (2018–2022), and was additionally Lecturer in Egyptology at the University of Manchester 2020–2021. Twiston Davies studied Egyptology at the University of Liverpool, where he received his doctorate in 2018.
Lara Weiss is Curator of the Egyptian and Nubian Collections at the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden and one of the field directors of the Leiden-Turin Expedition to Saqqara. She initiated and leads the Walking Dead project (2017-2023) at Leiden University and received her habilitation from Erfurt University in the Study of Ancient Religions in 2022.