Unveiling “The Future of Ancient Egypt”: International Congress of Egyptologists 2023

ICE flags in Leiden | © ICE 2023

Von Camilla Persi, Ramona D’Alfonso und Jake Colloff 

There is no doubt that this summer has been memorable for Ancient Studies in the small and charming city of Leiden. Starting with the 68th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, the annual conference of the International Association for Assyriology, hosted by Leiden University from 17 to 20 July 2023. This event marked the beginning of an extremely busy conference season, which culminated with the 10th European Conference of Iranian Studies, held from  21 to 25 August. In between these two, the city hosted the thirteenth addition of the International Congress of Egyptology (ICE). With its overriding theme ‘the future of ancient Egypt’, the conference invited participants to present ideas within the current and developing scholarship and to initiate a dialogue on Egyptology in its broader sense. This encompassed ideas such as its role in contemporary society and academia, as well as how to develop the discipline such that it may maintain its relevance in the future of society’s rapidly evolving climate.

A direct train connection from Berlin to Amsterdam made the journey to Leiden easy and eco-friendly. Due to the high number of participants and the small scale of the city, the main hotels around Leiden were brimming at the seams, however due to Holland’s compact nature, nearby locations such as Den Haag offered additional accommodation at only a short train’s ride away. More than 800 people attended the event, coming from 32 countries worldwide and representing a broad spectrum of academic disciplines: with 400 lectured delivered over 6 days, in  6 parallel sessions, running from 9 am until 6 pm daily. A number of established topics, such as Language and Texts, Archaeology, History of Art, and Museology, were well represented. Furthermore, emerging fields of study were brought into focus, including issues of Climate change in antiquity, Digital Egyptology, (illegal) trade in ancient Egyptian artefacts, and inclusion and diversity in Egyptology.

Statue of Maya and Merit (from Saqqara, Egypt; c. 1320 B.C) at the RMVO | © Camilla Persi

The congress was highly engaging both from a social and academic standpoint. It served as a forum for critical discussions regarding recent developments in Egyptology, while allowing these topics to overflow into the punctuated breaks which gave opportunity for interested parties from various professional climates and career stages to engage, learn, talk, and develop and question these ideas together. It was especially valuable for connecting people from radically different backgrounds to bring with them their own wealth of experience, as well as facilitating the dissolving of the Egypt/Euro-American divide, buttressing an inclusive communication in which the disciplines future undoubtedly lies. Each day’s festivities were complemented by workshops, events and public outreach lectures aimed at developing and extending the topics of Ancient Egypt beyond their academic clique.

Photo of Jake and Camilla taken by the local marketing agency of the city of Leiden | © Leiden Convention Bureau

Additionally, for those in the early stages of their careers, ICE Leiden provided an excellent opportunity to present a glimpse of their doctoral research internationally. This resulted in many PhD students presenting their work to established scholars and receiving constructive feedback, as well as building new professional relationships. In this context, Jake Colloff (Harvard University / Exchange student at BerGSAS, AOViS), discussed one of his research topics focused on authorial bias in Egyptological Journals, demonstrating the intersectional inequities resulting from gender and nationality-based marginalization and its effect on the resulting voice of the discipline. In addition, Camilla Persi (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin / BerGSAS, AOViS), presented her PhD research findings suggesting that the Ancient Egyptian concept of the Ba-bird may have clear and established visual origins originating much earlier than previously thought.

In the end, the event was an enormous success, thanks both to the efforts of the Organizing Committee and the Scientific Committee, and also to the vast number of students and volunteers who contributed significantly. We can not wait for the fourteenth installation in 2027, when we will be able to see whether our discussion on the future of Ancient Egypt, have started to become a reality.


What does the future of ancient studies look like?

How will social and technological advances affect the role of the academic in the future?

How can we engage the public to make them more involved, and bring them greater knowledge of our discipline?

OpenEdition schlägt Ihnen vor, diesen Beitrag wie folgt zu zitieren:
teamredaktion (30. August 2023). Unveiling “The Future of Ancient Egypt”: International Congress of Egyptologists 2023. Berliner Antike-Blog. Abgerufen am 15. Juli 2024 von https://doi.org/10.58079/lv08

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