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Moriarty Science Seminar: “How to Make a Coffin in Ancient Egypt”
November 7, 2022, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Hybrid: Online and At the Museum
R.W. Moriarty Science Seminar Presents: “How to Make a Coffin in Ancient Egypt”
Speaker: Kea Johnston, University of California, Berkeley
This event will take place Monday, November 7 at Noon both online and at Earth Theater.
Abstract: To wealthy ancient Egyptians of the First Millennium BCE, a coffin was the most important element of their burial. The coffin acted symbolically as a microcosm of the universe as the Egyptians understood it, and as a womb where the deceased would be protected until they could be reborn into the next world. We often think of coffins in terms of their original owners–those whose bodies they housed and whose social identity they communicated–but each coffin was also the product of a production process involving multiple specialists using rare materials and sophisticated techniques.
Focusing on the coffin of a man named Na-tjau-khonsu-rudj in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, this talk explores how an Egyptian coffin was produced: from intricate carpentry to vignettes and texts drawn by scribes on a deadline. We know little about Na-tjau-khonsu-rudj–his remains may never have been buried in this coffin. Nonetheless, this coffin tells an important story about the people who made it nearly 2500 years ago.