by Erin Peters
What in the world is happening with “Egypt at the Carnegie?” In short, a lot of amazing things!
I am an Egyptologist/Romanist who studies Egypt when it was a part of the Roman Empire (30 BCE – 395 CE) and started as an assistant curator at the museum in 2015. If you want to see an object from the time period I study, visit the Walton Hall of Ancient Egypt and look at our Roman Period mummy with lots of gilding and pink and purple paint—it is my favorite object in the museum!
With our exhibit concepts in place, we applied for a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to develop a centerpiece for the exhibit with our amazing Dynasty 12 royal funerary boat and were awarded the grant for 2017! With this grant, we are starting first-stage research and planning for a digital interpretive component for visitors to experience life on the Nile in the time of the boat’s owner—pharaoh Senwosret III—who reigned from approximately 1887 BCE to 1848 BCE.
And finally, I was asked by my friend and colleague to join an archaeological mission at Antinoupolis, which is the famous ancient city built by the emperor Hadrian for his companion Antinous, who is said to have drowned in the Nile in October 130 CE and was deified after his death. A major part of the mission’s project is to make a complete architectural plan of the Hadrianic city, and I am interested in the city’s sacred landscape as my research specialty is temples in Roman Egypt.
To kick off this blog series about Egypt at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, I will write about my adventures and experiences while in Egypt and continue with our grant and exhibit activities this year (which involve a trip to California with Director of Exhibition Experience Becca Shreckengast and Director of Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh’s Innovation Studio Jeffrey Inscho in March).
But first, to get to Egypt it is a long journey from Pittsburgh. I started with proud Pittsburgh colors at the airport’s gift shop, flew to Washington, DC to connect to Frankfurt, Germany, and then I flew to Cairo where black and gold are echoed in the airport’s signage.
Tomorrow, I will get in a car for the 4 ½ km drive south to Antinoupolis (modern Sheikh Abada) and begin the first leg of the “Egypt at the Carnegie” adventure and write again soon, Inshallah.
Erin Peters is an assistant curator of science and research at Carnegie Museum of Natural History and is currently in Egypt for an archaeological research study. This blog is the first in a series of blog posts she has written while in the field. Check back for more!