Theban Tomb 16 team reports on the current excavation season
[22 January 2015] Dr Suzanne Onstine reports from Luxor, Egypt, that having worked for three weeks the team that is excavating Theban Tomb 16 has reached the halfway point in this season’s excavations. The 19th-Dynasty tomb is the burial site for Pahnesy and his wife
Tarenu, priest and priestess. Dr Onstine has been responsible for excavation there
since 2008 (a detailed report of the 2012-2013 season may be found in the departmental newsletter for September 2013).
The physical anthropology team has analysed thousands of bones and has discovered
several lovely funerary objects like shabtis (funerary figures) and amulets. The rest of the burial equipment is in a very ruined
state—all the coffins and bodies were smashed into small pieces during the looting
of the tomb in the 20th century. The project, however, is happy with the amount of
data that can be secured from the broken remains, and all kinds of pathologies and
mummification techniques have been found.
The x-ray machine that was supposed to be used during this season is still sitting
in the Cairo airport awaiting customs clearance, so those investigations will have
to wait until a later season as the radiologist, Rosa Dinares, had to return to Spain
to her “real job.” Dr Onstine remarked that the team is very fortunate to have specialists
like Rosa, Jesus Herrerin (physical anthropologist), and Miguel Sanchez (pathologist),
willing to devote their vacation days to research at TT16.
The team was able to show off the tomb to the Karnak team in that team’s final days
of work (see a report from the Karnak Hypostyle Hall Project earlier this month). A further update on TT16 is promised at the end of the season.
The large photograph above is of Dr Onstine explaining some information about the
tomb to a group of visitors. The small photograph at the left is of the Memphis team
members: Dustin Peasley, Dr Onstine, Virginia Reckard, and Elizabeth Warkentin (kneeling).
Dr Darin Stephanov receives academic appointments in Finland
[13 January 2015] Dr Darin Stephanov has recently been named a post-doctoral researcher at the Academy
of Finland Project “Political Power in the Early Modern European and Islamic Worlds,”
and coordinator of the Nordic Exploratory Workshops “Eurasian Empires, Public Space/Sphere,
and Collective Identities at the Threshold of Modernity” at the University of Jyväskylä,
Finland. He is the author of “Sultan Mahmud II (1808-1839) and the First Shift in
Modern Ruler Visibility in the Ottoman Empire,” Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association 1:1-2 (2014), among other articles.
Dr Stephanov received his PhD at The University of Memphis in 2012. His dissertation
was “Minorities, Majorities, and the Monarch: Nationalizing Effects of the Late Ottoman
Royal Public Ceremonies, 1808-1908,” with Dr Kent Schull as major professor. While
a student he won one of the first-ever awards for making the best prospectus presentation.
He did postdoctoral research in Finland and was a Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium
for Advanced Studies during 2012-2014.
Dr Aram Goudsouzian participates in historians' assessments of President Obama’s
[12 January 2015] Dr Aram Goudsouzian was one of 53 historians chosen by New York magazine to make assessments of the legacy of Barack Obama. Each historian was asked
by respond to 15 questions. In its general article on the online site the magazine chose from the full assessments brief quotations that it found most
In the category "What We Will Remember?" it included Dr Goudsouzian’s contention that
it would be the recent executive action on immigration: “According to one poll, almost
90 percent of registered Latino voters support the measure. The number of Hispanics
in the United States is projected to double by 2060, which means that one-third of
the nation’s population will be Hispanic. Obama’s executive action may not only help
stabilize the country’s Latino population but also cement much of its loyalty to the
In the category “The Most Lasting Image?" it included Dr Goudsouzian’s judgment that
it was “When Joe Wilson yelled ‘You lie!’ during the 2009 State of the Union: a cheap, nasty, and disrespectful moment and
a depressing emblem of the era in which Obama has governed.”
The magazine published the complete text of all the responses in separate articles;
Dr Goudsouzian’s response may be bound at http://nymag.com/news/politics/obama-history-project/aram-goudsouzian/.
Karnak Hypostyle Hall Project filmed by CNN for its series “Inside Africa”
[1 January 2015] CNN International recently visited Dr Peter Brand and his students who are working
on the field mission of the Karnak Hypostyle Hall Project in Luxor, Egypt, and did
extensive filming of the Hypostyle Hall for the first part of its weekly program “Inside
Africa” that is seen around the world.The crew spoke with doctoral student Andrew
Shilling and shot footage of him when he was upon the scaffolding recording inscriptions.
This part, which is narrated by CNN’s Ian Lee and deals with the Nile as the lifeblood
of Egypt’s civilization and concentrates on the ancient capital at Thebes (modern
Luxor), has been posted to the Internet at http://edition.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/international/2014/12/29/spc-inside-africa-egypt-nile-river-a.cnn.html. Beginning at about 3:08, the show depicts the Karnak Hypostyle Hall and how it has
been used in movies such as James Bond’s “They Spy Who Loved Me” and more recently “Transformers:
Revenge of the Fallen.” It then speaks about how the University of Memphis is working
there, “uncovering the mysteries” of Ancient Egypt, and Mr Shilling is shown doing
his work on the scaffolding, beginning at 3:52.
Dr Brand reported today that the field season is going very well and that he will
be returning to Memphis on 15 January with most of the students. Another senior doctoral
student, Ms Erika Feleg, will continue to work at Karnak along with the project’s photographer
until 31 March.
This season’s field work was made possible by the project’s fifth consecutive grant
from the National Endowment for the Humanities and its first grant from the American
Research Center in Egypt’s Egyptian Antiquities Fund, which in turn is funded by the
US-AID program from the State Department.
You may find more information about the Karnak Hypostyle Hall Project on its website and on its Facebook page. (The Facebook page has an item about the project’s participating in the celebrations
arranged for this year’s solstice at Karnak on 21 December, which it described as