ARCE Northern CA: Funerary Papyri as Social Reflections of the Living and the Dead

Registration is required

Presented by: Dr. Marissa Stevens; Assistant Director of the Pourdavoud Center for the Study of the Iranian World

  • 3:00 PM PTNorthern California
  • In Person -- UC BerkeleyUniversity of California, Berkeley
    Barrows Hall Room 20 Social Sciences Building
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Lecture Information: 

Twenty-first Dynasty funerary papyri – consisting of texts and images from the Book of the Dead, the many Underworld Books, and other cosmographic scenes – have always fascinated Egyptologists for what they reveal about Egyptian afterlife beliefs and their understanding and conceptualization of the underworld.  But these documents are also social objects.  The creation, ownership, and use of these papyri can shed much light about the deceased who reap the religious benefit of the texts and on the family of the deceased, who also benefit from these objects in social and ideological ways.  Studying these papyri as objects of social life, we can learn about temple life, titles and rank, family structure, inheritance, and social status of the deceased and the families they left behind.  Funerary papyri were therefore used as a form of social competition, and reveal much about the mindset of the elite priests of 21st Dynasty Thebes.

Speaker Bio: 

Dr. Marissa Stevens is the Assistant Director of the Pourdavoud Center for the Study of the Iranian World.  Trained as an Egyptologist who studies the materiality, social history, and texts of the Third Intermediate Period and Late Period, she completed her Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. Combining art historical and linguistic approaches, her research interests focus on how objects can solidify, maintain, and perpetuate social identity, especially in times of crisis when more traditional means of self-identification are absent.