Galina Belova: "The White Walls" of Memphis

Lecture by Galina A. Belova, Center for Egyptological Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences

  • 7:00 p.m.Washington, DC
  • 505 East Braddock Rd., Alexandria, VA 22314
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Memphis, the first capital of unified Egypt, was situated in the spot where the Nile River divides into several branches. According to ancient Greek historian Herodotus, the city-residence was founded by the legendary king Menes in approximately 3000 B.C.

Ancient Egyptians poetically referred to the place as “the knot of both Lands” and “the balance of both Lands.” Other names in written sources include Mennefer, Ankhtawy, and Djedswt as well as The White Walls—the name denoting a royal residence, in a new capital of the state.

The location of the royal residence has not yet been identified, however. Its discovery would constitute a great advance for Egyptological research.

The Center for Egyptological Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow has been conducting archaeological research at the site of Kom Tuman, in Memphis, since 2002. During the 2015 excavation, a massive defensive wall was discovered. This structure, whose width reached 8 meters (26 feet), was coated on both sides with a limestone-based plaster that averaged 5 cm (2 inches) in thickness and appeared dazzling white in the sun.

After careful analysis of the references to the most ancient city that have endured in the written sources, and a detailed comparison of those with the archaeological evidence, Dr. Belova has come to the conclusion that this is the wall referred to as “white” in the written sources, and that Kom Tuman could be the location of the ancient Egyptian capital named The White Walls. 

The lecture will be preceded by a reception ($5.00 entry) at 6:30 p.m. There will be a raffle for Egyptian-themed items such as books, journals, jewelry, and DVDs. ARCE-DC members receive a free raffle ticket for each one they buy.

After the lecture, join ARCE-DC members and guests for a dinner with the speaker. The meeting point will be at Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap, a few blocks away from the lecture venue. Each attendee will pay for his or her own dinner and contribute an extra $5.00 to defray the cost of the speaker’s meal.  Please RSVP to Carol Boyer at ccboyer@comcast.net  



About the speaker:

Galina A. Belova graduated from the Faculty of History of the Moscow State Pedagogical University in 1972. In 1975 she entered the postgraduate studies of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences with a degree in Ancient World History (Egyptology).

In 1978 she defended her PhD thesis on “Formation of the Administration in Nubia (3000-1200 BC).” In 1995 Belova got her doctorate in historical sciences, defending her thesis on “Ancient Egypt and Neighboring African Countries.” 

Belova currently heads the Russian archaeological missions in Memphis, Deir el Banat, and Luxor. 

She was the director of the Centre for Egyptological Studies (CES) of the Russian Academy of Sciences from 2000 to 2017 and is now the scientific director of the CES. She was co-director of the Russian-Dutch and Russian-German expeditions to Tell Ibrahim Awad between 1995 and 2001 and at the tomb TT320, the so-called “Royal Cash,” between 1998 and 2005. Belova also participated in the activities of the Working Group “Informatics and Egyptology” of the International Association of Egyptologists. 

Belova is the editor of the “The Secret Word of the East” series and the editor-in-chief of the journal “Egypt and Surrounding World” (in Russian).