New York: The Theodore N. Romanoff Prize Lecture: Reading Images in Hieroglyphs: Rethinking Literacy in Ancient Egypt

Registration is Required

Presented by: Dr. Victoria Almansa-Villatoro

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  • 6:00 PM ETNew York
  • Zoom/ In-PersonSalmagundi Art Club Smith Library 47 Fifth Avenue @ 12th Street | New York, NY 10003
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The American Research Center in Egypt, New York Chapter (ARCE/NY) in Association with the Salmagundi Art Club

Lecture Information

It is assumed that only 1% of ancient Egyptians were able to read texts and that full literacy in the ancient world was only achieved after the introduction of the alphabet. This lecture challenges these ideas by showing how hieroglyphs could have been understood as images by Egyptians with different levels of education in the Old Kingdom (ca. 2700–2300 BCE). The evidence collected comes from publicly displayed royal inscriptions that exempted temple communities from taxation and mandatory labor. It will be shown that the texts were composed using a range of visual and iconic strategies that made messages accessible to the broader population.

Speaker Bio

Victoria Almansa-Villatoro is currently a Junior Research Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows, and will be starting as an Assistant Professor of Egyptology at Yale University in 2025. She earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from Brown University in 2022, where she was teaching courses on Egyptian language and archaeology. She has authored books and articles on earlier Egyptian language, literature, religion, and archaeology. She has been a research fellow at the American Research Center in Egypt and the Stiftungdsfonds für Postgraduates der Ägyptologie. She is Assistant Director to the Expedition to the Royal Pyramids and Necropolis of Nuri (Sudan), and an archaeologist at the Giza Plateau Mapping Project with Ancient Egypt Research Associates.