Washington D.C.: Surviving Kings’ Coffins from the Royal Theban Cache TT 320: Seqenenre Tao, Thutmose I, Thutmose III, and Ramses II

Registration is Required

Presented by: Dr. Kara Cooney, professor of Egyptology at UCLA and chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures

  • 1:00 PM ETWashington, D.C.
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Lecture Information

The Theban Tomb 320 burial cache discovered at Deir el Bahari revealed a number of coffins used to rebury kings and priest-kings. These coffins had been stripped of gold and other valuables before reuse, providing evidence that kings’ burials were systematically re-commodified. 

Most kings were not reburied in their own royal coffins. The surviving king’s coffins suggest they were re-gilded even after gold sheeting and inlay was removed, probably for display of some kind. Such gilding was later removed in the 22nd Dynasty. 

The stratigraphy of these New Kingdom royal coffins thus preserves a series of contradictory actions, including re-commodification and reuse to source scarce and necessary valuables, restoration to broadcast care and ritual attention for the ancestor-kings, and finally stripping of valuables after that display potential had run out. 

This talk will include material analysis of the surviving kings’ coffins along a timeline of changing social conditions to examine contradictory actions of reuse, restoration, display, and recycling.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Kara Cooney is a professor of Egyptology at UCLA and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. Specializing in social history, gender studies, and economies in the ancient world, she received her Ph.D. in Egyptology from Johns Hopkins University. 

In 2005, Dr. Cooney was co-curator of Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She produced a com­parative archaeology television series entitled Out of Egypt, which aired in 2009 on the Discovery Channel and is available online. 

Her popular books include The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient EgyptWhen Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt, and The Good Kings: Absolute Power in Ancient Egypt and the Modern World. 

Her latest academic books include Ancient Egyptian Society: Challenging Assumptions, Exploring Approaches from Routledge (2022) and Recycling for Death: A Social History of Ancient Egypt and the Royal Caches from The American University in Cairo Press (forthcoming, on September 5, 2023).