Washington DC: Ten Years of Exploration in the Theban Necropolis

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Presented by: Piers Litherland, director of the New Kingdom Research Foundation (NKRF)

  • 12:00 PM ETWashington, D.C.
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Lecture Information

Fresh discoveries in the western part of the Theban burial ground offer a radically different framework for understanding the landscape and economy during the 18th dynasty.

Studies of this area have produced evidence of a cycle of wetter weather in at least four periods, the most extreme of which was during the 18th dynasty. This weather may account for a marginal expansion in the hunting and gathering constituents in the economy. It may also provide an explanation for the rise of the 18th dynasty, the extraordinary expansion of the economy in the dynasty’s early years, and the fall of the dynasty, as well as for the subsequent economic contraction through the 19th and 20th dynasties.

The most recent season saw the discovery of the tomb in which Hatshepsut buried her husband, Thutmose II.

Other discoveries include graffiti revealing that the western wadis were filled with water in the 18th dynasty and were used in the Third Intermediate Period for watching and trapping live falcons.

In addition, the cliff-tombs of the western wadis were re-cleared and accurately mapped for the first time.

This lecture will consist of two parts, separated by a break of 15 minutes. Each part will run about 50 minutes, plus 10 minutes for Q+A.

Speaker Bio

Piers Litherland has been involved in excavations in the Valley of the Kings and the western wadis since 1999. He is head of the New Kingdom Research Foundation (NKRF), and is the field director and mission head of the NKRF project in the western wadis (affiliated with the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at Cambridge University), which has been working in that part of the Theban cemetery for the last ten years.

Mr. Litherland is an honorary research associate of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge, to which the NKRF is affiliated. He has lectured on the work of the NKRF at the universities of Cambridge, Copenhagen, Uppsala, St Andrew’s, and Basel, at the Ministry of Antiquities in Cairo and Luxor, and to Egyptological societies in Britain and the United States. He took his undergraduate degree at Oxford University and holds an MPhil in Egyptology from the University of Cambridge.

His publications include The Western Wadis of the Theban Necropolis, New Kingdom Research Foundation, London, 2013.