FOREIGN GUESTS

TESSA’S FOREIGN GUESTS

This page documents the visits to Cape Town of some eminent Egyptologists -please scroll down to see great photos of our visitors!

Current Chairman, Professor Anthony Humphreys writes;  It has been one of the aims of TESSA to be able to expose members to high-profile Egyptologists from overseas. Clearly, given the potential costs involved, this cannot be an annual occurrence but over the years we have been lucky enough to be  visited by several outstanding people.  These Egyptologists have, in some very fortunate cases, happened to visiting Cape Town in their private  capacities.  In some cases we have contributed in some way to their presence in Cape Town, or, rarely, paid for the visit ourselves.’

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THE VISIT OF DR HUUB PRAGT [October 14th 2014]

Our October 2014 monthly meeting was moved a week earlier to accommodate the presence in Cape Town of the renowned Dutch Egyptologist, Dr Huub Pragt. Huub presented the main lecture as well as the Members’ Platform.

In the main lecture entitled “The Hidden Tomb,” Huub addressed the question of the whereabouts of the tomb of the prominent general and high priest of Amon  Mencheperra, Pinojem.  It has not been located in the Valley of the Kings  but Huub believes that it may lie just over the hills to the northwest.  This involves a vast area but he and colleagues are planning to use very sophisticated techniques to construct a three dimensional model of the area so as to ‘comb’ it as thoroughly as possible.  We can only await the outcome of his theories with great anticipation.

After a wine / fruit juice and biscuit break where members and visitors were able to ‘meet and greet’ Huub, he went on to his Members’ Platform presentation, “The Theft of Amarna Art,” which was equally intriguing.   He pointed out that when the Egyptian Museum was plundered in January 2011, only wooden objects were used to smash the glass cases.  Many other more solid objects were then reported stolen but, strangely, reappeared days or weeks later in very adjacent areas, such as in long grass which had been checked shortly after the looting. 

Other missing objects were recovered in similarly strange circumstances.  What has never been recovered, however, is any of the missing Amarna art pieces.  Why?  Huub has his own ideas and is incorporating them in a novel.

Huub came across as a charming and engaging personality with a wonderfully relaxed way of speaking.  It was also very evident that he has a profound knowledge of Egyptology.  We can only hope that his first taste of South Africa will persuade him to make a return visit in the not too distant future.  

Huub left a tangible mark on TESSA by presenting to our library an autographed copy of a book that he and a colleague wrote on hieroglyphs – for which we are most grateful.

Report by Anthony Humphreys

Dr Huub Pragt signing one of his books after his lecture to the society on 14th October 2014

We are grateful for this book that Dr Huub Pragt kindly donated to the society.

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THE VISIT OF PROF SALIMA IKRAM [Condensed from a report by Professor Humphreys]

On Tuesday 30 April 2013 about 200 TESSA members and visitors had the pleasure of hearing Prof Salima Ikram  [American University in Cairo] present a lecture on“Mummies in Ancient Egypt.” It is TESSA policy to try to bring out a visiting high-profile Egyptologist every few years..this year there was the happy coincidence of Prof Ikram being in SA to work on a project on animal mummies, together with Prof Sakkie Cornelius of the Dept. of Ancient Studies at the University of Stellenbosch and his team.

Salima Ikram gave us a comprehensive overview of mummies and mummification. She ranged from popular images of mummies to some medicinal beliefs about crushed mummies. Some of the material alleged to be crushed mummy had never been near a genuine mummy! She provided an outline of the methods used in mummification which changed overtime, & a historyof the progress of mummification from the emergence of the idea (possibly triggered by the discovery of dried out bodies in the desert), through the 18th Dynasty high point to the decline in expertise in later dynasties.

Salima was a wonderfully dynamic speaker who swept everyone along with her – so much so, that when she ended her lecture after about an hour, everyone would have been quite content for her to start all over again! People had the opportunity to interact with this delightful lady  at a “meet and greet” in an adjacent hall, where wine and fruit juice were on offer.

It was a memorable evening with a relaxed & enthusiastic atmosphere, triggered, in no small measure, by the personality & exuberance of Salima Ikram. It was a delight to have her address the Society and we sincerely hope that her research project will necessitate another visit to the country in the not too distant future, so that we can spend another wonderful evening in her company!

Prof Anthony Humphreys [TESSA Chairman]

Professor Salima Ikram at St George’s GS during her lecture

At the M&G – Professor Ikram with the committee & husband Dr Nicholas Warner
At the Meet & Greet -Professor Ikram with members Maureen Lith and Oonah Kühn.
Professor Ikram with  librarian Colleen Cox & Chairman Prof. Humphreys

TESSA committee member Bill Weckesser with Prof. Salima Ikram after her lecture for the Classics Society in Stellenbosch on Saturday 4th May 2013. The extra lecture, entitled, ‘Man’s Eternal best Friend; Dog & Human burials in Ancient Egypt’ was attended by several TESSA members. After the lecture all members were invited to join Salima, Nicholas and Prof. Sakkie at a local restaurant. A really great day!

Some photos taken at the lecture and afterwards by John Lombard, Sarah Sharman, Jean Smith, ‘Unknown’,
 and Bill Weckesser. The last 2 photos were provided by Bill Weckesser; they were taken after Prof. Ikram’s
lecture in Stellenbosch on the 4th May 2013.

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THE VISIT OF DR JOANN FLETCHER AND DR STEPHEN BUCKLEY     [Condensed from the report by Professor Anthony Humphreys, Chairman of TESSA ]            

 On Tuesday 28th September 2010, TESSA was  addressed by two world renowned archaeologists and Egyptologists from the University of York, in England – Dr Joann Fletcher and Dr Stephen Buckley. We were fortunate to have two such academics presenting a “double lecture.”

Under the general title of “The Search for Nefertiti,” Stephen spoke first outlining some of the problems involved with the much vaunted study of DNA from mummies.He pointed out that things are not nearly as clear cut as they tend to be presented in some publications and the survival of viable DNA samples is very much dependent upon micro-climatic conditions.

Joann spoke second, outlining the evidence for her theory published in 2004 that the “The Younger Woman” in the annex of the tomb of Amenhotep II– KV35 – was Nefertiti. The new evidence that is emerging is  tending to strengthen this theory. In line with Sir Karl Popper’s philosophy, refutation is what is required to discard any theory and, at the moment, there is nothing convincing to refute her theory. The damage to the face, for example, was inflicted soon after mummification and is not a later assault as some have maintained. Both presentations were outstanding and very well received and after a few questions from the floor, members of the audience were able to engage with Joann and Stephen personally over refreshments.

Joann Fletcher and Stephen Buckley will long be remembered by TESSA as very astute and meticulous researchers – not to mention being delightful guests in their personal capacities. Thanks are due to John Lombard who used his personal car to drive Jo and  Stephen to see some of the sights of Cape Town.

Welcoming party at Cape Town International
Professor Humphreys introduces Dr Fletcher & Dr Buckley to the crowded hall

Stephen & Joann after their successful lectures
With some appreciative members of the audience after the lectures
Stephen and Joann on Table Mountain

Jo and Stephen at Blouberg beach with Table Mountain visible across Table bay.

Photography by John Lombard

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Visit of Dr. Zahi Hawass in August 2006 – photos taken at the ‘meet & greet’ after Dr Hawass lecture.

In August 2006, the Society was honoured to host Dr. Zahi Hawass, then Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.   Dr. Hawass’ visit  marked & celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Society’s founding in 1996. The lecture tour started in Johannesburg where he gave a lecture at Wits Great Hall on the 14th August. In Cape Town he delivered 2 lectures at the Baxter Theatre on the 16th and 17th August – both of which were sold out. A ‘Meet & Greet’ event was organised with the Mayor of Cape Town Helen Zille invited as guest of honour; the ‘Meet & Greet’ allowed members to meet our honoured guest Dr Hawass,  who cheerfully posed for photographs with some of them.

Photography by Günther Komnick & Peter Mulder

Dr Zahi Hawass speaking at Wits Great Hall, left TESSA Chairman Jean Smith

From L to R – Keith Grenville, Mike Beaumont, Jane Mulder, Dr Hawass, Jean Smith, Shirley Beaumont & John Lombard.

Members Jenny Willoughby, Sheila Drewry, Dr Hawass, Jean Smith & Lila Komnick.

Dr Hawass with 2006 Cape Town mayor Helen Zille

members Debbie Blinkhorn & Anlen Boshoff with Dr Hawass.

Günther & Lila Komnick with Dr Hawass at the ‘meet & greet’.

Gisela Daniel poses happily with Dr Hawass!

Dr Hawass with TESSA librarians Colleen Cox & Jackie Weitsz

Dr Hawass with 2006 Chairman, Jean Smith

FSDFS

Jane & Peter Mulder with Dr Hawass

At Bloubergstrand with Keith Grenville, Jean Smith and Jane Mulder

Dr Hawass with Jean Smith and Jane Mulder, behind Keith Grenville and Peter Mulder.

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Dr Toby Wilkinson 

In 2003 Dr Toby Wilkinson, while in Cape Town on a private visit, kindly agreed to address the Society on Tuesday 16th September. His illustrated lecture was entitled ‘Genesis of the Pharaohs; re-thinking the origins of Ancient Egypt’ based on his book of the same name. Some of us took the opportunity to have our copies of Toby’s book autographed by the author himself,

Dr Toby Wilkinson with members, from left to right, Colleen Cox, Jackie Weitsz, Mireille Farah and Denise Bremridge

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Professor Mostafa el-Abaddi & Professor Azza Kararah

In 2002, TESSA committee under the chairmanship of  Keith Grenville,  marked the opening of the new’Bibliotheca Alexandrina’ by inviting Dr Mostafa El-Abbadi & his wife Professor Azza Kararah,  both from the university of Alexandria, to visit South Africa to take part in a 2-day seminar to be held at the Baxter Theatre.  Dr el-Abaddi, then professor of Classical & Graeco-Roman studies spoke on aspects of Greek history in Alexandria while Professor Kararah  introduced us via her talk  ‘Alexandria in Literature’ to 2 modern Egyptian writers, Ahmed Shawqi & Nobel prize winning author Naquib Mahfouz. Other speakers at the seminar were  Professors Anthony Humphreys UWC, Derrick Sparks UCT, Johann Cook US,Sakkie Cornelius US, and Dr Barry Smith.

Professor el-Abaddi also delivered a lecture at the University of Natal, entitled ‘The Alexandria Library – Past & Present’.   

I’ve not been able to trace photos taken at the event but thanks to Keith for supplying the photos below.

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Professor Kent Weeks & Mrs Susan Weeks

In 2000, just 4 years after the formation of TESSA, and under the chairmanship of TESSA founder, Keith Grenville, we welcomed our first foreign visitors to South Africa. They were the well-known American Egyptologist Dr Kent Weeks and his wife Susan, an artist & Ceramic expert.

Kent and Susan are known for their work on the so-called ‘Lost Tomb’; that is the massive tomb of the sons of Rameses II in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. Their visit to South Africa was a great success, with Dr Weeks presenting lectures at UCT, Stellenbosch University, Wits, Pretoria University and the University of Natal.

Sadly, Susan passed away in December 2009. TESSA donated a sum of money in her memory to the Susan Howe Weeks Memorial Fund.

Dr & Mrs Weeks with the 2000 committee members, from left to right; Jean Smith, Susan Weeks, Denise Bremridge, Keith Grenville,Catherine Le Seuer, Dr Weeks & Colleen Cox. Photograph by Günther Komnick

Dr Kent Weeks with TESSA founder and then chairman, Keith Grenville, at Cape Town in 2000
Dr Kent & Mrs Susan Weeks, with the late Angus McBride & member Denise Bremridge, at a ‘meet & greet’ at the Baxter theatre 2000
Dr Weeks being interviewed by Ruda Landman for ‘Carte Blanche’ in Iziko museums Egyptian room. September 2000
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