Earlier Ancient Egyptian Mortuary Texts Variability
MORTEXVAR looks into the Ancient Egyptian Pyramid and Coffin Texts (c 2350-1550 BC), and other related materials, for changes in the language, spellings, texts, beliefs, material culture, social data, and historical context.
The photograph is the courtesy of the Middle Kingdom Theban Project
The interdisciplinary (philology, linguistics, graphemics and cultural studies) 4-year project (July 2019 – June 2023) The Earlier Ancient Egyptian Mortuary Texts Variability (MORTEXVAR) proposes a nuanced appraisal of the construction and function of the mortuary texts from Old and Middle Kingdom Egypt (2350-1550 BC) using ‛variability’ as an explanatory concept and an electronic-geared corpus-driven approach. It focuses on central cultural issues concerning the ritual context, archaeological trace, ideological interpretation, socio-cultural function and philological text-forming and transmission of the texts devoted to ensuring a post-mortem activity for the deceased from ancient Egyptian elite.
Research questions concentrate on two main axes:
How were earlier ancient Egyptian mortuary texts shaped out the way they are? Was there a core of texts from one focus or multiple foci that implemented modifications and/or innovations depending on the cultural changes through time and space?
How can this materialize in the texts and their material context? How can we properly value the weight of tradition and innovation in the process of creating and transmitting these texts?
TRANSFORMATION AND TRANSFIGURATION
MORTEXVAR explores the concept of ‛variability’ in two groups of fundamental texts concerning the post-mortem activity of the ancient Egyptian elite: the so-called transformation spells and transfiguration spells. This is the first time that this concept has been addressed in this manner.
MORTEXVAX focuses on changes, which are inherently hard to grasp, in that they can adopt many shapes, from mere mistakes to the creation of new traditions, through reinterpretations of different degrees (versions, pastiches, repetitions, omissions...). Furthermore, to the modern observer, these changes appear intertwined within more than one "sphere", including writing, language, textual units and artefacts.
MORTEXVAR is mainly concerned with changes occurring in the mainstream mortuary texts of the early stages of ancient Egypt, the so-called Pyramid Texts and the Coffin Texts. Other related texts, including the so-called Book of the Dead or the Letters to the Dead, will be on the rear mirror as well.
Photographs are the courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
CARLOS GRACIA ZAMACONA
Assistant Professor of Egyptology, Universidad de Alcalá, Madrid.
Research interests: Empirical linguistics, graphemics, and text analysis. Old and Middle Kingdom mortuary texts.
PhD in Egyptology and Linguistics at École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, co-leader of the Egygraph project (with Angela McDonald), epigrapher for the Middle Kingdom Theban Project, correspondant étranger for the UMR 8546 CNRS-ENS, Archéologie et Philologie d’Orient et d’Occident (AorOc), Paris, tutor of Ancient Studies (Egyptology) at the University of Glasgow, and fellow of the Academia de España at Rome.
Sika Pedersen holds a Bachelor and a Master of Arts in Egyptology from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), with a MA semester at the Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, University of Liverpool (United Kingdom).
During her MA, Sika taught Middle Egyptian courses and ancient Egyptian history courses in her capacity as teaching assistant at the University of Copenhagen, and has been working as a research assistant transcribing several administrative and literary New Kingdom ostraca and writing tablets.
In January 2020, Sika is starting a three-year PhD fellowship in Egyptology at the University of Alcalá as part of the MORTEXVAR project studying the ancient Egyptian mortuary texts from the Old and Middle Kingdom. Her main interests are ancient Egyptian administration both on institutional and private levels, and ancient Egyptian textual material, especially hieratic.
Postdoctoral researcher, Universidad de Jaén.
Doctor in Egyptology from Lyon 2 University (France), Gersande Eschenbrenner Diemer is Postdoctoral fellow at Universidad de Jaén (Spain) and research associate at Laboratoire ArScAn UMR 7041 Nanterre (France).
She specializes in the study of woodcraft: from the artefact production to the economic, religious and social wood networks.
She has been Marie-Curie fellow at the Institute of Archaeology of the University College of London (2016-2018) developing a research project around woodcraft as societal tracer through a global approach. Since 2014, she is a member of the archaeological missions of Qubbet el-Hawa (Aswan), Deir el-Medina (Luxor) and Islamic Cairo, Fustat (Cairo) for the study of wooden furniture and identification of production workshops.
Professor of Egyptology, Università di Pisa.
Doctor in Egyptology from the University of Pisa, Gianluca Miniaci is Associate Professor in Egyptology at the same university, director of the archaeological mission to Zawyet el-Maiyitin (Menya, Egypt), deputy-director of the University of Pisa excavation at Thebes, in the cemetery of Dra Abu el-Naga. He is editor-in-chief of the international series Middle Kingdom Studies (Golden House Publications, London), of the Journal of Egyptian History (Brill, Leiden), and of the series Ancient Egypt in Context (Cambridge University Press).
He has been Marie Curie Research Fellow at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, and at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL, London.
He has extensively published on the history, archaeology and the funerary culture in ancient Egypt.
ANTONIO J. MORALES
PhD in Egyptology at the University of Pennsylvania, Antonio Morales is Associate Professor of Egyptology at the Seminar of Ancient History in the University of Alcalá (UAH, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid), and the Director of the Middle Kingdom Theban Project.
Previously, he was Lecturer in Egyptology at Freie Universität Berlin.
He is currently organizing an Egyptological program at the University of Alcalá, mainly focused on pharaonic history, religion, language, and culture. The new program already includes courses on Egyptian language (Middle Egyptian, hieratic, Late Egyptian), Egyptian literature, and ancient Egyptian magic and religion.
He specialises in the material philology of Old and middle Kingdom mortuary texts, and the history of the beginning of the Middle Kingdom. Among other topics, he has published extensively on the textual transmission, text orality and entextualization of the Pyramid Texts.
Assistant Professor of Egyptology, Emory University, Atlanta.
Doctor in Egyptology from the University of Copenhagen, Rune Nyord is Assistant Professor of Ancient Egyptian Art and Archaeology at Emory University, Atlanta, editor of the ‘Egyptology’ area of the UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology, and external examiner for Egyptology, University of Copenhagen.
He has been Research Associate at the Ägyptologisches Seminar and SFB 980 ‘Episteme in Bewegung’, Freie Universität Berlin; and Lecturer, Research Associate (McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research), and Lady Wallis Budge Junior Research Fellow (Christ’s College) at the University of Cambridge.
He has extensively researched and published in cognitive linguistics and anthropology applied to ancient Egyptian topics such as the conception of the body, post-mortem individual identity, and visual perception.
Doctor in Egyptology from the Universität Basel, Andréas Stauder is Full Professor (directeur d’études) of Egyptian at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, IVe Section, Université PSL, Paris.
He is the scientific co-editor of the section ‛Language’ of the UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology, University of California Los Angeles. He has been the director of the Research team EA 4519 ‘Égypte ancienne: archéologie, langue, religion’ (EPHE), and of the Initiative de Recherche Interdisciplinaire Stratégique ‘Scripta-PSL: Histoire et pratiques de l’écrit’ (PSL). In Basel, he has directed the research projects ‘Materialität und Semantik komplexer Schriftsysteme’ (National Center of Competence and Research ‛eikones’, Swiss National Science Foundation & Universität Basel), and ‘The Old Egyptian Verb: Functions in Text’ (Universität Basel).
Prior to joining the EPHE, PSL, he has held a postdoctoral appointment at Universität Basel, a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Chicago, and has been an invited lecturer at the Université de Liège.
He has published extensively on the ancient Egyptian language, the Egyptian writing system, and Middle Egyptian literature.
PhD in Egyptology at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Zsuzsanna Végh is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities in Edinburgh as well as Tutor in Egyptology at the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. She has been awarded prestigious fellowships in Germany (such as the travel grant of the German Archaeological Institute) and has been visiting scholar at the University of Oxford.
Her research focuses on ancient Egyptian religion, in particular on how a cult of a new god (Osiris) was established and integrated into the regional and interregional theological system in the Old and Middle Kingdom, how religious texts were produced, in which contexts they were used and how these contexts influenced their transmissions. She has published and presented on the topic and is currently preparing a monograph on the cult of Osiris in Abydos. She is a member of the Hungarian Archaeological Mission to Thebes, South Khokha Project and has been involved in various museum projects all over Europe (State Museum of Egyptian Art in Munich, Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest, the National Museum of Scotland, and the British Museum).
Gracia Zamacona, Carlos. Textos de los Ataúdes. In A.J. Morales (ed.), Cultos, mitos y prácticas mágicas en el antiguo Egipto: textos religiosos (2800 a.C. - 1000 d.C.). (57 pages)
Gracia Zamacona, Carlos. Modulating semograms: Some procedures for semantic specification and re-categorization in the Pyramid Texts and other mortuary texts. In J. Cervelló & M. Orriols (ed.), Signs, language and culture: the semograms of the Pyramid Texts between iconicity and referential reality (32 pages)
Gracia Zamacona, Carlos. Divine words in the ancient Egyptian Coffin Texts (c 2000-1500 BC). In Ch. Meccariello & J. Singletary (eds.), As it is written? Uses of sources in ancient Mediterranean Texts (SERAPHIM). Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck (30 pages).
Gracia Zamacona, Carlos. Some remarks for a multidimensional approach to the Coffin Text unique spells. In A. Jiménez Serrano & A.J. Morales (eds.), Middle Kingdom palace culture and its echoes in the provinces (Harvard Studies in Egyptology). Leiden & Boston: Brill (30 pages).
Gracia Zamacona, Carlos. Writing sDr in the Coffin Texts. In J. Levenson & S. Hartlepp (eds.), Substitution. Narrowing or broadening of knowledge? (Episteme in Bewegung – Beiträge zu einer transdisziplinären Wissensgeschichte 16). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz (30 pages).
Gracia Zamacona, Carlos. On the donation formula di.(w) m Hz.wt n.t xr nsw n Aperson r Btemple: a case of diffuse ditransitive construction. Annales du Service des Antiquités de l'Égypte 89/90 (12 pages).
Gracia Zamacona, Carlos. 1 monograph on the corpus of the project (2023)
Gracia Zamacona, Carlos. 1 Database on the corpus (universally accessible from the internet) (2023)
ACADEMIC CONFERENCES, WORKSHOPS AND TALKS
Gracia Zamacona, Carlos (organiser). I Taller de Estudios Interdisciplinares sobre el Antiguo Egipto (with contributions by J. Santos, J. Ortiz, L. Olabarria, I. Barriales, A.J. Morales y R. Díaz).
Gracia Zamacona, Carlos (contributor). VIII Congreso Nacional del Centro de Estudios del Próximo Oriente: EX ORIENTE AD LIMINA, Universidade da Coruña
Gracia Zamacona, Carlos (contributor). (Inter)national conference TBD.
Gracia Zamacona, Carlos (with the assistance of the collaborators). International conference on the variability, and publication of the proceedings (2022/2023)
2 public lectures at Universidad de Alcalá (2021-2022)
2 seminars/lectures at high schools in the Madrid Region (2021-2022)
3 tutorships of high school students (Programme 4ºESO+Empresa, Madrid Region (2020-2022)
Participation in the programmes “Universidad Abierta – Open Day” (Universidad de Alcalá), European Researchers’ Night and Science Week (2020-2022)
1 article in a history magazine (2021)
1 doctoral supervision (2020-2022)
3 one-day seminars on text studies (2020, 2021 and 2022)
1 workshop on material philology: Reading Middle Egyptian Hieratic (4th International Summer School University of Alcalá 2020)
Carlos Gracia Zamacona
Facultad de Filosofía y Letras
Seminario de Historia Antigua
Calle Colegios, 2, 28801 Alcalá de Henares, Madrid (Spain)
(+34) 91 885 4460