Wednesday, 22 May 2019

AT the meeting on Saturday, March 9, Dr Nicky Nielsen explained his latest research into the ancient city of Imet (Tell Nabasha).

This north-east Nile Delta site was excavated, among others, by Flinders Petrie, the “Father of Archaeology”.

However, the city’s holy triad was the Snake Goddess Wadjet, the ithyphallic God of Fertility Min and their child Harpocrates.

In publications, a slightly prudish Petrie drew wisps of clothing over small nude statues of Wadjet in her human form and often omitted the one outstanding characteristic which defined the ithyphallic Min — but he did keep detailed excavation diaries and finds lists.

Little remains of this once thriving (mainly Late Period) city and its cemetery of more than 4,000 tombs, residential mound and temple complex.

Petrie identified the city as a centre of wine production, with “irp imt” — the wine of Imet — sought after in the ancient world.

Large kiln remains show industrial-scale production of pottery wine vessels for export.

Now the city area is largely covered over by a modern town and what remains is wide open for both casual and systematic looting.

It is also the town’s unofficial rubbish tip, an excavator’s nightmare. Research by non-invasive remote sensing, aerial surveys and space imaging are revealing small areas for detailed study before the ancient city finally disappears under development.

At the next meeting Lucia Gahlin will explain “Death as a rite of passage in ancient Egypt”.

For the ancient Egyptians death heralded rebirth into an afterlife (a period of nourishment and protection from danger).

In this lecture, Lucia will explore the rituals that shed light on death as a rite of passage.

It will take place at Coronation Hall, Headley Road, Woodley, on Saturday, April 13 at 2pm.

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