Egyptologist’s lecture explores mysteries of Pharaoh Horemheb

Horemheb's is one of the largest tombs in the Valley of the Kings, a carefully designed, royal tomb.

The Friends of Fintry in partnership with the Lake Country Museum and Archives host renowned Egyptologist Dr. Geoffrey Martin, in his presentation, Re-excavation of the Tomb of Horemheb, Sept. 11 at Creekside Theatre.

The presentation explores the mystery of the tomb of the Pharaoh Horemheb of the 18th Dynasty, Egypt.

Martin’s 2013 lecture tour includes the Bowers Museum and University of California Berkeley, Seattle, Tuscon, Chicago, Portland, Calgary, and Lake Country.

The tomb of Horemheb, known as KV57, was originally excavated in 1908 by British Egyptologist Edward Ayrton, financed by Theodore Davis, and has been closed, except for a brief period, since 1994.

The tomb’s several chambers are divided by ramps that lead down a steep incline towards the burial chamber, where the granite sarcophagus was found intact but the lid was broken.

It is one of the largest tombs in the Valley of the Kings, a carefully designed, royal tomb.

Horemheb was the last pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty, and is believed to have been of common birth. Before he became pharaoh, Horemheb was the commander in chief of the army under the reigns of Tutankamun and Ay.

Horemheb was one of the military and political advisors to Tutankhamun (1332 BC – 1323 BC). When Tutankhamun died while still a teenager, Horemheb had already been officially designated by the boy King as the Hereditary or Crown Prince and Deputy of the King in the entire land, as inscribed in Horemheb’s then private Memphite tomb at Saqqara.

With Horemheb on military duty in Asia at the time of Tutankhamun’s death, the Vizier Ay took claim to the throne.  Ay reigned for only four years before Horemheb seized the throne, initiating a series of internal transformations to the power structures of past reigns, demolishing monuments of Akhenaten and reusing their remains in his own building projects, and usurping monuments of Tutankhamun and Ay.

Horemheb had no children when he died, and so near the end of his reign he appointed his military commander, Paramessu, as Deputy of His Majesty in Upper and Lower Egypt, setting him up as the designated heir to the throne.

When Horemheb died, Paramessu changed his name to the more royal Rameses I.

Under Horemheb, Egypt’s power and confidence were restored after the internal chaos of the Amarna period; this situation set the stage for the rise of the 19th Dynasty under the Pharaohs Seti I and Rameses II.

Michael Berry, president of the Friends of Fintry, describes re-excavation research as, “a new type of archaeology, geared specifically to finding information that early excavations may have missed. The Friends of Fintry are pleased to co-host Dr. Martin with the Lake Country Museum and Archives.”

Dr. Duane Thomson, president of the Lake Country Heritage and Cultural Society, said, “This is a significant lecture for the Museum and the District of Lake Country. Dr. Martin’s research of the tombs of ancient Memphis and the Valley of the Kings has been considerable.”

Dr. Martin is Edwards Professor of Egyptology Emeritus at University College London, and Fellow Commoner at Christ’s College, Cambridge, where he has responsibility for the college archives and plate.

Martin was third Budge Research Fellow at the same college.

He has directed excavations in Saqqara, the necropolis of ancient Memphis, where many interesting discoveries were made, including the unused, first tomb of Horemheb.

He has also worked in the Valley of the Kings, and has undertaken epigraphic work in the tomb of Akhenaten at Amarna and in many museums in Europe, the USA, and elsewhere.

A number of publications have resulted from Martin’s research, and he has published a general account for the public of his excavations in Saqqara under the title The Hidden Tombs of Memphis (1991).

His most recent monographs are a study of some of Egypt’s earliest inscriptions: Stelae of courtiers, attendants, domestics and others whose graves in Abydos surrounded the tombs of Egypt’s first kings, circa 3100 BC (Umm el-Qa’ab, VII) which appeared in 2011, and the Tomb of Maya and Meryt (2012), the funerary monument of one of the most prominent officials in the reign of Tutankhamun and a close colleague of Horemheb.

The lecture takes place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11 at Creekside Theatre, 10241 Bottom Wood Lake Rd. in Lake Country.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Admission is $10 at the door or in advance at the Lake Country Museum. Free admission for Grade 7 students and their accompanying teachers with advance reservation through the Lake Country Museum, 250-766-0111.

This lecture is the first of the LCMA 2013-2014 Distinguished Speaker Series and is presented jointly by the Lake Country Museum & Archives and The Friends of Fintry.

Join the Lake Country Museum blog to keep informed of upcoming events at www.lakecountrymuseum.com.

 

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