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Meghan Strong ’07, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Cambridge, will offer two public lectures on Egypt next week in the Heim Science building, Room G-11, on Mulberry Street. Both events are free and open to the public.
On April 13 from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m., Strong will discuss the juxtaposition of the modern city of Cairo with the beautiful countryside and its famous ancient tourist attractions. She’ll explain the challenges of working in this beautiful country after the 2011 revolution and given its current political upheaval. Her presentation, “Excavating Egypt,” will depict a journey up the Nile with stops at favorite monuments and the recent excavation work in Luxor.
On April 14 from 8 to 9:15 p.m., Strong will present her dissertation research on “Ritual Light in Ancient Egypt: Illuminating the Path of Darkness.” The importance of the sun and natural light to ancient Egyptians in religious observances and for practical uses has been well-studied. Less well understood is the role of artificial light for practical and cultural purposes. Oil lamps, torches, and braziers were employed in ancient Egyptian domestic spaces to provide warmth and light in the evenings. Over time, these mundane tools took on increased importance in sacred rituals to light the way and ensure the safe passage of relatives between the land of the living and the land of the dead.
After graduating from Lycoming College in 2007, she went on to receive her M.A. in Egyptian art and archaeology from the University of Memphis before moving to Cairo to work in the Foreign Office of the Supreme Council of Antiquities for about two years. Strong returned to Egypt in 2013 to work in Luxor as part of the Qurna Site Improvement project with the American Research Center in Egypt. Over the years, she has curated and helped with exhibits for several museums. She is currently conducting her Ph.D. research on artificial lighting in ancient Egyptian ritual at the University of Cambridge in the Division of Archaeology.