Join us in April for our last talk of the season, delving into the construction and deconstruction of the afterlife during Egypt’s New Kingdom as explained by Dr. Joshua Roberson. We look forward to welcoming you!

Reserve your ticket on Eventbrite.


Dr. Joshua Roberson (University of Memphis)


Friday, April 26 at 7.30 pm


Sidney Smith Hall
Room 1072
100 St. George Street


The cosmological texts of the New Kingdom stand at the zenith of ancient Egyptian speculation on the form and function of the world, as a divine construct.Within this broad tradition, one motif dominates all levels of the ancient discourse: The circumnavigation of the cosmos by the sun, whose voyages were believed to perpetuate the created world and to facilitate the apotheosis of the Osiris-King, the deceased Egyptian par excellence. Within this general framework, the notion of the akhet—a liminal zone of transition between regions of perceptibility and imperceptibility—plays a key role. This paper will explore a series of highly iconic images and conspicuously placed texts that appear to function as visual cues, signifying the presence of an akhet or akhet-like transition. In this regard, combinations of symmetrical arrangements in art and architecture, as well as the vertical crossing of horizontal registers, permit the royal burial chamber itself to function as a “hyper-logogram,” a four-dimensional and magically functional model of the akhet, as the locus of the king’s perpetual rejuvenation and rebirth.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Roberson earned his Ph.D. in Egyptology at the University of Pennsylvania, and is a specialist in Egyptian language and religion. He has worked at numerous archaeological sites in Egypt, including Saqqara, Abydos, the Opet and Ptah precincts of Karnak temple at Luxor, and Elephantine Island at Aswan. He has also conducted field research on royal and private tombs in the Valley of the Kings and the el-Asasif necropolis with support from the American Research Center in Egypt and the United States Department of State. He is the author of more than two dozen articles, book chapters, and scholarly reviews, as well as two major monographs: The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Earth and The Awakening of Osiris and the Transit of the Solar Barques. His current publication projects include a monographic Lexicon of Ancient Egyptian Cryptography and a new volume of Ramesside Inscriptions.

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