As part of our mission statement, the Toronto Chapter organizes three series of lectures each year to correspond with the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. Most events are free and open to the public, and they represent Egyptological scholarship worldwide.

In order to keep all our members safe during these uncertain times, all Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 lectures will be hosted through the Zoom platform. A Zoom registration link will be provided under the appropriate lecture and once you register you will receive an email from the SSEA Toronto Chapter with the meeting link to join on the day of the lecture.

Please note our Annual Meeting of Ontario Members was held October 26, 2020.

Fall 2020

Lecture – “Tomb families: private tomb distribution in the new kingdom theban necropolis

  • Who? Dr. Kath Slinger (University of Liverpool, England)
  • When? Saturday, November 28 at 2:00 PM
  • Where? Zoom Lecture
  • Registration Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0vcuuhrzksH9BsBxpm6ckuMD3xIyKlVsxn
  • Abstract: The Theban Necropolis contains hundreds of tombs belonging to elite individuals, dating from the end of the Old Kingdom through to the Ptolemaic Period, with the vast majority dating to the New Kingdom (c.1550-1077BC).  These tombs are scattered across the landscape at the edge of the desert between the Valley of the Kings to the west, and the row of royal mortuary temples along the edge of the cultivation to the east. This lecture will focus on New Kingdom private tomb distribution and investigate this apparently random arrangement of tombs by focusing on factors which may have influenced tomb location. GPS surveying has enabled the spatial analysis of these tombs, demonstrating that specific areas of the necropolis were popular at different times and among particular groups of people. Clusters and patterns can be identified between tombs built during the same reign(s), as well as between tomb owners with similar titles and familial connections. The orientation of specific tombs towards Karnak temple, royal mortuary temples and festival processional routes, reveals their significance to certain individuals. This research provides a deeper understanding of the necropolis, and how private tombs linked to the wider sacred landscape of Thebes.

there will be no lecture in decembeR

Spring 2021

LectureAlways full of surprises. An Amun temple complex on the upper nile emerges from the sand.

  • Who? Dr. Julie Anderson (British Museum)
  • When? Saturday, January 23, 2021 at 1:00 pm
  • Where? Zoom Lecture
  • Registration Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0udeGrrDsvHNNiCyEA35Nijqe5_4nrmTWP
  • Abstract: Dangeil was an important religious and political centre in the Kingdom of Kush, situated close to the Nile in what is now central Sudan. Archaeological excavations conducted since 2000, under the auspices of the Sudanese National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums, have uncovered a large, previously unknown 1st century AD temple of the god Amun, with brick walls and fine decorated stone wall-panels. Altars, ram statues and colourful architectural fragments are helping to establish an image of the ancient sacred landscape and many discoveries at Dangeil are throwing unexpected light on African history from antiquity into the medieval period and later. 
  • About the speaker: Dr Julie Anderson is responsible for curating the Sudanese and Nubian collections of the British Museum. Excavating at numerous sites in Egypt and Sudan since 1987. Since 1997, she has co-directed archaeological excavations in Sudan together with the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums (NCAM) in the Berber-Abidiya region. Her current fieldwork concentrates upon the site of Dangeil (3rd century BC – 4th century AD), located 350km north of Khartoum, where excavation of a large Amun temple is underway. Currently, she is the Honorary Secretary for the International Society for Nubian Studies and for the Sudan Archaeological Research Society.  

Lecture – Demons in the Dark: Nightmares in Ancient Egypt

  • Who? Dr. Kasia Szpakowska (University of Swansea, Wales)
  • When? Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 2:00 pm
  • Where? Zoom Lecture
  • Registration Link:
  • Abstract: The dream in ancient Egypt functioned as a liminal zone between the land of the living and the afterlife. However, the dream was also a phenomenon over which the dreamer had little control, and its permeable boundaries allowed both the divine and the demonic inhabitants of the beyond access to the visible world. Sometimes the result was a positive beneficial experience, as is attested in royal texts and elite hymns that relate the awe-inspiring contact a dreamer could have with a god or a goddess. But another more disturbing belief was that dreams could allow the vulnerable sleeper to be watched or even assaulted by the hostile dead. While today we call these events ‘anxiety dreams’ or ‘nightmares’ and consider them psychological phenomena, the Egyptians blamed them on external monsters or demons crossing over from the other side. These entities included the dead, and here it appears that the line between the justified transfigured dead and the malevolent unjustified dead might not have been an immutable one. Drawing upon both textual and material evidence primarily from the New Kingdom, we explore the identity and nature of the hostile entities who dared to disturb the sleep of the living. Surviving prescriptions, and apotropaic devices attest to the prevalent fear of nightmares while the intricate steps one could take to ensure safety in the night emphasize the tangible nature of these fears. To protect themselves against such demons of the dark, sleeping mortals could access the same potent energies that restored order and kept at bay the chaotic enemies of the sun-god himself.
  • About the speaker: Kasia Szpakowska is currently the W. Benson Harer Egyptology Scholar in Residence at California State University, San Bernardino. After earning her PhD at UCLA, she was the Associate Professor of Egyptology at Swansea University, Wales and director of the Ancient Egyptian Demonology Project: 2nd Millennium BCE. Her research focuses on private religious practices, dreams, gender and the archaeology of magic. Currently she is investigating the role of apotropaic devices and images of supernatural beings as mechanisms for coping with physical and mental health afflictions. Her research has expanded to explore whether “ages of anxiety” can be recognized in the archaeological record through unexpected developments in and production of new types of ritual paraphernalia, iconography and archetypes. She has authored several books and edited volumes, including most recently, Demon Things: Ancient Egyptian Manifestations of Liminal Entities. She enjoys actively engaging the public through museum events, demonthings.com, and from summer 2021 can be found on YouTube as the Rambling Egyptologist.

Lecture – How did the ancient egyptians experience their natural landscape? A journey to mountains and caves. 

  • Who? Dr. Christina Geisen (University of Cambridge, England)
  • When? Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 1:00 pm
  • Where? Zoom Lecture
  • Registration Link:
  • Abstract: It is well known that the ancient Egyptian perception of the world was highly influenced by Egypt’s natural environment. The country’s geographical features and phenomena were mythologised and integrated into the overall world view. This paper is drawn from a broader research project concerning ancient Egyptians’ awareness and understanding of their surrounding landscape, as well as its exploitation, and how their religious interpretations of these phenomena exemplify the interplay of geography and religion. Apart from a general introduction to the project, the talk will present first results of the study, focusing on mountains and caves. Various lemmata used by the Egyptians to designate both natural features are introduced and their usage explained. The latter will not only outline the chronological development of these terms, but also whether some words refer to religious aspects connected to a specific geographical feature of a mountain or a cavern. An examination of classifiers (determinatives) for these lemmata, which reveal how ancient Egyptians observed these features and codified this knowledge in their language, is included as well.
  • About the speaker: Christina Geisen is an affiliated lecturer at the Archaeology Department of the University of Cambridge, UK. Her current research focuses on ancient Egyptian ritual texts, the materiality of the Book of the Dead, as well as the interplay of geography and religion. She holds a Magister Artium in Egyptology, Islamic Studies (minor) and Pre- and Early History (minor) from the University of Bonn, Germany, and a PhD in Egyptology from the University of Toronto, Canada.  Before her position at Cambridge, she was a Lecturer at the University of Toronto and Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada, a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto, a Postdoctoral Research Associate and Lecturer at Yale University, USA, and a Departmental Lecturer in Egyptology at the University of Oxford, UK, where she replaced Richard B. Parkinson.

Lecture – Title TBA

  • Who? Taylor Woodcock, PhD Candidate (University of Toronto)
  • When? April 2021 (Date TBA)
  • Where? Zoom Lecture
  • Registration Link:
  • Abstract:
  • About the speaker:

LECTURE – Ramp discovery at hatnub (exact title tba)

  • Who? Dr. Roland Enmarch (University of Liverpool, England)
  • When? Saturday, May 8, 2021 at 1:00 pm
  • Where? Zoom Lecture
  • Registration Link:
  • Abstract: Hatnub, a region of the Egyptian Eastern Desert 16.4km south-east of Amarna, was the most prestigious ancient source of the stone known as ‘Egyptian alabaster’, travertine, or calcite. Epigraphy is found at Hatnub in three quarries: P (which contains the large majority of surviving material), as well as R and T. This paper focuses on the epigraphy from quarry P, some of which has been long published, and some of which has been recently discovered by the Franco-British Hatnub Project (Mission Hatnoub). In quarry P, epigraphy is concentrated on the sides of the rock-cut ramp descending into the open-cast quarry, and at various points around the rock walls of the interior of the quarry. Datable examples range from the Fourth to Eighteenth Dynasties, with particular concentrations in the later Old Kingdom, and the very late First Intermediate Period / very early Middle Kingdom. Epigraphy is created using a wide range of methods, including sunk relief, raised relief, and incised texts, as well as a large number of examples executed solely in red pigment. This paper gives an overview of the titles of expedition leaders mentioned in the texts, and provides a preliminary analysis of text-types found in them. Social and religious aspects of the epigraphy are also considered.
  • About the speaker: Dr. Roland Enmarch studied Egyptology with Akkadian at Oxford University, and stayed on there for his doctorate in Middle Egyptian literature. Since 2004 he has been at the University of Liverpool, where he is currently Senior Lecturer in Egyptology. He was Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology from 2009-2013. His publications include A World Upturned (2008) and Ancient Egyptian Literature: Theory and Practice (2013). He has worked on Egyptian laments, and more recently has specialised in the study of Egyptian expeditionary inscriptions, principally from the site of Hatnub, where he is co-director of the ongoing archaeological mission.

Summer 2021

Lecture – astrological ceiling in the tomb of senenmut (exact title tba)

  • Who? Dr. Sarah Symons (McMaster University)
  • When? Thursday, June 3, 2021 at 7:00 pm
  • Where? Zoom Lecture
  • Registration Link:
  • Abstract:
  • About the speaker:

Lecture – TBA

  • Who?
  • When? July 2021
  • Where? Zoom Lecture
  • Registration Link:
  • Abstract:
  • About the speaker:

Lecture – TBA

  • Who?
  • When? August 2021
  • Where? Zoom Lecture
  • Registration Link:
  • Abstract:
  • About the speaker:

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