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Franck Goddio Newsletter

Newsletter March 2017

Dear Friends,

I would like to give you a brief update on what my team and I have been working on during the last couple of months. After Paris and London our exhibition moved on to Zurich where it is now on view until 16 July 2017. If you happen to be in Switzerland you should not miss this well-designed show at Museum Rietberg. We had an inspiring conference lately on religious landscapes in Egypt organised by OCMA in cooperation with the University of Zurich. And a new book on our 20 years of work in Egypt is out. The book also marks the 20th anniversary of the Hilti Foundation's support of our work. I feel privileged to have such a close and longterm partner by my side.

We will resume our research in Aboukir Bay in the sunken cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus in automn this year. I will keep you posted on the discoveries we will make.

All the best,

Exhibition in Zurich Switzerland

The exhibition "Osiris – Egypt’s Sunken Mysteries“ is now open at the Museum Rietberg in Zurich. Running through July 16 2017, it is the only stop in a German-speaking country. 300 exhibits can be marveled at, 40 of which have never been presented outside of Egypt before.

Objects on display include three monumental statues showing a royal couple and Hapy, the God of the annual flooding of the Nile, all of which are around 5 meters tall. Because of their height, they are standing on the forecourt of the museum, each in a purpose-made glasshouse.

The myth and the mysteries of Osiris are taking center stage in the actual museum rooms. Legend has it that he was slain by his brother Seth, cut into 14 pieces by his murderer and scattered all over Egypt. But his wife Isis had the divine power to revive her husband after collecting and putting together those 14 pieces and conceive their son Horus. Since then, Osiris has been seen as the conqueror of death and stands as a symbol of eternal life and the cycle of nature. In his honour, the Egyptians celebrated the Mysteries of Osiris every year, e.g. with a ship procession between the sunken cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus, which were rediscovered by IEASM.

Many items of this cult – from the golden sacrificial bowl over lead votive barges up to Osiris‘ deathbed – are on display at the Museum Rietberg.
More information at: www.osiris-zuerich.ch

OCMA conference

Our partner, the Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology (OCMA), together with the University of Zurich held a conference on "Religious Landscapes of Egypt – Late to Greco-Roman Period" in Zurich end of February.

Far-reaching changes were happening in the religious life of Egypt during the latter part of its ancient history. From over the ‘Sea of the Greeks’ came foreign peoples, both as settlers and conquerors, bringing from their homelands their own gods and ritual practices. The meeting between Egyptians and incomers ushered in a dynamic period of accommodation and creative (mis)understanding as communities sought to negotiate their place within the new social and religious world or to stand apart from it.

The conference investigated how these various processes played out across Egypt’s religious landscapes in texts, buildings and material culture. Papers examined how change happened through an investigation of religious thought and practice, from the construction of temples to the deposition of objects. They confront the spectrum of developing responses in the cities and towns of Egypt from the early parallel lives of Egyptian and Greeks at Thonis-Heracleion to the later synchronicity of the god Serapis and the construction of temples to venerate divine Roman emperors and celebrate the Imperial Cult.

Conference proceedings will be published by OCMA. Abstracts can be viewed here.

New Book: Diving to the Pharaohs

The book "Diving to the pharaohs – Franck Goddio’s discoveries in Egypt" by Steidl publishing gives a first-hand account of the IEASM's work and underwater ventures. It depicts life on board a research vessel, describes how the finds are handled and provides insights into the scientific findings: What was life like for the people of the pharaonic kingdom more than 2000 years ago? How did they celebrate their feasts and festivals? And why did their cities vanish? Christoph Gerigk, our team member and one of the world’s most respected underwater photographers, has been accompanying the IEASM's expeditions into this sunken world for some two decades. Many of the photographs he provided for this book have never before been printed and can be seen here for the first time.

Diving to the pharaohs – Franck Goddio’s discoveries in Egypt by Jürgen Bischoff (text) and Christoph Gerigk (photography), Steidl Verlag, Göttingen, €40, ISBN 978-3-95829-179-9.