Uncover Secrets from Egypt

Sponsored by the Luzerne County Library System, a lecture series featuring different subject regarding Egyptian times will tour the library system. Below you find information highlighting each lecture. The Hoyt Library’s program will be on Thursday, November 7 at 5:30 pm. 

Saturday, September 21st at 11:30 am 
“A Thousand Miles Down the Nile”
Marian Sutherland Kirby Library in Mountaintop 

The banks of the storied Nile River are home to literally hundreds of magnificent archaeological sites exhibiting the more than 5,000-year civilization of the people of Egypt. This survey of the history and chronology of ancient Egypt does so by taking the audience on a nearly 1,000 mile journey down the Nile River, from Abu Simbel to Alexandria, including visits to famous sites in the Nile Delta, the Pyramids of the Giza Plateau, Abu Sir and Saqqara, the famed Valley of the Kings, the ancient cities of Memphis, Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbel. We also will visit actual archaeological excavations not generally known to the public at Giza and Saqqara. 

Friday, September 27th at 2 pm 
“Egypt Before the Pyramids”
Plymouth Public Library in Plymouth

The pyramids along the Nile River are the most identifiable and tangible links to ancient Egypt’s past. While arguably the best-known aspect of ancient Egypt, the age of the pyramids is not the starting point of ancient Egyptian history. A wonderfully diverse and vibrant culture developed along the Nile River long before the first pyramid was ever built. This lecture examines the beginnings of ancient Egyptian civilization, and the rise of ancient Egyptian kingship, through its material remains – a treasure trove of beautiful art and artifacts, as well as the remains of tombs and towns, that comprise what Egyptologist’s designate as the Predynastic Period. (All audiences.)

Friday, October 18 at 2 pm 
“CSI Ancient Egypt” 
Mill Memorial Library in Nanticoke

In an effort to learn more about the physical aspects of humankind (both past and present), anthropologists developed methods and techniques to evaluate human skeletal remains, techniques that apply in modern forensic (criminal) investigations. Using human remains from my own research, this lecture introduces the audience to those scientific methods and techniques through digital images of actual human bones from ancient Egypt, some as old as the pyramids themselves. Participants will learn, in non-technical terms, the basic steps in determining a female from a male, younger from older, and what the bones can tell us about the person. A highlight of the lecture is a re-examination of a possible 3,300 year-old royal murder case using modern forensics. (Middle school and above.)

Saturday, October 19 at 11:30 am 
“Death on the Nile”
Osterhout Free Library in Wilkes-Barre

Death is a natural part of life shared by all human cultures, ancient or modern. The ways by which human populations deal with the burial of the deceased is as varied as humans are themselves. In ancient Egypt, the practice of mummifying the dead in preparation for burial spanned thousands of years, changed considerably through time, and still occupies a prominent place in modern culture. This highly illustrated lecture examines the history and methods for preparing the dead for burial as practiced for more than 3,000 years, from the Predynastic Period to the time of the last pharaoh of Egypt, Cleopatra VII. (Middle school and above.)

Thursday, October 24 at 6 pm 
“I Want My Mummy” 
West Pittston Library at Trinity Episcopal Church 

An introduction to the history behind ancient Egyptian mortuary practices; how the mummification process developed through time, how mummies were actually made, and, we examine closely the history behind why ancient Egypt’s mummies hold such a fascination in popular Western culture. Unpublished images of actual ancient Egyptian mummies, including royalty, some collected as part of my own archaeological excavations in Egypt, are used in part to illustrate this talk. (All audiences, especially appropriate for middle school students.) 

Thursday, November 7 at 5:30 pm 
“X-Raying the Pharaohs” 
The Hoyt Library in Kingston

X-ray technology was invented in 1895. Did you know that Egyptian mummies were among the very first things ever x-rayed, and that the first publication of a radiograph was by an Egyptologist? This lecture traces the amazing successes in reconstructing ancient Egyptian lives via the development of radiological technology from the advent of x-rays to the use of CT-scanning. You will literally travel inside the mummies of some of ancient Egypt’s most famous kings, Egypt’s non-royal elite, and even inside mummies that are not even human. Explore what it was like to actually be an ancient Egyptian. (Middle School and above.)

Friday, November 8 at 3 pm 
“Food in Ancient Egypt” 
Osterhout Free Library North Branch in (Parsons) Wilkes-Barre

The ancient Egyptian civilization thrived for at least 5,000 years, an amazing achievement. The ancient Egyptians did not, however, erect even one Burger King, McDonald’s, Roy Rogers, or a Taco Bell. Just like people today, however, the ancient Egyptians got hungry. What did the ancient Egyptians eat and drink? What did a typical ancient Egyptian family have for dinner? Did they have beer? Wine? Utilizing images from tomb walls and actual archaeological finds, this illustrated lecture introduces the diet of ancient Egypt, what we know and how we know it. Theirs was a diet far more varied than you might think. (All audiences.)

Saturday, November 9 at 11:30 am 
“Mummies Through Time” 
Pittston Area Memorial Library in Pittston

When we think of mummies, often the first thing that comes to mind is Ancient Egypt – we envision monsters coming back to life to walk the earth once again. This lecture explores the world of preserved human remains – through time and across continents – a 5,000-year journey. There exists an amazing diversity of preserved human remains; some created deliberately, some naturally, on virtually all continents, in all time periods. Enhanced by high quality images of preserved human remains, the lecture takes us on a journey from this life to the afterlife by letting these past lives speak for themselves once again. (Middle school and above.)

Thursday, November 14 at 6:30 pm 
“Everywhere the Glint of Gold”
Back Mountain Memorial Library in Dallas

November 4, 2012 marked the 90th anniversary of one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time, the tomb of Tutankhamun. Hidden in the famed Valley of the Kings, burial place of Egypt’s New Kingdom pharaohs, the tomb had laid nearly undisturbed for over 3,000 years until its discovery by an English archaeologist, Howard Carter. Crammed with priceless objects, Mr. Carter took nearly ten years to record, photograph and empty the tomb. This lecture first recounts the extraordinary chain of events leading up to the discovery of King Tut’s tomb, then we will see amazing images of the breathtaking array of spectacular ancient artifacts it contained, including gold, precious stones, sculpted alabaster and beautifully carved wooden objects. Most of the treasures you will see have never been outside of Egypt and many represent much more than first meets the eye. (All audiences.) 

Friday, November 15 at 2 pm 
“Show Me the Mummy” 
Hazleton Area Public Library in Hazleton

A highly illustrated video presentation exploring the history of ancient Egyptian mummies in cinema and literature. Both educational and entertaining, the lecture explores in detail the development of mummy themes (“mummy-mania”) in Western literature and fine art through the 19th Century; a genre that evolved into a string of mummy-themed movies that encompasses nearly a century. Images of illustrations from 19th Century literature and actual movie trailers from over six decades of mummy movies highlight the talk. (All audiences.)

Saturday, November 16 at 12:00 pm 
“Searching for Cleopatra” 
Wyoming Free Library in Wyoming

Cleopatra undoubtedly is ancient Egypt’s most famous queen. She is also the subject of literature and lore stretching from the historians of ancient Rome, to Shakespeare, to modern literature and finally to current cinema. What do we really know about Cleopatra, and how do we know it? This lecture relies on actual archaeological data; such as it is, to tell us the true story of ancient Egypt’s fabled queen. Did she really exist? Do we actually know what she looked like? Did she really marry Mark Anthony? Do we even have any idea where she is buried?? This illustrated lecture looks at, and it looks for, the latest evidence concerning ancient Egypt’s last queen. (All audiences.)

(Please contact participating libraries for registration requirements.)