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As an undergraduate Jacquelyn Williamson attended Sarah Lawrence College where she majored in Ancient History. Currently researching her dissertation in Egyptology at Johns Hopkins University, Jackie’s concentrations are in Egyptian Art and Archaeology and Ancient Egyptian Languages. She was awarded a Fulbright-Hayes Fellowship to conduct her dissertation research in Egypt from September 2004- July 2005. Her work primarily consists of museum research in the Cairo, Luxor and Aswan Museums as well as site research on items still in their original locations. Each object is subjected to a detailed examination, their inscriptions copied or checked against previous copies, and then photographed and measured. This information is then entered into a database created by Jackie for this project in the hopes of producing a catalogue of the items for future research.

Special thanks are given to Dr. Zahi Hawass, Dr. Wafaa Seddik and Dr. Osama A.W. Abdel Maguid and their staff for their generous assistance.

Jackie's work aims to determine the type of affiliation and the underlying guidelines for the seemingly erratic application of the cartouches (a frame for a hierogylphic inscription used to signify a sacred or honored name) inscribed on the torsos and arms of some Ancient Egyptian statues. Inscription and iconography from items of unknown provenance (origin) are examined to determine why some statues of the same individual were singled out for the body cartouches and others were not. However, objects with a secure provenance are most informative for the meaning and function of the motif. Many colossal examples are still in situ, the Abu Simbel and Luxor Temples for example, permitting examination of an intact artistic program in relationship to the cultic activities of the area.

The work is undertaken with the support of the Binational Fulbright Commission, the Supreme Council of Antiquities and Johns Hopkins University’s Drs Betsy Bryan and Richard Jasnow. In Egypt her affiliate and advisor at Cairo University is Professor Dr. M.A. Nur el-Din.

Jackie Williamson at Work   Jackie Williamson at Work
Jackie Williamson at Work

These three shots are of Jackie working in the Cairo Museum on JE 36351, a seated statue of a Ramesside period Pharaoh. In these images the camera and lights are being set up for the pictures. The statue in question is the one seen behind Jackie in the second picture, a grey granite larger than life statue of a pharaoh with erased shoulder cartouches. Among the many questions this piece raises are: why were the shoulder cartouches so carefully removed and then nothing put in their place? Was this an example of simple usurpation- one king reusing another's items as a cost effective alternative to quarrying his own? Was another king trying to reuse this statue intentionally as a way to both preserve his predecessor as well as himself but never finished the job? Or was this an example of negative damage or damnatio memoriae where the name was erased to bar the one named from eternity's benefits? [Photographs taken by Larry Wood]

Jackie Willamson at Work

This is a picture of the scaffolding being erected around the Gerf Hussein Osirid colossal pillar of Ramses II in the Nubian Museum in Aswan. Jackie says, "I owe great thanks to Dr. Osama A.W. Abdel Maguid for his generosity for putting one of the jewels of the museum's collection at my disposal. Furthermore the staff was excellent in helping to fend tourists off the scaffolding as I hung 5 meters in the air to photograph and measure the cartouches." [Photograph by Jackie Williamson]

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For additional information contact: macie.hall@jhu.edu