The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation Distinguished Lecture in Egyptology
The coffins of the lector priest Sesenebenef: a Middle Kingdom Book of the Dead?

Monday 28 July 2014,

Tickets £25
Members/Concessions £20
Colloquium: £40, Members/concessions £30 Lecture and reception: £25, Members/concessions £20 Colloquium and lecture: £55, Members/concessions £35, undergraduate and postgraduate students (UK universities) £15 Concessions are British Museum Members, Egypt Exploration Society members, British Egyptian Society members, and Sudan Archaeological Research Society members

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In the late 19th century Gautier and Jéquier discovered a remarkable late Middle Kingdom coffin in the cemeteries at Lisht. Because of its state of preservation, the coffin was only published in poorly made sketches that contain many errors. No doubt for this reason, it has never been properly studied. Being a Middle Kingdom inscribed coffin, its texts were published as belonging to the corpus of the so-called Coffin Texts.

However, on looking closer, the texts offer a rather different perpective on the afterlife. Whereas earlier Coffin Texts mostly seem to prepare the deceased for solar rebirth in the eastern horizon, Sesenebenef's coffin seems to focus on sunrise itself and the ensuing journey to the west (and subsequently to the east again). This lecture from Harco Willems (Catholic University, Leuven) will discuss the differences between earlier and later 'Text Coffins', arguing that the one of Sesenebenef, with its changed perspective from east to west, qualifies as a very early Book of the Dead.

The lecture will be followed by a reception in Room 4, the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery.

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EA 55315 Eyes painted on the wooden coffin of the General Sepi. From Deir el-Bersha, about 1850 BC