A message from MAES Chairman – Peter Phillips
A big ‘thank you’ to all our loyal members who have supported the Society through those years: some 24 of you have been members since 2000, and some for much longer.
Egyptology in the North West
Interest in Egyptology in the North West of England has long been particularly strong, ever since wealthy Victorian mill-owners became avid collectors of Egyptian artefacts and subsequently donated items that form the basis of many local museum collections. The introduction of inexpensive package tours has made it possible for increasing numbers of people to visit Egypt, something that used to be possible only for the very rich. More and more tourists have “fallen in love” with the country and become fascinated by the vast range of ancient monuments preserved in Egypt and the unequalled way in which, because of the early deciphering of the ancient language, we are today able to gain an ever-clearer picture of the ways in which people who lived several thousand years ago lived and viewed the world.
A demand arose from interested amateur Egyptologists wanting to expand their knowledge without having to attend mostly London-based events intended for academics. And so, in 1987 the Manchester Amateur Egyptology Society was founded, later to be renamed the Manchester Ancient Egypt Society as its prestige grew.
Columns of Egypt
It must have been only a short time after the Manchester Amateur Egyptology Society (as it was then) was founded that I was persuaded by Bob Partridge to attend our meetings in the Portico Library and I became ‘hooked’ on Egyptology – a subject about which I knew next to nothing, although I had always been interested in architecture and ancient buildings.
Then I heard about the columns in the Hypostyle Hall at Karnak. How could anything so huge and ancient still be standing? I had to go to see them! My fascination with ancient Egyptian architecture led on to a study of columns in particular, with the publication of my book (Columns of Egypt, Peartree) and lectures on the topic to most of the UK societies.
Lectures, Study Days and Trips
In addition to our regular monthly lectures on Monday evenings in a central Manchester location, we organise at least one weekend study day each year and also arrange group visits to Museum collections both in the UK and abroad (trips so far have included Oxford, Turin, Stockholm and Leiden). Society members have also visited Egypt as a group. The political upheavals that Egypt has experienced in recent years have caused tourist numbers to the Nile Valley to drop dramatically, which perversely means that this is an ideal time to visit sites that in previous years suffered from overcrowding.
The Society will provide a warm welcome to any and all new members, of whatever age, and can provide a stepping stone into the professional world of Egyptology. Several people who, as interested amateurs, gave their first lecture at one of our meetings have gone on to make careers in Egyptology. Our programme of lectures is tailored to meet the needs of our membership, and includes presentations for those new to the subject as well as much to interest those with years of study behind them.
Come and join us!