Gifts of the Nile: Water Plants in Egyptian Culture

We’re going botanical for our next MAES meeting! The wonderful Hilary Wilson – author of the Per Mesut features in Ancient Egypt Magazine – will be here on Monday 11th February!


Amarna Marsh Scene from the Louvre

Gifts of the Nile: Water Plants in Egyptian Culture

Along the banks of the Nile and Egypt’s many canals and irrigation channels grew a wealth of plant resources which were exploited from earliest times for a multitude of purposes. The common reeds, rushes and sedges, including papyrus, provided the raw materials for building, making furniture and even for clothing, and many of them assumed symbolic value within the Egyptian belief system. This talk explores the practical and cultural significance of these humble plants and their continuing importance for Egypt’s ecology.

Retired Maths teacher and Chairman of the Southampton Ancient Egypt Society, Hilary Wilson is now a free-lance lecturer and writer. She is author of several Egyptological books and articles as well as the Per Mesut pages in Ancient Egypt Magazine and, under the name Hilary Cawston, she writes fiction with an Egyptian theme.


MAES March Study Day – book now!!!!

Bookings are now open for our March Study day – Saturday 30th March at the Longfield Suite, Prestwich.

 Location Location Location! Houses and Homes in Ancient Egypt


Photo: SG

  • Geoffrey Killen
  • Peter Phillips
  • Joyce Tyldesley
  • Regina de Giovanni

Join MAES for an exciting study day focusing on domestic life in ancient Egypt, including houses and their constructions, woodworking techniques in furniture construction, household roles, family life, food and drink and domestic textiles.

Booking form here:


Mon 14th Jan: Secrets in the Sand!!!

Our next MAES meeting is on Monday 14th January (at the Pendulum Hotel / Manchester Conference Centre on Sackville Street from 7pm).

We welcome back our former Secretary and Chair, geologist Colin Reader who will present this year’s  Bob Partridge Egyptology Lecture.

 Over a number of years, Colin had the very good fortune to be asked to work with the late Ian Mathieson at North Saqqara, and has since been analysing Ian’s unpublished material – particularly with regard to the enigmatic and little understood Gisr el Mudir at Saqqara a site in which he himself has a keen interest. Today this is a very crowded site, with many tombs and temples from all periods of the Pharaonic Civilisation.  But what was Saqqara like when the earliest pharaohs chose to build there and what influenced where they chose to build?

Photo: Colin Reader

Members of the Saqqara Geophysical Survey Project carrying out topographic survey from the Gisr el Mudir. Photo: Colin Reader

As he did with the Great Sphinx of Giza, Colin has examined the famous necropolis of North Saqqara from an engineering geologist’s perspective. The results were rather surprising and have recently been published in JEA! In this lecture, Colin will share these findings, shedding light on Saqqara before the pyramids.

Colin is a Fellow of the Geological Society of London, a Chartered Geologist and regular contributor to AE Magazine. He was first attracted to ancient Egypt by the controversy over the age of the Great Sphinx at Giza and what the weathering and erosion of that monument could tell us about its age. Colin then went on to research the geology of Egypt in broader terms, particularly the way the Egyptian landmass and features such as the Nile Valley and the Red Sea Hills, evolved.  MAES members will of course know Colin well as our former Secretary and Chair!

Amarna: damning evidence that belies the happy tomb and temple scenes!

Next Monday (10th December) Keith White will be discussing “Beautiful, Fair And Lovely Akhetaten”…. The Rhetoric And The Reality.

 Tomb and temple scenes suggest Amarna was a city of plenty and a happy populace. But Keith White will show the reality was quite different!

Keith presents evidence from investigations over the last decade suggesting that the reality – at least for the non-elite – was very different, with malnutrition and disease common. Spinal and limb injuries also suggest a work-load that was excessive even for the average ancient Egyptian. Why was this such an unhealthy population? The likely explanation does not reflect well on the pharaoh whose obsession with rapidly establishing his city to his new god Aten in “this distant place” was at the expense of the ordinary Egyptian.

Everyone welcome! Monday 10th December 7:30pm Manchester Conference Centre / Pendulum Hotel, Sackville Street, Manchester, M3 1BB.

Secrets of the Stones THIS SATURDAY!

Jay Heidel

W Raymond Johnson





 “Secrets of the Stones: Current Epigraphic

Surveys and Excavations at Thebes and Antinoupolis”

MAES is very pleased to welcome Raymond Johnson and Jay Heidel to Manchester to reveal their latest work in Luxor!

Three lectures on the Epigraphic survey of Medinet Habu, Luxor Temple and in private Theban tombs, reassembling Amarna talatat blocks and current excavations at Antinoupolis.

Booking has now closed but if you’d like to come you’d be welcome – pay on the door.

Saturday 17th November, 10am – 2pm

University of Manchester Samuel Alexander Building, Lime Grove (off Oxford Road), Manchester M13 9PP

This study day has been made possible thanks to the kind bequest of former MAES member Thelma Nolan-Bradburn.

How Macclesfield got its Ancient Egypt Collection

Join the Manchester Ancient Egypt Society tonight to hear Alan Hayward tell the story of how an industrial town acquired a surprisingly high quality collection of objects from ancient Egypt. When Alan began to research the material, few objects had a known provenance and it was thought to have been the collection of two Victorian ladies. Marianne Brocklehurst, and her friend Mary Booth (known as the ‘MBs’), who were indeed central to the collection, but Amelia Edwards and Flinders Petrie had a significant impact and their involvement added much to the stories that many of the objects have to tell.

Alan Hayward began studying Egyptology after retiring as Chartered Engineer.  West Park Museum in Macclesfield asked him to research the ancient Egyptian collection there and as a result he became honorary curator. He has recently retired from that role but is still involved with the museum, writes occasional articles for Ancient Egypt magazine and gives talks to local societies.

The Lure of the East: Artists and Epigraphers in Egypt


The Lure of the East: Artists and Epigraphers in Egypt


As the title implies, this lecture will tell the story of the various travellers who ventured to the exotic land that was Egypt, from the time of Napoleon in the 18th century through to the 20th century. These travellers and artists left us a veritable treasure trove of the recordings of their travelling adventures. It will be the story of gentlemen travellers who took along an artist to act as a living camera; of serious scholars who wanted to record as much as they could before it all disappeared; and a group of artists called the Orientalists. There will be many beautiful paintings shown, whilst Lee tells the stories of some on these intrepid pioneers, people like, Belzoni, Bankes, Wilkinson, Lear and many more.

Join MAES for this fascinating talk on Monday 8th October. Doors open 7pm – lecture starts 7:45pm. Manchester Conference Centre / Pendulum Hotel, Sackville Street, Manchester, M3 1BB.

Look on my works, ye might, and despair!

Saturday 29th September 2018 10:30am-4:30pm

“Look on my works, ye mighty and despair”: Depictions of the Kings in Ancient History

Image is power! In this study day  MAES members Sarah Griffiths and Michael Tunnicliffe explore art as propaganda.  How did ancient kings and rulers manipulate their iconography and architecture? And how did this change over time? Discover more in 4 lectures:

  • Amenhotep III: The Many Faces of the Dazzling Sun King
  • Depicting Pharaonic Power in the Hellenised World
  • Herod the Great: Projecting Power without Images
  • Royal Iconography in the Late Roman and Byzantine periods

MANCENT study day with Sarah Griffiths, Michael Tunnicliffe, Birgitta Hoffman and Jo Backhouse exploring kingly iconography in ancient Egypt, the Roman Empire and Biblical Palestine.

Cross Street Chapel, Cross Street, Manchester, M2 1NL

For more details click here to visit the website.

Gebel Barkal – the new MAES season begins!

Welcome to the new Manchester Ancient Egypt Society season! We kick off on Monday 10th September with a fantastic lecture on “Gebel Barkal – the Holy Mountain of Napata” with Robert Morkot.

Robert Morkot

Thutmose III claims to have been the first pharaoh to see Gebel Barkal near the Fourth Cataract of the Nile, and he recognised it as the dwelling place of Amun. Later pharaohs built a temple in front of the sheer cliffs that front the mountain, and under the Kushite pharaohs of the 25th Dynasty it grew to be a large complex of temples and palaces. We look at the history, monuments and some of the (occasionally crazy) ideas that this fascinating site has generated.

Everyone welcome. We meet at the Manchester Conference Centre / Pendulum Hotel on Sackville Street in Manchester (M3 1BB) 7:30 for a 7:45pm start!

Secrets of the Stones! Raymond Johnson & Jay Heidel come to Manchester.

We are now taking bookings for a very special November event! Raymond Johnson and Jay Heidel from the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago are being flown over from Chicago House in Luxo, to present their latest findings!

Come and join MAES and the KNH Centre for a day uncovering the secrets of the stones: the epigraphic survey of Medinet Habu, Luxor Temple and private Theban tombs; reassembling Amarna talatat blocks; and current excavations at Antinoupolis.

Saturday 17th November 2018 10am – 2pm

Jay Heidel

W Raymond Johnson






Tickets: £40 MAES members, £45 non-members; £35 students.

University of Manchester Samuel Alexander Building, Lime Grove (off Oxford Road), Manchester M13 9PP

Tickets are likely to sell fast so make sure you book early to avoid disappointment! You can find more details and download a booking form here:

We look forward to seeing you!