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Call For Papers: seals and sealing practices (Cairo)

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  • Samia al-Kaslaania
    From another list. Something to keep an eye out for. Samia ... From: Peter Verkinderen [mailto:peter.verkinderen@nvic.net.eg] Sent: 07 June 2009 09:47 Call for
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 7, 2009
      From another list. Something to keep an eye out for. Samia

      -------- Original Message --------

      From: Peter Verkinderen [mailto:peter.verkinderen@...]
      Sent: 07 June 2009 09:47

      Call for Papers:
      Cleveringa lecture and Workshop 2009

      Seals and Sealing Practices from Ancient Times till Present Day.
      Developments in Administration and Magic through Cultures.

      Cairo, 2-3 December 2009
      Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo


      The use of seals dates from remote antiquity. Even before writing was
      invented by the earliest civilizations in the ancient Near East, seals
      were used to authenticate documents or goods, and are therefore of
      considerable interest in archaeology. Numerous seals and seal
      impressions from Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia prove the existence of an
      early form of control over the distribution of goods, which were
      imported and exported by the state and eventually transported over long
      distances. In addition to their initial use as markers of ownership,
      they were attributed a significant ornamental value and with the
      possession of a seal, the social status of an individual increased.

      The importance of seals never ceased in the Near East, however. Even
      after the incorporation of these ancient cultures into the Roman Empire
      and later the Arab world, they have never been supplanted by the spread
      of writing or the use of signature, as had happened in the west. To the
      contrary, the earliest Arab seals, discovered in Egypt, replaced the
      signature and it is the former that gives validity to a document even if
      the latter is also used. Apart from administration, seals can also be
      found in the realm of Islamic magic. As amulets, they appear in the form
      of figures, drawings, magic squares, and even spells engraved in tablets
      or written down on snippets of paper.

      The cultural and historical setting of the Near East therefore provides
      a unique opportunity to study a longer development of sealing practices
      that go beyond the constraints of a specific time period or site. The
      phonetic resemblance between the ancient Egyptian Xtm and the Arabic
      ‘khātam’ is perhaps the best indication of such a development. In
      addition, comparing ancient practices with more recent ones can offer
      important insights into the development of sealing practices and provide
      answers to specific questions related to the handling of seals, the
      social status of the seal bearer, etc. Given the abundance of preserved
      material from the transitional Greco-Roman, Coptic and early Islamic
      period, it is surprising that such an approach has never been adopted.

      The workshop “Seals and Sealing Practices form Ancient Times till
      Present Day. Developments in Administration and Magic through Cultures”
      aims at investigating the possibilities of such an approach when
      addressing the following questions/topics:

      * Seals as material objects (How were they used? When were certain
      practices introduced?)
      * Sealing practices in administrative context, with particular focus on
      the social status of the seal bearer (for example the seal bearer as a
      representative of state administration, or as a private person; the
      question of delegation of authority)
      * Seals and magic (including the development of seals into amulets)

      The focus is on Egypt but other cultures in the Near East can also be


      Wednesday 2 December 2009
      The workshop will takes place in the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in
      Cairo. Specialized scholars will be invited to introduce the suggested
      topics to the audience.

      Thursday 3 December 2009
      Morning: The institute will organize an excursion to the Egyptian Museum
      in order to discuss sealing practices in Ancient Egypt on the basis of
      original objects.
      Evening: The Cleveringa lecture, which is the cause for organizing this
      workshop, will be delivered by Prof. Dr. Petra M. Sijpesteijn from the
      University of Leiden on “Seals and Papyri in Early Islamic Egypt”.

      Organizing committee
      Dr. Sabine Dorpmueller, NVIC (Islamic times) Dr. Ilona Regulski, NVIC

      Participants (in alphabetic order):
      We are happy to inform you that until now the following speakers have
      agreed to deliver a lecture (in alphabetical order):

      Dr. Sabine Dorpmueller, NVIC
      Dr. Kim Duistermaat, NVIC
      Dr. Chrysi Kotsifou, University of Oxford Dr. Ilona Regulski, NVIC
      (excursion) Mr. Nicolas Sartori, Universität Basel Dr. Petra M.
      Sijpesteijn, University of Leiden Dr. Conelius Von Pilgrim,
      Schweizerisches Institut für Ägyptische Bauforschung und Altertumskunde

      Contact, registration and more information:

      Should you be interested to present a paper/attend the workshop, we
      would like to ask you to register at the email–address listed below
      before September 31st, 2009.
      For further questions or comments regarding the workshop, please contact
      us at the same address:
      Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo (NVIC)
      E-mail: info@...
      Tel +20-27382520
      Fax +20-27382523
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