Sekhmet Omnipresent in Luxor & New Discoveries at Kom el-Hettan

I was recently in Luxor for the conference “Sekhmet Omnipresent,” organised by Dr Hourig Sourouzian and Dr Betsy Bryan, two women who have done more to bring Sekhmet back into the news than perhaps any other Egyptologists.

Conference goers during one of the discussion sessions at the conference, Mummification Museum, Luxor. Own photo

The conference took place at the Mummification Museum from March 23-26, 2017, and was sponsored by the ARCE and Mercedes-Benz. Curators, Egyptologists, and Art Historians from around the globe gave papers related to Sekhmet and other leonine goddesses covering periods from the Old Kingdom to the Ptolemaic era, with special emphasis on Amenhotep III and Sekhemt in the New Kingdom. I was honoured to give a paper on Sekhmet statues in museums and private collections. You can watch the conference papers courtesy of the Luxor Times on their Facebook page.

Sekhmet statues in-situ at Kom el-Hettan. Photo copyright Ministry of Antiquities, Egypt.

A number of announcements on the excavations at Kom el-Hettan were reported in the press in the run-up to and during the conference, including news that over 66 Sekhmet statues had been found during this season’s excavations at Kom el-Hettan (see the Daily Mail for an article published March 8, 2017).  On the opening morning of the conference it was also reported that a new image of Queen Tiye had been uncovered at the site, when part of colossal Quartzite seated statue of Amenhotep III was lifted from the sand (read further details here on Arcaheology.org ). The statue showed the Queen standing next to Amenhotep III’s feet, with remains of paint still visible on the carving.

Detail of statue of Queen Tiye at Kom el-Hettan. Photo copyright Ministry of Antiquities, Egypt.

It was a fascinating week in Egypt, and I am grateful to both Dr Sourouzian and Dr Bryan for inviting me to talk at the conference. It is always exciting to learn of new discoveries and findings, and the Sekhmet conference revealed that many new discoveries about Sekhmet and Amenhotep III are coming not only from beneath the sands of Egypt, but also from analyzing and re-considering museum objects as well as archival sources.

The conference included a visit to the Mut Temple, where many Sekhmet statues still survive. Own photo.

I feel I can say with confidence that there is much more to uncover about Sekhmet and Amenhotep III. It was wonderful meeting so many people who were so enthusiastically interested in the goddess Sekhmet and I hope the conference will lead to further collaboration and discoveries.

Enjoying the Ramesseum with my mother, Judith Draper, during the trip to Luxor. Photo by Abou el-Naga Elian.

by Tara Draper-Stumm, FSA

** you can read the conference details here: Sekhmetprogramme

** for the latest information on excavations and discoveries in Luxor and Egypt read the Luxor Times

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