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d’archéologie orientale du Caire


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Seminar 'Conversations  about  Nomadism'

Le mardi 10 octobre 2023 à 14h00 (heure du Caire), IFAO géolocalisation IFAO

Nomads-sedentaries interactions: a deafening silence?

Cristina Alù & Dorian Vanhulle

Langue : anglais.

The second session of the Seminar 'Conversations about nomadism' is titled 'Nomads-sedentaries interactions: a deafening silence?' and features two presentations by Cristina Alù &  Dorian Vanhulle.

The seminar is open to all interested parties, both in person at the Ifao, subject to availability, and remotely on Zoom application upon registration (register here to receive the login link).

Abstracts :

1- The silent voice of the intermediaries: textual attestations and rock depictions of guides and guards of the Eastern Desert in comparison.

Cristina Alù

Since the Early Dynastic period, the desert areas on the fringes of the Nile Valley were actual crossroads for mutual exchanges and negotiation centres visited by different ethnic and social communities pursuing their own interests for the exploitation of quarries and mines. The sources - albeit partial mostly due to the current unevenness of archaeological investigations - suggest a complex reality of coexistence, which cannot be reduced to the monolithic relationships between a sedentary and state-centred coloniser and the colonised nomad societies.
In the multifaceted social, political and economic framework of the Eastern Desert, a silent voice emerges, that of the desert guides and guards who had to act as intermediaries between Egyptian expeditions and local communities. Based on the identification of such individuals in epigraphic sources from the Pharaonic period, the talk aims to review their possible representations in the rock art documented for the Eastern Desert by comparing them with each other.

Trained at the University of Pisa, Cristina Alù earned a BA in Oriental Studies (2013) and a MA in Egyptology (2016), and defended her Ph.D. (under a cotutela agreement between the University of Pisa and Universität zu Köln and the co-supervision of Prof. M. Betrò and Prof. R. Bussmann) in October 2021. Her doctoral research examines diachronically social aspects of interaction phenomena in mining frontier regions of Egypt.

Currently she is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at IFAO (Institut français d'archéologie orientale) and PCMA (Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology - Research Centre in Cairo).


2- Giving a voice to the voiceless. A rock art perspective on the socio-ecological setting of the Lower Valley during the Predynastic and Early Dynastic period (5th and 4th millennium BC).

Dorian Vanhulle

Archaeological research conducted over the last 25 years has profoundly enriched our understanding of the human occupation in the Lower Nile Valley and the surrounding deserts during the Predynastic and Early Dynastic periods. It is now well acknowledged that the dominant material cultures in this region (the Lower Egyptian cultural complex in the north, the Naqadans in Upper Egypt and the A Group in Lower Nubia) formed only one aspect of a much more complex socio-ecological landscape. A growing number of data collected independently in the deserts and in the valley demonstrate the presence of other communities alongside these dominant entities. However, it remains extremely difficult to “give a voice” to these “invisible” communities that have left only rare archaeological traces. Among the archaeological sources currently available, rock art counts among the most promising one.

Dorian Vanhulle is an archaeologist with a particular interest in the material and iconographic productions of the Predynastic and Early Dynastic periods. His main research interests focuse on the birth of navigation in Egypt, boat symbolism (“ship-as-symbol perspective”), and rock art. Involved in rock art research in the Elkab and Aswan areas since 2019, he is currently investigating the intercultural landscape of Upper Egypt and the First Cataract region during the 5th and 4th millennium BC, and its impact on the socio-political events that led to the formation of the Egyptian State.     


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Seminar 'Conversations  about  Nomadism'

Within the framework of the "NOMADES" project (Nomads and Nomadism in the Eastern Sahara [Egypt, Sudan, Eastern Libya]), a recurrent seminar (three to four sessions per year) is being launched under the title 'Conversations about Nomadism' in order to create and animate a research network on nomadic societies and forms of nomadism in the Eastern Sahara.

NOMADES is a project funded by the Institut français d'archéologie orientale and the seminar is organised by Marie Bourgeois, Julien Cooper and Maël Crépy.


Dans le cadre du projet "NOMADES" (Nomades et nomadismes au Sahara oriental [Égypte, Soudan, est libyen]), un séminaire récurrent (trois à quatre séances par an) est lancé sous le titre de 'Conversations  about  Nomadism' afin de créer et animer un réseau de recherches portant sur les sociétés nomades et sur les formes de nomadismes au Sahara Oriental.

NOMADES est un projet financé par l'Institut  français d'archéologie orientale et le séminaire est organisé par Marie Bourgeois, Julien Cooper et Maël Crépy.