Egyptian Mummies Expert Floor Talks

Wednesdays & Saturdays until 22 April 2017, 2–3pm

Join some of Australia’s leading and emerging Egyptologists at 2pm every Wednesday and Saturday until 22 April 2017 as they reveal the history behind Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives in this regular series of object focused talks, which delve into specific aspects of ancient Egyptian history, including language, religion, funerary practices, art and architecture, health and medicine and the history of mummy studies. Book for the 2.00 pm session on Wednesdays and Saturdays.


Saturday 25 March: No talk due to Secrets of the Sand Symposium. Book tickets for the Symposium here.

Saturday 1 April: How to read an Ancient Egyptian Coffin (Associate Professor Boyo Ockinga)

Wednesday 5 April: Things you can hold in your hands – toys, tools and regalia in ancient Egypt (Dr Thomas Hikade)

Saturday 8 April: Fabulous festivities and frivolities – sight, sound, smell, taste and touch in ancient Egypt (Dr Mary Hartley)

Wednesday 12 April: Dead fashions – what modern science reveals about ancient Egyptian mummification (Dr Karin Sowada)

Saturday 15 April: Curator Tour (Melanie Pitkin)

Wednesday 19 April: What to pack for the afterlife – a thousand of bread, beer, oxen, duck and every good and pure thing (Pauline Stanton)

Saturday 22 April: The curse of Hollywood mummies – how film and literature created modern mummy myths (Dr Craig Barker) 


Boyo Ockinga is an Associate Professor in the Department of Ancient History, and member of the Ancient Cultures Research Centre at Macquarie University. At Macquarie he teaches Egyptology with a focus on philology and religion. Since 1984 he has conducted regular fieldwork projects in Egypt at a number of sites – Nag El Mashayikh, Awlad Azzaz (Sohag), Dra Abu El Naga (Luxor) and Saqqara – working on the epigraphic and archaeological recording of New Kingdom tombs. Since 1991 he has directed the Macquarie Theban Tombs Project at Dra Abu El Naga. Other research interests are Egyptian religion and the publication of Egyptian material in Australasian collections.

Dr Thomas Hikade received his PhD from Heidelberg University where he studied Egyptology, Near Eastern Archaeology and Prehistory. He taught in Germany at Trier University before teaching at the University of Sydney in 2002-2004. Dr Hikade was Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia from 2004-2012 with one year at Brown University as Visiting Professor for Egyptian Archaeology. Dr Hikade has worked on excavations throughout Egypt since 1988 and was Co-director of the excavations at Hierakonpolis from 2005-2008. Dr Hikade is currently an Honorary Associate in the Department of Archaeology of the University of Sydney.

Dr Mary Hartley obtained her PhD in Egyptian Archaeology from Macquarie University, researching canid burials in Egyptian funerary practice. She has also conducted research into the musical aspect of 18th Dynasty banquet scenes. She has worked on archaeological excavations at cemeteries in Luxor, Saqqara and Dendera and teaches archaeological drawing.

Dr Karin Sowada has been involved in archaeological fieldwork and research in Egypt and the Middle East for nearly three decades. She was Assistant Curator of Sydney University’s Nicholson Museum for nine years until 2005, conducting extensive research on the collection which included new discoveries about its Egyptian mummies. Dr Sowada is widely published on many topics in scholarly and popular avenues and is a well-known voice on ABC Radio. A specialist in Early Bronze Age trade and foreign relations (c. 3100-2100 BC), Dr Sowada is an Honorary Associate in the Department of Ancient History at Macquarie University.

Melanie Pitkin is the MAAS curator for Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives and a PhD candidate in Egyptology at Macquarie University where she is studying the history of the First Intermediate Period through a typological examination of its false doors and stelae. Melanie has worked on a number of archaeological projects in Egypt, including the South and North Tombs Cemetery projects at Tell el-Amarna and the Teti Pyramid Cemetery at Saqqara. She is also a tour leader to Egypt and was the recent recipient of the inaugural Egypt Exploration Society Cairo fellowship where she developed and taught research skills in Egyptology to Egyptian Egyptologists and archaeologists in Egypt.

Pauline Stanton holds an MA (Egyptology) from Macquarie University and has taught HSC Ancient and Modern History for the past 25 years. She has also served as an Education Officer in the Museum of Ancient Cultures, Macquarie University. From 2006– 2011, Pauline volunteered on the Giza Archives Project (Museum Of Fine Arts, Boston) under the Directorship of Dr Peter Der Manuelian. Pauline recently joined Macquarie Ancient Languages School (MALS) as a tutor for intermediate hieroglyphs, extending her experience of tutoring Egyptian hieroglyphs both at Macquarie University and privately for the past 16 years. Pauline’s interest and passion for the language has culminated in undertaking a Masters of Research at Macquarie University, for which she is translating and analysing the inscriptions on the bases of Hatshepsut’s obelisks at Karnak.

Dr Craig Barker is a classical archaeologist and educator at the University of Sydney and the Manager of Education and Public Programs at Sydney University Museums.  He is the Director of the Australian excavations at the World Heritage listed site of Paphos in Cyprus, and has extensive fieldwork experience in Australia and across the Mediterranean.  He appears regularly on the ABC Local Radio segment “Can You Dig It?”.