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Laura Harris & Gillian Smith

By Departmental Research Seminar

Tuesday 26 March (Week 5), 2-3.30pm

Recreation Room (S2.6), Level 3, Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University

The Department of Ancient History in conjunction with the Macquarie University Ancient History Association (MAHA) offers a research seminar series, intended to bring together those within Macquarie and outside who have an interest in the languages, histories, and cultures of the ancient world. View the schedule for the research seminar.

All are welcome! Please arrive on time and join us after the seminar for coffee, tea and biscuits!

Convenor: Dr Alexandra Woods Twitter


Laura Harris | PhD candidate, Macquarie University

Connect with Laura on Twitter: Twitter

Deformed Horns and Overgrown Hooves: The Physical Modification of Cattle in the New Kingdom and Its Welfare Implications


Cattle were important agriculturally and religiously to the ancient Egyptians and as a result they are depicted frequently in art. In some of these representations, cattle are depicted with or undergoing a physical modification of their bodies. Many studies have arisen in the last fifty years about or including cattle, but the modification of cattle has not received the same attention.

This paper will look at two of the practices used by the Egyptians to modify their cattle, horn deformation and overgrown hooves, which are represented in two-dimensional art scenes from elite tombs in the New Kingdom period (c.1550-1069 BC). The process, purpose and welfare implications of cattle with these modifications will be discussed. Evaluation of the modification practices revealed that, on balance, the Egyptians did not practice animal welfare with regard to their cattle.</br>

Gillian Smith | PhD candidate, Macquarie University

The Hypostyle Hall at Karnak: art, architecture and space

Traditionally, the monumental architecture of Ancient Egypt has been understood to function as a sign of royal prestige and power as well as reflecting changes in social and theological concerns and practices. The interpretation of particular rooms in temples in addition to inscriptional evidence relies on the analysis of material remains, in particular the identification of specific themes in the decorative scheme employed in the respective temple areas. However, in many cases the lack of cohesion in the decorative schemes leaves scholars with only a superficial interpretation of the function of specific temple areas. This paper explores Egyptian architecture as a sensory and affective practice that enabled the development of ideology and religious and cultural practices rather than merely reflecting this transformation. Using Karnak’s Hypostyle Hall as a case study, this paper aims to present an analysis of the material remains of the hall and reflect on ancient concepts of ritual and architecture as well as modern ideas of architectural communication in order to consider the relationship between the physical space, its function and symbolic meaning.

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