Meeting Butehamun in Turin

With Dr. Federico Poole at the Egyptian Museum in Turin, in front of the coffin of Butehamun, C 2236/1

On May 19, also thanks to the Wångstedt’s Foundation, I was able to visit the Egyptian Museum in Turin, to see Butehamun’s coffin and his other grave goods. The museum is the largest devoted solely to Egypt outside the Cairo Museum, and has an extensive collection of items from Deir el-Medina, thanks to the treasure hunting of Bernardino Drovetti in the early 19th century and the careful excavations of Ernesto Schiaparelli in the early years of the 20th century.

I was shown around the collections by Federico Poole, a curator at the museum, who was clearly an expert on Deir el-Medina.

Visiting the Louvre Archives

The Louvre’s Catherine Bridonneau taking out Ostracon Louvre 698

As part of my research into Butehamun, and to help create a website about the famous scribe of Deir el-Medina, the Wångstedts Foundation awarded me a travel grant. Trip 1 was to the Louvre Museum in Paris, whas has a wonderful Egyptian collection, including the Butehamun’s unique letter to the coffin of his dead wife.

Welcome to Egyptology!

Middle Kingdom funerary boat at the Museum Gustavianum in Uppsala

In the two years since my last post I’ve retired from Radio Sweden (after 40 years), and gone back to school to earn a B.A. in Egyptology.

Uppsala University is the only school in Sweden to offer Egyptology, so over a two year period I commuted 2-4 days a week, around two hours door to door. It turns out that it isn’t unusual for persioners to enroll at Swedish universities, probably because studies are tutition-free. In my first semester, which consisted of introductory courses in Egyptian history, religion, art, and literature, there were 15-20 students, of which around a quarter were pensioners like me.

Waterloo More Important Than Midsummer?

Midsummer in Sigtuns

Midsummer in Sigtuna

Midsummer is the most important holiday in Sweden and Denmark, after Christmas. Anyone who has experienced the darkness of the Scandinavian Winter can appreciate the desire to celebrate the light of Summer.

Yet every year, it seems, the European Union holds a summit at Midsummer. Yet there’s never such a meeting on July 14. It seems France’s Bastille Day is held in higher esteem than Scandinavia’s big day.

Amazing Changes in France

Yesterday and today have come news that two of the things I thought were the worst or weirdest about France are being changed, the stores being closed on Sundays, and the schools being closed on Wednesdays.

Yesterday France24 reported, on the first day of the new school year, that for the first time French children will be going to school five days a week. Until now they got to stay home on Wednesdays, apparently because of a 19th century idea they were then supposed to study their catechisms, Sunday School on Wednesdays.