Meet the Fellows of the Department of Egyptian Art
Hany Eltayeb earned his MA (2007) and PhD (2014) in Egyptology from Cairo University’s Faculty of Archaeology. He has worked on numerous field projects as a conservator and archaeologist, and is currently the Head of the Scientific Office of the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. He is studying the mastaba of Shepsesre at Saqqara, which was connected architecturally to The Met’s Perneb mastaba.
Daniel González León is currently a Ph. D. Candidate in Egyptology at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. In his dissertation, he studies non-royal Old and Middle Kingdom court titles, focusing on the common characteristics of their holders. It was precisely this research that led him to study the nature of the hieroglyphic script, and the ways in which meaning and context might affect the pictographic features of the sign. In recent years, he has been a member of the archaeological project at Kom el-Khamaseen, a late Old Kingdom site.
Heba currently works as Project and Exhibition Coordinator at one of the most important cultural projects in Egypt, “the Grand Egyptian Museum,” where she coordinates and manages the exhibitions process and fit outs. She began her career in the museums and heritage sector in Egypt 2008, Suring her professional career she has participated in many international conferences, national and international cultural heritage projects, and workshops aimed at safeguarding and preserving cultural heritage. In 2017 and 2018, she participated in the British Museum international Training Program ITP. Currently, she is working closely with the ITP and the British Museum in the Tutankhamun Co-curation project, and as a cultural consultant for the “Re-imagining the British Museum Project.”
Jun is currently pursuing a PhD in Egyptology at the University of Toronto. He has a background in archaeological science, and his research interests include various aspects of Egyptian iconography and iconoclasm. He has previously worked on public archaeology and community heritage initiatives in Southeast Asia.
The Mastaba of Shepsesre
Dr. Hany Eltayeb was an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in the department from January to March 2020; his six-month fellowship was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Hany returns this year to advance his study of the mastaba of Shepsesre at Saqqara, a key 5th Dynasty monument that has never been properly documented. Shepsesre was a high official who held numerous important titles, and seems to have been particularly favored by King Djedkare. His mastaba is noteworthy for its size, architectural complexity, and the beauty of its relief and painted decoration. Of particular interest for The Met is the possible relationship between Shepsesre and Perneb, the owner of the mastaba at the entrance to Egyptian Art’s galleries; the two structures were connected architecturally, suggesting the individuals were related, though to date there is no pictorial or textual evidence proving a connection.
Paleographic Study of the 6th and 8th Dynasty Coptos Decrees
The paleographic material of the hieroglyphic script may be used to distinguish creative hands and workshops, assess the date of a text, and—when required—infer its geographical provenance, but also to conduct semiotic analyses. Nevertheless, to better perceive the true nature of this script, requires a sufficient number of paleographies of different monuments through time, space, social context, and type of document. The project will enrich this catalogue with the paleography of the Old Kingdom Coptos decrees, a well-defined corpus of texts. Royal legal texts such as these decrees have never been approached from a paleographic perspective. On the other hand, there is no other text or textual corpus of this nature with more paleographic wealth.
Collections Management and Documentation for Egyptian Museums
Heba joins the Department of Egyptian Art as a Fulbright scholar as part of her PhD research in Heritage and Museum Studies. Her thesis revolves around collection management and documentation policies and practices in Egyptian museums. During her time at The Met, she will be investigating how collections management and documentation policies and practices shape the Museum’s collections information and knowledge paradigms. She also aims to explore ways in which this information is integrated into existing collections databases while informing changes in museum policy, supporting the development of permanent and temporary exhibitions, expanding collections accessibility, tracking staff roles, and documenting acquisitions.
Destruction and Change at the Monuments of Hatshepsut
Jun's project examines the "proscription" of Hatshepsut, a female pharaoh whose monuments were systematically erased following her death. While this has often been interpreted as a vengeful act by her successor, more recent findings suggest that the destruction only began decades after her death. As a result, the reason for the attacks remains largely obscure. Jun's research involves the systematic documentation and analysis of the destruction, so that its motive can be better understood. During his fellowship, Jun will be working on The Met’s collection of Hatshepsut’s statuary, as well as relevant archival material.
Amy joined the Department of Egyptian Art as an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow to assist Diana Craig Patch, Lila Acheson Wallace Curator in Charge, with the organization and development of a forthcoming exhibition. While at The Met, Amy’s work was diverse and included identifying and researching important objects for the exhibition, translating ancient Egyptian texts, and contributing to the exhibition catalogue.
During the Vilcek Curatorial Fellowship year, Sophie had the opportunity to receive curatorial training, contribute to projects in the Department of Egyptian Art, and expand her dissertation research as she studies Predynastic Period (ca. 3700–3300 B.C.) objects in The Met’s collection. She also included research she has conducted on objects in other institutions with her analysis of The Met’s pieces to propose an explanation of the scenes on decorated vessels from this early period of ancient Egyptian culture.
Dr. Hany Eltayeb was an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in the department from January to March 2020; his six-month fellowship was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, Dr. Hany was able to advance his study of the mastaba of Shepsesre at Saqqara, a key 5th Dynasty monument that has never been properly documented. Shepsesre was a high official who held numerous important titles, and seems to have been particularly favored by King Djedkare. His mastaba is noteworthy for its size, architectural complexity, and the beauty of its relief and painted decoration. Of particular interest for The Met is the possible relationship between Shepsesre and Perneb, the owner of the mastaba at the entrance to Egyptian Art’s galleries; the two structures were connected architecturally, suggesting the individuals were related, though to date there is no pictorial or textual evidence proving a connection.
Archaeological remains are inextricably related with contemporary issues, such as the specific social attitudes of particular eras and historically contingent notions of provenance. Compiling geographical provenance with stylistic and epigraphic criteria helps to pinpoint an object’s exact origin. Focusing on internal and external documentation, such as excavation reports, dealer’s labels on objects, correspondence, and invoices help us to retrace the provenance of museum objects. For this fellowship, Maxence is working with various types of unpublished documentation from The Met’s collection, allowing him to study the memoryscape of specific artifacts by carrying out counter-diachronic research.
Vera's dissertation seeks to reconcile the ideas of economic development, political fragmentation, and "artistic decline" in ancient Egypt by investigating the dynamics of the production system of funerary commodities during the 25th and 26th Dynasties (ca. 743–525 B.C.). The first millennium B.C. was a time of political fragmentation, war, foreign invasion, and drastic changes in funerary rituals. Overall, funerary spaces became smaller and burial assemblages became simpler in design and more limited in the number of artifacts they included. While the elaborate art of earlier periods is traditionally associated with social inequality, Vera suggests that the "artistic decline" in the first half of the first millennium B.C. marks a decrease in social inequality and a broader distribution of wealth.