AIA Lecture - The Sixth Sense: Multisensory Encounters with the Dead in Roman Egypt

Lecture | March 6 | 7 p.m. | 370 Dwinelle Hall

 Lissette Jimenez, Lecturer of Museum Studies, San Francisco State University

 San Francisco Society of the Archaeological Institute of America

Image and representation have always played a central role in the commemoration of the dead in ancient Egypt. Ritual funerary practices were often multi-sensory experiences comprised of an intricate combination of visual, auditory, tactile, gustatory, and olfactory senses. A proper ancient Egyptian funerary ensemble, coupled with the burial landscape, facilitated active tactile encounters between the living and the dead and were critical for the revivification of the deceased in the afterlife. The combination of textual, archaeological, and visual material evidence reveals that the ritual practice of celebrating the deceased included offerings, feasting, dancing, and the recitation of magical spells. This lecture investigates the multi-sensory experience of funerary practices in Roman Egypt and explores the experiential encounters between the material and temporal realms of the living and the dead. Painted portraits and shrouds attached to the mummified remains of the deceased, magical texts, ritual offerings, and the overall landscape of the tomb indicate that the practices of commemorating the deceased established participatory relationships where the living could experience and see the dead.