"L'acqua nell'antico Egitto. Proceeedings of the First International Conference for Young Egyptologists", a cura di A. Amenta, M. M. Luiselli, M. N. Sordi, "L'ERMA" di Bretschneider, Roma, 2005
18 aprile 2005
"L'acqua nell'antico Egitto: vita, rigenerazione, incantesimo, medicamento. Proceeedings of the First International Conference for Young Egyptologists, Chianciano Terme, 15/18 ottobre 2003", a cura di Alessia Amenta, Maria Michela Luiselli, Maria Novella Sordi, Edizioni "L'ERMA" di Bretschneider, Roma, 2005
The First International Conference for Young Egyptologists was our proposal to the necessity of an exchange between "young" scholars of Egyptology belonging to academic and museum institutions from all over the world, in order to let them be for the first time protagonists of an international scientific meeting. The conference has taken place in Chianciano Terme (Siena), from the 15th to the 18th October 2003, in the Parco dell'Acqua Santa of Chianciano Spa.
The chairs of Egyptology in the world have paid in the last years in the context of academic activity great attention to the problems of their "young" scholars, by organizing for them different meetings. To the traditional section dedicated to the junge Agyptologie of the Standige Agyptologenkonferenz, which gathers together every year the whole German speaking Egyptology, in the different countries followed other initiatives with the similar aim, namely the promotion of and the support to young Egyptologists, to their scientific growth and interpersonal exchange. We refer here only to some of these new initiatives: the Central European Conference of Young Egyptologists, organized by Warsaw University and which in May 2004 took place for the third time; the Current Research in Egyptology, that has been organized in January 2004 for the fifth time in the United Kingdom; the Basler Agyptologischer Nachwuchspreis, which in 2001 asked all young Egyptologists to present a scientific egyptological article to the Agyptologisches Seminar of Basle University.
The choice of the subject proposed by the First International Conference for Young Egyptologists offered the possibility to deepen a fundamental theme of pharaonic society. In the same time, it aimed to make aware to one of the most urgent problems of ancient and modern societies: water as principle of every source of life.
Our initiative had therefore the aim to become part of the wide range of events and activities which mark the year 2003 in particular, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly as the "International Year of Freshwater".
"Water is a basic right for every human beings: without water there is no future. Water is democracy", according to Nelson Mandela's famous speech, delivered during the Second World Forum in Johannesburg.
The 1992 colloquium on water, organized from the Association internationale pour l'élude du droit de l'Égypte Ancienne (the proceedings have appeared in the series Bibliothèque d'Etude of the IFAO, n. 110), has for the first time explored the ancient Egyptians' attention to the watering and water supply problems, as well as the Egyptian contribution to the much wider panorama of the ancient Mediterranean countries.
The First International Conference for Young Egyptologists comes along-side this initiative by studying the relevance and function of water in ancient Egypt from magic to religion, from literature to historical evidence. As a result, we have singled out four main subjects, which correspond to the four sections of the conference: the first section, "Water and Literature", has been opened by a paper of Prof. Dr. Antonio Loprieno. The second section, "Water in ancient Egyptian History and Culture", dealt with the problems concerning the watering systems and water supply was introduced by a paper presented by Prof. Dr. Mario Liverani, as well as with the magic character of water, whose issues were introduced by a lecture of Prof. Dr. Yvan Koenig. The third section, "Water in ancient Egyptian Religion", has been opened by a paper presented by Dr. Susanne Bickel and, finally, Dr. Martin Bommas' paper has opened the fourth section, namely "Water in ancient Egyptian Ritual and Cult". Prof. Dr. Alessandro Roccati has then officially closed the Conference.
Numerous posters were also presented. They investigated other aspects of the conference subject and they are published in this volume in a specific chapter.
During the closing plenary session has been announced that the Second International Conference for Young Egyptologists will be organized by the University of Lisbon (Portugal) in 2006. We would like to thank Prof. Luis Manuel de Araùjo (Dept. of Egyptology of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Lisbon) for having thus gathered the sense of our project and for having proposed with enthusiasm the organization of the second edition of the Conference. Thanks to this our initiative has become a cyclic event. Our gratitude is also for Aline Gallasch-Hall, coordinator of the conference in Lisbon.
The conference organization received the support of numerous persons and institutions, to whom we would like to express our deepest gratitude. We are particularly grateful to our scientific committee, constituted by Prof. Dr. Hartwig Altenmuller, Prof. Dr. John Baines, Prof. Dr. Mario Liverani, Prof. Dr. Antonio Loprieno and Prof. Dr. Alessandro Roccati, for having answered with enthusiasm to our idea and for having followed with sincere interest the organization and realization of the Conference. Our particular thank goes also to the generosity of Dr. Susanne Bickel and Dr. Martin Bommas, who not only accepted our invitation to present an opening paper at the conference, but they even have contributed to the present volume with an article taken from their paper.
Finally, our warmest thank is for all the participants to the First International Conference for Young Egyptologists and for their enthusiastic response to our invitation. The peaceful and relaxed atmosphere during the whole of the conference has contributed to tighten human relations among us and has given to the conference a serene and constructive course with interesting discussions.
The professional competence of all participants in respecting the dead-line for submitting articles for the publication of these proceedings, as well as their collaboration has helped and favoured us in the tiring editing work of this volume, thus permitting his publication in such a short time.
Arrivederci a Lisbona!
MARIA MICHELA LUISELLI
MARIA NOVELLA SORDI
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