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Listen to the audio recording from our Curators in conversation event held in the opening week of Discovering Ancient Egypt.

17 Dec 2023

Discovering Ancient Egypt: curators in conversation

Join visiting exhibition curator and Egypt expert Dr Daniel Soliman of the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities and National Museum of Australia curator Craig Middleton, as they chat with award-winning journalist Emma Macdonald.
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Presenters: Dr Daniel Soliman, Craig Middleton, Emma Macdonaald

From the curators

Hear what it’s like to be an Egyptologist, discover the influences of ancient Egypt on modern society and pop culture, and explore our continuing obsession with temples, tombs and the afterlife.

A long rectangular wooden game board, with engravings on the top and side. - click to view larger image
Senet game board, about 1539–1191 BCE

Dr Daniel Soliman on the board game Senet:

... we know it’s a piece from a tomb and it has a double symbolic meaning because the word Senet means passage, in the sense of passing through the fields to reach the end of the game. But it’s also symbolically referring to the passage from the world of the living to the afterlife.

Top part of a coffin shaped in female form, with facial details painted on and various hieroglyphics painted on the chest and shoulders. - click to view larger image
Outer Coffin of Panesy, about 943–746 BCE

Craig Middleton on the outer coffin of Panesy:

I’m particularly fascinated by Panesy’s face, which is a separate piece that would have been produced and then inlaid on the coffin. And it’s created with this beautiful dark timber and you can still see the wood grain in this timber, it wasn’t painted, unlike lots of the other coffins in the room.

Meet the panel

Daniel Soliman

Dr Daniel Soliman is an Egyptologist, researcher and renowned expert in ancient Egyptian history. Since 2019, Daniel has been a curator of the Egyptian and Nubian Collection at the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, the Netherlands, conducting research and creating and contributing to exhibitions including Discovering Ancient Egypt.

Among his interests are the histories of collecting Egyptian antiquities and the many ways in which ancient Egypt is interpreted in contemporary pop-culture.

Daniel is also co-director of the excavations carried out at the ancient site of Saqqara in Egypt by the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities and its partners.

Craig Middleton

Craig Middleton is a senior curator at the National Museum of Australia and an Honorary Lecturer at the Australian National University.

He has wide ranging interests in Australian social history, histories of LGBTIQ+ people and communities, and critical museology.

Craig believes in the role of arts and culture to strengthen communities, combat social exclusion, and support a healthy and active democracy. He is the lead coordinating curator of Discovering Ancient Egypt.

Emma Macdonald

Emma Macdonald OAM is Associate Editor of HerCanberra, a multi-award-winning journalist, advocate and businesswoman. Emma began her journalistic career with the Australian Financial Review before moving to the Canberra Times, where she was Bureau Chief.

After 23 years as a newspaper journalist, she moved to online media platform HerCanberra in 2016. Emma has won numerous awards for her work including two Walkley Awards and the John Douglas British Prize for Journalism.

Emma is dedicated to promoting women in media, as Convener of Women in Media Canberra and also co-founded the maternal health charity Send Hope Not Flowers.

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