American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE-AZ)
Dr. Laurel Bestock, Brown University
The site of Abydos is best known as the home of Osiris, god of the dead. A belief that Osiris was buried here made it a place of importance to both kings and commoners: the former built temples, the latter came on pilgrimage. But the history of Osiris at Abydos is not straightforward, nor can the sacred past of this place be reduced to the religion of death.
Recent excavations by the Brown University Abydos Project offer material for a case study examining the rich and varied practice of religion at Abydos, from the time of the very first kings of Egypt through the end of paganism and the rise of Christianity. This talk will examine change and continuity in such practice over some 4000 years, highlighting recent discoveries as varied as a the remains of a temple built by Narmer in the 1st Dynasty, an underground system of Ptolemaic vaults for burying animal mummies, and colorful murals in a Coptic hermitage.