The Beni Hassan @ Macquarie project aims to:
1. provide a comprehensive and accurate published record of a rare and endangered archaeological site.
With permission of the Ministry of Antiquities and under the auspices of the Australian Centre for Egyptology (ACE), the team will undertake a detailed record of the architectural features, inscriptions and imagery contained in each inscribed tomb at Beni Hassan.
Prior to the work undertaken by the ACE, the earlier, and frequently cited, records of the tombs at Beni Hassan include works published by C.R. Lepsius as part of the Prussian Expedition to Egypt (1849); P. Newberry and his colleagues under the auspices of the Egypt Exploration Fund (1893); and the water colour copies of selected scenes and motifs from the tomb of Khnumhotep II by N. de Garis Davies as part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York's Graphic Expedition to Egypt (1931).
Work undertaken by the ACE highlighted that the earlier records of Lepsius and Newberry are frequently inaccurate and, furthermore, that some material was deliberately omitted. In particular, the line drawings of the walls published by Newberry are inadequate by modern standards as the figures and hieroglyphs as well as selected animal figures and inanimate objects are inexplicably rendered in solid black, obscuring many significant details.
The tombs of Khnumhotep II (Tomb 3), Amenemhat (Tomb 2), Ipi and Bebi have been re--recorded and published by Naguib Kanawati, Linda Evans and Miral Lashien respectively, while the tombs of Khnumhotep I (Tomb 13), Khety (Tomb 17) and Baqet III (Tomb 15) are currently in preparation for publication via the ACE Reports series.
- Kanawati, N. and Evans, L., Beni Hassan. Vol. III: The Tomb of Amenemhat (ACE Reports 40; Oxford: Aris and Phillips, 2016).
- Kanawati, N. and Evans, L., Beni Hassan. Vol. I: The Tomb of Khnumhotep II (ACE Reports 36; Oxford: Aris and Phillips, 2014).
- Kanawati, N. and Woods, A., Beni Hasan: Art and Daily life in an Egyptian Province (Cairo, 2010).
- Lashien, M., Beni Hassan. Vol. II: Two Old Kingdom Tombs, (ACE Reports 39; Oxford: Aris and Phillips, 2016).
- Newberry, P.E., Beni Hasan. Part I (London, 1893).
2. develop a Visual Dictionary for the elite tombs at Beni Hassan.
Drawing on the published and unpublished photographs, line art and architectural plans collected by the Macquarie University expedition working at Beni Hassan (2009-present), the Beni Hassan Visual Dictionary contains accessible descriptions of the various themes, scenes, details and architectural features in a tomb, along with JSesh transcriptions, transliteration, and translation of the hieroglyphic inscriptions and high resolution zoomable photographs and line art.
The Beni Hassan Visual Dictionary is managed by the Beni Hassan Research Group (BHRG), which is comprised of academic staff, doctoral candidates and undergraduate students. The BHRG, led by Alexandra Woods, Brian Ballsun-Stanton and Nicolle Leary, aims to develop employability skills in Ancient History students and enable active, authentic and collaborative engagement with research undertaken at Macquarie University.
The first phase of the project centres on developing a digital exhibition showcasing the rich and exceptionally detailed visual and textual repertoire in the tomb of Khnumhotep II (Tomb 2). The exhibition, harnessing the latest e-learning technologies, will provide students at secondary and tertiary institutions and the broader community with an integrated and personalised digital experience of the tomb. An individual can discover and explore the collections at their own pace, according to their own interests, which encourages a non-linear visit with expert commentary providing historical context.
Beni Hassan @ Macquarie would not be possible without the help of a number of funding agencies, private sponsors and grant schemes. We express our gratitude to the following funding agencies and schemes:
- Australian Research Council - Discovery Projects Scheme: 'Measuring meaning in Egyptian art: A new approach to an intractable problem'. DP160102223. Investigators: Naguib Kanawati, Linda Evans, Alexandra Woods, Janice Kamrin (Metropolitan Museum of Art). 2016-2018. ARC webpage.
- Australian Research Council - Discovery Projects Scheme: 'Immortal Egypt: cultural tradition and transition during the first intermediate period at Meir'. DP110100922. Investigators: Naguib Kanawati; Linda Evans; Alexandra Woods; Gay Robins (Emory University). 2011-2013. ARC webpage.
- Macquarie University Research Development Grants Scheme: 'Beasts and beliefs at Beni Hassan: Identifying new religious functions for ancient Egyptian tomb art'. Investigators: Linda Evans, Naguib Kanawati. 2015-2016.
- Macquarie University Research Development Grants Scheme: 'Civil War and its Aftermath: Interpreting the Egyptian Middle Kingdom Art and Inscriptions in the Tomb of Khnumhotep II at Beni Hassan'. Investigators: Alexandra Woods, Naguib Kanawati, Damien Gore. 2010-2013.
- Macquarie University New Staff Grant: 'Egyptian Art at its Peak: The Case of Beni Hassan'. Investigator: Alexandra Woods. 2009-2010.