What I’ve been told when I’m struggling with a topic to blog about is “write what you learned in class today.” So that’s what I’m doing. And today was kind of an exciting day because I got to look at the objects in Hopkins’ Archaeology Museum!
Ever since I was little, I have been enamored with Ancient Egypt – probably because I admired Cleopatra and Nefertiti (#girlpower) and loved the Great Pyramids. I’ve been consuming historical fiction about Egypt since for as long as I can remember, my favorites being Crocodile on the Sandbank, Nefertiti, and the Mummy. As I got older, I found out that the study of archaeology was a really cool thing, probably around the same time that I first watched the Indiana Jones movies.
Since I’ve come to college – even though I haven’t chosen archaeology as my major – ancient history has stayed with me as a particular interest. And when last semester, while I was picking my classes for this semester, I found that I couldn’t fit any more International Studies classes in my schedule, I decided to take an archaeology class: “Ancient Egypt and Her Neighbors.” I was so excited to take this class, as it married my childhood love of ancient Egypt and my current passion of foreign affairs. AND the course description said that we’d be working with objects in the Archaeology Museum!
This class is absolutely fascinating – we are looking at Egypt’s depiction of foreigners to see what Egypt thought of them. Last Thursday we looked at “sympathetic magic” (kind of like voodoo): Egyptians would put representations of foreigners on various objects that would symbolically crush them, in hopes of crushing their enemies in real life. King Tut’s tomb has some amazing examples of this, like sandals with pictures of foreigners on the soles, so that the king could be stepping on his enemies every time he walked. Tut also had an unusual amount of canes in his tomb (historians think he had club foot that required the use of a cane while walking), and some of these canes are decorated with the bodies of foreigners, so that Tut could grind them into the floor as he leaned on the cane.
Today, anyhow, I went into the Museum to look at the object that I will have to write about for my next essay in this class, actually about the use of sympathetic magic. It was so amazing to get to look at a pair of sandals that were LITERALLY OVER 3,000 YEARS OLD. IN PERSON.
Hopkins’ archaeology program is actually one of my earliest memories of this school. When I came for SOHOP, I took a one-off class with Dr. Betsy Bryan (you’ll see her name next to tons of Egyptian objects on display at the Museum) and I still remember what she taught us about Akhenaten and his residence at Amarna. And how I’m applying that knowledge in class!!!! I’m so grateful that my schedule worked out so that I could take this class – it was such an awesome, random, coincidence that it fit into my schedule perfectly. This department is absolutely baller and I really hope that I get to take more classes with them in the future.