The General Education Office invited Associate Vice President (International) of Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) in Shenzhen, Prof Thomas Schneider, to give a lecture on the 10 October.

The lecture topic was ‘New Discoveries in Egyptian Archaeology: How Do They Change our View of Ancient Egypt?’, which was delivered by Prof Schneider who has previously published widely on Egyptian interconnections with the Near East and North Africa, Egyptian history and chronology, Egyptian historical phonology, and the history of Egyptology in Nazi Germany.

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Prof Schneider talks about his ideas on Egyptian Archaeology 

The focus of this lecture was the overarching modern challenges such as Early Egypt and the Origins of Statehood, the Pyramid Age, as well as settlement archaeology and ethnic diversity in the 2nd millennium. He also touched on some of the work he has personally done in Egypt.

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The audience welcoming Prof Schneider

Prof Schneider talked about different missions that he has experienced or heard of and explained how when finding something new, the thing that is found could be something small or it could lead to part of the past that could open up so many new doors. He said, “Every time we open the ground, a new mystery emerges.”

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Talking about the issues surrounding modern-day Egypt

Prof Schneider explained that for the past 200 years, archaeological discoveries in Egypt have sparked significant public interest across the globe, culminating in finds such as the unrobed tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings in 1922. The continuous work of dozens of archaeological missions changes the way society reconstructs and understands Egyptian civilization.

The audience at this lecture sat back and heard that within the last decades, Egyptian archaeology has seen a true transformation into a scientific discipline that uses a wide range of methods, which have ranged from archaeobotany and forensics to remote sensing and satellite imagery. However, Prof Schneider explained that Egyptian archaeology also faces intensifying modern challenges such as overpopulation, climate change, land reuse, looting, and heritage preservation.

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Audience members listening intently 

Egypt is over a million square kilometres but the total liveable area in Egypt is only 32,000 square kilometres, which is the same size as Belgium. There are over 100 million people that live in that small area in Egypt and this has become a challenge, especially because the population seems to be still growing while the area for them to live in isn’t. Due to the construction of dams in neighbouring countries, there is a concern for the Nile River drying up, which would cause the people that live in Egypt to be without a source of water.

Prof Schneider concluded his lecture by saying, “Egypt is a place of ongoing discoveries that will change and modify our knowledge and the world to come”. This left the audience wanting to hear more and brought on numerous questions for Prof Schneider.

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Many staff members including UIC's Vice President (Academic Affairs) Prof Chen Zhi attend the lecture

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Acting Director of GEO Dr Shawn Wang raises a question

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Faculty asking questions to Prof Schneider

Various faculty members asked questions including one question that surrounded the topic of who was the first to create the writing system, which Prof Schneider answered with the Mesopotamians. Another question talked about population growth and had Prof Schneider dig deeper into that concern. There were a few more questions that were asked and answered however due to the time constraint, some questions were left unanswered, which left the audience feeling curious and wanting to know more.


Reporter/Photographer: Lauren Richardson
Editors: Deen He, Samuel Burgess
(from MPRO)