Egyptology conference kicking off in Ljubljana

Ljubljana, 1 December - A two-day international Egyptology conference is opening at the National Museum in Ljubljana on Thursday to mark 200 years since French linguist Jean-Francois Champollion deciphered hieroglyphics and a centenary since English archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun, who ruled ancient Egypt between 1332 and 1323 BC.

An ancient Egyptian sarcophagus at the National Museum of Slovenia.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA
File photo

The Egyptology and Slovenians conference is organised by the Faculty of Arts and the Institute for Monastic Studies and Contemplative Sciences, both from Ljubljana.

The first day will focus on the pharaonic period - the period when ancient Egypt was ruled by a pharaoh, and the second on Slovenian expeditions to Egypt.

Today, scholars will discuss ethnic Slovenian consuls who served in Egypt in the mid-19th century as Austro-Hungarian diplomats and were avid collectors of antiquities.

Items from their collections now form the core of ancient Egyptian collections kept at Slovenian museums.

Work of Slovenians in Egyptology in the 20th and 21st centuries will also be discussed.

The focus will shift on Friday onto Slovenian expeditions researching and documenting the heritage of Coptic Egypt, and a collection of Coptic textiles kept at the National Museum of Slovenia will be presented.

The conference will conclude on Saturday with a trip to towns around Slovenia where Egyptian heritage is still present or used to be kept in the past.

At a cemetery in Vipava, southwest, there are two sarcophagi from the Old Kingdom that Consul General Anton Lavrin (1789-1869) shipped to his native Vipava from Giza in 1845.

Lavrin served in Egypt between 1834 and 1849, becoming an avid Egyptologist. He wrote extensively about Egyptian monuments and became a member of archaeological institutes in Rome and Athens and an honorary member of the Museum Society in Ljubljana.

The trip to Vipava will be followed by a tour of the Egyptology collection of the National Museum in Ljubljana, and a trip to Šmarje pri Jelšah, east, to the Jelšingrad mansion, which housed a rich collection of artefacts from ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in the mid-19th century.

The three-day proceedings will conclude with a lecture on the Jelšingrad collection and a concert of Oriental music while 19th century Slovenian poet Anton Aškerc's Oriental poems will be read at the arts centre in Šmarje pri Jelšah.