“Crossing Boundaries. Understanding Complex Scribal Practices in Ancient Egypt” is a joint research project of the University of Basel, the Université de Liège and the Museo Egizio of Turin. This project is looking for a highly motivated post-doctoral fellow to work within the project’s scope under the direction of A. Loprieno (Basel) and S. Polis (Liège). This full-time position is set to start on January 1st, 2020, but an earlier starting date is possible. The position is attributed for a period of one year, but is available for up to three years upon positive evaluation after 1 year. The post-doc will be registered as a member of the scientific staff at the University of Liège and be housed in the Department of classical and oriental studies (Place du 20-Août, 7, 4000 – Liège), with regular visits to Basel and Turin.
Academic scope of the project
We adopt an interdisciplinary approach to the issue of Egyptian scribal practices in order to cross the boundaries between archaeological and philological scholarship and better understand the so-called ‘heterogeneous’ papyri, which bear several texts and drawings belonging to various genres, such as maps, plans, accounts, poems, hymns and letters. In spite of their importance, they have never been studied as a coherent whole.
The papyri stem from the village of Deir el-Medina, a literate community which housed the families of the workmen for the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings and the surrounding necropolis during the New Kingdom (c. 1350–1000 BCE). The most important collection of papyri from this site is kept at the Museo Egizio. The project aims to identify the fragments of heterogeneous papyri from this collection, to piece the fragments together and provide a digital reconstruction of the original documents, to study the variety of texts attested on each papyrus, to assess the numbers of scribal hands and reconstruct the history of these documents, to enrich the results with data coming from other ancient Egyptian archives of heterogeneous papyri, and to broaden the perspective by comparing the data from Deir el-Medina with complex scribal practices from other periods and places.
The post-doctoral fellow will be working full-time on the project, which includes the transcription, transliteration and translation of unpublished hieratic texts, the encoding and analysis of these texts in digital databases and corpora, the (virtual) reconstruction of documents based on identified fragments, the publication of scholarly articles and the preparation of one monograph on the topic. Among the research questions to be tackled are: (1) the internal diachrony of the heterogeneous papyri (unveiling patterns of use that account for the layout and textual organization of these documents: even when papyri are used over a long period of time, thematic and social factors may explain the highly complex distribution of texts and drawings); (2) the contextualization of the heterogeneous papyri within the scribal traditions at Deir el-Medina (e.g., are we dealing with official ‘archives’ of the necropolis administration or with private libraries, and does this distinction make sense at all in the context of Deir el-Medina?); (3) the reconstruction of coherent ensembles and historical scenarios that elucidate the transmission of these papyri over decades in the Theban necropolis. Applicants are encouraged to include a brief research plan in their motivation letter.
Applicants should hold a PhD in Egyptology (or related fields) obtained at the latest on the hiring date; the hiring period should start at the latest exactly 6 years after obtaining the academic degree of doctor. The researcher has to be in a situation of ‘international mobility’, i.e. (s)he shall not have resided in Belgium for more than 24 months during the last 3 years before the first stay as postdoctoral fellow (see rules and regulations). The candidate should have demonstrated competence in Late Egyptian and hieratic, be highly motivated to conduct transdisciplinary research at the crossroads of philology, digital humanities, papyrology and museology, display a sufficient control of English and of other research languages, be able to work autonomously within an internationally and institutionally diverse environment, and be willing to travel on a regular basis and to present the project at scholarly meetings.
- A joint research project of the University of Basel, the Université de Liège and the Museo Egizio of Turin.
- The salary and the conditions of employment will be those of the F.R.S.-FNRS, Belgium.
Application / Contact
We are looking forward to receiving your complete application. Applicants should submit a motivation letter, a complete CV (including a list of publications and contact details of two referees) and a copy of their academic degrees by mail to email@example.com before September 10th 2019. The successful candidate will be notified by October 15th 2019.
Questions about the position can be addressed to Stéphane Polis, Department of classical and oriental studies, University of Liège, Place du 20-Août, 7 – 4000 Liège (firstname.lastname@example.org).