Company of Images: Modelling the Imaginary World of Middle Kingdom Egypt (2000-1500 BC)

16 October 2017

Company of Images: Modelling the Imaginary World of Middle Kingdom Egypt (2000-1500 BC)

A new volume, edited by Gianluca Miniaci, Marilina Betrò and Stephen Quirke resulting from the EPOCHS conference held at the Institute in 2014 has recently been published by Peeters.

From prehistoric figurines and graffiti to modern digital photographs, human beings repeatedly produced images, transforming the world itself into a relentless fabric of images. This volume presents the proceedings of the international conference held at the UCL Institute of Archaeology in 2014 inside the framework of the European project 'EPOCHS', with the aim to explore the fertile imaginary world of Middle Bronze Age Egypt (2000-1500 BC).

Images do not exist in their ontological isolation, as atomic unity, but they form a complex agency network with other images and with the society that produced them, hence the title "Company of Images". Eighteen papers focus on this intricate web, tackling the topic from different perspectives: material culture, archaeological finds, anthropological and social relations, iconographic representations, and analysis of the written sources, including linguistic approaches. The final goal is to highlight theoretical and methodological issues in order to explore connections between the images and their society, people who created images and who were recursively affected by the images they created.

The EPOCHS project aimed to provide a basis for new interpretative models of material cultural transmission and social transformation in stratified societies, developing a specific methodology for comparative synthesis at a broad regional level (equivalent to the ‘national’ in modernity).


  • Susan J. Allen, Decoration and image on Middle Kingdom pottery: can fish dishes be read?
  • Zuzanna Bennett, Conceptions of demons in the Middle Kingdom Coffin Texts 
  • Kamila Braulińska, Middle Kingdom dog figurines. General remarks 
  • Richard Bussmann, Personal piety: an archaeological response 
  • Sabrina Ceruti, The hippopotamus goddess carrying a crocodile on her back: an iconographical motif distinctive of the late Middle Kingdom
  • Roberto A. Díaz Hernández, ‘Paddle dolls’ – ritual figurines of fertility
  • Gersande Eschenbrenner-Diemer, From the workshop to the grave: the case of wooden funerary models
  • Wolfram Grajetzki, A zoo en-miniature: the impact of the central government on the rise and fall of animal/zoomorphic amulets’ production during the First Intermediate Period and Middle Kingdom 
  • Renata Landgráfová, No imagined worlds, no imagined achievements. Veracity statements in Twelfth Dynasty auto/biographies with military-like topic 
  • Gianluca Miniaci, Unbroken stories: Middle Kingdom faience figurines in their archaeological context
  • Ellen Morris, Middle Kingdom clappers, dancers, birth magic, and the reinvention of ritual 
  • Rune Nyord, ‘An image of the owner as he was on earth’. Representation and ontology in Middle Kingdom funerary images
  • Stephen Quirke, Figuring migrations: severing and joining power lines
  • Mohamed Gamal Rashed, The four primeval elements of creation according to the philosophy of Hermopolis: a new interpretation of their origin 
  • Lisa K. Sabbahy, The Middle Bronze Age Egyptian griffon: whence and whither? 
  • Angela M. J. Tooley, Notes on type 1 truncated figurines: the Ramesseum ladies 
  • Marcella Trapani, A deposit of female figurines from Gebelein (Schiaparelli’s campaign in 1910) 
  • Josef Wegner, Raise yourself up: mortuary imagery in the tomb of Woseribre Seneb-Kay
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