NEAF | ‘Ideology and Belief’ Saturday series – School of Humanities NEAF | ‘Ideology and Belief’ Saturday series – School of Humanities

NEAF | ‘Ideology and Belief’ Saturday series

17 June 2023


Lecture 1: Decoding Complexity in Karnak’s Hypostyle Hall

Dr Gillian Smith
Sydney: Saturday 17 June 2023 | 10am-11am

Abstract: Since its construction during the Ramesside Period (1292-1077 BCE), the Hypostyle Hall at the Temple of Amun-Re at Karnak has stood as a monument to the ingenuity, wealth, and power of Ancient Egyptian civilisation. For modern visitors, the complexity and grandeur of the Hall stands as a physical testament to the scope and limits of human thought. Within the discipline of Egyptology, however, until late into the Twentieth Century, the enormity of the Hall, particularly the height of the walls and columns, had hindered the recording and publication of the reliefs decorating its interior surfaces. Consequently, the academic study of the Hall has largely trailed behind its fame. In recent years, the publication effort of the Hall has steadily increased laying important groundwork into the relationship between the art and architecture, the ritual function, and symbolic meaning of the Hall. This paper will summarise the key findings of the research project which focused on the integration of all architectural elements into a comprehensive study. It will be shown that by way of its location at the entrance to the temple, its architecture, and decorative program, the Hypostyle Hall acts as a permeable boundary between the secular and sacred.

Dr Gillian Smith is an Egyptologist specialising in temple architecture and art of the Ramesside period and obtained her PhD in 2021 from Macquarie University (MQU), Her thesis, which is currently being prepared as a monograph, drew on traditional Egyptological and art-historical theories as well as architectural theory to investigate the design and ancient experience of the Hypostyle Hall at Karnak temple. She has been an archaeological field team member on MQU’s Theban Tombs Project and has completed her own field research at Karnak Temple, Luxor. With an interest in public engagement, Gillian was one of the co-founders and co-ordinators of Studying the Past, the education and engagement program for MQU’s Department of History and Archaeology.


Lecture 2: Thoughts arising from a Re-Examination of the British School’s Excavations of the Middle to Early Late Bronze Settlement at Tell Fara South in the late 1920s

Dr Paula Phillips
Sydney: Saturday 17 June 2023 | 11am-12pm

Abstract: The relatively unknown site of Tell Fara South in what is now southern Israel/Palestine, was excavated by the British School of Archaeology from 1927-1930, under the direction of Flinders Petrie and in his absence, James (Leslie) Starkey. Perhaps not surprisingly, the recent re-examination of this large scale project, focussed on the Middle to early Late Bronze Age occupation of the site, has raised more questions than it has answered about many things including issues of belief and ideology, both ancient and modern. Who were these people that sought to establish this settlement in the Middle Bronze period (MB IIB-LB II), and what can we learn about them from the surviving traces revealed in the British fieldwork. Secondly, what of the set of ideas and beliefs that underpinned how the excavation itself was conducted now almost a century ago, the ramifications of which are still in some ways, being felt today.

Dr Paula Phillips undertook her PhD research under the supervision of Dr Andrew Jamieson (UniMelb) and Dr Stephen Bourke (UniSydney). Paula’s research re-examined the Middle Bronze Age material from the original British School excavations at Fara South, recovered from the settlement and the contemporary burial grounds. The project sought to better understand the nature of the Middle Bronze occupation at the site and the role Fara South played within the context of the broader southern Levant and Eastern Mediterranean world at this time.

The seminars will be held online on Zoom



Click here to register

You can register for the whole series at a discount, or book for specific Saturdays.

Individual lecture $20 | Entire series $60

Non Members
Individual $30 | Entire series $90

All students are free 

Click here for full seminar details

Please note – a minimum of 20 attendees is required for each lecture for this series to run – our upper limit is 300 per lecture.


Once payment is received a receipt, Meeting ID and non-transferrable password will be sent to you.

On admission to the Zoom lecture, participants will be matched to names of financial participants. Please ensure your zoom log-in screen name correctly identifies you. If you are dialling in via telephone, please ensure the number listed when booking on our website is the same used when connecting via telephone.


Our Introduction will start at 9.55am.

The lecture will start at 10am and the second lecture will begin at 11.05am and finish at 12 noon.

There will be opportunity for questions following the lectures, time permitting.


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Hosted by the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation (NEAF)




Jun 17 2023


10:00 am - 12:00 pm




+61 2 9351 4151

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