NSW: Department of Ancient History Research Seminar


Event Details


Building on decades of research, new insights are still being made into the ancient civilisations of Mycenae and Egypt.  Join the Ancient History Research Seminar at Macquarie University to discover the latest with Dr Susan Lupack and Dr Yann Tristant.

  • The Mycenaean Cult of the Ancestral Wanax: Dr Susan Lupack (Macquarie University, Department of Ancient History)

In the decades following the decipherment of the Linear B tablets in 1952, a great deal of debate has been inspired by the fact that several tablets within the Fr series detail offerings of perfumed oil that were sent to the wanax, or king.  The question has been whether these offerings were being sent to the mortal king of the Mycenaean state, which would imply that he was considered to be divine, or if they were being sent to a divinity of some kind whose title was “wanax,” and if the latter, which divinity was being specified by the Linear B scribes?  Because neither of these theories are entirely satisfactory, another theory has been put forth which claims that the oil being sent to the wanax was not meant as an offering at all, but rather was a secular disbursement of oil for the use of the current wanax.  The problem here is that the recipients on the Fr tablets are otherwise all divine. My solution to these difficulties is to interpret the wanax on the Fr tablets as certainly divine, but also to interpret the word wanax not as the ruler who held sway in the LH IIIB period when the tablets were written, but rather as representing an ancestral wanax who was worshipped by the Mycenaeans for the role he played in their legendary past.  It is possible that the Mycenaeans saw this ancestral wanax as their founding father.  In order to substantiate this theory, I draw on archaeological material which demonstrates the respect that was paid to the burials in Grave Circle A at Mycenae and Tholos Tomb IV at Pylos by the ruling wanaktes of the Late Helladic III periods – several hundred years after the initial interment of the elites who were buried in those tombs.

  • The Necropolis of Dendara (Upper Egypt): new results of the combined Macquarie University/IFAO expedition: Dr Yann Tristant (Macquarie University, Department of Ancient History)

Dendara, capital of the 6th province of Upper Egypt, is one of the most ancient Egyptian community and one of the best-preserved religious complexes in Egypt. For more than a century archaeological work in Dendara focused mainly on the study of the Ptolemaic temple and its monuments without any real consideration of the territory in which the complex was established and developed. The preliminary results of the new archaeological investigation on the necropolis already bring new light to the origins of Dendara at the dawn of the Pharaonic period

Time and date: 1-2pm, Tuesday 22 May 2018

Location:  Room 212, Y3A, 10 Hadenfeld Avenue, Macquarie University, NSW

Dendara, Upper Egypt