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1992-93 Annual Report

Edward F. Wente

An article by Edward F. Wente, "A Taxing Problem," was published in a special issue of the Bulletin of the Egyptological Seminar honoring Professor Alan Schulman. It deals with a block statuette of a treasury overseer Meryre, who was commissioned by the king to tax the entire land and to establish offerings to all the gods and goddesses. Stylistically the piece can be assigned to the Amarna period or its immediate aftermath, but unfortunately the king's name was intentionally erased. Wente argues that the pharaoh was probably Tutankhamun, under whom the old cults were reinstated, although, being of Amarna background, he was subject to posthumous defamation.

Mr. Wente has recently completed an article dealing with a puzzling communication by a scribe of Deir el-Medina to a chief of police. Because of the brevity of the hieratic text, several interpretations are possible. In discussing the document, Wente explores the issue of the possible intrusion of the literary language, learned by scribes in their education, upon non-literary texts. Mr. Wente also continues with his translation of Ramesside royal stelae and is nearing completion of those of the Nineteenth Dynasty.

This past year Mr. Wente completed his term as a member of the original editorial board of the Society of Biblical Literature's Writings from the Ancient World Series, and he continues to serve as a member of the visiting committee of the Metropolitan Museum's Department of Egyptian Art. In the autumn of 1992 he gave an informal illustrated lecture to members of the Breasted Society on the subject, "The Royal Mummies: Who Was Who?" In the winter he was lecturer for the Oriental Institute tour to Egypt, which included sites ranging from Alexandria to Abu Simbel in Nubia. With a bit of effort the group was able to visit the Beit el-Wali temple of Ramesses II, which has been relocated near the Aswan high dam. This temple was an old acquaintance of Mr. Wente, one of the Chicago House epigraphers who recorded the shrine in 1960-61 at its original location in Nubia. A high point of the tour was the visit to Chicago House, where the Field Director of the Epigraphic Survey, Peter Dorman, explained the work of the expedition and with his wife Kathy graciously provided a reception for the group.

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