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Home > Research > Publications > Annual Reports > 1996-97 Annual Report

Individual Scholarship


John Coleman Darnell

The 1996/97 season was the fifth field season of the Theban Desert Road Survey (Luxor-Farshût Desert Road Survey) (see 96-97 report). In June John Coleman Darnell and his wife Deborah Darnell submitted a first monograph on their desert discoveries, The Narrow Door of the Desert of Upper Egypt: The Rock Inscriptions of Gebel Tjauti in the Theban Western Desert, Part 1, for publication to the Oriental Institute. The work introduces the site and publishes copies, photographs, and commentary on forty-four depictions and inscriptions, ranging in date from the tableau of Horus Scorpion to the cryptography of two Coptic visitors. An article by John and Debbie on two important inscriptions of the late First Intermediate Period from Gebel Tjauti - the road construction inscription of Tjauti, and the graffito of the "shock troops of the son of Re Antef" - is now in press in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies, with the title "New Inscriptions of the Late First Intermediate Period from the Theban Western Desert, and the Beginnings of the Northern Expansion of the Eleventh Dynasty," and will appear in Journal of Near Eastern Studies 56:4 (October 1997). Before the end of September they hope to submit a first monographic publication of inscriptions and depictions in the Wadi el-Huôl; in the meantime, John has a preliminary publication of the literary text from that site in press in the Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, entitled "A New Middle Egyptian Literary Text from the Wadi el-Huôl," which should appear in Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 34 (1997) before the end of the year. John and Debbie published a note on their work at Hierakonpolis site Hk64, "Pharaonic Rock Inscriptions at Gebel Norée," in Nekhen News 8 (1996): 6-7. John continues to work on the final manuscript on the pharaonic inscriptions, for inclusion in Dr. Renée Friedman's final publication of Hk64.

Of his work detailed in the last Annual Report, three articles are still in press in Enchoria, and another should appear before the end of the year in Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache. His review of Egyptian Solar Religion in the New Kingdom: Re, Amun, and the Crisis of Polytheism, by J. Assmann, trans. A. Alcock, appeared in The Journal of Religion (October 1996): 671-73. In May he completed the article "The Apotropaic Goddess in the Eye," which will appear in Studien zur altägyptischen Kultur 27 (1997): 1-14. John's dissertation, The Enigmatic Netherworld Books of the Solar-Osirian Unity: Cryptographic Compositions in the Tombs of Tutankhamun, Ramesses VI, and Ramesses IX, has been accepted for publication in the series Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis, and he is preparing the final manuscript. He is also completing a review of The Tombs of Amenhotep, Khnummose, and Amenmose at Thebes, by N. Strudwick, with H. M. Strudwick (Oxford, 1996), for Orientalia. He is in the midst of writing an article called "For I See the Color of Your Uraei," based on a thus-far misunderstood passage in a tomb text from the late Eighteenth Dynasty. The inscription, a hymn to the morning sun, provides a unique description of the solar glory, one that links with many other texts of disparate periods, and provides a pharaonic pedigree for passages in Juvencus and the Poimandres of Hermes Trismegistos (and touching on such gnostic works as the Apocryphon of John and the Hymn of the Pearl). He is also putting the finishing touches on a note on terminology for camels in a Demotic gardening agreement from Medinet Habu, first published by Professor Charles Nims, and now in the Oriental Institute Museum.

John and his wife Debbie gave a lecture entitled "Theban Military Strategy During the First and Second Intermediate Periods (with special reference to the Theban Desert Road Survey's recently discovered rock inscriptions in the Western Desert)" at the American Research Center in Egypt, Cairo, on 25 September 1996. They also spoke on the "Ancient Caravan Routes of the Theban Western Desert" to the South Suburban Archaeological Society on 15 May 1997. John lectured on "The Eye of the Sun in the Western Desert: Popular Worship of Hathor, Sothis, and the Inundation," at Yale University, New Haven, on 6 March 1997.

During the 1996/97 season, his ninth year with the Epigraphic Survey, John Darnell served as Senior Epigrapher. He completed work on the final draft of the translation and commentary booklet for the second volume of the subseries Reliefs and Inscriptions at Luxor Temple; he also compiled a glossary and assembled a preliminary mock-up of the plates for that volume (in anticipation of Epigraphic Survey artist Sue Osgood's plate preparation work in September 1997) and continued working on New Kingdom through Roman Period texts in the Eighteenth Dynasty Temple at Medinet Habu. He also assisted the West Bank inspectorate, headed by Dr. Mohammed Nasr, in preparing further site labels for Medinet Habu.

Revised: July 30, 2007

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