"Smellscapes in Ancient Egypt (with smell accompaniments)”

Dora Goldsmith, PhD candidate, Freie Universität Berlin

Have you ever wondered what it smelled like in an ancient Egyptian city? What smells defined the palace, temples, gardens, streets, workshops, private houses, mummification chambers, and tombs? Dora Goldsmith, PhD candidate at the Freie Universität Berlin, will present the results of her research in the form of a smellmap of an ancient Egyptian city. 

Within the human-made, urban environment, each area and establishment had its own special smell defined by the time of year and the activities that took place within them. The written sources elaborate on the sweet scent of the streets imbued with incense and myrrh during festivals, the perfume of the queen that fills the halls of the palace, the smell of ritual offerings getting mixed in the cult chamber of the temple, and the aroma of incense burnt in simple houses. Nevertheless, the texts don’t fail to describe the stench of industrial areas, drunkards whirling around in pleasure in the streets and the unpleasant smell of the sick. Prepare your nose, as the olfactory world of ancient Egypt will come back to life! Each area discussed during the talk will be accompanied by the reconstruction of its smell. 

Monday, November 12th, 2018

3:00–4:00 pm

Saieh Hall for Economics, Room 021

5757 South University Ave, Chicago, IL

Reception to follow at the Oriental Institute. 

Event co-organized by the Oriental Institute and Graduate Council, The University of Chicago.