Published: March 7, 2023

Uncovering the City of the Baboon: New excavations at Hermopolis Magna, Egypt

Professor Yvona Trnka-Amrhein

Thursday, March 16, 7:00 p.m.
Hale Science Building Room 230 & Zoom (REGISTER HERE)
Free and open to the public
Download the poster

Hermopolis covered in mist


In January 2023, CU’s Classics Department and the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities began a new excavation and conservation project at the Greco-Roman city of Hermopolis Magna in Egypt. This talk gives an overview of the history of Hermopolis (Pharaonic Khemenu), previous archaeological work at the site, and a preview of what the new excavations have discovered, focusing on the city’s magnificent 5th century CE Christian Basilica which was built from the pieces of several Ptolemaic buildings and other earlier structures. The work at the Basilica site has revealed important evidence for understanding the forms of early Ptolemaic architecture and the history of worship at Hermopolis. These discoveries are only the beginning of what the city has to offer historians of ancient Egypt.

 Yvona Yvona Trnka-Amrhein (Ph.D. Harvard 2013) studies Greek literature of the Hellenistic and Imperial periods, especially the novel, biography, and history. She is particularly interested in interactions between Greek, Latin, and Egyptian literature and culture as well as the effect of empire on literature. Trained as a literary papyrologist, Dr. Trnka-Amrhein has edited several Oxyrhynchus papyri and her work is often directed to interpreting fragmentary texts on papyrus. Her current book project, Portraits of Pharaoh: the Sesostris Tradition in Ancient Literature and Culture, follows the multifaceted traditions surrounding the iconic pharaoh Sesostris through time, genres, and cultures. Future projects include a study of multi-cultural hymns in the Hellenistic world and an investigation of links between the novel, mime, and satire.