Mary-Ann Pouls Wegner received her Ph.D. in Egyptology with a specialization in Egyptian Archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania, and has been teaching at the University of Toronto in the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations since 2000. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on Ancient Egyptian archaeology, culture, social and political history, and artifacts (utilizing the collections of the Royal Ontario Museum), and also provides students with opportunities to participate in her research program.
She is the Director of the Toronto Abydos Votive Zone Project http://individual.utoronto.ca/NACZproject/ , an ongoing archaeological field project under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania-Yale University-Institute of Fine Arts, New York University Expedition. Her fieldwork led to the discovery of a previously unknown chapel of Thutmose III (ca. 1450 BCE) at Abydos, which produced dramatic new evidence of popular ritual practice and state patronage in the cult center of the god Osiris. The chapel was in use for over 1500 years, attesting to its importance; even the remains of sacred trees in its forecourt were preserved.
The area formed the setting for an annual religious performance in which the murder and resurrection of Osiris were re-enacted, highlighting the god’s resurrection and allowing pilgrims to share in it. Votive activity can be traced through archaeological deposits outside of the main temple and along the processional route. This evidence, often overlooked in early investigations of Egyptian religion that focused on the temples themselves, gives us crucial insight into the beliefs and practices of the ancient Egyptian populace.
Research interests: landscape archaeology, geographical analysis, popular religion, individual agency and the roles of state and private individuals in the development of built environment, state formation, cultural interaction, core-periphery relations.
Recent articles are available on www.academia.edu
Ph.D., 2002, University of Pennsylvania
B. A., 1985, Amherst College
- Egyptian archaeology and material culture
- Archaeology of performance; votive behaviour and ritual; development of ceremonial centers
- Social theory and archaeology; identity construction and display
- State formation, social complexity
- Landscape archaeology; settlement and sacred place organization; urbanism
- Cultural interconnections between Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean
- Computer applications in archaeology: the use of GPS and other three-dimensional mapping tools to analyze and understand ancient landscapes
2008 – present: Associate Professor of Egyptian Archaeology – Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto
2000 – 2008: Assistant Professor of Egyptian Archaeology – Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto
Toronto Abydos Votive Zone project (Director, since 2000)
North Abydos Votive Zone project (Director, 1996-1999)
Project’s website: http://individual.utoronto.ca/NACZproject
NMC 343H: History of Ancient Egypt I
NMC 344H: History of Ancient Egypt II
NMC 362Y: Ancient Egyptian Sites
NMC 467H: Archaeology and Material Culture of Ancient Egypt I
NMC 468H: Archaeology and Material Culture of Ancient Egypt I
NMC 254H: The Mummy: Technology and Transformation
NMC 1409H: Archaeology and Material Culture of Ancient Egypt I
NMC 1410H: Archaeology and Material Culture of Ancient Egypt II
NMC 1414H: Ancient Egyptian Artifacts
NMC 1421H: Topics in Egyptian Archaeology
Manuscripts in preparation:
- “Anthropoid Clay Coffins of the Late Bronze II – Early Iron Age Egypt and the Near East: A Re-evaluation of the Evidence from Tell el-Yahudiya, Deir el-Balah and Beth Shan,” contribution to T. Harrison and E. Banning (eds.), Festschrift for John Holladay, to be published by Brill.
- “A Royal Wooden Statue Recently Excavated in the Abydos Votive Zone.”
- “A New Perspective on the Reign of Hatshepsut”
- “Remains of an Aegis of the Horus Barque Shrine from the Abydos Votive Zone.”
- “The Date of the Osiris Temple Enclosure Wall in North Abydos: A Stratigraphic Analysis.”
- The Abydos Offering Chapel of Sa-Aset: Evidence for the New Kingdom Utilization of the Terrace of the Great God.”
- “Akhenaten’s Iconoclasm: A Reconsideration of the Evidence.”
- “Built Environment, Performance, and Ritual Landscape in North Abydos.”
- Egyptian Artifacts: Material Culture from the Predynastic through the Late Periods.
- Toward a Contextual Understanding of the Portal Temple of Ramesses II at Abydos.”
- “Every Good and Pure Thing: Sacrifice in the Ancient Egyptian Context,” in C. Murray (ed.), Archaeologies of Sacrifice. Institute for European and Mediterranean Archaeology, Distinguished Monograph Series (Buffalo: State University of New York Press).
- The Monumental Building Program of Thutmose III at Abydos: Pilgrims, Patrons, and the Landscape of Ritual. (University of Pennsylvania and Yale University monograph series).
- D. O’Connor, M.A. Pouls Wegner, and M.D. Adams. Survey and Gazetteer of the Greater Abydos Area. University of Pennsylvania Museum Press.
- “A Funeral Procession in Modern Rural Egypt,” in R. Gillam and J. Jacobsen (eds.), The Egyptian Oracle Project: Ancient Ceremony in Augmented Reality (London: Bloomsbury), 217-221.
- “Gateway to the Netherworld: Spectacular Finds Reveal the Millennia-long History of One of Egypt’s Most Important Sanctuaries.” Archaeology, 50-53.
- “The Toronto Abydos Votive Zone Project: New Fieldwork at the Cult Place of Osiris.” Newsletter of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities, 4-8.
- “New Discoveries from Egypt,” Chronicle of Higher Education (online publication) and National Public Radio, Academic Minute, aired May 21, 2012.
- “Wooden Statue of Ancient Egyptian King (perhaps Hatshepsut?) discovered at Abydos, Egypt.” Antike Welt, p. 15.
- “New Fieldwork at Abydos: The Toronto Abydos Votive Zone Project.” Near Eastern Archaeology 75(3): 177-184.
- “New Kingdom Ceramics associated with the Cult Chapel of Thutmose III at Abydos: Preliminary Analysis and Interpretation.” Cahiers de la Céramique Égyptienne 9: 367-414.
- “Votive Deposits of the Ptolemaic Period in North Abydos.” Cahiers de la Céramique Égyptienne 9: 415-436.
- “The Construction Accounts from the ‘Portal Temple’ of Ramesses II in North Abydos,” in Z. Hawass and J. Houser Wegner (eds.), Festschrift for David P. Silverman (Cairo: Supreme Council of Antiquities), 557-574.
- “The Archaeological Context of the Excavated Votive Zone Ostraca,” in R. Jasnow and M. A. Pouls Wegner, “Excavated Demotic Inscriptions from North Abydos,” Enchoria: Zeitschrift fur Demotistik und Koptologie, 23-42.
- “A Third Intermediate Period Burial ‘Ad Sanctos’ at Abydos,” in Z. Hawass and J. Richards (eds.), The Archaeology and Art of Ancient Egypt: Festschrift for David B. O’Connor (Cairo: Supreme Council of Antiquities), 257-271.
- “Wepwawet in Context: A Reconsideration of the Role of the Jackal Deity in Votive Ritual and Spatial Organization at Abydos.” Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 43:139-150.
- “Thutmose III.” World Book Encyclopedia (Chicago).
Presentations and Invited Lectures:
- “Discovering Hatshepsut: New Research on finds from the Toronto Abydos Votive Zone Project,” Invited lecture, Ancient Egypt Alive! Toronto, May 5, 2015.
- “Of Hatshepsut and Hawks: Research on New Finds from the Abydos Votive Zone,” Invited Lecture, Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities, Toronto, January 30, 2015.
- “Winter of Discontent: Egyptian Archaeology in the Wake of the Arab Spring,” Invited Lecture, History and Impact of German Archaeology in the Near and Middle East Conference, University of Toronto, Munk School, Nov. 7-8, 2014.
- “Tracing the Development of a Sacred Landscape: the Toronto Abydos Votive Zone Project,” Annual Meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt, Portland, Oregon, April 5, 2014.
- New Research at the Portal of the Egyptian Netherworld: the Toronto Abydos Votive Zone Project,” invited lecture for the Archaeological Institute of America, Niagara Society, Brock University, November 11, 2012.
- New Research at Abydos: the Toronto Abydos Votive Zone Project 2011,” invited lecture for the Toronto Chapter of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities, Toronto, Jan. 20, 2012.
- “Tutankhamon in Context,” invited lecture for the Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota, May 12, 2011.
- Organizer and convener, Archaeology of Performance Conference, University of Toronto, March 18-19, 2011.
- Invited presenter, “Every Good and Pure Thing: Sacrifice in the Ancient Egyptian Context,” for Worlds of Sacrifice: Exploring the Past and Present of Gifts for the Gods, Institute for European and Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Buffalo, State University of New York, April 17, 2011.
- Interview (shot April 6, 2010) and extensive research support on ancient Egyptian refuse disposal and sanitation systems (November 2009 – April 2010) for the film documentary “Trashopolis,” aired on the History Channel in fall 2010 and thereafter.
- Invited Discussant, “Personal Identity,” Archaeological Institute of America Symposium on Archaeology and Identity, March 27, 2010.
- “Thutmose III at Abydos: the Archaeology of Sacred Space at the Cult Center of Osiris,” invited lecture for the Archaeological Institute of America, Toronto chapter, University of Toronto, February 24, 2010.
- “Tutankhamon: Eternally Relevant,” invited presentation for legal firm McCarthy Tétrault, Frank Restaurant, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. February 18, 2010.
- Media Interviews with CBC TV and Global TV, Feb. 16, 2010, on Tutankhamon DNA study (published in the Journal of the American Medical Association), aired nationally on television and radio news.
- “Tutankhamon in Context,” invited lecture for the Art Gallery of Ontario, January 27, 2010.
- Expert participant in events for donors and sponsors of the Art Gallery of Ontario, in connection with the exhibit “Tutankhamon and the Golden Pharaohs,” which involved being present in the exhibit to provide guidance and information during opening events held on November 20 (Press, Gala), 23 (Curator’s Circle Event), and 24 (Teachers’ Event), 2009.
- Invited Discussant, “Myth and Symbols,” American Institute of Archaeology Symposium, Confronting the Supernatural: Magic, Myth and Ritual, March 28, 2009.
- “The Organization of Sacred Space in the Ancient Egyptian Ceremonial Center of Abydos,” Archaeology Research Day, February 27, 2009.
- “Night of the Jackal: Wepwawet and the Sacred Landscape of Abydos.” Invited Lecture, Toronto Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities, Toronto, March 14, 2008.