Session: #152

Theme & Session Format

4. Globalisation and archaeology
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Ancient West Asia and Egyptian Soundscapes in Contact
The importance of the musical traditions of Ancient Egypt (including here Kush/Meroë and Libyan areas) and West Asia (including Assyria and Babylonia, Anatolia, Iran, the Levant, Arabian Peninsula and southern Caucasus) go far beyond the ‘magnificence’ of their extant instruments (e.g. the Mesopotamian bull-lyres or Tutankhamun’s trumpets). Research demonstrates the importance of these traditions as particularly relevant for understanding cross-cultural influences in the musical traditions of surrounding regions (Franklin 2015; Sánchez Muñoz 2017).
Paradoxically, despite their geographical proximity, this previous research has only begun to explore the possible musical interactions between both areas. Moreover, the few works on the topic (Duchesne-Guillemin 1981; von Lieven 2008) still leave many questions unanswered, such as the influences of cross-cultural contact on musical aspects beyond the instruments themselves (e.g. musicians, repertoires, etc.).
This archaeomusicological session consequently emerges with the purpose of solving this situation by welcoming papers from (Ethno-)Archaeology and Material Culture Studies (besides Egyptian & Ancient West Asian Philologies or (Ethno)musicology) about any aspect of musical interactions between Egypt and West Asia during Antiquity (late-4th mill. BCE until the change of era). Emphasising multi-disciplinary approaches and methodologies, the session will develop cross-cultural archaeomusicological study as a specific contribution to wider narratives of understanding relations between both regions. These lines may guide the direction of proposed papers:
- West Asian influences on Ancient Egyptian music and vice versa.
- The role of regions connecting both continents (e.g. the East Mediterranean) in those contacts.
- Ancient West Asian and Egyptian contexts as common receptors of other Eastern and Western ancient musical traditions.
Studies regarding other Asiatic and African cultures are also welcome if pertaining to the musical interactions of both continents in Antiquity. The organisers are open to discuss such matters in advance and intend to publish the results of this session.
music archaeology, soundscapes, Egypt, Ancient Near East, cultural contact, musical instruments
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
Session associated with SAfA:
Session associated with CAA:
Session associated with DGUF:
Session associated with other:
AMIG (Archaeomusicology Interest Group) and ISGMA (International Study Group of Music Archaeology)


Main organiser:
Heidi Köpp-Junk (Germany) 1
Daniel Sánchez Muñoz (Spain) 2
John Rogers (United Kingdom) 3
1. Universität Trier
2. University of Granada
3. Swansea University