ROME in May 2015 – now from Londinium!

Posted January 30th, 2015 by Dylan and filed in News

ROME in May 2015 – now from Londinium!

More convenient for many, flights are now to/from HEATHROW. Please note date change so that we now return on a Saturday. Prices (which have risen slightly) require reasonably quick confirmation..

Please contact me at: dylan.bickerstaffe@gmail.com to confirm interest.

PHARAOH and AUGUSTUS: ROME & Nearby 2015.

10 days/9 Nights for £850. Departing: Thursday 14th May 2015

In this tour we plan to explore many of the great monuments and museums of Rome – including the many obelisks and Egyptian collections to be found in the historic city. Three included trips take us to Palestrina, to view the famous Nile Mosaic at the museum in the Barberini Palazzo; to Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli; and to the extensive ancient city and museum at Ostia Antica.

Departing: Thursday 14th May 2015, at 12.45 from London Heathrow Airport.

Arriving Rome Fiumicino Airport 16.10.

Shuttle transfer to Executive Rome Hotel (4*), Standard Room, B&B basis.

TRIPS

Sunday 17th.    Day Trip – Palestrina & Nemi.

Tuesday 19th.   Day Trip – Hadrian’s Villa & Villa Gregoriana, Tivoli.

Thursday 21st.Day Trip – Ostia Antica.

Returning: Saturday 23rd May 2015, shuttle transfer to Fiumicino airport for 13.15 flight.

Arriving Heathrow at 14.55.

Price: £850 per person sharing.

            £1140 per person single.

 Deposit: £250. Please pay as soon as possible. It will be fully returnable until we reach 6 bookings, at which point flights and hotel will be confirmed.

Price includes: Flights,  Hotel, and Transfers as above; and private transport on three day trips to: 1. Hadrian’s Villa and Villa Gregoriana at Tivoli; 2. the Barberini Palazzo (with Nile mosaic) and ruins at Palestrina, and Nemi; and, 3. Ostia Antica. Entrance tickets not included.

Not included: Any meals except hotel breakfast; Entrance fees to sites/monuments; transport around Rome.

Here only the Day Trips out of the city have been specified. A detailed daily itinerary (which is, of course entirely optional) will be issued in due course.

Join the PHARAOHS & EMPERORS Tour of Rome and Nearby

Posted January 28th, 2015 by Dylan and filed in News

PHARAOH and AUGUSTUS: ROME & Nearby 2015.

10 days/9 Nights for £800. Departing: Tuesday 12th May 2015

In this tour we plan to explore many of the great monuments and museums of Rome – including the many obelisks and Egyptian collections to be found in the historic city. Three included trips take us to Palestrina, to view the famous Nile Mosaic at the museum in the Barberini Palazzo; to Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli; and to the extensive ancient city and museum at Ostia Antica.

Departing: Tuesday 12th May 2015, at 14.05 from East Midlands Airport.

Arriving Rome 17.45. Shuttle transfer to Executive Rome Hotel (4*), Standard Room, B&B basis.

Returning: Thursday 21st May 2015, shuttle transfer to airport for 18.10 flight. Arriving East Midlands at 20.00.

Price: £800 per person sharing.

            £1100 per person single.

 Deposit: £250. Please pay as soon as possible. It will be fully returnable until we reach 6 bookings, at which point flights and hotel will be confirmed.

Price includes: Flights,  Hotel, and Transfers as above; and private transport on three day trips to: 1. Hadrian’s Villa and Villa Gregoriana at Tivoli; 2. the Barberini Palazzo (with Nile mosaic) and ruins at Palestrina, and Nemi; and, 3. Ostia Antica. Entrance tickets not included.

Not included: Any meals except hotel breakfast; Entrance fees to sites/monuments; transport around Rome.

See Study/Adventure Tours page for details.

Contact: dylan.bickerstaffe@gmail.com

SOME NOTES TO ACCOMPANY THE PUBLICATION OF AN ANCIENT EGYPTIAN CASE BOOK.

Posted January 5th, 2015 by Dylan and filed in News

An Ancient Egyptian Case Book - what it’s about.

See BUY BOOK tile on Home Page.

One section of the Case Book concerns royal mummies and their identification, and so is a compliment to Identifying the Royal Mummies.

Three chapters there cover the same topics as were discussed in the earlier book, but with new material. Chapter 5, ‘Can the Niagara Falls Mummy Really Be Ramesses I?’, expands upon all earlier published versions to lay the points out as clearly as possible, together with a useful set of illustrative time-charts, photographs and pictures. Similarly Chapter 6, ‘The King is Dead – How Long Lived the King?’, expands upon the points made previously with regard to the difficulties in estimating the age-of-death of ancient Egyptian mummies. Chapter 10, by contrast, seeks to slightly compress and summarise the points made elsewhere regarding the mummy, Unknown Man ‘E’, and focuses on just three ideas (two of them new) concerning his possible identity.

One chapter, in particular, brings the arguments in Identifying the Royal Mummies up to date with regard to the much trumpeted results of the DNA study on Tutankhamun and his family. ‘Pharaoh’s Magic Wand?’ looks at the history of DNA studies on mummies and shows just what the recent study did and did not do. Once again, there are a great many supportive charts, diagrams, tables, and pictures to make the points easy to follow.

Four of the ‘cases’ examined in the new book concern the discovery of royal tombs, and thus have some relation to royal mummies and their identification. For instance, Chapter 1, ‘The Tomb of Akhenaten and the Golden Ring of Nefertiti’, looks at claims that the mummies of Akhenaten and Nefertiti might have been found at Amarna in the late 1900s; whilst Chapter 4, discusses the role of embalming caches – such as the recently discovered tomb KV63 in the Valley of the Kings – and the way these might provide clues to the location of undiscovered royal tombs.

A different kind of ‘mystery’ is explored in Chapter 3, ‘The Mysterious Mr. Carter and the Troubling Case of the Lotus Head’. The question is, how did Carter come to have the beautiful figure of Tutankhamun’s head rising from a lotus flower hidden away in a storage chamber? Was he trying to steal it? If so, why did he not remove it earlier, when it would have been easy to do?

Three chapters are investigations into the story revealed by ancient texts. Chapter 11, ‘Poison, Forgery, and Voodoo’, brings fresh insights to the story of the harem conspiracy against Ramesses III. Chapter 12 is a very thorough and revealing examination of what is exposed by the documents detailing the trials of the tomb-robbers convicted during the reign of Ramesses IX. This story is frequently covered in passing in accounts of Egyptian history, but the significance of many points is frequently missed.

The final chapter in An Ancient Egyptian Case Book is a true ‘ghost’ story, concerning the play that was to have been performed in the Valley of the Queens – in which the spirit of Akhenaten was received back into the ranks of the honoured dead after 3300 years – but was struck down by a terrible range of maladies.

An Ancient Egyptian Case Book – Available through PAYPAL

Posted December 31st, 2014 by Dylan and filed in News

You can now buy the new book: An Ancient Egyptian Case Book through the BUY BOOK page on this site using Paypal at £25 + P&P. You can also buy it there through Amazon (but at a higher price).

The earlier book: Identifying the Royal Mummies is also available through the same page at £15 (or £25 via Amazon).

A special deal offers both books via Paypal for £35. Incredibly the Postal Service charge the same for both books together as for either book separately, so P&P is the same for dual orders as for single.

See buttons at bottom of BUY BOOKs page.

To see a Chapter Guide for the material covered in An Ancient Egyptian Case Book (and also some details on Identifying the Royal Mummies) see the page:

READ MORE ABOUT PUBLICATIONS attached to the BUY BOOK page.

 

New Publication – An Ancient Egyptian Case Book

Posted December 19th, 2014 by Dylan and filed in News

Copies of my new work  An Ancient Egyptian Case Book are now available.

This is A4; paperback; 350pp; and illustrated in colour throughout, at £25 + £3 P&P (until January 18th when the Post Office bring in a hefty rise in postage rates, making P&P £6).

It is intended that a direct purchasing mechanism will soon be introduced on the Buy Book(s) page on this site.

It is available at Amazon.co.uk, but at a higher price owing to their margins, and poor remuneration for postage on a book of this weight and size (I think they cater for people selling paperback novels).

The Case Book comprises 14 chapters in four sections:

Section 1. Four chapters on excavation/discoveries related to the Amarna/Post-Amarna Period -

The Tomb of Akhenaten and the Golden Ring of Nefertiti*

The Enigma of Tomb KV58 and the Post Amarna Period

The Mysterious Mr. Carter and the Troubling Case of the Lotus Head

KV63 and Embalming Caches

Section 2. Six chapters on Royal Mummies and their identification -

Can the Niagara Falls Mummy Really be Ramesses I?*

The Question of Age at Death

The Resurrection of the Mummy of Ahmose Nefertari

Pharaoh’s Magic Wand – the history of DNA studies*

Pharaoh Salt Meat, and the Mummies of Old Kingdom Kings

The Strange Death of Unknown Man ‘E’ (with new theories)

Section 3. Three chapters of historical studies based on ancient texts -

The Harem Conspiracy Against Ramesses III*

The Tomb-robbers of No-Amun (power struggles under Ramesses IX)*

Death in the Nile. The Birth of Egypt’s Last God: Antinous*

Section 4. 1 Chapter: An Entertainment -

The Fury of Amun. The True Story of the Cursed Play in the Valley of the Queens.*

Several of these chapters* have been the subject of talks over the last few years.

All material has been updated to take account of recent discoveries. Chapters are written in an accessible style, but full Notes are provided for those who wish to explore further.

A special offer gives both An Ancient Egyptian Case Book and the earlier book, Identifying the Royal Mummies for £35 + £6 P&P.

 

 

 

 

 

Daughters of Isis Tour Latest

Posted October 14th, 2014 by Dylan and filed in News

Once again the Foreign Office have changed their advice and have now added Kharga Oasis to their ‘not advised’ list, so we will be running on (yet another) alternative itinerary.

There will be additional sites in and around Karnak, including the Mut temple; some additional nobles tombs on the West Bank; but most especially, a Special Opening of the tomb of Seti I (KV17).

This is, of course, in addition to the visit to the tomb of Nefertari (QV66).

So, there is still plenty to look forward to, and we are looking forward to heading once more to the Black land.

 

Roy Bickerstaffe (my father) 1927-2014, An Obituary

Posted September 20th, 2014 by Dylan and filed in News

Roy Bickerstaffe 1927-2014

These are some brief notes on the life of an interesting man.

Roy married Beryl (nee Daws) and had three sons, of whom I am the eldest.

He grew up in Macclesfield, Cheshire, where he won a scholarship to the local grammar school. He worked for most of his adult life as an acoustical physicist for LNER/British Rail in Derby, and gained degrees in both Physics and Maths whilst working there. The international aspects of his research work led him to learn German in order to better understand technical papers.

He combined an interest in science with a love of music, literature, poetry and history.

As children we grew up with both parents playing the piano and listening to classical music. When I became interested in the rock bands of my youth, I was surprised to find that dad was much entertained by the lyrics of the Rolling Stones and The Who (in particular), and only months before his death he was still to be heard singing Stones songs, such as Flight 505, Stupid Girl, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Street Fighting Man, some of which he cannot have heard me play in 40 years.

Some of this material appealed to his sense of humour, and the catch line, ‘He put the plane down in the sea,’ (from Flight 505) may have had something to do with his own mistrust of aircraft or boats; whilst Street Fighting Man perhaps appealed to his left wing sympathies, though again tempered by amusement, for instance in the oft quoted: ‘Cos where I live the game to play is compromise sol-oo-shon.’ Indeed when I came to compile a CD of the Stones to play at the Celebration we held of his life, I struggled to fit numbers I knew he liked on to a 70 minute CD. The same applied – perhaps to a lesser extent – to The Who, where Won’t Get Fooled Again was often to be heard. He quite liked the wry twists of Bob Dylan too, but many other bands he showed no interest in, and Cream, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Can were largely passed over in silence.

His own interests in music tended towards the baroque composers, with perhaps Bach being the favourite. He also had a liking for some of the more Celtic folk artists like Kirsty Moore. But his tastes extended to the Brecht/Weill 3 Penny Opera, La Mystere de Voix Bulgaire (which I bought for both parents), and much else besides.

I am not really qualified to say much on his interest in poetry except to say that it was lifelong, included many writers, and that I am named after Dylan Thomas who died not long before I was born.

Another passion we inherited as children was history. Holidays in Wales prompted a love of castles, and the reading of Greek myths, legends, and histories led eventually to my life-long interest in Roman history. We were also fed a diet of Icelandic sagas (particularly Njall’s Saga – my youngest brother is named after a hero from this), and fictional works, such as The Lord of the Rings, and the Alan Garner books about Alderley Edge – near where dad grew up. Reading was always the thing, and we did not have a television until after I left home for college.

As children we loved to fight as ancient warriors and constructed shields from oil drum lids. We also took the rubber suckers off arrows and used pencil sharpeners to provide a proper point. This was put a stop to after my flight-less arrows hit my brother in the cheek, and then the leg. We found ourselves becoming properly equipped, shooting at targets, and joining clubs. Both parents became heavily involved in running local archery clubs, then the National Field Archery Society, and also, in coaching. Field archery was always the preferred activity since this simulated hunting in a natural, generally wooded, environment – rather than shooting at targets in rows.

Our dad did, however, have a strong sense of humour, and found it hard to chastise us when we decided to ‘martyr’ a rather decent and pious kid from round the corner, by tying him to the line post and surrounding him (at a little distance) with burning newspaper. We could tell he was trying not to laugh when he found it necessary to stress how dangerous it was…

He also became heavily involved in the study of Saxon/Old English literature from when he joined The English Companions in the 1990s, and liked to translate the original texts for himself. This was also combined with a great interest in Place-names studies.

Other areas of abiding interest were those of polar exploration – with the tales of Gino Watkins, Amundsen, Shackelton, and Mawson still with me today. I was thrilled when I was able to pick up a book, With Stephanson in the Arctic, as a present for my dad because I knew he was interested in Stephanson’s claim to be able to ‘live off the land’ and survive in the arctic, and he did indeed enjoy this book very much, telling me about it in detail!

His own explorations were directed mostly to Scotland where he enjoyed rock climbing and also walking in the Cairngorms. These activities were also continued in the Peak District and Lake District. Travel in Scotland as a family took us round the north coast and subsequently on memorable trips to Shetland and Orkney – where we thoroughly explored the prehistoric and Norse monuments.

He later continued his appreciation of things Scottish through membership of the Malt Whiskey Society, and support of the John Muir Trust, which maintains bothies in the cairngorms.

People who knew my dad knew that he liked to talk! He was hard to get off the phone. When I used to ring up about coming over for lunch, it was generally a good half hour before I could get a transfer over to mother to find out if it was OK. Lunch itself usually featured a blazing row between me and dad over some point of historical or scientific interest, with no quarter asked or given. Afterwards there was no rancour and it was all forgotten. He would then button-hole me as I left and try to press on me, a book that I must read…often one that I had bought him some time before, which he had only recently got round to reading. One of these, I recall, was about the American who had been acclaimed as Alexander the Great by remote peoples in the Himalayas, and provided the inspiration for Kipling’s, The Man Who Would Be King. This touched upon another of his interests: The Great Game.

In his last months he developed his interest in the International Brigade who went to fight fascism in Spain before the second World War.

He was an atheist, and we honoured his memory by not including religious elements in our celebration of a life well-lived.

I cannot put it better than did Laurie Anderson in her song, World Without End:

“When my father died, we buried him in the ground,

When my father died, it was like a whole library burned down.”

 

Dylan Bickerstaffe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAUGHTERS OF ISIS tour November 2014 – Confirmed

Posted August 19th, 2014 by Dylan and filed in News

I am pleased to say that I shall again be leading the Daughters of Isis tour for AWT in November 14-24th 2104. We have the numbers, but there are probably still a few places before we hit the limit, which is set by those allowed in to enter Nefertari’s tomb on one Special Opening. The itinerary has again been adapted to fit circumstances, but has come out rather well, I think. What follows is just a brief list, lacking in detail: Giza; Cairo Museum; Dahshur; Faiyum – Illahun; Hawara; Qasr el Sagha, Dimei of the Lions; Karanis; Luxor – Karnak – inc. Open Air Museum; Luxor Temple; Abydos – Seti & Ramesses Temples; Dendera; Kharga Oasis – Lebekha fortress; Hibis Temple (truly dazzling this); fortified temples at Ghueita and Dush; Luxor – Valley of the Kings; Hatshepsut’s Deir el Bahari temple; Deir el; Medina tombs & temple; Valley of the Queens including NEFERTARI’S TOMB; & Medinet Habu. Optional day trip to El Kab; Moalla; and Tod.

Contact Ancient World Tours: 0333 335 9494; e.mail: info@ancient.co.uk; www.ancient.co.uk or me at dylan.bickerstaffe@gmail.com

TALKS LATEST

Posted August 16th, 2014 by Dylan and filed in News

Yet more news on the Talks front, prompted initially by a check of the UK Events Diary in the latest issue of Ancient Egypt Magazine, 15.1, Issue 85 (Aug/Sept 2014).

Just to confirm that my talk to the Manchester Ancient Egypt Society on Monday September 8th is  Empires in Parallel?, Egypt & Rome – NOT Rome and Greece as listed there - hardly likely at an Egyptology meeting!

Also just confirmed (and therefore not listed in Ancient Egypt magazine) is my talk to the Poynton Egypt Group on Friday October 24th (evening), which will be a new talk:  For Whom the Sun Doth Shine: Nefertari Beloved of Mut.

Note also that my talk to the Wessex Ancient Egypt Society at Bournemouth Uni, on October 4th – Hidden Treasures of Ancient Egypt, is not listed in the Events Diary.

 

Bournemouth now October; AWT Conference

Posted August 13th, 2014 by Dylan and filed in News

The Wessex Ancient Egypt Society unfortunately lost their venue at Bournemouth University on September 6th and so asked if I could now give my talk – Hidden Treasures of Ancient Egypt – at the same venue on October 4th. Fortunately this presents no problems and so I shall be exploring the fascinating wonders hidden in familiar monuments in Luxor and elsewhere on the new date.

This has the benefit of freeing me up to get along to the Ancient World Tours Conference at the Brompton Oratory in London on September 6th, where I hope to meet many friends old and new, and to hear some fascinating talks.

My talk to the Essex Egyptology Group – The Valley of the Kings in the Amarna Period – remains unchanged at the Spring Lodge Community Centre, Witham on Sunday September 7th.

Similarly, my talk to the Manchester Ancient Egypt Society – Egypt & Rome, Empires in Parallel – is still scheduled for the evening of Monday September 8th.

See the Talks section on this site for details.