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Saturday, October 22, 2022

Reminder: Northern California ARCE Nov. 6 Lecture "Iron in the Sky: Words and Conceptions of Iron and Meteorites in Ancient Egypt"

The American Research Center in Egypt, Northern California Chapter, and the Near Eastern Studies Department, University of California, Berkeley, invite you to attend a lecture by
Dr. Victoria Almansa-Villatoro, Brown University:

Iron in the Sky: Words and Conceptions of Iron and Meteorites in Ancient Egypt

Sunday, November 6, 2022, 3 PM Pacific Time
Room 126 Social Sciences Building (formerly Barrows Hall)
UC Berkeley

Please note that no Zoom meeting is scheduled for this lecture.

Image courtesy of Dr.
Victoria Almansa-Villatoro

About the Lecture:

This lecture explores the cultural implications of an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic sign, known as N41, used in an apparently random constellation of words related to women, water, and metals. Based on a re-examination of the sign's contexts of appearance in The Pyramid Texts and other religious sources, it is determined that an ancient Egyptian cosmovision contemplated the sky as an iron container of water, pieces of which fell to the earth in the shape of meteors and were used to produce ritual objects. The fact that the N41 sign's iconicity encapsulated such complex interconnectedness suggests that the relation between birth, afterlife, and iron existed even before the earliest religious texts in Egypt. The knowledge of the extraterrestrial provenance of iron was lost at some point in modern times when meteorites were classified along with fossils as "thunderstones" as late as the 18th century. However, the Egyptian knowledge, consistent with contemporary science, was most likely shared with other ancient civilizations that also connected iron and sky in texts. We will examine some examples of non-Egyptian iron-sky cultural parallels, particularly from the Ancient Near East, which can be explained as common analysis of natural observations, rather than knowledge transmission.

About the Speaker:

Dr. Victoria Almansa-Villatoro obtained her Ph.D. in Egyptology at Brown University in 2022. She is a Junior Research Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows (2022-2025) and specializes in the use of language and hieroglyphs' iconicity to understand oral knowledge and ideology in Old Kingdom Egypt. Since 2019 she is a member of the AERA archaeological project in Giza, and assistant director to the Royal Necropolis and Pyramids of Nuri Expedition since 2021.

About ARCE-NC:

For more information, please visit,,, or To join the chapter or renew your membership, please go to and select "Berkeley, CA" as your chapter when you sign up.

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