2019 Niedenfuhr Award Recipient

Thank you to all the applicants for the second Francis W. Niedenfuhr Annual Meeting Award!


The Niedenfuhr Annual Meeting Award is designed to help support student attendance and participation at ARCE's Annual Meeting through a $500 award to an applicant chosen by a panel of DC Chapter members. Entrants were asked to submit their accepted ARCE abstracts and CVs. There were many qualified applicants with interesting talks submitted. ARCE DC looks forward to continuing this Award on a yearly basis thanks to the support of our members.

The 2018 Francis W. Niedenfuhr award recipient is:

Asmaa Alieldin Ali Abdelfattah 

Asmaa Abdelfattah with several members of the selection committee [left] at ARCE's annual meeting in Alexandria, Virginia, in April 2019.

Abdelfattah is a Master’s degree candidate at Cairo University. Her talk is entitled:

The Symbolism of Religious Iconographies Located Under the Head of the Mummy on 21st-Dynasty Coffins

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to present my master thesis (Faculty of Archaeology, Cairo University) that puts forward a comparative analysis of religious iconographies painted on coffins of the 21st dynasty, in particular, those located under the head of the mummy. These iconographies show an evolution of representations of the afterlife depictions from the book of dead, the underworld's books, the litany of Ra and the book of the Celestial Cow.


The researcher was able to collect many coffins ensembles from different museums, including from the storage vaults and the basement of the Egyptian museum in Cairo. The scenes on these coffins have never been deeply studied or published and the researcher was not only able to document them for the very first time, but also to compare them to similar scenes found on the mythological papyri of the same period.


The purpose of this research is to trace the artistic development and characteristics of the different motifs from the cliff walls of the royal tombs in the Valley of Kings to the 21st dynasty coffins. The transfer of images from the walls of the great tombs to the much smaller surfaces of the coffins caused a necessity of choice in scenes; those which were considered to be the most beneficial to the dead were used.


In general, the concept behind most of these depictions is the wish of the deceased to be one of the sun god's followers and to accompany him on his nightly journey from the underworld and then rise over the eastern horizon every day. These motifs express the overarching theme of solar resurrection and the renewal of life.