History of the Ancient Egypt and Middle East Society

In the 1980s Dr E (Bill) Baker, assisted by his wife May, was tutoring weekly classes on Ancient Egypt and the Near East for the Workers Education Association (WEA) in the South Holland area of Lincolnshire. Participants were so enthralled by these friendly weekly classes, that they undertook a three year Hieroglyphs course with Bill, resulting in WEA Certificates being presented by Dr Rosalie David of Manchester Museum. It was during this time, that May suggested the formation of a society to be named the Ancient Middle East Society (AMES). Although Near East would have been more accurate, the abbreviated name would not work as well!

AMES was born in 1987 and expanded from the small band of class attendees and local interested people into a national society of around 100 members. The aim of the Society, as stated in its Constitution, was, and still is, to promote and encourage interest in the History, Archaeology and Cultures of the ancient civilisations of the Near East. The new society was unique in the UK in embracing all countries of the Ancient Near East, including Egypt. We believe it is currently unique in this respect. In the year 2000, the society was renamed the Ancient Egypt and Middle East Society (AEMES), to reflect the approximate 60/40 split between members whose first interest is Ancient Egypt and those whose main interest is another country of the ancient Near East.

Bill and May founded a society with a friendly family atmosphere. 28 years later we are proud that lecturers and other visitors regularly comment on the friendliness and good organisation of our events.

Our President

Professor Paul T. Nicholson was awarded his PhD in archaeology at Sheffield University in 1987. He held several post-doctoral positions at Sheffield working on aspects of ancient Egyptian pottery before being appointed lecturer in archaeology at Cardiff University. He is currently a Professor of Archaeology in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion at Cardiff. His research interests include ancient technology, sacred animal cults and the uses and history of photography in archaeology and Egyptology. His publications include The British Museum Dictionary of Ancient Egypt (with Ian Shaw), Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology (co-edited with Ian Shaw), Brilliant Things for Akhenaten and most recently Working in Memphis.

Professor Paul T. Nicholson, Department of Archaeology, School of History, Archaeology and Religion (SHARE), Humanities Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff. CF10 3EU Tel. 029-2087-4582

Our Vice-President

Dr Paul Collins is Jaleh Hearn Curator of Ancient Near East in the Department of Antiquities at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford. He has worked previously as a curator in the Middle East Department of the British Museum and the Ancient Near Eastern Art Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. His publications include Assyrian Palace Sculptures (2008), From Egypt to Babylon: The International Age (2008) and, with Liam McNamara, Discovering Tutankhamun (2014).

Officers and Committee Members:

Miss Heather Edwards  – Chairman
Mrs Sue Kirk – Hon. Secretary
Mrs Margaret Beaumont – Hon. Treasurer and Vice Chairman
Mr Jack Bridle,  Miss Karen Deighton