Research Projects & Selected Publications

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS {listed on} (click to open)

The On-line Geographical Information System of the Theban Necropolis (Web app: search the Theban necropolis), authored by Peter A. Piccione and Norman S. Levine, Co-principal Investigators (©. All rights reserved).

OLGIS-TN (old web site)

An interdisciplinary research initiative shared between the Departments of History and Geology and the Santee-Cooper GIS Laboratory to create a new research tool in the ArcGIS program for Egyptologists and geologists. Here is a geographical information system (GIS) of the cemeteries of ancient Western Thebes, Egypt (across the river from the modern city of Luxor). Modern space technology and traditional Egyptology come together, in which high-resolution, multi-spectral satellite images of the Theban necropolis (black&white, color, and soon--infra-red!) are used to locate and map the multitude of ancient noblemen's tombs there.

Thus far, More than 700 private tombs and features out of 2,000+ have been mapped currently by satelite and systematically catalogued. They are documented historically, archaeologically, and geologically, and their data is accessible through the GIS database on the World Wide Web. Ultimately, images of all the tombs and their environs will also be available through the GIS. Any person, even without knowledge of ArcGIS programming, can freely search for these tombs in the necropolis to learn their history and location, and he/she can search, select, and manipulate the data to reveal new relationships (historical, archaeological, and geological) among the tombs and the other standing monuments and features in the area. Those scholars who wish to make more complex searches of the data can download layers of the database to ArcGIS running on their own computers.

Field work has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities through The American Research Center in Egypt, Inc. (Cairo). GIS processing and base maps are funded by the College of Charleston Santee-Cooper GIS Laboratory and the Department of History.

The Theban Tombs Publication Project, sponsored by the University of Charleston, S.C., fieldwork funded through the Serapis Research Institute. Director.

An on-going field expedition in two Egyptian rock-cut tombs dating to the Eighteenth Dynasty of the New Kingdom (mid 15th century B.C.). These tombs are located on the west bank of the Nile River opposite modern Luxor in Western Thebes on the hill, Gebel Sheikh abd el-Gurna. The goals of this project are: [a] document the tombs (by copying, translating and analyzing the wall decorations and hieroglyphic inscriptions); [b] clear the structures of archaeological debris; [c] conserve the tombs and reconstruct where necessary; [d] prepare an historical study of the family of the tomb-owners in order to understand its position and function in Egyptian society.

Studies on Sporting and Athletic Activities in Ancient Egypt

Research on games, sports, and recreational activities in ancient Egypt and their connections to Egyptian religious beliefs. These games include:
  • Batting the Ball, a bat-and-ball game, played by the pharaoh and priests of ancient Egypt beginning ca. 4,500 years ago, with a physical resemblance to the modern games of stickball and "pepper" and with certain thematic and cosmological parallels to American baseball:

  • Senet, a board game of thirty squares played both for recreational and religious purposes in ancient Egypt. It was played by pharaoh and peasant alike. Analysis of its spiritual meanings, reveals its religious purposes were: (1) to communicate with the dead; (2) to enable a living person to achieve union with the sun god; (3) to permit the deceased's spirit to fly freely between heaven and earth:

  • Sport fencing. Analyze the methods of fencing in Egypt; identify competitors, venues, and religious reasons for ritualized combat; study the weapons, purpose of public fencing tournaments in religious festivals; connections to the ideology of Egyptian kingship and mythology of the gods;

  • Mehen, the board game of the coiled serpent. Identify the purpose and spiritual meaning of the game: to enable spiritual resurrection of the dead king; identify deities involved in the process; trace a derivative theme in later Egyptian religious thought;

  • Miscellaneous children's games, e.g.: "crush the grapes," tug-of-war, gymnastics, wrestling, weight-lifting, ring-toss, hoop-and-stick, and games of victimization. Identify physical aspects of the games and the contexts in which they were played; isolate religious meanings and spiritual significances; link games to rites of passage and the social initiation of boys, leading to circumcision and entrance into adult society, similar to sub-Saharan African traditions.

The Breasted Letters, 1919-1920

A project to edit and prepare for publication a collection of significant correspondences of Dr. James Henry Breasted (1865-1935), Director of the University of Chicago Oriental Institute. These letters document the archaeological and political findings of the Oriental Institute Archaeological Reconnaissance of the Middle East, which Dr. Breasted directed immediately after World War One from 1919 to 1920.

Report on the Black Athena Debate at the American Historical Association, 1995

An account of a public forum and scholarly debate about issues raised by Martin G. Bernal in his book, Black Athena: The Afro-Asiatic Roots of Classical Civilization, volumes 1 and 2, held in 1995, sponsored the World History Association, at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association in Chicago, Illinois.

Classified Bibliographical Database of Ancient Egyptian Medicine and Medical Practice

Preparation of a comprehensive computerized bibliographical database of all scholarly publications, written since A.D. 1676, on the subjects of ancient Egyptian medicine, medical and magical practices, status of physicians, pharmacology, pharmacopoeia, veterinary medicine, including human biology, modern palaeopathology,and Egyptian ethnologies.

© 2019 p. a. piccione.
All rights reserved.
Return to Home Page.