The team Beyond the Text ‒ Sandrine Vuilleumier, Lauren Dogaer and Cyprian H.W. Fong ‒ will participate in the 14th International Conference of Demotic Studies in Heidelberg from 5 to 9 September 2022.

See the program of the conference

They will present a paper entitled “Beyond (Hieratic) Funerary Texts: Demotic Matters!” on Friday.

Read the abstract


The Project Beyond the Text. New Funerary Compositions from the Graeco-Roman Period: Textualities and Archaeology in Thebes investigates the emergence and evolution of new forms of funerary literature during the Graeco-Roman period, particularly in the Theban area, where Hieratic Documents of Breathing gradually replaced the Book of the Dead. In order to better understand this trend, it also aims to contextualize these changes with the help of archaeological and documentary sources. The project therefore goes beyond the texts written for those in the netherworld in order to shed light on the life of those on earth by providing textual, iconographic and socio-cultural analyses.

In this context, Demotic, which was used increasingly frequently in the funerary sphere, also played a key role. In addition, Demotic and Greek documentary texts provide a great deal of information about the recipients of funerary texts or, where applicable, the social groups to which they belonged, as well as the contemporary religious and funerary practices.

The purpose of this contribution is to present an overview of Demotic-related research topics and to illustrate them with case studies showing the intricate relationships amongst funerary, archaeological, and documentary sources. Thus, the increasing use of Demotic highlights a significant influence at the heart of funerary texts, raising the question of the relationship between tradition and innovation, as well as production and reproduction. Elsewhere, funerary equipments with Demotic or Hieratic inscriptions belonging to the same individuals offer a revealing insight into the use of texts within funerary practices. Furthermore, Demotic documentary texts, which refer to priestly titles similar to those in funerary texts, assist in reconstructing the organization of various priesthoods and cults in which owners of funerary texts were involved.

Heidelberg castle at sunset © Bildgigant –