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The Scent of the Temple in Ancient Egypt, with Dora Goldsmith

Arab America

Date(s) - 06/09/2020
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

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The Institute for Art and Olfaction

Arab America

Incense, offerings, gardens, and more. The landscape of ancient Egypt was redolent with smells, and the temple was no exception. Learn how religion, society, and smell intermingle in this workshop.

Join PhD candidate in Egyptology Dora Goldsmith as she explores and reconstructs the scent of temples in the ancient Egyptian world, providing detailed insights into the aromatic components of temple environments and their significance in ancient Egyptian culture.

This is an online class. The Zoom link will be sent by email 24 hours before the class.


Dora Goldsmith is a PhD student of Egyptology at the Freie Universität Berlin. The topic of her PhD project is the sense of smell in ancient Egypt, the exact title of her research being The Archaeology of Smell in Ancient Egypt. A Cultural Anthropological Study Based on Written Sources. Dora holds a Master of Arts in Egyptology from the Freie Universität Berlin and a Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology (Biblical Archaeology and Classical Archaeology) and Ancient Near Eastern Studies (Egyptology and Assyriology) from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Dora’s PhD research focuses on the role the sense of smell played in ancient Egypt based on written evidence. The examination of olfaction in an ancient society belongs to the relatively new field of the archaeology of the senses. Archaeology of the senses investigates the way in which a historical culture perceived the world through the senses. Sensory perception is the basis for bodily experience. We experience our bodies – and the world – through our senses. Sensory perception is culturally shaped, therefore, the way in which people perceive the world through the senses may vary as cultures vary. The significance of the archaeology of the senses has not yet been fully recognized by Egyptologists. Some research has been done on sight and hearing, especially music, in ancient Egyptian culture. However, no comprehensive research has ever been carried out on the sense of smell, touch and taste. Through apprehending the olfactory sensation of the ancient Egyptians, which has never been investigated before, Dora’s research topic contributes to the better understanding of ancient Egyptian culture as a whole.

Photo credits: IAO / Dora Goldsmith / Michael Geiger on Unsplash / John Beasley Greene

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