It is always a strange feeling writing the first words of something, be that a book, an article, the first blog entry of a new year. Obviously, the last category is the object here, and since a blog entry is not a letter, it is awkward to start with wishes for a healthy, happy, prosperous and peaceful 2016! No, one is rather obliged to find rhetorical means to include these wishes in a blog entry. Which I just did, by the way! But then, with what purpose? Yes, to write the first blog entry of the year, didn’t we just say? Let’s see where that brings us…
Writing and the beginning of something new have various things in common: from the ideas about horror vacui, through the turning of a new calendar page, to the compilation of a text of ritual power to enhance the protection of the superhuman agents that one considers most supportive of one’s causes in the thing just started. A more recent (?) tradition linking specifically writing and the New Year is the custom of writing promises for things that one will do or avoid doing in the year to come: “I promise to reduce my consumption of chocolate”, “I promise to spend more time off line” and so on. I think we are getting closer.
2016 is a leap year. It will last 366 days instead of 365 and it will be a year during which for at least a month there will be peace, because the world will be celebrating the Olympic Games. Quite idealistic you say? Perhaps you are right. But some of us can’t stop hoping, despite all that is heard about corruption in the planning of the big sports’ events…
Are the Olympic games the only event marking 2016 though? Of course not! Now, you cannot expect us to list here all the athletic, cultural or scientific venues of 2016! But what about two major Nubiological ones?
1. In July, the International Medieval Cognress of Leeds will be hosting six (yes, 6!) sessions on Medieval Nubia! The program has been confirmed and will appear soon!
2. And in September, the 12th Meroitic conference will be hosted at the National Museum of Asian, African, and American Cultures in Prague. The deadline for the abstracts was the 31st of December, so we should be hearing soon of the interesting program that awaits us in the beautiful capital of the Czech Republic!
Here you go! Already two possible Nubiological goals are set for 2016.
But there can be more, for example in the field of publications:
1. Contribute to the coming Dotawo special issue on Nubian place names and placenaming in Nubia, with a deadline for submissions in the end of 2016.
2. Contribute to the next volume of Afrique: Archéologie & Arts on Egypt-Sudan: Special issue Egypt-Sudan: People and Water during the middle Holocene, with a deadline for 06/06/16.
3. And for those who have a paper on Egyptian pottery in ancient Sudan almost ready, there is still the whole month of January to submit your contribution to Romain David for a volume that he is preparing in the frame of the series Cahiers de la Céramique Égyptienne.
As for reading, the task is immense and we will just name two publications that will immediately absorb some of our time (feel free to suggest more):
1. The second volume of Nubian Voices II (supplement to the Journal for Juristic Papyrology) with very interesting contributions.
2. The BzS Beiheft 9 of Beiträge zur Sudanforschung with the Proceedings of the 11th Meroitic Conference.
Last but not least, fielwork. Yes, that would be the optimal goal achieved: the return to Sai Island! A recent publication got us inspired:
And the birthday of a special man with whom Alexandros started fieldwork in Sudan gives a supplementary push: happy birthday Pawel :-)
Happy New Year to all!