Ancient Art Council

Ancient Art Department

Ancient Art Council
Legion of Honor

100 34th Avenue, Lincoln Park
San Francisco, CA 94121

Please note: This program will start at 10:00 am and NOT our usual start time.

Elaborate Endings: Early Egyptian Funerary Practices and the Afterlife at Hierakonpolis

In the predynastic period, the local rulers of Hierakonpolis went to the next life in style. Buried in sizable tombs stocked with supplies for eternity, they were also surrounded by ranks of retainers and an intriguing array of animals, attesting to the maintenance of a veritable royal menagerie as well as testaments to their wealth and power. At their height from about 3600 BC, with the coming of the Dynastic period (ca. 3100 BC), different modes and badges of power emerged. Recent excavations in the elite cemetery at Hierakonpolis are revealing changes in the burial practices that give insight into the new political and ecological landscape at this formative time and allows us to examine how the Hierakonpolis elite transformed their old ways into potent symbols of enduring and recurring importance.

Funerary Feasting: Logistics and Location in Predynastic Hierakonpolis

Feasting was no doubt an important part of funerals and remembrance throughout ancient Egypt’s long history. The size of the feast was commensurate with the status of the deceased, or at least that is how it appears at Hierakonpolis in the predynastic period. Ongoing excavations near the cemetery of Hierakonpolis' ruling elite have revealed a special zone where beer, meat, and fish were prepared on an intensive scale well beyond domestic. Given their location, these industries must be linked with the cemetery, but where exactly their output was consumed had remained elusive. However, a recent geophysical survey, revealing several large structures, gives us not only a glimpse at what was on the menu, but also allows us to consider how sumptuous feasting promoted developments in logistics, administration, and craft specialization that led to the rise of the Dynastic Egyptian state.

About Programs at the Ancient Art Council

Programs are varied and include such activities as lectures by noted archaeologists, museum curators, and ancient art historians; exclusive tours of the Museum’s permanent collection and special exhibitions; fund-raising events; and travel programs to ancient sites and other museums. Members also receive invitations from related organizations to attend lectures ad exhibition openings. Your annual membership dues and contributions will assist in furthering the Ancient Art collection at the Fine Arts Museums.


April 20, 2019, 5:00 PM - 12:00 PM

A Walk through Hierakonpolis in Predynastic Egypt

John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Theater, Legion of Honor

Presented by Dr. Renee Friedman, Director Hierakonpolis Expedition, Oriental Institute, University of Oxford, and Prof. Masahiro Baba, Waseda Institute for Advanced Study, Waseda University, Tokyo

Admission: This program is free and open to the public. Suggestion donation $5/non-member


Ancient Art Council supports Antiquities at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.



Last Supper in Pompeii: From the Table to the Grave

This exhibition reveals how, before Mount Vesuvius blew up in AD 79 and rocked the Bay of Naples, people in Pompeii and nearby farms and villages were engaged in typical daily activities, many of which revolved around food and drink.

Dates TBD


Explore the Ancient Art Council: Upcoming Events


Dates TBD

AD 79: When Time Froze in Pompeii


Dates TBD

Rehearsed Reading of Euripides’ "Bacchae"


Dates TBD

Workshop: Cultural Heritage and Antiquities

Please help us keep Ptolemy I Soter—Alexander the Great’s general and the founder of the Ptolemaic Dynasty which ended with Cleopatra—in San Francisco.

The Ancient Art Council is seeking your help to acquire this Egyptian limestone relief of a Ptolemaic king in a devotional pose. Any amount will help.