Off Beat Egyptologist finds parallels between ancient modern societies

first_imgAn authority on ancient Egypt provided her expertise recently when The Columbian previewed a new exhibition at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.Kara Cooney enjoys finding modern parallels for ancient concepts. Lots of things can change over the centuries, she said, but people are still people — “Often with the same DNA, and the same social systems and inequalities.”She says that shared humanity is why “being in the presence of a mummified body is very humbling. They were a living, breathing person.”“We’re not invulnerable. We’re just like them,” said Cooney, associate professor of Egyptology at UCLA. “You will be what they are.”Cooney produced and created a series for the Discovery Channel, “Out of Egypt,” showing the ancient roots of elements of modern society.“It’s fun for me. There is a lot of stuff on TV where the producers get it wrong,” she said.She was on Craig Ferguson’s late-night TV show last week, discussing how political unrest has threatened the security of Egypt’s museums and cultural treasures. (The segment is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf3iO4NxWc8). ‘Lost’ assignmentOn another TV series, however, her job wasn’t to explain: It was to mystify. The producers of ABC’s “Lost” asked Cooney to write Egyptian hieroglyphics that could be sprinkled through episodes of the show.last_img