Perhaps a little more Egyptology than I thought…

I posted an addendum to yesterday’s post on La Vida Aegyptiaca. April was such a blur for me, I forgot to mention to very, very important Egyptological events!  Two photos below are evidence of a few more minutes of Egyptology…


So little time, so little Egyptology…

A new post has appeared on La Vida Aegyptiaca, my blog on the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities (SSEA).  I have done very little Egyptology these last few months because, since January, I’m working on an exhibition that opens this October 1. (Yep, just 10 months to complete project that would normally be given 2 years.)  Take a look at my post using the link above… and keep in mind the image below.  That’s what I’ve been working on… there’s been so little Egyptology in my life since the New Year.  I take where I can…


1936 Stout Scarab (detail)


S.O.S. SSEA and La Vida Aegyptiaca

Readers who have been following An Archaeologist’s Diary since its move to WordPress will know that I also blog for Canada’ Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities (SSEA).  Some of these posts have been referred to on An Archaeologist’s Diary, click here to read them.

The revamping of the SSEA website back in 2006 meant that new things interesting to both Egyptophiles and Egyptologists could be featured online. I started my blog La Vida Aegyptiaca  after being asked by the then-President to share my Egyptological adventures and my professional or academic work with the SSEA members and the public at large. (This came out of my ‘Adventures of Caroline in Carolina’ emails I used to send family and friends after I moved to North Carolina. Clearly somebody was getting a kick out of those emails!)

Can you believe it’s been almost 10 years since the SSEA revamped its website and La Vida Aegyptiaca launched? That’s almost as old as the pyramids!  Okay, maybe not that old… but old enough for to now experience technical difficulties. That is why the SSEA just launched an initiative to fund a brand new website, where La Vida Aegyptiaca will continue to reside along other cool things. I encourage all my readers, friends and family to help the SSEA with its endeavour by contributing to the website’s GoFundMe campaign.  I just contributed myself… I hope you will do the same!  

If we can save Nubian temples from the waters of Lake Nasser, we can do anything--including raising funds for a new SSEA website!

If we can save Nubian temples from the waters of Lake Nasser, we can do anything–including raising funds for a new SSEA website! Thank you in advance for your generous contribution. Please share with Egyptophiles around the world!

Why don’t Hollywood archaeologists ever break a single bone?

This afternoon, I came across a post on LinkedIn by Nigel Hetherington of Past Preservers that mentioned the BBC’s The Conversation radio programme featuring two women archaeologists, one of whom you already know: Egyptologist Salima Ikram. In the two-minute clip of the longer programme about exploring the past, Salima ponders why Hollywood archaeologists don’t ever break a single bone when they fall.

As I listened to Salima describe a major accident she had a couple of years back, I recalled the time on the dig where I took a bad fall and how scary it was to think–even for a split second–that I might have broken my back. (I described the incident on my other blog La Vida Aegyptiaca on Dec 16, 2007. It was the dig season from hell.)

Unlike Hollywood archaeologists in the movies who get back on their feet a tad stunned and with a few scratches, real life archaeologists can get badly hurt while excavating.  It’s one of those things you don’t really think about, but accidents do happen even on a dig (it’s not just tropical illness and bugs and snakes).  And you can’t just call 911 for the paramedics if you’re in the desert.  So really, the only thing we truly have in common with Indiana Jones is the hat…. and the library work!

(You can listen to the whole programme here.)

Nubian Conference in Neuchâtel

After the CIPEG annual meeting in Copenhagen, I took a flight down to Switzerland for yet another conference. This time, it was the ‘Nubian Conference’ (the International Conference for Nubian Studies), which was held in Neuchâtel.  My colleague Matthieu Honegger did a wonderful job in organising this conference and you will have more details on La Vida Aegyptiaca about what I did in  Switzerland and Denmark on this last trip.

There was also a lovely exhibition on ancient Nubia at the Laténium and I had my photo taken with two of the the superb statues of Kushite kings (Taharqo and Tanwetamani) found at Dukki Gel (near Kerma) in 2003… and then I read the label and realised that they are actually copies of the originals!  The technical precision and workmanship are astounding!  The statues were 3D scanned, carved from an agglomerate rock and then hand-painted by a conservator! This was very interesting to me because there is some 3d scanning in my near future. The things we can do with technology these days…

Tanwetamani, Taharqo and me at the Laténium in Neuchâtel (the statues are replicas of the originals).

Tanwetamani, Taharqo and I at the Laténium in Neuchâtel (the statues are replicas of the originals).




May the False Door be with You

I have just posted my most recent adventures to my (other) blog, La Vida Aegyptiaca.  You find there a description of my trip to Italy in the second half of July (especially my activities in Rome, Naples and Florence), but I did want to show you some pictures and share some anecdotes of my time in Montepulciano, working with my colleague Egyptologist Francesco Tiradritti. Francesco and I are writing an article concerning two false doors (the first in the Egyptian collection in Raleigh, the other in a private collection in Rome), each belonging to men from the same family involved with the funerary cult of King Pepy I.

Last year, Francesco came to look at our false door and give the Weinberg Lecture. We started planning the article, but I still had to see the false door in Rome. After lots of scheduling problems we managed to find time when we were both available and that’s how I spent a week in Montepulciano with the Tiradrittis (I was actually staying at a lovely farm house, but spending the day with them). Working with Francesco is always great fun (we laugh a lot), but this trip was beyond hysterically funny. His adorable young son is obsessed with Star Wars and our writing of the article was done to the Imperial March and the Star Wars theme (sung by Leonida, of course) and the sounds of ‘pistolina’ firing at enemies and battle droids accepting orders.

On rainy days (there were quite a few), I worked with Francesco in his library and we listened to the Star Wars soundtrack (courtesy of my iPod this time around). We even staged a photo of us working, surrounded by Star Wars figurines. (I say staged because I sat at the desk in the photo, but his was in a different nook.) I had lunch with Darth Vader, who agreed to cut the pecorino with his light saber (actually, it’s Obi-Wan’s light saber; Darth lost his a long time ago).

When the weather was nice, I escaped the cats—Sakura and the newly adopted and unbelievably cute kitten, Perseo (renamed El Tigre by yours truly)—and sat on the veranda overlooking the Tuscan valleys and Montepulciano to breathe some fresh air (which helped a bit with my allergies). I had to clear the table when Maria had to set it so we could eat. It was so lovely outside that we gathered there to partake of Olivia’s fabulous cooking.

It’s quite astounding that with all these distractions that Francesco and I got any work done, but we did. Getting away from the office is actually when I’m most productive in writing articles: there is only one project on which to work and working in a team forces you to get things done to keep up with your colleagues. Oh! Don’t go thinking that the article is completely finished, not by a long shot; but at least we actually started writing—which is a very good start! Now, we just need to keep the momentum.

May the False Door be with You!