Egyptology, Archaeology, and Archives: A workshop
On 31st January 2020, Dr Carl Graves delivered a workshop at the British Council in Cairo focusing on the challenges of archiving in Egyptology. The course covered topics such as: When does the archiving process begin for archaeological research projects? Who is responsible for archive creation and management? What are the current standard practices for archiving and how has this impacted the way Egyptological research has been conducted? And, what are the challenges facing archiving in Egyptology and how can the power balance associated with archives be shifted?
Fatma Mohamed Amin explains to the workshop what kinds of records may be created and then curated in an archaeological archive
Thirteen workshop participants came from several Egyptian institutions including the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Grand Egyptian Museum, Egyptian Museum Cairo, National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, Minya University, Institute of Coptic Studies, the EES Cairo, AERA, and the DAIK. Group work was a key element of the workshop as encouraging discussion was considered a crucial way for developing new ways of archiving that promote accessibility and awareness among groups not usually engaging with Egyptological archives or heritage.
Carl discussing the importance of archiving within archaeology with Rasha A Shaheen and Mostafa Ismail Tolba Amin.
As well as covering how archives are produced, managed, and then curated, the session ended with an open discussion about excluded audiences and how barriers established in traditional archiving practices can be challenged. Activities in which to promote engagement were then matched with audiences and case studies used to demonstrate ways in which Egyptological archives have not yet explored all the options available to them. Crucially, the workshop was led by the participants and discussions focused on areas of interest to them.
Fatma Bakar and Dagmara Haladaj considering the different types of archival material and what might be preserved in an archaeological archive
Following the success of this workshop, the EES will continue to explore archiving as an intrinsic part of its educational programme in Cairo. A one week multi-institutional ‘Egyptological Archives Skills School’ is being organised for April 2021 with a one-day symposium hosted by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities Documentation Centre to accompany it. We look forward to working more closely with colleagues based in Egypt to find ways of improving the way in which the Society makes it collections accessible – but also engaging!
The group on the stairs of the British Council following the workshop (L-R: Youhanna Reda Elia Matta, Mohamed Hendy, Hend Mohamed Abdel Rahman, Zeinab Mohamed, Carl Graves, Rasha A Shaheen, Dagmara Haladaj, Marwa Abdel Razek Mahmoud, Fatma Bakar, Manami Yahata, Fatma Mohamed Amin, Heba Abdel Wahed Sayed, Mostafa Ismail Tolba Amin). Photo by Essam Nagy – who also participated!
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