Friday, October 30, 2009


Video: The basement of the Cairo Museum
The footage of the Cairo Museum's basement is terrific. The main story of the video is Hawass's early experience of archaeology from a site called Kom Abu Billu and how he found a particular statuette and was converted to hating archaeology to loving it. It is worth seeing for the images of the basement but it makes one's head spin to imagine how much else is down there nailed into crates and forgotten for the last few decades! Hawass says that the one area of the basement that was cleaned up and given new lighting for display purposes is to be used as a model for the rest of the basement area.

Cairo Museum Newsletter Issue 5
The fifth issue of the Cairo Museum Newsletter was sent out yesterday by email in PDF format. I have saved a copy for anyone who hasn't yet subscribed at the following page.
Subscription details are available at the end of the newsletter

Mary Beard on the Turin Museum
Times Online (A don's life blog)

I always get a slightly perverse kick out of Egyptian museums anyway. That is to say I know a very few of the barest bones of Egyptian history and culture. I can more or less tell my Middle Kingdom from my Old, I know a few of the great names and I good give a very rough and slightly inaccurate explanation of what "Egyptians" (which Egyptians you rightly ask) thought about what happened to the body after death. But more than that is all a bit of a mystery. All of which puts me in the same position as the many of visitors to classical collections -- who know something about the difference between the Republic and Empire, have heard of Nero and can describe a gladiatorial show. . . So it turns out to be rather museologicallay instructive.

But there was a lot more to the Museo Egizio in Torino.

It is the biggest and best collection of Egyptian Antiquities outside Egypt (and I hope its obvious successKha makes Egyptians proud to see it flourishing in North Italy, rather than wanting the stuff back) -- and some of it, as you can see in the picture at the top, has a stunning layout, with spot lights and mirrors (this gallery was designed by Dante Ferretti). But for me the highlights were on a more modest scale.

With photos.

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