Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Exhibition: More re Pioneers to the Past


A new exhibition at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute Museum chronicles an amazing and sometimes dangerous journey 90 years ago by James Henry Breasted, a famed archaeologist who brought back Egyptian artifacts to Chicago.

“Pioneers to the Past: American Archaeologists in the Middle East, 1919–1920,” opens Tuesday, Jan. 12 and will feature artifacts as well as photos and letters documenting the journey of Breasted, who was the first American to receive a Ph.D. in Egyptology.

“The exhibit takes visitors along on a real–life adventure story that follows Breasted and his team as they traveled across the Middle East in the unstable aftermath of World War I, with tribal and nationalist rebellions making the trip extremely dangerous at many points,” said Geoff Emberling, Research Associate and Chief Curator of the Oriental Institute.

“This is a fascinating glimpse of a pivotal moment in history—the birth of the modern Middle East as we know it today, and at the same time, the genesis of modern archaeological research in the cradle of civilization,” said Gil Stein, Director of the Oriental Institute. “It’s one of the best examples I know of the ways that scholarship and politics interconnect in important and unexpected ways.”

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