Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Dorman-led expedition produces reference study

American University of Beirut (Maha Al-Azar)

For the average person, a 300-square meter area may merely bring to mind a large apartment, but for historians and archeologists, such a space could contain a wealth of information, puzzles, and insights into a world long forgotten.

These forgotten narratives are exactly what an expedition led by AUB President Peter Dorman, who is also an acclaimed Egyptologist, set out to uncover when it headed to Luxor (ancient Thebes) to study the inner sanctuary of a modest temple that lies within the great Medinet Habu complex, whose history spans several millennia, from the Eighteenth Dynasty and up to the Christian era.

The Medinet Habu complex is an impressive architectural mortuary temple precinct that covers about 60,000 square meters. It is probably best known for the 7000 square meters of inscribed reliefs that adorn the vast funeral temple of Ramesses III, of the Nineteenth Dynasty. But now an earlier, more modest temple precinct dedicated to the god Amun has been studied by the Epigraphic Survey of the University of Chicago, where Dorman spent close to nine years leading the Survey and five years chairing the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.

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