Monday, October 10, 2005

Hawass re his career - part 2
Second part of Zahi Hawass's piece on the Egyptian Gazette website entitled How I found my true love archaeology (Part 2) reproduced here in full because it will be replcaced tomorrow: "In1976, I became an inspector of the Pyramids of Giza. I was working at Abu Simbel, the Nubian site of the temples of Ramses II, when I read that thieves had broken into the storage house at Giza and had taken dozens of artifacts. Dr Gamal Mokhtar, head of the Department of Antiquities, knew of my administrative abilities and believed I could make sure this would never happen again. One month later, we caught the thieves and all the artifacts were returned. They are still in jail today.In 1977, Bahariya Oasis was put under the same jurisdiction as the Giza monuments and I went to visit the site. It is funny to think back that I was standing on one of the most exciting archaeological sites of the millennium and was not even aware of it. I realised this was virgin site but I never thought that I would excavate there. I was concerned with the protection and conservation of this site with only six guards and no Antiquities Inspector. No one from Cairo was willing to live in this remote site. So, in 1980, I returned to Bahariya to see about renting an office but I was granted no funds to support it. I recommended a young man from Bahariya, Ashry Shakr, a first-year student in archaeology to the Antiquities Department to open an office for us. I then accepted a Fulbright Scholarship to obtain my doctorate in Egyptology at the University of Pennsylvania and travelled to the United States.In 1987, I returned to Egypt. The Antiquities Department had appointed Ashry Shakr as Antiquities Inspector of Bahariya. I was promoted to Director General of Giza, Saqqara, and Bahariya Oasis. I began work immediately and plunged into the thick of things, dealing with many problems".

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