Friday, July 20, 2007

Zahi Hawass talking about David O'Connor

Al Ahram Weekly

Hawass is using his occasional Dig Days slot on the Al Ahram Weekly website to honour Egyptologist David O'Connor, who he describes as "an ideal role model for us all".
O'Connor is unique. Originally from Australia, he received a postgraduate diploma in Egyptology in 1962 from University College London. He then studied for his doctorate at Cambridge. He was always honest, a good excavator, and a true leader. I learnt a lot from him.

The first four of the seven years I spent at the university were fundamental to building me up as an Egyptologist. O'Connor was an excellent teacher. He taught us to understand the context of artefacts; how we can identify their origin, and how to date Pharaonic cemeteries based on the relative evidence.

I selected Giza as the topic of my doctoral dissertation. I also studied history so that I could learn to use literature or textual evidence to reconstruct the past. I also took
independent study courses with O'Connor, who suggested I take courses in anthropology. The most important aspect of my time in Pennsylvania was that O'Connor treated me as a student so I could learn, rather than as an important official who could learn nothing from him. He was a happy man and we knew he was
approaching when we heard him whistling.

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