Sunday, April 27, 2008

Scholars gather in Seattle to discuss ancient Egypt

The Seattle Times

The patient, a woman, was clearly in distress, with persistent sores and pain so fierce it cut like a knife.

Dr. W. Benson Harer Jr., of Seattle, recognized the symptoms as "a very good indication of genital herpes." And he would have helped, barring one inescapable fact: He was a few thousand years too late.

Harer, an OB/gyn by profession and an amateur Egyptologist by passion, learned about the case from a centuries-old medical text written on papyrus.

His interest in sexually transmitted diseases in a long-ago civilization may be the ultimate proof that no aspect of ancient Egypt has gone unstudied, a fact that will be in evidence this weekend as 300-plus Egypt scholars gather from around the world.

In more than 100 different presentations beginning Friday at the downtown Grand Hyatt Seattle, researchers will present findings on everything Egypt, from customs and clothing to coins, dance, pyramids and more. The event is the 59th annual meeting of The American Research Center in Egypt, a nonprofit formed to facilitate American study in Egypt and to strengthen cultural ties between the countries.

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