2014 was a busy year at the EES and in this brief glance back Carl Graves discusses some of his highlights. See if you can spot yourself in some of the event images below!
When I started working as the Education and Public Engagement Manager at the Egypt Exploration Society in November 2013 I had no idea where the journey might take me. Not physically, of course, as I spend most of my time in and around the offices at Doughty Mews – but every day I am transported back to the late nineteenth century of Petrie and Amelia Edwards through letters and photographs, through twentieth century dig diaries, maps and plans encountering such greats as Pendlebury and Emery. Suddenly I’m right back at my emails talking to field directors out there protecting ancient Egypt today!
Carl and the EES Scholars outside the British Museum just before a behind-the-scenes tour
There are certainly times that I do get out of the office, and some of my particular highlights of 2014 were our museum trips – visiting collections around the country and talking about them with the curators that care for the artefacts today. Objects discovered by EES teams and subsequently distributed around the world to help spread knowledge of Egypt’s fascinating past. There is great satisfaction in knowing that anyone who has visited a major collection somewhere in the world has probably had a visual link with the illustrious history of the Egypt Exploration Society. The extensive archives now housed in Doughty Mews are a window into this past and I get endless enjoyment from exploring the material together with Maria Rodriguez Rubin. This last year we have made considerable efforts to reorganise the collections and to make them more accessible for researchers and visitors alike. We began a series of Access Archive Afternoons which have become very popular and will be expanded in 2015 to include a two week pop-up exhibition! This is something we are all very excited about in the office, and I know that our volunteers are already putting a lot of effort into researching the archives ready to engage those visiting in July.
Carl and Maria explore the Gebel el-Silsila archives in the new Archive Research Facility in Doughty Mews
Shirley McDonald, Hazel Gray, Tilly Burton, Janet Brewer, and Suzanne Reed at an Access Archive Afternoon during which Hazel and Tilly (now known better as ‘Hilly’ and ‘Tazel’) asked participants to design their own Egyptian city, complete with political discord and Atenists!
Our archives continue to influence current excavations and surveys in Egypt today. This was most obvious when we were visited by six visiting Egyptian scholars during September 2014. All of them were experts in their chosen fields, and we were delighted to have them research our collections. Moaman Saad was here to research the shrines and stelae of Gebel el-Silsila at part of his work with the current mission there led by Dr Maria Nilsson, Gebel el-Silsila Epigraphic Survey Project. This brought its own little problems to solve such as, how to digitise epigraphic rolls almost 10m long and 3m wide?! And disaster - we’ve run out of teabags! We had a lot of fun in the one month that they stayed with us, not to say that we weren’t working hard, but it was a fantastic experience and something that we hope to replicate in 2015 with the same success.
Moamen Saad digitises some of the epigraphic roles of Ricardo Caminos from the EES Gebel Silsila Epigraphic Survey
Most enjoyable of any experience through 2014 has been meeting the members; the people that keep the excavations digging and the wheels in the office oiled. They inspire constant enthusiasm and energy and indeed direct many of the ideas in our events programme. Some of our members become volunteers and we now have a huge team of dedicated, dynamic individuals who assist the office team in administrative tasks as well as participating in our archive and library projects – many of which have been reported in our Society newsletters and online.
Needless-to-say, 2014 was a tough but enjoyable year and I look forward to another year of events, archives, and increasing engagement around the UK in 2015. Thanks for being a part of it!
A year at a glance…
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