Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Hatshepsut - Future Excavations

As my project focuses a lot of attention on the museum objects of Hatshepsut, I have been considering future findings and where they might be housed.

Egyptology progresses at a pace and if you are serious about your studies, then it becomes aparent that keeping up to date is essential.

When most people start studying the Egypt- based excavations, the almost immediate question may well be "do the finds get split amongst the excavators?" The answer to the question has changed from the time of, say, Howard Carter. Back then it was common for a division of finds, so that Egypt and other countries (generally those who are part of the excavations themselves) share the "spoils".

Today, all finds stay in Egypt. We have already seen England, Holland, France and Germany- among other countries who look after the "relics" of Hatshepsut. The work of conserving and housing these objects is there to see. This comes at a price - often through grants. There are many countries with the skills, enthusiasm and commitment to continue the work, but what happens in decades time? That is unclear although it will clearly be difficult for any museum to increase their collections legally (the avoidance of the black- market).

The future appears to be that all future Hatshepsut finds will stay in Egypt, to be housed in various museums- including at Luxor and Cairo. Whilst this stops items leaving Egypt - i wonder i it may have an impact on the Egyptologists of the future.

Whilst the internet gives you extremely valuable information on the subject of Egyptology i have found that nothing beats actually seeing ancient artifacts in various museums up close and personal. We will still have these items, but we may rely on inventive thinking by those who run the Egypt- based rooms to rotate items and possibly even a rotation of artifacts between museums. Even this sounds quite exciting (a rotation), but it may mean that storerooms in Egyptian Museums burst full of artifacts (maybe even too much for them to handle).

We will see of course what transpires. I am not negative on the subject of keeping items in Egypt at all, but not everyone will get to see them. I think that most people will fall back on the internet. One problem with the internet- who do you trust? Well, we can still rely on forums and blogs - these will grow and grow. It will be up to the individual to decide who they trust. Will there ever be a complete database of all ancient Egyptian artifacts the world over- probably. Will this include all items not considered fit for display- it may be doubtful unless way, way into the future. After all Egypt allows us to discover more information about her glorious past every year. This will not end in our lives as the sand is stripped back and more finds are registered.


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