Egyptology and Egyptologists

Written by Felgr Pavel on .

Egyptology – this word itself hides something mysterious, ancient and mystic. Under the word Egyptology the majority of people imagine the examination of pyramids, tombs, temple... The adventure, which attracts everyone – with the Pharaoh mummies, their tombs in the Valley of the Kings, pyramids in Saqqara, pyramids in Dashur, pyramids in Giza... Thebes (Waset), Alexandria or Memphis and hieroglyphs as well.

But first of all Egyptology attracts with an ancient developed civilization, which amazes us with its wisdom even today. How could the Egyptians build pyramids, which endured till these days? How could they understand the astronomy and determine not only cardinal points, but also flood periods, set the calendar... This civilization was the richest, the most developed and the most significant the its period.

A lot was written about Egypt but was it really all? Of course not, because Egypt is an interesting land full of mysteries. Some of them were solved, but some are still waiting for it. If everything were discovered, why would further and further excavation expeditions planned to Egypt, for example excavations in Abusir, which are made by the Czech Institute of Egyptology.

Egyptology – what is it and what does it study

Egyptology studies the pyramids’ and temples’ origin and the life of common people and the Kings as well. It studies texts and inscriptions on buildings. However, the main theme is pyramids’ and temples’ studying. Fundamentals of Egyptology were laid during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte, when his troops came to Egypt. Napoleon knew very well the value of the pyramids, so he didn’t try to destroy them, on the contrary. He let examine them by the professionals of his army. Part of the French army included 151 professionals from various disciplines - mathematicians, Arabists, astronomers, surveyors, doctors, engineers, draughtsmen, printers. Their task was to measure, draw, make plans and maps and put a solid foundation for the future management of the French colonies.

The French were enchanted by the ancient monuments after their arrival to Egypt. Also the painter Dominique Vivant Denon was among them, who captured his impressions in pictures for the book Voyage dans la Basse et la Haute Égypte. This book was immediately translated into English and German and contributed to the fact that Europe longed for all Egyptian. Egypt dominated everything - fashion, culture, art and design. After the success of this book General Kléber expressed the idea of writing a book collection about Egypt.

The work called Description se l´Ëgypte was divided into 4 basic parts: Antiquités, État moderne, Histoire naturelle and Carte topographique. Volumes had been publishing for 19 years since1809 to 1828. So the foundations were laid, but a coincidence played its role – discovering of the Rosetta Stone (see the part Script – Rosetta Stone).

Message from the Nile

  • History of Czech institution of egyptology

    The Czech egyptology founder is Frantisek Lexa, the author of up to now evaluated work about ancient Egypt magic and Demotic grammar. Seminar for egyptology started thanks to him in Faculty of Philosophy and Arts of Charles University in Prague in 1925. Two years later Lexa became the first regular professor of egyptology in then Czechoslovakia.

  • Abusir - outstation of Czech egyptology expedition

    Abusir is an archaeological locality in Egypt named after nearby recent village Abusir. It is situated on western Nile bank on the edge of Libyan tableland approximately 20 kilometers to the south-west of Cairo. The name of this locality is derived from ancient Egypt god Osiris, from Per Usir (Busiris), "(cult) place of Osiris" (Busiris in Greek).

  • Researches in Western desert

    Czech egyptology is successful in researching not only on pyramidal fields in Abusir recently, but also in supporting and organizing smaller expeditions into egyptian Western desert. Czech expedition has been working even in slowly evanescent oasis El-Hajez since 2003, which is situated about 400 km to the south-west from Cairo.

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