Bonus Blog: Archaeologists and Context

I think the most important thing we covered throughout the class was the archaeologists who made these Egyptian findings and what they brought to the field. If they actually destroyed sites with ineptitude or in their rush to carry off sparkling treasures, I think it was important to frame great finds with the methods and intent of the people who were responsible. From times where there was a race to snatch treasures from the hands of other “archaeologists” to return them to the proper home country to times where new methods and respect for the modern nation of Egypt have led to new discoveries.

Going more in depth with the tomb of Tutankhamen from an archaeological perspective rather than a popular perspective provided a helpful contrast for me. Howard Carter made detailed drawings of the arrangement of items in Tutankhamen’s tomb which were especially meaningful since the tomb was undisturbed. However, the media was still heavily involved in this finding, leading to the mummy’s popularity. Maybe that means the site is especially well documented, but it also might mean that the focus of Howard Carter was more on the fame he would receive from the find than the effects the find would have in academia.

We spend a lot of time talking about the context of a find in time and place as far as the site goes, and I think the context surrounding its discovery is equally important. It reflects on the interpretations of the archaeologists and what may have been lost for one thing to be found. This is especially true for early archaeologists when there weren’t professional, accepted practices, but it can be applied today as well.  Archaeologists from many nations still dig in Egypt and have different things invested in the results of their dig. The Egyptian government oversees everything, and this only further complicates who all is involved for better or worse.