It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a New Generation…

Looking at the new innovations of archaeology as new archaeologists are introduced to the field, this article discusses how many hope to see change reach into Egyptology. An antiquities manager in Egypt states that, “After a five-year campaign, each Egyptian province is now meant to have an osteologist, and [Wahba] hopes the ministry will found its own osteology department.” In previous years, many archaeologists disregarded bones as collateral debris on a site, but Wahba hopes that this shift towards osteology will lend to new discovers in the ancient Egyptian world.

The article then shifts focus and begins to look at Egypt’s Antiquities Ministry, essentially “it’s a bit like English Heritage, the British Museum and a university research department rolled into one.” While many would presume this department to be a good thing, foreign and domestic archaeologists seem to have the same complaint: this is all a mess of paperwork. “Foreign archaeologists complain they sometimes can’t import the equipment they need, or export rock samples for analysis,” while local archaeologists state that they “want better field training, more opportunities for promotion, and say their ideas for reform are rarely listened to.” What really began to strike me about this article is the following statement: “Activists say Egypt’s oldest pyramid, the Djoser at Saqqara, has been ruined by a ministry-sponsored restoration effort. The ministry denies the charge – but without independent arbitration, no one can know who is right.” These are some pretty heavy accusations to be levying towards the ministry, and the fact that the truth in this situation is completely muddled due to a lack of investigation makes the whole thing look incredibly negative.

The article begins to ease some worries by placing the hope for the future, yet again, on the upcoming generation–as seems to be the solution to most problems that no one can find an immediate answer to. The article states that, “a new generation of officials, a new approach to archaeology at Egypt’s leading state university and a new ministry leadership has given archaeologists hope that things may gradually change. Wahba’s enthusiasm for osteology could shake up the ministry’s approach to research.” While this hope for reform through the next generation of archaeologists and egyptologists is quite optimistic, I personally think that it is the easiest way to try and remove blame and recooperation from the present and burden the future in trying to fix past mistakes.

One thought on “It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a New Generation…

  1. This is really interesting. It seems like negative input on a field is often times buried or not discusses in an academic manner. We have already learned in class about the British government being jerks and other countries holding artifacts that should clearly belong to Egypt for profit but this is the first I’ve heard about how the information in the field is conducted. The issue with information coverups happens no matter where you look unfortunately. I agree that we need to stop focusing on who to blame and focus instead on the facts.

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