An Egyptian archival skills school by the Egypt Exploration Society, Cairo, Egypt (Yasser Abdelrady, Egypt, ITP 2019)
I was delighted to have been chosen to be one of the ten trainees who were selected to attend The Egyptological Archives Skills School from 05 – 09 June 2022 by the Egypt Exploration Society. I was also a pleasure to meet with Egyptian colleagues who are ITP fellows, both scholars and lecturers.
The Egyptological Archives Skills School is one of the best schools specialised in studying archival materials for Egyptology. Where it dealt with many theoretical and practical topics and field visits as well as applied skills.
The Skills School was organised and led by Dr. Stephanie Boonstra, Collections Manager of the EES, with the assistance of Essam Nagy (EES Fieldwork and Engagement Manager) and Dr. Carl Graves (EES Director).
This school has been assisted by employees at the tourism and antiquities sector and other institutions. The lectures dealt with topics about the importance of the archive, how to manage and preserve it, and share its information and make it available and accessible to the audiences with its various requirements, specializations and interests.
In addition to identifying the scientific methods used in dealing with archival materials and methods of preserving and storing them. Beside cataloguing and digitising archives, we learned about creating databases and the necessary fields for the database to help the audiences access records more easily, as well as how to create policies for each archive.
And identifying the skills of research in the archives available on the network and benefiting from them and employing them in re-interpreting archaeological objects according to the new requirements.
The scholars deal with a number of interactive workshops that dealt with some discussions, participations and the exchange of ideas and experiences.
A number of field visits were also organized to a number of archives in Cairo, including a visit to the archives Center of Documentation of Egyptian Antiquities (CEDAE) at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the archives of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo (EMC), the archives of Institut français d’archéologie orientale – IFAO, and the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) to know more about the content of each archive and the different scientific methods for cataloging and digitising it and making it available to the audiences.
As for the practical side, training was conducted on how to create labels for a number of artefacts selected in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo from the Excavations discoveries of EES, and how we can use archival materials in interpreting the objects and linking them to the discovery environment and the archaeological context in which they were discovered, and to produce a more interactive and attractive explanation labels for the audiences of different categories and needs.
This was then discussed during presentations to the participants. I was fortunate that the project was about Hathor’s shrine (JE38574/5) “For more information”
The school activities concluded with a visit and a meeting with the British Ambassador in Cairo – Gareth Bayley. Where he welcomed all the attendees from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the American Research Center and the French Institute. Certificates were handed to the school participants and a number of memorial photos were taken.