There’s something about Egypt that draws people back again and again, the warm dry air, the aromas of the souk, the hubba bubba pipes wafting sweet smoke through the streets, the noise of horns tooting, the hustle and bustle of the traffic and people in Cairo, floating down the Nile and watching the world pass by and sometimes forgetting you are in the 21 st century BCE. But there is another side and for us Egyptophiles it is very special, the pyramids and tombs, temples and monoliths of the Ancient Culture, Ancient Egypt.
I have been studying Ancient Egypt my whole life, I am particularly interested mummies and DNA and the Amarna Period, the pharaoh Akhenaton and of course, Tutankhamun; but I also have a great interest in Tuthmosis III and Hatshepsut and also the Ptolemy’s and Cleopatra VII. Pretty much if anything comes along about those things and I’ll read it or sit down and watch it on TV or You Tube.
My own interest it has lead me to study Australian Egyptologists like Veronica Seton-Williams and although I managed to assemble a large amount of information on her with the help of T.G.H. James (former curator of Egyptian antiquities at the British Museum) I unfortunately did not have enough for a book, maybe one day.
Egyptology in Australia
After running an Egyptological bookshop for 26 years I always ask people what started them off on Egypt, most of the time they have been interested their whole lives or for many years. Sometimes it’s a movie or exhibition like “Gold of the Pharaohs”, which came out here in the 1980’s, or even the mummy Tjedby who is an ordinary Middle Kingdom official who lives at Melbourne Museum. No longer on display, Tjedby fascinated generations of Melbournians and lead many onto a lifelong fascination with Egypt. Whatever starts you off it usually is an interest that is infectious and stays with you forever.
Attending lectures at our own Egyptology Society of Victoria and the Australian Centre for Egyptology (Sydney) and also the Australian Institute of Archaeology to name but a few organizations, has meant that even “down under”, the spirit and love of the Ancient Cultures is strong and flourishing. Did you know that digs are held in Egypt run by several universities and Australian’s under Prof Kanawati from Macquarie University, Sydney re-started the practice of regular publications of digs and also the conservation of sites as well as making new discoveries?
This process is now used by almost all nations who dig in Egypt as well as the Egyptian scholars. So you can see that there is much to offer in each State of Australia in the way of academic or scholarly interest that you can do to follow your own passion for Ancient Egypt. A good place to start is right here at Ankh Antiquarian Books. Drop me a line for further information.