The American Research Center in Eygpt

Field Schools

Field Schools

Recognizing that the future of Egypt’s monuments must ultimately rest with Egyptian archaeologists and conservators, ARCE has placed significant emphasis on training. These initiatives have received enthusiastic support from Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.

TT110 FIELD SCHOOL

The view from above TT110.

This field school forms part of a larger program of work, funded through USAID, that concentrates on the west bank. The school focused on the excavation of the forecourt of the Eighteenth Dynasty Theban Tomb of Djehuty, TT 110. The excavation, coupled with an ARCE conservation field school to clean the interior, provided training to MSA/SCA officials, improved our knowledge of the monument, and will ultimately open the tomb for regular visitation.

Although run by ARCE under the supervision of Dr. Andrew Bednarski, this field school capitalized on a desire to build capacity by being completely organized, staffed, and taught by highly trained MSA/SCA archaeologists. Read More >>

FIELD SCHOOLS FOR ANTIQUITIES INSPECTORS

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Field School at Giza.
Photo: Shari Saunders

For over a decade, ARCE has partnered with the SCA to equip Egyptian antiquities inspectors with the practical fieldwork skills and techniques required by modern archaeological excavation and site management.

Archaeological field schools have been conducted each year since 1995 at sites such as Memphis, the Fayum Luxor, and Giza, providing additional training for Egyptian antiquities inspectors in the latest methods of archaeological field work. The curriculum includes lectures, tutorials, laboratory work, excavation and mapping, exams and report preparation.

Students who successfully complete the initial training participate in an advanced session where they focus on one of five specialities: advanced excavation, ceramics, survey and mapping, archaeological illustration, or osteo-archaeology (excavation and analysis of human remains).

Upon graduation from the field school, students receive certification, which provides them with greater opportunities to serve on foreign missions or important SCA excavations. And each year the field school is increasingly being staffed by the best of its own graduates.

Through the program, some 700 Egyptian Antiquities Inspectors have honed the skills necessary to more effectively excavate, document, and preserve their country’s amazing cultural heritage. Read More >>

FIELD SCHOOL FOR ARCHITECTURAL CONSERVATORS

Lab Students

Working in the lab

Following on the success of archaeological field training for antiquities inspectors, ARCE ran a field school for SCA architectural conservators from 2001-2010. As part of the Luxor East Bank Groundwater Lowering Response Project, the conservator training program worked to create a cadre of Egyptian conservators who can take the lead in the area’s conservation activities. During the 2010-2011 season, ARCE introduced an advanced training program for former graduates of the Conservation Field School. The Egyptian technicians learned more advanced conservation methods and had the opportunity to use some new materials for certain treatments. The conservators then put their new skills into practice through a number of different conservation projects in Luxor and Karnak, each led by an ARCE conservation supervisor. Teams worked on each project for two to three months; a total of 45 technicians participated in the new advanced training program over the course of the 2010-2011 season.

Read about the ARCE-constructed conservation lab in Karnak Temple >>

Read more about this training initiative >>

conservation training

Conservation training.
Photo: Nairy Hampikian

SALVAGE ARCHAEOLOGY FIELD SCHOOL

Egypt's expanding population, ongoing modernization, and tourism-focused economy place increasing demands upon the country’s antiquities and monuments and in many cases necessitate quick intervention and rescue tactics before valuable cultural heritage is lost. The field of Egyptology is continually challenged by the need to research, document, and preserve as many ancient sites as possible before they face modern development.

In response, ARCE sponsored Egypt's first-ever field school in salvage archaeology for Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) inspectors. The field school, directed by Dr. Mark Lehner and his team, was conducted in Luxor in the winter of 2008. With significant urban development going on in the area, inspectors were trained in the specific techniques needed to record significant historical architectural monuments in Luxor before they are demolished. Mark Lehner, Mohsen Kamel and Ana Tavares successfully conducted the training on the site of the now demolished Khaled Ibn al-Walid Gardens, about 500 meters north of the Luxor Temple.

Thirty SCA trainees were supervised by 16 foreign and 16 Egyptian site supervisors and specialists covering all aspects of modern techniques of archaeological excavation and recording, including surveying, epigraphy, osteoarchaeology, archaeobotany, zooarchaeology, ceramics, illustration and report writing.

Subsequent AERA-ARCE Salvage Archaeology Field Schools were held in 2010 and 2011. The 2010 season's objective was to systematically excavate the last remnant of the old Luxor Town Mound. This isolated chunk of Luxor history, spanning 2,000 years, was left standing behind two late 19th century palaces after the area in front of Luxor Temple had been cleared. Now it had to come down as part of the redevelopment of the archaeological preserve for tourism. The team of instructors, students, and workmen had a mandate to investigate the mound down to ground level in seven weeks, excavating stratigraphically.

In 2011, the material retrieved during the 2010 season was studied and analyzed in the ARCE Laboratory at Karnak. Over 20 students performed the nine week study with remarkable results that will soon be published. The data can be used for determining a timeline for objects found elsewhere in Luxor, and throughout Egypt.

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