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Diversified and at eye-level: German-Egyptian archaeological cooperation

EIn Deutsch-ägyptisches Archeologenteam kniet zu Ausgrabungen im Sand

Deutsch-ägyptische Ausgrabungen in Elephantine, Assuan, © DAI Kairo

24.02.2021 - Pressemitteilung

Op-ed by H.E. Dr. Cyrill Jean Nunn, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Arab Republic of Egypt

Published by „Ahram Online“ on the 23rd of February 2021

Only a few countries in the world possess such a long-lasting and global cultural magnetism as Egypt. Throughout the millennia, Egypt’s cultural heritage inspired societies and rulers around the world. Especially its unique ancient history has left influential footprints and generated passionate academic discussions, whether about ancient Egypt‘s advanced societal organization or its mesmerizing aesthetic. Until today, Egypt’s impressive archaeological capital has not ceased attracting worldwide attention. International media outlets, including German television and print media, regularly cover large-scale archaeological discoveries and openings of museums in Egypt.

Taking a closer look at the Egyptian- German archaeological cooperation, we have seen an impressive and important diversification throughout the years. Besides successful joint excavations from Southern to Northern Egypt, German and Egyptian archaeologists have explored many additional fields of cooperation, ranging from research and archiving to digitization and preservation. The German Archaeological Institute in Cairo and other German institutes and universities actively contribute to a more diverse archaeological cooperation thanks to their exchange programs, funding, libraries, and training.

One essential paradigm which carries our diversified bilateral archaeological cooperation is mutual knowledge transfer at eye-level. Thanks to this approach, German-Egyptian projects succeed in creating compelling results which are not only accessible for the international academic community, but also for a broader Egyptian and international audience, since they are based on locally-rooted site-management and online documentation. The joint work at the Pyramids in Dahshur serves as a concrete example for this approach. In this project, archaeologists from both countries examine burials of court officials and funerary priests, but also habitations and workplaces which were used during the construction of the pyramids, to find out more about court officials and inhabitants of the pyramid towns, about their living conditions, their state of health and also the organization of life and work in the ancient royal necropolis.

Archaeological cooperation at eye-level is key for Germany. Not only does it help German-Egyptian research teams achieve more comprehensive academic results, but it also helps them benefit from each other‘s skills. The mutual knowledge transfer is all the more important in an international and interdisciplinary study field such as archaeology. In a cooperative spirit, we will therefore continue working closely together in order to achieve stellar academic success.

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