The History, People and Culture of the Nile Valley
Ancient Egypt Magazine
Issue Two - July / August 2000
Netfishing by Hapy
This issue, Hapy goes fishing for sites offered by Egyptology groups and societies.
With the perennial interest in Egyptology it’s not surprising that relevant organisations and societies provide information on the subject via a growing number of web sites.
This issue, we’re going to look specifically at sites set up by clubs, groups and societies. This is a good starting point if you’re quite new to the subject since they often have useful links to other material. (However new you are, you will undoubtedly have realised that there are vast quantities of Egyptology items available – making sensible choices is, as ever, the problem). Many of the organisations also arrange lectures, some of which are open to all interested members of the public.
The Egypt Exploration Society (E.E.S.), founded in 1882, is the UK’s oldest professional society for Egyptologists and interested amateurs. From its office in Doughty Mews, London, the E.E.S. raises funds to support excavations and investigations in Egypt. Currently activity focusses on the Old Kingdom capital of Memphis, El Amarna, home of Akhenaten and his worship of the Aten, and Qasr Ibrim in Egyptian Nubia. This last site is the only one available for excavation since the flooding of the area to create Lake Nasser.
The society’s web site (www.ees.ac.uk) offers a number of links to other academic institutions and to individuals currently involved in work in Egypt. The secretary, Patricia Spencer, can be contacted by email ([email protected]) for information on membership.
The E.E.S pages include a selection of news stories that will be of particular interest to those with some knowledge of Egyptology. Each page is prefaced by a suitable introduction in hieroglyphs, which is fun if you are learning the ancient Egyptian language.
The E.E.S. has an office in Cairo that can be accessed from the London web site (although it has to be said that so far, any emails sent to the email address [email protected] seem to have suffered the same fate as letters to Santa). There is also a Northern Branch, based in Manchester, which, like the London office, holds regular lectures for members. Contact for the Northern Branch is [email protected].
The Manchester Ancient Egypt Society deserves a special mention, not only for its super web site with contact details of all societies and groups including web sites, but for its hard work in general in providing information to interested amateurs about groups UK-wide. The MAES site is www.thornbridge.zetnet.co.uk/MAES.html and contains some very enjoyable accounts of visits to Egypt. (Can we look forward to some more up to date ones?) There’s also now access via www.maes.org.uk .
The Manchester site also contains an interesting feature by Colin Reader on the age of the Sphinx. Colin has some new views based on his own knowledge as a professional geologist that make interesting reading and a lot of sense – in Hapy’s opinion.
Nearby Poynton Egypt Group ([email protected]) is just about the best constructed site, with Egypt flying to Cheshire in the opening sequence. There’s a lot of information on this site, with a lively letters page. The Friends of the Egypt Centre (Swansea) provided a lot of hilarity and an overwhelming urge to visit the Centre right away with a description of some of the items on display: “we have a model (mummy) with removable organs, including the brain (ball of wool) which comes down the nose.” The ingenious ancient Egyptians would have appreciated this, since they too were known to use some unusual packing materials when preparing bodies for eternity.
NEMES (North East Manchester) is an atmospheric site with a focus on photographs. You can add to the collection via www.nemes.co.uk.
So far, so good, with a cluster of good UK sites in North West England. However, on trying further afield, I found myself fishing in empty waters. Repeated attempts to call up the Staffordshire site listed failed, and so did attempts to contact The Thames Valley (which should surely be fertile waters!) And can the lively and popular North Yorkshire Group let me know when their site will be available? Fished without luck for that one and only came back with empty nets. A number of sites appear to have been under construction for some time and I look forward to their completion.
Joining a society gives you the chance to find out more about your interest in the company of like-minded individuals. There are opportunities other than lectures, too; some organise trips to Egypt, and most have lively social events and newsletters.
In future issues, we will be looking at sites built by other organisations and institutions world-wide. However, I will just briefly mention Ptahotep’s Australian Egyptology page (www.zeta.org.au~ptahotep ) which has lots of interesting details and an amazing set of useful links but has not been updated for some time. What a pity! Are you still there, Pete?
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