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Ancient Egypt Magazine

Volume 6 issue 6 June 2006



The News Blog

Finding good web sites on the World Wide Net can sometimes be a matter of luck, patience and even endurance, but here is one site where all the hard work has been done for you and which provides a direct link to good sites, giving the latest news and information on things Egyptological. The site is "The News Blog" ( Its designer Andie Byrnes explains ...

Although I am currently pursuing post-graduate research at University College London’s Institute of Archaeology, I have also been involved in website development. When the concept of the "blog" flowered in the online world it was of some professional interest, and I decided that the best way of exploring this new medium was to use it. My frequent searches for news about Egyptian archaeology suggested this as an ideal topic, so in March 2004, I turned my own searches into an information service. I have been " blogging" ever since.

For those who are not Web-obsessed, the term "blog" is an abbreviation for "web log". The main characteristic of a blog is its resemblance to a diary. Each item published on a blog has a time and date stamp, and blogs often deal with time-sensitive information. My site covers Egyptology but there are countless other sites on a wide range of topics.

Creating the site was wonderfully easy, thanks to a free of charge web-based service called Blogger

There are many different ways of writing a blog, and mine is one of the more straightforward. If I find a news item of interest on a website, I copy the web address into a post and provide a short quote from the article. I then refer my visitors back to the original article so that they can find all the relevant details. At first I only posted a few times a week, but I soon had enough news to update the site on a daily basis. Now, as regular visitors to the site will know, the site is such an obsession with me that I feel guilty if I fail to update the site on any one day, and always post a notification if I plan to be away for a day or more.

I work alone, spending an hour every morning looking for news. I take the site seriously and only publish items that I think will interest my visitors. Maintaining the accuracy of information is always a challenge, particularly when some news items and press releases are a little vague; on occasion, I have had to make corrections.

I allow visitor comments to be posted on the blog, and I do monitor these to ensure that nothing either offensive or irrelevant appears on the site. Fortunately, so far, I have experienced very few problems. I also have help.

Top of the list is my invaluable "Official Nitpicker", Chris Townsend, who is a genius at picking out duplicated and out-of-date posts, and spotting some of my more lavish mistakes. I also have input from the professional publishers, editors and website managers who provide me with updates. Some of my regular visitors are invaluable, and often let me know when I have missed an important item, or what they have learned while they have been on holiday in Egypt. Without these contributors, the blog would be much harder to run.

Since launching the blog, it has been fascinating to follow the news from the world of Egyptian archaeology on a daily basis. Some news items, like the discovery in December 2004 of eight new Neolithic granaries in the Faiyum Depression, are fundamentally important but have a limited appeal to many of my visitors

Others, like the facial reconstruction of Tutankhamun have a more universal appeal and generate a lot of emails to my personal email address, offering comments or asking questions. Of course, the most high-profile news item to appear since starting the blog has been the discovery of KV63. While KV63 team member Sharon Nicol was updating her blog on a regular basis, it was easy to keep abreast of the KV63 news, but even now that her blog has vanished, Otto Schaden’s KV63 digdiary continues to provide information on which I still report.

The discovery of KV63 has been great for me too – my visitor numbers have doubled! Egyptology appears to attract some super people, both professional and amateur, and my blog has given me access to some truly great individuals. My thanks to them all.

Andie Byrnes

Do visit Andie’s site if you can. She spends a tremendous amount of time on it, and it has been of great use in both finding and following up the latest news from Egypt for AE.

Victor Blunden

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