Yesterday evening, HE Minister of Antiquities Dr. Khaled El‑Enany and HE the French Ambassador to Egypt, Mr. Stéphane Romatet, inaugurated in the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir an exhibition displaying the French archaeological mission’s finds.
Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Dr. Mostafa Waziri, Assistant for Technical Affairs to the Minister of Antiquities Mr. Ahmad Ubaid, and Fundraising and Investment Assistant to the Minister Ms. Iman Zidan attended the opening, as did a number of foreign ambassadors in Egypt.
The exhibition was organized in cooperation with the Ministry of Antiquities, the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, and the French Institute of Oriental Archeology (IFAO). This cooperation was part of the initiatives set for the 2019 Egyptian‑French cultural year, and will continue until 18 February 2020. A selection of special artifacts discovered by French archeological missions working in Egypt are displayed.
The exhibition paints a current panoramic picture of French archeological activity in Egypt, the institutions that support it, and the archeological excavations carried out by these institutions in different regions of the country. The exhibition also reflects the wealth and progress of archeological cooperation between the two countries and its tangible results, as France is one of Egypt's most important partners in the field of archeological work.
The exhibition displays around 100 pieces of great scientific and museological significance, dating from the prehistoric to Medieval periods. Some of the objects are exceptional and unparalleled in any museum in the world. These include: a large collection of papyri dating back to the end of the King Khufu’s reign, which was discovered at the site of Wadi al‑Jarf. These are the oldest inscribed papyri ever discovered in Egypt. There is also the stone stela of Tetiankh, which was discovered in 2018 in a tomb in Asasif. The stela is characterized by the quality and precision of the relief on it, and its well‑designed scenes. Also on display are two wooden panels from Bawit, which date back to the first half of the seventh century AD, and which depict the angels Michael and Gabriel.
Panoramic view of the archaeological excavations currently underway
A group of portraits illustrating the long history of French archaeological excavations in Egypt were displayed in the exhibition, providing a clear picture of the excavation work currently taking place. The exhibitions also reflect emerging research problems, modern discoveries, and innovative techniques used on‑site or in the laboratory, as well as Egyptian‑French cooperation and its various tangible results.
The exhibition’s catalogue is designed to present a full picture of the activities of the French archaeological excavations in Egypt. It outlines archaeological missions and research programs that are currently taking place and includes antiquities dating back to the Predynastic Period up until the Middle Ages. The catalogue also presents French institutions and research centers operating in Egypt in the field of archeology, in addition to the archaeological sites that are being studied by archeologists and Egyptologists in cooperation with Egyptian or international partners under the auspices of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities.
It is worth noting that there are three permanent French research centers in Egypt: the French Scientific Institute for Oriental Archeology (IFAO), which will soon celebrate its 140th anniversary, the French‑Egyptian Center for the Study of the Temples of Karnak (CFEETK), and the Center for Alexandrian Studies (CEAlex), in addition to around fifty missions that excavate in cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities annually.