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Contesting Antiquity in EgyptArchaeologies, Museums, and the Struggle for Identities from World War I to Nasser$
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Donald Malcolm Reid

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9789774166891

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774166891.001.0001

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Egyptology in the Twilight of Empire and Monarchy, 1939–1952

Egyptology in the Twilight of Empire and Monarchy, 1939–1952

(p.329) 11 Egyptology in the Twilight of Empire and Monarchy, 1939–1952
Contesting Antiquity in Egypt

Donald Malcolm Reid

American University in Cairo Press

The Depression, World War II, and the turmoil of the postwar years severely curtailed field archaeology in Egypt. Sidelined from public life, Selim Hassan published vast multi-volume works—Excavations at Giza in English, and a History of Ancient Egypt in Arabic. Sami Gabra presided as dean of the profession, while younger Egyptologists like Ahmad Fakhry and Labib Habachi climbed the career ladders of the Antiquities Service and universities. Under the guidance of Drioton, the last of the French directors of the Egyptian Antiquities Service stretching back to Mariette, King Faruq enthusiastically visited sites, collected antiquities, and subsidized the excavations of Zaki Saad at Helwan out of palace funds. A set of postage stamps depicted the young king as protector of Egyptian heritage from the Pyramids and Islamic monuments through to the Aswan Dam and the Egyptian University. The Museum of Egyptian Civilization opened in 1949 propagated the same message with a similar chronological sweep. In 1951, on the eve of Nasser's revolution, separate crises of decolonization nearly shut down both French and British archaeological activities in Egypt.

Keywords:   Faruq, Sami Gabra, Selim Hassan, Drioton, Ahmad Fakhry, Labib Habachi, Zaki Saad, Stamps, World War II, Museum of Egyptian Civilization

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