January 18, 2011

Website follows JHU archaeologists in Egypt

Johns Hopkins Egyptologist Betsy Bryan and her team of students, artists, conservators and photographers have returned to their investigation of Mut Temple, focusing their attention on the area south of the temple’s Sacred Lake. Bryan and her crew are resuming their excavation in Luxor, Egypt, and are sharing their work via “Hopkins in Egypt Today,” their popular digital diary offering a virtual window into day-to-day life on an archaeological dig. New posts will appear through the end of January at www.jhu.edu/egypttoday.

This year, Bryan and her team are working in the area where industrial areas for baking, brewing and ceramic production were discovered between 2002 and 2006.

The goal of the website is to educate visitors by showing them archaeological work in progress. The daily photos and detailed captions emphasize not only discoveries but the teamwork among Bryan, her colleagues, students and their gufti, the local crew members who are trained in archaeology. That teamwork is essential to a successful dig, Bryan said. The website typically garners more than 50,000 hits every winter, when the dig ordinarily is active.

According to Bryan, modern-day Luxor is rich in finds from ancient Egypt’s New Kingdom, such as the major discovery made by the Johns Hopkins team in 2006: a 3,400-year-old nearly intact statue of Queen Tiy, one of the queens of the powerful king Amenhotep III. Bryan has said that the statue is “one of the true masterpieces of Egyptian art.”

Bryan is the Alexander Badawy Professor in Egyptian Art and Archaeology at Johns Hopkins. Her work is funded by grants from the American Research Center in Egypt and the U.S. Agency for International Development.