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Thursday, August 1, 2019

Between Prague and Cairo. 100 years of Czech Egyptology | Český egyptologický ústav

Between Prague and Cairo. 100 years of Czech Egyptology

Karolinum, Prague, 2nd August – 8th September 2019

This year a century will pass since the first lectures in Egyptology, which associate professor František Lexa held at the Charles University in the summer semester of 1919. Czech Egyptology has made giant strides forward since then, and the Czech Institute of Egyptology of the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, the only institution of its kind in our country, commemorates the anniversary of this journey by an exhibition organized in cooperation with the Charles University in the exhibition premises of the Karolinum.

The exhibition first guides the visitor through the harsh beginnings, when a new scholarly discipline was born in the humble conditions of the university in the first half of the 20th century. Only thanks to the great personal effort and indomitable spirit of František Lexa could Egyptology be established at the university. Through the efforts of his pupils, it then developed from a purely armchair academic seminar in Prague into a real scholarly institution excavating in Egypt, the fieldwork being enabled by the acquisition of a permanent license to excavate in Egypt.

The second part of the exhibition offers a glimpse into the years 1960-2019, when the institute already organized archaeological excavations directly in Egypt and the Sudan. The main focus lies on Abusir, today the main archaeological field of Czech Egyptologists. Period photographs show not only the changes of the archaeological site itself, but also of the neighbourhood, which transformed dramatically through the centuries. The satellite image shows the extent of the area and its archaeological potential for the next generations of researchers.

Abusir is not the only site that has been explored by the Czech Institute of Egyptology in the course of the last decades. The exhibition presents also other temporary and long-term projects, like the participation in the UNESCO campaign in Nubia and explorations in the Western Desert or in today's Sudan.

Besides the story of unearthing various sites, attention focuses also at the specific tasks performed by members of the Czech exploration team. Egyptological work is often understood as discovering new monuments, but that is only the initial step of the extensive research activities that follow after the work in the field. The projects thus present the possibilities of interpretation offered by the individual discoveries and artefacts, and their contribution to the study of not only the ancient Egyptian civilization itself, but also to the comparative study of civilizations and development of the environment in the long-term perspective.

The festive opening will take place on the 1st of August 2019 and the visitors from among the general public will be welcome in the Karolinum exhibition premises between the 2nd August 2019 and 8th September 2019, daily from 10 AM to 6 PM.



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