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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Fwd: 2020 AERA Field Season Update

We at Ancient Egypt Research Associates hope and pray that you and your families are well and safe during this difficult time.

As valued members of AERA, we would like to give you a short update on how COVID-19 has impacted our ongoing work. When the 2020 field season began, we were working on:

  • Menkaure Valley Temple Excavation re-entering the valley temple of the Third Pyramid where in 1910 George Reisner found fabulous pieces of royal statuary.
  • Great Pyramid Temple Project mapping and conserving the temple at the base of the Khufu Pyramid, with former Ministry of Antiquities, Dr. Zahi Hawass
  • AERA Objects Publication Project preparing for publication of the thousands of artefacts from 30 years of excavating the settlements of the pyramid builders
  • Royal Administration Building a main building in the 4th Dynasty palace complex. We took the initial steps toward cleaning the site and removing a derelict soccer field that has covered most of this central command post of the Giza pyramid builders for the last 36 years.
  • Return to the Sphinx Viewing Project a follow-up on 40 years of Sphinx survey and geophysical mapping in collaboration with Dr. Zahi Hawass.
We had originally planned a fully staffed field season based out of our AERA-Egypt center until the start of Ramadan. Instead, our work came to, not so much a screeching halt, but a phase-down of the major field season we had in progress in order for our team members to safely return home. While most team members began returning home in mid-March, Dr. Lehner has remained in Egypt to oversee the backfilling of the Menkaure Valley Temple (MVT), and the repair of the roof of the AERA Field Lab, which was badly damaged by a once-in-a-century 3-day storm that ended the very day before Egypt's Covid-19 lockdown began.

While COVID-19 has changed all of our worlds, our work at AERA continues. Fortunately, we were still able to complete the field work portion of the Objects Project and we learned a lot from our six weeks of excavation in the MVT. Even now, many of our team members continue working on projects from their homes, analyzing data from this season and the material excavated.

Dr. Lehner will send his latest dispatch on the amazing new finds in the MVT within the next few weeks and we are on standby to launch excavations at the Royal Administration Building and carry on with the Sphinx and Great Pyramid Temple Projects as soon as it is safe to do so.

Dr. Lehner and all of us at AERA are deeply grateful for your support and interest in our work in Egypt. As we work to make emergency repairs to our Field Lab and continue on with this season's work, we appreciate your continued support and thank you for any additional help you can give. Stay safe.

Very Best Regards,

Frances Dilks
Development Coordinator AERA
Want to find out more about our work in Egypt? Two documentaries about our recent work in Egypt are now freely available online to watch in full.

NOVA Decoding the Great Pyramid: AERA's Claire Malleson, Glen Dash, Richard Redding, and Mark Lehner join Salima Ikram and Pierre Tallet to discuss the latest research into how the Great Pyramid was built and how building it transformed Egyptian society. Watch on PBS.

CNN's Inside Africa: A CNN crew joined our team in March 2019 to show what it was like working on the Menkaure Valley Temple in Giza. This is the first video footage from the western part of the MVT, which until then had been buried under sand since George Reisner last saw it 100+ years ago. Watch on Vimeo.
Join AERA and help us explore further

Our members and donors support our excavations in Egypt, field school training, rescue archaeology, conservation, education and outreach. Members receive printed copies of AERAgrams and annual reports as soon as they are published. 
AERA is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt, nonprofit organization. Your membership or donation is tax deductible.
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