Ancient Egypt Research Associates

Posted by Richard Redding

Sorry for the interruption in our blog of the 2011 season at Giza. I know this only the second entry! Unless you live in a cave you must be aware of recent events in Egypt. We lost the internet on Wednesday the 26th and cell phones the next day. The cell phones came back on Monday.

We have had an exciting few days at Giza. Demonstrations began last week on Tuesday. Our dig house is located within walking distance of the pyramids and was, until Friday night far from the demonstrations in downtown Cairo. Late Friday night demonstrators came up Pyramids Avenue and destroyed the police post on the corner. The police had long since fled. Within an hour the army started moving into Cairo and a large number of tanks and armored personnel carriers moved along Pyramids Avenue. They used the square near us as a staging area and we saw tanks unloaded from their carriers and columns of tanks and armored personnel carriers forming up to head into the city. The demonstrators greeted the army with cheers, as the army is well respected and seen as a balance to the police. Reports of short battles between the police and the army were carried on the news.

The curfew ensued and we have been locked down since last Saturday. Every night the army blocks the streets at curfew and checks identification and searches anyone on the street. The curfew has been eased a bit today but will start again at 5pm.

Fortunately, archaeology is only partly about digging; even this early in our season we have paper work to do. Some of the crew is working on digitizing the first two weeks worth of plans, others are writing reports, entering field notes into the database and reviewing notes.

Our mixed crew of Egyptians, Americans, British, Canadians, Japanese, French, Portuguese, Swedes, and Norwegians is safe and eager to get back to work. Morale is high. We hope to be able to go back to work on the Giza Plateau on Saturday, but….

We will try to start blogging again tomorrow.

Hard at work despite the demonstrations (left to right: Delphine Driaux, Hillary Mcdonald and Simon Davis)

Armored vehicles in the nearby square

Armored vehicles in the nearby square