t3.wy Foundation for Historical Research in Egyptology: "Excavating in Archives"
Somewhere in the mid-19th century, the word “Egyptology” was coined: The name connotes the scientific study of ancient Egyptian history, language, literature, religion, architecture and art from the 5th millennium BC until the end of the 4th century AD. Some 165 years later, Egyptology has become part of history, and now there is a movement afoot to investigate and study its evolution.
The t3.wy Project has been a frontrunner in this field: In June 2009, with the aid of a small staff, Marcel and Monica Maessen set up a website to draw attention to the subject of Egyptian dig houses. These houses, scattered all over Egypt, are where the first Egyptologists spent their professional as well as their private lives while excavating in Egypt. These houses were usually built close to their work, and therefore their histories contain much information about the excavations and also about the people who lived there.
This specific subject ánd the accompanying website provoked an outpouring of interest from academics and the general public alike. As a result, it was decided to take this private project to the next level by starting a non-profit Foundation. The t3.wy Foundation, as it will be called for short, was established on July 4., 2014. The reason for establishing a Foundation was to raise much-needed funds enabling the team to continue and expand in-depth research on dig houses and other topics, directly related to the history of Egyptology. Since the Foundation will be based in the Netherlands, it also has a Dutch name, “Stichting t3.wy Historisch Onderzoek Egyptologie”. In English: “The t3.wy Foundation for Historical Research in Egyptology”
Travellers and scientists began to visit Egypt many centuries ago, and when they left, a lot of information left the country with them. We are not only talking about the obvious objects leaving the country to wind up in museums, universities and private collections all over the world, but also about photographic evidence and correspondence. Unfortunately, many of these valuable pieces of information were never documented, studied or published. In fact, thousands of letters and photographic evidence are stored in museum archives, while hundreds of thousands object languish in storehouses, some still in the original box or crate they arrived in. Lack of interest, funds and/or manpower has prevented specialists from giving the objects the attention they deserved. Research associated with the history of Egyptology can be useful in helping track down the original location of unplaced objects and bring them to light. Besides that, Research associated with history of Egyptology can also shed lights on other aspects, such as: The Egyptologist’s social life; Context between Ancient artefacts, which has been overlooked until now, the way of constructing houses in Egypt and the influence foreigners had on this, etc.
Not unlike Egyptology itself, the history of Egyptology potentially has many different aspects that could be researched. For the time being, the t3.wy Foundation for Historical Research in Egyptologyfocuses its attention to the following three subjects:
In due time – and this part of the project would rely heavily on funding – the Foundation would like to set up the jewel in its crown: AIPP, the Antiquities Inventory and Publication Project, in which we would like to bring together all those “forgotten” objects, at one time brought from Egypt and “dropped” al over the world in Museums and bring them together in one central database for scholars to be studied. Since this would require efforts beyond the – current – capabilities of the Foundation, we will not start with this project immediately, but gradually start working on it.
- The research, description and publication of dig houses in Egypt, DHP (Dig House Project),
- Discovering, researching, describing and, if necessary, restoring historical photographs and (glass) negatives and slides of Egyptian antiquities, HPRPP (Historical Photo Research & Preservation Project),
- Investigating and publishing correspondence from Egyptologists from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century, ECP (Egyptologist Correspondence Project).