Emory Report

February 7, 2000

 Volume 52, No. 20

Egyptian studies organization debuts with lecture at Carlos

The Carlos Museum will host a lecture by Richard Fazzini, president of the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE), on Feb. 10 at 3:30 p.m.

The lecture, titled "In Search of the Queen of the Gods of Thebes: Excavations in the Temple Precinct of the Goddess Mut at Karnak," is free and open to the public.

Fazzini chairs the Depart-ment of Egyptian, Classical and Ancient Middle Eastern Art at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York, where he has been for 32 years. He is in charge of what is generally viewed as one of the finest collections of ancient Egyptian art in the world.

ARCE, which has offices at Emory West and in Cairo, is a U.S.-based professional society for experts on Egypt of all periods. It funds archaeological and academic research and is heavily involved in conservation projects of Egyptian monuments and antiquities.

ARCE is currently sponsoring more than 20 projects and expeditions in Egypt, in addition to the pre- and postdoctoral research of 15 ARCE fellows in the field during the 1999­2000 academic year. It focuses not only on Egyptology, but also on art, architecture, historical studies and Islamic studies.

If ARCE is an unfamiliar acronym, that's understandable. The organization only opened its doors in Atlanta at the beginning of the year after more than 50 years based in New York. As of Jan. 1, ARCE officially changed its affiliation from New York University to Emory, a relationship that was already strong. For instance, religion Professor Richard Martin sits on ARCE's governing board and executive committee, and the organization's 1,200 domestic members also include Peter Lacovara, curator of the Carlos Museum, and art history Professor Gay Robbins.

"It's best for ARCE to be associated with a university," Fazzini said. "Especially one that has representatives on its faculty that are relevant to ARCE. When Emory expressed an interest, [I thought] it was wonderful."

Fazzini splits his time between the U.S. and Egyptian sites, including the Karnak Temple dig, where excavation first began in 1976. Since the buildings are not very tall--and, therefore, further from the surface--it is still somewhat unknown. Fazzini hopes it will be the first Egyptian temple to be completely unearthed.

The Karnak Temple complex, which spans 20 acres, is located in northern Luxor in Upper Egypt, about 400 miles south of Cairo. It consists of three major temples, and a number of smaller structures.

The expedition is investigating both the Mut Temple and the linkages between the site's known temples as well as improving knowledge of the site's individual structures and its development as a precinct. The precinct excavations involve habitations of several periods. Restoration of monuments is also a part of the expedition's program.

The temple dates to approximately 1550 B.C. According to Fazzini, most temples to goddesses were rebuilt between 305­30 B.C., but that is not the case with Karnak.

The fact that the architecture is original provides Egyptologists with an excellent barometer to measure the area's different cultures, as well as the time periods in which they thrived. "It's really nice to have early evidence to prove or disprove what you know later," Fazzini said.

The Fazzini lecture is the first of what ARCE hopes will be many public programs at Emory. "The affiliation [with Emory] is closer than with New York University," said Susanne Thomas, coordinator of U.S. operations. "We anticipate doing more together."

So far Fazzini has had introductory meetings with a dean and several faculty members regarding ARCE's new relationship. "I'll be interested to see what the faculty has to say," he said.

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