Sphinx


HISTORY AND ACTIVITIES OF THE INSTITUTE OF EGYPTOLOGY

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Preface

The Waseda University research project in Egypt started with our first general survey in 1966. The first excavation was done at the Malqata-south site on the West Bank of Luxor in January 1972. Our project was realized through the kindness of Dr. Gamal Mokhtar, who was at that time the Director of the Egyptian Antiquities Organization (E. A. O.).

Our research in Egypt has progressed steadily and smoothly, and we have been able to produce some notable results. Our major discoveries and achievements include the discovery of the colored staircase at the "Kom al-Samak", the discovery of some two hundred mummies in the private tomb at Shaikh 'Abd al-Qurna, the CT scanning survey of the discovered mummy and its feature restoration using a specialized computer graphics system.

However, in December 1978, Prof. Kiichi Kawamura, then the leader of the mission, and in January 1980 Prof. Tamotsu Ogata, a physical anthropologist and expert on mummies passed away. With the sad news of their sudden death, our project faced to a serious crisis. We are, therefore, delighted that despite various difficulties, the mission has continued to the present day with the support of Waseda University and a great numbers of people.

We have been continuously publishing the reports of our study and we have also made public the major results of our research through the media. Our fields in Egypt has also been pedagogically significant in providing good opportunities for young students to experience field studies and excavation methods.

The Institute of Egyptology has been carrying out several projects, including 1) Study of the private tombs on the West Bank of Luxor, 2) Research of the palace of Malqata, 3) Study of the pyramids in Abusir, 4) A survey of the Western Valley of the Kings. Different research teams have been organized to carry out these projects, each of which is expected to be completed in near future. The year 1995 was the 30th anniversary of the Egypt Archaeological Mission of Waseda University. We have now commenced our fourth decade. We would like to continue the research and hope young people will participate in our studies.

Sakuji YOSHIMURA, Director of the Institute of Egyptology, Waseda University


A Short History of Work in Egypt by Waseda University

The Waseda University research project in Egypt started with our first general survey in 1966. The survey was carried out from October 1966 to March 1967 by six members. Prof. Kiichi Kawamura, who was Lecturer at that time, and five students of Waseda University formed the basis of the Egypt Archaeological Mission. The artifacts, including lithic implements, fragments of pottery and etc., and many of party's photographs are now stored in the Institute of Egyptology of Waseda University.

The Egypt Archaeological Mission of Waseda University carried out its first archaeological survey in Egypt with the excavation of the Malqata-south site in January 1972. We have sent a research party consisting of specialists of different fields, such as archaeology, physical anthropology, architecture and history every year since 1972. and we have been able to make steady progress in our research.

Egyptology, the study of the great culture of ancient Egypt, is wide-ranging and deep-rooted. Understanding the scale of this academic field, we decided to take the predynastic culture as our first excavation in the Malqata-south site on the West Bank at Luxor. Above the predynastic stratum, we discovered stratum which consisted of the remains of the Roman settlement. The excavation of the Roman settlement was undertaken three times. Along with this, a survey of the palaeolithic sites in the desert was conducted to gather a large volume of lithic implements.

In the middle of January 1974, when the third season's field work was nearly at an end, a gently sloping staircase was discovered at the "Kom al-Samak" in the Malqata-south area. On the steps of the staircase, three kinds of life-sized figures of foreign captives were painted in color. A small hill, known as "Kom al-Samak" by the local people, was found to be the remains of a building constructed by Amenophis III in the 18th Dynasty. This news spread world-wide and was considered to be a universal discovery, thus urging us to make further research into the pharaonic culture. Around this time, Waseda House, our research institute and residence was built near the entrance to the Valley of the Kings and became the semipermanent base for our research project in Egypt.

Since 1980, we have been excavating and cleaning the private tombs of the New Kingdom on the West Bank of Thebes. Up to now, these projects have been carried out at al-Khokha, Shaikh 'Abd al-Qurna, and Dra' Abu al-Naga'. Together with the excavations, some comparative studies of different private tombs have been conducted in the Theban Necropolis. In 1985, we re-excavated a site at the palace of Malqata, which originally was surveyed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1910-1920. During our work at the palace, we were able to collect a great numbers of fragments of mural and ceiling paintings. These proved vital for us in making comparative studies with the painted fragments from the "Kom al-Samak" at Malqata-south.

Since September l989, we have surveyed the Western Valley of the Kings. We re-cleared the royal tomb of Amenophis III (WV22) and have started our restoration program inside this royal tomb.

We started our pyramids survey project in 1987 on the Giza Plateau. This survey was unique in that it employed advanced scientific technologies, thus avoiding any sort of destruction to the site. Since 1990, we have resited our main field from Giza to Abusir.


All correspondence should be sent to: Institute of Egyptology Institute of Egyptology (institute-egyptology@list.waseda.jp).


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(First drafted: 20 February 1996)
(Last revised: 25 January 2000)