By definition, starting to work on an excavation site, or dig, means uncovering layer by layer what man and nature have accumulated, until discovering the first level of occupancy. Today it’s normal for archaeologists to immortalise the progression of a dig with photographs, but it wasn’t always that way. For these mid 19th century researchers to take a bulky camera and record the objects they found and take “souvenirs” of unfinished and often selective work, was a pioneering approach.
Archaeological photography did not catch on immediately with archaeologists. Shortcomings in technical procedures and in setting up the devices, together with the chemical and optical knowledge required, meant there were few volunteers in the beginning. It wasn’t until some Egyptologists who were also amateur photographers became interested from a scientific point of view, for communicating discoveries, for appealing for public subsidies, that photography finally found the place it holds today.
Through about 30 pictures, the exhibition will present the technical evolution of photography from its origins up to the early 20th century (from slides to films). It will show the various types of camera shots still used by archaeologists today (study of the lie of the land, cartography, photography for purposes of communication…).
Between commercial shots based on the visible and scientific photographs detecting, for example, the context of a fragment just unearthed, the visitor will discover the different techniques of these specialists in photogenic drawing and/or archaeology.
Djehutyhotep was the last governor (nomarch) of the Hare Nome (or province), who lived under Amenemhet II, Senusret II and Senusret III. He had a large tomb build in the Dayr el-Bersha necropolis, where his forebears have also been buried. Excavated in the late 19th century, the cemetery is now explored by Pr. Harco Willems and his team, from the University of Leuven, Belgium (). His recent research has shed light on the spatial organization of the burial places: the higher the tomb was in the mountain, the more the owner was important. The nomarchs’ burial grounds, carved into the cliff, thus dominated the landscape. A processional path led up to them and was used during the annual festival for the dead or for funerals.
Here you discover and its painted and sculptured decoration. One of the most famous scenes describes the transport of a colossal statue representing the nomarch’s image; 172 men are pulling the statue towards the chapel dedicated to this important figure (the ka chapel), which would have been situated below the cemetery, in the village of Tjerty.
For a complete description of the tomb of Djehutyhotep, see .