Past, present, and future discoveries

In the previous entry, we were referring to life on Sai in the dig house of the French Mission from the University of Lille. A particular importance of this house is that it hosts most of the archaeological material found by the French and their collaborators – like the GNM – and which still is under study.

Thus, the objects kept there are under protection until a permanent solution is found for them. Such solutions – presented in a qualitatively degrading order – may be: a local museum built on the island, giving pride and income to the Sikoot; the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums in Khartoum gathers them in the already flooded by antiquities premises of the National Museum; they are flooded along with the monumental antiquities of the region under the waters of an artificial lake created by the dam on the Dal Cataract as contemplated by the Sudanese government…

For the time being, the most impressive part of the collection in the French dig house concerns the architectural spolia that are kept in the nice lapidarium of the inner courtyard. They may be few in number compared to what lies on the ground at the fortress site and elsewhere on the island, but at least they are organized in a meaningful order for the researchers.

There is only one such fragment from the rich architectural tradition of the Christian society on Sai Island that has found its way to the display of the Khartoum museum, namely an object coded SNM 444 that is none other than a pink sandstone capital that was collected from the island during the colonial period, and thus earlier than the French concession started in 1969.

During our works on Sai we have sampled similar finds among the collection of the dig house. They might not be objects worth of being exhibited in some great museum, but they tell together with their “brother” in the Sudan National Museum an interesting small story of the architectural achievement of the Christian communities on Sai, to which we will return for sure in a different venue.

The rest of today’s entry, will be concentrated on fieldwork by a Greek colleague excavating in Egypt, namely Mrs. Limneou-Papakosta who made during her digs in Shallalat Gardens of Alexandria a magnificent find that got already its place among the exhibits of the museum at Alexandria: a marble statue of Alexander the Great!

The Hellenic Research Institute of the Alexandrian Civilization (H.R.I.A.C.) that she is directing is going back to field in spring 2012 and the research will be concentrated on the exploration and documentation of a complex of glass laboratory and warehouse above the area that the statue was found. It is important to note that the Institute is accepting graduate and post-graduates students in an archaeological field school conducted in the frame of the expedition’s digging. Thus, lots of chances for archaeological action and sensational discoveries!

Of course there are procedures to be followed, fees to be paid, interest to be proven, but there is place for 20 participants and in the end of the program a certificate of attendance will be provided. For more information, one can check the official web page of the Institute: www.hriac.com Just keep in mind that applications can be submitted until the 10th of December!

We will close with the wish that sooner or later we will also manage to bring devoted students, interested researchers, and professional field archaeologists to the discoveries that lie ahead for the Greek-Norwegian Archaeological Mission…

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