When Wizz Was in Warsaw

I am writing this post from my room at Fleischer’s Hotel at Voss, the famous sport resort north of Bergen. I am here for the annual seminar of the institute of Archaeology, History, Cultural and Religious Studies at the University of Bergen. The discussions have been very interesting, either they concerned the challenges for humanistic studies in the future, or the administrative innovations to smoothen procedures and advance righteous conditions for academic work. As a researcher of religion though, I considered as the cherry on the top of the cake served here in Voss today the round table which closed the proceedings and where a representative from each discipline talked about the way they perceive and work with the main term of one of the disciplines of our institute, namely ‘religion’! What I mostly keep from this debate is the wish to find an overarching topic where all disciplines can contribute studying precisely under the umbrella of a religious theme – I remain silent as to the particular idea so as not to blow away the chances for the surprise element in a future application that can implement interdisciplinary cooperation at our institute!

In any case, what I want to write about tonight has to do with the trip I made before coming to Voss: last Thursday right after finishing the courses of Introduction to Coptic, I flew to Warsaw where I would participate in a weekend workshop on progress reporting in view of the publication of the archaeological record from the Nubian monastery at Qasr el Wizz in nowadays Egypt. It would be impossible to describe the intensity of the work during the weekend with Artur Obluski (architecture and chief editor), Dobrochna Zielinska (wall paintings) and Kate Danys-Lasek (ceramics), or to summarize the ideas exchanged both on topics directly related with the Wizz monastery and on more general matters of the cultural, artistic, religious and literary phenomena that characterized Qasr el Wizz, Nobadia, and Makuria. I admit, however, that I have never felt so satisfied by the way conclusions reached independently by all four collaborators painted such a harmonious picture of Christian Nubia and enhanced so magnificently our understanding of its most distinctive characteristics! Mashallah and already looking forward to meeting again in spring for the second (out of three) steps towards publication…

But the visit to Poland had a surprise for me of first order! On Friday night the National Museum of Warsaw welcomed hundreds of guests for the opening of the renovated Faras Gallery dedicated to professor Kazimierz Michalowski. I have never seen so many non-Nubiologists gathered for a Nubiological event. Or wasn’t it really so? Was it rather that the guests were there because they wanted to pay their respects to the President of the country, the benefactors for the renovation and the venue, ministers, directors of museum etc. who in the end had almost nothing to say about Faras, Nubia, Sudan, and their colleagues from the University and the Academy who continue the work of Michalowski? I guess this would be the case in all the countries of the world, right? Especially when the antiquities are so important and beautiful, and the display so well thought and prepared with the support of the latest technology that the exhibition speaks for itself. So, let me stop here letting the pictures from Warsaw (taken mostly by Dobrochna) speak for themselves…

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One Response to When Wizz Was in Warsaw

  1. Pingback: Around the Archaeology Blog-o-sphere Digest #8 | Doug's Archaeology

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