April 22, 2019
Egyptology PhD candidate Vicky Almansa
I completed my research trip to Giza (Egypt) on April 5, 2019. As a collaborator of the Giza Plateau Mapping Project (GPMP) and part of the Ancient Egypt Research Associates (AERA) 2019 team, I spent two months excavating, mapping, and recording archaeological material from the Menkaura Valley Temple (ca. 2500 BCE). This experience has been incredibly beneficial to me at different levels.
First, for my Ph.D. studies at the department of Egyptology and Assyriology, I am writing a dissertation on the sociolinguistic aspects in letters and administrative documents from the same time period as the archaeological sites in the Giza plateau. Three of the documents from my corpus of dissertation sources were uncovered a hundred years ago in the same temple that I have been excavating for the past two months. We believe that some of the findings of this season, the publication of which I am currently collaborating on, might provide new insights into the content of these texts.
Second, this has been a unique opportunity to get myself familiarized with the very meticulous Museum of London Archaeology methodology for registering archaeological features. I am proud to have participated in a project that takes archaeological documentation as seriously as AERA does, and besides helping with the findings and contexts’ registration, I have humbly contributed drawing and mapping the site and making 3D models and photogrammetry.
Finally, and at a more personal level, I need to highlight the necessity of experiencing modern Egypt in order to understand its past. During my daily interactions with Egyptians I was delighted by their affectionate, humble and helpful manners which are an exact reproduction of the hospitable nature of Egyptians in ancient texts. As a person who works on social factors that affect language, I surprised myself finding the same formulae of polite and hierarchical linguistic exchange in conversations that I analyze in letters for my dissertation.