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maquette vis archimede

Jean-Yves Empereur
Director of CEAlex
September 2012
The hill of broken amphora at Akademia, with a buiding house on the site
Valérie Pichot
@ CEAlex.

The Centre d’Études Alexandrines has had a hard working summer despite the high temperatures that ran throughout the month of Ramadan. We were probably the only team to be excavating in Egypt over the summer season, though it is true that the sea breeze refreshes the coast and the heat, while humid at times, is more tolerable than that of Cairo or Luxor.

Smouha

Thanks to the prevailing calm and the assistance of the Supreme Council for Antiquities, we have undertaken two digs simultaneously. The first was a new campaign in Smouha, in the south-east of the city about 3km from the centre of town. This excavation, commissioned by the Mariemont Museum of Belgium, has already revealed granite colonnades and a wealth of material from the Hellenistic era. A new sector of 17000m2 is under exploration with, it appears, the banks of a lake next to a monumental ensemble. The dig will continue throughout autumn and the first results will be published in the Cahiers de Mariemont.

The new excavation site at Smouha.
Photo M.-C. Bruwier

On the southern shore of Lake Mariout, the first excavation campaign on the Akademia site, 1km south of Marea, has unearthed a workshop for manufacturing amphora upon the hill that stands as the ultimate link in the chain of some 30-odd workshops discovered at the end of the 1970S. A presentation of this dig can be seen on the web site www.amphoralex.org. This excavation is financially supported by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and we are very appreciative of their assistance.

akademia2012
Le relevé d'une coupe stratigraphique du dépotoir d'amphores.
Cliché V. Pichot, © CEAlex

Regarding the amphoras of the Amphoralex site, I should point out that one can now consult the on-line catalogue of matrices of amphora stamps of Rhodian eponyms. They now number 5222, and 540 matrices of Rhodian producers have been added to the data base. This catalogue will also be available as a paper copy during 2013.

The mosaic restoration programme continues with completion of work on the Nilotic mosaic of Thmouis, the panels of which have been assembled to recreate this remarkable ensemble of more than 16m2. In collaboration with the Director of Alexandria’s Museums, we have drawn up an inventory of the mosaics requiring restoration in the storerooms of the Maritime Museum and we are ready to follow up our efforts with a view to the eventual opening of a Museum of Mosaics here in Alexandria.

mosaique nilotique 2012
The panels of the Nilotic mosaic being assembled.
Photo A. Pelle, © CEAlex

The projected digitising of the francophone press of Egypt moves forward. The on-line collection now counts more than 18000 pages, which represents a considerable resource for historians of all fields. We are now working towards widening this project to include the digitising of Egypt’s italophone and hellenophone press by creating a European project with our Egyptian, Greek and Italian partners.

Our publications advance with no less than 5 volumes going to press - two books about coinage discovered during our excavations, a study of the commercial practices of Venetian merchants in Alexandria during the Middle Ages, a book on Death and the Child in Antiquity, and the first volume of the catalogue of the Alexandria University Museum. They can be ordered from the bookshop Boccard in Paris (www.deboccard.com) as can previous volumes (Les Amphores égyptiennes by Delphine Dixneuf and Alexandrie médiévale 4, as well as the collection Du Nil à Alexandrie edited by Isabelle Hairy).

The exhibition of the same name, Du Nil à Alexandrie, first presented in Neuchâtel, ended its run in the Tessé Museum of Le Mans on 27 May where it was enjoyed by a record 28000 visitors (see www.expo-nilalexandrie.fr). It will next be mounted in Mariemont, south of Brussels, during 2013. In the same spirit of sharing knowledge, we have increased our collection of documentary films, with new titles on sewn boats, the vessels of Lake Borollos and others.
To see the presentation : clic here

The third set of Heritage Days is under preparation by our Educational Outreach Service. This will take place between 14 and 19 October 2012 and we are expecting the audience to overtake the 2000 participants of last year.

The coming autumn and winter look to be loaded with events, with a new excavation campaign on the underwater site of the Pharos of Alexandria, the on-going dig in Smouha, and a conference bringing together specialist in Alexandrian numismatics. I would like to thank all those who support us in our efforts to preserve and present Alexandria’s heritage, notably the members of the Friends of CEAlex in its two regional sections, Sarthe-Alexandrie and Alexandrie-Île-de-France


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