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History Buff, a blog for history lovers everywhere! History Buff brings
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Fifty years of Czech Egyptology
By Ondřej Bouda
Staff Writer, The Prague Post
President Václav Klaus will open one exhibit in Cairo April 7. Two others are also planned for Prague, one at Liechtenstein Palace April 17, and the other this fall at the Náprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures. The institute is also publishing several books about its five decades of achievements. One of the greatest accomplishments is the institute’s participation in the UNESCO effort to save ancient Egyptian monuments in Nubia during the 1960s after the Egyptian government asked the international community for help when the construction of the Aswan High Dam threatened to flood priceless artifacts.
As a reward for those efforts, the Egyptian government granted Czechoslovak Egyptologists one of the largest concessions for excavations ever issued, and for the past 40 years local scientists have made several important discoveries in the Abusir necropolis located some 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of Cairo.
“The scholarly achievements of Czech Egyptologists as well as demanding reconstruction work have contributed to the fact that Abusir is now considered one of the most important archeological sites both in Egypt and worldwide,” said professor Miroslav Verner, who participated in the Nubian rescue and has led Czech excavations in Abusir since the 1970s.
Egyptology had its place in Czechoslovakia even before the institute’s founding. In the 1930s, Charles University was one of a few institutions worldwide to teach the ancient Egyptian language Demotic. Professor František Lexa, who taught the subject, went on to found the institute with his associates after World War II in order to create proper facilities and a framework for organized research.
Read the rest here.