Czech Egyptology - Part III

Photo: http://egypt.cuni.cz/Photo: http://egypt.cuni.cz/ The history of Ancient Egypt has been studied in the Czech lands for more than 100 years and Czechs have been actively involved in excavations in Egypt for over four decades. In today's programme we'll be looking at the most significant achievements of Czech Egyptologists. Jaromir Krejci of the Czech Institute of Egyptology.

"I can say that the most important find were the excavations of Neferefre's Mortuary Complex. Neferefre was a king of the Fifth Dynasty, it is about 2450 BC. During these excavations our expedition found a temple archive of this complex and this archive is very important for bringing the information and data concerning the economic situation and function of this temple. It is really very important."

This find was unearthed in 1982 by the expedition led by renowned Czech Egyptologist Miroslav Verner - the 14th Czechoslovak expedition since 1960 when Czechoslovak Egyptologists first received a concession to work at the Abusir archaeological site, southwest of the capital Cairo. Other important finds were unearthed during the 1980s.

"In the 1980s there were found also some fragments and some whole statues of the king. The range of the types of statues is very broad and it is comparable with the most significant finds of statues from the period of the Old Kingdom which is the period of the pyramid builders. And there are a lot of other finds."

Photo: http://egypt.cuni.cz/Photo: http://egypt.cuni.cz/ The dream of every Egyptologist is to discover an un-plundered tomb - something very rare considering that for many centuries, even thousands of years tomb robbers have been looking for treasures buried along with the dead. Well, that dream came true for Czech Egyptologists in 1996. Jaromir Krejci.

"Another important find I would like to emphasise is the find of the un-robbed shaft tomb of the priest Iufaa. He lived at the end of the so-called Saite period and at the beginning of the Persian conquest of Egypt at the end of the 6th century BC. It is important because it was un-robbed. It was the first find of this type - an un-robbed rich tomb after more than fifty years."

The find was widely reported in the world press as was the exploration of the 4,300 year old tomb of a nobleman in the year 2000. The Czech team then unearthed a sarcophagus with the remnants of the man's mummy, as well as parts of his funerary equipment consisting mainly of miniature alabaster vessels and copper tools.

Among a few hundred foreign expeditions, the Czech team is one of only about a dozen which have been granted permanent status in Egypt. Thanks to the renewable concession at the Abusir excavation site, Czech Egyptologists say there will be plenty of work for future generations of Czech experts.