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"Ägyptens versunkene Schätze" - a review
#1
Today, I went to Bonn with Jurjen, Jasper, and my best friend Marco, to see the exhibition "Ägyptens versunkene Schätze". You can see many objects that were found by divers in the lagoon of Alexandria, and must have belonged to the residential area of the palace of the Ptolemaic kings. Some objects were really beautiful, like the head of the Nile god at the beginning of the exhibition and a large stela of pharaoh Nectanebo. The displays themselves were excellent and the explanations were adequate.

Still, I was a bit disappointed. This exposition is certainly worth a visit -no doubt about that- but it must be noted that taking photos is not allowed. I sincerely regret this, because I like to study objects later, at my leisure. We bought a catalogue, but the details one wants to study are never the ones selected by professional photographers. There is something wrong here. A museum that obstructs study has something to explain.

My main objection, however, is that most objects were just art for art’s sake. There were some ceramics and coins, but utensils from daily life (which must have been the majority of the finds) were almost neglected. As a consequence, the context of the finds was missing; it was just art and some explanation, but the real questions remained unanswered. What I would have liked to know was, for example:

* Who were the artists? Greeks, Egyptians, Macedonians, others?
* Were these sculptures unique, or must we assume that other Hellenistic capitals had similar statues, busts, inscriptions?
* Did these discoveries change our perspective on Greek and Egyptian art?

Et cetera. None of these questions received an adequate answer. Instead, there were several beautiful photos, like the one below (©FGS).
[Image: diver.jpg]
Now look how carefully this photo was arranged, with the light source that illuminates the statue hidden behind the obect in the hand of the diver. I can not remember one single photo on which I could see the tools of an archaeologist, like measuring tape. Was I looking at the finds of a professional underwater excavation, or at the results of mere treasure hunting?

Oh yes, the exhibition conveyed a sense of adventure. And it was all very beautiful. But the real questions remained unanswered and consequently, my overall impression was that it was all rather empty.
Jona Lendering
Relevance is the enemy of history
My website
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#2
http://www.franckgoddio.org/Sitemap/Pro ... fault.aspx
look at the last pic
If someone is presenting result like this
http://www.franckgoddio.org/Sitemap/Pro ... t=0005.xml
he can not be treasure hunter
Stefan Pop-Lazic
by a stuff demand, and personal hesitation
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#3
More:

[Image: ALEX98-CG105.jpg]

[Image: ALEX-CLEO-PAL-JD-089.jpg]

[Image: Where.jpg]
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Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#4
These discoveries were documented on a Discovery Channel program, and were all documented as archaeological discoveries, so it should not be doubted that it was done correctly! I was most facinated, and jealous of course!
Visne partem mei capere? Comminus agamus! * Me semper rogo, Quid faceret Iulius Caesar? * Confidence is a good thing! Overconfidence is too much of a good thing.
[b]Legio XIIII GMV. (Q. Magivs)RMRS Remember Atuatuca! Vengence will be ours!
Titus Flavius Germanus
Batavian Coh I
Byron Angel
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#5
Of course Goddio has not received his permit to dive in the Alexandria lagoon for nothing. Whatever you think about Egypt's director of the archaeological service, Mr Zahi Hawass, he is a professional. But I was reviewing not an excavation (or "exdiving", if such a word exists), but an exposition. I would have preferred a bit less beauty and a bit more context & science.
Jona Lendering
Relevance is the enemy of history
My website
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#6
Yes I understand. One with out the other is just an art exhibition, or something that will not attract the public. It must be a difficult task to decide how to weight an exhibition between scientific detail, and aesthetic content..... I would like more detailed explanations on exhibits myself, if not a scientific report....some leave a lot to the imagination....! :?
Visne partem mei capere? Comminus agamus! * Me semper rogo, Quid faceret Iulius Caesar? * Confidence is a good thing! Overconfidence is too much of a good thing.
[b]Legio XIIII GMV. (Q. Magivs)RMRS Remember Atuatuca! Vengence will be ours!
Titus Flavius Germanus
Batavian Coh I
Byron Angel
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#7
Goddio is certainly an interesting character, one of several in Alexandrian archaeology these days, and not the only one working in the water; the Centre d'Études Alexandrines under J.-Y. Empereur is concentrating on the area around Qaitbay, the presumed site of the Pharos lighthouse.

We always wish that publications were more readily available; all of Goddio's stuff seems to be glossy coffee-table books and not the sort of details that one wants from an academic standpoint.


On a related note, just published is Judith McKenzie's new book, The Architecture of Alexandria and Egypt 300 B.C.--A.D. 700, which I have not yet seen, but promises to be quite interesting.
Dan Diffendale
Ph.D. candidate, University of Michigan
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