Wednesday,15 August, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1352, (13 - 19 July 2017)
Wednesday,15 August, 2018
Issue 1352, (13 - 19 July 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Mistress of the Graeco-Roman Museum

Mervat Seifeddin is a distinguished Egyptian historian and archaeologist who has long graced Alexandria’s Graeco-Roman Museum, writes Hussein Bassir


Mervat Seifeddin
Mervat Seifeddin

It is a great pleasure to write about Mervat Seifeddin, the mistress of the Graeco-Roman Museum in Alexandria.

I first met Seifeddin at the Graeco-Roman Museum in 1996 when I was starting my early career at the Supreme Council of Antiquities (now the Ministry of Antiquities). I did not know her at the beginning. She was working as the deputy director of the museum at the time, and she had a reputation for brilliance. When I asked her about anything, I found a very passionate scholar and highly dedicated museum official as well as a very helpful person.

In 2003, I went to the Johns Hopkins University in the US to get a PhD in Egyptology and Near Eastern Archaeology, and I heard that Seifeddin had taught at the University of Maryland in Baltimore from 2001 to 2002.

When I was later in charge of the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation in Al-Fustat in Cairo, I went with colleagues to choose some artefacts from the Graeco-Roman Museum collection in Alexandria. However, the museum was closed at the time, and we went to Tabat Al-Nahasseen to locate some of the artefacts stored there, where I met with her again. She gave us tremendous help in this scholarly and curatorial mission.       

Seifeddin was born in Alexandria in December 1953, where she attended elementary, middle and high school. She received a BA degree in Graeco-Roman antiquities from the Faculty of Arts at Alexandria University in 1974. In 1975, she started a MA on the “Portraits of Ptolemaic Kings and Queens” supervised by Dawoud Abdou Dawoud. In 1976, she joined the Graeco-Roman Museum in Alexandria as a curatorial assistant. In 1985 she received her PhD from Trier University in Germany.

She has taught at the Department of Tourism at Cairo University (1993-1997) and Helwan University (1993-2012). She has also taught at Maryland University in the US (2001-2002) and the Alexandria Centre for Hellenistic Studies (2009-2015). She was the director of the Graeco-Roman Museum in Alexandria from 2004 to 2010 and served as director of scientific supervision at the Ministry of Antiquities from 2010 to 2012.

During her distinguished career, Seifeddin has participated in many international activities and events. In 1988, she participated in a conference in Greece with a paper entitled “The Plaster Moulds of the Gayer Anderson Collection from the Graeco-Roman Museum”, and she took part in a conference in Cairo in 1992 on the interaction between Egypt and India. In 1993, she took part in a conference in Cairo on the 100th anniversary of the Archaeology Society of Alexandria.

She has conducted a study of the faience collection at the Graeco-Roman Museum. She supervised the Egyptian side of the French-Egyptian archaeological mission working in Al-Qabbari and Abusir from 1997 to 2001.

She has also served as a member of the Higher Committee of Egyptian Antiquities, and was appointed to the board of the Graeco-Roman Museum and of the Egyptian museums. Seifeddin is a member of the Archaeology Society of Alexandria and of the German Institute in Cairo. She also serves on the International Committee of Museums.

In 2015, in recognition of her distinguished career she won the Appreciation Award for Scholarly Distinction given by the Arab Association of Archaeologists.

This article is a token of love and gratitude to Mervat Seifeddin, mistress of the Graeco-Roman Museum in Alexandria, in recognition of her long career and great achievements at the museum and her work to safeguard the antiquities of Alexandria and further Graeco-Roman studies in Egypt and across the world.

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