Sunday,21 October, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1362, (28 September - 4 October 2017)
Sunday,21 October, 2018
Issue 1362, (28 September - 4 October 2017)

Ahram Weekly

An archaeologist remembered

Egyptian archaeologist Atteya Radwan is remembered in the latest edition of the Annales du Service des Antiquités de l’Egypte, writes Hussein Bashir

Atteya Radwan
Atteya Radwan

The death of Egyptian archaeologist Atteya Radwan in 2012 was a great shock to me personally and to many other archaeologists and Egyptologists all over the world.

I had known Radwan for a long time, but I have never been able to forget my first meeting with him at the prehistoric site of Nabta Playa in Egypt’s southwestern desert where we were working together on an expedition run by Southern Methodist University in the United States under the supervision of the late Fred Wendorf.

Radwan was a very brave, supportive and generous man, qualities that were immediately evident on our first meeting, and he had an amazing sense of humour. He was one of the few individuals that you are never likely to forget even after a single meeting. For many people, he was a best friend.    

The Ministry of Antiquities has now dedicated Volume 88 of its Annales du Service des Antiquités de l’Egypte to Radwan. It includes reports and articles on different Egyptological topics by Egyptian and foreign Egyptologists and archaeologists, as well as a review of my own recent book Voice and Image in Saite Egypt: Self-Presentations of Neshor Named Psamtikmenkhib and Payeftjauemawyneith (Wilkinson Egyptology Series Volume II. Tucson: University of Arizona).

The volume has been produced in recognition of the great achievements, sincere dedication, and hard work of Radwan in the service of Egypt and its antiquities and museums.

Radwan held a position as an archaeologist at the Egyptian Antiquities Organisation (EAO), later the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), and now the Ministry of Antiquities. He held prestigious positions at the SCA, where he as head of the Museums Sector and of the Central Administration for Upper Egyptian and Oasis Antiquities in the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector.

Radwan was born on 5 March 1953 in Daqahleya and graduated from the Department of Graeco-Roman Antiquities in the Faculty of Arts at Alexandria University in 1975. He started his career at the EAO as inspector of ancient Egyptian antiquities in Daqahleya in 1978 and then of Abu Simbel in 1984, becoming chief inspector of antiquities in 1986.

In 1997, he became director of Aswan and Nubia Antiquities, and in 2001 he was promoted to director of the Desert Antiquities Administration, also becoming director of the Excavation Administration and supervisor of Under-Water Archaeology in the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector in 2002. He had been a member of the Permanent Committee of Ancient Egyptian Antiquities at the SCA since 2002.

In 2005, he became the director of the Delta, Sinai, and Northern Coast Antiquities in the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector, and in 2007 he was appointed head of the Central Administration for Upper Egyptian and Oasis Antiquities in the same sector. He was later appointed head of the Museums Sector and then head of the Egyptian Antiquities Museum at the Egyptian Academy of Arts in Rome.

Radwan took part in various courses on fieldwork and excavation, such as that given by the Southern Methodist University in Texas in 1992, and on excavation, mapping, and archaeological surveying, such as that organised at Washington State University in 1994. He was appointed the supervisor of SCA archaeologists at the Mit Rahina Field School with the American Research Centre in Egypt (ARCE) in 1995, becoming head trainer in 1996 and deputy director in 1997. With the cooperation of the ARCE and Southern Methodist University, he trained SCA archaeologists on excavating prehistoric sites, mapping and archaeological surveying in 2000 and 2003.

He also participated in the excavation of the site of Sirte in Libya in 2003 and supervised a training course for Egyptian archaeologists at the Scientific Centre in Sinai in 2004-2005 and in Luxor in 2005.

Radwan took part in many international and national conferences and symposia in Egypt and abroad, including his participation in a conference on desert antiquities at University College London in the UK in 1998 and at a later conference on Egyptology in Trier in Germany. He gave presentations at the German Archaeological Institute in Heidelberg and Berlin and at the University of Gottingen in 1999. He also accompanied the Ramses II exhibition in Dallas, Texas, in 1989, and the Egyptian exhibition in Basel, Switzerland, in 2004.

He worked with many foreign archaeological expeditions in Egypt, such as that of the Brooklyn Museum to the Valley of the Kings in 1979, the Austrian expedition to Faqus in the Sharqeya governorate in 1980, the American Prehistoric Expedition to the Western Desert in 1980, the German expedition to Qantir in Faqus in 1981-1982, and the American Prehistoric Expedition to Wadi Al-Qubaneya west of Aswan in 1981-1984.

He excavated at many archaeological sites in Egypt, including Tabosiris Magna in 2005-2007, Al-Dabaa on the Northern Coast in 2007, Luxor in 2003, the Dakhla Oasis in 2002-2005, and Edfu in 1998. He was head of the archaeological team for the drainage project at the Karnak and Luxor Temples in Luxor. In 2012, he left his position at the Egyptian Academy of Arts in Rome and returned to Cairo as a result of illness. He died while still holding the position in his beloved home city of Mansoura.

Radwan has been sorely missed, and his death at such a young age was a great loss to Egyptian archaeology even as his achievements will remain appreciated forever as the appearance of the present edition of the Annales du Service des Antiquités de l’Egypte testifies.

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