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Lecture: Egypt and Czech Egyptologists


Bojtos cFOCH web

On 5th April 2017 Suzanna Bojtos of Birkbeck College gave a fascinating talk, illustrated by excellent slides, on the contribution made by several Czech scholars to the excavation, preservation and interpretation of ancient Egyptian temples, tombs and inscriptions.

The first important Czech Egyptologist was František Lexa (1876-1960), who deciphered the inscriptions in the ancient Egyptian demotic language on the Rosetta Stone (now in the British Museum) discovered in 1798. He became the first Professor of Egyptology at Charles University in 1927 and the first Director of the Czechoslovak Institute of Egyptology in 1956. Lexa’s pupils included Jaroslav Černý (1898-1970), who for many years took part in the excavations at Deir el-Medina, a unique site that was a village inhabited by artisans working on the tombs in the Valley of the Kings and their families. He became Professor of Egyptology first at University College London and then at Oxford University.

EgyptCompoSmallAnother of Lexa’s pupils was Zbyněk Žába (1917-1971), who participated in the removal and relocation of temples (notably the two at Abu Simbel) threatened with being lost forever through the construction of the Aswan High Dam. He later became Director of the Czechoslovak Institute of Egyptology in succession to Lexa. All three of these Czech Egyptologists produced important books in several languages on their work and discoveries. It appears that items from Egypt held in Prague, in the Naprstkovo Museum are not exhibited publicly at the moment.

The event was organised with the cooperation of the Embassy of Slovakia.

Photograph of Suzanne Bojtos copyright FoCH.

IMAGES: clockwise from top left: courtesy of lecture, ©Olaf Tausch, courtesy of lecturer.

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