The British Ambassador to Egypt celebrated the opening of the “Excavating the Archive” exhibition at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, which was brought all the way from the Griffith Institute, the centre for Egyptology at the University of Oxford, and displayed in Egypt for the first time at the British Embassy in Cairo in May 2023 in celebration of the Tutankhamun centenary.
The exhibition presents a vivid and first-hand account of the discovery, through photographs, letters, plans, drawings and diaries from an archive originally created by excavators led by Howard Carter and then presented after Carter’s death to the Griffith Institute.
It aims to shine a light on the Egyptian members of Carter’s archaeological team and the crucial role they played in discovering the find of the century.
It is now located next to King Tutankhamun's collection in the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, where the famous golden burial mask is displayed.
After giving the opening speech, Dr Ali Abdelhalim, Director of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, handed the floor to the British Ambassador to Egypt Gareth Bayley to give the keynote speech.
Attending the exhibition was Dr Hisham El-Leithy, Under Secretary of State for Documentation of Egyptian Antiquities, and Dr Daniela Rosenow, Manager of the Griffith Institute and one of the curators of the exhibition, who gave a tour to the Ambassador and senior colleagues at the exhibition.
In addition to the opening of the “Excavating the Archive”, Ambassador Bayley was there to celebrate the opening of a new walking trail at the museum, displaying 12 artefacts unveiled by the Egypt Exploration Society, a British non-profit organization, operating since 1882. One of the 12 major highlights is the Statuette of King Khufu, the only known representation of King Khufu, the owner of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
British Ambassador to Egypt Gareth Bayley said: "I am delighted to witness the unveiling of these two remarkable exhibitions here at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir. We were keen that “Excavating the Archive” exhibition would find a home here at the Egyptian Museum, showcasing Howard Carter’s archives, which documented the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, the important contributions of the Egyptian team and the joint British-Egyptian work that has been instrumental in facilitating past, current and future discoveries. This event signifies not only the cultural richness shared between the UK and Egypt but also underscores our joint commitment to uncovering and preserving Egypt's extraordinary historical legacy. It is a testament to our enduring partnership, that has also grown stronger through the contributions of the Egypt Exploration Society throughout the years."
The walking trail includes newly developed panels, aimed to provide visitors from around the world with new information about these magnificent pieces, especially the discovery stories, supported by rare archival photos. These panels have been researched by 10 early career Egyptian scholars who all received archival training in 2022 with the support of the British Council.
These two exhibitions represent the fruitful and ongoing collaboration between Egypt and the UK in the fields of Egyptology and archeology.