Home US News Who was George Reisner the father of Egyptology?

Who was George Reisner the father of Egyptology?

George Andrew Reisner was one of the most prominent founding fathers of modern scientific archaeology, born Nov 5, 1867 in Indianapolis, Indiana. His parents were George Andrew Reisner I and Mary Elizabeth Mason. His father’s parents were of german decent. Reisner gained B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University, before becoming a travelling fellow. Reisner married Mary Putnam Bronson, with whom he had a daughter, also called Mary. In 1889, Reisner was head football coach at Purdue University, coaching for one season and compiling a record of 2–1. He at first studied law but this did not appeal to him and he became a travelling Fellow of Harvard University, 1893-6. At this time he went to Berlin to study Semitics and work on texts from Assyria and Babylonia, but instead of becoming an Assyriologist he was drawn to Egyptology, studying Egyptian at the University Göttingené; he studied additionally under the Egyptologist Adolf Erman (1854-1937) in Berlin. In 1895 he was appointed an assistant in Egyptology at the Berlin Museum for a year. On his return to America he was appointed Instructor in Semitics, Harvard University, 1896-7. When Reisner got a letter from one of his Call leagues from the University of Berlin, to come to Cairo to be apart of a International commission team to study objects in the Egyptian museum. This was his first good paying job so he jumped right on it. It was hear in Cairo where he met Phoebe Epperson Hearst mother of the newspaper owner magnade Randolph Hearst. Phoebe Hearst was looking for excavators for projects all over the world even Egypt too for the University of California(Berkeley). So in 1899 Hearst and Reisner signed a agreement, Reisner’s meeting with Mrs. P. A. Hearst marked a turning-point in his career as an archaeologist, and with her support he began a long series of excavation campaigns. so Reisner decided to change direction completely from semitic theology to Egyptian object publishing to archaeology, it was a hole right tern in his career. Hearst had faith in his abilities and sent him to work immediately. She left him with two assistant and a large skilled Egyptian crew, Reisner first explored the sites of Coptos and Shurafa.

The agreement that Reisner and Hearst signed, call him to learn on the job, not a bad understanding if you can get it. So this was the first steps into the unknown for Reisner career, but of course this is what he’s always wanted. Reisner started his Journey in upper Egypt, souther parts of the country where the less important site are. This gave him a chance to hone his craft, invent Survey techniques and Record keeping for his excavation. All of this was prepping him to work at more important sites like the pyramids. Later on In 1903 the Giza necropolis became available, there just was to much Illicit digging. Reisner was not the only one who was complain to the Egyptian antiquities authorities. Then under french control under Mass Puro he allowed several expedition to come together and amikly divide up the sites. Along the way Reisner picked up a Harvard student, Albert Lythgoe, who has traveled from brown and who has been trained at the school of Athens. Later on down the line Hearst ran into Financial problems, so she had to pull out of the agreement. This left Reisner to look for other ways to keep the excavation projects going. This made it hard for Reisner to stay in Egypt. So in the summer of 1905 Lythgoe returns to Harvard university first and Reisner Followed later. Reisner wanted to get the Museum of fine arts Boston and or Harvard University on board in picking up the Excavation. It was later Decided on that it should

A picture of the International Commission team from six different countries. Photo by HarvardX.

be called the Harvard university, Boston Museum of fine arts expedition. During Reisners return to Harvard University he Published a facsimile of the medical papyrus in 1905 which had been discovered during the digs, the so-called Hearst Medical Papyri, it’s located today at the UC Berkeley. The same year Reisner joined the faculty at Harvard as an assistant professor. At Harvard, he lead the joint Harvard/Museum of Fine Arts, Boston digs in Sudan and the royal cemeteries in Giza, a continuation of the Hearst expeditions. In 1910, Reisner was appointed curator of Egyptian Art at the Museum in Boston, a position vacated by Albert M. Lythgoe the department’s founder and Reisner’s assistant. His second part of the Egyptian catalog, Models of Ships and Boats, was published in 1913. That year he also wrote an article explaining the identity of the great sphinx, hypothesizing that the statue was of king Chephren (Khephren), 2520-2494 B.C., builder of the second pyramid. At the outbreak of World War I in Europe, Reizner, who had been associated with German scholars all his life, deliberated long about which side to support, before siding with him native country. In 1914 he became professor of Egyptology at Harvard. In 1925, he announced among his greatest discovery, the alabaster sarcophagus of Queen Hetepheres, mother of Cheops. During the 1930 the queen of Romania and here daughter visited George Reisner at Harvard camp. Reisner died at Giza in Harvard Camp in 1942. In his final years, despite near total blindness, he continued working, dictating manuscripts to a secretary. By the end of his career, he had explored arguably the most famous archaeological site in the world (the Giza Pyramids), discovered thousands of artifacts and hundreds of artistic masterpieces, rewritten the history of Nubia and three millennia of Egypt–Nubian relations, and permanently altered the course of modern archaeology. He is buried in the American cemetery in Mari Girgis, Cairo.

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