May 27, 2023: The Archaeological Technicians of Quft and the Art of Excavation as Cultural Heritage in Egypt

Professor Wendy Doyon, American Research Center in Egypt, Cairo

Free to the public

Online Webinar


The small town of Quft in southern Upper Egypt is unique in the history of archaeology for having developed a specialized craft industry of highly skilled archaeological excavators, whose skills and networks in the field have been passed down through several generations of family “guilds” from the late nineteenth century to today. This talk traces the historical origins of the Qufti excavation system, as well as the economic trajectory of its rise and decline as an archaeological “commodity;” describes the documentation and historical record it has left behind; and makes the case for conceptualizing the Quftis’ work as a kind of intangible cultural heritage in Egypt.


Wendy is an historian of archaeology and modern Egypt. She is currently writing a history of archaeology and the Egyptian economy under the khedives (c.1850-1914), based on her doctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania. She has written several articles on the history of archaeological labor and fieldwork and is also a member of the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU excavations at Abydos, Egypt, and the Arabic Diaries Project of the Harvard University-MFA, Boston Expedition to Egypt and Sudan Archive. She holds a PhD in History from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in Museology from the University of Washington, and a BA in Linguistics and Anthropology from the University of Washington.

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