German Egyptology (1882-1914)
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German Egyptology (1882-1914)


The period from 1882 to 1914 has been termed the “Golden Age” of Egyptology. Under Adolf Erman, the successor of Carl Richard Lepsius, one of Egyptology’s “founding fathers,” who had died in 1884, Egyptology experienced the inauguration of the Ancient Egyptian Dictionary Project in 1897 and the founding of the German Oriental Society in 1898. Erman’s successful effort to send Ludwig Borchardt to Egypt in 1895 was the prelude to a permanent presence of German Egyptology in Egypt. The implementation in 1898 of an international project to create the Catalogue Général (CG) was followed by Borchardt’s appointment as scholarly attaché at the German Consulate General in Cairo in 1899, the construction of “German House” in Western Thebes in 1904, the establishment of the Imperial German Institute in Cairo between 1906 and 1907, and the initiation of a program of excavations and research in Egypt. In 1912 the painted bust of Queen Nefertiti was discovered. During the same decades, the Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde (ZÄS), under Erman’s editorship, remained the single most prestigious journal for matters Egyptological. The far-reaching and long-term influence of the “École de Berlin” (Berlin School), headed by Adolf Erman, is a hallmark of the era.

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