Brazilian egyptologist Antonio Brancaglion Junior wants to take students from Brazil to carry out archaeological research in Egypt. Brancaglion, curator of the Egyptian collection at the National Museum of the Federal University do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), is seeking sponsors to create a French-Brazilian excavation mission in the city of Tanis, former capital of Egypt, where Pharaohs were buried.
The idea is for Brazilian Archaeology and Restoration students to work in the region, along with French archaeologists that are already exploring the site.
The cost of maintaining the work of a 20-member team, including French and Brazilians, for two years, is approximately 600,000 reais (about US$ 300,000). Half the funds would have to come from Brazil.
According to Brancaglion, archaeologists from all over the world work in Egypt. "My Egyptian colleagues ask me why we are not there," said the Egyptologist. There are Brazilian teams working in other parts of the world, such as Israel and Greece. This year will also see the beginning of archaeological research by Brazilians in Peru.
A student in the Egyptian Archaeology master's course at UFRJ, Cintia Alfieri Gama, has already worked with Frenchmen doing archaeological research in Egypt. She spent six months there: some in Paris and some in the Arab country.
The Frenchmen are in the French Excavation Mission in Tanis, and are financed by the French Ministry of Foreign Relations, and by private funds raised by the Egyptian Land Society and by the French Excavation Society at Tanis. They have been working in the city since 1929.
In fact, there are many Brazilian excavators and archaeologists doing individual work throughout the world. The difference in Brancaglion's approach is the fact that the work would be developed by a Brazilian team. He believes that the experience could serve as a strategy for training professionals from Brazil, in addition, of course, to earning recognition to Brazilian work in the field.
The Egyptologist recalls that Uruguay and Argentina, for instance, carry out excavations in Egypt. In the city of Tanis, according to him, there is a lot to be explored. The city houses the temple of goddess Mut, wife of god Amon, and a buried sacred lake. "It may be possible to find closed tombs of Egyptian queens. They might be in the temple of goddess Mut," Brancaglion said.
True archaeological research is not restricted to excavation; it also includes analysis of material, cataloguing, drawing, and other actions. The sponsor for the French-Brazilian program, according to Brancaglion, will earn media space, since the published researches would bear his name, which would also be associated with scientific work of international relevance.
According to the Egyptologist, Brazilian work in Egypt would benefit from the existing ties between the two regions, from the large Arab colony living in Brazil, from the liking that Egyptians have for Brazil, and from similarities between the two regions.
The holder of a degree in Political and Social Sciences from the School of Social Science and Politics, in the southeastern Brazilian city of São Paulo, Brancaglion is one of the foremost Brazilian authorities in Egyptian archaeology.
He took a master's course and a doctorate in the field at the Department of Anthropology of the University of São Paulo (USP). When the Museum of Cairo had its 100th anniversary, Brancaglion was the only Brazilian invited to write an article for the commemorative book.
In addition to being the curator for the Egyptian collection at the National Museum, Brancaglion is a Professor at UFRJ, and a Guest Professor at the Department of Oriental Letters at USP.
In the field of archaeology, Brancaglion works with collections, i.e., reconstructions of history based on archaeological objects. Brancaglion has been to Egypt several times, most of them to seek evidence of Egyptian pieces that are in Brazil.
The project for the French-Brazilian mission is headed by Brancaglion, in Brazil, and by the head of the French team in Egypt, Philippe Brissaud, a research engineer at the Practical School of Higher Studies (EPHE), in France.
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