The American Research Center in Eygpt




August 2017

The Red Monastery Church at Sohag has been the venue of one of ARCE's most significant heritage conservation projects. Made possible with grant funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development, ARCE has worked at the sixth-century church since 2003 - in collaboration with the Ministry of Antiquities and the Coptic Orthodox Church - to reveal the beauty of this Early Byzantine structure for the first time in many centuries.

Nicholas Warner directed a team of architectural conservators and local workers under the leadership of Mahmud al-Tayyib, concentrating on the brick-built tower, or keep, constructed beside the south wall of the church. The tower had undergone several previous phases of restoration and repair, some of which caused damage and sealed moisture into the walls. The team removed modern plumbing and wall coverings to allow the structure to breath and moisture to evaporate. The conservation process revealed an ancient hydraulic system, constructed with ceramic pipes that moved water into different rooms of the tower. And a deck and handrail are now in place to allow visitors to view a large tank that was likely an ancient baptismal basin.

Several recently discovered artifacts are on display at the tower, including shards of Mamluk pottery, an imported Chinese bowl, a locally produced 19th-century vessel and an iron knife. The tower's roof, domes and vaults were cleaned and reinforced, and a new wooden door was installed in an exterior frame that includes the remains of a hieroglyph inscription.

At the nave walls - battered for centuries by sun, wind and other environmental factors - an Italian conservation team led by Alberto Sucato and Emiliano Ricchi cleaned the Red Monastery's plaster and brick masonry, which display some of the church's exquisite decorative paintings. On areas where brickwork had been exposed, conservators resurfaced the walls with plaster compatible with the original materials used by the ancient builders.

Also in the last nine months, ARCE and Dina Bakhoum in collaboration with the Ministry of Antiquities provided on-the-job training for nearly two dozen Egyptian conservation graduates. The trainees learned the theoretical principles and procedures of conservation, safety regulations and proper storage of materials and equipment. Then each student, individually mentored under close supervision, carried out assigned work on the walls of the church.

June 2017

Dr. Gerry Scott and Kathleen Scott said their goodbyes to the Cairo staff on Sunday, June 18, 2017. Dr. Scott thanked the staff for their kindness and dedication over the last 14 years. The Scotts will depart Egypt on June 19. 

Dr. Scott also formally thanked Jane Smythe for her service as ARCE's Assistant Director in Cairo. Ms. Smythe has worked for ARCE the past eight years and will be leaving ARCE at the end of June. 

ARCE marked the move of its headquarters from San Antonio to Washington, DC on May 24 with a celebratory reception held at the DACOR Bacon House in Washington, DC.

There are number of international projects dedicated to preserving and capturing the memories of Jews from the Middle East, North Africa and Iran who left their homes and resettled in Europe, the United States and Israel. As a result of connections made with the American University in Cairo after signing a memorandum of understanding with the Middle East Studies Center in November 2016, an initiative has gained momentum to document and record the stories of as many of the remaining six members of the Jewish community in Cairo as possible.

The Ancient Egyptian Heritage and Archaeology Fund is a new American Research Center in Egypt Research Supporting Member (RSM) it was founded in 2015 by Peter Lacovara as a private, nonprofit organization with a mission is to support research and conservation on Egyptian history and culture.  

May 2017

CAORC is pleased to announce a new program: The Responsive Preservation Initiative for Cultural Heritage Resources - funded by the J.M. Kaplan Fund.
The program is designed to aid in the preservation of the cultural heritage resources in crisis in countries within American overseas research centers’ networks. Targeted preservation efforts include conservation interventions for architecture and artifacts, on-site salvage work, documentation campaigns, as well as key presentation and management strategies in select situational contexts.

March 2017

By Willeke Wendrich, UCLA

In 1934 two pioneering female field researchers wrote: “The Northern Fayum desert as we know it, with all its diversified archaeological and physiographical features is probably doomed to vanish in a few years. The pressure of Egypt’s teeming population, and her economic expansion, are bound before long to play their part in the reclamation of every acre of desert ground”  (Caton-Thompson and Gardner 1934:12). From 2004 to 2012 the URU Fayum Project, a collaboration of the University of California, Los Angeles, the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, The Netherlands and the University of Auckland, New Zealand returned to the Fayum to re-investigate these important remains, which were thought by many to be completely destroyed. 

ARCE Proudly Celebrates its Role in the Repair and Rehabilitation of the Building Façade 

ARCE is proud to have been a primary partner in the repair and rehabilitation of the façade of the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo, which was reopened by Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi on January 18, 2017. The President’s visit marked the official completion of repairs to the Museum of Islamic Art that was badly damaged by an early morning bomb attack on January 24, 2014, that detonated 500kg of TNT in front of the Cairo Security Directorate directly facing the Museum of Islamic Art and National Library and Archives building on Port Said Street. 

By Stacy Davidson

When you think of Kansas City, you probably think of BBQ, sports, or jazz, but the influence of ancient Egypt has reached into the heart of the Midwest. The City of Fountains boasts several locations of interest, both indoors and out, where you can explore Egypt’s legacy. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is not to be missed; its small but delightful Egyptian collection includes the spectacularly vibrant inner and outer coffins of Meretites, the funerary stela of Seankhy and Ankefankhu, three items from the mastaba of Metjetji, a world-famous head of Senwosret III, and the recently conserved and reinstalled tomb relief of Niankhnesut. Downtown Kansas City holds our best example of an Egyptian Revival building; built in 1912, the structure located at 924 Oak, predates the Egyptian Revival resurgence of the early 1920s and 1930s. It was originally the home of the Stine and McClure Undertaking Company and is currently occupied by Homoly Construction.

From Jane Zimmerman, Executive Director
I am pleased to announce that Karim Seikaly will be joining ARCE as its Business & Finance Director, effective April 3, 2017.  He will be assuming the responsibilities of ARCE Chief Financial Officer Kathann El-Amin, who will be retiring effective April 30, after more than 10 years of outstanding and dedicated service to ARCE.  

ARCE would like to congratulate Drs. Aymen Ashmawy & Dietrich Raue on the magnificent find of an upper torso and head of what appears to be Psamtek I, a pharaoh from the 26th dynasty who ruled Egypt between 664 and 610 B.C., at the site of Heliopolis. In 2015 ARCE assisted this Egyptian-German project with an AEF Emergency Grant which funded a salvage season to continue work on this site.

February 2017

The Board of Governors of the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) is pleased to announce the appointment of Jane B. Zimmerman as Executive Director, effective March 1, 2017. 


It is with a mix of sadness and gratitude that last year Dr. Gerry D. Scott announced that he would not seek another term as ARCE Director, and the Board of Governors announces that in March 2017 we will begin a transition of executive leadership. 

Dear ARCE Members,

I have had the privilege of leading the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) as its Director since 2003, but have decided not to continue beyond the term of my current contract at the end of this coming August.

January 2017

For well over a decade, ARCE has been documenting, conserving, and studying the late fifth-century Red Monastery church, near Sohag in Upper Egypt with funding from USAID. Elizabeth Bolman, the director of the project, decided to enlist Pietro Gasparri, architect and founder of C.P.T. Studio (Rome), to create a complete 3D laser scan of the building with the aim of documenting the church as comprehensively as possible. The work was funded by an ARCE Antiquities Endowment Fund Grant.


May Trad, an Egyptological institution in herself, will always be remembered fondly by generations of scholars for her vast knowledge of the Egyptian Museum and countless topics on Egyptology. For years she was an invaluable aid to accessing the treasures held in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. “She knew all of the various registration systems by heart, it seemed, and was always generous in sharing her time,” remembers ARCE Director, Gerry Scott. “One of her great loves was discussing Egyptology with scholars and sharing in the excitement of their research.”



The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) has awarded the James R. Wiseman Book Award to Art of Empire: The Roman Frescoes and Imperial Cult Chamber in Luxor Temple. The award was presented at the AIA Annual Meeting in Toronto in January 2017. The book was edited by ARCE's Michael Jones and art historian Susanna McFadden and was published by ARCE and Yale University Press in 2015. Read more about the AIA Wiseman Award >>

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