We believe that the most important part of the MSCD project was the field school training of approximately 80 Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities inspectors from all over Egypt. The inspectors work in a variety of contexts in the heritage sector, such as in museums, archaeology, conservation, documentation, and repatriation. Together with the Egyptian field school supervisors, University of York, and AERA team, the project had a vast pool of knowledge and experience. Through semi- structured interviews carried out by the students, the project’s members had a constructive dialogue about community archaeology, their previous experiences within this field of practice and the most successful projects that they aware of.
Projects from Cairo to Qurna:
1-Eman worked on a project to resettle the population of Qurna to a new village. The aim of this project was to protect ancient tombs from modern encroachment whilst providing appropriate housing and conditions for the village’s residents. In addition the project aimed to document the village of Qurna and to provide work for people who might become unemployed as a result of the move.
2-Esraa worked on the Dendara Temple Project, a site management initiative set up by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities in 2004. The temple was opened to the public in 2008, helping to increase tourism and income.
3- MSCD project supervisor Samar, who works at the Egyptian Museum, and MSCD student Hasnaa, who works at the Coptic Museum, have developed activities such as handicrafts workshops for children, public lectures and field trips for local adults to help engage members of the local community.
Student Supervisor, Samar, in discussion with students of Field School 3.
Community archaeology outside Egypt:
Through the interviews, some community archaeology projects outside Egypt were mentioned. This included the Çatalhöyük Research Project in Turkey on which Dr Sara Perry and her team at the University of York work. This project has used digital technologies to try and engage a wide range of audiences alongside more traditional methods.
Making notes during group discussion in Field School 3.
The importance of making local community members decision makers in managing heritage sites and respecting their opinions cannot be underestimated. Also, most of the interviewees acknowledged the value of developing workshops, lectures and crafts skills to provide socio-economic benefits to local people. Focusing on children and teenagers is important and vital as they represent a new generation. Getting and maintaining their attention can be done through workshops, activities and interesting exhibitions as well as formal education.