Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Luxor Update

Here's the latest update from my boss here at Chicago House:

Luxor Update February 8, 2011

For those friends and colleagues who are concerned about the well-being of Chicago House and its staff during the events of this last two weeks in Egypt, I am happy to report that we are safe, Luxor is secure, and we have been keeping a normal work schedule on all of our project sites: Luxor Temple, Khonsu Temple Karnak, Medinet Habu, and the tomb of Nefersekheru TT 107. After some relatively minor (compared to Cairo and elsewhere) demonstrations and vandalism of government buildings during the afternoon and evening of Friday, January 28th, order was restored in Luxor the next day, and it has been peaceful here ever since. There was no damage to or looting of any archaeological site in Luxor. We have been in constant touch with the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities / Ministry of State for Antiquities Affairs in Luxor, who informed us that archaeological missions could resume work on Sunday, January 30th. Police presence on the antiquities sites is strong, with some Egyptian military as well, and small groups of foreign and Egyptian tourists continue to visit the sites; a scattering of tourists is still being bused in from the Red Sea.
Two members of the Chicago House team have returned home (one who had no passport was assisted by the US Embassy which had a team in Luxor for a few days). While the rest of us are prepared to leave at a moment's notice, we will remain in Luxor for now and as long as we can to keep our documentation, conservation, and restoration work going with the SCA, and the library open for our Egyptian and foreign colleagues who have stayed to continue their work. Be assured that we will continue to monitor the situation in the country closely, but for now will continue to assist the scientific community in Luxor in any way we can.
Best from Luxor,
W. Raymond Johnson,
Director, Epigraphic Survey
Oriental Institute, University of Chicago
Chicago House, Luxor, Egypt


  1. Received the link to your blog from Nann on Biblioquilters. So glad to hear that all is well in Luxor. I had the great privilege of visiting last spring and saw Luxor and Karnak. All too short a visit but unforgettable nevertheless.

    Wishing you and the entire staff the best in the future.

  2. Marie,
    Another ALABiblioquilter wishing you well and glad to read you're doing OK. I admire your courage and calm during what must be a pretty scary time.

    Good luck!
    Jill Patterson, Calif.

  3. Thanks to you both! Jill, not much courage involved. ;] Here in Luxor it has been relatively calm, although on Monday, I did see barbed wire and a military presence outside the offices of the governorate. I have never felt threatened in the entire three-plus weeks (Gosh! What a short time for a revolution to happen!). I've always said that I'm staying until someone kicks me out! I just love this place, and I'm so proud of the Egyptian people right now.


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Salaam aleikum!