Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Helen Jacquet-Gordon (1918-2013)

There is an empty place in our hearts today...

From Dr. W. Raymond Johnson:

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Helen
Jacquet-Gordon, 95, at her home in Carouge, Switzerland, on April 26th. The loss to Egyptology is profound. Helen was a true Renaissance woman who specialized in ancient Egyptian ceramics but was proficient in the language, epigraphy, art, history, and archaeology of ancient Egypt and the Sudan, and was herself an accomplished artist (and musician). She is survived by her husband, archaeological architect Jean Jaccquet.

Born on February 7, 1918 in New York, Helen came to Egypt in 1955 for the purpose of completing her thesis for the École des Hautes Études at the Sorbonne. In 1956 Helen met her life partner Jean Jacquet on the excavations of the University of Pennsylvania at Mit Rahina. For the next 50 years work and pleasure took them all over the Middle 
East, where they participated in a variety of historic archaeological expeditions: in Egypt and Nubia during the construction of the Aswan High Dam, ("the Nubian Salvage Campaign" from 1957 to 1965); in Lebanon at Tyre (1964 to 1968); and at Tabo in the Dongola province of the northern Sudan (1967-1977). Their main undertaking was in Upper Egypt at North-Karnak, an 18th dynasty site (the Treasury of Thutmosis I) situated just north of the great temple complex. There they conducted excavations from 1968 to 1977 and 1989 to 1992 under the
auspices of the Institut français d'archéologie orientale du Caire (IFAO). While working at Karnak they lived in Alexander Varille's historic mud-brick house perched on top of the Karnak northern enclosure wall overlooking the temple of Ptah.

From 1997 until 2007 they resided with the team of the Epigraphic Survey at Chicago House (Oriental Institute, University of Chicago) in Luxor where they continued to work on publications and consult with the Survey. There Helen finished and published her groundbreaking The Graffiti on the Khonsu Temple Roof at Karnak: A Manifestation of Personal Piety, OIP 123 (Chicago 2003), the third volume in the Epigraphic Survey's Khonsu Temple series. She and Jean consulted with the Chicago House team on many aspects of the Survey's work at Luxor Temple and Medinet Habu, and it was a real joy to have them with us for that decade.

Their photographic archive contains more than 7,400 images (6x6 and 35 mm) of which the greater part is devoted to the architecture, archaeology and epigraphy of the ancient Near East. In 2008, Helen and Jean donated these archives to the library of Chicago House in Luxor, where they form the Jacquet Archive in the Chicago House Photographic Archives.

Helen was an inspiration to all who knew her, and she raised the bar high. 95 years old, yet she published a major pottery double-volume (Karnak-Nord X) just last year, and her book on Tabo is in press now at the IFAO in Cairo. She truly was one of the greats of Egyptology, and will be terribly missed.

Helen's funeral will be on Thursday, May 2nd. Condolences may be sent to:

Jean Jacquet,
6, Place d'Armes,
1227 Carouge,

Saturday, April 13, 2013


First night in Paris and I followed my usual routine. Had dinner at Brasserie Les Cascades, kitty-corner from my hotel (Hotel de la Porte Dorée). Started with my usual Kir Californien, served with wonderful marinated olives, and ordered up the 'vin du moment', which was a St. Chinian 2011:
Plat principal was the Croque Poilâne Provençal (jambon, emmental, tomates, oignons, herbes, served on the tasty pain Poilâne) with a green salad:
Dessert--what else but crêpes Nutella?
Un déca avec speculoos:
All for a mere 22 euros! Not a bad way to spend a couple of hours on a rainy 'April in Paris' evening.


Allow me to present Fluffy, Andy Dailey's monitor lizard, hailing from Luxor and now living in Korba! Home safe after falling off the balcony!!

One Last Shisha Sunset...

It's coming to the end of the season and we had to have one last shisha sunset. The view is hard to take--not!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Before Class in Luxor

For as long as I can remember, 7:45 a.m. has marked the beginning of the school day here in Luxor. Especially on Sundays, because I don't come to breakfast until 7:30, I have listened to the various songs and prayers and lectures amplified over the schools' sound systems. I'm sad that they haven't done "Knick Knack Paddy Whack" for quite some time! Finally, last Sunday, I made it to the roof in time to record some of this at the girls' school a little to the southeast of us. In this short clip, you will see that both physical and spiritual activities are part of the program.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Sunny Day

What a difference a day makes! This morning has been mild, breezy, sunny and clear, as opposed to yesterday's haze, smoke and dust. It was a morning for going up on the roof and enjoying my morning tea and the view. The birds were enjoying it too. There were bee-eaters, sunbirds, kites, doves and bulbuls!
And Beau was out-and-about today, too, enjoying the view from the roof.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Straight From the Horse's Mouth

If you want to see firsthand what all the fuss is about with Bassem Youssef, then watch this episode of "Al Bernameg". It's subtitled. And if you can't watch the whole thing, start from 22:30 for a powerful statement about the so-called 'leadership' of Egypt.

More on the Bassem Youssef Affair

Get with the programme:

"On Sunday I went out with a colleague to get reactions to the Bassem Youssef investigation. In a taxi on the way to Imbaba we asked the driver his opinion and in a serendipitous convergence, the taxi driver declared that he had worked with B. Youssef last week. It was a moment that would have made Thomas Friedman self-combust: a taxi driver who is also a primary source."

And Bassem Youssef and Co. Saga Continues:

A Tweet!
"Lawyer suing @DrBassemYoussef says theres been an explosion in freedom of speech under Morsi President. Thats what's creating chaos"

Stewart Destroys Pres. Morsi for Going After 'Egypt's Jon Stewart' After Vowing to 'Welcome Every Opinion'

Hazy Day

This morning was dusty, hazy, smoky. Eyes are burning, but at least the breeze has cooled it down. And it's dispersed some of the dust and smoke.