Scholars, Scoundrels, & the Sphinx

Photographic & Archaeological Adventure Up Nile

  • Author(s): Evans, Elaine Altman
  • Series:
  • Imprint: McClung Museum
  • Publication Date: 2001-01-16
  • Status: Active
  • Available in Paper: Price $18.50 | Buy Now

“It is a story that is conveyed with ancient artifacts and vintage photographs in a way that makes the early ‘discovery’ of Egypt come alive.”–William H. PeckCurator of Ancient Arts, Detroit Institute of Arts

The emergence of Egyptology and photography took place together in Egypt in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It was a time when the world’s most important museum of antiquities was developed, when travelers flocked to Egypt, when dealers and fakers of antiquities flourished, and when pashas, khedives, and sultans ruled a land of exquisite mosques and spectacular monuments.

From 1850 to 1930, important Egyptologists and archaeologists energetically excavated and uncovered temples, tombs, and works of art. Which for millennia had been hidden under desert sands. At the same time, photographers struggled under relentless Egyptian sun to overcome technological and physical difficulties to record the new finds, as well as the already-known monuments in the Nile Valley. Both disciplines promote new knowledge and interest in ancient Egypt.

This book brings that period to life with a wealth of images of sites along the Nile, all selected from the collection of early prints, stereoviews, and postcards housed at the Frank H. McClung Museum at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The prints by pioneer photographers illustrate why people came to Egypt and what it was that seized their imaginations. The book also describes more than fifty ancient objects loaned to the museum to complement its exhibition of the photographs. These objects were excavated and documented in or near many of the photographed sites at which the earnest Egyptologists and image-makers worked.

Elaine A. Evans tells an absorbing story of the exploration and documentation of an endlessly fascinating ancient culture by serious practitioners of two emerging disciplines – Egyptology and photography.

The Author: Elaine Altman Evans is curator and adjunct assistant professor in the Frank H. McClung Museum at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.