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Peter Der Manuelian
Harvard University (Cambridge, MA 02138-3800)
The Man who Dug the Pyramids: A Biography of American Egyptologist George A. Reisner (1867-1942)

Research and writing leading to a biography of the influential American Egyptologist George A. Reisner (1867-1942).

Most archaeological biography projects do not reflect the broad brushstrokes of international relations and global change. But the individual currently under study—George A. Reisner (1867–1942, Harvard AB 1889)—is exceptional in several ways. Not only did Reisner pioneer crucial aspects of modern archaeological method as we understand them today, but he did so on an international stage, as an American expatriate working primarily in Arab countries (Egypt, Sudan) dominated by British political control and a French antiquities service. His story covers nationalism, imperialism, colonialism, the birth of scientific archaeology, the history of Harvard and of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the discovery of ancient art masterpieces and their ultimate museum destinations (under the partage system), and the issues of repatriation and cultural patrimony before they became the “hot topics” they are today. It is time that Reisner’s story, and his impact on the archaeological world, was told.

Project fields:
Near and Middle Eastern History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2020 – 7/31/2020