Ancient Egyptian Dig This Summer for Classical Students
Egypt, known for the pyramids and the Sphinx, is the summer destination of three University of Hawaii among Mānoa students who are part of the Classics program of the College of Arts, Languages and Letters. They will spend five weeks in an ancient Egyptian city in the Nile Delta until July 31. Exotic travel is part of the uh Tell Timai Project, where students participate in archaeological activities at the site of Tell Timai, which was a flourishing city from 500 BC to around 600 AD for the Egyptians followed by the Greeks and then the Romans.
“Students will receive training in archaeological methods, learn about material remains, and relate material culture to written records,” said Robert Litmana classics professor who has led the project since its inception in 2009. “By working on the remains of an ancient city, they will gain a better understanding of human history.”
To date, more than 50 uh Mānoa students have traveled to Egypt where they participate in high-tech surveys and meticulous excavations to uncover settlement buildings and artifacts, such as pottery, coins, and broken columns. Kali Konopko just deserved it BA in the classics this spring. The aspiring law student has been fascinated with Egyptian artifacts and coins since she was a young girl.
“It will be nice to be able to immerse myself in a world that I have studied since I was little,” Konopko said. “It’s going to be amazing to recreate the culture for myself and to be able to see the pyramids and the valley of kings and queens and make it real.”
According to Littman, students must study up to two years of ancient Egyptian language and written texts as a prerequisite for the trip. It’s a kingdom Lentil Beccaa PhD candidate in marine biology at uh Mānoa, who fell by chance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unable to complete much work outside of her home in 2020, she decided to enroll in Littman’s Ancient Civilization course online. The microbiologist developed a fascination with hieroglyphs and ancient Egyptian bread.
“One of the reasons I’m interested in ancient baking is that I believe it tasted better back then. We modern people just don’t bake bread the way they do.
Lensing hopes to find old beer bottles at the excavation site that still bear traces of the liquid she hopes to use as yeast to bake batches of bread reminiscent of ancient Egypt.
In 2012, Littman and uh adjunct teacher Mānoa Jay Silverstein discovered what was thought to be the home of a perfume merchant at the Tell Timai site. The uh the professors found glass kilns containing a kind of liquid which, later analyzed and recreated by perfumery experts using ancient Greek texts, led to the reproduction of myrrh (a natural gum or resin extracted from ‘a number of small species of thorny trees) with a Mendesian base and the Metopian perfumes that some claim were worn by the famous Egyptian ruler Cleopatra.