International Conference in Cairo, 12-14 October 2011
On the occasion of the 200th birthday of Georg Erbkam, the architect and surveyor of the Royal Prussian Expedition to Egypt (1842–1845), the DAI Cairo held an international conference on 12-14 October, 2011. Erbkam is the author of the architectural maps and drawings in the monumental publication Denkmaeler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien, published in Berlin since 1849. The aim of the conference was to disseminate, assess and to stimulate Erbkams field of research, which contributes to cultural studies as well as the conservation of heritage in Egypt since more than two centuries.
The event, which was supported generously by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and Mercedes-Benz Egypt, took place on the institute’s premises in Cairo Zamalek. It started with a distinguished lecture on Wednesday evening by Prof. Dr. emer. Wolf Koenigs on the inspiration of Ancient Greek architecture by pharaonic buildings, which was met with great interest by the audience. Through the discussion and during the following reception it became evident that this event had drawn in not only the archaeological community but also a new audience mainly from faculties of architecture and heritage institutions.
The conference proper started the following morning on 9 pm, with four keynote lectures which outlined the methods, achievements, desiderata, and interdisciplinary integration of Building Archaeology in Egypt as a whole. The first afternoon panel was then dedicated to the research and works of Georg Erbkam and his time. The last panel on Thursday and the panels on Friday discussed different aspects, challenges and approaches to the field of building archaeology, architectural research and the handling historical monuments. The Friday ended with a summary of the conference on 7 pm. The conference was also the opportunity to honour Dr. Peter Grossmann, a building archaeologist who has been working for the DAI in Egypt since 46 years and will hopefully continue doing so for many years.
The twenty-one, mostly younger speakers came from Egypt, Germany, Italy, Japan and France. The audience of up to ninety persons consisted mostly of archaeologists and architects, but also a wider public attended the event. Very positive was the participation of many young teaching assistants and students.
The DAI Cairo thanks the DAAD and Mercedes-Benz Egypt for their generous support, which helped to make the conference a success.